Even Better Off

Yesterday I posted the song, “Better Off”, by Sara Evan’s. I know it’s easy to get fired up by a song and then when the music stops and life returns to normal we’re left thinking, “Oh sure, Sara, it’s easy enough for you to say! You’re not living my life! You’re not left in poverty. You’re not raising my kids. And I love him (or her)! So today I will talk about real life and how it gets better.

When the Mobster and I first started talking he told me about the day his wife left. She had grabbed a bag or two of belongings, supposedly because she was going to stay with friends “for a few days”. As he watched her leave he said to her, “You’re moving out. You’re never coming back, are you?” He said a look of surprise came over her face and she then thanked him for putting up with her shit all of these years.

About a month later when she brought the other man to their kid’s soccer game and she showed her ass once again he finally decided it was really over. Whatever hope he’d had before was gone. Whatever thoughts of reconciliation had existed were banished. He had had enough.   Later that night he went into the basement and sobbed. His son found him there and assured him that he still had them, meaning his kids.

I’m fairly certain it was that same night while talking he told me, just matter-of-factly, as though it was simply the way these things work, that he would always love her. That was the point in the conversation where I rolled my eyes and sadly acknowledged to myself that this would never turn into anything because I wasn’t going to compete with the memory of his always loved wife.

We have a little disagreement over what happened next because he says that’s when I brought him to his senses and told him, no, he wouldn’t love her forever. I don’t exactly recall what I said but I’m pretty sure I mentioned  Chump Lady. On second thought I probably did say something like, “You only think you’ll always love her. Give it some time and distance.”

Anyway…. my point is this. If you ask him today if he’s better off he will tell you that he is absolutely, 100% better off. He looks back on that relationship and wonders why he wasted so much time trying to fix things. He looks back now and admits he did crazy things, like always sniffing her drinks to try to figure out if she had alcohol in it or not, or starting his day super early and busting through his workday so that he could get back home early in the afternoon before she had a chance to drink herself into a stupor, or meet up with other men. With a little bit of time and distance he was able to say, “She is a really toxic person and our relationship was very dysfunctional. I felt like I had a fifth child.”

You’re gonna find someone who’ll love you like he should have
And when you finally feel the difference you’ll be so glad
You gave yourself the chance to move on
You’ll wonder why it took you so long
And why you wasted so much time on him

Those words are so true. He often remarks that things are so different with me. He would tell you it’s incredible finally being with someone who gives back as opposed to only taking.

Our first time meeting I brought him a little gift. It was a toy helicopter because he had said he wished he had one so he could fly to see me anytime he wanted to and it wouldn’t take the 10.5 hours it takes to drive.

He was so touched. I will always remember him saying, “I didn’t get you anything. I feel so bad! I’m the one that usually does stuff like this.”

That same evening I gave him the letter I had written to his wife. I had commented one time that I should write to her and thank her for letting him go because he was so amazing. He thought that was an amazing idea. So I did it. I never mailed it to her; ultimately, it was for him. It brought him to tears after I read it out loud to him. “That’s a really nice letter,” he told me.

He still wonders what life would have been like had he left when he found that first bottle back in 2005. Or what he might have accomplished if he’d had someone who had supported him and been a full partner to him.

I can’t help with what all he might have accomplished, but I do practically point out that back in 2005 his kids were all still young. His oldest was only 12 at that point. The youngest would have been 4.

Her drinking was not out of control; in fact, the only reason he knew about it was because he found the bottle. I don’t think 50/50 custody was that common back then, the kids wouldn’t have been old enough to say they wanted to go with him, and she was a stay at home mom who homeschooled her kids. They would have been with her full time and he would have had, at best, every other weekend and maybe a Wednesday evening.

You can worry yourself to death thinking about how things could have been, or what you should have done differently. None of that matters, though. The past is gone. Realize now, in this moment, that you deserve better. Choose you. Choose a future free from someone who doesn’t appreciate you, who mistreats you, who cheats on you, who lies to you, and/or who badmouths you to anyone who will listen. You will be so much better off.

A Value Add To the Household

I was reading another board I frequent a few days ago. Somehow the topic veered to having a stay at home parent. One of the posters said this: I used to work with a young, single woman. We were union so wage rates were public…

One day she pointed to a guy that was earning the same wage rate as she did. “I don’t understand; he is buying a house and I’m nowhere near able to do that. We make the same money, both have two kids, plus he has a wife that doesn’t work so he’s supporting an extra person.”

I was shocked I had to tell her he doesn’t pay for daycare. Saturday mornings he works for his father-in-law while you and his wife are taking kids to dance and sports. He never has to say no to overtime because after school care closes at 5:30. Two adults are contributing to the forward movement of that family, not one. Yes, his wife eats, needs clothes, might need a night out on occasion, but she is a value add to that household.

It reminded me of an old post I wrote a few years ago, It Wasn’t a One Way Relationship. That was the post where I finally said, “Hey! We didn’t have the life we had strictly because of him and his ability to make good money. We had the life we had because I was willing to move all over whenever he got a better offer elsewhere. We had the life we had because he never had to take off work to deal with sick kids (or a sick spouse), never had to tell them he couldn’t come in after hours, never had to decline a dinner invitation with people from corporate. He also never had to wash his own clothes or put them away. He never had to work all day and then come home and figure out what he was going to make for dinner or clean up the dinner mess. He didn’t take our daughter to gymnastics anywhere from 3-5 days a week or our son to hockey or soccer or baseball practice. He certainly never had to think about me and my job when being offered a new, more lucrative job hundreds or thousands of miles away. He also never gave up friends, a social life, and activities when moving from place to place. I always developed a life and a social support; he didn’t.

While I would never encourage anyone to stay at home with their kids anymore I am also tired of this narrative that staying at home is a drain on the family resources, or that a stay at home parent offers nothing of value.

He was able to do a lot of things because I was at home holding down the fort. He also had many things done for him because I did stay at home. He was the hard working man and I had agreed to be a stay at home mom so everything house and child was my domain. Had I been working full-time I’m not sure I would have been willing to do all the laundry, run the kids all over, put his clothes away for him, done all the grocery shopping, cooked all the meals (and fixed his plate for him) and been responsible for all the house cleaning. I could do it when it was just the two of us and we were both working, but with two kids? I would like to believe I would have grown a backbone and told him I didn’t give a shit how much more he made than I did; we were both working 40 hours a week and those kids and the household were every bit as much his responsibility as they were mine.

At this point in time, after what has happened to me after a twenty year marriage, I would never advise a person to stay at home with their kids, unless they had a very marketable degree, one that would allow them to jump right back into the workforce with pretty much no pay cut. Nursing comes to mind. Or pharmacy. It’s too much of a risk. When you don’t have a job or a way to support yourself you are vulnerable and more than likely you will end up putting up with more shit than you should because of it.

Whenever I say that staying at home with my kids was the biggest mistake I ever made (aside from marrying CF, of course) the mobster always tells me that staying at home with your kids is the most important job a person can have. He tells me he thinks I did a wonderful thing and that I didn’t let anybody down. It was CF that let us down.

I don’t want this to come down to stay at home moms versus working moms. I’ve done both and for me being a working mom is hands down the harder of the two. I say this having done it when my kids were teens who were almost fully grown. I can’t even begin to imagine how someone does it when they have little kids. My hat is off to you!

But I’m also tired of this notion that staying at home has no value and that all we do is take, take, take from our hardworking spouses. I always looked at my marriage to CF as a partnership, and as the two of us as a team.

A football team is made up of people who have different positions. There aren’t forty quarterbacks on a team. There is a quarterback and a center. A tight end. A running back. A wide receiver. A kicker. A safety. Just to name the few I can think of…. They all have a different job to do. They don’t all throw the football. They don’t all run for a touchdown. They don’t all punt the ball or attempt to make a field goal. They don’t all tackle and block. The team wouldn’t be successful if everyone went out onto the field and tried to do the quarterback’s job. Or the running back’s job. It takes everyone doing their own specific job to win a game.

On my team CF’s job was to work and make money. My job was to take care of the house and the kids so that he didn’t have a million things to do once he got home. Everything was taken care of for him. My job was to be supportive. I did that by being willing to move around whenever a new job offer came up. I did that by never throwing a fit anytime he called to let me know he wouldn’t be home for dinner because he was going out with some people from corporate. I did it by not laying a guilt trip on him every year when he would fly out for a week for the production manager’s yearly meeting. I did it by handling everything on my own whenever he was traveling out of town, which wasn’t often, but it did happen. I was a value add to the household.

Another poster, a woman who has been single since she finally divorced her husband who had knocked up his mistress, replied: Frankly, I am sometimes amazed how much married, working women underestimate how much better off they are with a working spouse. I often hear, “Well, I made sure I made enough to support myself if I have to.” (Especially from a stepmom complaining about a mom needing CS). Yes, but you don’t have to and didn’t have to for the past 20 years. That gave you twice as much for retirement, college expenses, home improvement, vacations, medical expenses, whatever is important, than the one in a one income household.

I think it almost always comes down to the benefit of having someone else do the grunt work of childcare. I’ve heard stories of people who were almost ready to be fired due to missing work. Suddenly they’ve got someone who is willing and able to take on all of the childcare and that person is now thriving in their career. The first commenter mentioned that in 20 years of raising children her husband had missed exactly 16 hours of work because of kids; on these two days she was simply too ill to watch them. I believe one of those days she was actually hospitalized.

He could take all the overtime offered and never had to call in because of sick kids, never had to take time off to take a child to a doctor’s appointment, because he had a stay at home wife who did all of that. Same as my former husband. I’m pretty sure CF took less than a day off for children emergencies.

Right now my mom does those things for me most of the time. She’s the one that will drive Picasso to school and take him to his after school activities. She will bring him his lunch if he forgets it. She usually does my laundry and most nights she cooks. I do cook occasionally but she does it much more often. And when I was working two jobs and working fifteen/sixteen hour days? She was the one that made sure my kids got where they needed to be. She was the one who fed them. I don’t know if I would have been able to do any of that during that period.

Teamwork. It makes a difference. Having someone there to help support you is huge. You don’t all have to do the same thing on your “team” in order to say you’ve contributed. You just need to show up and do your part.

Time Flies When You Forget Stuff

Today is August 10th.

As I’ve said before I work at a bank. I have to know what day it is all the time. I’ve got holds to place. Forms to fill out. Service requests to fulfill. These all require dates.

So, I knew when August rolled around. “Oh wow! I can’t believe it’s August already!” I got a little hung up on the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Kept mixing them up. Never sure if I was a day behind or a day ahead. Not a good thing to admit. But I have a calendar- a huge calendar- on my desk so it worked out okay. Then today, the 10th, rolls around. I’m not at work; I’m home, checking out Facebook while I cook breakfast. More specifically I’m looking back at my memories on Facebook.

The most recent memory? This little ditty: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Oh crap! Today is D-Day #2, the D-Day that ended my marriage and completely changed the trajectory of my life. Our lives really, because that jackass deeply affected my children as well.

Another momentous occasion that I have forgotten. Had I not checked my memories on Facebook I doubt I would have made the connection.

It’s strange though because only six days ago I came across the memory of our pool finally being filled. There was a picture of Rock Star and Picasso shivering in the cold water, so happy our pool was finally finished. A few days later came the picture of the deck jets working. I’m quite familiar with that timeline and how my enjoyment was so short lived.

Yet, somehow this date completely slipped my mind. Sitting here typing this I feel nothing. I’m not happy. I’m not sad. I still feel like I haven’t made proper progress in four years but that has nothing to do with him.

Hey, come to think of it I forgot my three year anniversary of moving from Virginia to Indiana, as well. Wow- I’m losing it.

Or maybe the significance of all of those dates are simply losing their power over me. They don’t really mean anything anymore. I’d rather concentrate on dates like August 15th, which is the date my son begins his junior year. Or, August 13th which is the date Rock Star has to return for her sophomore year. Or May 23rd and 24th, which are the two anniversary days of the mobster coming into my life.

So fuck you, horrible anti-versary dates. You mean nothing to me anymore. I barely even recognize you. Four years ago today my life fell apart. I had no idea what was going to happen to me and to my children. Today, I am with the love of my life, my kids are doing well despite whatever hurdles are thrown our way, I have a job no matter how little it pays, and I no longer have to worry about a fuckwit and his whore. Tonight I am going out dancing with two of my friends from high school. We’re listening to a band that someone we know plays in. I’m going to have a few drinks, maybe enjoy some appetizers, and dance the night away. Even if I don’t dance I’ll be with friends. Maybe I’ll mention the date’s former significance to them. Maybe I won’t. It’s possible that between now and then I’ll have forgotten about it once again.

Being a Rule Follower

I am a rule follower. Some of my friends tease me about that. If a sign says, “No one admitted beyond this point,” I don’t go beyond that point. If they say, “No food or drink,” I don’t bring any food or drink. It’s not that I don’t have a rebellious streak. It’s simply that I always get caught so I figure it’s easier to just follow the damn rules.

I remember one time in college a friend was talking about scamming the people at food court. He bought a chicken sandwich and told the cashier it was a hamburger, which was cheaper. Well, yours truly tried that a day or so later, and I got caught. Somehow the cashier knew it was chicken and not beef. Lesson learned. I follow the rules.

Back in January when I found out the state of Indiana would go after CF for the full $1800/month in arrears (so really $900 for each month he had “self-modified”) I debated making him an offer instead of going after the full amount. I felt bad letting the state go after him for the additional $900 when I felt like I was really only entitled to the additional $200 or so. But I didn’t. I figured I would let the chips fall where they may. Sucks to be him and all that. It was his responsibility to get it modified after all.

I should have made him a damn offer because it’s all coming back to bite me in the ass, just like I feared it would. I even said I don’t gloat because it never works out for me.

The caseworker contacted me last week. After talking to her supervisor she said it might be possible that Kentucky would enforce the spousal support order but there were no guarantees. She also said that more than likely the judge in Kentucky would use his current salary instead of the higher wages imputed by the Virginia judge. It was possible the judge would impute, but not guaranteed. She didn’t sound like it would even be likely.

End result? The rule follower is going to get fucked up the ass once again and the goddamn cousin fucking piece of shit gets to do whatever the fuck he wants to do with no consequences.

I told the caseworker I was withdrawing my case. I am NOT going to go through the hassle of getting him imputed so that I can actually save that asshole money! I didn’t seek a fucking modification for his benefit. According to the support calculator he will end up paying me $200 less than what he is voluntarily paying me now with his self-modified support. It’s about $400 less than what he is supposed to be paying.

In the end, if I go along with the caseworker I will actually owe him about $1400, or two month’s worth of child support. I am not assured of getting spousal support, which is 75% of what he owes me. And I am not even guaranteed arrears for the months he refused to get the order modified.

Now I’m back to relying on my lawyer to get this damn thing done. More than likely he will refuse to sign the new papers because he doesn’t have a job, as far as I know.

I will continue to be at his mercy for the next fifteen years. He gets to continue to pay spousal support whenever he wants. He gets to continue to pay child support whenever he wants and he gets to cut it off whenever he wants as well. Once again that fucking asshole gets to calculate child support down to the fucking half hour when his son graduates.

I was going to conclude this rant with questions of why couldn’t I have been a widow, but that wouldn’t have been nice. It would have been true, but it wouldn’t have been nice. Instead I’m going to once again tell myself that I have choices. None of them are palatable but I have choices. I merely have to be content letting him get away with murder. And that pisses me the fuck off!

Seriously. He cuts child support in half, refuses to get it modified, tells me if I want it I’m going to have to force him and pay for it, and in the end, he gets away with all of it.

My lawyer will take probably another six months to get anything before him. I’ve already lost money yet again because I’ve had two raises (small raises- less than $1/hour combined) since the last time she calculated the child support. He’s lost his job, supposedly not due to his own incompetence, which makes things a little tricky. Plus, I can’t really hold him in contempt because he is doing as I asked and paying something, even if not the entire amount.

It’s not like the last time where he just said, “I lost my job. I won’t be sending you anymore money.” He’s paying his self-modified child support. He’s even sending additional money for spousal support.

The state of Indiana, who was supposed to hand his ass to him, is basically going to be cutting him a huge break because they’re turning it over to Kentucky. Kentucky will more than likely say, “Oh, you poor thing. The mean old judge in Virginia imputed you. We’re going to only count what you actually make. You shouldn’t be forced to get a comparable job to support your kids. True love and fucking your cousin is so much more important!” And that’s with the supposition that they will use his former salary and not use $0 since he’s no longer got a damn job!

So I’m back to my lawyer in Virginia, taking forever while she charges me $300/hour to do so.

Of course, I could always say, “Fine. Pay me whatever you deem acceptable, Cousinfucker.” Then I’m only out the original amount of money I paid my attorney to get this shit modified. Is approximately $185 more per month really worth it? Hell, at this point it could be even less. It undoubtedly is.

Then he wins. I hate it when he wins. I feel like this entire time he’s been winning. I know; I know. My kids love me. I’m the real winner. But that only means something if he lost something he actually cared about. He doesn’t care about his kids. He wouldn’t have done what he did if he cared about his kids. He doesn’t value the same types of things that normal people do. So, he’s won.

He won the entire time leading up to our temporary support orders. Blew through more than $30k and never had to account for a penny. At least not a penny I saw. It all got wrapped up in the settlement. Speaking of which, he won in the settlement. After being told that since the money I took and used to support us was spent on the household I wouldn’t have to account for it, I had to account for it. He took on 60% of the marital debt which he never plans on actually paying, but it sure did cut him a break on what he had to pay out. He won after the divorce as well. He has absolutely no responsibilities as far as our kids go. He still is able to make good money. His lifestyle hasn’t changed a bit. He lives in his own home. He’s remarried. He’s got two replacement kids.

I, on the other hand, live with my mom. I have all the responsibilities of our kids. My lifestyle has changed dramatically. I will never be allowed to remarry unless I would like to be completely dependent upon another man because I make shit money and cannot support myself without the child and spousal support he’s ordered to pay me.

It’s times like these I have to tell myself to let it all go. It is what it is. No use in tilting against windmills, right? That in itself is a giant shit sandwich I am forced to swallow. People like them never suffer the consequences.

Me? I deal with the consequences every single day. I’d love to know when it will finally be my turn.

Sam’s Untitled Message to Cousinfucker

I’ve been sitting on this one because I wrote it a few months ago and a lot has changed since it’s inception. Sadly, I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping up with my blog so enjoy!

Dear Cousinfucker,

I’m beginning to think you didn’t mean it when you said you wanted us to “come to a healthy relationship apart from all of this” (I am guessing that “this” meant your affair with Harley) or when you encouraged me to “build a future relationship that we both can be happy for each other and our children and show them that happiness and being whole are vital to a person’s future.” Then again, we both know you were lying out your ass when you told me that while I would take a hit financially I would be provided for for life because your lawyer had me “covered for the rest of [my] life.” You certainly tried to worm your way out of that one, didn’t you?

I’m beginning to believe talk is cheap. It seems to be especially cheap when one side (you) has everything going their way while the other side (me) is being served a giant shit sundae and told to smile and eat up.

You don’t seem to be very happy for me. In fact, you seem quite bitter. I have to admit, I don’t quite understand it.

Sure, you could argue that I had no interest in being “happy” for you when you first broached the subject. I will point out that when you first extended this so called olive branch that I was in the initial phase of being discarded after twenty years of marriage. Not only was I being dumped, but I was also being replaced by the whore you cheated on me with two years prior. You had played me for a fool all summer long, once again. You had also cut me off financially so I was forced to live off of savings until the temporary support hearing and I wasn’t completely sure what was going to happen to me and our two kids. I was desperately hoping to be able to stay in the house until Rock Star graduated, and perhaps beyond that if Picasso wanted to stay and graduate from that school as well.

While I wasn’t cheering you on for your weekend fuck-fests I also wasn’t harassing you. I left you alone to play happy family with the whore and her kids. I didn’t call. I didn’t text. I didn’t chase you down in my car. I didn’t stalk you. I left your skank ass cousin alone, too.

And while you were home, using our children’s home as your extended stay hotel during the week? I left you alone. You were free to text all night with your whore. I didn’t send our kids to you to try to play on your pity (you don’t have any). I didn’t pound on doors. I didn’t scream and yell at you. Oh, I suppose I did occasionally play some songs from my freedom list very loudly. Aside from that, I ignored you. Yet you continued to act like the victim, crying to our daughter that you were treated worse than a piece of furniture. I didn’t fix you a plate and bring you your dinner every night. I no longer did your laundry. Worst of all I put bells on the door so I could hear you when you came in the house. I can see how that might have traumatized you.

Even during the darkest times you had it pretty easy. When I found out you had quit your job and fled the state I cried on my own, confided in my mom, poured my feelings out on my blog. When I found out you had lost your job and weren’t planning on sending me anymore money, again I cried on my own, confided in my mom, poured my feelings out on my blog. And then I went on to price almost everything in our home to try to sell at a garage sale and listed all of our furniture so that I would have money to move and to live on once I got back to Indiana. You didn’t hear a word from me. Not one single nasty text. Not a flurry of emails. Not one car ride down to where you were, making a big scene.

So again I’m trying to figure out how you justify being so angry at me. You got everything you wanted. Don’t you remember how you cried about what a disaster Virginia was? How you were destined to fail because Randy wouldn’t support you? How Charlie wouldn’t fade into the background like he was supposed to? You wanted to leave your job in Virginia and you did. Why so sad?

You wanted to work with your best friend. Don’t you remember how you lamented not taking him up on his previous offer? If I recall correctly you surmised that that was one of your biggest mistakes. But then like a fairy godmother he appears out of nowhere and manages to get you a job at his plant. It’s a dream come true! Granted, your children weren’t part of the package, but then again, you didn’t really bother with them anyway. It’s not like you offered to take them with you. They probably would have just gotten in the way when you wanted to spend the weekends with the whore. In the end though you got exactly what you wanted, what you thought you had lost. You got the chance to work side by side with your very best friend in the world! You had lunch with him every day. That is so exciting. I would be so happy about that. Why weren’t you? According to you, he was there for you. He listened to all your sad little tales of woe.

You wanted to move back to Kentucky. I remember you telling me how you’d love to be able to call your sister up and meet her for a drink. That’s not happening anymore, seeing as how you’ve labeled yourself an alcoholic and your sister still lives a good 2-3 hours away from you.  You know she won’t go out of her way to see you, and you seem far too lodged up Harley’s ass to go out of your way to see her. Therefore, you don’t see her that often. But you’re there and that’s what’s important! Plus, you got to spend your mom’s last years with her as well.

And remember how you told everyone that Harley made you so happy while I made you miserable? Well, now you’re with her! That is news for rejoicing.

Where are we again? Oh yes, you wanted to quit your job with PCA, you wanted to work with your best friend, you wanted to move back to Kentucky, and you wanted to be with Harley. By my count you got all of those things, although not all together. You did quit your job at PCA. You went and worked with Blockhead. Even got a promotion. Finally a GM and not a PM. Congrats! Of course, you ended up losing that job. But, all was not lost because it meant you got to live with your whore cousin in Kentucky full time. Bam! Two birds, one stone. You moved back to Kentucky and you moved in with the whore that made you so happy. You got everything you wanted. What more could you possibly want?

Was it the fact that I didn’t cry and beg and plead for your return? Instead I found a lawyer and filed for divorce, and then put you on ignore. Or were you miffed by the fact that I found out what was going on before you got to ambush me? That also meant I was able to take protective measures, like moving over all of our money into an account you couldn’t touch. You are very fond of your money so that probably pissed you off a lot! Not to mention the fact that I wasn’t completely at your mercy. Maybe it’s the fact that you couldn’t destroy me. I kept on going. Even worse, I found someone else.

About that… I don’t understand why you’re so pissy about my relationship with the mobster. I would think you would be happy for me. You’ve found what you think is a much better match for yourself. I know I’ve found a much better match for me. What’s that you said? We’re not good together. I know you will be whole without me. Take a minute and reflect upon those words. I’m thinking maybe you didn’t really believe I would be whole without you. Or maybe I was supposed to be whole without you or anyone else while you frolicked with the whore and basked in your unique love.

If you could stop being so butt hurt that I somehow managed to get over you and all your fabulousness and found love with someone else maybe you would realize that could actually turn into a very good thing for you. If I remarry you’re off the hook for spousal support. I’d think you would be doing everything in your power to make sure my relationship with the mobster worked out. I’m surprised you haven’t sent us on an exotic vacation or at the very least set up a romantic date night for us.

No, instead you wander around making snide comments about my love. What happened to being happy for one another? What happened to showing our children “that happiness and being whole are vital to a person’s future”? I’m so confused. Was that yet another round of bullshit to make you look evolved?

Look everyone! Sam and I are divorcing the right way. Look how happy she is for me and Harley. She’s not bitter or crying or upset. No! She realizes that we aren’t good together and that Harley is a much better match for me. She understands the importance of me being happy, and agrees that her happiness shouldn’t even be a consideration. She is completely in agreement with everything I want. 

She knows she will take a hit financially but she is so happy for me that she doesn’t care. Not even a little bit. She will do her dutiful job as the mother of my children and explain to them that they will have to learn to make do with less so that these other children might have everything they’ve ever wanted. And she will joyfully head back into the workforce after not having worked an outside job in over fifteen years. I’m sure she will get great satisfaction out of a low paying job. She doesn’t know it yet but she is going to love having to schedule vacation days instead of having a wide open schedule, and farming her parenting tasks out to others because she can no longer do it. Oh, it won’t be me, of course. I’ll be too busy playing doting daddy to Harley’s kids. But Sam will manage.

In fact, Sam and I have done divorce so well that she will face every challenge I throw at her with a smile. When her income goes down by 90% and mine stays the same, she won’t complain. When she is facing this divorce on her own while I have my cousin by my side, she will be happy for me. When I take off and move out of the state I drug them all to she will shrug her shoulders and realize I’m doing what’s best for me and my new family, and she will be happy for me. She will let me pay her whatever I decide is fair. She will never complain. She will never make demands. 

She will tell our children how much I love them and make endless excuses for me and my bad behavior. She will constantly reassure them that even though I’ve deserted them I still love them and they should still worship me and beg me for attention.

Best of all, Sam will spend the rest of her life pining away for me. I’m so fabulous I know she will never be able to find anyone else. She will live the rest of her life working a pathetic job, maybe even two or three of them, never having what she had when she was married to me, and spending her evenings and weekends all alone.

Ah, I refused to go gentle into the good night. That’s the problem, isn’t it, Buckaroo? I didn’t continue to do image management for you. I told the truth. I did what I was required to do and nothing more. I refused to settle for table scraps while you feasted on steak and lobster. Gone were the days of you and Harley living it up and her living out her gold digging dreams at my expense and the expense of your children. Instead you had to pay way more support than you thought you were going to have to, and that, my “friend”, is when you really began to change.

Life isn’t quite as much fun when you’re not withholding money from me and you and Harley are no longer able to spend, spend, spend because you’ve got a judge, judge, judge on your ass, ass, ass! Gone are the days of blowing through five grand a month on whatever it is that whores spend money on. Gone are the days of you having thousands to spend on whatever you want while I’m left to pay all the bills- while you continue to live at home. Gone are the days of knowing that I’m working two jobs just so that your kids can eat and wipe their asses in the same month, while you move your new fake family into a nice, big home in an upper middle class suburb complete with a pool and a clubhouse. No, now you have to manage ol’ Harley’s expectations with the reality that you owe me more than half of your paycheck. I bet you didn’t think you’d get imputed, did you?

That was probably the other piece that fell into place to make you change into somebody who no longer valued “being happy and whole”. That judge really ripped you a new one, didn’t he? He didn’t buy a word you said. Named your gold digger in court documents. Said you were perfectly capable of paying me more instead of putting all your money towards your “girlfriend” and her kids. Didn’t buy your mental health issues bullshit. Didn’t buy your PTSD excuse. And then told you if you were willing to move you could easily make what you had been making. Remember when he wrote that he found your “girlfriend” to be a major factor in your refusal to move away from Kentucky? I sure do.

Regardless, I hope you can take comfort in your new relationship. After all, she makes you so happy. I’m sure she won’t cheat on you, like she cheated on her first husband. Or like she cheated on you in the beginning. With her estranged first husband. You know, it was probably just a divorce negotiation trick.

I think I understand it now. When you said we should build a new healthy relationship based upon being happy for one another what you really meant was I needed to suck it up and be happy for you. When you said I would take a hit financially but we both knew your lawyer had me covered for life what you really meant was that I was going to be struggling for the rest of my life while you and Harley lived it up at my expense. When you said we weren’t good for each other and that I would be whole without you what you really meant was you had found someone else and I should spend the rest of my life wanting you and my old life back. You didn’t really think I would ever climb back up on top. You didn’t really think I would forge a great new life without you. You certainly didn’t think you’d be paying me as much money as you ended up paying. And you didn’t think I’d find an amazing new partner. Despite what lip service you gave the whole “we need to be happy and whole and model this brand new relationship model for our children,” you didn’t give a fuck about me and my happiness, did you?

Here’s What’s New

  • Taxes
  • Just enough money to keep the courts off his ass
  • 401k still floundering
  • Still waiting on the state even though I don’t think it’s going to help
  • No new job

Ah yes, taxes. I actually ended up getting a small refund from the federal government. Sadly, that was entirely eaten up by the more than $2200 I had to pay to the glorious state of Indiana. Like, seriously! Who the fuck wants to live here? You want me to pay $2200 to live in Hawaii? Okay, I can understand that. But Indiana?

This is the same state I had to pay $500 to my first year here because of the spousal support I collected in Virginia! Yep, that’s right. I earned all of about $5000, if that, in the state of Indiana between October 31st and December 31st. Paid maximum taxes on that piddly amount. And they turned around and demanded I pay taxes for spousal support I received while living as a resident of Virginia. At that point in time I had never received a dime in spousal support while living in Indiana. I was also a proud recipient of Medicaid during this time!

Fast forward to this year’s tax season. I knew I was going to end up paying again. I will always pay. I net $624 every two weeks but I pay taxes every tax season.

Last year I was able to pay the state in one lump sum and arranged for payments with the IRS. I had until August, I think, to pay the entire amount before being penalized.

I figured I would pay in small installments until I was able to access my 401k. I was also at the point I was just going to transfer the whole thing over despite any losses before they assessed the penalties. You do what you’ve gotta do, right?

Oh, no, that’s not how Indiana works! They immediately assess a 10% penalty. Then they charge you anywhere from 5-10% on the remaining balance until it’s paid off. So, if I owe $2200 they’re going to charge me $220 right off the top. Then if my balance is $2000 after I pay $200 (because remember, I’m poor and don’t have hundreds to pay towards taxes) each month while I wait to transfer my 401k over I’m charged another $200! And $180 the next month. And $160 the next. Assuming, of course, that’s what Indiana lets me pay. I was told they set the payments so who knows? I could have been totally screwed.

Then, once I finally transfer the 401k over, losing over $10,000 in the process, I’m AGAIN given a fucking 10% penalty to pay the damn remaining balance.

I don’t know what kind of free programs I’m eligible for but I swear I’m going to hunt them all down and use every fucking one of them! I’m getting my goddamn $2200 worth from this fucking state.

Thankfully I did not have to do any of that and the issue has been resolved, although I still need to come up with $2200.

Speaking of my 401k, my financial guy got a little excited because the price had gone up $3/share. Then it fell back down again. Awesome!

How did I marry such a fucking dumbass? Why was I such a fucking dumbass? I should have looked at the portfolio. I should have realized he was an utter moron who had sunk 47% of his retirement into the goddamn company stock. I could have transferred it then and been sitting on $87-88,000, instead of $75,000. Once again, I have to do all the fucking work.

I do finally have an account set up so if it ever goes back up I can just call and have it transferred. Hell, who am I kidding? At some point I’m sure I’m going to have to bite the bullet, take a huge loss, and transfer it so that I can live.

As for the state garnishing him… I haven’t heard anything from them. I’m supposed to receive an affidavit once Virginia responds to them, detailing all the money he has sent me. In an ironic twist I do have a log of that very thing. Dates, check numbers, transfer dates for Zelle and Venmo. I’ll be ready.

I’m also told that once everything is in place with the state, which should be no later than the end of July (!) once (if) he gets a job they can automatically attach the garnishment; I don’t have to do this all over again.

Of course, if he chooses to never work again it does me no good. That $25,000 he owes me? Good-bye! Arrears? See ya later! Finally getting child support modified at a higher amount for Picasso? Don’t make me laugh!

I had a friend tell me the other day that I could always let it go and just not pursue the $25,000. Sure, I could. But why? That’s not just $25,000 for me. It’s money for my kids. It’s a way to pay off my car and my credit cards. It’s a way to pay for Rock Star’s college when he’s not paying what he should be. It’s a way for me to potentially buy a fucking house of my own! That’s something I don’t have and I will never have living on what I live on now. Nobody in their right mind is going to give me a mortgage when I have less than $200/month left after paying my bills; and even if they would, how in the hell would I ever pay that, much less the utilities, food, gas for my car, and so forth?

Additionally, it’s not like I’m rolling in money. See above. My 401k has taken a serious hit. I’m living on approximately $900 a month after bills. Oh wait! I adjusted my exemptions so I’m living on about $1100 a month. The fact that I’m able to actually feed my son during this time because I’m no longer paying maximum taxes means I’m going to get fucked up the ass at tax time next year. It’s a vicious cycle.

As for CF, I have no idea if he’s working or not. He doesn’t tell me anything. Why would he? He doesn’t feel like I deserve any answers. I get what I get and I don’t throw a fit.

He has sent his self modified child support twice now- March and April. In a surprise twist he sent $500, labeled as ex-spousal support, this month.

Like I said in the beginning, he’s sending just enough to keep his ass out of jail and to look good to a judge.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful. I told him he needed to send something and he has been. It’s fine for the present but I’m already thinking ahead to next semester’s bill. And Christmas. And birthdays.

It kills me that I can’t help them. I suppose August is when I’ll move my money over, take the hit, and then pull from it to pay for her education.

I realize the solution would seem to be finding a new job. Easier said than done, however. It seems I’m suited to be hired for extremely low paying jobs. $11 an hour or less? Oh, they are lining up to hire me! Anything that might actually pay a living wage? Yeah, I’m not really qualified. The high school dropout is qualified; but I’m not. The college student who is still in school is qualified; but I’m not. Pretty much everyone else is qualified but I’m not.

I finally interviewed for the job at the bank. It’s a job I’d heard about about eight-nine months into my tenure at the bank. It’s one of the few jobs that actually requires a Bachelor’s degree. Obviously, I didn’t get it. They have decided to “move ahead with other candidates.”

The other company I applied at hasn’t called. Either they’re not hiring or they decided I wasn’t qualified for an office job.

I was listening to someone a few weeks ago as he talked to someone at our table. He mentioned that he had his Master’s degree but no one would hire him because, as he put it, “My hair’s too white.”

I’m terrified that’s what will happen to me. It’s already happening. I know someone who got the exact same job I interviewed for at the bank. We were both tellers. Both had Bachelor’s. I had asked her once if it needed to be in Finance or Accounting. She said hers was in sports medicine. She started the new job one year to the day that she began at the bank as a teller. I interviewed for the job two years after I had been at the bank- one year as a teller and one year in Deposit Services. The biggest difference? Age. She’s in her twenties. I just turned 50.

Another person I knew at the bank had been working as a teller while she got her college degree. Upon graduating she somehow moved into Human Resources. Now, I have no idea how long she had been at the bank, or what her degree was in, but I do know she was offered a spot in that department once she got her degree, and it was because she got her degree. She was in her 30s.

I fear that’s what is going to happen regardless of what I try. I’ll go back and get a different degree (because apparently mine is useless and out dated), or I’ll get a Master’s, and no one will hire me. They’ll choose the bright eyed, bushy tailed 20 something because they’re new and fresh. I’m all old and used up.

I try really hard to count my blessings. It gets harder the longer CF is out of work. What I envision happening is that I will eventually have to take him back to court because he’s not paying what he should and I will have the privilege of paying those legal fees. He’ll choose that moment to ask for a modification, dating back to when he first lost his job. The judge will grant it because he granted him his modification the first time around when the jackass didn’t even bother to show up in court. So now not only am I getting less money- permanently- but also it’s retroactive. Then, because he’s already there and I’m already footing the bill, he’ll ask for a child support modification dating back to when Rock Star first graduated, seeing as how the state of Indiana is coming after him for the full amount. And he’ll get that, too.

Maybe not. Maybe the judge will not take pity upon him because he knows exactly the games he’s playing. Maybe he’ll be thinking, “I cut you a break the first time and I have come to regret that deeply.”  Who knows? You’re always rolling the dice whenever you go into court.

I wonder, too, if he’s ruined his reputation within the industry and that’s why he’s not able to find a job. I may dislike him intensely but he is good at what he does. He really is. At one point he was the Golden Boy where he worked. Maybe he really pissed them off by quitting eighteen months after he was given the plum assignment he asked for. Maybe they blacklisted him. Perhaps the corrugated industry is a lot more ruthless than I ever knew.

He has always had headhunters after him, as well, and I’m pretty sure he mentioned he had turned down other offers outside of the state while we were in court. I don’t understand why he’s not able to find a similar job. The one time he was without a job in the 20 years we were married he was working again within six weeks.

I was under the impression he was looking outside of Kentucky, but maybe not. If he isn’t that might be a good thing to know and bring to the court’s attention. It would be lovely to hear the judge remind him if he could drag his old family all around the country for twenty years then he can damn sure drag the new one around. Remaining in Kentucky is a luxury to which he is no longer entitled.

Let them suffer some consequences for the horrors they’ve visited upon others. Let Harley be in the position of having to choose between keeping her kids or living with her one true love. Let CF have to maintain a long distance relationship; I’m sure Harley will be faithful. He can fly or drive home every weekend so his whore can keep her kids. If they have to move out of their nice, new, big house and downsize so that they can also afford a cheap apartment for him during the week, oh well. God knows I’ve had to do plenty of shit I haven’t wanted to do.

Truly, despite my bitching and pouting I am trying to be grateful. I have a job, even if it’s a low paying job. At least I’m not going further into debt. I can at the very least pay my monthly bills. I have a place to sleep. I’m aware that not everyone has a parent who is willing or able to put them up. My mom even took in my kids and my dogs. OK, maybe the kids thing isn’t so incredible (Yeah, I’ll take you but those kids, my grandkids, have got to go!) but the dogs certainly are. My kids are relatively healthy (Rock Star might really have a hernia and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to get her wisdom teeth removed at some point in the near future). My mom is healthy and alive. I have an amazing partner. He is a huge blessing even with all of the shit that has been heaped upon me by CF. And CF is actually paying something, as opposed to paying nothing, like he did the last time. How long that will last, I don’t know. But he’s paying right now which gives me a tiny amount of breathing room. I’ll feel a lot more grateful once he’s got a job and he’s paying what he should.

Another Round of Bullshit To Be Refuted

Sam sure does love her some memes! I’m always trolling Pinterest for something fun. Sometimes I use my investigative talents for good, like when I made this darling Valentine’s Day advent calendar.

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Or, when I made this Halloween care package for Rock Star.

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Other times I use my powers for evil. So sit back and enjoy!

Let’s tackle step parenting first, shall we?

There are some really bizarre notions out there. Such as…

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No. Just no.

Before I go any further let me say I think there are some fantastic step parents out there. I don’t discourage people from having good relationships with their step kids. I think it’s wonderful when everyone gets along and likes each other. It’s great when the steppie isn’t trying to oust the kid from the parent’s life, or isn’t a horrible monster. I’m all for loving your step kid. However… fucking someone who has kids does not make you a parent.

I’m not remarried but I have two kids who have been ghosted by their dad. The mobster is not remarried but he has four kids who have been ghosted by their mom. Pretty much. It still does not make me mommy, or him daddy.

If our kids end up developing a good relationship with each of us then that’s great. If not, we’ll live.

In other situations, especially ones where the kids are much younger, if new step mommy wants to attend ballet recitals and take lots of pictures, great. If she wants to take the kid to the movies or go get ice cream, fantastic. That does not make the child hers. She will find that out very quickly if her husband decides to divorce her. She will have no rights to “her” kids.

Also, how insulting is it to act like the other parent no longer exists? I don’t stop being “Mom” simply because my former husband decides to marry someone else. He may have a new wife but my kids do not have a new mom. In my specific case I don’t think my kids could pick Harley out in a lineup. Which, incidentally, is not a new thing for her.

In cases where there are younger children though, no, you did not replace their mother. Stop it! Enjoy your relationship as is without insisting on the title of “Mom” to children who already have a competent mother.

Where there is adultery? Oh hell no! You may have taken my husband, but I’ll get over that. You try to take my kids? I’ll throw your fucking body in one of those cattle wells out in Montana where it will take them years to dig you out if they even know where to look. You want to take them fun places, buy them shit, have a good time? Knock yourself out. But you are NOT the mom.

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Are you for real? I mean, if by “mine” you mean, “my” stepchildren, well sure. They’re “your” stepchildren, as opposed to Helen’s stepchildren or Gloria’s stepchildren. If you mean “mine” as in my “children”, refer to above. No, they are not yours. They still have a mother. She still outranks you. They are not your children. You have no legal rights to them.

One of the people who commented on this said her two stepchildren were just as much hers as her husband and her biological son were. Again, if a divorce were to occur she would find out very quickly that they are not hers. She is in their lives because she is married to their father. Once that relationship is severed, so is the relationship with the kids. In most cases.

Besides, what is so wrong with acknowledging that you are a stepparent? I look at being a stepparent as being very similar to being a cool aunt. For the record, I am the coolest aunt out there. I rock that title! I have no doubt I would rock being a stepparent, too. I would get to do all the fun stuff while the parent had to deal with all the tough shit. I take them out shopping and to the movies and buy them lots of fun stuff, and Dad gets to discipline them because they’re his kids. Not mine.

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These are always my favorite. Where do I even start with this?

Okay, to begin, I would get off that high horse because the first thing you figure out once you become a parent is that EVERYONE has an opinion on what you’re doing, and 99% of them think you’re doing it wrong. It’s very easy to sit back on the sidelines and critique what someone else is doing. It’s not quite as easy when you’re in the trenches. Besides, if Wonder Stepmom were to ever have to deal with her own child having a stepmom I’m sure that stepmom would have plenty to say about Wonder Stepmom’s lack of parenting skills.

Secondly, I always wonder where the second parent is. I mean, okay Mom’s a piece of shit, but where is Dad? Is he falling down on the job, too? Can only women raise children? Has Dad done a piss poor job of raising his kids? If Mom is not around or is a lackluster parent then is he refusing to step up and leaving it all to Super Steppie? If that’s the case then I would say that Super Steppie might want to take that up with her hubby. Seems Mom is not the only one with the inadequate parenting skills.

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Would anyone like to guess why I picked this one?

I love how a woman knows the relationship is over and there are no hard feelings! Oh no! She realizes your happiness is the most important thing ever! She is also willing to work with you and will compromise (which is probably code for: let’s you have your way all the time). A real mother will get along with you for the sake of the child/ren.

Is it just me or is the real difference just how much shit she’s willing to take? If she doesn’t roll over and let you get away with everything she’s a damn baby mama. If she let’s you step all over her then she’s the mother of your child. Also, a damn fine kibble dispenser and someone who worships you.

Yes, I realize there are some women out there who will use their children as pawns. I don’t think it’s the majority of them. I also think there are a lot of people out there who think that if the baby mama/mother of the child won’t immediately cave to whatever demands the other parent has that it means she’s being difficult and creating drama.

These are very similar. And very wrong. Regardless of what kind of financial aid CF may toss my way I am very much a single mom. My kids are much older, but I’m a single mom, nonetheless. I have no husband or co-parent to help me out with Picasso when he needs to be picked up from school because the bus is running an hour behind, or because he has club that day. I can’t call my husband or co-parent if he misses the bus in the morning and needs to be taken to school. I do not have a partner or co-parent to help me out when he’s falling behind in school, or having any kind of emotional meltdown. Any problems that may arise I am expected to handle. When Rock Star needs something, she calls me. If she has questions or problems, I am the one to help her. I am totally on my own with the day to day care of both my kids.

Having been the single mom who wasn’t receiving a dime in support for my kids I can attest to the fact that receiving financial help is definitely preferable to not receiving it. Nonetheless, financial aid alone does not a parent make. Nor does it make us co-parents.

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Again, getting child support does not negate the fact that you do not have a partner helping you. What the hell is it about people getting their panties in a wad about someone calling herself a single mom? Next thing you know they’re going to be crying you’re not a single mom if you’ve got any kind of support system around to help you. Nope, if you’re a single mom then you have no one and no financial help. You also need to sew the kids’ clothes by hand, wash them down by the river by smashing them between rocks, grow their food, milk the cows, and slaughter the chickens yourself. Otherwise, you’re not a single mom.

Also, can we please stop with the whole, “Keeping him from them,”? While I’m sure some women do try to play keep away that is definitely not a factor in my situation. He has voluntarily walked away. I have never kept his children from him. He has made that decision all on his own.

 

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I don’t know why this one, or a variation of it, makes the rounds so often. Yes, I chose to have kids with him. I chose to have kids with a man who said family was very important to him. I chose to have kids with a man who I thought would always be faithful and loyal. I had kids with a man who I thought would always support his children, both physically and emotionally. I didn’t have kids with some guy who had ditched three or four other kids. I didn’t have kids with a man who had repeatedly cheated on his previous wives. I thought I had a good one. Unfortunately, he proved himself to be a lying coward who was more than willing to abandon his children for a new piece of ass.

I suppose we could argue that his actions throughout our marriage proved he wasn’t exactly Father of the Year material, but he also hadn’t completely abandoned them. He had his good moments, as I’ve always admitted. He’s not a bad dad because we divorced. He’s a bad dad because of his behavior since he was caught cheating on me. And yes, that is legit!

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Oh please! How very convenient for self-serving men who don’t want to part with any of their money.

We all know that children are free! There are no costs associated with them, and if there are any then you should be willing to shoulder that all by yourself. Forever. Because Big Daddy has a whore to entertain and new kids to impress. Be a dear and don’t ask for anything.

Real women go to court and get everything they’re entitled to by law. Real women don’t listen to their sniveling, conniving ex’s when they try to modify child support on their own. Real women don’t play that stupid game.

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I know I’ve said this at least twice already, but I will say it again. I know there are women out there who abuse child support. I know there are women out there who don’t provide for their kids even when Dad is paying support. I also know this is the kind of shit CF likes to promote about me.

Here’s the dirty truth. I do live support check to support check. Kids are expensive! But here’s the other thing: I have never asked CF for a dime beyond what he is court ordered to pay. When book fees come up for Picasso ($200 this year; $165 last year) I pay them. Rock Star still has a $4000 tuition bill. Guess who’s paying that? Guess who paid for her books? Guess who is paying her sorority dues? That’s another $1000+ this school year. Guess who pays for Picasso’s cello lesson and takes him to get whatever it is that he might need?

He can bitch and whine all he wants but I am still taking care of his kids.

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Fuck you! In my case, I can afford to get my hair done because of the SPOUSAL support I receive. And here’s the thing that most people don’t want to acknowledge. Once that money goes into my account- spousal, child, paycheck- it’s all mine. I can do with it what I want. But see above.

I’m getting child support for one child. Right now I’m getting less than what I’m supposed to because the ex thinks he has a law degree. I’m still supporting two children. I’ve got tuition, books, and sorority fees for my daughter. There are countless other things that come up. I use MY money- whether it’s paycheck, spousal support, or child support, to pay for those things. In addition to paying her car insurance and phone bill.

Picasso recently went to Ramen Con and I gave him spending money. They both get allowances so that they have some spending money. He takes cello lessons. This past May and June I bought him a new bed and replaced his phone that he had washed in the washing machine.

Neither of my kids is going without.

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Well yes, thankfully it is. When I do the math my alimony check is almost 3 times what I make at my job. Then again, I spent twenty years being a dutiful corporate wife. I moved around the country for him. I took care of the kids and the house. I was a full time chauffeur to them and their extracurriculars, and I made sure they had a variety of trips and outings.  I volunteered and was heavily involved in my kids’ schools. I never complained. So yeah, I look at it as severance pay.

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Oh, lookie there! Severance pay for greedy bitches! Boy, they sure do hate to pay out that alimony although they love fucking around.

To be fair I know there are men out there paying alimony to cheating wives, and wives who wanted the divorce but still wanted the lifestyle provided by their husband. That sucks. There is no way of getting around that. When I rip on these memes I’m ripping on CF because I know this is the kind of shit he would say. He’s already said it.

Actually, let me amend my statement. I don’t look at it as severance pay. I look at it as hazardous pay. I earned every fucking dime and he would be in no position to even pay me alimony if not for the sacrifices I made. He can suck it.

Another Round Of Parental Alienation

Yet another OW’s blog. Yet another accusation of parental alienation. By now everyone knows if the kids don’t come around it’s not because the other parent is an insensitive, selfish asshole; it’s because the custodial parent is alienating them.

I don’t know. Maybe most of these cheaters think they are so wonderful they can’t conceive of a situation where someone would choose not to spend time with them. Their insipid little cohorts are sipping the same Kool-Aid. “My bae is so amazing that, of course, his kids can overlook all of the selfish, shitty things he has done in the name of love. If they aren’t talking to him it’s because the horrible, mentally abusive wife has manipulated them. No, alienated them!”

Perhaps I take these articles personally because I know Cousinfucker has told people I’ve turned the kids against him. I saw the Facebook post where he was lamenting the fact his children “probably wouldn’t see this” (his post) but wishing them a happy Thanksgiving nonetheless and telling them how much he loved them. I saw the responses to that.

Hang in there!

One day they’ll be old enough to make up their own minds!

Just keep telling them you love them!

They’ll know the truth one day.

It fries my fritters when I hear that crap! My kids already know the truth. They know that their dad cheated on me. They know that while he lived with us for the next six months he didn’t bother talking to them. They know he walked out the door without saying a word to either of them. He didn’t bother to tell them he was moving out of the house, much less out of the state. They know he could drive to see his cousin/mistress every single weekend before he moved, and that he couldn’t be bothered to visit them even one weekend in more than two years. They know all of this because they lived it. And those are just the big things.

They have experienced the joy of leaving behind lifelong friends where they grew up. My daughter had the pleasure of giving up her dream of being a Level 10 gymnast, and my son gave up playing the only sport he ever liked- hockey- because their dad was unhappy in Utah and wanted this “dream job”.

We promised them a better life. We sweetened the pot, so to speak, with promises of a pool, a hot tub, a game room, a theater room. My son looked forward to working side by side with his dad, helping him build it.

Instead, they got a father who once again shut himself off in his room. They got a father who ended up in the psych ward. A father who couldn’t go outside supposedly. A father who couldn’t celebrate their birthdays with them.

And then they got to watch as this helpless father who couldn’t go anywhere could suddenly play the devoted daddy to children that weren’t his. He could attend their birthday dinners. He could walk the mall with their whore of a mother on Christmas Eve, shopping for gifts. He could make pancakes for them, and buy them puppies and phones and expensive dresses. He could even go on family vacations.

It didn’t stop there, however! They got the pleasure of moving out of their home, watching all their furniture be sold off, saying goodbye to new friends, and moving yet again- this time more than 600 miles away.

My son had a fairly seamless transition, but my daughter was miserable the first six months or so. She lost her place in the Sports Hall of Fame. She lost future Homecomings (my alma mater does not have a Homecoming dance). She lost gymnastics for good. She had been counting down the days until she could get her license and now she was told nothing she did back in Virginia counted; she would have to start all over and wouldn’t be eligible to get her license for another 6 months. She was devastated. She lost any desire to gain a new set of friends. My beautiful, vivacious girl who was surrounded by friends and a social butterfly, became withdrawn, anxious, and depressed. As she told me once, she went from being everything to being nothing.

My son hasn’t seen or spoken to his father since February of 2016. Cousinfucker was creeping around in the shadows at her graduation and didn’t show himself until we had all left. My wonderful, talented, soft hearted son was with my mom on his way to the restaurant so CF never spent a single second with him. He didn’t bother to make it a priority to say a word to his son. This year he sent Rock Star a birthday and graduation gift, but sent nothing for Picasso- not even a card. I doubt very much that he will attempt to reach out to ask for a ticket to his graduation in 2 1/2 years.

THAT is my children’s reality. THAT is their truth. And that is why my son has no relationship with his father and my daughter has a very superficial one. It is nothing I did or said. He did a much better job at alienating them than I could have ever attempted.

 

Winning Vs. Losing, Or What I Learned From Michelle Kwan

The fabulous Dolly over on The Queen Is In wrote a provocative post last week. She mentioned someone on Twitter who questioned whether or not she stayed because she couldn’t stand to see the OW win. Dolly admitted she, too, wondered if part of why she stayed was because she didn’t want to see the OW win. Several other people commented that they didn’t want to see the OW in their situations win either. I couldn’t really chime in because as you must know if you read my blog, in my situation the OW did win. She got my husband. They are married now. I was effectively cast out and replaced.

Plus, as I kept thinking up a response it kept getting longer and longer so I decided to do what I do best and turn it into a post.

I can understand not wanting to lose your spouse to another person. I felt that way the first time I discovered what was going on. White hot rage that he had been playing me for a fool all summer long while he sweet talked that bitch. She knew I existed. She knew my kids existed. She didn’t give a shit. She wanted what was mine.

I wanted her gone! I wanted to win. I wanted her broken and destroyed. I wanted her to know that he loved me and he would never leave no matter what plans they may have had; I wanted to show her that all I had to do was snap my fingers and tell him I wanted us to work out and she would be gone without a second thought. I wanted her to know I was better than her and that she wouldn’t win.

I demanded he end things with her. I wanted to see it in black and white. His story was that he called her instead and ended things. He said she cried when he told her he could never leave me. I loved that. I felt great satisfaction in hearing she cried, that she felt discarded. She had been messing around with my husband for more than three months at that point and I wanted to banish her from our lives forever. I wanted her to know how insignificant she was to him.

I told him I had contacted her husband and when he told me to leave them alone and let them concentrate on repairing their marriage while we did the same I hissed at him, “Do not beg for mercy for your whore!” He backed off. I felt powerful. In control. Victorious.

So I definitely get it. I did not want her to win. And yet, I remember when our anniversary rolled around and the reality of everything hit me. I was “celebrating” my anniversary with a man who cheated on me.

About two months later I followed it up with this jewel:

One day I was talking to a dear friend who is wise beyond measure. I referred to the whore as a homewrecker. She pointed out to me that she wasn’t a homewrecker; my family was intact and I had won. I had to think about that. I don’t always feel like I’ve won. It sucks knowing your husband was declaring his love for someone else, someone he considered his soul mate. How do you feel like you’ve won when the prize is a lying, cheating sonofabitch? I’m being melodramatic here. I don’t feel that way now. I’m actually pretty pleased with my life right now. But still it’s that phrasing. Kinda like our marriage is better than ever. You know how I hate that one! I don’t think there are any winners or losers in the aftermath of an affair. Sure, he’s with me. He picked me. He’s a lot nicer. A lot more attentive. But he still lied and cheated. And that’s not a great prize to win.

Much like Katniss who won The Hunger Games only to find herself having to fight for her life once again in an ultimate showdown, I found myself in round two of fighting for my marriage a short two years later; sadly, I didn’t realize there was a round two until it was too late.

So this time I lost and she won. But did she really? What did she win?

She won a man who cheats. She won a man who, when times get tough, seeks out others instead of turning to his partner. She won a man who abandoned his children. Maybe she sees that as the ultimate sacrifice and a sign of how incredibly special she is. Most people see it as an act of cowardice. She won a man who can never be happy. She won a man who, according to his court testimony, can’t drive, can’t be around loud noises, and can’t be in public places with big crowds. She won an alcoholic. She won a man who is always the smartest guy in the room and who demands all the attention and adulation. She won a man she can never rely on when things are tough because for him every small problem is a giant problem; she’ll have to be the strong one all the time because he can’t handle it. She won a man who can’t take criticism and who will demand she is happy and appreciative all the time.

My mother likes to remind me that people can be different with different people. She has tales of her own with my father. As a child growing up I remember him spending a lot of time helping my grandpa out on the farm. Once he remarried though he didn’t spend nearly as much time out on the farm. As my mother said once, “It’s amazing that as his father ages he doesn’t need his son’s help nearly as much as he did when he was younger.”

I, on the other hand, don’t believe in personality transplants. I think my stepmom has something on my dad and that’s why their marriage has lasted 30+ years. And following that logic if she had something on him she could effectively control him.

Even if my ex-husband is a completely different person with Harley what is important is how he was with me.

When I “lost” to Harley, I lost a man who rarely used my name when speaking to me. I lost a man who didn’t want to hold my hand in public (although he thought it was hilarious to grope me). I lost a man who told me on many occasions, “Only one of us can be crazy or unhappy at a time, and that person is always me.” I lost a man who took it as a personal insult if I was unhappy or sad or dared to complain about anything. I lost a man who shut himself off in the basement or bedroom, and then dared to justify his behavior with Harley because I “treated him like a wallet and a handyman.” I lost a man who didn’t really want to go on family vacations or outings with us. A man who didn’t bother to go to parent-teacher conferences with me most of the time (I think he attended two). A man who didn’t really seem to care about being a husband or a father when it came time for the day to day activities. I lost a man who didn’t want to socialize with me and friends together. I lost a man who had no interest in hearing my stories from my life before him, and who didn’t really seem to show much interest in my life outside of him when we were married.

More importantly, “losing” him to Harley led me to finding the mobster. It’s no secret that I would have probably stayed until the bitter end. Her swooping in with her “big win” allowed me to find a love I couldn’t even begin to imagine. Yes, I may have “lost” to the OW but do you want to know what I’ve won?

I’m with a man who thinks I’m funny. He genuinely laughs at my jokes.

He thinks I’m adorable. Seriously. I’ll do something and he’ll say, “You are so cute the way you…”.

He butters my roll for me without me even asking. He makes me breakfast. He wants to please me. He sends me flowers and chocolate covered strawberries.

He greets me every morning with, “Hi, Beautiful,”  “Hi, Cutie,” or, “Hi, Babydoll”.

He appreciates the things I do for him instead of merely tolerating them. He has thanked me over and over again for his “Box ‘O Love” and the surprise party I threw for him. He thanks me every time I drive the entire way to see him.

He thinks I’m smart and beautiful.

He listens to me. He listens to all my crazy stories, both present and in the past. I can tell him anything. And I do. He tells me to never apologize for complaining; he wants to hear everything. We’re partners and he wants to hear the good and the bad. He likes to hear about my day. I work in a bank, for crying out loud, and he treats it like I’m doing amazing and interesting work every day. Hell, I believe he even listened to me explaining Candy Crush to him in detail.

He doesn’t tell me only one of us can be crazy at once and it’s always him. In fact, he calms me down when I’m freaking out and he’s willing to take over if I need him to.

He tells me that I give wonderful advice and I’ve been so good for him and I always think things through and know just what to say.

He ran out to Wal-Mart when we were together for my daughter’s Family Weekend and bought me shampoo and conditioner because I hadn’t brought any and the hotel didn’t have any in the room. My mom told me later she was amazed that he was willing to do that and asked me if I could ever imagine CF doing that for me. Considering he grudgingly made me a lemonade when I was pregnant with his child after three miscarriages I’m going to say, “Probably not.”

He accompanied me to a wedding all the way out in Utah AND met a ton of my friends while out there. Some people would have found that to be much like a lamb being led to slaughter, but he was amazing. He was a bit nervous but he was genuinely pleased to finally be able to meet my friends.

He likes to socialize and have fun. He’s always up for adventure. My daughter has labeled him “the happiest person [she] knows.”

He lifts me up. He wants to be a full-time partner to me.

He’s more supportive and attentive to my kids than their own dad was.

And he’s funny. He makes me laugh and we have the best time when we’re together.

He picks flowers for me from the side of the road. He creates chalk signs for me when I come to visit and he buys balloons and decorates for me. He’s willing to drive 10.5 hours to see me. He sends me song lyrics and creates picture books of our adventures together. He gets me a cup of coffee when we’re together.

He’s also never cheated on me and never lied to me. He has been patient and understanding, especially in the beginning when I was a skittish mess. He is the most amazing man and I never would have met him if I hadn’t lost my husband to Harley.

Years ago I remember an interview the lovely, talented and graceful Michelle Kwan did. It was right after the Olympics, where she had been expected to take the gold, only to have someone snatch it out from under her. The interviewer asked her how she dealt with losing the gold medal. I still remember her response all these years later. I didn’t lose the gold. I won the silver.

Wow- talk about reframing a situation. Michelle didn’t lose anything. She won something that very people even have the opportunity to compete for. What does that have to do with infidelity and Harley and losing CF to her, you may be asking?

It’s simple. I don’t look at it as losing my husband to Harley. I look at it as “winning” the mobster and finally being in a relationship where I am valued, cherished and loved.

PSA #1- Don’t Stay Home

I’m going to make a pronouncement and it’s not going to be popular. No one will listen because no one ever believes it will happen to them. I’m going to say it anyway: Don’t stay at home! Unless you have a career that allows you to seamlessly step back into the workforce (and honestly nursing is the only thing I’ve ever heard of that even comes close; maybe pharmacy or being a doctor or some other area of the medical field would as well) I implore you to keep your job even after children come along. Other exceptions would be if you have a legally binding agreement where the working partner agrees to put money aside for your personal retirement and pay alimony in the case of divorce, OR you are independently wealthy (or come into a healthy inheritance while married- just keep it separate at all times), OR, you have a secondary income, such as rental units, or a business, or stock dividends, or that handy inheritance.

Many times women (mostly women, anyway) walk away from their outside jobs to concentrate on raising the children. When they choose to, or are forced to, return to work they frequently return at a fraction of what they were making. Many times the skills they had to perform their job are outdated by the time they return. It’s a long tough road to get back on your feet financially. Most states don’t award alimony and even when it is awarded you’re now at the mercy of the ex. If the ex dies on you you’re screwed. It’s far, far better to make a good income and know that you can take care of yourself and your kids with no help from anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved being at home with my kids. I did a lot of things with my them. We went to a lot of places. When we first moved to Utah my daughter was in year round school, which turned out to be amazing. She had six weeks off in the summer and then was on a 9 weeks on/3 weeks off schedule. We went to Universal Studios, SeaWorld and the San Diego zoo at off peak times. It was wonderful! At Christmas time, her 3 weeks started after the winter break so she got 4-5 weeks from late December to late January. I took them back east to visit relatives, which we couldn’t have done if I had been working simply because we couldn’t have afforded four plane tickets at Christmas for what would basically amount to a four day getaway if the holidays fell on Thursday and Friday, or Monday and Tuesday. Assuming, of course, that Christmas Eve was recognized as a holiday. At my current place of employment it is not. Or rather, we get a half day. I’ve worked other places which gave me a half day on Christmas Eve, as well. Instead, my kids got to spend 2-3 weeks with relatives that they didn’t normally get to see.

I spent a lot of time volunteering at my kids’ schools. I was a room parent. I was heavily involved in PTA.

I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep in when my kids had no school. I was able to take them to water parks and amusement parks and museums and zoos. We went to the skating rink and flowers gardens and matinee movies. We got to go during the week and not have to fight the crowds. We could visit family during the summer and holidays, and when family came out to visit us I was able to spend time with them. On our cross country trips we could stop at Presidential museums and road side oddities. There was no hard and fast schedule. When Rock Star began traveling for out of state meets for gymnastics our last three years in Utah I was able to go and not have to worry about taking vacation time from work. We got to spend some pretty incredible weekends together in different cities- Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, Nashville. We had a blast and I treasure those memories.

I spent a lot of time with Rock Star and Picasso as they grew up, and I am so grateful I was able to have that time. It came at a horrible price, though.

Getting hired after not working outside of the home since 1998 was not an easy feat. As most of you know my first job post separation was working at Target on the Flow team. I got up at 3:20 in the morning and went to work at 4. I was paid $11/hour. It didn’t even pay my bills. Then I took a second job working at Kohl’s as seasonal help. That one paid $10. I finally made enough money to pay my bills and be able to buy Christmas gifts for my kids but I was also working sixteen hour days many days. I worked 21 days straight. I was in at 2 in the morning 2-3 days a week and 3 am the rest of the time during the month of December, and then usually would go and work another 8 hours at Kohl’s. My body ached. I never saw my kids. I was undoubtedly tired. Finally, I got offered my job at the bank, which I began in January of 2017. Again, I made $11/hour. I kept my job at Target and would work from 4-7 and then head home, take my daughter to school, and then finish getting ready for work before heading off to the bank. There were days that I would be called in the afternoon by my boss who would let me know that a closer had called off at one of our branches that was open until 7 and then I would go over there and close. I had a few days where I worked from 4-7, and then 8:45-7:15. Until April of that year I did it all with no financial help from Cousinfucker.

He had lost his job in June of 2016 and hadn’t sent another penny to help his children.

Even now I am not in great financial shape. Because of alimony I have to claim no deductions on my paychecks. I contribute to a 401k at a whopping 6% of my salary, which is actually very little because 6% of very little is very little. And I pay health insurance on the kids at $188 per paycheck. Plus dental. By the time everything is taken out I am actually taking home less money now, despite making over $2/hour more, than when I first started. The sad part is it’s probably going to take me another 2 or 3 years to even get back to where I started. And remember- I didn’t start at a great place! I just did a quick calculation and basically, I take home 55% of what I make. The other 45% goes to taxes, 401k, and insurance.

I am at the mercy of a man who has lied to me, who betrayed me, and who left me and my kids to the wolves. He had absolutely no regard for what might happen to us when he had his little “breakdown”. He didn’t even find it necessary to let me know anything more than he had lost his job and wouldn’t be sending anymore money.

Every month it’s an adventure, never knowing when I’ll get a notification that I’ve been paid. In the earlier days he would send a check about once a week. Nowadays he likes to save it all for the end of the end of the month! I think he likes to imagine me sweating it out.

So I say again. Don’t quit your job. Don’t rely on your husband to support you and provide you with your lifestyle. Don’t plan on him providing for your retirement. I used to think this woman from another board was crazy. She and her husband kept separate bank accounts. Her money was hers and his was his. They both paid into a joint account for marital household bills. Even once they co-mingled their funds she always made sure she never made a purchase that she couldn’t afford on her own. The house they bought? She could afford the mortgage if he left. Her car? She could afford it if he left. Fast forward to today, after an affair five or six years ago that resulted in a child, and she is finally divorcing him. Ironically, she’s not leaving because of the affair. She’s leaving because she doesn’t feel he is stepping up to be the father he should for that child. Nonetheless, she’s going to be fine because she never depended upon her husband financially.

I know it’s tempting. When work sucks or there’s never enough vacation time or that sweet baby face tempts you to stay and snuggle all day it’s easy to say, “Why not? He’ll never leave, and if he does he’ll have to pay me lots of money.” They don’t always do what they’re supposed to.

I was riding high for a whole five months- able to live in my home, pay the bills, put some money away for taxes and emergencies- and then he “lost” his job and I didn’t see another dime for ten months. In that time I lost my home, uprooted my children once again, sold off most of my furniture in order to have money to live on, and left the vast majority of everything I had ever owned in my lifetime behind. I moved in with my mother and took up residence on her couch.

Yes, perhaps there might have been things that would have made it easier. The ex and I were big spenders. We didn’t save much. Rock Star’s gymnastics were very expensive. I doted on my kids and they lacked for nothing. Perhaps if we had had more money invested or saved up things would have worked out better for me. Then again, we lived in a state that required a one year waiting period so unless I could get to that money to protect my share it wouldn’t have helped.

My biggest regret (aside from staying with him) is not going back to work to put myself in a better financial situation after I found out about Harley the first time. My second biggest regret is quitting my job and following him all around the country from the very beginning. I wanted to be a stay at home mom and he was all for it. Now I wish I had buckled down and done something with my life. Instead I’m almost 50 years old and I’m still trying to decide if I should go back and get my Masters (for what I don’t know), remain at the bank and hope promotions and raises keep coming, or if I move on and hope that my decades old Communications degree plus my 2 years of work experience might translate into a much higher paying job elsewhere.

One more time- DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB TO STAY HOME WITH YOUR KIDS! It can happen to you. Yes, you! It happens all the time. And it’s happening later and later in life, when it’s a lot more difficult to pick up the pieces and rebuild. Protect yourselves.