I’d Love To Be That Naive Again

I’m jealous, folks. I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore. I get on to check in on the Chump Nation page and take maybe 5-10 minutes to scroll through my feed. I send out a few birthday wishes/happy anniversary wishes, etc. Even with the limited amount of time I’m on there I still see the feeds of seemingly happy couples.

The co-worker I mentioned a few months ago is pregnant and quit her job; she’s going to be a stay at home mom. She’s living the life she’s always wanted to live- living on a farm surrounded by animals with the love of her life and a new baby. My cousin is still at home, baking bread, knitting, and being all domestic. She is honestly rocking this stay-at-home thing. The meals she cooks, the desserts she makes, the fucking artisan bread she bakes, the projects she takes on… it’s amazing. Truly.

I’m not jealous because they’re able to do those things. I’m happy for them. No, I’m envious because they, for whatever reason, have the luxury of believing that this new life they’re crafting with their partner won’t go belly up; the thought that things might not work out and they could lose everything doesn’t even cross their minds. I don’t blame them. I didn’t spend any part of my marriage thinking, “Oh my God! What if he leaves me?” I didn’t prepare for a future without him. I certainly didn’t live my entire life with him in preparation for a divorce. That’s the root of the envy.

I learned the hard way that you can’t ever rely on the other person doing what they’re supposed to do. I learned you need to be prepared to do it all on your own because when you don’t, you’re completely blindsided. I’m envious because they don’t seem to know that; they can throw caution to the wind and depend upon another person. They are quitting their jobs. They are without an income. And they’re fine with it because their husbands will support them. They’re able to take this new life they’re creating for themselves and not think beyond now. It’s all excitement- new houses, new lifestyles, babies, new pets, photo shoots, artisan bread, home projects, and vacations. They’re building a fantastic new life with someone, and they are able to throw themselves whole heartedly into this new chapter of their lives. There is no, “What happens if I quit my job and this person leaves me?” It’s simply a brand new life where they can depend 100% on another person and trust that that person isn’t going to betray them. I really wish I could be that naive again. That is what makes me envious. All that I am I give to you and all that I have I share with you. I wish I still believed that without reservation. I wish I could put my life in another person’s hands and have faith that he will always have my back. I wish I still believed that you work as a team, you build a life together, and you reap the rewards together. You don’t have to keep a tally sheet of who does what and how much your contribution is worth.

Now I see people working as a team, building lives together, making the decision to stay at home, and I think, “You better hope he doesn’t leave. If he does your life is going to spiral out of control. Everything you know to be true today will be over in the blink of an eye. Better yet- you’d better have a backup plan so you can take care of yourself if he does leave.” 

Even worse, I can’t allow myself the luxury of thinking of myself as part of a team. I am horribly aware of how no couple is really a team. You say the words, but the reality is, when that new person catches your eye, you don’t give a fuck about your former “teammate” and you’re certainly not trying to give them a fair share of everything “the team” has accumulated through the years. The team member that was making a six figure salary gets to walk away and move in with the new teammate while still making six figures; their life goes on as normal. Meanwhile, the teammate that wasn’t making the money but was raising the kids, cooking meals, doing all the grocery shopping, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, running the pets to vet appointments, running the kids all around, and generally supporting the money earner from behind the scenes is left alone with no income. Their life changes dramatically.

I know this probably sounds odd coming from me. Or maybe it doesn’t, which is even scarier. I’m very happy with the mobster. Far happier than I ever was with Jerry Lee. I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. I still can’t get comfortable with the idea of giving up spousal support in order to marry him or even live with him. Every time I think about it and start to believe that this time would be different because he’s the right person that little voice in my head says, “Listen up! Don’t be an idiot! You’ve already learned the hard way what happens when you can’t stand on your own two feet. You would have to be amazingly stupid to voluntarily give that up and depend on him. You don’t make enough money to be able to afford anything on your own without spousal support.”

That little voice is right. I do know what happens when you depend upon another person. I know what happens when you can’t support yourself. You wind up moving in with your mother and getting rid of almost everything you’ve ever owned and sleeping on the couch. I wish I didn’t know that.

Things have changed a bit since I first began writing this way back in October. The biggest change, of course, is my new job. I actually could support myself now if I gave up spousal support and moved in with or married the mobster. It’s still a good chunk of change though so I’m not eager to give it up. It would also be rather tight because as I said I’ve almost closed the gap. I haven’t done it completely. And when you look at actual take home pay… well, let’s just say I’m not where I want to be without that extra boost.

I like to think I’m mostly unscathed from my divorce; however, I can’t shake that idea that if I can’t afford it on my own then it’s not really mine. It was a hard lesson to learn and I’m not sure if it will ever be unlearned. The funny thing is I think that the mobster and I really would make a great team and could build a fantastic life together. That little voice in the back of my head continues to question though: What if he leaves you? Can you still afford that? Will you be able to take that (whatever “that” happens to be) with you? Will you be able to stand on your own two feet or will you have to return to your mom’s house? Funnier still is the fact that I have no reason to believe he would do that to me. He’s been through all of this himself. I don’t spend time worrying that he’s got one foot out the door or that he’s checking out other women. Hell, we live 600 miles apart and I have never worried about him cheating on me. Maybe that’s stupidity on my part, or maybe it’s a testament to the strong foundation of our relationship. Either way, it’s not something I worry about. And yet… I’m not able to fully commit to joining finances and letting Jerry Lee off the hook.

Fortunately for me the mobster understands. He recently said to me, “You’re terrified to give up spousal support, aren’t you?” Oh yeah. That’s my safety net. I lost everything. I’m not prepared to do that again.

I really wish I could be as naive as some of the people I know when it comes to relationships. I wish I didn’t feel like I always needed an exit plan in case I get discarded. On the other hand, I’m really glad I’m in a position finally where I can stand on my own. I don’t see myself ever giving that up.

Giving Thanks

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that my journey has been filled with a lot of bumps and potholes. It was not easy. My mom has always said he couldn’t have left us in a worse position if he had tried; she absolutely thinks he did it deliberately. He let me install a $57,000 pool in our backyard, using up most of his available stock options. I couldn’t pay the pool off because I needed the money to live on so we never had it closed properly. That in turn meant I had to replace pipes in the spring and we never were able to use the pool again because I couldn’t get it clean from all the leaves and other debris that had fallen into it. He let the house go into foreclosure and of course, we ended up losing the house. After spending months lovingly decorating our new home and filling it with new furniture I had to turn around and sell off as much as I could and leave behind almost everything else because I had no way to pay for storage and didn’t know how long it would remain in storage (going on six years now, btw). He walked out the door without saying a word to his kids. Didn’t bother to tell us he was moving or that he had quit his job and taken another one in a different state. He didn’t pay support at all for 10 months; he paid it sporadically for another 10 months, all while I worked two jobs and was the only parent our kids had anymore. I spent $35k on my divorce and then another $5-$10k getting support modified. He paid what he was supposed to pay for about 6 months and then unilaterally modified child support. Refused to go through legal channels. Refused to pay the legal bills when I tried to. Lost another job. Modified spousal support for almost a year. But you know that old adage: No matter how bad you have it someone always has it worse. 

I thought I’d take a minute to say what I was grateful for in terms of my own betrayal story and divorce.

1. I’m thankful I didn’t have young kids when I divorced. I see these stories of parents whose hearts are being ripped out of their chests because their children are off with the other parent, sometimes in a 50/50 custody situation. I got to spend the majority of their years with them, being a very involved stay-at-home mom. I didn’t have to split holidays or summers. I didn’t have to deal with them thinking Harley was awesome. I cannot imagine a bigger shit sandwich than knowing the OW/OM is playing happy family with your young child/ren and they are too young to understand who this person is. As many people have said, “You can take my spouse but keep your fucking whore hands off my kids.” 

2. Sort of the same thing but not completely I am infinitely grateful that neither Rock Star nor Picasso has any kind of a relationship with Harley. I’m sure to many people that’s an awful thing to admit because we’re supposed to “think of the children” and “love our children more than we hate the other parent.” I know it would probably be better for both of my kids if their dad gave a damn and was a part of their life. But he doesn’t and he’s not and that’s not something I’m responsible for so I’ll take my wins when I can. I’m sure it’s horrible when you’ve been cheated on and you know your cheating spouse and the AP are playing happy family with your baby. I’m sure it’s horrible to have to listen to your young child talk about how much fun this new person is, or how nice they are. But it’s also horrible, I’m sure, having to share older children. I’ve heard many stories of the morally challenged new partner showing up at the kid’s games, recitals, assemblies, graduations, birthdays. I hear about kids that choose to live with the cheating parent or the older child is receiving expensive gifts from the side piece. There are weddings and the births of grandchildren, not to mention birthday parties for those future grandchildren. Having to share those milestones with someone who played a part in blowing up your life would be difficult. I keep trying to steel myself for the day that either one of my kids decides that putting up with Harley is worth it in order to have a relationship with their dad. It’s not what they want right now, but they are still young and there are still years left. For right now though I’m glad I don’t have to slap on a fake smile or remember to use, “Cool. Bummer. Wow,” as my only responses when they’re telling me about their adventures with the two of them.

3. I didn’t have to worry about 50/50 custody. Jerry Lee had already moved by the time our divorce trial rolled around. He moved out six months after his affair was discovered. I feel for those who have to miss out on so much of their children’s lives because of the actions of an unfaithful spouse. I have had every holiday, every birthday, every major event because he walked away. Thankfully they were both old enough to have a say in where they wanted to live even if Jerry Lee had not moved (not that Jerry Lee fought for them). And because of their age and the fact that Jerry Lee moved hundreds of miles away from them they were able to have visitation at their discretion, instead of being ordered by a court.

4. In a similar vein I never had to worry about him trying to alienate my kids against me. God, that has to be the worst betrayal of all. This person cheats on you, leaves you, leaves you destitute and then turns around and turns your kids against you. I cannot even begin to imagine.

5. I don’t have to co-parent. I’m a big fan of parallel parenting anyway, but there are so many people out there who have to try to co-parent with the ex. The horror stories I hear make me so grateful I don’t have to deal with Jerry Lee. He is not a part of the equation at all. I’m sure having full legal custody also helped with that but I didn’t have to consult with him on anything. Kids needed therapy? I got them therapy. Kids wanted to participate in a sport? I signed them up. I didn’t have to ask his permission. I didn’t ask for his help. I took care of it.

6. He didn’t fight me moving. He didn’t have a leg to stand on but I’m still thankful I didn’t have to go through that. I see stories all the time about people moving for their spouse who then cheats on them and now they’re stuck in this place where they have no support.

7. I did not have to deal with him having another child with Harley. I think an affair baby would be the worst but even knowing that my kids had another sibling that I knew nothing about is something I wouldn’t like. I would have loved to have had more children but alas I did not get my wish. Had he gone on to have more children with her I would have been pissed, even though it was completely out of my control.

8. I have always said I saw the writing on the wall. I knew that there would be no reconciliation even if I had been willing. Nonetheless I put on my big girl panties, called the lawyers, made the appointments, and got myself armed with information. I didn’t let on until I was ready to file. And once he knew I knew I gray rocked the shit out of him. It would probably be more accurate to say I went no contact- even while living with him. I’m thankful I didn’t chase after him. I’m thankful I didn’t beg and plead. I gray rocked his ass and pretended he didn’t exist.

9. I had a soft space to land. I absolutely realize there are people out going through the same thing who have no one to rely on. I was fortunate that my mom was willing to take us all in. She was also an incredible help when I was working two jobs and could barely keep my eyes open when I was home. I have a friend who was living in a garage and was damn grateful to be doing that because of the antics her ex pulled. I hear horrible stories all the time, reading Chump Lady and the Chump Nation FB page. People out there wondering how they’re going to support their kids when they haven’t worked in years. People who have no one who can help them out- emotionally or financially. People who have lost their parents and all their family. Even worse are those whose families side with the ex. 

10. I will always be infinitely grateful to The Saint for telling me about what was going on. Because of him and his willingness to speak up I didn’t sink every last dollar we had into paying our final bill for the pool. Instead I was able to follow my attorney’s advice and hang onto that money. I cannot even begin to imagine what would have happened to me and my kids if I didn’t have that money to put into my account. It would have been bad. Really bad.

11. I’m grateful I don’t have to worry about running into them. I had to live with him for six months after knowing what a shithead he was, but then he up and moved and I’ve only seen him twice since then- once in court and once at Rock Star’s graduation. Oops- three times because I saw him right before Rock Star’s graduation as well when I gave him his ticket to her graduation. We are hundreds of miles apart. I know the mobster had to deal with his wife bringing her AP to the kids’ games and then again to T’s graduation party. So many people ask for advice on how to handle it when the inevitable happens and they run into them. Some people have even had the ex and the AP move in next to them. Not me. I don’t think I’ll ever see him again.

12. I have never had to deal with her writing to me, trying to explain things to me or tell me how I should behave. There’s a lot of this going on over on the FB page. Usually the OW feels the need to intervene and give “advice” to the person she helped try to destroy. Things like, “Move on and stop being so bitter,” or “You need to be more grown up and put your kids first,” or, “You need to encourage your kids to have a relationship with their cheating dad and shame on you for being the reason they don’t.” Real classy things. I think we can all agree that if we felt we needed advice the last person we’d ask for that advice would be some home wrecking whore. And yet, they freely give it. Then again freely giving it up to anyone is kinda what they’re known for. Thankfully, Harley has stayed way, way over in her lane. Ironically, despite being married to her cousin for twenty years I never met her. I’ve never laid eyes on her. Might be able to pick her out of a line up (she does have an impressive list of mug shots from which to choose). Then again, I might not be able to. I’ve seen pictures but I’ve never seen her. With the way things are going I probably never will. Hooray!

13. He’s had his moments but for the most part Jerry Lee leaves me alone. He’s not texting me vicious messages or calling me or emailing me and harassing me. Like I said, he’s had his moments- his hissy fit when being called out way back in the day, the stamps on the envelopes, the text message to the mobster, his shitty messages and obscene emojis in his Venmo transfers, hacking my Facebook page… He hasn’t been an angel but I haven’t heard a peep out of him in probably over two years. Now that he has a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head it’s amazing how compliant he is.

14. I was awarded spousal support. That is HUGE. So many states don’t offer it. Period. Others only offer it for a very short amount of time. It’s scary to think so many women are at the mercy of their husbands. If he decides to leave her and take up with someone else after she’s spent fifteen, twenty-five, thirty years supporting his career and putting her own needs aside to focus on him, she’s just out on her own. Oh well. Looks like you live in poverty from now on.  I may have had to fight him on it. I may have never known when I was going to get it until just recently, but I got spousal support. It was enough that I could do things for my kids, buy groceries, pay the utilities, go out to eat, and have some semblance of the life I had before. Way too many women don’t get that at all.

15. I didn’t really lose any friends. Being married to someone anti-social has its perks, I suppose. I’m sure there were people at his place of employment who liked him, both in Utah and Virginia. I socialized with those people in Utah. Most of the people I don’t talk to anymore just because we weren’t all that close and we moved 2000 miles away. I was friends with the wife of the new production manager at his old plant. We still text or send a FB message every once in a while. We’re FB friends. We live over a thousand miles apart but I have an open invitation to get together whenever I come back to Utah. I never really socialized with those in Virginia so no loss at all. We didn’t have any couple friends. He never wanted to socialize so I did all of my socializing by myself. I didn’t hate Blockhead while we were married but I didn’t feel exceptionally close to him either. I guess I always felt kind of like he didn’t care for me so when we got divorced the fact that he wasn’t on “my side” wasn’t a big shock. Or a big loss. I had already distanced myself from most of his family by the time D-Day #2 came along so no loss there either.

16. I didn’t have to get rid of my pets. We did re-home our cats but we hadn’t had them very long either. It would have been nice had he told me he was having an affair and planning on leaving because then we never would have taken them in but let’s be realistic. Our cats were all re-homed and my three dogs were able to come with me. I’m down to two now. My sweet Beau died a few years ago. My luscious Laila Lou is almost fourteen. For a Boxer that is ancient. Far beyond their normal life span. She just had her check up and they were amazed at her good health. Little Milo Tim is almost 8. They will be with me until the day they die. Again, I hear the sad stories of people who were forced to relinquish their pets. I can’t imagine.

17. I won in court. Another huge thing in my favor and another thing to be grateful for. It could have gone badly for me. There were many times I worried about what might happen if the judge decided I didn’t deserve spousal support, or the amount was set at some very low amount. Winning in court, even if it didn’t guarantee him paying what he was supposed to, was a huge thing for me.

18. I’m thankful I had the means to keep fighting in court. And that goes back to my mom in part. I was able to pay the first two retainers (to two different lawyers) but the third retainer I had to borrow from my mom. At that time all of my savings was gone. I’m not sure I had a job yet and if I did it would have been my part-time job at Target. Hardly enough to pay a retainer. I did get lucky and had the funds to pay the retainer for the expert witness and I was billed as I went after the trial, but not everyone is so “lucky”. It also helped that I wasn’t paying legal fees on top of a mortgage and everything else.

There you have it. If I took another three months to write this post I could probably come up with some more things to be thankful for, but I’m not going to do that.

I guess it boils down to this: I’ve got my kids- full-time. I don’t have to see him or deal with him. She stays out of my way. Twenty years of marriage and it’s like it never happened. He’s just someone that I used to know. I don’t have to deal with him playing games in regards to the kids. And with a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head he pays what he’s ordered to pay me. Life is good and I’m thankful.

Random Thoughts- Rings On, Vows Kept

One of the most common questions asked after D-Day is, “How soon is too soon to start dating?”

The best answer I’ve ever seen to that question was, “When you’re ready.”

Alas, there are always those who insist you shouldn’t date until you are officially divorced. You are married until you are no longer married. Some proudly talk of wearing their rings until the divorce was finalized. Others insist upon referring to the lying, cheating spouse as their husband or wife instead of soon-to-be-ex because “I’m still married and that person is still my spouse.”

Funnily enough dating seems to be the one line in the sand that many draw when it comes to being separated but not yet divorced. No one ever says, “I would love to have fresh flowers all over my house but my husband always hated that. I’m still married so I need to respect his wishes.” Or, ”I can’t take up belly dancing until I’m divorced. Married is married and he’s always hated my passion for belly dancing. I need to respect that until the ink is dry on the divorce decree.” We don’t wait to get a new job or redecorate the bedroom or even get a new apartment until we’re fully divorced. So why the hard on for dating? I digress.

I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’ve broken it down. I would really like to thank that commenter over on Chump Lady who talked of the two parts of marriage- the legal and the spiritual parts. I truly believe that and that’s how I separate the two parts of a marriage.

First you have the legal part. As long as you have a marriage license, or a “permit” as it may be, you can go into any courtroom and have a judge marry you. It’s a little more complicated than that, but the important point is there is no need for a big, fancy church wedding. There doesn’t need to be a lot of planning. Once you have that license, that legal form, you can get married pretty much whenever. It’s a legal contract which gives you certain rights.

Then you have the spiritual part. It doesn’t have to be a church wedding in order for it to be spiritual. The important thing to note about this part is that the spiritual part concerns your feelings for this person. It’s all about love. You’re not getting married because your parents have arranged this. You’re not trying to combine your families’ fortunes. In other words, it’s not a business deal (see above regarding legal marriage). You’re marrying because you love this person.

Because you love this person you trust them. You make plans for your future with them. You might buy a house with them, have children with them, move all over the country or world with them for their career. You think of one another as a team. You’ve got each other’s backs. You plan on growing old with this person.

When your partner cheats on you they betray you. All of those things you’ve planned- together- they take away without your knowledge or approval. Having sex with someone else is only a tiny part of it. It’s everything else that accompanies that that makes it so hard. You feel like you’re going crazy because of all of the lies and the gas lighting. There may even be health implications if your spouse gets an STI and passes it along to the unsuspecting spouse. Your life as you know it is over. Many times the cheated on spouse is left in a vulnerable financial situation- how will they support their children, where will they live? Will you be able to keep your house? Will your kids have to leave their schools and their friends? Who will hire you, especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for most of your marriage? Bankruptcy and poverty are not unusual events when a spouse who has been the primary breadwinner leaves. And of course, the most obvious, they’ve been planning this new life with the new person while you’ve had no clue. You were still invested in the life the two of you shared while they were busy creating a life with someone else behind your back. All those dreams go up in smoke when your spouse steps outside of your marriage and leaves you for another person.

For those who insist that even if your spouse has moved 1000 miles away and has two children with the side piece you should remain chaste and faithful to him because you’re still married!!!! I say, “You’re delusional.” This isn’t about the fact you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold while a lying cheater does everything in their power to delay a divorce as they skip happily off into the sunset with the whore. It’s about this idea that cheating is not about the sex. It’s about the betrayal and the discard.

That’s where the legal and spiritual parts of marriage come in. Your marriage does not automatically end in the legal sense because the other person was out fucking the neighbor. Or their cousin. Whomever. That’s very true. You are still legally married. You have to have a judge sign off on your divorce. But while you are waiting for that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dating if you are ready for that. 

You haven’t blindsided anyone. Your “spouse” is not happily planning a future with you while you are busy planning one with another person. They’ve already done that. They’ve left. They’re off living their very best life with this new person. You are not Plan B. 

Furthermore, you’re not lying to them and gas lighting them. There is no sneaking around. You’re not telling them that there’s no one else. You’re not letting them invest in you while you take, take, take knowing full well that you are not faithful to them and/or are planning on leaving them.

As long as you don’t sleep with your STBX you have no chance of passing along an STD.

They are not financially invested in you while you’re out dating. You’re not siphoning off marital money to give to your new boyfriend or girlfriend, and you’re not using marital monies to fund your dates. More importantly, you dating someone is not going to lead to your STBX losing their home, having to move, and wondering how on earth they are going to support their children. They don’t have to worry about any of that because they’ve already left. There are no ramifications of you dating someone else. Nothing happens to your STBX or their life because of this.

In other words, if you choose to date while you’re still going through your divorce it’s all above board. No one is being played. It’s not being hidden. You’re not lying to buy yourself time to deplete marital funds. No one is being lied to. You and your STBX aren’t planning a future together when in reality you’re planning on dumping them. Everything is out in the open. 

I know there will be those out who disagree and insist that you are still married so you shouldn’t date, and if you do date, then you are no better than the cheater you are divorcing. To those people I say, “Bless your heart,” as I hand them a cookie as a reward. It’s got to taste better than those shit sandwiches they’re choking down.

Reframing Things

Final post for 2020. 

Earlier this year, one day in the summer, I made some comment about Jerry Lee bulldozing my life. My mom replied along the lines of, “Why not look at it as a chance to redo your life?”

I had actually already been thinking along those lines so I didn’t take offense at the suggestion.

I suppose that’s the biggest change for me during 2020. I’m finally reframing what happened to me. I’m not always successful. It’s best if I don’t dwell on it too much, but for small moments I am able to reframe the betrayal and discard, along with the absolute destruction of everything I thought my life was.

When I do this I’m able to tell myself he didn’t blow up my life; no, I got a second chance at a much better life. Sure, there have been speed bumps- financial issues continue to stress me. My kids are in therapy. I’m working a job that isn’t all that personally fulfilling and I feel like I never have enough “me” time, or time to devote to my kids. But it’s not all bad.

I’m back in my hometown. I’m reconnecting with old friends. It’s familiar. I didn’t have to start completely over and figure out how to get around the town.

Living with my mom isn’t a death sentence. She hates it when I say, “I had to move back in with my mom!” or “I don’t have a home of my own.” The reality is she does my laundry which is great because I don’t particularly care for doing laundry. She also has dinner cooked most nights when I come home. I joke with her that it’s nice to have a wife. I realize why so many cheaters don’t leave one until they have another one! I am fortunate enough to be able to spend huge amounts of time with my mom. I get to shop with her, go out to dinner with her, vent to her, and laugh with her. I have too many friends that no longer get to enjoy that with their moms.

Ever since moving back here in 2016 I have seen it as a source of shame- I was too fucking pathetic to be able to stand on my own two feet. I had to move back in with my mommy. I couldn’t take care of myself or my two children. I needed help. It’s very humbling, especially when you’ve lived in your own home for 20+ years. You go from living in a huge home to not even having your own bedroom; I slept on the couch for two years. Perhaps it’s simply the passing of time, but I no longer care. It is what it is. Living at home with her allows her to spend much more time with her grandchildren, allows me to see her all the time, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a mortgage payment or rent somewhere. It allows me to be able to do more because my money isn’t wrapped up in housing. I’m finally accepting that this arrangement works for me.

When he left finding a new relationship was the last thing on my mind. I was in survival mode and honestly, I had spent so much time alone even while being married that I had no desire to ever pair up again. I was perfectly content to be alone for the rest of my life; I was good at it. Yet, him walking out the door finally allowed me the chance to experience a real relationship, one where I’m valued and loved.

The mobster and I have an amazing time whenever we are lucky enough to get together. He is the best and I would have never met him if Jerry Lee didn’t go off and fuck his cousin.

As for finances, well, I recognize that I don’t need as much as I used to have. I don’t need a huge house. I don’t need endless baubles. I do like shopping for clothes and my closet is exploding right now but I’ve always been a sale shopper. As long as I have enough to pay my bills, take care of my kids and spoil them some, and be able to have some fun with my friends, family, and the mobster I’m good. I’d like to be able to take a vacation here and there as well, but it doesn’t have to be an elaborate vacation.

I also realize it’s up to me to make that change as far as finding a better paying job. Writing about how awful it pays and complaining does nothing. I intend to change that this coming year.

Of course, my children and their well-being always weighs heavily on my mind. Fortunately, I am finally letting go of that as well. Not as in an, “I don’t care” way, but more in an, “I can’t change the past,” way. It still tugs on my heartstrings when I hear “Best Day Of My Life” or any of the songs I associate with Harrisonburg. The overwhelming desire to scream, “Why?” is always there, but that scream is slowly fading away. I do my best to reframe it as a wonderful moment in Rock Star’s life, one that wasn’t meant to last. Maybe the lesson to be learned was that her dad is an entitled jackass. I don’t know. Maybe it was to show her she was stronger than she knew.

My son seems happy and content. The medication has helped immensely. He has friends here. He likes his job. He likes living here. Hopefully therapy will soon be a thing of the past for him, but as long as he continues to get something out of it I will pay for it. He graduates this year and no one will be happier about that than me! He’s been complaining about school since second grade. I’m tired of fighting him.

My daughter has apparently resolved all of her issues surrounding her father and his abandonment in approximately three therapy sessions. She works fast, I guess. She has decided she is done with him and she’s no longer expending the effort to have a relationship with him. As she put it, “Why am I putting in all this effort when he’s the one that left?”

Despite Covid-19 wrecking havoc with her college life she is happy. She has a solid set of friends down at college. She loves her sorority and her sisters. She has a great boyfriend who treats her like she deserves to be treated. She is kicking ass in nursing school and will be a wonderful nurse in a few years.

She has said herself that everything she went through led her to where she is. If we were still married and in Virginia, yes, I would probably see her more and she would be happily reconnecting with high school friends over break, but she wouldn’t have this life she loves.

Despite the hurdles and all the worries these last few years my kids are okay. They’re not living the life I had hoped to have given them, but they are good. As my mom always says, “You guys had a helluva run.” Yes, my kids had an awesome childhood and they got to experience a lot of wonderful things. And then they experienced some really shitty things and a lot of loss. They lost their friends twice, and lost their mother in many ways. i wasn’t there the way that I wanted to be; I did the best I could with what I had and I hope in the end that proves to be enough. But ultimately they prevailed and they are both good and happy now. I have a great relationship with both of them, and that’s what counts.

I will never say that Jerry Lee cheating on me and destroying my old life was a blessing, or the best thing to ever happen to me. What I will say now though is he ended up giving me a second chance. He gave me the opportunity to live a much better life than the one I could have ever hoped to have lived with him. I get to frame this one. I get to choose. I can make this new life into whatever I want.

How’s that for change, 2020?

Sunk Costs

We’ve all heard that term before, right? People will tell their sad tale of love gone wrong with a cheating man (or woman) and how they can’t leave because they love him (or her). Someone will come along and say, “Kick him to the curb! You can do better than him. You deserve so much better.” Typically shortly after that another person comes along and pats the grieving person on the back. “There, there. They don’t understand. It’s not so easy. You’ve got sunk costs- children, a mortgage, ten, twenty, thirty years with this person. You don’t have to leave if you don’t want to. We understand. You’ve got sunk costs.”

Those sunk costs are a killer, folks. They keep us tethered to toxic people who abuse us and take us for granted.

I sometimes wonder, too, is it really that we’ve invested so much time and effort into this person, or is that we’re scared of the unfamiliar? Kicking your cheating spouse out might feel liberating in the moment, but then you’ve got to live with that. Where are you going to live? Will you be able to keep your home? How are you going to pay for everything? What if you have to share custody of the kids? What if you never go on a date again and never find love again? What if, what if, what if?

I get it. Believe me, I do. You’re reading the words of a woman who lost pretty much everything in her divorce. Sunk costs? I had them in spades- twenty years of marriage, a stay at home mom for fifteen years, no idea how I would support myself much less my two teenagers, a brand new house we hadn’t paid the mortgage on for even a year, brand new furniture throughout the entire house, a $57,000 inground pool, a brand new car that had been purchased less than a year prior to my discovery. On top of that we had just moved 2000 miles across the country for his dream job, completely uprooting my life and the lives of my children. Plus, we had three dogs and had just taken in 3 cats. How’s that for sunk costs?

I ended up losing our home when Jerry Lee was forced to resign and then refused to get a new job, figuring he could play the system and get out of paying adequate support. I had to move back to Indiana with my tail between my legs- defeated and deadass broke. For ten long months he paid nothing in support and then the next ten months he paid a fraction of what he was supposed to. I worked two jobs to make ends meet, even living with my mother. I applied for Medicaid for me and my kids, and for free lunches and textbooks, as well. There were many days I cried and cried and didn’t want to ever wake up again.

I didn’t believe I would ever date again. I had absolutely no plans to date again. I didn’t want to put myself out there again. Just between you and me I don’t really consider what happened in my situation to be dating. The mobster fell out of a tree onto my head. End of story.

Pretty much every horrible thing I thought was going to happen to me, happened to me. I spent an awful long time in that dark place.

I completely get sunk costs. And I sympathize with those who don’t want to lose everything. I didn’t want to lose everything either.

Tracy Schorn has an excellent post on her blog entitled, “You Don’t Need It That Bad.” It’s an ode to putting on your ass kicking boots and telling yourself that nothing is worth suffering through a cheating spouse. Your spouse is lying, gaslighting, and cheating on you but you really really love your vacation home? Get to the point where you tell yourself, “I don’t need it that bad.” You love being a stay at home mom and know that the only way you can continue to do that is if you look the other way while your husband beds every available female in the area? You don’t need it that bad.  You’ve spent twenty-five years with a liar and a cheater and you think you can’t leave because of your “sunk costs”? Do you want to spend another twenty-five with a liar and a cheater? Do you want to get sick and find out that your twenty-five years don’t mean anything to this liar and cheater? They’re out of here as soon as you cease to be useful.

Here’s another part of that equation that most people don’t think about when figuring in their sunk costs. Sometimes you may decide it’s not worth it to leave. You’ve got history. You’ve got a great home that you couldn’t afford on your own. You love this person. You don’t want the other person to “win”. You don’t want to share custody of your kids. Sometimes that shit happens anyway. Sometimes they leave despite all the crap you’re willing to take and all the shit sandwiches you’re willing to eat. They take it further and further underground and they get better and better at cheating and getting away with it. They hide money and make their plans, or they wait until the kids are all out of high school so they don’t have to pay child support, and when they’re ready they walk out the door. Nothing about you. All about them.

You better make damn sure those sunk costs are worth it. You might still end up losing everything you clung to so tightly and you will definitely lose your dignity when you realize you tolerated so much for someone who cared so little and still ended up with nothing.

I bought into all of that crap the first time Jerry Lee was exposed. I could tell myself that it was only an emotional affair, that they never hooked up, never met in person. I did the ol’, “I’m not going to let one moment in our 18 years together define our entire marriage.” I did the marriage police for a period of time. I looked at my home and my kids and my comfortable lifestyle. I didn’t want to be divorced and I didn’t want Harley to win. I measured my sunk costs against everything I would be giving up and I took a chance on a liar and a cheater. I lost. The next time he did it I didn’t get the chance to measure those sunk costs. He was going to leave. Twenty years of marriage didn’t matter to him. Me moving all over the country for his job didn’t matter to him. Our two children didn’t matter to him. The fact that we had just moved, just bought a new house, new furniture, new car, and just put an inground pool in our backyard didn’t matter to him either. All that mattered was this new life that was calling out to him, promising him happiness.

When you break it down you’ve got two options really. The first one is to decide your sunk costs are all that matter. You’re willing to hitch your wagon to a liar and cheater because that’s what you know and look at everything you might have to give up. But you’re stuck with a liar and a cheater, a person you probably can never trust again. Your second option is to throw caution to the wind. To tell yourself, “I don’t need it that bad.” Yes, you might lose a whole lot. You might even lose everything. But in exchange for those losses you no longer have to be tethered to a person who treats you with no respect, who will cheat and lie as easily as they breathe. You may even end up with a pretty damn good cheater free life.

In hindsight I wish I had focused a whole lot less on my sunk costs and decided a whole lot sooner that I didn’t need any of it that bad.

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.

Bezos’s Girlfriend

True confession: I don’t watch the news anymore. I don’t have CNN Headline News on my phone. I get my news from Google, and sometimes Facebook. I realize I’m burying my head in the sand but I’m okay with that right now. I do know lots of useless facts, though. Ask me anything about the royal family, the Duggars, and, for some reason, Bachelor Nation. Also, I’m quite knowledgable about snakes and sharks. One interesting thing that popped up on my news feed in the last month or so was the story of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, and his hacked cellphone/leaked text messages to his mistress.

Holy cow! The story goes something like this: The guy makes billions of dollars, cheats on his wife, gets a divorce, and then his text messages to his mistress are made public. Now, I don’t know exactly what the point of that was. I don’t know why anyone would care because I’m pretty sure the texts were released after the divorce. Sure, it may be embarrassing but a national security threat? I don’t think so.

It prompted an investigation. At one point the theory was that this poor, mistreated billionaire had been targeted by the Saudi government because Bezos had criticized them in an article.

Then the Wall Street Journal came along, did a little digging, and wow! What do you think they uncovered? Was it the Saudi government? Was it Trump? Was it the Mafia? All three colluding to make him look bad (did I mention there were nude pictures included?)? NO! Turns out his mistress, Lauren Sanchez, sent the texts to her brother. Who then turned around and sold the texts to the National Enquirer.

Of course, now that it’s all in the open both sides are saying that’s not true. Lauren insists her brother somehow acquired all of her texts without her knowledge, and her brother is actually suing her boyfriend for defamation.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we… fuck somebody else’s husband.

Yeah, that’s a real shocker. Imagine- a woman who had no problems sneaking around behind his wife’s back, fucking a married man, and cheating on her own not-as-rich husband, being willing to hand those intimate texts over to her brother to cash in on her relationship with the richest man in the world. It boggles the mind! I’m sure poor Jeff was stunned as well. Hey, she might lie, and cheat, and gaslight, but she only does that to other people. He’s special. She would never do that to him.

It reminds me of that blogger who was absolutely furious at his mistress for finally telling his wife about the three year long affair. At one point he gave serious consideration to leaving his wife for the mistress but then she went and told the truth! How dare she? She was cute as a button when she was helping him dupe his wife for three years. The fact that she was willing to lie and cheat and showed her shitty character didn’t bother him at all so long as it wasn’t directed his way. He could betray his wife for three years but when his mistress betrayed him? Oh mylanta! You would have thought the world stopped. Again, how dare she?

I once read a letter in an advice column. The writer was telling the columnist that her boyfriend was amazing in every way except this one little thing. He belittled people he felt were beneath him- servers, salespeople, customer service reps. You know, the people who can’t say anything back if they want to keep their jobs. I’ll never forget the columnist telling the letter writer that that was who her boyfriend was. He was a person who could be wonderful to those he felt were deserving and who would talk down to and belittle those he felt were not. That’s who you’re hitching your wagon to. If you are of value to him he will treat you well. If you one day lose value in his eyes he will treat you like gum on the bottom of his shoe.

It always amazes me when cheaters are shocked and astounded when their affair partner betrays them in some way or does something heinous. I’m thinking of the women who leave their husbands for their lover, only to find out the lover has no intentions of leaving his wife. The mistress who calls up the wife to let her know about the affair. The mistress who was involved with multiple men yet claiming that each one of them was her “soul mate”. The mistress that “cheats” on her married lover. The lies that they tell their lover.

“They aren’t that kind of person!”

Yes, yes, they are!

“How dare they betray me!”

They’re a person with shitty character. They had no problem fucking another person’s spouse. What kind of a person did you think they were?

Lying, cheating, deception. Those things are all fine when you’re not the recipient of such behavior. The cheating spouse thinks they’re immune from all of that. The AP loves them! They would never do any of that stuff to them. They don’t deserve it, unlike the clueless spouse who has committed egregious sins, none of which they are aware.

Yet one day the mistress picks up the phone and tells the wife she’s been sleeping with her husband for three years, they’re in love and he’s going to leave the wife to be with her. The cheating husband hacks the STBX wife’s Facebook, goes through all her messages and realizes that while he was handing five grand over to his mistress each month she was still sleeping with her estranged husband when he left after their weekend hookups. The mistress writes a tell-all book or sells her story to any publication/news show willing to pay out to talk about her affair. The cheating husband finds out that he wasn’t the only one; that in fact the woman he was betraying his wife with, was sleeping with multiple other men at the same. The mistress hands over private, intimate texts to her brother which end up being published in the National Enquirer.

To their shocked outrage, their blind surprise, I say this: You knew what they were when you picked them up.

It’s a Partner Problem

I have to be careful about how I phrase this because I don’t want anyone coming away with the wrong idea. I’ve come to the conclusion, however painful, that ultimately when your partner cheats you don’t have an OW or OM problem. You’ve got a partner problem.

I don’t say this to excuse the person sleeping with your partner. It is absolutely wrong to be sleeping with another person’s spouse/partner. I do not feel as though they don’t owe us anything therefore they’ve done nothing wrong. I am not forgiving them for what they’ve done. I think it is horrendous. I think people like that are awful people who think of no one except themselves. With all of those disclaimers aside, you still have a partner problem.

All too often I read blogs where the OP is blamed for the affair: She knew he was married. He knew she was vulnerable. She went after him and wouldn’t stop until she got him. He took advantage of her. She wouldn’t stay away even after I begged her to. He refused to stop contacting her even though I told him how much it hurt my kids.

Yes, they suck. You still have a partner problem.

I hated Harley the first time I learned about her and Jerry Lee. My rage and anger were like a white hot laser focused on her. She was a whore. She enticed my husband. She was trying to take over my life.

Hell, there are marriage counselors who actually advise you save your anger for the OW/OM. Don’t rage at your spouse. It’s the other person’s fault, they will tell you. I don’t agree.

The reality is Jerry Lee bore all the responsibility. He could have ignored her and blocked her. He didn’t. She didn’t entice him. He was ready and willing; he was ripe for the picking. If it hadn’t been her, it could have easily been someone else. In fact, at one point it was. He did the same thing with Anne.

My husband is the one who let things go too far. My husband is the one who began an emotional affair with her back in 2013. He knew it was wrong. No one put a gun to his head. Yes, she absolutely played the victim and offered him something he was looking for. He was the one with the responsibility to stay the hell away. He was the one who never should have started things to begin with.

What I didn’t understand back then is that he was looking. She didn’t find him and lure him into her web. He went looking for her. For anyone really.

The second time around I didn’t give her a second thought. Oh sure, I still think she’s a whore and a horrible mother and a terrible human being. I think she’s selfish and mean, entitled, too. She’s a liar and a gold digger and a cheater herself. Truth of the matter is if I saw her trapped in a burning car I’d pull up a chair with a bag of marshmallows and make myself some S’mores. But she’s not my problem. He is, and ever since August 10th, 2015 I’ve held him responsible for everything that has happened.

You can chase off every admirer/predator. You can stick it out and wait for him (or her) to come to his (or her) senses and choose you. You can refuse to leave. You can maintain divorce is not an option. You are still with a person who has no problem cheating on you. If you want to blame it on toxic shame or poor coping skills or damage done from childhood trauma you are still with a person who’s coping mechanism is to have sex with other people.

It’s so very easy to say that if everyone would reject a married man/woman there would be no more cheating. You can maintain that it’s the other person’s fault because they should be moral enough to not sleep with your beloved. The fact remains, if your beloved is propositioning someone, it doesn’t matter if the other person accepts or rejects them. You’ve already got a problem. Just because Single Mom/Dad #1, or Lonely Gal/Guy #4 rejects your partner and refuses to have sex with them because they’re married doesn’t mean you’re now home free.

Whew! Thank God for people with morals!

No! You’re still partnered with a person who is looking to bed anything that moves. That is your problem. Not the nitwit that believes the lies. Not the whore that’s willing to spread her legs for anyone. Not the predator who takes advantage of every naive woman. Not the tramp that is out to steal your man. Or the Lothario that is out to steal your woman.

Your partner is the problem. As cliche as it may sound your partner is the one that made promises to you. Your partner is the one that is supposed to love you. Your partner is the one that is supposed to have your back. They’re not supposed to lie to you, or gaslight you, or betray you.

You can chase off every competitor and you are still with a person who has absolutely no intentions of being faithful. You are with a person who has no shame in blaming you for what happened. You are with a person who continues to lie to you, to be evasive, and to refuse to give you what you need.

Look, I hate it, too. And I’m not saying to not hate the other woman or man. Hate away!

I get it. It’s extremely hard to walk away from a long term relationship. I also know it’s so much easier to be angry at and hate the other woman or other man because so many times you don’t know them. You know your spouse/partner. You love that person. You want to forgive them. You want everything to go back to the way it was. So let’s just blame the other person and convince ourselves that if only they had done the honorable thing and stayed away your life would never have fallen apart.

What about when I do know the other person, Sam? What about when it’s a family member or a close friend? Well, I’ll be the first to say it’s a double betrayal and that person did owe you something. I’ll also say you still have a partner problem. Yes, your best friend or your sister should keep her fucking hands off of your husband. I don’t even understand being attracted to your friend’s partner; they’re like kryptonite to me. The other person in this case absolutely owed you loyalty; they were supposed to have your back. Your partner still betrayed you. They still took that step, knowing it was wrong and that it would hurt you. Yes, your best friend or relative should never have made moves on your partner, but your partner should have refused those advances. You’ve still got a partner problem. You’re with a person who has no problem cheating on you.

I will be the first to admit that I am much more jealous when it comes to the mobster and other women, than I ever was with Jerry Lee. Part of that may have to do with the fact that I’ve been cheated on. Part of that may have to do with the fact that the feelings I have for the mobster are so much more intense than what I felt for Jerry Lee and that I consider him to be the love of my life.

Even so, if another woman were to come on to him I fully expect him to handle it. I could threaten her. I could become unhinged. I could check his phone and spy on him. What does any of that accomplish? Absolutely nothing.

What would accomplish something? Him telling her he’s not interested. I expect nothing less than for him to tell her straight up: I’m not interested. Sam is the love of my life. I would never do anything that might mess that up. Leave me alone. And then him blocking all means of contact.

And I do mean all means of contact. None of this, “But we’re co-workers,” bullshit. None of this, “I can’t change my number because…”. No excuses. No keeping any kind of line of communication open. No testing the waters. No remaining friends because otherwise it would be awkward. No refusal to nip that shit in the bud because you don’t want to be seen as “mean”.

I firmly believe that in most of the cases of an affair partner doggedly pursuing someone else’s beloved, that the beloved wished to be pursued. Or at the very least enjoyed being pursued. Focusing on the fact that the affair partner pursued your partner allows you to ignore the fact that you have a partner problem. You have a partner that enjoys being pursued, flattered, etc. by others.

That’s why me chasing off any of the mobster’s admirers does nothing. Him letting it be known that he’s not interested and shutting that shit down? That speaks volumes. If he doesn’t tell her that he’s not interested and that her pursuit is not flattering, it’s offensive? If he continues to flirt or let her flirt with him? If he refuses to disengage or continues to go places he knows he’ll run into her? If he continues to take her calls or go to lunch with her or continues texting with her? Then as much as I may hate her, I have a partner problem.

There Will Be Bad Days, Part 2

As of Thanksgiving Day I was still waiting for my prescription. My mom let me know she had a blood pressure cuff so I’ve been taking it. My lowest reading was something like 167/102. I had a high reading of 177/114. Not good. I’m sitting here wondering if I’m going to stroke out and leave my kids orphans. And, I can’t donate plasma if my bottom number is over 99 so it’s costing me money as well.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but the 60-90 days timeline I was given after I had my interstate meeting back in September is coming to a close early in December. I emailed my caseworker to ask her what exactly happens in 60-90 days. Is it over and a decision has been rendered? Do they have until that time to set a hearing date? What exactly happens in 60-90 days?

It turns out the state has 60-90 days to receive the case, record it in the computer system, review it, and get it to the appropriate county. THEN, the county has another 45 days, she believes to review and file the case.

Bonus points because Mississippi is having technical issues with their website so she’s not sure where they are in this process. So, maybe they’ve passed it off to the county; maybe they’re still thinking. I don’t know.

I emailed her back and asked her what happened after that. After the county has their 45 days to get their act together then what happens? Then we do the hearing? Then he gets garnished? How many more days, or rather months, is this going to take?

I also mentioned that I had heard it was possible to download garnishment papers from the internet, attach the court order, and send it directly to the company. I told her I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my case and asked if she had any idea how a judge would take that. I figure she’s been around this sort of thing a lot. Maybe she has some anecdotal stories she can share.

The next email back ignores my question about what happens after 45 days and is centered around how she can’t give me legal advice. If I choose to go with sending the papers directly to his company she advises I keep very careful records and keep her informed so she can communicate with the state of Mississippi.

At this point I’ve pretty much had it. She can’t give me legal advice and yet she’s the one who was adamant that I could not submit a new court order from Virginia to whatever state Jerry Lee was living in. Oh hell no. It had to be modified by a judge in that state.

I again asked what I could expect once the case was forwarded to the county. I also told her that the timeline of this process always seems to be changing. First it was 60-90 days period. Then it was 60-90 days to get it to one state and back, and then another 60-90 days to get it to the next state and back. Now I’m being told it’s another 45 days after that. So how much longer after that 45 days? I asked for an approximate end date of all of this bullshit and for some idea on how much time could potentially pass between him finding out he was being garnished and him actually being garnished.

That was the 22nd. I have heard nothing since. She’s probably on vacation this week. Hell, why not? It’s not her kids that are going to go without. It’s not her trying to figure out how to pay her bills and feed her kids. She’s got all the time in the world.

I’m so tired of being invisible. I’m just twisting in the wind. It goes all the way back to my interstate meeting and being told she can’t tell me how much he makes at his new job. He owes me money! The amount of money he owes me is dependent upon his income. I’m expected to go into this hearing blindly, not knowing if I have been jumping through hoops so that he is legally allowed to pay me less in child support. I’m expected to sit back and be patient. However long it takes, it takes. No use rushing it.

Zen can fuck right off. The last time I tried being zen it blew up in my face. That would have been my pool. Construction was supposed to take three weeks. It took ten. Every time we hit another snag, or it rained again, or the die blew up I would tell myself, “Sam, take a deep breath. I know it’s taking forever but once it’s done you’ll have this pool for years to come. You won’t have to go through this again and you’ll have a pool to enjoy every summer from here on out. Next summer it will all be worth it and you can just jump in.” Yeah, that didn’t work out.

I am pretty sure I wrote about my lawyer getting back to me pretty quickly once I told her that while I didn’t want to have to change lawyers I didn’t want to wait another six months with his unpaid legal fees hanging over my head. She apologized profusely, let me know that all of her cases have been going to trial and she hasn’t taken any new clients in months, and that she wouldn’t be able to work on my case until January. She gave me the names of a few lawyers, and said she would forward anything they might need if I would like.

I wrote her back about a week later and told her that if she was confident she could get to my case in January I would be willing to wait. That was November 18th. I’ve heard nothing.

The easiest solution would seem to be to make a call to one of the lawyers she suggested. One of them is a brand new lawyer that interned with her. She may trust that she can handle everything, but I don’t. The other option is well respected and is even on the list of Super Lawyers.

Unfortunately, I’m sure they’re also going to require a $3000 retainer and they will probably charge more per hour than my current lawyer.

It’s easy to say spend the money; it’s worth it; however, my daughter’s medical bills are going to sink me already. I feel guilty enough using my plasma money to buy Christmas presents when this medical bill looms over my head. In addition, it is almost the last day of the month and Jerry Lee has not managed to pay the second half of his self-modified spousal support.

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not enough that the motherfucker shorted me $700 a month while acting like he was out of work. It’s not enough that even when he was called on it he still refused to pay his court ordered support but instead did some strange calculation and paid me that. It’s not enough he has the gall to think I should be grateful for whatever he pays me. No, now he’s not even going to pay the amount that His Highness decided upon.

Sure, maybe it will come on the last day. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the best track record so whenever I don’t have the money in hand before the end of the month I get nervous. Plus, I have the garnishment hanging over my head. I don’t know if he knows and he’s punishing me by not paying, or if he’s just being his typical asshole self.

Once again I’m sitting here thinking, “I’ve had a needle stuck in my arm twice a week since August for Christmas gifts, and now that it’s here I probably shouldn’t buy Christmas gifts. Instead, I should be using that money to buy food and put gas in my car.”

He always finds a way to fuck with me. Every goddamn time I have a plan he finds a way to fuck with me.

First it was when I was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for a graduation party or a gift for Rock Star when she graduated. I finally realized I could use my share of his restricted stock. He would owe me for the next four years. Only he quit his job so he could be closer to the whore. Poof! All that money up in smoke. Back to square one.

Then it was when I finally figured out how I was going to deal with insurance for myself once the divorce was finalized, and when I figured out the logistics of getting a job to supplement my support and getting both kids to their various extracurriculars. That’s when he lost the new job.

The kids and I ended up losing a whole hell of a lot more. We lost our home. We were forced to move out of the state. We were forced to move back to Indiana and in with my mom.

I knew how I was going to pay to break my daughter’s housing contract and I knew how I was going to pay my taxes and he fucked that up when he lost yet another fucking job! He has yet to go back to paying what he is supposed to.

God, I hate him!

There Will Be Bad Days, Part 1

For any of you out there just starting this infidelity/divorce journey I am here to tell you that there will be bad days. It’s a process. One day you will wake up and everything will seem to be going swimmingly. You’ll be in a great mood and feel blessed to be alive. Then the next day you wake up and everything will come crashing down. Doubts will wash over you. You’ll feel like you’re at a standstill. You might even shed a tear or two. Hopefully, it passes quickly and you’re back to feeling grateful and blessed, and pretty darn content.

I had a moment like that on Thanksgiving morning. I was overwhelmed and worrying about things that don’t improve with worry.

The unfairness of it all welled up in me and I wanted to scream. I’m over here in Indiana, living with my mom. My son is dealing with crippling anxiety and I don’t know how to help him. It’s bad enough that even though he’s doing poorly in pre-calculus he can’t ask for help. The nurse practitioner who was willing to dispense anti-anxiety medication to Rock Star like it was candy is reluctant to prescribe it to him. As he said, “When I finally do open up and tell someone about my anxiety I’m told, ‘Well, you’re able to talk to me,’ and nothing else is done.”

I’ve been donating plasma twice a week since August to build up a Christmas nest egg so I’m not going into debt or worrying about how to pay for Christmas gifts. Then my daughter gets sick with some mystery illness.

When she called me crying on Saturday, not wanting to go to the urgent care because it would cost too much, I urged her to go. I have a check on my dresser for an overpayment of a previous medical bill. I have about $120 in my HSA account. Paying for that visit wasn’t going to be a problem.

But now she’s been to the emergency room. I don’t even want to know how much that visit is going to cost. I keep envisioning around $1000, but that’s probably going to turn out to be low. I have no fucking idea how I’m going to pay it.

Then on top of that she’s been to the regular doctor’s as well, which is another $87 I’m going to have to pay.

Meanwhile, Jerry Lee is living in his luxurious 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a fireplace and granite counter tops, in a sought after subdivision.

He has no legal obligation to his daughter. He won’t be contributing to these medical bills. They all fall on me while he continues to pay whatever the fuck he wants to pay, whenever he wants to pay it.

So I envision my plasma Christmas money going down the drain. Instead of spending two days a week, every week, since August with a needle in my arm so that my family has gifts for Christmas, instead it will go to pay for an ER visit.

It doesn’t stop there, of course, because by this time I’m drowning in all the fears and doubts.

It moves on to the mobster. I fear that we are never going to be together, that I am doomed to never be with an every day partner. I spent 20 years married to a person that didn’t share life with me, and now I’ve found the love of my life and he lives 10.5 hours away from me. We do not spend day to day life together. We don’t spend holidays together. We’re not able to be together for the big events in life because of the distance. We see each other every two to three weeks, if we’re lucky. His kids live in Virginia and have no desire to move to Indiana. My kids live in Indiana and at least one of them has no desire to move back to Virginia. In order for us to be together one of us needs to move to where the other lives, and that means one of us is going to have to leave our kids behind.

Don’t get me wrong. I would rather spend every third weekend with him than 24 hours a day with someone else. I know what I’ve gotten myself into and I’m fine with it. As I’ve told him before, if we never live in the same state I’ll be okay with it. I’d rather have that little bit than to have nothing at all.

His new plan is to begin doing in home care. His parents used to do it and all three of his siblings do it now. It is a lot of money and you have a very flexible schedule which would be great, considering the distance. The downside is, unless the family of this person or persons, was willing to let him or her move he wouldn’t be able to bring this person with him when he moves up here. That means he will lose his income stream.

The bottom line is this: He’s got a house where he lives. He’s got a job that pays the bills and lets him buy pretty much whatever he needs; there’s a possibility he could increase his income by several thousand dollars a month. Three out of four of his kids live in his small town that I nicknamed the armpit of Virginia. He has to give all of that up in order to move up here and start all over. It’s crazy and it makes so much more sense for me to move down there.

I don’t need to sell a house. I don’t need to sell a business. It’s not like I’m working my dream job and there’s no way I’ll find another job making as much. But if I move I either need to get a place of my own which means I’m going to be living on a shoestring budget seeing as how I’m now paying rent, utilities, and all food, or I move in with him and must give up spousal support.

He knows I don’t want to rely upon another man once again. I cannot go through losing everything again if he decides he’s tired of me. Until I can live comfortably on my own I am not giving up spousal support.

On top of the money and the mobster fears, I’m frustrated and feeling invisible. I’ve been trying to get my high blood pressure medication called in since last Thursday. I’m still waiting to hear back from my case worker to learn what the hell happens after the county gets the case. After my lawyer quickly got back to me once I asked for her to refer me to someone else if she couldn’t take the case, I am again dealing with radio silence. And, Jerry Lee still has not sent the other half of his self-modified spousal support. Put all those together and you have one very frustrated Sam.