A Petty Confession

I have a petty confession to make. Rock Star and I were talking last week. I told her I had finally told her brother that his dad got married. It happened the same time we set up his Venmo account. He saw the picture of his dad kissing Harley and he says to me, “I suppose this is his pictures. The one of him kissing a ho.” It’s been two years and Daddy Dearest still hasn’t managed to tell either of his kids that he’s remarried.

She said their anniversary was a few weeks ago. I know that. I remember because my mother shared the news with me as I was on my way down to Virginia to throw the mobster his surprise party. I think their actual anniversary is the day before his birthday, so it’s kind of hard to forget. I don’t know the exact date but I do know it’s around the mobster’s birthday.  Anyway….

She goes on to tell me he announced it on Facebook. That was a whole other conversation because I knew she had told me before she wasn’t friends with him. Seems Jerry Lee has two accounts, not that I give a shit either way. Nonetheless, I was being snarky and asked, “So did he gush about how she’s the love of his life and he’s never been happier?” To which she nodded and said, “Pretty much.”

Why do I even care? I don’t want him back. I’ve spent almost five years coming to terms with the fact that I have mourned the loss of the life I had more than I have ever mourned losing him. I’m finally getting to the point where I’m focusing on what is right now, instead of what I had and what I lost. Yet, it still chaps my ass that he goes out of his way to do this shit for her. He never did anything like that for me. Sure, he was only on Facebook for three years out of the twenty that we were married. Technically I suppose we were married 23 years so he was on it for five years. But a review of the timeline shows I signed him up in 2012; by 2013 he was involved with Harley. After discovering I could see all of his activity if I had his Facebook archives I asked for his password. It didn’t work and shortly thereafter he supposedly deleted Facebook because it made him “so unhappy, comparing his life to others and all they have.” He stayed off until I found out about his second affair with Harley in 2015. In other words, he spent most of his time cheating on me when he had a Facebook page. In hindsight I can see why he wasn’t lovey dovey on it; it was his dating app.

December 2013 would have been an excellent time to toss out the “I love you’s” and “You’re the love of my life!”. Maybe even a, “I will spend the rest of my life making things up to you,” or “Thank you for putting up with me and all my bullshit.” Anything really. But nah, he never did. Not one time did he announce our anniversary or make a big deal of it on social media. But he’ll do it for the whore, the woman who actually was still fucking her husband behind his back while he handed her the remainder of his paycheck.

Just like despite knowing how much it bothered me that neither he nor his family ever commented on my pictures and complimented me, he still never bothered. Yet for Harley the Hillbilly Whore he can always find a spare minute to blow smoke up her ass.

On a scale of 1-10 I find this a solid 2. It irks me. It bothers me for some reason; I’m not sure why. It causes me to question how much is image management and how much is real, and if it is real why couldn’t he do that for me? Maybe that’s why it bothers me. Why couldn’t he do it for me? I was married to him for twenty years. I moved all over the damn country for him. I gave him two children. I fixed his fucking plate for him every night. So why not do something like that for me? It’s a big “Fuck you!” from him to me. For the most part though it makes me shake my head and say to myself, “It wasn’t you. It was him.”

It’s easy to fool myself into thinking that they’re just a better couple, more compatible. Good for them! The reality though is that if he had put one fourth of the effort into our relationship that he makes for her we probably wouldn’t be divorced. As much as he likes to lay all the blame at my feet (I wasn’t a good housekeeper. We never had sex. We grew apart. I focused too much on the kids. I treated him like a wallet and a handyman.) he was not a good husband. He made good money and that’s all I can say for him. Oh, he was handy around the house. But as far as putting any effort into me or our relationship? No. He fell short of the mark. Not only did he fall short of the mark, he didn’t care that he fell short of the mark! He was a shitty partner. He was rarely there for me. I was a wife appliance and he treated me as such. I went through most of our marriage alone. Reminding myself of all of that makes me shake my head and say to myself, “It wasn’t you. It was him.” So why does it gnaw at me, even the tiny little bit that it does? Hmmm….

It’s easy to say maybe he knows he’s married to a low down, trifling ho so he figures he better make the big gestures to keep her around. It’s also easy to say it’s like Chump Lady reminds us:  He’s got to make it seem like the love affair of the century to justify what he did to his wife and kids.

Then I look back on the Facebook messages I’ve posted about the mobster. They’re gushy. They’re loving. This past year on his birthday I told him he was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. The past two years I mentioned how even though it was his birthday I was the one that was receiving the gift. We wear matching t-shirts and post them on Facebook. Granted, I don’t post often on Facebook but what I do post is genuine. The mobster and I really are an adorable couple. We are over the moon thrilled to have found one another. No, we are thrilled to have found someone who appreciates the efforts we make and is willing to make an equal effort.

Maybe that’s how Jerry Lee feels as well. Perhaps he believes I just held him back and stomped all over him. I mean, I was emotionally abusive according to him. Plus, she’s probably a better housekeeper which… well, means zilch. Maybe what he really wanted was a wife who made money as well. A wife that wouldn’t put up with his bullshit. A wife who would ooh and ahh over every little thing he did and treat him like he was a king. Maybe she’s a better actress than I am, or was just hungrier for his paycheck than I was. Maybe he really is happier than he’s ever been. Maybe she is the great love of his life. It stings a bit, I suppose, knowing that I was nothing to him. Just a broodmare, a cook, a laundress, a chauffeur, and a bad housekeeper.

Like I said, it’s a solid 2 on a scale of 1-10. In the end it doesn’t matter. They’re two shitty human beings and if being with shit makes him happier then good for him. My guess is it’s a lot of image management. They’re two cheaters and one of them is going to cheat on the other in the end. I know he’s no prize. I know I don’t miss him or want him back. I also know I’ve got the best relationship I’ve ever had with the mobster.

Perhaps it all comes down to realizing that a twenty year marriage didn’t mean a damn thing. He cheated and left after all. Abandoned his kids. So I suppose it makes sense that this new life makes him happier than he’s ever been. If I am happier than I’ve ever been it stands to reason that perhaps he is happier than he’s ever been. Then again, he’s a lying asshole and I’m not.

I don’t think I’m going to get a resolution on this. The best I can hope for is to roll my eyes and let it walk on by. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Fear not, though. I’m not wanting him back. I’m not mourning his loss. I’m simply dealing with yet another slap in the face.

Here’s Your Bitch Cookie

If you’ve gone through a messy divorce with a fuckwit and maybe an accommodating cheating accomplice you have probably heard this before. I don’t ever badmouth you. It’s probably a lie but they tell it to you anyway, hoping you’re too stupid or gullible to know it’s not true. Or maybe you’ve heard it from friends or family members. “I don’t understand all of your hostility towards Bob. He never says anything bad about you!”  As Chump Lady would say, “Here’s your bitch cookie!”

This brings me right back to Jenny Ball’s problem she has when people tell her she needs to move on, get over it; her ex has and she should, too. Well, as I pointed out back then they didn’t go through the same experience. The same can be said about this situation.

I will never forget reading years ago on the old board I used to frequent. It was a debate board for moms and stepmoms, debating the issues that go hand in hand with such a thing. There was a young woman who had been cheated on. Apparently, since she made it through being cheated on she decided to gift another woman with the experience. Her cheating boyfriend divorced his ex and married her. For some unknown reason his ex insisted on 50/50 custody and it turned out the kids liked her. She was pregnant and studying for the bar exam. I don’t remember what exactly was said but I do remember Little Cheating Lawyer To-Be asking how long this woman was going to hate her and hold the affair against her, and saying she didn’t understand why the ex felt the need to badmouth her because she never said anything bad about her.

Huh, that’s a real head scratcher. How long will she hold you fucking her husband behind her back against you? My guess is eternity but I could be wrong. Oh precious, sit over here so we can all comfort you. Yes, you are such a wonderful human being for not speaking ill of the woman whose husband you fucked behind her back. You are an incredible example of humankind by not speaking badly about this woman whose life you entered and ripped apart. She should be thanking you for the part you played in her divorce. You are a peach. Too bad there aren’t more like you out there! Why on earth would this woman, who has lost everything, including her kids who think you’re so wonderful, want to say anything bad about you? I, personally, love to compliment the people who firebomb my life. Said no sane person ever!

You don’t get points for not speaking ill of the person you help destroy. Cheaters and their affair partners who think they are somehow taking the high road can fuck right off. You don’t say bad things about the person you betrayed and left behind because there is nothing bad to say. You are in the wrong. Period. If they want to rage against you and share all of your evil doings with the entire neighborhood that’s their prerogative. You cheated. You lied. You betrayed them. You don’t get to act like you’re an angel because you’re supposedly not saying anything bad about them. You did not have the same experience. One person cheated; the other person got cheated on. Which one of those people do you think might have a bigger complaint against the other?

Same goes for friends and family. “Karen, do you know why you don’t ever hear him talk badly about me? Because he’s in the wrong. There is nothing that I have done or could do that is nearly as bad as what he did to me in blowing up my life for that hillbilly whore. We are not on equal ground.”

Although in my case we all know that Jerry Lee takes every opportunity he can to talk smack about me, even to our kids that he abandoned.

Hey kids! I know I walked away without saying a word. I know I haven’t bothered to come see you one single time see I walked out that door. But let me tell you how horrible your mother is. You know? The one that has raised you since I took a powder. The one that donated plasma for months on end to be sure to be able to afford Christmas for you. The one that has been there for every milestone and every tear. Yeah, her. Let me trash talk her to you.

Huh. That’s rich. Funny that the cheater has so many complaints about me and my behavior. It’s really funny because I don’t badmouth him to the kids. Mock him? Sure, but only if the kids start it. Badmouth him to my friends and family? You betcha. The reality though isn’t that I’m badmouthing him. I’m simply telling the truth. The truth makes him look really bad. Well, his behavior makes him look really bad.

When you think about it, what could Jerry Lee really say about me? God knows he’s said plenty but 99% of it has been an outright lie. What could he truthfully say about me? I’m a terrible housekeeper? I run out and buy fast food too often for dinner? Oh the horrors! He already tried that routine in court. He lost. Yet my perceived faults pale in comparison to what the two of them did.

What could Harley the Whore say about me?  Is she going to whine because I call her a whore on my blog? Is she going to complain that I point out her lengthy arrest record and compare her multiple mugshots? Don’t fuck married men and I won’t call you a whore. Stop getting arrested and I won’t have more mugshots to compare. She knows nothing about me except what my lying ex has told her. I didn’t invade her life. She invaded mine. Quite frankly I think she absolutely knew what she was doing the entire time. She wanted someone who could support her expensive habits and Jerry Lee fit the bill.

For those keeping score: I was not always a fantastic housekeeper. I would sometimes let the laundry go for weeks before doing any (remember, we had a lot of clothes- no one was wearing dirty clothes). I didn’t make a home cooked meal every night. On the other hand, he was cheating on me. He had begun to drink heavily. He locked himself up in the bedroom and cried all the time. He cut me off financially while he spent like a drunken sailor on Harley and her kids. He abandoned his own kids. He lied repeatedly. He tried to get me to send naked pictures to him while he was with her. He showed naked pictures of me to her and God only knows who else. He has called me disgusting names, mocked me, disrespected me, and been condescending in his dealings with me. He has repeatedly ignored court orders and he left us penniless for 10 whole months while draining his smaller 401k. He told me he lost his job and was working to find another one and then never bothered to let me know he had another one. As for Harley?  She was sleeping with my husband. She freely took thousands of dollars that should have gone to his kids. She posted all over social media about her relationship with him and when she got called out for it she blocked my daughter, probably so she couldn’t “go and whine to her daddy” again. She cheated on her own husband. She cheated on Jerry Lee with her estranged husband. She gleefully got rid of her middle son. In her quest for happiness; she now has one out of her four children living with her.

Call me crazy but I don’t see how me not being the greatest housekeeper and not keeping on top of laundry amounts to being worse than what they’ve done. I can hear it now.

“Jerry Lee left Sam for his cousin. He lost his job and he refused to help support his kids. With the exception of Rock Star’s graduation he hasn’t gone up to see either kid in over 4 years. Sam and the kids lost their home and had to move 600 miles back to Indiana.”

“That may be but did you ever see the pile of laundry in the bedroom?”

“What does that have to do with anything? He cheated on his wife and abandoned his kids.”

“You can’t blame him. I would have left, too, if my house was in such disarray. And don’t even get me started on how often she would run out and pick up food instead of making it with her own two hands!”

Don’t believe the whole “I never say anything bad about you,” narrative anyway. It’s generally fake AF. They may not say it to your face. In some instances they may not even say it to the kids. But they are definitely spreading their own narrative. That’s why there is this insistence to tell everyone that you “grew apart” and to make the split look amicable. You follow the party line; meanwhile, they are trashing your character to anyone who will listen. They simply do it on the down low.

In the end it doesn’t matter. Liars are going to lie. The next time someone tells you that your cheater never says anything bad about you tell them, “Here’s a bitch cookie. Feel free to give it to them.”

Welcome To the Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Been 14 Years…

Maybe I wasn’t writing this blog when I first read this. Maybe there was so much turmoil going on in my own life this seemed like nothing in comparison.

My old steady debate board had a post entitled: I had lunch with the OW.

In this particular situation she and her husband had dated for 10 years before marrying. They were married around 7 years, I believe, with 2 little girls, aged 7 and 4, when she discovered her husband was having an affair and had in fact gotten the OW pregnant. Deliberately.

For many years she was quite blatant in her disdain for the OW, and how she had absolutely no use for her.

Fun fact: He never married the OW and is now cheating on her with somebody else. The original OW actually had the nerve to email the now ex-wife and complain about it.

What happened, apparently, is that there was a death in the family and she attended the memorial luncheon with her daughters. She wrote that not only were they in the same room for the first time ever, but they had sat at the same table. Someone else asked her how that conversation went.

This is what she said:

She walked right up to me when I walked in and held out her hand and said, “I think with all this time past, we should, you know..”

And I shook her hand and said, “Yes, life moves on.”

Maybe it’s true that time heals all wounds. I tend to doubt it. Maybe time dulls the pain but I don’t think it heals it.

I’m astounded at the hubris of the OW. I think with all this time past…

Huh. Who knew? It only takes 14 years for it to become okay for the OW to have slept with her husband. Enough time has passed that the fact that she deliberately set out to get pregnant by another’s woman husband is a moot point. Now that 14 years have passed it makes it okay that the OW threatened to sue her if she dared to tell others, specifically the OW’s employer, that the OW was pregnant with a married man’s baby. Fourteen years later and the ex-wife should put the past in the past and forget about the time she called to confront the mistress and the mistress threatened to take legal action against her. Fourteen years has wiped out the fact that her husband left her in financial peril, that he bullied her into quitting a job where she made more than him, and then promptly began sleeping with the OW. Fourteen years later and it no longer matters or hurts that her daughters grew up without their father in their lives everyday, while the OW’s daughter lived with him. Fourteen years later and it no longer matters that the post writer had her best friend and partner stolen from her, that she has gone through all of life’s biggest events alone, that she has shouldered the burden of house repairs, taking care of elderly parents, and doing the majority of the child rearing.  Interesting.

I’m only four and a half years out so maybe that’s why I’m not so magnanimous but I still clearly remember every damn thing Jerry Lee did to me while Harley was along for the ride. I’m in no mood to forgive.

I always love it though when the OW decides to be the bigger person. Not tough to do when you haven’t lost anything. Poor little OW. No one recognizing how nice and sweet she is to the betrayed wife. Sure, she’s fucking your husband but she’s not calling you names or saying mean things about you to your kids. Why can’t you do the same for her?

A little later on the writer says they’re not going to be best friends or anything. She’s more indifferent and doesn’t have the time or energy to scratch her eyes out. She also said that it could be time dulling everything. She’s glad that he’s her problem now (remember, he’s cheating on the OW with an OW now, too).

I would love to say that in fourteen years (or would that be more like 9 years?) if I ever had to be in the same room as Harley I wouldn’t “scratch her eyes out.” Alas, it took my mom over 30 years to get to that point with my dad and stepmom. Not that she didn’t allow them in her home plenty of times or that she ever attacked anyone. But, nowadays she will actually meet them for lunch or breakfast when she’s driving Rock Star down to school. That will never happen in my situation. I would rather slather honey all over my body and roll around on an ant hill than have a meal with Jerry Lee and Harley. Okay, true confession- I really don’t want to do that either, but I really don’t want to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the two of them. I don’t want to share cocktail hour with them. Light h’ors d’oeuvres. Nothing. Stay the fuck away from me, you two jackasses.

Hell, I’m glad I no longer have to deal with him and that he’s her problem now and I’m only 4 1/2 years out. I will still never shake her hand. She extends that thing she better be prepared for it to be ignored or broken.

I am happier with the mobster than I ever was with Jerry Lee. Yet I will never forgive either of them for the hell they put me through. The passing of time does not mean that my life being blown apart didn’t happen. No matter how much time has passed it will never change the fact that I lost everything thanks to them and their affair. I will never forget having to go through my entire house and put price tags on everything. I will never forget having to leave behind the majority of everything I owned. It will never change the fact that I was forced out of my home, or that my kids were forced to give up yet another set of friends, or that I worked my ass off just to provide the basics while they lived it up. The passing of time will never give me back my life as I once knew it. It will never restore everything that was lost. It won’t put money in my retirement fund. It won’t buy me a house. It won’t make me financially independent. It will never replace the time I lost with my kids. It won’t make up for the lackluster performance I’ve given as my children’s mother these last 3 years or so. Time will never erase the past.

No, what I’m left with are the pieces of my life that they blew up. Of course, time will see an increase in my retirement fund. But it’s going to be a much lower retirement fund than if my husband hadn’t run off with his whore cousin. Bloody pieces of my life. Maybe, one day, far in the future I may be able to buy a home. But maybe I won’t. I refuse to buy some disgusting piece of crap just to say I have a home of my own. I’m not going to settle and it may very well turn out that I can’t afford anything I like. Regardless it sure as hell won’t be anything like I used to live in. Another bloody piece of my life.

My friends and family talk about what a great memory I have. Some of my longtime friends are amazed at the shit I remember. It can be a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have those memories, but at the same time it means that fourteen years wouldn’t do shit for me as far as forgiving. I will never forgive either of them for what they did to me. I am perfectly fine with that.

A Whole New Decade

Happy New Year! It’s 2020. Others say it’s the end of the decade. I say 2020 is actually the end. The new decade will begin next year in 2021. Sorry to rain on your parade. Nevertheless, isn’t this exciting? All those years watching the show 20/20 (which the mobster was on, btw) and thinking about how cool it would be when it finally was the year 2020. What would they call the show then?

I like to say that this will be the year of hindsight. The mobster says it’s the year of clarity. Yes, we are that obnoxious couple that laughs heartily at our own corny jokes.

I’d like to tell you I had an incredible New Year’s Eve. The fact is I don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve. I feel like it’s one of those holidays where everyone wants you to think it’s this amazing time and everyone is having fun. I’ve never really had an amazing New Year’s Eve. Most of the time it’s disappointing and at best, it’s okay.

I think one of my best New Year’s Eve celebrations was back when we lived in Olive Branch and had a fairly large group of friends. We went over to another couple’s house along with a few other couples and we played board games and ate delicious food. It was low key and lovely.

Two years ago I was with the mobster. We were at WinterFest up at Liberty University. That was another good night, but mainly because of who I was with.

Last night I fell asleep sitting up on the couch at around 11:30. I woke up around 3:30 and crawled into bed. No ball drop for me this year.

I also don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions. I know they are rarely achieved. I know they are mostly forgotten within the first few weeks of the new year. When I do make resolutions I like to keep them something easy, like moisturize more, floss more regularly. Sadly, I can’t even get the hang of the flossing thing.

I do, however, like the thought of choosing a word for the year. Anne wrote about it on her blog earlier this week.

I’m not sure if the outcome will be any different because there is still a goal but I like it. I’ve decided that my word for the year 2020 will not be hindsight, as I originally thought, but change.

I need change. The post I wrote the other day turned into a pity party. It’s very easy to fall into that pattern when I think back to all the time that has passed. It’s been four years since discard and I don’t have an amazing new life. I have an okay life.

I mean, the mobster is amazing. I definitely have a fantastic new partner in my life but that is not something I control, if that makes sense. If he up and leaves me that one fantastic part of my new life is over and done. I’m back to my life being “eh”. To be clear I don’t think he’s going to leave me any time soon, if ever, but unlike something such as going back to school or getting a new job, I have no control over the outcome of our relationship. It is dependent upon him and his desires as well.

I am thankful for my children. I am thankful for my mom. I realize I’m very lucky to have a mom who is willing to house me and my kids and dogs. I realize I’m fortunate that I’m not dealing with kids on drugs or who are suicidal. They haven’t shunned me in favor of their father as some have experienced. All three of them are healthy, despite Rock Star’s recent repeat trips to the Urgent Care and ER.

I suppose I could heed Clarence’s words in “It’s a Wonderful Life”: Remember, no man (or woman) who has friends is a failure. I do have many remarkable friendships. That’s one of the things that has impressed the mobster. I do, and I’m very grateful for that, even if so many of them are so very far away.

I don’t want to give the impression that I have nothing to live for; however, there is much room for improvement. I want to be independent again. I realize I wasn’t ever truly independent once I married Jerry Lee. His job was what allowed us to live the way we did. It was never me. I can (and will) take credit for the fact that I was in the background doing what needed to be done and never prevented him from making those moves that afforded us a better lifestyle, but I never made the money.

I would like to either live in my own house with my own things once again, or live with the mobster, and know that if he leaves me I’ll be okay and can afford to be out on my own.

I would like to work at a job that pays me enough to live on. I realize that for what I make my car payment is way too expensive. We bought it less than a year before my life blew up. We took the longest loan with the smallest payment because we planned to use big chunks of his bonus check each year to pay it off. While the loan may have been for six years we planned to have it paid off in two or three. Nonetheless, it ended up being a $365 payment each month. That was fine when I was living on almost ten grand a month. Not so much when my entire paycheck for the 2 week period was somewhere between $550-$650.

I know this is long and rambling but my point is even dismissing my car payment I don’t have much to live on after the bills are paid. Once that is done and over I’ll have $640/month. Even paying off all of my credit cards still only nets me around $900/month. I have no rent or utilities to pay right now, so finding a place of my own with what I make would take every bit of that and probably more. My job does not pay me enough money to live on. Period. That needs to change.

I’ve mulled over career choices. I don’t know if going back to school for my Masters or a different degree is a viable option or not. I’ve given thought to going back to be a nurse, a forensic accountant, a teacher, a social worker, and a school guidance counselor. I’ve eliminated two of those.

Maybe 2020 will see me back in school. Maybe I’ll find something that pays more that doesn’t require a degree. Who knows. I just know it’s time for a change.

I need to lose weight. This isn’t the, “Oh, I want to fit back into my size 2 jeans,” kind of needing to lose weight. For the record, I was never a size 2, even at my thinnest. No, this is more of a, “I hate the way I look and feel and my blood pressure is out of control,” kind of needing to lose weight.

It’s the blood pressure thing more than anything. I used to have terrific blood pressure. I remember one time having my blood pressure taken and then the nurse took it a second time. Then she asked me if I was an endurance athlete because my blood pressure was so low. Even then I had to reply, “Do I look like I’m any kind of an athlete?”

I don’t remember for certain when it started to climb but I do know at my last exam before the discard it was higher than normal. But, the divorce diet led to a 20-25 pound weight loss and the next time I went in, which was December of 2015, my blood pressure was perfect. It’s definitely a weight thing.

My health is primary but I also hate the way I look anymore and the fact that I’m outgrowing the majority of my clothes.

The mobster would love to see me drink more water and less diet Coke. More change.

I still have running a marathon on my bucket list. Kinda tough to do when you don’t even run a mile.

I think about all the things I believe I would like to do- learn to play hockey, learn to knit and crochet. Wow- that was a shorter list than I thought. Still, those are things I could learn to do, even at my age.

Even in my current situation there can be financial change. Taking charge and making a huge effort to pay off everything I owe. Considering where I once was it’s not a lot. Considering how much I make it is a lot.

The big change I hope to see is finally having Jerry Lee garnished and finally taking him back to court for the court fees he owes. I’d like to have all of that behind me once and for all. No more need to text him to ask about payments. No more wondering when this would finally all be over. No more being frustrated over the shit he is allowed to get away with. No more having to do with hundreds, if not thousands, less whenever he decides he needs the money more than I do.

Anyway, that’s my word of the year- change. We’ll see if anything does change.

In the meantime I have managed to accomplish some things.

  1. I got Picasso into counseling. He had an appointment within a day after I finally reached someone at the counseling center.

    2. Rock Star has her sophomore year paid for. Yes, it’s due to loans but it’s paid for. And she will be applying to nursing school this upcoming semester.

    3. I got a new position in my department and I finally got to move over to my new desk. I don’t make much more than I did before but it’s a step up instead of a step down.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for some well-deserved change in the upcoming year.

A Toast

Today would have been my 25th wedding anniversary. I’m not bemoaning the fact that I’m no longer married to Jerry Lee, but it does seem that 25 years would have been quite the accomplishment.

I always used to like to tell the story of how I was almost late for my own wedding. The hair stylists were in absolutely no rush to get me, Jezebel, or my maid of honor done. They keep assuring me, “Don’t worry, honey. You’re the bride; they’re not going to start without you.”

Once we were finally finished my maid of honor and I were speeding down one of our main streets at about 75 miles per hour, trying to get to the church on time. We ran past guests arriving at the church.

On the plus side I didn’t have a lot of time to get nervous or emotional. It was pretty much get there, get dressed, walk down the aisle.

Despite how it all turned out December 10, 1994 was a pretty good day. I was young and thin. My entire life was ahead of me and it was filled with endless possibilities. Everything was good that day. Everything was untouched, unvarnished, unsullied. It was a joyous occasion.

Jennifer Ball of The Happy Hausfrau has a Facebook page as well. What would have been her 26th wedding anniversary was about 2 weeks ago. She wrote a brilliant post that day.

Today would have been my 26th wedding anniversary. And for a couple of seconds I thought about writing something. Something about could have beens and what ifs.

And then I said F THAT. I poured myself a glass of wine… and decided to make a toast.

Today I’m going to follow in her footsteps (minus the wine because it’s late and it will put me to sleep) and give a toast of my own.

This year, almost two years after being officially divorced and four years after having been discarded I’m raising my glass high.

I’m raising a glass to the fact that I have survived. I spent a lot of time crying and a lot of time wishing for death but I’m still here, stronger than ever. I have hated most of what I have gone through and the things I’ve had to do, the changes I’ve had to make, but I did it and I am stronger than he will ever be. He didn’t defeat me. Stupid little me who had been out of the workforce for 15 years and was dependent upon him filed for divorce and left his ass.

I’ve survived living under the same roof as him for six months after discovering what a lying, cheating asshole he was. I survived a divorce that went on for two years. I survived him not paying any kind of support at all for 10 months. I survived him slashing child support in half. I’ve survived him cutting spousal support down on his own as well. I’ve survived his slurs against me, him hacking into my Facebook account, him trying to turn my kids against me, and him harassing the mobster.

I’m raising a glass in my honor because I have continued to do the hard work of raising two children by myself.

There are a lot of people out there who will argue that if your ex pays support you’re not a single parent and you’re not doing it on your own. I’ll be the first to tell you that the money definitely helps. I’ll also be the first to tell you to shut your fucking mouth when you bring that shit around.

He sends money, when he wants and how much he wants. But he’s never the one leaving work and running down to the ER to be with a sick kid. He’s never available to leave work to take a kid that has missed his bus to school. He’s never there to talk to his kids. He’s never there to take them to a friend’s house or run them to the mall or to take them out to eat. He doesn’t pick his son up after his various clubs get out every night of the week. He’s not running to the store and picking up lunch supplies. He’s not the one they come to with their problems, their joys, their achievements.

Rock Star is almost through her first year and a half of college. She’s driven and smart and she’s going to be an incredible nurse one day in the very near future. Picasso is once again getting a D in math and somehow does not have an A in orchestra. Nevertheless, he’s a good kid. He’s funny and kind and despite his grades he is a very smart kid. One day I have high hopes he will get his driver’s license. When that day comes I will be here to celebrate with him; his father will not.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I have finally realized how toxic Jerry Lee was and how hollow our relationship was. I realize now how small I made my needs over the years of being married to him, and have resolved to never do that again. I have the absolute best partner a woman could ask for. I’m so lucky in that regard. I think that definitely deserves a toast.

For the first time ever I’m with someone who is happy. I’m with someone who makes me happy.  I’m with someone who thinks I’m amazing and can do all things. I’m with someone who is romantic and who enjoys pleasing me and making me happy. I’m with someone who appreciates the things I do for him as well. I’m with someone who laughs at my jokes and listens to me ramble on about everything- Candy Crush, bad traffic, stupid fast food restaurants that mess up my order, that guy on the bicycle who insists upon riding into traffic on a busy road with no bike lane. I’m with someone who let’s me vent and doesn’t expect me to be happy all the time or to never get upset or disappointed. He treats me like an actual person and not just an extension of himself or as a wife appliance. I’m real and I matter.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I’m back in the workforce for the first time in 15 years. My mom retired at age 52. I will have been working again for 5 years at that point. I’m starting over when others are at the pinnacle of their careers and/or looking forward to retirement. It’s not glamorous or fulfilling. It certainly doesn’t pay well. But I’m here. I’m doing it. Who knows? Maybe one day I will actually work a job that pays me enough to live on.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I don’t ever have to keep pick me dancing anymore. Those goal posts aren’t going to continue to move. I don’t have to feel like I’m never good enough or that I’m always a disappointment.

I’m raising a glass and giving a toast because I’m getting there. I’m getting to a place of acceptance. I’m letting go of my old life. I’m no longer mourning as intensely as I once did. I’m trying to see the positives. Like how I get to regularly see my oldest friends now that I’m no longer living hundreds of miles away. Like how both of my kids will graduate from my alma mater. Like how living with my mom isn’t a death sentence. There is definitely an upside to living with her and having three generations under one roof.

I’m raising a glass because I can finally look back on the many experiences I have had throughout my life and be grateful for them, even if they did end. I loved my life and friends in Olive Branch. I loved my life and friends in Utah. I even enjoyed my life in Michigan and Virginia. But those were just chapters, not the whole story. There will be more chapters. More adventures. Hopefully more friends.

I’m raising a glass to my dogs- Beau, Laila, and Milo. All three of them helped me get through those first few months when I found out my life was tumbling down. They slept with me in that big king size bed, making it seem a little cozier. They were all by side. Many a nights I would fall asleep in the recliner of our sectional with Milo on my lap, Beau right beside me, and Laila on the couch. I didn’t sleep a lot in those first few months- a few hours here, a nap there.

They watched me as I stomped on my cake topper and my wine glasses, as I smashed things to smithereens.They comforted me while I cried and calmed me down when I thought I was losing my mind. My sweet Beau Beau is no longer with us but I’m toasting him anyway.

I’m raising a glass to all my friends who supported me throughout this ordeal. So many people called and texted to check on me. I returned the favor and called and checked on those who were also going through the same hell. I’m forever grateful to those who cared and who to this day continue to check on me. I’m grateful for their anger on my behalf. I’m grateful to them for lifting me up and telling me how wonderful I am and how awful he is. I’m grateful to my favorite backyard neighbor who has faithfully done my taxes every year since I’ve been divorced (or at least trying to get divorced). I’m grateful for the two friends who sent me birthday flowers on my birthday from hell the year after I was forced to leave my house and move back to Indiana. I’m grateful for the friend who sent me a huge wine basket filled with wine and various snacks on my first single Valentine’s Day in 20 years. Those are the people in my tribe. Cheers to you!

I’m raising a glass to this blog as well. I love that I get to tell my story. I have a forum to say whatever I want. I can cut through all the bullshit that accompanies cheating and divorce and reconciliation. I actually have people who read this thing. Hell, this blog is how I met the mobster. Let’s do a double shot for that! Thank you to all of you who are reading.

Finally, I’m raising a glass to myself because I got rid of a lying cheater. I don’t have to wonder anymore if he’s still in contact with her. I don’t have to worry about triggers related to them. I don’t feel bad anymore about our relationship because it’s over. I don’t ever feel like I’m settling anymore. I don’t cry about our relationship. I am never hurt over his treatment of me. I never have to sit there and think, “How can he say he loves me and then turn around and do that?” I never have to feel like I’m wasting my life or wonder if it ever gets better. I’m free. I know it gets better. I know there is more out there. I have it now.

Cheers!

For My Daughter… & My Son

Have you heard Kane Brown’s newest single? It’s called, “For My Daughter” and it’s his  promise to his daughter to be the dad he never had.

I’m not going to lie. I teared up a little bit listening to it. It tugs at the heartstrings. I hope he lives up to all of his promises. That little girl will be incredibly lucky.

I did like how he acknowledges that they say the past is supposed to shape you, but then goes on to say, “Well, I guess that’s up to me.” Far too often what we get are excuses instead of explanations. His father left him. He survived an abusive stepfather. He could easily shrug his shoulders and say, “What do you expect from me? I don’t know any different.” Instead, he tells his daughter, “I learned what not to do. I grew up without a dad. I’m gonna be the best one I can be.”

You know, when my daughter was born I remember Jerry Lee crying, his voice full of wonder as he said to me, “We have a daughter.” My friend reminded me of the story of all of us going out to dinner and him remaining focused on Rock Star the entire night. Apparently I said something to the effect of, “If nothing else I know he will always be a great dad to our children.” I honestly thought I had picked someone who would never abandon his children. Someone who wanted to give his own kids what his own father never gave him. Someone who wanted to coach Little League and teach them how to hit a baseball. Someone who would be there to cheer them on in whatever they chose to do. Someone who would want to spend time with them and create family memories. I thought he loved them.

Since I made such a colossal mistake in choosing a father for my children I’ve taken to re-writing the lyrics a bit. To both my daughter and my son:

They say dads are supposed to shape you, in a way I guess yours did.

You know what not to do if you ever have a kid

They say history repeats itself

Well, I guess that’s up to you

Yeah I’m sorry ’bout your dad

but I’m gonna be the best mom I can be.

That’s how I sing it now. Chin up, chitlins. You both know what not to do- from cheating on your partner to abandoning your kid. You can let this change you for the worse or you can tell him to suck it and be the best damn people you can be. Don’t let him win. It sucks to be abandoned and discarded by your dad, but your mama loves you. I’m going to do my best to make his absence go unnoticed. I’m going to love you both so hard you’ll hardly miss him. I’m going to do my best to make up for his failings.

The Pursuit Of Happiness Fallacy

What seems like eons ago, when in reality it was back in June, there was an article posted on Huffington Post about two wing nuts that got together through their mutual love of the Oregon Country Fair, or “Fair”, as the “family” knows it. Tracy Schorn UBT’d it over on Chump Lady and Jennifer Ball posted about it on her Happy Hausfrau Facebook page.

The quick recap: “Ruby” and Paul spent 16 years working “Fair” in Oregon. One day, while peeling potatoes the feelz hit ‘em real hard and they realized they were destined to be together. While his wife and kids were away on vacation Paul invited Ruby over for a “picnic”. They spent the week together navel gazing and justifying their behavior. It was a love that could not be denied. When his wife came back into town he told her he was leaving her for another woman and Ruby left her husband as well. Ruby was simply stunned that her ex-husband didn’t chase after her, begging for another chance, and was equally shocked that Paul’s ex-wife didn’t bow out without a fight. I’m pretty sure if I remember correctly they are now married (going on 4 years of blissful happiness) and own a pot farm.

Even more vomit worthy than the article were the comments. These are just a few of the stand out gems:

Love isn’t ownership. I’ve walked and I’ve had others walk. Learn and grow and move on. Stop blaming people for loving someone.

Good on them. No point continuing a BS relationship just to conform to everyone else’s BS relationships/marriages. Life’s too short and too long to live a lie just to please church goers. Obviously they’re against real love anyway.

In response to someone saying that people who cheat on their spouses have a character flaw: We all have character flaws. People who stay in a loveless marriage also have a character flaw. They keep their spouse from meeting someone who will love them.

Yes, it’s a kick in the teeth when your spouse says they’ve fallen in love with someone else, and hard for the kids to deal with two homes, new step-parents, etc. But I can’t think of anything worse than reaching old age, the kids gone with lives of their own, moved to other states even, only to call on holidays and birthdays, and you being stuck immobile or infirm as time ravages your body, depending on someone you don’t love, haven’t loved in a long time, are disappointed with and sad to be around, and knowing you could have been happy, could have actually had a life worth living, years of love, sharing, fulfilling companionship, etc. and missed your chance.

Don’t stay somewhere you are not happy, life is too short! People like to pass judgement based on their own fears and insecurities. Let people live!

…way too many people stay in miserable marriages and hate their lives. Glad they’re happy.

People that are brave enough to admit their faults, their choices, their lives, always get very “righteous” people judging them… you could see that both of them were unhappy in their marriages before they “found each other”.Are people supposed to live a mediocre and unhappy life forever because of what looks good for society rules? No. I don’t think so.

Wow, so much hate because someone fell in love with another person and left a toxic situation.

Life is short, some people will stay miserable to “do the right thing” and never really live a happy life which is ok… but it’s also ok to make the decision to find happiness.

My husband left me for a younger woman. I’m happy for them. My 10 year marriage was unhappy. He wasn’t happy. I let him go be happy. It’s the mature thing to do.

They are both adults who made a questionable decision, but I’m sure all involved are better off, No one deserves to live unhappily ever after because of their “responsibility” to someone else’s feelings.

Let me remind you what Thoreau said:

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To paraphrase Rock Star, “I. cannot. even. with all of those asinine comments.”

I love how everyone believes that if you’re in a toxic relationship you’re entitled to cheat. God forbid you realize you’re in a bad situation and actually get the fuck out without having someone else waiting on you.

Wait a second! Are you telling me I can actually end a relationship before I have another one waiting in the wings? I can leave someone who makes me unhappy and sucks the life right out of me even if I don’t have another person I’m going to immediately be involved with?

Yes! Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying!

Then why in the fuck didn’t they tell me that? I’ve been stuck in this miserable relationship for the last ten years because I didn’t have time to set up a Tinder profile! Or volunteer at Fair.

I don’t know what to tell you, Sparky. You’ve always had the option of leaving. This remains a free country and more importantly, divorce is legal.

Quick question. Who will have sex with me once I kick my spouse/partner to the curb? Who will hold my hand while I go through this divorce? Who will tell me how awesome I am and how horrible my spouse was? And who’s going to pitch in and do all the things my spouse used to do?

Ah, that is the kicker, isn’t it? It’s not that these cheaters don’t realize they can leave a toxic relationship; it’s that they’re lazy. They don’t want to leave until they’ve got the replacement lined up.

Look, I don’t think anyone advocates staying in a miserable marriage. I know I don’t. I’ve always said you’ve got a couple of choices. The two good choices would be you can try to fix it or you can end it. The two bad choices would be you cheat on your spouse under the guise of unhappiness or toxicity, or you suffer through it for years on end.

About that so-called unhappy/toxic relationship. Cheaters lie. Mine lied a lot. It’s amazing to me how many people who have been cheated on talk of their cheaters telling them how much they loved them, how they couldn’t live without them, how these had been the best fill-in-the-blank years of their lives, how they were the love of their life, they were their rock and salvation, and sunshine shot out of their asses.

Hell, even ol’ Jerry Lee claimed that I was his rock. My family was his only real family. He wanted to renew vows. He wanted to have another baby with me so I couldn’t leave him.

A year later I was a mentally abusive spouse who never supported him and hadn’t had sex with him in ten years.

The story has to change when they start doing shitty things. It excuses the shitty things they’re doing.

So many of them focus on “ownership” and not staying if you’re unhappy. I truly don’t think most people think any of this through. We’re not talking about a summer romance here. We’re not talking about a couple who has dated a year or two. We’re talking about, in this case in particular, two people who were married to other people. They made plans with each other. They bought houses. They may have moved across the country. In one case they had two children together. The time to figure out the relationship is not working for you is before you get married and certainly before you bring children into it.

And again, I’m not advocating staying in a loveless or toxic relationship but, Jesus Christ, could maybe someone put a little effort into maintaining their current relationship, the one that did produce those children, before they decide the potato peeler is the new love of their life? I think the innocent children in these situations deserve a little bit more than, “Golly, I just wasn’t happy. Mommy didn’t support me quitting my full-time job and becoming a pot farmer.” Grow the fuck up! It is not just about you anymore.

That seems to be the popular refrain. You’ve got two choices. You either wait out a miserable life being trapped in an unhappy relationship or you cheat on your spouse and get the hell out. Repairing your current relationship never seems to be a solution. What an antiquated idea!

I loved the one that posited, “I’m sure they’re all better off. No one deserves to live unhappily ever after because of their responsibility to someone else’s feelings.”

What kind of bullshit minimizing is that? It’s a marriage. It’s a legally binding relationship. If he’s in the hospital, as his wife I will be the one deciding whether to pull the plug or not. Our lives are entwined. Our money is combined, I’m taking care of his children. I’m keeping his house and doing his laundry. Do not reduce it to some kind of half baked responsibility to my feelings. No, I’ve created a life with this person. We have made plans for our future. When he decides he no longer has a responsibility to my fucking feelings he’s not just hurting my fee fees he’s fucking with my life.

How does this person know that everyone is better off? Maybe the kids have psychological problems stemming from this. Maybe his ex-wife is struggling to keep a roof over her kids’ heads. Maybe she’s working two or three jobs to keep afloat. Maybe his ex-wife was a depressed, suicidal mess for months, if not years, after this happened and his kids were barely being taken care of because their mother was unable to function. This idea that everyone magically pairs up with someone new and has this fantastic life now is magical thinking designed to excuse people like this.

Look at Jennifer Ball. She’s lived just above the poverty line ever since her husband left. She raised four kids on her own. The jackass ex was rarely around. He was far too busy with his ho-worker and their two new spawn. Is she better off? I think she would tell you that she’s happy and counts her blessings, but better off? I don’t think so.

I’m going to have to invoke my John Walsh analogy one more time. He’s got a lucrative career on television because of what happened to his sweet little boy, Adam. Had he never been kidnapped and murdered John never would have done the work he’s done with missing children or going after wanted fugitives. But I think anyone would have a hard time arguing, “Oh, he’s better off.” Quite honestly, I think anyone stupid enough to say that to him deserves a punch to the throat.

I also appreciated the person who declared that, yes, it is a kick in the teeth to get dumped, and golly, it’s probably hard on the kids to deal with a change in their lifestyle, two different homes, and potential step-families, but gee whiz, wouldn’t it suck to get to old age and realize you’re with someone you don’t want to be with.

Yes, it’s slightly disappointing when you find out you’re being cheated on and deceived. It kinda sucks when you have to return to the workforce after being a stay at home mom for 15 years and you don’t get paid enough to actually support your kids and have a home of your own. 

Sure, the kids do sometimes struggle. I mean, I’ve got one who now thinks he shouldn’t have to even complete high school because it’s pointless and another one who calls me up crying because her anxiety is out of control. They both suffer from anxiety but one gets stressed and cries, and the other finds it difficult to reach out for help and fails school. Neither one of the kids dealt with anxiety or depression when their father and I were together but hey, if one of them winds up killing themselves it’s worth it so long as their dad is happy, right? The kids are collateral damage. Don’t get too attached.

Yes, the real travesty isn’t one parent living in poverty or kids having anxiety attacks or lives being upended. The real travesty is finding out after the kids have left home that you are in a loveless relationship and you were too much of a chicken shit to actually do anything to improve your relationship, or to end it the correct way.

I think my favorite comment though was the one who said that people in loveless marriages have a character flaw because they are keeping their spouse from meeting someone who will love them.

What the what? First of all, maybe the spouse in the loveless marriage doesn’t think they’re in a loveless marriage. Maybe they think they’re in a very happy marriage. Second of all, if you’re both in a loveless marriage, but only one person goes off and cheats while the other person remains faithful, why in the fuck is it the faithful partner’s responsibility to get out of the marriage? Oh, I’m sorry. Why is it their responsibility to make sure their spouse finds someone who will love them? I would think it would behoove the person who can’t keep it in their pants to get out of the marriage before it comes to that.

That whole comment is just one big mindfuck.

Oh, your partner cheated on you? That’s not a big deal. Move on and get over it.

Oh, you stayed in a loveless marriage but didn’t cheat? You horrible person! How can you keep your wonderful spouse from finding love? I hope you rot in hell!

I’m going to say it one more time. I’m not against ending an unhappy marriage. Hell, I would advocate for ending unhappy relationships far sooner than most of us do. Most of us who stay, even when things aren’t going great, do so for good intentions. We do it  because we want what’s best for our kids. We believe in commitment and working through the hard times. We think about things other than ourselves and our own happiness. We regularly put others ahead of ourselves. 

I will, however, take issue with someone cheating on their spouse and then excusing it by saying, “I wasn’t happy.” That’s entitlement and crappy character, not a search for happiness. It’s about selfish people putting their own wants and desires ahead of everyone else.

The Exit Affair

We’re all familiar with this term, right? It’s what they call it when your spouse leaves you for someone else. I guess it differs from the “just want to fuck ‘em” affair somehow.

I’ve never liked the term but I couldn’t put my finger on why until recently.

…minimize the cheating and wrong doing, instead focus on the shortcomings of the relationship.

As in: Yeah, I cheated. But I haven’t been happy for a long time/we haven’t been happy for a long time/we’re not right together/our relationship would have ended anyway/we’ll be much happier apart/it’s for the best, etc. etc.

I think this is another form of manipulation. You’re not allowed to react, get angry or upset about them cheating on you, because instead they’ve switched the focus to ending the relationship as if the affair never happened- they’ve sidestepped and minimized the affair and gaslighted you into thinking your relationship was ending anyway.

Yes! That is exactly it. I was always left wondering if perhaps I deserved it. Maybe we weren’t right together. Maybe he would be happier with her. It wasn’t just an affair. It was an exit affair, which means I was to blame because I was lacking, our relationship was lacking. And everyone knows that if you have a shitty relationship the way to end it is to fuck your cousin. Or the person of your choice. Doesn’t have to be a relative.

He wasn’t just a run of the mill cheater, out having sex with new people because he liked a bit of strange on the side. No! He was still an upstanding man with great integrity. He was practically forced to cheat on me because our relationship was so awful.

An exit affair is all about the relationship; the cheater’s character can never be called into question. Because if the relationship had been better he or she would have never cheated. No, sir!

Someone else on Chump Lady chimed in with this:

You’re so right that the “exit affair” narrative is another form of manipulation, defined by a massive amount of side stepping and down playing.

That is precisely what it is. It downplays the shitty character of the cheater. It sidesteps the total destruction of lives caused by the cheating. And it manipulates people into believing that somehow this is an okay thing because who can argue against happiness and true love?

I’ve written about this before. People like to say they didn’t leave for the affair partner; their marriage was already dead, over. In other words, the affair was simply the catalyst that made them realize the marriage was over. I’ve long argued that, no, if you were still with your spouse up until the moment you began fucking your affair partner, you left for that person. You didn’t leave until you had a replacement lined up. Ergo, you left for that person.

You were too much of a chickenshit to leave honestly and ethically. You were content to sleep with your spouse and take advantage of whatever they brought to the marriage (you know, the long dead one), whether that was a paycheck, child care, laundry services, cooking, yard work, etc. You didn’t get out of this horrible, horrible situation until someone else came along and volunteered to do all of those things for you.

Or as another commenter on Chump Lady puts it:

Ah yes, the exit affair. I hate this term because whenever I read about what it means, it seems like the ultimate blameshift. The relationship was so bad that the fuckwit had to leave under the protection of an affair partner.

It focuses all of the blame on the person who’s being fucked over. It’s all about the crappy relationship. Nothing about the cheater’s crappy character. It’s not their fault, y’all! The relationship was bad! Their soul was dying from the weight of this cancerous relationship. Then this new person came along and suddenly they feel alive again! They can hear the birds sing. They can see the sun shining and marvel at how blue the sky really is. You can’t argue against that, right? So let’s dress it up in a pretty package and spin this sob story into something that has the cheater seen as the victim and the betrayed as the perpetrator.

I didn’t have an affair. This was an exit affair. Exit affairs are all about escaping bad relationships and finding well-deserved happiness. They’re not about sex and entitlement and people who lack a moral compass.

My advice? Don’t take the bait. It doesn’t matter how the affair is labeled. Even if the cheater leaves for the other person it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean their “love” is special. It doesn’t mean they’ve found someone with whom they are more compatible. It doesn’t mean it was your fault. It doesn’t mean that your relationship was lacking. It means they have an entitlement issue and shitty character. They are the same person regardless of who they’re with. Personality transplants don’t exist.

Radical Acceptance

There are many things that are going to pop into my mind over these next 26 days. I intend to write about most of them.

Today I was trying not to let myself steam over Jerry Lee’s newly self-modified spousal support. “You’ve turned it over to the state. You have to have faith that things will turn out in your favor. Judges don’t like it when people modify their orders (or a fellow judge’s).”

Yet, it still chaps my ass. For four months he played me like a violin. Acting like he was jobless and sending all that he could. I’m grateful for the crumbs he sends because it’s what keeps me from having to work a second job. When he’s finally confronted he doesn’t pony up and pay what he owes. Oh hell no! Instead he does some weird ass arithmetic and comes up with an off the wall calculation for what he is willing to pay. He sends that money each months and believes I should be grateful. He pays me almost $400 less than what he’s supposed to be paying, but I’m supposed to be thankful. And as always, I’m at a standstill. Waiting. Waiting for action to be taken.

“What does that all have to do with radical acceptance, Sam?” you may be asking. It was a comment on Facebook. I believe on Chump Lady’s Facebook page. The person who made the comment said you had to have radical acceptance. You had to accept that what once was was no longer, and you had to accept that this new life was now yours.

So I was just thinking about how he lives in his fancy little (well, okay, big) 5 bedroom house with an open floor plan and a fireplace in the most sought over subdivision in his town, while he doles out partial payments of his court ordered support. His life hasn’t taken a hit at all. He and Harley combined bring home, I would imagine, even more than what he made by himself. She’s living her best life ever with her new, well-paid husband. Her kids are living a life they’ve never dreamed of before while mine are mired in hell with a mother who is constantly worrying about money. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this some shit? Christmas of 2014 both of my kids woke to Mac Book Pros from Santa; they opened up another $300-$500 worth of gifts from us when we exchanged gifts before leaving to spend Christmas with my family. Four and a half years ago, in the summer of 2015, I was spending $57,000 to put an in-ground pool in my backyard. Today I’m donating plasma twice a week so that my kids can have Christmas.” How do you radically accept that?

Sophia’s words come back to haunt me. Her story of having to throw out every plan she had for her future after her accident and then learning to live and accept a different life has stuck with me.

Does radical acceptance mean I have to like it, though? I feel like I have minimally accepted it. I acknowledge and recognize that my children and I once lived an upper middle class, cushy lifestyle and now we don’t. It’s a cold hard fact. I simply do not have the cash to do the things with them that I did before. We don’t go to the places that we did. I don’t spend the money that I used to spend. I don’t have it. I can’t do it.

I acknowledge and recognize that by my former standards I’m poor. I live with my mother and I will never have a home to call my own again. I understand that. I hate it, but I have accepted that that is my fate.

Maybe it doesn’t need to be radical acceptance. Maybe it only needs to be acceptance. Maybe it’s small steps, like having to be okay with your daughter needing to take out loans to fund her entire college education because you know you can’t help her. Or, on a much smaller scale, realizing you can’t buy your kid a new computer.

Picasso recently charged up his laptop. I don’t know what he was doing with it but I’m sure it had something to do with downloading games on it. He let me know that his laptop is outdated and he can’t do the things he wanted to do on it. While I was out donating plasma so I could buy Christmas gifts he apparently was looking online to try to find an inexpensive gaming laptop (I’m told a gaming PC would be much more expensive). He found one for $580. Compared to the others which were over a thousand he did indeed find a deal. Unfortunately, that is more than the generous amount I have budgeted for him for Christmas.

Originally I felt bad about not being able to buy it. I twisted it around in my mind, trying to figure out how to make it work that I could get that for him. Naturally I went to the old standby: If his father hadn’t let his dick rule our lives I’d be able to buy him a new computer- no problem. And then I began to think, not outside the box, but beyond my comfort zone.

The first thought I had was that he simply wouldn’t get one. It’s too expensive, even at that great price. Sorry. No. I cannot afford it.

The second thought I had was that he could get a job and earn enough money to buy it himself. He’s 17 years old and he doesn’t work. He has a couple of after school activities that last a few hours but that’s it. He could get a job like his sister did and make some money of his own. He isn’t responsible for his phone bill. I’ll be paying his insurance when he finally starts to drive. He has no regular bills so anything he made would be his entirely. He could easily make enough over the summer to get the computer he wants.

The third thought I had was that I could buy him a few gifts and then give him cash. If he gets cash from his dad and his grandpa maybe he’ll have enough to buy it. If not, he’ll have a great head start.

There are certainly worse things in this world than having to work for something you want. I don’t know if that’s radical acceptance or not, but it’s all I’ve got for right now.