The Biggest Mistake We Make

I was reading Chump Lady the other day. Someone had written in to see if she would put his STBX-wife’s texts through the UBT (Universal Bullshit Translator). Seems cheating ex-wife thought they should come together for their son’s graduation and present a united front- for the children, of course.

Surprisingly, this post is not about presenting a united front, or all the insane things people think divorced couples should do for the sake of their offspring. No, this is about something else.

At some point in his letter he mentioned that he had met a wonderful new lady and they had been dating for about six months.

One regular reader made the comment that one of the biggest mistakes divorcing chumps make is to date before the divorce is final. Among his reasons for thinking this is the biggest mistake you can make:

1. It’s too soon which isn’t fair to your new partner because you haven’t had time to heal.

2. You’ll probably be bringing baggage into your new relationship because of #1.

3. It might look like you were the cheater.

4. You’re still technically married.

5. It can give your cheater ammo to use against you.

I’ve written about this before. I’ve also admitted that I used to think exactly like that. You’re still married until you’re divorced. Don’t date. Keep your marriage vows. Then I divorced a lying, cheating fuckwit. Let’s just say that experience changed me. If you’re in a state (or country) where you can get a divorce in 6 months or less? Great! You probably can get through your divorce without dating. You certainly don’t have to, but you could.

There are many of us, however, where we can’t even file for divorce until we can show we’ve been separated for a year or more. In my situation I had no desire to begin dating; I had no plans to date. I resisted other people’s suggestions that I try online dating. I wasn’t looking and I was fairly certain I would never be in a relationship again. I didn’t even know the mobster existed until almost two years after D-Day. D-Day had been approximately 1 year, 9 months, and 20 days prior. My first divorce court date had already been continued, thanks to Jerry Lee and his claims of PTSD. I had a new date lined up. While I was working two jobs, supporting our two children with no help from him, and navigating all the emotional hurdles with them, my “husband” was living over 300 miles away with his cousin/mistress and her kids. He had financially cut us off that August of 2015, approximately 2 weeks after being caught; he, Harley, and the mulligans were living it up and living their best life ever. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. The month the mobster fell out of a tree and landed on my head marked a year since Jerry Lee had paid any support.

I’m solidly on board with the line of thinking that says I will not let him take one more minute of my life. Obviously you don’t need to be partnered up in order to live a full life, but if someone enters your life and they make things better I see no reason to avoid that person just because your cheating spouse wants to drag this divorce out. And often, they do. It’s the last means of controlling you they have. And because so many “helpful” people tell you that you need to keep your halo shiny and remain true to your marriage vows, they know they can get away with living their new lives, complete with a new partner, possibly new kids and a new house, while you’re left twisting in the wind, waiting for them to finally release you from your matrimonial bonds.

I would never have the relationship I do now if I listened to all the naysayers who say you need to wait until you’re officially divorced. It took me over two years to get my divorce. How much more time was I supposed to wait before I began dating once the divorce was finally finished? Another year? Two? Three? The mobster is still trying to get one. How long is he supposed to put his life on hold while she merrily goes about her life, doing whatever she pleases, shacked up with her boyfriend? We would both be missing out on the best relationship we’ve ever had while our spouses are shacked up with their new loves, doing whatever the fuck they want to do. Why are we supposed to forego our relationship?

Oh yeah- Reason #1- it’s too soon which isn’t fair to your new partner because you haven’t had time to heal.

Who is anyone to say what is too soon? In my case almost two years had passed and I was still married. I can tell you this though. I was way too busy working and trying to survive to go to therapy or do any work on myself. Year one hadn’t been too bad as we were still in our house the first 10 months, but year two sucked! I was thinking of nothing except survival and how much my life sucked. I was also pretty sure it was never going to get better.

I didn’t want Jerry Lee back. I wasn’t mourning him. I wasn’t mourning the loss of my marriage. Again, I was way too busy trying to keep afloat financially. Maybe people with plenty of money have that kind of time to navel gaze and overthink every little nuance of their past relationships.

I actually did fear that the mobster was moving on with me too soon. We met only two months after his wife walked out and less than a month after he had filed for his online divorce. But as he said many times, his marriage had been a living hell for 12 long years by the time he met me. He craved an honest partner. As he wrote once upon a time he wanted honest love; he was ready for that.

In the early days I grappled with a lot of self-doubt. I sometimes thought the love he had shared with her was far too big for me to ever measure up. They had twenty-five years together! But over time the fears lessened. I don’t worry about that at all now. And honestly, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if he’d been separated or divorced for a year or two. The issue was mine and it was mine despite the fact that my marriage had been over for almost two years, I had no lingering feelings for Jerry Lee, and I absolutely knew his cheating had had nothing to do with me.

Not everyone needs a year or two or more to heal. Not all of us need years of therapy and time to heal from a major trauma. Some people have been detaching for years, and once that person is out of their life it’s like a weight has been lifted. The mobster would say that he had been grieving the end of his marriage for twelve years before I came along. All those years he spent trying to get her help and get her sober he was grieving the end. I don’t think the mobster used me to replace her. Truth be told I wasn’t the first person he had dated after she left so it’s not like he just took whatever he could get. He chose me. He told me he fell in love with me the moment he laid eyes on me, crazy as that may sound. He was determined to not let her be the last chapter in his story. He moved ahead with full intentions of finding love again. And, as he always likes to point out, he knew when he was done with her. He didn’t need months or years to recover once that point was reached. When he finally got to that point recovery was well under way. The further away he got from her the clearer his mind became.

Similarly, point #2- you’ll probably be bringing baggage into your new relationship because of #1, isn’t true of everyone. Or maybe it is true of everyone regardless! I think I brought a certain amount of baggage into this relationship and it would have happened no matter how long I had waited. Anyone who watched twenty years of their life go up in smoke is probably going to be a little jumpy now and again. There are certain things I learned while my life unraveled and I don’t think I’m going to unlearn them any time soon. I also don’t think time heals all wounds, and I think everyone heals at their own pace. One person may be ready right away, while another person might never be ready. So, don’t date because you might bring baggage into this new relationship? Honey, I think we all bring baggage into our new relationships, even if that baggage is Louis Vuitton. We can’t help it but we can learn. Again, everyone does this at a different pace.

I’ve already gone over what I think of the “you’re still married” bullshit. Yes, legally I was still married. Legally Jerry Lee owes me somewhere around $60,000. Whether or not I’ll actually get that is a whole other topic. If it makes you feel better to say you didn’t date until the ink was dry on the divorce decree, knock yourself out. I’m certainly not advocating that you must date while you’re in the middle of that. But I no longer see anything wrong with it. Fuckwits are going to do what Fuckwits are going to do. They like to drag it out. Case in point- BSC. She’s been living with her boyfriend for 3 years now but has absolutely no interest in getting a divorce. It’s stall tactic after stall tactic, lie after lie, outrageous demand after outrageous demand. Any time the mobster starts talking settlement she gets all crazy and expects to get everything.

Point number five- you give your cheater ammo to use against you. Well, not really. If you’re in a no fault state they really can’t use the fact that you’re dating against you. And you can always remind them that if they want to try to drag you through the mud because you’ve dared to date before divorced that you’re only dating because they cheated on you. Which in effect means they’re dating, too, and they did it behind your back while you thought you were in a committed relationship.

But what if you live in an at fault state? As a person who divorced in an at fault state I can tell you that all three of the lawyers I met with were very clear that even if I could prove adultery it wouldn’t result in anything extra for me. Debts would still be split 50/50; assets would still be split 50/50. The judge wouldn’t give me full custody because of it. I wouldn’t get everything while he walked away with nothing because he cheated. I was advised to not date but the other side of that coin was that I was also told he could run around town declaring his love for Harley and make out with her in the middle of Main Street. Unless I could prove they were actually having sex I couldn’t prove adultery. The bar is set pretty high when it comes to proving adultery.  Jerry Lee and Harley were living together. He had moved out of the state to be with her. My lawyer still said she didn’t know if she had enough to prove adultery. They. Were. Living. Together.

Plus, it’s only a potential problem if you’re the spousal support receiver. If you would be paying spousal support you can do whatever you want. It’s not like you’ll have to pay more because you’re dating. Even if you’re the receiver you’re allowed to date; you just can’t have sex. Unless your spouse can prove you’re actually having sex and not just going out to dinner and the movies with this new person, you are operating within the law. Personally, I wouldn’t announce it to the world (and I didn’t) because cheaters don’t like consequences and they are always looking for a way out of them.

Finally, I take issue with this little gem, otherwise known as point #3- it might look like you were the cheater.

To whom? The cheater in my case is a perpetual victim. Even if I hadn’t met the mobster until months after the divorce was final Jerry Lee would still be whining and crying. It’s what he does. I don’t care if he likes it or hates it. I don’t care if he thinks it’s unfair or that I’m a horrible person or that he says  horrible things about me. The opinion of a man who cheats on his wife and walks away from his kids means absolutely nothing to me. Furthermore, what on earth do I care what his family thinks? They are nothing to me anymore. They will always side with him; they have supported and encouraged him throughout his entire affair. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our marriage ended when he began carrying on with Harley again. They know I was blindsided and that there was no one the entire time I was living in Virginia. They know, and he knows, that he was the one packing a bag and leaving his kids every weekend to go meet up with Harley. Not me. More importantly, I know none of that matters to them. So why in the world would I care if they think I cheated on him?

The people that matter to me know the truth. They had front row seats to the Jerry Lee Divorce Chronicles. They were there when I found out. They were there when he moved out without saying a word. They were there when he lost his job, forcing us out of our home. They were there when I moved back with my poor kids in tow. They were there during those long, long months where I worked two jobs while he worked none and sent no support for his children. Those are the people that matter to me and they all know that I’m not the cheater.

I can say the same thing about the mobster. The people important to him know he didn’t cheat on his wife and leave her for me. They know about everything she put him through. His dad, a Baptist pastor, even told him at one point that maybe it was time he considered divorce. When he told me that story he admitted that his dad suggesting that, when he had always grown up with the idea that marriage was forever and you just did not get divorced, shocked him. It must be really bad if his dad was offering up divorce as an option. They also know that I didn’t come into his intact marriage and break them up. She was gone before I came into the picture. His parents know that. His siblings know that. His kids know that. Jerry Lee can spin whatever kind of lies he wants to about me. His family can judge me as being a homewrecking tramp. I don’t give a flying fuck. You know why? Because the people who matter know the truth. Jerry Lee and his ilk don’t matter. And they wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and bit them on the ass.

Welcome To the Team

I do my best writing when the moment is fresh. It also helps if I’m angry. I think some of my best blog posts have been the ones where I mock cheaters and infidelity. I know I’ve been getting away from that lately. My blog has been more like a journal. Anyway, I have a whole long list of things that I’ve long thought would make a good blog post and I’m going to try to write about them.

It’s been almost 9 months since my niece got married. She and her boyfriend were high school sweethearts. Started dating as sophomores when she moved in with my brother and transferred high schools. They dated all throughout high school. They dated all throughout college, despite being several hours apart. He played basketball for a school in Kentucky and she went to my alma mater in Indiana. There was a very brief breakup which lasted less than 2 or 3 months but my niece, not having much experience with dating or breaking up, continued to go to his games and basically act as though they were still a couple. It paid off though because after she graduated from nursing school she moved to Ohio and in with him. After 9 years of dating they finally married last September.

It was a beautiful wedding and they are a gorgeous couple.

Several times the groom’s father gave a toast and each time he would end with, “Welcome to the team, Florence Nightingale!”

How easy it is to say those welcoming words, “Welcome to the team!” What’s more difficult is managing those sentiments when things go wrong. I don’t know what the statistics are but it seems there are definitely more people who find out the hard way that blood is thicker than water. Story after story is told about how you were tight with the in-laws until the divorce and then they no longer knew your name. In some cases they even abandoned the grandchildren. You go from, “Welcome to the team!” to “I have no idea who you are or why you think you matter to me.” Suddenly you are no longer a part of that team, that family. So many people are absolutely shocked by this revelation when it happens to them.

I was very close to my in-laws until Jerry Lee’s first affair. In the beginning I would call his mom, or she would call me, and we would talk for an hour or two. I drove anywhere from 7 to 25 hours to go visit them by myself and bring the grandkids to them. I celebrated holidays with them with no Jerry Lee in sight. I bought birthday and Christmas gifts for his sister and his mom, his entire family actually, and I always managed to do an exceptional job. I spent every Thanksgiving with these people until we moved to Utah and it was too difficult to get back there. Tammy Faye told me on more than one occasion that she couldn’t have picked a better daughter-in-law.

Then Jerry Lee cheated. His sister, the one I went to King’s Island with, the one I went to the movies with, the one for whom I bought birthday and Christmas gifts, the one with whom I had shared countless memories, meals, and holidays, told him he owed it to himself to be happy and that she would support him in whatever he chose to do. His mom and stepdad continued contact with Harley because “she was family!” They both fawned over her profile pictures, telling her how pretty she was.

His mother, if the Saint is to be believed, encouraged her to call him after he had moved me and the kids 2000 miles across the country, because he was sad. Hey- if dumping your wife of 20 years might cheer up your perfect little golden boy then dump that bitch! She accompanied them to the funeral of a cousin, knowing full well that I had no idea I was being replaced with that cuntface cum dumpster. She embraced Harley’s kids as her own grandkids and shouted out her happiness at the fact that he was “going to make Harley her family, too!”

Oh, she reached out to Rock Star via Facebook. Would tell her how much she loved her and how she was her blood. She never did anything substantial, like say, “I’m sorry your dad did this to you,” or, “I’m sorry you’re going through all of this. I’m sorry your life was pulled apart once again.” No, much easier to simply write words on Facebook where everyone can sympathize with you and you look like a loving, kind grandmother instead of the orchestrator of this giant mess.

Jezebel, of course, was over the moon ecstatic about her “new sister”. Yeah, good luck with that. She’s a lot more cunning and devious than I ever was. You’re both a lot alike so you’re probably going to clash a lot.

She also talks a good game about how much she misses her niece and nephew while at the same time doing absolutely nothing to stay in their lives. Of course her whole mantra throughout her life has been, “You come to me. Make things easy for me.”

Maybe I have become hardened and cynical. Are many people lucky enough to have a relationship with the in-laws that isn’t based solely upon your marriage? Do they ever see us as stand alone people or are we always destined to be a prop for their family member? Does anything you do over the years count at all, or will they always circle the wagons and make excuses while distancing themselves from you?

Even with everything that has happened I love weddings. I cry at weddings. I love seeing the eager couple so happy and full of promise on that day. I think it’s a beautiful thing when two people pledge to love one another for the rest of their lives. I also think it’s a lot easier said than done. Hello, Exhibit A!

I hope my niece and her husband have a long, happy marriage filled with everything they want. I hope they are both good to each other even twenty years from now. I hope they remember how they felt on their wedding day every day of their marriage because it is so true what they say. A wedding is about one day. A marriage is about a lifetime. And I hope that his family really does mean it. I hope she is a part of the team no matter what happens, and especially if they divorce because of his actions.

It’s so easy to say, isn’t it? Welcome to the team. Welcome to the family. So easy to mean it when things are new and fresh and everything is good. It’s a lot more difficult to continue to treat the person, your flesh and blood has discarded, like a real person no matter how heartily you welcomed them in the beginning or how much your relationship with them has grown over the years.

I hope she never has to find out if they truly mean it or not.

Hopefully the Last of These

States are opening up all over the country. I’m hoping this is the last round of Covid-19 memes I end up posting.

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Good question! And if that doesn’t work maybe we could try this…

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Well, now it’s June so we must be on Level 6. How many levels does this damn game have anyway?

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Have we done the locusts yet? I feel like we haven’t done the locusts.

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That’s probably how the damn Jumanji game got back out!

 

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Cats are so smart.

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I’ve also heard it’s a great time to tell them that Elf on the Shelf didn’t make it either. There are going to be a lot of disappointed kids come December.

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As Barney Stinson would say, “Challenge accepted!”

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Asking for a friend, of course.

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I prefer to tell people I’m not going because of Covid-19.

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Back In the Saddle Again

It’s now almost a full week since I’ve been back. I had my first weigh in since vacation on Friday.  I am pleased to announce I actually lost .4 pounds since my last weigh in on May 22nd.

Oh, I definitely gained some between May 22nd and June 5th, but I managed to take it off. My whole plan was to indulge on Monday when the wedding took place- have a piece of cake, eat whatever they decided to have for dinner. Instead I played footloose and fancy free pretty much the entire week.

I had a donut every day Saturday-Tuesday. I would make some really good choices, but I would also indulge, like when I had an omelet for breakfast, lobster for lunch, and then had a pretzel stick dipped in nacho cheese later that evening. I tried to put a stop to it once we got back but I never made it to the grocery store. I had eggs in the morning and some pork skins and cheese doodles. Honestly, I don’t remember what they were called but they only had 2 grams of carbs in them for 9 of them! My new favorite. We’d go out to dinner and I’d pick something healthy and then have a drink and maybe a dessert. So, I wasn’t horrible but I wasn’t strict either. I flew home Monday morning, was ravenous when I got off the plane (lines were very long and there really isn’t much I could eat) and had my mom pull into Wendy’s so I could get something to eat. I did not care if it was low carb or not. I was starving. I ended up getting a spicy chicken sandwich, fries, and a diet Coke. I ate the entire sandwich, one fourth to one half of the fries, and one fourth to one half of the diet Coke. Small size, by the way. That was my last day of debauchery.

Wednesday I got on the scale just to prepare myself; I was sure I was going to weigh in at a higher weight for the first time since I started this. I was higher- 1.2 pounds. I was pretty happy with that because after my week of no carb counting and eating a lot of things I shouldn’t have I thought I might actually have a 10 pound weight gain! But, seems returning to eating low carb and running 3-4 days a week helped me shed the vacation weight and then some. I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped on that scale Friday morning. Not much of a loss in two weeks but it was a loss instead of a gain!

I’ve got four more weeks until the weight loss challenge is over. Last I heard I was still in the lead. We’ll see if she updates the leader board on Monday. I’m a little less than 1.4 pounds away from losing 15% of my weight. I have no doubt I will reach that unless I start to plateau horribly, so I’m set to win a lot of money. Not millions, or even thousands, of course. But probably two hundred or so.

I don’t know if I’ve actually gone over the weight loss challenge here. Each person who is participating paid $25 to join. Then, we pay $10 each month for April, May, and June. So, $55. I believe there were 18 people to start, although there are maybe 3 who haven’t paid anything since or aren’t fully paid up.

When the challenge is over the money in the pot is split in two. The first half of the pot is split between the top 3 losers (or winners, however you would like to put it). I always got the feeling that the pot was split evenly between the top 3, but maybe they do a percentage. I don’t know. The second half of the pot is paid out to people who reached the milestones- 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%. No one has reached 20% and I don’t believe anyone will. There are two of us who have reached the 10% milestone and will make 15% more than likely. There are maybe five people who have made the 5% goal, and another 1 or 2 who probably will. They take the number of milestones to pay out and divide the money by that number, so if it ends up each milestone nets $25, I’ll get paid $75 because I reached three of them (assuming I take off that last 1.4 pounds). If it’s $30 I’ll get $90 and so on.

Yesterday I went through all my old summer clothes- the ones I had put away because I could no longer wear them. There was a pair of denim short overalls, a pair of low rise capri pants and maybe another pair of shorts that didn’t fit but everything else did. It felt great. I now have way more summer clothes than I need, especially because most of what I bought last summer still fits me and doesn’t look awful on me. I can wear almost all of my dresses and they no longer make me look like a stuffed sausage. It was a good day.

I’m not planning on buying anymore clothes, regardless of how cute they may be, until I’m able to buy something in a smaller size. I’m so looking forward to that day! It’s a long process but I’m in it for the long haul.