Let’s Talk About Entitlement

I’m still mulling over some of the comments from my infamous More Bad Advice post. I had so much to say I decided it would be easier to chop it up into smaller parts. Today we’re going to talk about entitlement.

I’m one of those that doesn’t believe you need to be friends. In fact I’ll go one further and say I think this obsession to push others to remain friends with a person who has betrayed them so grievously is pure entitlement. Basically it comes down to this: I want to leave you for someone else (or just leave you). I get to lie and cheat and humiliate you. I want to take all my money with me when I go, and leave you penniless and struggling. While Schmoopie and the new kids are spared no expense. But I think it’s best for the kids if you still pretend I’m a great person and we’re best friends. Except really my fuck buddy will be the love of my life and best friend and I’ll give you whatever crumbs are left over. But you MUST accept these crumbs of friendship or it just proves to me that you are a bitter, rage filled person who can’t move on!

Seriously, folks. One of the consequences (there’s that ugly word again) of ending a relationship is that the other person may not want to have anything to do with you anymore. Deal with it! They don’t have to! They don’t have to meet you for coffee once a week to go over schedules. They don’t have to spend hours on the phone chatting with you about the kid/s. They don’t have to sit with you and any of your minions at any event for your shared child/ren. They don’t have to catch up with you on what Aunt Myrtle or Uncle Fred are up to, or how your mom is having bunion surgery or your best friend is getting married in Antigua when you exchange the kiddos. They don’t have to spend birthdays or holidays with you for the sake of the children. They don’t have to meet you and the new fuck buddy for dinner a few times a month to coordinate schedules and talk about the kids because, you know, you’re all in this together.

It doesn’t mean they’re horrible people. It doesn’t mean they’re bitter, angry, raging people who haven’t moved on and aren’t happy with their lives. It doesn’t even mean things have to be uncomfortable for the kids. It simply means you are no longer their friend and not someone they wish to spend any time with. You can drop kids off and be cordial. You can exchange necessary information without exchanging pleasantries. You can both show up for an event for the kids without sitting next to each other. You don’t get to demand a divorce and demand their friendship at the same time. As I have pointed out before, I don’t choose friends who lie to me, cheat on me, and betray my trust. Those are really bad friends. Choose better! You wouldn’t keep in contact with your kidnapper or your rapist so why does anyone feel the need to guzzle down a shit sandwich and play friends with their ex simply because you had children with that person?

It’s image management, folks! As long as you’re spooning up that shit sundae with the spoiled whipped cream and rancid cherry on top then they can pretend that whatever it is that they did is all perfectly okay. Would Barbara be willing to host me and my new fuck buddy for the holidays if I had hurt her and the kids? Would Greg sit with me and laugh and reminisce if I were a cold-hearted whore who hurt him immensely? Of course not! Therefore, I’ve done nothing wrong. If Barbara and Greg can forgive their cheating exes, or perhaps simply the person who chose to leave them while they sobbed on the floor and wondered what it is they did wrong, then who are any of you people to say that I’ve done wrong?

I was asked to consider that maybe there was room for Matt’s advice, and that not only might there be plenty of room for his advice, but that it might actually be the better way. I was asked if we, as women who have been wronged, shouldn’t be waving the banner for “something better” because, hey, that makes us better people, too.

I much prefer Chump Lady and her state of Meh. You don’t care what the ex is doing. You focus on your own life. You’re not angry. You’re not bitter. And while you’re not engaging in screaming matches at drop offs, or sending drunk texts or scathing emails, you’re not friends either. You are business-like and professional. You keep it brief and as cordial as possible. You’re so busy with your new and improved life that you don’t know and you don’t care what the ex is doing. You don’t have time to be friends with this person who once wrecked such havoc on your life because you’re busy being fabulous.

Again I will say that if going on vacation with the ex and his/her new family is what makes you feel all peaceful and hopeful then you go for it! If you take pride in the fact that nobody can even tell that the two of you are divorced because you do everything together, show up at all events together, work so well together, then you do you, boo. You won’t ever hear me say you absolutely shouldn’t. You might hear me say I wouldn’t and that I have absolutely no desire to do so.

The reality is I don’t feel that’s always the best way. I think kids should realize that there are consequences to their behavior. I think it’s good to model to your kids that you have good boundaries and you won’t let people walk all over you, even if that person who is trying to walk all over you is someone with whom you had children. I think it’s good to show your kids that you can end toxic relationships; hell, it’s good to show your kids that toxic relationships exist! I think it’s good that kids realize cheating is a horrible thing to do to your partner, that it hurts families, that it destroys lives, and that it is morally objectionable. I want my kids to know that there are deal breakers and sometimes, when you step all over another person’s deal breakers then that person might not care to associate with you anymore. That is their right. You got to choose to disregard their feelings; you got to choose to behave badly. They get to choose whether or not they wish to continue to have you in their life.

15 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Entitlement

  1. Why would anybody think you would want to be friends with a man who has dumped shit all over you and especially his children. Don’t apologize for being angry. I think rage is your best friend right now because it keeps you energized. I still say he’s a whiny baby. Let somebody else put up with him.

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  2. My parents divorced when I was 6. I’m 52. They never saw each other after 1973 and still blame the other for the divorce. You’re in good company!😃 my 5 siblings and I turned out great. Life has harsh realities and hiding it from kids does them a diservice. Truth always outs. Kids are more resilient than we think and how we expose them to reality of divorce (“hey this is happening, it’s gonna be tough but we are gonna pull through just the 3 of us”) can make them victors. Overcomers. THEY WILL HAVE LEARNED IT FROM THEIR MAMA. I’ve said it before and I want to say it again: I admire your strength and determination, Sam.

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    1. Thank you, Sophia.

      My parents divorced when I was 10. They were not friends. My mom couldn’t stand my dad. It took her years and years before she could stand being in the same room as him. Yet, it was always cordial. I never felt like I was in the middle of their drama. I guess I don’t get this incessant need to be friends with someone you’ve betrayed and gutted. Oh wait! Yes- I do. It’s their need to convince everyone that what they’ve done isn’t that bad and that they’re a great person despite what they’ve done to the other person.

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  3. There’s a big difference between being friends and being cordial and cooperative coparents. Since CF is not being anything but an asshole, your reactions and impulses are normal and valid. I’ve been divorced from my kids’ father for a very long time, but even while we were jointly raising children and cooperatively coparenting, I would not say we were friends. Not then, not now. Years have passed and we did sit together at events if it worked out that way, but our conversational interaction was about as deep as what I share with the bank teller when I’m making a deposit. Since my now-grown children have relationships with both of us, I’d say we were successful in our efforts.

    You don’t have to like or respect your former partner; there are likely excellent reasons for why you are divorced now. However, you may raising children together. Be responsible and act like a parent, demonstrate the civil (if cautious and guarded) behaviors you want your children to adopt. This does not have to mean closeness or fake friendship.

    But none of that shit applies to you, Sam, because CF voluntarily checked out of your lives and abandoned all pretense of fatherly responsibility toward your children. You didn’t “make” him do that. Is there an “I’m an unrepentant shitty husband and father who abandoned my wife and kids and left them destitute” article out there I missed? I’d love that perspective on how he wants to be “friends” with his former wife.

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    1. Honestly, I don’t think he’s interested in being friends with me either. When he gave me his, “This can still be civil,” speech I asked him if he thought we were going to be friends and he said no. See? Sometimes he uses that Mensa level brain of his!

      This idea of being friendly with your ex seems to be gaining in popularity. I don’t know why. If they betrayed you or couldn’t keep their vows as your spouse how on earth do you trust them as a friend? Like you said, being civil, being cordial, not having screaming matches? Sure. Proud of the fact that people don’t realize you’re divorced? No thank you.

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  4. I actually feel sorry for people who stand in line to buy the shit sandwiches and then hand them out to their kids. The LAST thing any of us should want is for our kids to marry someone and then allow them to cheat on them, shit on their kids and get away with it. The healthiest thing in the world we can do is show our kids how to set boundaries with the people in their lives. That applies not just to spouses, but to friends, coworkers, siblings, etc.

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    1. Exactly! I’ve seen countless stories where people didn’t want to say anything bad about the cheating ex and it came back to bite them. The cheater is always spinning his or her narrative to make him/herself look like the victim. I will not play that game. I am not falling on any sword for the jackass I married.

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  5. You have a great counterpoint to Matt’s perspective Sam. I find value in both. I’ll tell you – boundaries are THE THING for me. I’m working darn hard on setting them and holding them. I find myself really bewildered by how and when I let them go? I didn’t used to be a door mat. So how did I get here? I won’t ever be friends with my ex. It’s difficult to even be cordial because he’s one of those people that if you give an inch, he expects you to provide 100 miles and oh, deliver it for him too, so he can have it but not have to, you know, actually do any work for it. I absolutely do not want to be setting an example for my kids that it is ok to accept that behavior or to behave that way themselves. So yeah – I get what you are saying completely. I also want to find a way to show my kids – you won’t like or respect everyone you meet, but you may still have to find a way to deal with them at times (work, public settings) even if you would not choose them for a friend.

    You are 100% on the money on the entitlement point. If an ex is pressuring you to be friends – they are doing it for themselves not for the kids. If it were for the kids then they would be doing all the things for the kids that would make you feel more charitable toward them. I think if internally, you, I, anyone feels a need to try and be friendly – well then we need to look at why and really know our own motives. I don’t want my STBX’s friendship in reality. I only wish we could be friends in a “fantasy world” sort of way. You know, a world where I did still respect him, believe he was being a good father to our kids, believe he really did have honest intentions and actual care for my well being as well. Here’s reality though – none of those things are true – that’s why we are getting divorced.

    Admiring how Matt and his ex get along is really appreciating something that is just not my reality. I’d love to have lots of things I’m never going to – a beach house, the freedom and money to travel the world, boundless energy and a fantastic body while still being a couch potato and eating crap food. And you are right, not having those things does’t mean my life is miserable, or that I’m always bitter and angry. Neither i s not having a great friendship with my STBX. It just is reality.

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    1. I hope you realize I don’t have a problem with how Matt and his wife handle their post divorce relationship. If he wants to be friends with her good for him. I’m just saying there is another way and it doesn’t mean you are a horrible person if you choose that way.

      I will NEVER be friends with my ex. I have a feeling you will never be friends with your ex. I could be the most accommodating ex-spouse in the world and he still wouldn’t do the right thing. He still would continue to portray himself as the victim.

      In the end I just feel no desire to be friends with someone who has lied to me, cheated on me and done his best to wreck my life.

      Quite honestly I’m not sure I can muster up cordial and civil if I had to be around him. I’m not sure I’ll even have to worry about it because he’s such an absentee father.

      I appreciate your comments, Tina. I hope you’ll stick around!

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  6. Sam – I don’t think you have a problem with Matt. That was pretty clear from the start. I just think you guys are writing about the same thing (divorce) from such totally different places that there isn’t always a lot of overlap I relate more to your situation. (cheating husbands are rather similar at the core) but I also appreciate the challenge of looking at things from his point of view. I find the contrasts useful but I’m not mentioning them because I think you guys need reconciling or something. I comment on the similarities and differences because I find them interesting. I do plan to stick around – I’m glad I found you. So if doing that is annoying let me know and I’ll stop!!

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