Divorce Laws and Double Standards, Part 2

Because I was married to an entitled fuckwit once upon a time I figured I better know exactly what was allowed and what wasn’t. Could it really be that simple? I mean, it’s that simple when it comes to marriage vs. divorce. So, I’m not living with someone. I’m not remarried. I’m good, right? Oh no!

After inquiring what would constitute “living together” I was informed that pretty much everything constitutes living together! At least the courts have heard cases that involve pretty much everything.

Naturally, the first bit of advice is to not sign a lease or buy a house with someone. Well, duh! I think we would all consider that to be living with someone! Also fairly normal would be not sharing bills with someone, using the address of that other person as my own, and sharing a bank account.

Really? So when CF and Harley share a bank account while we are still married it’s no big deal. Certainly not proof of any wrongdoing on their parts. Can’t get me an immediate divorce granted based on adultery. But if I share a bank account with the mobster a few years down the road it’s now proof we are living together in a relationship analogous to marriage? I’m thinking these laws are a bit biased.

On the not so normal side? My attorney cautioned me against: grocery shopping together, doing the mobster’s laundry (oh, how could I resist?), going to church together, not leaving both toiletries and clothes over at the other’s house, naming one another as beneficiaries on each other’s insurance policies, taking too many vacations together, and giving each other a key to our separate homes. In addition to all of that she advised against spending too many nights at each other’s homes.

Seriously? Going to church together now conveys marital status on a couple? How can that be? I was married for 20+ years to CF. Aside from our children’s baptisms and maybe one Christmas Eve service he never went to church with me. If that is the standard then I’m already fucked because the mobster and I did attend church together. In a state that neither of us live.

I could say almost the same thing in regards to vacations. Twenty plus years together and if I think real hard I can think of 5 vacations he took with me. Six, if you count the one weekend we went away to Vegas for his birthday.

Holidays? We spent probably as many apart as we spent together.

If I give my best friend or neighbor or brother a key to my house (you know, in case I lock myself out) could someone argue that we are living together?

Back to that shared bank account…. when CF and Harley did it it wasn’t proof of adultery. If the mobster and I do it even while living in separate homes we can be considered living together. WTF? Disclaimer: I am in no rush to share a bank account with anyone. I am merely appalled that the courts could use that as proof to dismiss alimony because we could then be considered to be living in a relationship analogous to marriage.

In one particularly scary case the husband took his ex-wife back to court to try to get spousal support dismissed based on the fact that she and her boyfriend were in a long term monogamous relationship, basically. They both had their own homes. She stayed with her boyfriend when her kids were with their father, so about 4-5 days every two weeks, and he might spend the night at her house once a week when she had her kids. They didn’t have clothes at each other’s homes, although he did have a toothbrush over at her house, and I believe she had some toiletries at his. In fact, it was stated she brought a suitcase with her every time she stayed. He pointed out that when she went over there she took her dog along. I believe they went to church together and they tried to use the fact that they would cook meals and cleanup together. The vacations they took together were also scrutinized. Who paid for what? Did they pay separately or split the expenses? They even brought up him going to her mother’s funeral! I believe he went to the funeral but not the memorial, or the funeral but not the burial. They presented themselves as a monogamous couple who were sexually active and in love and that was enough for her ex-husband to try to take her back to court and get spousal support dismissed.

She took her dog with her when she spent the night! Oh no; she’s living with him! No, dumbass, the kids are with their father. If she didn’t take the dog with her who would take care of it?

They’re going to scrutinize if he comforted her when her mother died and attended the funeral? Are you shitting me? Can anyone else attend the funeral of my loved ones without being accused of being my “husband”, or are you only prohibited from going if you’re having sex?

This is a quandary for me because as I’ve mentioned before CF didn’t bother to attend either of my grandmothers’ funerals. I drove 2000 miles to bury my Mamaw and over 1500 to bury my grandma with just my kids. He didn’t even bother to send flowers. So, just to be sure everyone is on the same page: My actual husband did not attend my grandmothers’ funerals with me. However, if the mobster were to attend a family funeral with me that is proof that we are living together in a relationship analogous to marriage. Interesting.

Why are any of those things now the barometer of whether or not I’m living with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage? Actually being married didn’t guarantee me those things.

Are they honestly trying to claim that having sex is something that only married couples do? Hell, according to the cheaters they never get any at home from their spouses. I would argue that having sex is proof positive that you aren’t married or living with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage!

I don’t feel like debating Virginia divorce law at $250 an hour but if I did I would be asking my lawyer if there is a limit on how many times a week I can actually see the mobster. If we have lunch together every day is that marriage? If we’re over at one another’s homes every night, but return to our own beds most nights, are we living as if married?

My daughter sees her boyfriend almost every day. Are they married? When I was younger and didn’t have kids or a husband I saw my best friend every day. Could someone argue we were in a lesbian relationship with one another?

If I help him pick out furniture or decorate his house is that married? God forbid I give him any advice or help!

Are we allowed to buy each other gifts?

Your Honor, he bought her chocolate covered strawberries for Mother’s Day and had them delivered to her at work! Why would he do that if they weren’t basically married? Don’t even get me started on her birthday or Christmas!

I bought him a water jug to replace the one that was leaking. Was that a dowry? The last year before CF moved us halfway across the country I put together cute little Christmas gifts for some of my best friends in Utah. They were adorable! Cute little socks, a homemade sugar foot scrub, and nail polish with a card that read: For Your Mistle Toes! Was I engaged in a polyamorous relationship with all of them? My best friend and I used to gift each other with calendar’s each year. Was that okay? Or were we basically married? I’m pretty sure lots of unmarried people give each other gifts, even ones that are in a relationship. If that’s not allowed then I understand why so many people break up right before a holiday.

And what about the trips we take together now? After all I did make a fucking omelette for him the last time we were together. Everyone knows that’s pretty much a signal to one and all that we are married! Granted, it’s been 3 weeks since we’ve seen each other and we’ve got another 2 weeks to go but I think they’ve got a great case!

Yes, Your Honor, they live 10.5 hours apart and see each other maybe 6 days out of the month if they’re lucky but she made him an omelette!

I also made him shrimp and mushroom fettucine and he washed the dishes afterwards. Holy crap- what’s next? Making babies? He made breakfast sandwiches for me and I cleaned up. Oh my!

Additionally, I’d like to know if all these weekend getaways are considered vacations which practically spells marriage, or do we get a pass since we don’t even live in the same fucking state?

I’m sure to the casual observer it would be easy enough to call me a greedy bitch who wants my poor ex-husband to subsidize my lifestyle with another man. The ultimate cake eater. No, I paid a lot of money for my divorce, mainly because of CF’s antics and his refusal to settle; I’m not willing to turn around and hand it all back over to him. I’m not willing to let him decimate my life and the lives of my children and not pay any kind of price for that.

The cold reality is I have two children I need to support. My job does not do that. Virginia will not order support for college aged kids if the payor is opposed. I have no doubt CF would have been opposed despite the fact that we never expected to cut our kids loose the minute they hit 18 and graduated from high school. So I need that spousal support to help support my kids once they are in college and child support is a mere memory. CF is way too busy reinventing himself as a wonderful father to children that aren’t his to actually parent his own, and he has an expensive, gold digging whore for a girlfriend so he won’t be offering up anything he doesn’t have to.

Sadly, it seems to me that Virginia is trying to corner me into three shitty options: 1. Stay single and collect spousal support; this is what I thought I would be dealing with. I really had no problem with that scenario when I thought that was my destiny. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or sad about living life as a single person. I would have been fine had I never met the mobster, although he has added so much to my life.  2. Have casual, short term relationships and collect spousal support; I don’t really see this as being feasible for me. I didn’t go looking for the mobster; I won’t be out there looking if anything should happen to us. 3. Be fortunate enough to get involved in a serious, long-term relationship and have spousal support yanked away despite not getting remarried or living with one another. Tell my kids they’re on their own because I barely have enough money to support myself, much less them. Let CF and Harley ride off into the sunset, counting their money and laughing about how they got away with everything.

It’s such bullshit. Who is anyone on the bench to tell me I have to get married? Or that my relationship, one where I’m not living with another person, is analogous to marriage? The basic theme seems to be shit or get off the pot. Get married or break up. A long term monogamous relationship is unacceptable. Everyone knows marriage is the pinnacle of a relationship. If you’re not married or living together then what are you doing? What kind of games are you playing? You can do casual. You can be alone. But if you’re going to date someone for any length of time then you must take the next step or you must end it! Marriage or bust!

Maybe I don’t ever want to get married again after what happened to me. I lost everything when CF left. My entire life was torn apart and I have had to dig my way back to the surface. I can’t even say that I’m there yet. I still live with my mom. My job, thanks to insurance and 401ks, still doesn’t pay me much more than what it takes to cover my bills. I’m still at CF’s mercy and whims. Why would a judge or anyone else think that I would ever trust someone enough to remarry and lose guaranteed spousal support? I was discarded after twenty years of marriage. After moving all over the country for CF’s career. After giving birth to his two children that he has also abandoned. If CF could discard me so casually after twenty years together why would I give up what I’ve fought so hard to be awarded for someone I’ve known for a year? It’s not about pulling the wool over someone’s eyes, or trying to play games. I’m being asked to trust this new relationship enough to say, “Sure! I’ll trust you not to do to me what he did; I’ll trust you with my heart, my life, and my finances even though we haven’t been together long, we aren’t going to have children together, and I won’t be moving around the country for the sake of your career. I can give up spousal support because I know that you and I are a team, despite meeting later on in life, despite not having children together, and despite not building up our careers together. With you working your job and me working mine we’ll make up for the spousal support I’m giving up. I trust you’ll do right by me and my kids, even though you’ve only known me a few months and even though their father didn’t despite being married to me for twenty years!” Why would anyone ever think I would be willing to give up what I fought so hard for so that I could once again combine my money with someone else and believe that the lifestyle we created together is mine? I learned that lesson the hard way. If I can’t afford the house on my own, it’s not mine. If I can’t afford to take vacations or buy an RV and travel in retirement or buy a boat or put a pool in or buy a hot tub… all on my own… it’s not mine. If I can’t afford it on my own it’s not mine.

What if I’m not even the one who is dragging my feet on marriage? What if I would love to get married but my significant other doesn’t want to? What if he says, “No thanks. I’ve already had to sell the house and split the proceeds. I’ve already had to split my 401k. I’ve already paid thousands of dollars to end a relationship. I’m not going through that again. I love you but I want my own space. I want the peace of mind that not being married grants me. I want to be protected in case this doesn’t work out.”

Then what? Do I end the relationship because he won’t commit and I could be considered married even if I’m not married? Who knows- we may be sharing one too many meals together and going to church together.

Hmmmm…. doesn’t not getting married protect him from having to share anything with me? Will a judge in Virginia grant me spousal support from this person I’m “living with in a relationship analogous to marriage”? If he buys a house and I’m not on the deed, can I refuse to move out? Is he not allowed to change the locks on me? Must he name me as his beneficiary on his 401k unless I sign off? Do I get to make medical decisions for him or would that responsibility go to his parents or children? If, after thirty years together, he dies, do I automatically inherit everything? What do you think?

I find it an ironic twist that Virginia has no legal separation. You are either married or divorced. There is nothing in between. Not even if your STBX is living in another state over 6 hours away with another woman. A woman he calls his fiancé and who is wearing a big ol’ diamond engagement ring while sharing a bank account with him. A woman who knew where he was when he checked himself into the VA clinic after losing his job, while his actual wife had no clue what was going on even though it would change the course of her life. I’m still married. Still not allowed to have sex with anyone else because that’s adultery! You are either married, or you are divorced, says Virginia. Unless your ex is looking to get spousal support dismissed. In that situation you might not actually be married but you may possibly potentially act like you’re married based upon arbitrary standards set by the same people who tell you that you are still married to your lying, cheating, co-habitating with another person spouse, and can be sued for adultery if you move on before the final divorce. When you are married and wishing to divorce, Virginia is focused on what the reality is; if you are not divorced, then you are married. Once you are divorced and your spouse wishes to discontinue paying support Virginia is focused on what the reality could be; now they want to try to judge based upon appearance. How many nights do you spend together? How often do you see one another? Do you go to church together? Do you ride in the same car? Do you share meals? Do you say “I love you,” or let it be known you’re not out fucking other people?

In more concise terms: In Virginia you are married until you are divorced. Once you are divorced, however, you might be living together in a relationship analogous to marriage, even if you’re not living together.  What a load of crap.

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Divorce Laws and Double Standards, Part 1

I have come to the conclusion that laws in Virginia are written by entitled, narcissistic cheaters. Bear with me for one moment while I recap.

It is a state (commonwealth) that requires a couple to be separated for a year and one day before they can file for divorce. Keep in mind, too, that they are very big on physical separation. Separate houses. Separate bank accounts. In some states (think Illinois) the breadwinner is not allowed to cut off the spouse financially until the divorce is finalized. Not so with Virginia. Nope, once you decide to separate, either by living separately or living separately under the same roof (but not legally separated ‘cause that’s not a thing in Virginia!), everything that is his is his and everything that is hers is hers. In my case…further contributions to a 401k? His. Cutting off his SAH wife who has moved all over the country for him and hasn’t worked in 15 years? Sure, go for it! I didn’t have a job to buy groceries or get the kids anything they might need, but that’s no longer his problem. We’re living separately now. Spending thousands on a whore and her kids? Oh yes; absolutely! Buy puppies and engagement rings without having to account for any of that or have to pay back any as marital money? You betcha! It’s now all his money! In fact, feel free to set up a joint checking account with the whore.

Why are they so big on physical separation? For starters, it supposedly makes it so much harder in the eyes of the court to consider you actually separated if you’re still under the same roof. How do they know if you are truly separated or only playing separated?

They have a long laundry list of things you can’t do when living separately under the same roof. Obviously, sharing bank accounts is out. As is doing each other’s laundry, cooking for one another, and going to events together. That’s just for starters. Let people know you intend to divorce, stop wearing your wedding rings, and for God’s sake don’t have sex (I wouldn’t have let him touch me with a diamond encrusted dick at that point)!

It is a commonwealth that allows at fault divorce but the standard for proving fault, at least for adultery, is almost impossible. Remember- CF and Harley were living together, engaged, and had shared a joint checking account since August of 2015 before I even found out about them, and yet my lawyer told me she didn’t think we had enough to prove our case.

I remember my first lawyer telling me that the only thing they consider adultery is actual sex. Your spouse can have an online love affair, pledge their love for another in the public square, send naked pictures, sext all night and all day, share a bank account, give the paramour money, make out in public, spend thousands on said paramour and the paramour’s kids, and parade the paramour all over Hell’s Creation, but unless you have irrefutable proof that they’re having sex they are in the clear. Sorry about your hurt feelings.

Why is that? Does Virginia just really hate divorce and by not granting an instant divorce on the grounds of adultery they want couples to try to work it out, or at least have plenty of time to think things over before taking this drastic step?

I don’t think so. I think it’s more likely that men (because let’s face it- most of the lawmakers were/are indeed men) couldn’t get rid of at fault divorce for whatever reason. In turn, they figured they would write the laws so that it would be very difficult to prove and none of them would have to deal with the public scrutiny of being labeled an adulterer. It’s difficult to claim you “just grew apart” when anyone can peruse the court documents and see you were sued for divorce based on adultery. And for them to further see that the divorce was actually granted based upon that.

In the meantime, while the cheaters are off sowing their wild oats the betrayed partner is supposed to sit at home and remain faithful to the cheater. Why? Because if you are a person who will be granted alimony the standard for proving adultery is much lower. Have you physically separated as Virginia would like you to? Is the cheater hoarding all of his or her money and blowing it on Schmoopie? Yeah, too bad, so bad. The cheater is allowed to do that. You, however? You need to forsake all others because you are married! If you dare to have sex while you’re separated from your cheater you could then be accused of said adultery.

Yep, you can be physically separated for any duration of time (6 weeks, 10 months, 2 years, 5 years…) and if your spouse catches whiff of you dating while separated, and can somehow prove you’re having sex, you lose all claims to alimony. You can lose your alimony if they can prove you’re having sex while you wait for the judge’s decision after the divorce trial. Why? Because Virginia considers you married until you’re no longer married. Living separately? Still married. Husband living with another woman in another state? Still married. Paid out the ass for a divorce trial and are awaiting the judge’s decision, knowing the divorce will be granted? Still married.

That brings me back to my theory. Those clever lawmakers weren’t clever enough. They forgot that they aren’t the only ones that lie and cheat. They’ve done such a bang up job of writing laws to protect cheaters that they now may be stuck with a cheating wife. And have to pay her alimony on top of that!

What to do… what to do…. Write more laws! If they couldn’t prove the cheating wife was lying before the divorce, then they could prove it on the other side, when offering up reasons as to why they shouldn’t have to pay alimony. It also benefits all those men who are lying and cheating on their wives because they get a chance to get out of jail free so to speak. If they’re fucking their mistresses and dragging out the divorce, perhaps the wife will move on and meet someone before the ink on the divorce decree is dry. Hallelujah! No more spousal support! Now he gets to keep the whore and all his money.

Again, the bar is now much lower. You want to be granted a divorce based upon adultery? Your spouse is living with the other person and sharing a bank account with that person and you’ve got pictures of his car parked at her house all night? Eh. Not really enough to prove anything happened. You need to wait a year and a day before filing for divorce. You want to stop paying alimony because after you’ve cheated on your spouse he or she has moved on? There’s a car in the driveway all night? Adulterous slut! No alimony for you, you cheating whore!

I’ve written about this before so you may be wondering why I’m revisiting it. Turns out those sneaky lawmakers weren’t finished. Spousal support stops when the person receiving it either remarries or lives with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage for more than eleven months. Sounds simple, right? I mean, in Virginia you’re either married or you’re divorced; there’s no in-between. Obviously then, you’re either married/living with someone or you’re not, right?

To be continued…

 

Mother’s Day 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! Happy Mother’s Day to the aunts and grandmas and everyone else that might step in and help raise a fine human being. I hope your day was divine.

My entire weekend was good. Yesterday the whole family minus Rock Star went down to see my niece in her pinning ceremony from nursing school. It was a long five years but she did it and she’s so excited to get out there and start her career. She’s hoping to go into the military because she eventually wants to be a nurse anesthetist and they will pay for her schooling. Plus, as an added bonus she can begin schooling immediately instead of the required one or two years working as a nurse. My fingers are crossed that she is able to take the path she wants.

Today was good although my Mother’s Day festivities began on Friday when the mobster, that incredible man I am so lucky to call mine, had 2 dozen chocolate covered strawberries delivered to my workplace. They were delicious. I just finished them up today.

Saturday after the graduation festivities I came home to a basket of flowering plants, also compliments of the mobster.

Today began with an early brunch (oh hell, let’s just call it breakfast because we had to be there at 9!) at one of my favorite restaurants in the city. It is the former mansion of a prominent family that has been turned into a restaurant. The ambiance alone is worth going! The brunch itself was amazing!

They had desserts lining the bar. They had an omelette station. They had various cold salads, fruit, shrimp, and King crab. They also had the traditional breakfast fare- eggs, hash browns, waffles, cheese blintzes, sausage, and bacon. Plus, there was mahi mahi, chicken breasts, ham, and prime rib. I was stuffed!

I once again was gifted with some pretty amazing things. Picasso was telling me he didn’t know how he was going to outdo my birthday. I told him he didn’t need to; he just needed to get me something. Hey- if you don’t let your needs be known they will never be met. He ended up getting me two baskets for me to take to work (I was going to buy them for myself but he wanted to), some snacks (Gummi bears, chocolate covered walnuts, Flipz chocolate covered pretzels, and the dark chocolate covered almond Bark), plus a gift card to Starbucks! Is he fantastic or what?

Rock Star had to work pretty much all day today but when she came home she gave me a foot mask, a candle and a jar labeled 50 Reasons I Love You. They were so sweet. I think this one was my favorite though.

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Doesn’t that pretty much say it all?

Topping it off the mobster’s daughter sent me a text wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day and thanking me for being in her life and making her and her dad happy. That text was awesome.

I don’t know if I was always expecting some grand adventure on Mother’s Day when I was married. I don’t know if perhaps I was simply less grateful. Maybe I expected more on Mother’s Day and CF never delivered.

Don’t get me wrong. He always had flowers delivered, thanking me for giving him two delightful children. I’m sure there were probably even times he bought me a gift to mark the day, although I don’t remember that happening much in the last few years. But that’s all. I got flowers and that was it. Maybe a Happy Mother’s Day. Most of the time, especially when the kids were very young and we still lived near my mom, I had the kids all day long by myself while he got a child free day to watch TV and relax. As they got older I was still the one spending the day with them while he hung back. I’m pretty sure in the last year or two he fully expected them to do most of the work behind Mother’s Day. I get it to a certain extent, but they were 15 and 13 the last Mother’s Day he was around, hardly old enough to drive to the store themselves!

Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t get to celebrate with my own mother seeing as how she was hundreds of miles away, so she got flowers from me on Mother’s Day because there was no way I could take her out to eat.

Regardless of the reasons I can say without hesitation that Mother’s Day has been so much nicer since he’s been gone. I enjoy getting to spend it with my family. I enjoy getting to plan something for my mom and even doing things we’ll both enjoy. I love the thoughtful gifts my almost grown kids get me. I just enjoy everything about the day now. Here’s to many more!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

As you probably know by now I read a lot of different blogs. I’ll be reading one and there will be a link that looks interesting at the bottom of it so I’ll click on it and I keep doing that and before I know it I am learning some very interesting things.

For example there are a lot of people out there who cheat, but instead of calling it that they like to say they are non-conformists, or they practice non-monogamy. They believe that most of us peons are way too sheltered to understand this new, enlightened way of conducting relationships and they will be looked down upon by the unwashed masses so they can’t dare breathe a word of it to anyone!

I’m probably one of those peons so more than likely I’m way off base here, but when I think of non-monogamy I think of someone who doesn’t want to date only one person. I think of someone who wants to play the field and not settle down. I don’t have a problem with that. I can’t think of a single reason that anyone would have a problem with that.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. See, when they say they prefer non-monogamy what they really mean is, “I don’t have a problem with fucking your spouse.” I don’t know about the rest of you but I think that’s a whole lot different from, “I prefer not to settle down with one person.”

You feel free to go out and fuck as many people as you want to; I won’t judge you for it. When you start fucking my spouse? I’ve got a huge problem with that.

Polyamorous? Open marriage? Swinging? New piece of ass in every city? Knock yourself out. If both people know about it and both people are on board who am I to say you’re wrong? I wouldn’t want it for myself but I’m not going to judge someone who does. Obviously, I would not be a good fit for someone like that as a romantic partner; however, I would have no problems being friends with them. I’m not going to shun anyone.

The problem arises when the so-called non-conformist wants to “non-conform” with someone else’s spouse. You know what’s going on. The cheating spouse knows what’s going on. The only person who doesn’t know what’s going on is the duped spouse. That person is being lied to and betrayed. That’s not okay.

Frankly, I don’t want to hear the tired old line about you not making vows to the betrayed spouse. You know your non-conforming buddy is married. You know the spouse doesn’t know and hasn’t given consent. You’re still fucking that person. It’s a shitty thing to do to another human being. Period.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but fucking someone else’s spouse without their knowledge is not edgy and non-conforming; it’s selfish. People aren’t against non-conforming relationships. They’re against people having a non-conforming relationship with their spouse. Again, open relationship, polyamory, swinging… Two (or more!) consenting adults can do whatever they choose. They’re not prejudiced against non-monogamy. You want to keep your options open, good for you. They’re not, however, excited about you being non-monogamous with their spouse. That’s an asshole move. You want to label that as non-monogamy and non-conforming instead of what it really is- cheating? That’s an asshole move, too. As well as being dishonest. Most people don’t like dishonest assholes.

Disney Road Trip With No Disney

I really need to listen to the mobster more. He is so wise. I was dreading this trip. For starters, instead of flying we drove- 17 hours each way- because CF couldn’t be bothered to get support paid on time. FYI: He’s still $700 behind. I wasn’t planning on going to Disney even though Rock Star had a 4 day park hopper pass for $35. I don’t know how much the discounted tickets were for us because by the time he did finally pay the link had expired and I was going to have to pay more for them. I wasn’t willing to spend that kind of money for a few hours at the parks. Seventeen hours there, seventeen hours back, and no Disney. No Epcot. No Animal Kingdom. The mobster told me to make the best of it, to enjoy this time I had with my daughter because it was the last time she was competing and would probably be one of our last road trips together. I thought he was losing his damn mind.

Guess what? I just got back from Orlando. Despite the 34 hour round trip and despite no Disney theme parks we actually had a really good time. It was low key and relaxing. We spent our days sleeping in and doing what we wanted, and we didn’t have to contend with the crowds at any of the Disney parks or feel like we had to get through everything in a few hours.

We made it to the hotel around 6 pm on Thursday. Since we weren’t paying hundreds of dollars for park hopper passes we went directly to the outlet mall instead. We shopped until around 11 pm with a break for dinner. Then headed home to the hotel and hopped in bed.

Friday we went to breakfast and then hung out by the pool almost all day. Rock Star was asking for a non-alcoholic pina colada so I indulged her and got myself a drink with alcohol which I enjoyed pool side. We eventually headed back to the room, showered, and grabbed some lunch. She had team practice at the All Star Resort and we weren’t sure how bad traffic was going to be so we took off around 5:30 to be there by 6:30.

After practice we drove an hour down to Titusville to a restaurant that I hadn’t been to since I was in Orlando with CF, visiting Blockhead, way back in 2000 while pregnant with Rock Star. “Technically, you’ve already eaten there,” I joked with her. This restaurant is famous for its rock shrimp, which taste a whole lot like little lobsters, I think. We always said we wanted to go back but we just never had the chance. This trip I had the chance and I took my mother and my daughter and I took that memory back.

Oh, the place itself had changed quite a bit, but there were still parts I remembered. And the rock shrimp was still tasty.

Saturday was our last full day there. I made the decision not to go and watch Rock Star compete. She had told me earlier she didn’t care if I came or not, and in fact, encouraged me not to. The reality is tickets for the competition were around $50. Had we bought park hopper passes through the link the ticket for the competition would have been included; however, we never had that chance. It turns out I made the right decision because the team imploded. Stunts fell. Tumblers fell flat on their faces. It was a disaster. Rock Star did well. She hit everything. She is so glad it is over!

Meanwhile, my mom and I were back at the outlet mall, going to places that we wanted to check out. I ended up getting Rock Star her birthday gift while there, and I got some vinyl Pop Ups that  Picasso likes.

Saturday was a rainy day so after picking Rock Star up we headed to Olive Garden for lunch before returning to the hotel. We went ahead and sat out by the pool and spent some time in the hot tub. I had a pina colada poolside and enjoyed sitting and doing nothing.

There was a team dinner over at Disney Springs that night so once again we cleaned up and headed out. The restaurant was outrageously overpriced (what else do you expect at Disney?) but I enjoyed my steak sandwich. Just wish I hadn’t paid $22 for it! We walked around a little bit afterwards (it took forever to get seated, to get waited on, to get our food, to pay our bill, etc.) and headed home.

Finally, it was time to head home. We stopped at a very weird IHOP for breakfast about an hour on the road, and made one more stop shortly thereafter so Rock Star could see the baby gators they advertised. We had planned to try to stop at a few attractions along the way home but we didn’t leave until almost 10 on Sunday. There wasn’t enough time if we wanted to get home before midnight on Monday. Ironically, we ended end stopping for the night in Kentucky. No, we weren’t close to CF and Harley.

We made it home by a decent time on Monday.

All in all, it was a great trip. Shopping, eating out, drinks by the pool, no alarm clocks, and hanging out by the pool. The only thing that would have made it better would have been better weather on Saturday and skipping the team dinner.

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Fun With Menopause

Why do we not have group talks about menopause? I believe that if we can gather all the 4th or 5th graders across the country and tell them about their periods and how their bodies will be changing, then we can damn well gather up middle aged women and tell them what they have to look forward to in middle age and beyond! I didn’t think there was anything out there warning women about their new beards that come with the decrease in estrogen until I saw a sign for, “Menopause- The Musical” in Vegas. Seriously. But how many people can get to Vegas before that show runs its course?

I picture maybe a monthly or yearly meeting at a community center, or a nice luncheon at work once or twice a year. Maybe they could play a trailer at movies geared more towards the “older” crowd. There are ways! I don’t have all the details worked out but I don’t think it would be all that difficult. It would definitely need to include cocktails. And appetizers. Since community meetings and workday luncheons giving you the 4-1-1 aren’t a thing yet, allow me to help you out.

I’m not saying I’m in full blown menopause. Last time I went to the doctor I thought it was possible seeing as how I frequently skipped a period, but my blood work came back perfectly fine. That was right after finding out I was married to a lying, cheating douchebag. It’s been over 2 years since I last went in. Now? I don’t want to jinx it but I haven’t had a period since the end of October. You might remember that because I threw a fit. So there’s a tip for those of you who have regular periods still. Just throw a god awful fit; it apparently scares your body into cutting that sucker short and then refusing to return for a good six months!

Those missing periods? Those I don’t mind so much. I do really mind having to shave my beard every few days. What the hell? It never fails; I think I’ve got it all and then I take a look in a mirror at work with much harsher lighting and I see dozens of those hairs alongside my chin and down my neck. Gross!

Apparently it’s more difficult to lose weight once you hit menopause. I’ll let you know when I finally try it. Rock Star thinks we should start taking spin classes, Jazzercise, and kick boxing together so I’ll have data to share.

We’ve all heard about hot flashes, right? Those are fun! I’m hot. I’m cold. I’m hot again. Sweat dripping down my back. Then looking around desperately for a sweater. Oops, take that sucker off again because I’m once again burning up.

I get up earlier now. I don’t know if that’s a side effect of the divorce, or if it’s simply me getting older. I rarely sleep past 8 am, and most days, even on weekends, I’m up more between 6:30 and 7:30. I used to love to sleep in. Now it’s a rare occurrence.

I think one of my most favorite things (aside from the beard) are the pimples in the crease of my wrinkles. I love the juxtaposition of old skin problems and young skin problems. It’s practically art.

And the noises I make as I move now? Or the pain in my hip when I get out of my car after a long drive? Divine! I think the limping adds a little something extra.

Don’t get me started on the chronic farting. I can’t control it. I’m having a perfectly nice conversation with someone and I let one rip. I make a move to get out of a chair or out of a booth. Oops! Excuse me. Sorry ‘bout that. Fine, I don’t think I’ve ever actually farted mid-conversation. But the chair and booth? Oh, that’s happened. Maybe the farting is specific to me. So scratch that one. Unless you, too, are a middle aged woman entering menopause who farts constantly. Then it must totally be a thing.

I would love to know what else I can look forward. Alas, unless I can get myself to Vegas to watch that musical I may never know. Hey- maybe I could try Google! Do you think that’s why they don’t have quaint luncheons with cocktails to explain this whole “menopause” thing to us?

Not a Bitter Bunny

What is up with people accusing Chump Lady of being bitter and angry, and refusing to move on? The critics say they have read her stuff, but have they really?

I get it. If you want to reconcile you probably don’t appreciate hearing that the cheater in your life is not sorry, there’s nothing you can do to prevent more cheating, and that your chances of living happily ever after are pretty dismal. You probably don’t want to hear that your super special snowflake cheater is an entitled cake eater who will lie to keep that comfy existence. They don’t want to hear that you can’t prevent them from cheating again, and while it may be comforting on some level to hear that it wasn’t your fault, it also means you can’t control whether or not they cheat again.

As someone pointed out, though, her tag line is: Leave a cheater, gain a life. She believes in YOU, her reader, the person coming to her site for help or an empathetic ear. She believes you can rebuild. You can go on and have an amazing life- without your cheater. She encourages people not to put up with the lies and the excuses and the entitlement. She encourages people to drop consequences on the entitled cheaters. She asks the important question: Is this relationship acceptable to you? She tells people to focus on themselves and not the cheater. She’s not willing to sit there and smile pretty while eating the shit sandwich. She doesn’t believe in asking yourself what you did or didn’t do to cause another person to cheat; she instead asks you to examine what is lacking in that person that they believed cheating was acceptable.

Furthermore, while she may not be a big proponent of reconciliation she does tell people who are going to go that route to protect themselves. Get a post nup. Get tested for STDs. Run a credit report. Make them be responsible for making that therapy appointment. Make them show you they are sorry! Put the responsibility back on them.

God, I wish I had read her back when I first found out about Zack and Harley. Things could have gone so much differently. She encourages people to put their needs ahead of the cheating spouse’s, which is the opposite of what most reconciliation sites preach. I figure either we would have divorced before our cross country move, or we’d still be happily(ish) married. Instead I listened to those who bashed her and believed she had nothing to offer. I did read an article or two, but I was so used to reading blogs written by people about their own lives that I really didn’t “get” Chump Lady at the time.

I think that’s the key, though. She won’t shut up. She won’t take responsibility for her husband cheating on her. She doesn’t let the people who write to her take responsibility for the person who cheated on them either. She continues to shout from the rooftops that adultery hurts families. She doesn’t whitewash it and make excuses and pretend that it’s no big deal.

I don’t see how anyone who reads her, really reads her, could say she’s angry and bitter and can’t get over being cheated on. Her blog rarely mentions her own situation; on occasion she will point out something that happened, but most of it is general musings, unlike most blogs which are focused solely on the writer. She’s married to a fantastic guy who treats her like a queen. She has an extremely popular website. She wrote a book, for crying out loud! She recently went to Paris and bought pants at $300 a pair! I’m fairly certain she’s doing okay. Plus, as someone who has actually met her I can tell you she is absolutely lovely.

The bitter, angry commenters? They’re not bitter and angry, but like Chump Lady, they refuse to be silent. They tell their stories. Frequently, those stories are not pleasant. It’s really hard to keep the narrative that cheating is no big deal when you listen to a woman talk about how she lost her baby due to an STD her husband gave her thanks to his affair. Or when you hear a man talk about how he had to paternity test his kids because his wife cheated on him constantly. Or when you hear the heartbreaking story of the woman whose younger son was murdered by his philandering father. I remember the woman who wrote about saving up to take their young children to Disney, and her husband left them and took his mistress instead. I remember the man who was home recovering from surgery and almost died because his wife was out fucking their pastor when the A/C in the house went out; between the heat in the house and a reaction he had post-op he almost didn’t make it. Then he ended up losing everything in the divorce. I remember the woman who found out her husband and his mistress were slowly poisoning her, and the man who had his cheating wife telling her various affair partners that he was physically abusing her.  There are several women who have talked about being framed for domestic violence by their cheating husbands, men who have to pay alimony to cheating wives (obviously don’t live in Virginia), women who have been left destitute by their husbands after decades of married life, cheated on spouses losing their children to the cheater, and story after story of children being deserted by fathers and mothers alike. They simply won’t shut up about the destruction of their lives once upon a time. That makes cheating apologists uncomfortable. They must keep the narrative going that cheating is no big deal and everyone does it and there must have been something wrong in the marriage, and those people with their stories fuck that up.

Those readers aren’t bitter. They’re telling their stories. It’s not their fault the stories aren’t happy and all sunshine and roses. Here’s the part so many of the critics overlook: Most of those people have happy endings now. They can talk about how much better their life is now- without the cheater.

That’s the whole purpose of Chump Lady. If you read her very first posts she will tell you she created that blog as a brain dump to help others who are going through this. She did it so they don’t have to make the same mistakes she did. Here is what I learned, is the basic premise. The posters who have been around for a while serve the same purpose. They are there to let the newbies know that while it seems dark and insurmountable now, the pain is finite and a wonderful, new life is out there. They, too, try to warn the newcomers of the pitfalls of reconciliation. The stories they tell serve as warnings; it’s not what they dwell on forever and ever.

Chump Lady encourages getting to the state of “Meh”, that blissful state where you don’t give a damn about the cheater and what he or she is doing. You are way too focused on your own life and all the wonderful things happening for you. She encourages people to be mighty. Tell me what makes you mighty, is a frequent blog topic on Fridays. You can list everything, from merely getting up and showering when you’re in the very beginning stages of the hell of infidelity, to people who are returning to school, getting promotions, installing garage door openers, and warding off bears (seriously- there was recently a woman who was cleaning up after a freaking bear!).

She offers up a message of hope. She doesn’t encourage people to stay bitter. Yes, use that anger to propel yourself out of the situation but don’t stay in that state of mind forever. Get out! Move on! Create a better life for yourself.

Personally, I think we need a little more Chump Lady with her message of encouragement, putting the focus on what you need and whether or not your needs are being met, and not blaming the cheated on spouse, and a little less of those who continue to defend cheaters and blame their victims.