On the Stand

If you’ve never been through a divorce trial you are missing out on quite the experience. Your every little flaw is put through the wringer in the hopes that your fuckwit can discredit you and keep more of their money. I don’t know why I was thinking about this but I was. Maybe I have some PTSD from the experience.

I think I’ve shared before that Jerry Lee and his attorney decided that the best approach to take in their defense of his indefensible behavior was to portray me as a slovenly housekeeper who did nothing except spend money. I was questioned endlessly about my spending habits, my poor housekeeping, my laundry schedule, and how often I made dinner. To hear him tell it the reason we never had people over wasn’t because he was an anti-social asshole but because he was embarrassed about the state of our home. I’m still not completely sure what they thought this was going to accomplish but it suddenly hit me that what they were really trying to do was prove that I was just a lazy woman who was unwilling to work and was used to being supported by my husband’s money. I didn’t really do anything to justify him supporting me. I was a drain. A huge taker who gave nothing of use to her family.

Well, fuck that! Again, I’m not sure why I was thinking about it or why it pissed me off in this way but it got my back up. I wholeheartedly reject his portrayal of me.

Am I the best housekeeper in the world? No. It’s not even a goal of mine. I have my moments where things are very clean, and our homes were no exceptions. in fact, I would go so far as to say I kept a fairly immaculate home when we lived in Virginia.

But for the love of God, give me some credit! It’s not like I sat around doing nothing every day. Did the laundry ever pile up? Sure did. Did I ever go out and buy underwear or undershirts in a pinch if I couldn’t get to it? Maybe a handful of times over twenty years. But I also did the fucking laundry. I did it more often than I didn’t. I did his. I did mine. I did our kids’. Not only did I do his laundry I put his fucking clothes away. Man child didn’t even have to take the clean clothes that I washed, dried, and folded, and put them into the correct drawers, or hang them in the closet. I did that. 

I wasn’t sitting around navel gazing all day either. I ran my ass off for our kids. Taking them to school. Neighborhood car pooling. Early mornings for orchestra. Early dismissals for gymnastics. Running kids to gymnastics, tae kwon do, soccer practice, baseball practice, hockey practice. Picking them up from school. 

I made sure our kids were up and ready for school. I made their lunches if they ever chose to take lunch to school. I stopped and picked up food for Rock Star before gymnastics practice on a daily basis. I went on field trips. I volunteered at their school. I attended their programs and assemblies and parent/teacher conferences. I kept them busy with a stream of activities whenever they were out of school. I played games with them. I read to them. I was the parent while he sat in his bedroom or down in the basement and watched TV.

I made vet appointments and took our pets to them. I did all the grocery shopping. Whatever was needed for the house I bought.

Did I ever grab fast food or order a pizza? Hell yeah. In fact, one of my best, laugh out loud moments was when he asked when dinner was going to ready and I told him about 30 minutes. I had just ordered a pizza. I pulled that off with a straight face and didn’t even blink when I brought him his plate. But you know what else I did? I cooked! Hell, I rarely left him alone without making sure there was either plenty of ready to make stuff like frozen pizzas and burritos and his favorite canned goods, or prepared casseroles for him to heat up. 

Fuck him and his portrayal of me. I know the truth. I know I worked my ass off for my family.

You’re a Better Person Than Me

I think we’ve all heard that before. Usually spoken when someone does something we would not be able to do, or maybe something we wouldn’t ever want to do.  As in:

You celebrate all of the holidays with your cheating ex and the AP? Oh, you’re a better person than me!

You invited your cheating ex and the AP over for dinner? You’re a better person than me!

You met up with the AP and had a heart to heart? You’re a better person than me!

You don’t hate the AP and you guys go get mani/pedis together? You’re a better person than me!

You bought baby gifts for the affair baby so your kids could give their new “sibling” something? You’re a better person than me!

Are they though? Aren’t they just better at eating shit sandwiches?

Then, of course, you get the whole, “It’s so great that you are moving on and not letting bitterness and anger rule your life.” Because obviously if you’re not best friends with your ex-husband’s ho then you must be bitter and/or angry. Who wouldn’t want to be besties with the person that fucked your husband behind your back and helped blow up your life? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Do you really have to eat shit sandwiches in order to prove you’re no longer bitter and have a fulfilling life without the fuckwit in it? I say, “No. No, I do not.” I don’t need to be friends with someone in order to prove that I don’t hate them. I don’t need to buy them gifts, have them over for dinner, or have heart to heart conversations with them either. Not being friends does not equal remaining bitter or angry. It could simply equal rock solid boundaries.

Why do we keep perpetuating this idea that the only healthy way to divorce is by cozying up to the people that hurt us? Do we want to encourage people to debase themselves in order to prove something to others? I’m not encouraging people to deliberately be antagonistic. By all means, be civil when you must interact. But this idea that you need to celebrate the holidays together for the sake of the children, or that you must welcome the interloper with open arms as another parent? No fucking way. It is not necessary.

I’m sure that in a lot of cases the divorcing couple and the AP could have an amicable relationship. How difficult is it for the cheating spouse and affair partner to be amicable? They weren’t blindsided. They’re skipping off into the sunset, living their brand new shiny lives. They haven’t lost a damn thing. You wanna act like you’re friends? That would be swell! It’s image management at its finest.

Look! Look! What we did wasn’t that bad? Would my jilted spouse hang around me and my paramour if what we did was so awful? Look at what great friends we are! All is forgiven! I’m still a wonderful person despite the fact that I lied and cheated. My affair partner is still a wonderful person despite the fact that they fuck married people.

I don’t know why this narrative gets so much play. Nor do I understand why so many betrayed people buy into it but I really wish it would stop. You don’t have to befriend the person who gutted you, whether that’s your spouse or the affair partner. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Go live your best life and let the swine roll around in the muck. You don’t owe them a minute more of your time.

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.”

Quarantine Craziness, Part 3

Normally I would have a knee jerk reaction to this and say, “This whole idea of being civil and doing things that are way out of my comfort zone ‘for the kids’ is bullshit! It would never work. Some people you cannot do this with!” But, I mulled this over with a clearer head. I slapped down that knee jerk response and pondered the idea for a moment. Write this down, folks; it might be the only time you ever hear me ask this. What if I’m wrong?  What if a cordial, friendly relationship with Jerry Lee is possible?

Maybe my approach has been all wrong and if only I were a little nicer to him we could have conversations about our kids, he’d be up here visiting, he would be generous with his time and money. His kids would never want for anything. Maybe, when he came up, all four of us could go and do something together! Go out to dinner, catch a movie, go bowling.

<<You now see Sam over in the corner laughing hysterically.>> Oh my God, that was a good one!

That. Will. Never. Happen. Do you know why?

Well yes! Because you’re a mean bitch who won’t give him a chance!

No! I mean, I am a mean bitch who won’t give him a second chance but that’s not the reason why.

It will never happen because he is a toxic person who must always play the victim. He tells bald face lies and believes them. He honestly thinks I have done him wrong.

You cannot have a conversation with him where you are not fawning over him. You must avoid any criticism whatsoever because he takes that as a full blown attack. He is the smartest man in the world and he knows everything so please don’t even try to tell him what you think should happen because you are wrong and he is doing everything perfectly.

Every time I attempt to engage with him I go out of my way to be as non-confrontational as possible. Granted, it’s almost always about money so he’s not happy to hear from me. Doesn’t matter how I phrase it. He’s snide, dismissive, arrogant, and condescending.

You’ll get your “well deserved funds” in plenty of time.

Greedy much?

Since you like to keep a close eye on MY money I thought you might like to know your lawyer has given me permission to access MY money.

Don’t sweat it. You’ll get your money.

Thanks for the condolences by the way.

You need to read the court order. It says no separate orders for child support. Therefore, $XXX for two children, $XXX/2 for one child.

Again I will point out that I did not harass him, stalk him, scream at him, attempt to kill him, throw his shit away or on the lawn for all to see. I did not go to his workplace and embarrass him by leaving all his crap in the parking lot in front of his car with a big sign that said, “I moved my wife and kids 2000 miles across the country so I could have an affair with my cousin.” I even let that motherfucker move back into our home after he accused me of stealing every dime he made. Yet when I said, “Hey, you’re living here. You need to come up with half of the money for the household bills,” his response was, “I don’t have it.” His attitude was, “I’ve got $750 I’m willing to put towards the $5000 it takes to run this household each month. Take it or leave it.” That was the thanks I got for letting him move back in. But to hear him tell it he paid all the bills and in turn was terribly mistreated by us.

All those months I sat by quietly, pinching pennies and denying my kids, while he and Harley blew through over thirty thousand dollars? Didn’t result in one positive thing. In fact, it ultimately cost me thousands of dollars. He never had to pay that back as a cash payment; instead he rolled it all up into the 401k.

This is a man who has consistently lied about me and things that I have done. How can you have any kind of a relationship with a liar? I’ve tried before and it’s impossible. You are always on guard because you never know when they’re telling you the truth and when they’re making shit up.

He has called me a disgusting whore and a cunt. My friends don’t describe me like that. And quite honestly, he has no reason to. I didn’t cheat on him. I was faithful to him for twenty years.

He treats me with utter contempt. I do not deserve to be told anything. He enjoys blindsiding me, I think.

He moved out of our family home and out of the fucking commonwealth without saying a word to any of us! He didn’t even take all of his clothes. I finally realized about six, seven days later that he probably wasn’t coming back. Of course, I was the one that got to break it to our kids. Little did I know that he hadn’t just moved out of the house. Oh no! He’d  resigned from his job of fifteen years and moved 6 or 7 hours away to a completely different state. I was left to figure that one out on my own as well, which I did when I realized the direct deposit from his company hadn’t gone into my account as scheduled.

He lost his job, sent me a two line text, and I never heard another word from him. It was seven months later before I found out he hadn’t been locked up in a psych ward again; he’d checked himself into the VA hospital for drinking- for three days. I was told nothing. Never once did he check up on his kids. Never once did he send a dime to help out with them. Instead he drained a $10,000 401k and spend it all on himself, the whore, and her kids- all while claiming to be completely dependent upon his “fiancee”.

Then again in March of 2019 I find out, only after asking him if he has a plan to catch up on spousal support since he only sent half of it in February, that he’s “lost” his job. Not another word from him. Not even when he conveniently got himself another job. Or when he moved yet again to yet another state. I mean really, what business is it of mine whether or not he has a job?

For four months he played me, acting like he was sending what he could when the reality was he had a job. If I had to bet I would be betting that this new job paid even more than the old job, and yet he was sending me less money.

And now once again he has up and moved without saying a single word. I’m sure there has been yet another raise but it was only once he realized I was taking his ass back to court that he finally started paying what he owed in spousal support.

I know that without court intervention he will never pay me the original court fees he owes me. I know that without court intervention he will never pay the spousal support arrears. He figures it’s all my loss unless I force his hand.

He hacked my Facebook. He contacted the mobster insinuating that there were naked pictures of me all over the Internet. When he first began sending me my support checks he would stamp the envelopes with the Grinch, a robber, or an adulterer. He sends obscene emojis and snide messages almost every time he Venmos me the money he owes me.

Child Support (Original Amount Pending Revisionist History). Your attorney has not given me the new $$$ required to keep you and the Potato Chip Squire living comfortably and able to meet up. When that amount is determined… then the amount will change.

What’s it for? That doesn’t even deserve an answer. Everyone knows why this money is changing hands. Because the party of the 1st part needs to supplement the inability of the party of the 2nd part to live on her own merits.

Alimony bitches

Alimony- grateful or otherwise

Because sometimes the pay cycles are off and you happen to be 6 days off on paying. Grow up.

He threatened his sister and one of his friends from high school, simply for supporting me (which he found out when he hacked my Facebook).

Sweet baby Jesus! Who wants to hang around someone like this? Why would I want to spend Christmas morning with this?

It never gets better. You might think it will but it doesn’t. You might think treating him with respect and kindness will work, but it doesn’t. I reached out to him for Rock Star’s graduation. I will admit I fully expected him to tell me to fuck off or that he didn’t need my help or to admonish me that he didn’t need me to micromanage his relationship with his daughter. So I was rather surprised when he texted back and was cordial, grateful even that I was offering him a ticket. You might have thought a corner was turned but you’d be wrong. He barely acknowledged me when I handed him the ticket and he promptly cut his daughter off, prorating child support right down to the minute she graduated.

I’ve heard people say that having a cordial relationship with an ex sometimes mean you do things even when that person hasn’t behaved their best. Quite honestly I think that’s crazy. At some point you need to stop beating your head against a brick wall.

I love my children. I’m not willing to unnecessarily degrade myself for them. I’m not willing to put myself in emotional distress for them just because. I’m not going to help them deny reality and play happy family with their father and perhaps their father’s mistress.       

In my case I suppose it’s a moot point because he never sees his kids so they can’t tell me they really wish we would be civil towards one another and act like one big happy family.

But if he did? I’d be telling them to suck it up. There’s nothing to work with. I don’t believe in modeling being a doormat for your kids. I’m not going to bend over backwards and turn the other cheek constantly while he spits in my face. Divorce ends families. As much as people try to peddle the bullshit of, “We’re still family; it’s just in a different form!” it’s not true. You are no longer family. That is a consequence of fucking around on your spouse and ending up divorced.

I’m sure there are people out there who divorce for reasons other than infidelity, addiction,  and abuse. If they can work things out to the point no one knows they’re divorced, good for them. If they want to invite their exes over for graduation and goodbye parties, be my guest. If they want to spend every holiday together, go out to dinner, have sleepovers, go on vacation together, etc. have a ball. But for the love of God please stop telling people who don’t do this, who CAN’T do this, that being friendly and doing everything together is the only way to do things. In my situation it will never be possible.

Let me be clear. I can be civil. I won’t be coming at him or Harley with knives or anything. More than likely I would be ignoring them but if I couldn’t avoid it I can be civil. We will never be friendly though. He’s done way too much and he’s demonstrated his lack of respect for me at every turn. I’m not friends with people like that.

Quarantine Craziness, Part 2

I realize Chump Lady has a niche audience. She’s amassed an incredible following and it can be very easy to dismiss them as a bunch of rabid, group thinking know it alls who only preach divorce, distance, and disdain. However, what most of them (us) have in common is that we’ve already been through this and it didn’t end well.

When the people tell newbies who are trying to figure out whether they should leave or try to work things through, they’re telling them to get out because they’ve already tried the reconciliation thing. There are very few people on that site who kicked the cheater out immediately after finding out about the infidelity. Almost all of them are repeat chumps. They tell the newbies to get out because they’ve been there. They’ve forgiven the cheater who wasn’t sorry. They’ve forgiven the cheater who lied and made promises, only to find out they took it further underground. They’ve endured the repeat D-Days, some of them coming 2… 7… 10… 20 years later. They can tell the newbies their stories of all the humiliating things they did while doing the so-called “pick me dance”. So many who say, “I can’t believe how I gave and gave and gave, how I made my needs smaller and smaller, for a person who didn’t care.”

The people that seem to find her are the ones who forgave their cheater, who thought they had the exception, only to find out the cheater was only buying time to set them up. Drained college funds. Drained retirement funds. Switched jobs to decrease their income. Used them until the money dried up and then moved on to greener pastures. The people who are screaming, “Don’t trust him/her!” are the ones who will never be able to afford to retire because they trusted a cheater.

When they urge the newbies to protect themselves- to get a post-nuptial if they’re going to stay, to do a credit check, to verify accounts- it’s because they learned through financial devastation about the need to do those things. When they say don’t quit your job, don’t move across the country, don’t take on their debts, don’t declare bankruptcy with them, don’t give them second and third and fourth chances, don’t take pity on them it’s because they’ve done those things and they have lived to regret it.

When they tell the newbies to maintain no contact or gray rock it’s because they’ve already learned the hard way. They came to realize the first step is creating space between you and the cheater; it’s difficult to fall for their bullshit when they’re not around. They’ve learned that contacting the employers, the in-laws, the affair partner’s family, generally doesn’t pay off. They’ve learned that any kind of interaction gives the cheater kibbles and maintains their centrality. They know that phoning or texting or emailing angry or maudlin outbursts is not going to benefit you; if anything, it’s going to make you feel worse. They know that begging your ex to take an interest in their children or to do as they promised does nothing except infuriate you because it sure as hell doesn’t change the cheater’s behavior. They realize that trying to figure out why the cheater did something is pointless. They know that arguing with them or trying to reason with them is a waste of time. They know this because they’ve lived it. It’s not because they’re angry, bitter people who want everyone around them to be just as miserable. They’re trying to save people some grief and misery.

Imagine this. I have an office building that overlooks an isolated sandy beach. The sand is white and pristine. The waters are a deep blue. It’s very inviting. As I stand there, looking outside my window, I see someone venture onto the beach. I see that person wade into the water. That person is swimming happily, minding his or her own business. Suddenly, from out of nowhere a shark attacks the person, throws him up in the air, and then gobbles him down in one bite. Naturally, I would be horrified. I call the police. They investigate. No body, no crime. They don’t see the shark. No signs are posted. I’m just a crazy woman.

A few days later I see another person venture onto the beach. Again, the person goes into the water, is having a great time and then BAM! Shark attack. Person devoured.

It happens again and again.

I start posting banners outside my office window, “Don’t go into the water! Shark!” People continue to dismiss me and they continue to get eaten.

Finally, I go down to the beach myself. When someone dares to dip their toes in the sand and head towards the water I implore them not to get in the water. “There’s a shark in there. It’s killed dozens of people in the last month. DO NOT GO IN! You are going to die!”

Am I telling that person not to go in the water because I’m a heartless monster who wants to prevent people from enjoying a refreshing swim? Am I trying to deny them their bliss? Am I angry or jealous that they don’t have to be stuck in an office all day and can take time off to swim?  NO! I know there’s a fucking shark in the water and this person is going to be chum. I’m trying to prevent a death, not stop them from having fun.

That’s how I view the fans of Chump Lady. They’ve seen the shark. They know the danger.

I think also that what some people don’t get is that for many of her followers the concept of a tidy, mutual conscious uncoupling has not been possible. It’s not because we are bitter bunnies who refuse to seek “a future relationship where we can both be happy for each other and our children and show them happiness and being whole are vital to a person’s future.” It’s because the people we are divorcing suck!

As one person put it: He tried to kill me so that’s going to be a hard no on any interaction.

I have a friend who had a police officer pull her aside and tell her, quite bluntly that her address was flagged as a frequent domestic violence call and when it came up they treated it as a potentially fatal call. They even told her, “One day we’re going to get that call and when we show up we’re going to find he’s killed you or one your girls.”

This man attempted to strangle one of his daughters. He’s a violent alcoholic who indulged in a three year long affair. She does not need to share birthday dinners with him. She does not need to model gracefully moving on or civility towards him. She needs to get the fuck away and stay the fuck away. Period. And she has.

The mobster has dealt with his STBX telling people that he was controlling, he made her dress a certain way, and that he was physically and emotionally abusive towards her and towards their kids. Why would he want to maintain a friendship with someone like that? Why would he want to share holidays or care one little bit about how she’s doing?

In my own situation I can still clearly remember Jerry Lee coming downstairs after I had given him a bill for the monthly living expenses. After telling me he couldn’t pay his half (yeah, when you blow over four grand on an engagement ring for your whore cousin it can be difficult to pay your share of the household bills) he told me he could give me $750, take it or leave it. Then he so graciously let me know that this could all still be civil.

The jackass was living in the family home. He cut me off financially and gave me only what his lawyer had told him he would have to pay. I got less than 50% of his paycheck and I was responsible for 100% of the bills. We had a $2100 monthly mortgage, utilities that ran around $400-$500 per month, and multiple credit cards. Plus, a pool loan. The money he was told he would end up paying me didn’t always fully cover the household bills. Meanwhile, he had approximately $5000 a month to blow on Harley and her kids. He didn’t give a fuck if his own kids went without.

I never yelled at him. I never dumped his shit on the front lawn. I never showed up at his place of employment, screaming and outing him as the lying cheater he was. I didn’t harass him or her. As far as I’m concerned I was the perfect STBX. I took care of the bills and the kids. Never bothered him. Never made life miserable for him. He, on the other hand, used our house as an extended stay hotel while he left every weekend to go fuck his cousin and played the sad sausage to everyone who would listen.

How much more civil could I have been?

We’ve seen this rouse time and time again; that’s why we don’t buy it. It’s why we urge others who are new to this to step away and refuse to engage. We’ve experienced giving them an inch and them taking a mile. We’ve experienced reaching out and doing something kind or thoughtful and having it thrown back into our faces. Apparently, some people love that shit! Abuse me some more! I want to show people what a great person I am!

For others it’s simply recognizing that this person is toxic and you need to get away. There’s nothing to work with. Nothing you say is going to make a difference. Nothing you do is going to make a difference.

I think for most people it’s very difficult to go against our basic instincts. We have been conditioned to give chance after chance. We want to try, try, and try again. We feel it’s our duty to exhaust every potential solution. What if I don’t forgive my cheater and this time, the ninth time, is the time it finally stops and we end up happily married for the rest of our lives? If they’ve already cheated nine times I’m pretty sure your chances of discovering it a tenth time are pretty high, but so many are determined to give one more chance. Chances one through eight notwithstanding. I also think it’s very scary to realize you don’t control anything. You can forgive until your brain malfunctions, until your heart stops beating, until your eyes glaze over, but it doesn’t mean a thing in a lot of cases.

Yet, it’s still pushed. You’re doing your kids a disservice if you aren’t friendly towards one another. Your children will be scarred for life if you aren’t sitting together at their concerts or school plays or football games. We took smiling divorce selfies at the courthouse because even though we’re divorced we are still family and that will never, ever change- even when one or both of us gets remarried, even if one or both of us goes on to have more children, even if one of us moves away with the new, improved family. No one can even tell we’re divorced because we do everything together- parent teacher conferences, volunteering, extracurricular activities; we’re the envy of everyone! I let my ex live with me on the weekends for the sake of my children and I accompany them on all of their outings like we’re still one big happy family even though he has a mistress and a love child six hours away in the town he moved to away from his original children. Only bitter exes who can’t get over the divorce refuse to host joint birthday parties, vacation together, go out to dinner together, and spend the holidays together as one big happy family. I’m sorry you’re not demonstrating to your children how to gracefully move on and let someone go; they’re probably going to be in dysfunctional relationships and will never forgive you. My children admire me because they can see all the sacrifices I have made for them, and how I will always put their comfort and needs ahead of my own, even if that means every time my ex asks me for something I jump up immediately and make sure it’s done. No matter how humiliating, painful, or debilitating the request may be I will always do it and I will never think about my own physical or emotional well-being. Because I’m a good parent. Unlike you, you bitter bunny who can’t move on.

To be continued…

Quarantine Craziness!

If any of you read Chump Lady then you probably saw Thursday’s post about Bruce Willis self-quarantining with his ex wife, Demi Moore, and their three adult children. If you’re familiar with Chump Lady then you can probably guess her reaction. She thought it was crazy and stupid.

I, personally, don’t care whether they’re all stuck together or not. Bruce and Demi have always had a crazy type of post-divorce relationship. They’ve always made a show of being a united front for their three girls, at least publicly. Hell, maybe privately too; I don’t know them so I can’t say with certainty. They were the supposed goal of post divorce relationships, even when she got together with the much younger Ashton Kutcher. It was all one big happy family with the girls calling Ashton “MOD”, or, my other dad. I did feel a bit vindicated when it was revealed after Demi and Ashton broke up that Bruce had always thought the guy was a jerk. I also feel fairly confident that “their other dad” doesn’t have much of a relationship with “his” daughters now that he has remarried and has two children of his own.

Tracy did bring up one valid point though, which I hadn’t really thought about. Bruce is remarried and has two young daughters with the current Mrs. Willis. Why is he not with them?

I don’t really care. Honestly. What I did find interesting in all the comments was someone who decided to chime in with the news that she had left Chump Nation because it felt like a cult. Despite being cheated on she and her cheater remain friendly and she felt like Chump Lady didn’t approve. She went on to say that Chump Lady wants everyone to hate their ex and basically shames those who don’t. Another commenter chimed in with, “Exes CAN be caring friends. It DOES happen.” And then went on to imply that Chump Lady wants everyone to be pissed off at their ex.

Um… no she doesn’t. She’s pretty clear on this. Does she want you to get angry and use your anger to propel you through the hard parts of this shit show? Absolutely! Does she want you to stay there and wallow in your misery and the unfairness of it all? Not at all. Her standard go to advice is that the pain is finite. It hurts like a sonofabitch but it will end. On some random Tuesday. Her goal for her readers? To reach Meh, that glorious state where you don’t care what your fuckwit is doing or who they’re doing it with. You’re not angry. You’re not vengeful. You are way too busy living your new amazing life.

I can believe she doesn’t see the point in remaining friends with your ex. Then again, her first ex, the father of her child, is a hoarder with mental issues who sued her pro se for custody continuously despite rarely seeing his own child and being financially negligent; and her second ex was a serial cheating sociopath. Not a lot to work with.

She’s also not a big fan of the whole “conscious uncoupling”. I’m right there with her. If infidelity wasn’t a part of your divorce I can see perhaps remaining friendly. Otherwise, my question has always been: Why would I want friends like these?

She firmly believes you don’t have a lot to work with when your spouse cheats. She doesn’t think most of them are genuinely remorseful; they just don’t like consequences so they’ll say or do whatever is needed to prevent said consequences. And she has said many times that cheating is not about the marriage rather it’s about entitlement and shitty character.

I understand she’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ll even let you in on a little secret: I don’t agree with everything she says. The Bruce and Demi self-quarantine? I don’t care. And despite her insistence that they’re probably having sex and the new wife should file for divorce, I don’t think that’s true. Her views on emotional affairs? Don’t necessarily agree, although she has changed her stance over the years. This idea that a 50 or 60 year old has just as much of a chance to find love again as a 20 or 30 year old? Nope. Don’t agree. I also don’t think she necessarily gives credence to all the different variables people have in their lives. It sometimes feels like it’s a one size fits all approach. I tend to think that obstacles facing a 60 year old whose marriage has disintegrated after 35 years are probably different from the 30 year old who is divorcing after five years. I tend to think that the woman who has been a stay at home mom for 15 years is going to find it financially more difficult than the woman who is the main breadwinner in her family. Despite my minor disagreements I’m not offended by her or her message. I take what I can use and I leave the rest. Her tag line is very clear: Leave a cheater, gain a life.

Apparently though there are some people out there that are very, very offended by the fact that Chump Lady exists. They’re offended by the fact that she preaches leaving instead of reconciliation. They’re offended that she doesn’t encourage friendship and “cooperation”, but rather gray rock and no contact. They’re offended at the thought of no longer untangling the skein, or giving up their spot on the marriage police. They also seem to be offended by the fact she believes instead of investing in a relationship with a person who has lied to you, cheated on you, and stabbed you in the back you should invest in yourself.

My first thought on the commenter who was complaining Chump Lady wants everyone to hate their ex and all of those who are offended by the fact that she doesn’t believe in reconciliation is, “Who the fuck cares?” Seriously! There are 11,569,214 websites out there devoted to reconciling with your lying cheater, aka your wayward spouse. There are almost as many blogs written by betrayed spouses who are reconciling after infidelity. Chump Lady is ONE website that doesn’t preach reconciling at all costs. Actually, if you read her you know she doesn’t preach reconciling at any cost. But it’s one website! One website out of millions. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find blogs written by divorced women? Most of the blogs I have found are written by women (almost overwhelmingly women) that are reconciling. Most websites are geared towards reconciliation. It’s a foregone conclusion that you want to save your marriage.

As for being friends with your ex? That is the message we are bombarded with every. single. day! Friendly exes are held up as the golden standard. Look, they vacation together! They spend holidays together! I believe in putting my children’s needs ahead of my own; that’s why I threw the OW a baby shower. We’re besties now- because it’s best for the children. I live with my ex on the weekends- for the children.

We get literally one website that tells us it’s okay to not be buddy buddy with someone who has abused you. One website that tells us it’s okay if we don’t want to double date with the ex and the replacement, or host parties together, or vacation together. We get one website that tells us it’s okay not to engage, to not waste our breath. One website out of 11,569,214 that tells us it’s not us, it’s them. That we don’t control them and there wasn’t anything we did or didn’t do to make them cheat on us. And even there you find people who want to talk about forgiveness and thinking of the children. Like those of us who aren’t willing to have our ex and the OW over for dinner must not love our children. Like those of us who would rather crawl through raw sewage than sit with our ex and the affair partner never think of our children or refuse to put their needs ahead of our own.

There’s a woman who is hosting dinner for her husband (not divorced yet) and his pregnant girlfriend/mistress because custody orders are still in place and if she does dinners with them then Daddy Dearest won’t push the issue and insist they transfer the child between homes during this pandemic. Many people have responded with, “No. Not gonna happen.” She continues to insist she is putting her child’s needs ahead of her own and doing what it takes to help her child be comfortable. Then along comes someone who tells her what a wonderful thing she’s doing, how it’s so great that she can put her child ahead of her own ego and anger.

There it is again. That assumption that people can’t let go, that they’re mired down by their anger. If only you would forgive everything would be wonderful. Adult children of divorced parents NEVER complain about their parents being civil to one another. They are only grateful Mommy and Daddy could put aside whatever petty issues they may have had which led to this divorce so that everyone could go to Benihana’s after the school play or they could have both of their parents there on Christmas morning.

Ah yes, the kids are rubbing the sleep out of their eyes as they roll out of bed in their matching pajamas. They run down the stairs to the sight of their giant Christmas tree decorated to the nines and full of blinking lights. Presents overflowing. There’s Mommy in her sweats and t-shirt. She’s been up all night getting things ready for the big reveal and has been busy making breakfast for everyone. And then there’s Daddy and his whore, both dressed in their Christmas finest, with her practically sitting on his lap, her hand firmly holding onto his as if to claim him. Mommy is dutifully serving Daddy and the whore that helped demolish her family like the good subservient loser that she is. They all laugh and coo over the kids as they open their gifts, patting themselves on the back because they’re so evolved and love their children so much more than those bitter exes that spend the holidays in separate homes. Then Daddy and the replacement say it’s time for them to go. Maybe they take the kids with them for more festivities. Maybe they head home to their own quiet, clean house to spend the rest of the day in bed, fucking like rabbits before going out for Chinese food and going to the movies. Meanwhile, Mom is left to clean up the kitchen and the mess of wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows and assemble the toys or find batteries. Wow- sounds like an amazing holiday.

The sad part is that this is the narrative preached by so many. This is the only way to teach civility, letting go, moving on, exhibiting grace. It’s also the only way you can demonstrate that your children’s well being is the most important thing.

You know what? I AM a child of divorce. I never once wanted those things. I never expected my parents to act as a unit now that they were divorced. I don’t know who all these kids are that think even though Mommy and Daddy are divorced they’re still going to do everything together. My dad cheated on my mom. For years my mother could not stand him… or her. I still remember after Rock Star’s fourth or fifth birthday party when everyone had gone home my mom telling me she had been talking to my dad and she had to find something else to do because she was having a good time talking to him and it almost made her forget how much she couldn’t stand him. They separated when I was in fourth grade. I had my first child at 31. This was twenty plus years later.

I’m not damaged by the fact that we didn’t spend holidays together or that my parents weren’t super chummy. It was just the way it was. My mother was civil when she had to be. She preferred to not be around him. He and the OW turned wife were invited to her home for my graduation party. I think that was probably the first time they were in the same space for a prolonged period of time. I’m not sure they said a single word to one another at my wedding. You know what? I didn’t even notice. It did not affect me or my big day. They were able to be in the same space when we started having kids and the kids had birthday parties. Again, she was civil when she had to be. She was not friendly. She kept people around her and kept busy when they were there in the same space. I’ve never had a problem with that. I’ve never thought less of her. I’ve never wondered, “Gee, why didn’t my parents take us on a family vacation after they got divorced?”

I have always believed you do not cease to be a person with feelings and emotions once you have children. Yet, so often what we’re told is good parents eat shit sandwiches. Good parents let people walk all over them for the sake of their children. You don’t get to feel hurt. You don’t get to feel angry. You don’t get to draw boundaries. You’re a parent. Whatever your kid wants you should give them. Don’t worry about the psychological toll it may take on you.

I say, “Balderdash!” I much prefer Chump Lady’s message. Let us have our ONE damn site out of millions. If we’re all wrong who the fuck cares? It’s not like there aren’t millions upon millions of websites and blogs that are going to push reconciliation and friendliness between exes.

To be continued…

Who Is Mariella and Why Is She So Stupid?

Have I got a gem for you today! This comes from an advice column. I wish I knew which paper ran this tripe. Is there a newspaper called The Observer in England? Horrible advice! Horrible.

Here’s the story:

The dilemma: I’ve been in a relationship for four years. It started as a workplace affair, but we fell madly in love and knew we wanted to be together forever, which meant leaving our spouses. She went first, informing her husband their marriage was over. But she did not tell him about our affair. They agreed to separate and all was amicable. When I confessed, I was able to end my marriage, but not without difficulty and revenge acts. Neither of my children has spoken to me since, despite my efforts to reconcile. Three years later, my partner and I are still together. It’s mostly very good. My problem is that she retains a strong relationship with her ex. I understand this is good for co-parenting, but it makes me uncomfortable. She hasn’t divorced him or made any effort to- even though I made a point of getting a divorce to ensure a clean start. In contrast, my ex-wife and I have never been able to have a polite conversation. She is spiteful, vengeful and constantly asks for money. I appreciate my actions have had consequences. However, I struggle to manage my jealousy and fear my partner will return to her husband. It feels as if she is keeping her options open. Am I being irrational?

Let’s hit the pause button because there is so much to digest here, and we haven’t even gotten to the juicy “advice” yet.

From what I’ve managed to put together they began as a workplace affair but fell madly in love- in the span of a year. That was enough time to decide it was worth it to destroy two marriages (or perhaps only one…) and abandon at least one set of kids (although I’m guessing two sets since he mentions his love co-parenting with her husband/ex-husband). That sounds about right. It’s all about the happiness.

Second thing I’ve noticed is not only is she a cheater and a liar, but she’s also a liar. No, that wasn’t a mistake. Obviously, the majority of the cheaters out there have to tell lies in order to carry on their affairs. She continues with the lies. She has gaslighted her husband into believing that their marriage just magically went poof! It’s over. No real reason why. No, I’m not fucking my co-worker. We just grew apart.

Next I’m hit over the head with the news that she is not divorced yet! The bitch went first in letting her husband know their marriage was over and she’s still married? It’s been three fucking years!

This guy is a cheater so I’m not terribly sympathetic but those feelings he’s having? That wondering, “Am I being irrational in feeling jealous? Am I irrational for wondering if she’ll return to her husband that she hasn’t managed to divorce in the three years since telling him their marriage is over?” is a gigantic red flag waving furiously in the breeze, signaling the fact that this is not a good person he’s with. She is a liar and a cheater who will say or do whatever is needed to put herself in the top position. She has not changed for him. She conned her husband and she’ll con her co-worker/affair partner. He feels like she’s keeping her options open because she is. If things don’t work out with the shiny affair partner then maybe she’ll give her poor sap of a husband another shot.

I get it. I really do. He left his wife. His kids won’t speak to him. His wife won’t play nice and refuses to help him out with image management. Meanwhile, his partner in crime is skating along, consequence free. No one knows she’s a lying, cheating whore. She kept that shit to herself. “I’m not going to tell him I cheated on him. There might be consequences. What if I need him later?” It’s almost like the two of them decided to rob a bank together and only one of them got caught. He’s doing hard time while she’s out spending all the money they stole together. That’s a bitch, huh, dude?

Fear not, though, because Mariella is on the job. Her response to his question: Am I being irrational?

Just a touch. You do seem to be ignoring the obvious, which is that your partner’s approach is netting positive results while yours has created only adversity. She’s engineered a departure low in acrimony while yours is marred in misery.

Of course it has! She’s been lying and gas lighting her husband! The only reason her “approach” (correct terminology: lies of omission) is netting positive results is because the spouse in her situation does not know the truth!

She’s engineered a departure low in acrimony while yours is marred in misery.

Oh, she’s engineered something all right! Her departure is low in acrimony because her spouse has not been given the full information. He was never told, “I’m leaving you for someone else.”  He can go blithely about his life believing they just grew apart when the reality is she was fucking her co-worker and making a fool of him.

I’d put money on your being one of those impetuous lovers who doesn’t like to let detail get in the way of an increased pulse rate. There’s certainly romance in the notion that the right two hearts would forever beat in unison and previous commitments were merely training for this, the real thing. It’s also a pretty naive stance to take.

What are you babbling about?

Rushing from one relationship to the next, swearing undying love and tying yourself up in hard to untangle commitments is beset with obvious flaws. It may play to your sense of insecurity to believe that your new partner is hedging her bets, but a better way to regard it would be with a degree of admiration for her superior wisdom.

Are you fucking kidding me? It’s not wisdom. It’s lying. It’s omitting pertinent details. Details like, “Oh, by the way, I’m fucking my co-worker and have been for the last year. I’m leaving you for him.”

She’s managed to elegantly detach herself from her marriage without causing undue emotional misery and excess pain.

No, she’s lying. She’s keeping pertinent details to herself so that she does not experience any unpleasant consequences.

Now she’s embarked on this relationship with you, but without the same determined disregard for past experience. Instead, she would appear to be carrying with her the lessons from her first foray that include the possibly, hard-earned, that wanting a relationship to last forever and achieving that are two separate and sometimes unreconcilable ambitions.

Wait just one minute. This advice might be great for two divorced people who are getting together and trying to create a life with one another. It’s bullshit advice for a couple who were having an affair. She didn’t learn shit. She’s an opportunistic whore who will work the situation to her advantage. That’s what she did in her marriage, by not being honest, and that’s what she’s doing now.

What exactly is it that she is supposed to be learning? Not to get involved with a dishonest person? Not to date a cheater? I’m pretty sure those lessons are lost on her. She’s dating one and she is one.

She’s not a heartbroken, dumped spouse with trust issues because she was betrayed. She was the one doing the betraying. Stop writing as though she was wounded by the demise of her marriage, as though her relationship failed despite her best attempts. She cheated. She left him. The only reason the marriage didn’t last was because she was fucking her co-worker and decided that the grass was greener with him. At least partially. She’s not completely sure.

For many, their first wide-eyed love affair will struggle to last the elongated journey that our increased lifespans now provide. Sticking together for up to 80 years is a tall order and we could all do with lowering our expectations.

Wow- I don’t even know where to begin with that one. I guess the most obvious is to point out you don’t see a lot of 80 year marriages. Most people die before that can happen. Even reaching 50 years together is rare.

Secondly, what do longer life spans have to do with any of it? The median age of marriage for males from 1890-1940 varied from 24.3 to 26.1. It dipped down to 22.8 in the 50s and 60s and slowly began going up again. The average age of marriage for a man in the year 2010 was 28.2 and in 2018 it was 29.8. So yes, they’re living longer but they’re also getting married later. Both men and women have many more chances to date a variety of people and sow their wild oats before getting married. Premarital sex and living together are not the grievous sins that they once were. Women are not always as financially dependent upon men as they were in the past, when they were basically considering property.

This whole “people live longer and it’s not realistic to expect fidelity for that long” is a crock of shit. It’s an excuse. But sure, let’s lower our expectations instead of raising our standards.

The mistake you’re making, and it’s a common one, is to plough on without a moment to digest the experience you’ve just emerged from- which makes you the proverbial old dog!

Again, you speak as though the letter writer has emerged from a long term relationship through no fault of his own. It’s as though you believe the person who cheated and the person who was cheated on go through the exact same thing when the relationship dissolves.

They don’t. One of those people forges on by themselves. One of those people has to deal with being betrayed and replaced. One of those people must deal with feelings of shame and regret and anger. One of those people is left feeling like maybe they weren’t good enough or left wondering, “Why wasn’t I enough?” I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the person who was fucking another person and has another partner already lined up.

Your partner, on the other hand, seems to be proceeding far less impetuously, at the revised pace of one set on her path but mindful of the pitfalls.

Of course she is. She’s mindful of all the consequences that could befall her if her husband knew the truth.

That does say something about her expectation of your relationship- not least that it’s imbued with the wisdom of past experience.

Tying another individual up in public statements of intent and transforming irrational impulses into set expectations doesn’t make it any easier to keep them on board- as both your exes have discovered to their emotional cost. The fact that you see your current partner making a similar commitment as the only way to feel secure about your hold over her deserves further scrutiny on your part. It suggests that what you are in pursuit of this time around is no more achievable than it was last time.

Um… he’s not trying to convince her to marry him. He does, however, want to know why she still isn’t divorced. Supposedly, they are madly in love, remember? Why would she want to remain married to her husband, the one she was cheating on with him?

I think you are correct though that this is no more achievable than it was last time. At least the last time he married a woman who wasn’t cheating on her husband. He also didn’t marry a woman who, despite being madly in love in with him, refused to divorce her first husband. He didn’t marry a liar.

I’ve no doubt your wife was furious you were breaking promises that she felt were non-negotiable.

Yes, it’s amazing how furious some spouses can be when they find out they’ve been lied to and cheated on. It’s amazing how angry it can make you to realize your whole entire life as you’ve known it is over and you’re forced to start all over- by yourself- while your spouse traipses along with your replacement. It’s downright puzzling to think that just because someone went to the trouble of asking you to marry them and then made vows to you, that you might believe those promises and believe, too, that they were non-negotiable.

You’ve proved her wrong by leaving her and now you want your next partner to make those same unrequited promises all over again. Think about it- it really doesn’t make sense. Embarking on a relationship preoccupied with how swiftly you can create an inescapable institution doesn’t bode well for the success of the enterprise.

Many of us will move on from relationships that aren’t perfect or have lost their allure over time, but life is supposed to be a learning process. I appreciate that the world today may not encourage belief in that concept- and your determination to declare your current pairing a “together forever” situation when you’ve already broken that promise once is just another indication that as a species, we still have a lot to learn.

That’s adorable. What it boils down to is this: So many people are simply too provincial to understand that marriage is temporary. It means nothing. It’s just two people who have decided this sounds like a good time- for now. When it’s no longer fun- dump them and move on. Make sure you have the next one lined up, though, before you move on. You wouldn’t want to be lonely.

I suggest you enjoy what you’ve got- and when you are content enough not to care whether she commits publicly or not is the perfect moment to get remarried.

I had to go back and re-read because Mariella keeps mentioning remarriage. Unless she omitted that from the letter she published, there is nothing in this letter that indicates he’s freaking out because she won’t marry him. He’s freaking out because his affair partner hasn’t left her husband, despite telling the poor sap their marriage was over three years prior. He’s freaking out because she never did ‘fess up about their affair.

What Mariella is suggesting is for the letter writer to feed his mistress lots and lots of cake. Do the pick me dance, Cheater Boy. Don’t make demands. Don’t enforce boundaries. Whatever you do, do not impose consequences. Wait silently and show her that you, too, can be a useful sap.

Lest anyone fears I’m going soft, or feels like I’m defending the original cheater, I’m not. I just happen to think all of this advice stinks to high heaven. If Mariella is willing to gaslight a cheater the way that she has throughout this advice column I don’t even want to see the kind of damage she could do to a deceived and hurting spouse.

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.

Into the Bowels of Hell, The Recap, Part 2

I’ve crossed the first three hurdles. They ended up being surprisingly easy. This next one, though… it was a little tougher. Little more drama. I took my first drink (punch spiked with vodka) around 1 and kept on drinking until late that night. Thankfully, it was spread out over 8-10 hours so I never even got buzzed, despite having 3 drinks in hand at one point in the afternoon!

Fourth hurdle- the graduation party. Sweet J nailed it. She absolutely, positively did show up. She was there all freaking day! The party started at 1 and I don’t think she left until 6 or 7. It might have been later. So much for not being able to bear seeing the mobster with me, huh?

Oh, and for those who doubt she’s batshit crazy and I’m just interpreting things from my point of view? She’s batshit crazy. 11:00 the night before the party she texts the mobster, “I hope you go to hell!” Who does that?

To her credit though she did bring 16 hotdogs and 2 packages of hot dog buns. Plus a watermelon. And maybe some potato salad, but I’m not sure.

Even better, at the graduation she tells one of his sisters that she dislikes the mobster immensely, but then shut her pie hole when her sister came up. Can’t let anyone see that she’s the instigator, of course.

Thankfully, her sister had already told Mobster that she recognized BSC always played the victim. It’s always someone doing something to her. It’s never her fault. In fact, later that evening after she went over to see where she was living they went by the site of her accident last year. She pointed it out and was laughing about it.

On top of all of that, according to various sources she spent a great deal of the party crying. Someone told the mobster the day of the party his ex was in the house crying and two days later someone else told me she had been bawling and carrying on pretty much the entire party.

Okay, the person who told me was the mobster’s mother. And the story I heard was that for some reason BSC yelled, “You don’t love me!” to her and then apologized for her behavior as she was leaving. Mobster’s mom said she was surprised because BSC had never raised her voice to her like that before.

There’s a very good chance she was drinking, though. She and the boyfriend’s sister kept going up to the car that was parked behind the house.

I have no idea what she was crying about and so far I have yet to hear a good explanation from anyone who might have been near her.

She is the one that was cheating. She is the one who left. She is the one who moved straight in with her boyfriend. You would think with all her crying and poor little me attitude that I was the other woman who had moved in on her husband while she was none the wiser and thought they had a blissfully happy marriage. Nope, not how it played out.

One of the mobster’s sisters swears she’s unhappy with her life and wants to come back to him and that’s why she’s acting like this.

I think she simply can’t believe he moved on. He was supposed to always stick around and be waiting, and he didn’t. She pushed him too far this last time and he was done.

But what would I know? We stayed in separate areas the entire time. Well, almost the entire time. At one point I was outside underneath a canopy with Mobster’s brother-in-law (not the one married to BSC’s sister) and a few other people. Mobster was playing, “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” by Motley Crue, and I was singing along. I was sitting in this comfy adirondack chair, my eyes closed, drink in hand. Someone called out to T and asked her to come over to where we were. I am singing the chorus: Girl, don’t go away mad. Girl, just go away. I happen to open my eyes, thinking T had come over, and who should appear but BSC. Oops!

I remained composed. It wasn’t intentional but it sure as hell was funny. The brother-in-law was looking at me like, “Oh shit!” Eh. She went away. Just like the song suggested.

Most of the time though if she was outside we were inside. Or, she was underneath a tent and Rock Star and I were in the garage.

The same brother-in-law who ended up enjoying my concert later, sat with me in the garage while we ate and asked me if it was awkward. I told him it was okay. He then went on to say she was walking around like she still owned the place. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t pay much attention to her.

I think when she first arrived she did come into the house with her boyfriend’s sister. We would just walk by one another. Never said a word to each other. His sister was plenty nice though and offered to help.

At one point Mobster and I drove up to his parents’ house because his son had inadvertently taken T’s phone with him. He agreed to turn around and drop it off at his grandparents’ house and Mobster would go pick it up.

When we came back we parked up behind the house. “That looks like David’s truck,” he says to me as we were walking back to the house. “It wasn’t here earlier.”

“Surely she wouldn’t attempt to bring him to this party,” I told him. I was thinking there was no way their balls were that big.

Alas, I was wrong and Monica nailed it. I’m not sure how we got separated but I walked into the house and saw him standing with her on the enclosed porch. I’m pretty sure my eyes got wide and I was thinking, “Oh shit! Mobster is going to lose his mind.”

I do remember walking into the house and preparing the Jell-O shots (not alcoholic; they’re actually pudding and Jell-O topped with Cool Whip.) and when his sister-in-law came up I said he was going to be pissed and then asked what the fuck was wrong with some people.

I shouldn’t have worried though because the mobster handled it like a champ. I think she wanted the drama and he didn’t give it to her. He ignored it all (aside from passive aggressively playing music). We didn’t even do grand gestures of affection in front of her.

At one point I know we were outside sweating our asses off while she and her boyfriend enjoyed the air conditioning inside.

There is a juvenile, petty side of me that would have loved to have seen the boyfriend escorted off the property, or for the mobster and I to have been kissing and hugging and making a scene. But, as the mobster kept saying, “It’s T’s party. It’s all about her today. I don’t want to ruin her party.” And he was correct.

Had we done either of those things it would have been playing into BSC’s hands. We would be seen as the unstable ones, the unreasonable ones, while she comes off looking like the victim. Sometimes you’ve gotta eat a little bit of shit, I guess. Really, it wasn’t that difficult. We stayed away from them. They stayed away from us. Although, there was a point where I told him I was going to go up to the two of them and ask them if they wanted to play cornhole. I didn’t.

Three other small things: #1- at the beginning of the party T came up to the mobster and I and put her arms around us both. She said thank you for her party. I told her she was welcome but that it was all her dad’s doing. Just between us, yes, I helped decorate but he bought all the decorations. I made Scotcheroos, beer bread, taco dip and Jell-O shots, which she requested, but he bought the hotdogs, the hamburgers, the buns, and the 6 ft. sub. Her grandmother brought potato salad and really cute sweet treats. T’s sister-in-law brought a pasta salad. We all pitched in a little to help him out but he did the majority of the work.

The mobster did mention he wondered if she did that to piss her mom off. I have no idea. I prefer to think it was genuine and that she was really grateful for the awesome party her dad put together and that I helped with.

#2- Later in the afternoon I was passing out the Jell-O shots when one of T’s friends piped up with, “Wow- Sam’s the good mom!” Disclaimer: This happened in the house in the living room. Mom was safely outside.

To be honest I was a little taken back. More like a deer in headlights. Oh shit! What do you say to that? All of her friends know the story but I wasn’t expecting that. I know there was a time when she had a few friends over and her mom was also over getting something and they all made it a point to say hello very loudly to me. I probably didn’t handle it the best way. I probably should have said, “Well, yes, I am a good mom, but that’s because I’m a good mom to my own two kids.” I guess that could have made things really awkward though. Instead I laughed it off.

His oldest son, the one I had just met the day before, was there in the living room, playing video games with the other kids, and he pretty much laughed it off as well and told her friend, “You know, in “The Good Mother” the mother actually wasn’t good so that’s not really the compliment you think it is.”

Then we both laughed about it and I made a lame joke about being evil.

#3- As I mentioned a moment ago I made beer bread. Turns out C is a huge fan. I’ve written before how I sometimes feel like some of Mobster’s kids don’t like me. This time though C looks at me and asks, “What kind of bread is that?” I told him it was beer bread. I was thinking he was going to tell me he was allergic or something and run to spit it out, but instead he got a big grin on his face and said, “I love beer bread. You’re the best!”

Yes! Success! Sam came. She baked. She conquered!

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?