I wrote this post a few days ago. I actually rewrote it because the first edition was enough to make me want to slit my wrists. It was really pitiful. Believe it or not this is the sunnier version and it’s still not all that sunny. I wanted to post it anyway because despite having a fairly decent weekend, and despite having a more hopeful disposition in the past 24 hours, I spend most of my life feeling the way the post describes. Who knows? Maybe a change is a comin’. That would be delightful. For today, however, you’re left with this.
The motto over on Chump Lady is, “Leave a cheater, gain a life.” I’ve read many inspirational stories about people who have done just that. They’ve received promotions, went back to school, finished Masters or PhD programs, traveled, done fun things with their kids, remodeled or bought houses, got a new family pet, took back their lives, stopped walking on eggshells, found out that life without the cheater was fantastic, etc. Good for them. Sincerely. These are the questions I’m always left wondering: Did you have a job when you got divorced? How old were you when this happened? How long had you been married? Did you lose everything when you got divorced? Did you have to sell off all your furniture and belongings and leave whatever you couldn’t sell behind? Were you moved across the country and then forced out of your house, forced to move hundreds of miles once again, or do you still live in the same city? Did you have to yank your kids out of their schools once again and make them start all over? Did you move in with your mother or father or some other relative that took pity on you because without them you’d be homeless? Were you left with nothing but debt? Did your shithead ex quit his or her job after 15 years of making 6 figures and leave you destitute? Did a judge take pity on them and slash their support obligation by almost half? Were you old, fat and pretty much used up when they left for the shiny new whore?
I try very hard to hold on to that inspiration. To this belief that there is a new life out there to gain. A better life. One that will be so good that I won’t miss anything about my old life. But honestly? There is absolutely nothing that I find appealing about this new life I’m living. Believe me- I would love to say those words I just wrote: I have created a new life for myself and it is so much better than anything I lived with Cousinfucker. But the fact of the matter is, despite that 14 part bitch list I shared, I wasn’t unhappy.
I had things I enjoyed doing- Bunko, PTA, Teacher Appreciation, hockey and gymnastics for my kids. I got to travel for gymnastics meets, go shopping and buy whatever I wanted within reason, get my hair colored and cut at an actual salon instead of out of a crappy box and Great Clips. I knew lots of people. I had fantastic neighbors. I carpooled. I had lunch with friends. Hell, I had friends. I kept busy. I was able to go to all of my kids’ events. I drove them around everywhere. They were my life.
My husband wasn’t much of a partner or a father, but the kids and I got along without him. And he did join us occasionally, especially right after he was caught in his first affair. I figured out a way to be happy and fulfilled even if I didn’t have a husband who wanted to do everything with me and be by my side every minute of every day. I liked my old life, especially the one I had before we moved to Whoreville.
Now my life consists of drudgery. I work and I sleep and if I’m very very lucky I run my kids around. That’s it. I work approximately 55 hours a week. I work 6 days out of seven on a regular basis. I begin my day at 3:20 am, leave the house at 3:45 and get home sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 4 days out of 5. I dread pretty much every single day because it’s just more of the same- get up at an ungodly hour, go to work, come home, take Rock Star to school, head back home to get ready for the second job, go to work, come home, repeat. Also, make sure you’re in bed before 9 unless you’ve got to pick up a kid from a game or work. In between getting home from work and going to bed I enjoy the following fun activities: emailing teachers and/or counselors, making sure we still qualify for Medicaid, filing taxes, doing laundry, cleaning the bedroom, shampooing carpets, washing dishes, making dinner, feeding and watering the dogs, picking up Rock Star from practice, taking her and picking her up from work, and taking out the trash.
I know I should feel inspired by the stories on Chump Lady but I don’t. Every time I read them it’s like a kick in the gut once again. Promotion? Career thriving? Making more money than I ever did when with the cheater? I didn’t even have a fucking job! I hadn’t worked outside of the home since early 1998! My big accomplishment was getting a seasonal part-time job that paid me $10.50-$11 an hour. I followed that up with getting a full-time job that also paid an amazing $11/hour. The kids and I live on approximately 15% of what we used to live on. It sucks. I hate being poor. The reality is he waited until I was middle aged and out of the workforce for far too long before he left. I don’t think I will ever get even close to living the same kind of life. I’m not sure I’ll ever even get to the point where I only have to work ONE job as opposed to two. There are not a lot of job opportunities for middle aged women who are starting over at the very bottom. Plus, we’ve already established that I suck at my new job so it’s not like this is going to lead anyplace.
Traveling? Having fun with my kids? I don’t have any money! Where the fuck am I going to travel? Hop in the car, kids! We’ll take a drive down the road, cross the state line and call it a vacation! Or maybe I’ll take them to Steak-n-Shake and we can get one of their $5 meal deals. No milkshakes, kids; Mommy is poor and Daddy is busy faking PTSD so that when he finally gets a job all of his money can go to his whore and her kids.
I remember one woman saying she created a scrapbook of things she and her kids had done since the divorce. I seldom do fun things with my kids anymore; again, I don’t have the money. Or the time. I also rarely see them anymore. Picasso is usually holed up in his room playing video games with his friends but even if he wasn’t I wouldn’t be around. Between my schedule and Rock Star’s schedule driving her to school and to work are about the only times I get to see her. Thank you, Cousinfucker, for ensuring that the last 2 years that my daughter lives at home I never get to see her. You chose to abandon her. I didn’t. And yet I’m the one that gets to continually pay for your choices.
Remodeling a house? Buying one on my own? Don’t. Make. Me. Laugh. I live with my mother, for crying out loud. If I didn’t we would be homeless. I’m not joking. I don’t make anywhere close to enough to pay rent somewhere, much less rent and utilities.
Finishing a Masters or PhD program? Snort. When exactly would I have time to go back to school between the two jobs and raising my kids? Something would have to give. It couldn’t be the jobs because I need those to pay my bills, take care of my kids, and pay for this magical schooling. Plus, I’m almost 48. I need to carefully consider whether or not someone would be willing to hire someone at my age fresh out of school. Getting discarded in your late 40s holds a few more challenges than being discarded in your 20s and 30s. Not as bad as being discarded in your 50s and 60s, I suppose, but still not a great position.
No longer walking on eggshells? Life being so much easier and stress free now that the cheater is gone? Pshaw! I have an uncanny ability to put up with tons of bullshit. It’s not like we ever walked on eggshells around Cousinfucker. If he was in a mood I just ignored him and left him to his own devices. He was probably sexting whores but I didn’t know that at the time. I just went along my merry way, doing my own thing while he pouted and sexted. I would say that this new life is the more difficult and stressful one.
Someone else said she took spin classes and met up with friends when her child was gone. After already putting in a 14 hour day I’m in no mood to do any exercise of any kind. Not spin class. Not yoga. Not aerobics. Nothing. Maybe, possibly, I might enjoy a good ol’ boxing or kickboxing class IF I can pin a picture of Cousinfucker and Harley on the bag and proceed to kick the shit out of it. Honestly, though? I’m probably too fucking tired to even do that. It all sounds great. Oh yeah, after work I’m going to lace up my running shoes and run 3 miles. Or, I’ll hit the yoga studio. Or, I’ll pretend I’m beating Cousinfucker and Harley to a fucking pulp at kickboxing class. The reality is that time kicks your ass. When you’re getting up at 3:20 in the morning 6 pm rolls around and you suddenly find yourself tired. You’ve been up for almost 15 hours by this time when most people have been up for maybe 12. Hell, I didn’t used to get up until after 7. You’ve put in a thirteen hour workday and you know you get to turn around and do it all over again the next day! It’s not like this is an aberration. No, this is your life.
Plus, Cousinfucker moved me away from all of my friends so it’s not like I have this huge support system and we get together and drink wine or do fun things together. The friends I have from my hometown have lived a life without me in it for 20 years now. Their lives are full and I make up only a tiny part of it. That would be fine if I actually had something to fill my life with outside of them; unfortunately, I don’t. So there isn’t much of a social support network.
They always counsel us to find something we are passionate about, something that we enjoy doing. I had those things. They were all taken away. I have roughly 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours each night to devote to “my passion”- if I never want to see my kids again. And if I can afford it. And if I’m not too tired. Or I can take my one day off each week and use that to devote to my unknown passion. Fuck the dishes. Fuck the laundry. Fuck the kids. It’s all about me. Only I’m not like that. I’m not going to desert my kids, especially not after their father has done so. I have so little time and I’m always tired so whatever I end up doing I would like it to be something that I really do love and care about. I don’t want to fill in space just to fill it in. That’s what all these Meetup groups feel like. I’m afraid that’s what church is going to feel like. That’s what I think a divorce support group will end up being.
I don’t know what I’m passionate about. Everything I knew and loved was taken away from me, even before Cousinfucker started fucking his cousin. My life as I knew it has been obliterated. It has been filled with work and poverty and trying to raise two kids while poor yet working nonstop. I hate it. I absolutely fucking hate what my life has become.
There is a part of me that says, “Try to get involved with a theater group. You loved that once.” But then there’s another part that says I’m too old to get any decent parts and yet another practical part that says, “Hey! Plays take an enormous amount of time and commitment. You don’t really have any time to spare. And if you do what’s going to happen to your kids? Are you going to abandon them, too? You’re already down to 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours a night with them. If you do this then you’ll really never see them. And who will get your daughter where she needs to be?” So I’m afraid that will be put on the back burner at least until I no longer have kids in the house, and probably indefinitely. Yet another thing I waited too long to reclaim.
I have no joy in my life. I have brief moments where I laugh at something funny one of my kids says. I occasionally will have a day where things are going right for me so I get a 24 hour period of relief. There was the moment my daughter finally was happy. I’m glad for her but I’m not happy. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy again.
For the most part I just exist. I’m numb. Life is neither good nor bad. It just is. I’m just here killing time, counting down the days, the weeks, the months, the years. My life consists of working all day long and then running to and fro for my daughter who doesn’t have her license yet. I don’t really look forward to anything. I don’t even look forward to or find joy in attending my kids’ events because it just means a longer day for me. It’s one more thing on my list of things to do and I’m already exhausted most days. The last thing I want to do is go for another 2 or 3 hours when I’ve already been going for a good 14 hours or more. I dread most days, actually. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve stumbled out of bed at 3:20 in the morning, got ready and headed off to Target and thought, “This is my life now.” There is a certain feeling of defeat when you realize that this is your life and it’s never going to get any better. You realize you are never going to live a good life again. You will never take another vacation. You will never get to travel to places you’d love to visit. You won’t be able to ever take your kids to DisneyWorld. You will never be able to go shopping or buy your kids things just because. You’ll never be able to give them grand gifts or surprise them with something they’ve wanted for a while. You will never own your own home; hell, you may not even be able to afford to rent your own apartment. You realize that you will struggle in poverty for the rest of your life. That you will always be pinching pennies and remembering the life you used to live- the one where you didn’t have to worry constantly, the one where you had a home of your own, the one where you had furniture and household belongings and friends and joy. It was a life I didn’t dread and wish away.
I keep hearing about this new and improved life. I really wish I could create it. Unfortunately, with the choices Cousinfucker has made I now must spend the bulk of my life working for very little money, which leaves very little left over to create any kind of new and wonderful life. I would love to report soon that I love my life, that I’m happy and content. First I heard give it six months. Then I heard give it a year. Now I’m hearing give it two years. Well, I’m a year and a half out from D-Day and I’m no closer to Meh or to a new and improved life than I was 2 weeks after that day. Perhaps I shall begin the countdown anew once we are officially divorced.