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?

Labels and Real Life

I was reading the other day and saw it posited that labels were unhealthy and harmful. We shouldn’t label people, so the theory goes, because it limits them. They are essentially reduced to that label. People especially don’t like the label, “cheater.” Some feel it diminishes that person, as though that’s all they are. More importantly, how can you effectively reconcile if you label your spouse that way?

Yes, because that’s the overall goal. We all want to get back together with that dreamboat.

Aren’t they a cheater, though? It seems to me that if they cheat on you, then they’re a cheater. You can call this acts of exuberant defiance if it makes you happy, but it’s just playing with words. Would it be easier if they were called adulterers? They committed adultery, therefore, they are adulterers. Is that too harsh as well? Do we pussy foot around with other labels?

If someone asked you to describe Michael Phelps you would probably say something along the lines of, “He’s a swimmer,” or, “He’s an Olympic athlete.” Is he more than that? I’m sure he is. But that’s what he’s predominantly known for.

If you saw your co-worker, Larry, beat the crap out of his wife would you call him a wife beater or an abuser, or would you focus instead on his other qualities? Sure, ol’ Larry beats his wife but I wouldn’t call him a wife beater. He is one hell of a dart thrower and he really knows his way around a grill. Let’s not focus on the negative.

Is “cheater” the only label that is detested? Is it okay to label a person who likes to have sex with little kids a pedophile? If someone breaks into your home and robs you can we label that person a thief? How about murderer? Rapist? Drunk driver? Child abuser? Embezzler?

Are all of those labels bad? Should we be looking beyond the rudimentary surface? Or do labels sometimes tell us exactly what we need to know?

I’ve told this story before. Shortly before I got married, way back in 1994, my future mother-in-law was not loving her job. She decided that she was going to pull out her retirement and hand it over to her brother-in-law and they were going to go into business together.

People begged her to reconsider. They pointed out that her brother-in-law had been convicted for embezzlement. They didn’t trust him. They didn’t feel this was a wise move.

Now, maybe others would say, “Hey, give the guy a chance.” It’s not like once an embezzler, always an embezzler, right?

In this situation you would be wrong. She handed him her retirement money. He spent it while talking up their business and telling her how much progress was being made. Once the money was gone he informed her that they didn’t have any clients and he was getting a job; she should do the same. My former in-laws never recovered financially and they lost pretty much everything.

I’m sure some people would say that he wasn’t only an embezzler. I’d agree with that. I’d say he was a damn fine con artist as well. Certainly we are given the message that the cheater is more than just a cheater. How often are we admonished to not judge a relationship on one little, tiny mistake such as infidelity? That person you are harshly labeling a cheater is an onion. There are layers and layers to this person’s personality. He or she is so much more than just a cheater and you are being unduly harsh and unfair to only concentrate on that.

Funny follow up to the in-law story… Onion Boy ended up in jail. Again! If memory serves me correctly it had something to do with cars he was selling. I don’t remember if he was the actual salesman, or if he was a middle man, selling cars to dealerships. He may have been messing with the VIN numbers or something like that. Regardless, what he was doing was illegal and he was shady as fuck. Go right ahead and tell yourself he was much more than a guy who enjoyed fleecing people out of their money. He probably would have taken you to the cleaners with your Pollyanna attitude.

If you want to argue that a person is more than a label, especially if that label is “cheater”, that’s fine. I’m sure if you’re giving a person who betrayed you another chance there has to be something good about that person. I’m not saying they don’t have other delightful qualities. I would also never dream of telling someone that the “cheater” label is the most important thing about their spouse, or that that’s the only thing they should focus on. You can dress it up any way you want. You can ignore the behavior. You can convince yourself it was out of character or born out of toxic shame. You can believe with all your heart and soul that this “one” act is not the sum of who they are. That’s all fine. Not that you need my permission. That doesn’t mean the label isn’t accurate. It may not tell the whole story the way you’d like it told, or the way they’d like it told, but it tells a story. The reality is it did happen. The cheater may not be just a cheater, only a cheater, but they are indeed a cheater. Just like regardless of whatever good qualities he may have had Onion Boy was an embezzler, a thief, and a con artist.

Stop Feeding Your Kids Shit Sundaes, Part 2

I treat it the way I do because I’ve seen enough from the other board where I used to read that I know it does more harm than good to try to convince a kid that a neglectful and/or abusive parent loves and cares about them. I’m not accusing Cousinfucker of being abusive. I guess he is neglectful in the sense that he hasn’t seen his own son in almost 3 years now. He’s neglectful in the sense that he walked away from his two kids and that he didn’t give a shit when we were barely keeping our heads above water. He’s neglectful in the sense that he doesn’t communicate with them regularly and he makes up bullshit stories about not knowing how to get in contact with his son. Really, I think he’s just self-centered. It’s all about him and what he wants. No one else matters and he’s always the poor picked upon victim. Not exactly the kind of person you would want in your life, huh?

I don’t even care for: He/she loves you in the only way he/she knows how (or the best that they can). What kind of bullshit is that? Seriously? We’re really going to try to justify an adult walking away from their kids and then playing the pouty brat because those kids are upset with them? Or try to convince a kid that the best their parent has to offer is subpar and they should embrace that?

I believe kids can sometimes see with a clarity that escapes adults. It was my 13 year old nephew that saw something in Cousinfucker’s eyes when we came back from our family vacation in Florida. CF had opted out of the family vacation, choosing instead to go first to Tennessee and then to Kentucky so that he could participate in a mini family reunion that excluded his actual immediate family, and then turn around and fuck his cousin. I do believe he said he could see evil in his eyes.

I still remember the mom who was realizing as her son turned 16 that he would have been so much better off if she had never pushed for a relationship between father and son.

The story was this: They had been friends with benefits (maybe had even dated at one point). She got pregnant, kept the baby. They didn’t marry. He paid support but didn’t have much of a relationship with his son although he did have visitation and she supported them having a relationship. He went on to marry another woman a few years later, had two kids with her. He was supposedly a great dad to the two kids he had with his wife, but remained a largely disinterested father to his eldest. He basically went through the motions and did the bare minimum. I remember a story about the father giving him a special dice set for his 16th birthday. I think that was it. Nothing else. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was a family trip that was planned for DisneyLand. It was to be Dad, his wife, their two kids, and this boy. He broke his ankle so wouldn’t be able to get around easily. Instead of trying to reschedule (and I believe the younger kids were not yet in school) Dad was practically giddy at the thought of going on this “family trip” with his wife and two kids, leaving the oldest son behind. It was quite obvious to the boy that his father really didn’t care about him. In the end he (the son) chose to cut off all contact.

I recall the mom who eagerly advocated 50/50 custody. She had offered it to her ex and constantly talked it up as the gold standard. Her daughter had both parents in her life and there weren’t too many transitions compared to a child seeing a parent every other weekend. Her daughter had no problems with it. She had four parents. She would never force her ex to be a peripheral part of his daughter’s life. Life’s a funny thing. Stepmom had a child of her own and no longer had time for her stepchild. The daughter got older, had her own teenage life, and wanted to spend more time with friends. Despite the 50/50 custody Dad was not willing to accommodate her. The relationship broke down because Dad was more concerned with his own needs than his daughter’s. That child is now 18, hates her father and has an eating disorder. There is some suspicion of sexual abuse and stepmom definitely contributed to the eating disorder. The mom now says if she knew then what she knows now she never would have agreed to 50/50 custody and she would have fought to end 50/50 custody long before she did, which was when her daughter was somewhere between 14 and 16.

Yet another mom dealt with an alcoholic ex who, by her description, makes CF seem absolutely delightful. He was entitled, rude, weird, and unreasonable. Mom worried about what a judge would say if it got to court so she was always, as she said, busy keeping her halo shiny for court. She didn’t think she could support her daughter in not visiting her father because that might cause him to take her back to court. She went along, hoping for the best. Yet another situation where the mom now says if she could she would do things completely different, because the father was extremely toxic to her child, once again to the point that there was some abuse involved. I think it was mainly emotional abuse; I don’t think he beat his daughter. But she was asked to keep a lot of secrets and he laid a lot of guilt trips on her. That poor girl ended up with severe mental health issues and has no relationship with her father.

Another mom worked hard to support her son’s relationship with his dad only to watch it disintegrate once the son turned 18. Once her son became an adult Mom left them alone to manage their own relationship. Left to their own devices and without having her there to guide them, the relationship crumbled.

So many of these women look back as their children grow up and are only now realizing the damage that was done.

It wasn’t always a case of telling the kid Daddy loved them when he didn’t. Many of the situations came down to them either believing having a dad in their life was very important, or not knowing how to keep a kid from a toxic parent.

I prefer Chump Lady’s motto: You only need one sane parent. That parent can be a mom or a dad (hello, Mobster!), and while it’s always nice to have both parents be sane, you can raise a perfectly functional and fabulous human being with only one sane parent.

I will never forget the woman from the first story saying that her son’s therapist had told her to stop telling him that his father loved him/cared about him whenever he would say his dad didn’t. As the therapist explained every time she told him that she was reinforcing this idea that he couldn’t trust his own feelings. She was basically telling him that he didn’t know the truth. The therapist went on to say that he was eventually going to be pissed at her because she kept lying to him. He was also relying on her to be a safe space. That safe space should be helping you navigate painful truths and validating your feelings, not encouraging you to believe lies.

With that in mind I don’t tell my kids their father loves them. Truthfully I don’t think he’s capable of it. Perhaps I should say I don’t excuse his behavior by assuring them that he loves them very much or that he loves them but he’s just broken and can’t express it very well. I do, however, share stories with them. They’re usually sappy stories which paint him in a good light. I may not think he’s capable of putting them first but at one point in time he did do nice things. Plus, I have always said I will give him credit when it is due. Like the time he came home from work and Picasso asked him to take him to the new Star Wars animated movie on opening day. Mama doesn’t do opening day crowds; however, I suggested he ask his dad and his dad did indeed put his stuff up and take him directly to the movies.

I do admit I don’t know why he does the things he does. I have offered to pay for counseling. Rock Star went for a few weeks. Picasso has no desire to ever go. As he says, he has nothing to discuss. He’s fine with his father’s disappearance. It’s just the way it is. No use crying over something you don’t have; it’s not going to change it. I don’t push. I’ve heard that’s not a good thing to do.

In a similar vein I don’t push a relationship between the kids and their father. He’s their father; if they wish to have a relationship I can accept that. I don’t find it odd to think that they may want that at some point. But I’m also not forcing it down their throats. We don’t have conversations that revolve around me telling them they need to call their dad or give him a chance. I have told them both they need to text him and thank him for the Christmas money. I’ve also asked if they’re interested in seeing him again. On a few occasions I’ve asked some “What if” questions. One time I did ask Picasso if he would see his dad if he showed up on our doorstep (I was curious because CF says one of the reasons he doesn’t drive to see his kids is because they would refuse to see him). I may have even asked once what it would take for them to develop a relationship with him again. But that’s as far as it goes. I let them lead. If they say, “No,” then no it is.

I do my best to validate their feelings. When Rock Star says that her dad is always playing the victim I sympathize and usually agree. When Picasso says his dad is scum I don’t admonish him; I listen and sympathize. Hell, sometimes I even say, “Do better than what he did.”

I think we do our kids a disservice when we push an unwanted relationship on them. Look, we ate a shit sundae for years in our quest to keep a relationship going. Shouldn’t that stop with our kids? Why lie to them and tell them someone who is actively hurting them loves them and cares about them? Again, I’m not saying that you vomit up all of your ex’s bad behavior. But I am saying that you reinforce this fucked up version of love when you try to convince your kids that someone who does such shitty things really, really loves them. Stop it! I think kids tend to have better boundaries and better instincts when it comes to things like this, and we as parents are doing them no favors when we teach them to ignore their guts.

That goes for the stupid affair partner as well. I believe in naming them and letting your kids set boundaries. Hell, I believe in telling your kids that they can have boundaries when it comes to their parent’s affair partner.

Why do some people insist upon torturing themselves by insisting that the kids get along with or meet the AP? I realize that when you’re dealing with very young children they don’t have much of a choice. But as teens or older? They absolutely have free agency. I have no problem admitting that I told both of my kids that they didn’t have to meet Harley if they didn’t want to. They are both at ages where they can decide that for themselves. I’m not going to lie to them and tell them they have to!

I also most certainly told them her name. I was not going to let him pass her off as some new love when the reality was he had been cheating on me and draining our bank accounts to do so. His kids did without so that she and her kids could have even more. He more than likely moved us across the damn country and took us away from everything and everyone we loved to get closer to her. I think they have a right to know all of that. I think they deserve to know what kind of a person she is.

I remember a relative telling me I couldn’t expect my kids to not have anything to do with Harley but think they would develop a relationship with the mobster. I assured her that I certainly could because the mobster had not been the reason my marriage ended. He had absolutely nothing to do with it. I met him almost two years later. She, on the other hand, had stepped right into the middle of it. She was perfectly aware of what she was doing and she didn’t care.

My kids like the mobster. He is good to them. He cares about them. Harley has never done a single thing to show my kids she even realizes they exist. Unless you count when she blocked Rock Star on Facebook because Rock Star saw her idiotic post whining about missing the comfort of her married lover in her bed, and confronted her father over it.

I have even gone so far as to tell both of my kids that they are perfectly within their rights to insist that if they see their dad that he meet them alone. There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend time with your parent and not have the person who directly contributed to your life imploding tag along.

I find the argument that they can’t have a relationship with the parent unless they have a relationship with the AP to be ridiculous. Of course they can! If the parent is any kind of parent at all they will meet their kid at their comfort level. And if the parent says, “Love me, love my AP,”? Well, then your kid has all the information they need about pursuing a relationship with that parent. You as the sane parent are doing them a disservice by teaching them to accept such shitty treatment.

Admittedly most of my research comes from my circle of friends and commenters on Chump Lady, but those commenters on Chump Lady are a chatty bunch. It seems that the majority of the time these cheating parents weren’t very good parents when they were married to the child’s other parent. Usually they are painted in a very selfish, unflattering light. A lot of times the cheating parent abandons the kids, or they just don’t put the kids first. It’s all about them and what they want, what makes them happy. The kids are given any leftover scraps. My question then is why on earth are we painting them as these amazing parents, half saint/half god, that are going to leave deep, festering wounds if they are not around to dote on the children? Chances are they haven’t been around much anyway! Stop rewriting history! Stop shoving the shit sundae laden spoon down their throats!

If the kid’s boundary is, “I don’t want to meet that whore,” or “I will not be around that whore so if you want to have a relationship with me leave it at home,” then respect that. Stop teaching your kids to make their needs smaller to keep somebody that doesn’t give a shit about them in their lives. Stop teaching them that their boundaries aren’t important.

We got into our situations by telling ourselves that our needs didn’t matter. We were taught that the only thing that mattered was that lying cheater. Keep him or her happy at all times and at any expense. Look where that got us.

Help your kids break that cycle.

 

Stop Feeding Your Kids Shit Sundaes, Part 1

Quite the provocative title, huh? Eh, what can I say? I’m feeling a bit sassy today.

As long as there has been cheating and divorce I’m sure there have been varying opinions on what to tell the kids. The overriding opinion seems to be you keep your mouth shut, you don’t answer questions about what happened, you simply tell them both parents love them and everything is going to be okay and you do everything in your power to encourage a relationship with the other parent, regardless of what kind of a person that parent is. Also, never ever mention child support. Ever.

I am not impressed with any of this. I also strongly disagree. Here’s what I believe: You tell your kids the truth in age appropriate terms. You state the facts; you don’t editorialize. You answer their questions honestly. You don’t tell them that the parent that walked out on them and hasn’t called in two years loves them. You don’t excuse shitty behavior and try to smooth it over. You don’t force a relationship when the kid isn’t feeling it, and you certainly don’t sell them that bullshit that they must accept the affair partner, especially if they want to have a relationship with their parent. I’m also not a fan of acting like child support doesn’t exist and money magically appears in your bank account at random times.

Before the torches and pitchforks appear I shall explain further.

Tell your kids the truth. If Daddy went to prison because he killed someone, or Mommy went to prison because she was selling meth, I think most people would agree the kids should be told the truth. Depending upon the age the child might only be told something so basic as, “Mommy/Daddy did something that was against the law so now they have to stay in jail.” Older kids would probably know more details, like what they actually did to break the law. I’m not saying they would be given crime scene photos and walked through the actual murder/meth production, but they would have the basic facts: Dad killed someone. Mom was selling meth.

Similarly if you divorced because your spouse was a lying cheater then I don’t see the problem with admitting that you are choosing to divorce because of infidelity. Younger kids would get a much more basic version: When your dad/mom and I got married we promised we would live together and we wouldn’t date anyone else. Daddy/Mommy broke that promise so now we are getting divorced and we’ll be living in separate houses.

I’ve read a lot of comments over on Chump Lady from people who didn’t tell the kids about the infidelity and it has come back to bite them in the ass. Either the kid is angry that this information has been kept from them, or, in other cases, they don’t understand why the betrayed parent isn’t mourning the parent’s death or is ready to date once again. They see the cheating parent as a victim of the betrayed parent because finally that person has drawn boundaries and is enforcing them. I suppose that’s the risk you take when you try to protect a lying cheater. I advise not doing that.

My kids were 13 and 15 when this all went down. What I told them was this: You’ve been asking where your dad is this weekend. He’s in Kentucky. With his girlfriend.

I remember my son correcting me, “You mean his ex-girlfriend, right?”

“No. His girlfriend. Your father is having an affair.”

My daughter wanted to know if his family down there knew. When told, simply, yes, she asked in a horrified voice, “And they’re okay with it?”

I replied that they were indeed okay with it as far as I knew. That led to me telling them that this was not the first time he had been involved with this woman. I reminded them of the summer two years prior, the summer that Rock Star had complained was so boring and they didn’t do hardly anything. I explained that I had been working through that all summer, only to find out in August that he was still messing with her. I went on to tell them that according to what I had been told Tammy Faye called Harley and encouraged her to call their father. And, I let them know that their Aunt Jezebel had been actively encouraging him to leave me.

When asked if that’s the reason we had moved to Virginia I was honest. I truly did not know. I told them I did know that their dad had set the wheels in motion to take over this plant when he got involved with Harley the first time, but I didn’t know if he was involved with her again by the time he was offered the job. I think I might have even gone so far as to tell them I wanted to believe that he wasn’t involved with her when we made our move.

I’m sure the people who run those mandatory parenting after divorce classes would be aghast at my answers. I don’t really care. What exactly did I do wrong? Nothing. I told them the truth. I didn’t editorialize. I didn’t go on to say that their dad was a big, fat jerk or that he never appreciated me and what I did for him. I didn’t tell them about the financial shenanigans he had engaged in. I didn’t call him a whore loving pox upon humanity and I didn’t call his cousin a cunt face cum dumpster with a rap sheet. I was very concise. Your dad is in Kentucky with his girlfriend. Yes, his family knows about it and yes, they’re okay with it. This is not a new thing; he was involved with her once before and that set the wheels moving for our move out here.

I think I could make the argument that even if I had told them about all the financial shenanigans I would have been within my rights. It most certainly affected them and it was the truth. There was no editorializing needed. Truth was he was buying puppies and engagement rings. He spent as much on the whore’s kids for Christmas as he did his own kids. Editorializing would have been: Nice that he could go to the mall with her and Christmas shop; he never did that for you. Nothing but the best for them! Or: He’s more concerned with buying their love than he is with maintaining a relationship with you.

And lest anyone thinks I whitewashed my own behavior I did tell them about the alternate Facebook page I had that their father saw and which he used as his excuse to do what he did.

The fact of the matter is this move had completely uprooted my kids. They both had lives they enjoyed back in Utah and we made this 2000 mile move for their father. A year into rebuilding and he was taking aim at their new lives with a flame thrower. They had every right to know whether or not he had done that just to be closer to a piece of ass. I didn’t know for certain so I didn’t say he had, but I was honest about his actions. He did put his plan into motion when he began his first affair with her, and in doing so he didn’t give a single solitary fuck about his kids; he cared only about his dick and his whore cousin.

The truth was his family absolutely supported him and the whore being together. If her husband is to be believed (and I did say this was what I had been told) his mother did reach out to her and ask her to call. His sister had been begging him to leave me. Everyone was very, very concerned about Cousinfucker. No one gave a shit about his two kids who were going to have their lives shredded once again.

The bottom line was I had two teenagers who had been watching their supposedly distraught father who hibernated in his room and couldn’t even manage a family dinner at Olive Garden without dissolving into sobbing fits, hop into his car every weekend and drive off into the sunset. I wasn’t going to be able to pull off this fucked up version of Where’s Waldo for long. I certainly wasn’t going to lie to them. Nor was I willing to fall on the sword for him. Fuck that! If you’re big and bad enough to go fuck your cousin, then you should be able to handle your kids knowing about it.

I was honest at every turn with them.

Do we have to cut our grandparents out of our life? Of course not; they’re your grandparents. I don’t wish to have a relationship with them because they didn’t treat me very well, but I completely understand if you want to see them.

Do you think he’s crazy? Eh, probably not.

If I didn’t know the answer I told them so. Are we going to have to move? I hope not, but I don’t know. I won’t know until I find out what I will be getting in support payments.

I vividly recall the time I took one of the lawyer’s advice about not involving the kids and telling them everything would be okay. Picasso wanted to know if I was going to have to get a job and I responded as I had been coached, telling him not to worry about it, that I was the adult and he was the kid and it was my job to take care of him. His response was that it was his life, too, and whatever I did would affect him. I couldn’t argue with that so I did what I felt was right and I told them the truth.

I even went so far in the very beginning as to remind the kids of good times we had together, like when Picasso commented that his dad couldn’t be bothered to go to Disneyland with us. He did go with us. Don’t you remember? He went on Space Mountain with you, and that one night when I was getting so irritated with you he took over and had more patience with you than I did. Granted, that was in the beginning and I feel like I was correcting misinformation more than anything. I don’t bother with that now, but I have always said I am willing to give him his due when he has done something right.

There have been times these past three years where either of the two kids will start a conversation about their dad. I listen. I commiserate. Sometimes the things they say are funny and I will laugh along with them. Picasso imitating his dad and talking about the horrors of the “Soccer Squadron” comes to mind (CF hated soccer with a passion). Or Rock Star talking about her reaction to his faked breakdown in Olive Garden.

My talks with Rock Star are usually about the way he always portrays himself as the victim, or how no one in that family has ever once reached out to apologize for any of it. Hell, even a simple, “I’m sorry you lost so much,” would be appreciated, and a sign that they realize what he did was selfish. She also talks about the various ways in which he tries to manipulate her and make her feel guilty. She leads and I listen. Sometimes I interject a comment of my own.

Picasso doesn’t say much about his dad although he seems to have a fascination with his own graduation. He honestly doesn’t think his dad will even bother trying to come. He’s asked about the ticket situation and how he could get one. I did tell him that if he didn’t want his dad at his graduation ceremony he needed to be absolutely clear with me on that. Don’t give me the Rock Star treatment where you tell me you don’t care and then go on to say, “You handle it!” and then tell me after the fact that you didn’t want him there. If you don’t want him there, tell me that and I will leave it alone instead of texting him and offering him a ticket.

I will go so far as to say that we actually have conversations, ones with give and take, about these topics. I don’t treat them as taboo, nor do I treat their father as the sacred cow which must be worshipped. We’ve laughed over some things. They’ve made some good points. I’ve used their father’s behavior as a teaching moment, i.e. You don’t cheat on your spouse; you divorce them. I don’t hush them whenever they complain and I don’t pretend that I have no feelings or thoughts on what they are saying or feeling.

Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t insult their dad and I rarely speak of Harley. I don’t feel like we’re ganging up on him but I also don’t sit there quietly all of the time and pretend I have no opinion. I’ve even apologized to them on his behalf because of everything he’s put them through.

 

Loyalty

Anyone ever heard of Ester Perel? She is Chump Lady’s arch nemesis (I only semi joke) and is the author who refers to affairs as “exuberant acts of defiance”. She seems to have quite the following by cheating spouses, and occasionally the cheated on spouse who is trying to reconcile. I have seen this quote from her book several times now.

My loyalty has never wavered. I was always there. I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. But when you measure my allegiance only by where I stick my dick it’s as if the rest doesn’t count for a thing.

Huh. That’s almost as insane as the time the mobster’s wife told him that nothing was going on between her and this other guy. As she explained to him, “I only showed him my pussy.” Let that one rest for a minute. It was no biggie. She only let him take a peek. No harm, no foul.

My loyalty has never wavered.

I’m wondering how that man defines loyalty because I sure as shit do not believe my husband can be loyal to me at the same time he’s fucking someone else. No, I take that back. Let’s take the sex out of it. How is anyone supposed to believe that a person can be loyal to you while they are actively lying to you?

Letting your spouse dance like crazy to win you back while you’re fucking around is about the most disloyal thing you can do. When your spouse has no idea an affair is even a possibility fucking around while acting like nothing is amiss is also disloyal.

I’ll break it down so that there is no confusion. You are not loyal to a person when you are lying to them. Lying is inherently disloyal.

I was always there.

No, when your attention is divided by someone else you are not there. Not the way you should be.

My husband might have been physically present when our daughter went to the ER during his first affair with Harley, but he wasn’t fully there. He was distracted by the whore. He had to make sure to let her know not to contact him, that he was going to be with his daughter so he’d have to “talk” with her after he was done at the hospital. I remember us being a united front for her, but there was nothing between us. There was no hand holding. There was no leaning on each other for comfort. His mind was preoccupied with the whore. He was disloyal and he was there only because he had to be. He wasn’t there for me. He was barely there for Rock Star. I’m sure he was counting down the minutes until he could rush back to his office and chat with the whore.

He was not “there” when he was having sex with me and then calling his whore every morning to talk to her on the way to work. It’s also not loyalty. It’s a heavy dose of mind fucking. And using a person for your own needs.

I am so sorry.

I’m sure you are sorry. Sorry for yourself. Sorry you might have to suffer some consequences. Sorry your can’t continue fucking your whore while your partner does everything for you. Sorry your spouse won’t get over it and act like everything is normal again. It almost always comes back to being sorry for yourself.

I never meant to hurt you.

Yeah, they never do. Is there anybody out there who thinks that fucking someone else and then lying to your spouse for weeks, months, possibly years is not going to hurt? That they might get lucky and their spouse will take Taylor Swift’s advice and just shake it off?

But when you measure my allegiance only by where I stick my dick it’s as if the rest doesn’t count for a thing.

I don’t even know what to say to this. Oh wait! I think I do. I hear ya, bro. All I did was show him my pussy. Maybe insane comments should be met with equally insane comments.

Here is the unfortunate truth: sometimes the only measure of a person’s allegiance is whether or not they’re faithful. For some people cheating is a deal breaker. Period.

It’s been pointed out being betrayed by someone you love, someone who is supposed to have your back and be there for you, is a very difficult thing. Once broken, trust is a difficult thing to restore. And as I’ve pointed out it’s more than a little difficult to reconcile this idea that your spouse can be loyal to you and claim “allegiance” to you while they are lying to you.

Do we do this with other behaviors?

I’ve always been loyal to this company! I’ve mentored youth, I organized your files, I updated all of the reports; I even created a chart that everyone in the company uses to this day! I landed two of the three largest clients we have and I’ve grown profits by 30% since I’ve been here. I’ve stayed late. I never call in sick. And I never forget a birthday! Are you really going to fire me over one incident of embezzlement? When you put that up against my stellar record….

Maybe it can be more accurately and gently conveyed this way. Imagine two people begin dating. They have a fantastic relationship, whatever that means to you. They get along. They take wonderful vacations. They like the same things. They do everything together. They have a lot of the same goals. But as time goes on it becomes apparent that one of them wants to have children and one of them doesn’t. Do they end the relationship because of this one disagreement? Or do they take the approach that this one issue shouldn’t overshadow all of the other positives of their relationship?

I would say that’s an issue that is going to make or break a relationship. There is no compromise with that. One child is not a compromise. So yes, the relationship is probably going to end because of that one thing. Nothing else counts.

I think the most astonishing part of that statement, “… when you measure my allegiance only by where I stick my dick it’s as if the rest doesn’t count for a thing,” is that this guy is completely serious. He just can’t believe that his wife might have a problem with that and that it could potentially lead to divorce. It’s like he really doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal, and if only she could put the fact that he’s out fucking strange up against the amazing family vacations and awesome holidays she would see how silly it is to be upset over it.

I’m trying to imagine how a conversation would go if it had been her cheating:

Look, all I did was show the guy my pussy. And yes, I might have sucked a few dicks. Who’s keeping track? I still fucked you. And I was always home to make you dinner. Me screwing other people has taken nothing away from you. I always took your clothes to the dry cleaners. Got the heavy starch, just like you like it. I’m still taking the kids to school and hockey and gymnastics. So what’s the big deal? I’m here for you! I work my affair around our schedule. Why are you making such a big deal out of this? You are always my first priority. My loyalty lies with you!

You think that would fly? Yeah, me neither.

The Biggest Lie Of All

Between the other board I read and a recent blog post I read on WordPress I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the population is fairly stupid and naive when it comes to infidelity.

I was reading not that long ago a post from a woman who made the edgy, “unpopular” proclamation that infidelity was not a deal breaker in her marriage. Both she and her husband agreed it was no reason to divorce (you have to put that “one mistake” up against the entire relationship, dontchaknow?); furthermore, they both agreed they would never confess if they did cheat because confessing was for the cheater and only burdened the betrayed spouse.

Oh, there was plenty of talk about how she wouldn’t be surprised if he had already cheated because the statistics say everyone does it, or at least the majority of people do it. Plus, they’ve been together for more than thirty years so why would she throw that away for one little indiscretion?

On the other board one of the women who had in fact been cheated on (repeatedly) by her current husband made the comment that she realized her husband was a “flawed human being seeking to have basic physical needs met.” That didn’t mean he didn’t love her. He absolutely did. This same person insists that there is an entire cultural attitude that applauds those who kick out the cheater and berate or shame those that try to work it out.

There were a few women who talked about how much work goes into restoring a relationship after it’s been rocked by infidelity. There were many kudos given for those who do the “hard work” of rebuilding trust and working through it.

I was especially shocked by the stance of one poster that I admire. Her husband had cheated on her, purposely got the AP pregnant, and eventually moved in with her. He also had no intentions of ever filing for divorce. In his world he was perfectly content to remain married while shacking up with his AP and love child.. She said this about her own daughters facing infidelity in their marriage: I would want my daughters to think deeply before they get a divorce. There are worse things than a “moment of indiscretion.” If my daughter was convinced that the husband was truly sorry and truly loved her, I could understand why she would give her husband a second chance.

I shake my head as I read all of this. There are several problems with these lines of thinking.

The biggest lie is that affairs are just about sex. No, affairs are about lies and deception. You don’t make a mistake when you cheat on your partner. You make a series of mistakes, generally dozens, when you cheat on your partner. There is the choice to chat up a co-worker or friend. The choice to continue on with all of that when you know you are playing with fire. There are the lies to cover your tracks. There are the lies to explain your absences. Then there is the sexual act itself. That’s followed by all the lies and deception used to cover up what you just did. Followed by more lies so you can do it again.

I would love to ask the writer of the blog who declared infidelity not a deal breaker in her marriage if losing a baby due her spouse’s infidelity might be a deal breaker. How about if you were diagnosed with an incurable STD? There are several readers over on Chump Lady who’ve actually been given HPV which has led to cancer. Would that be a deal breaker or is that another thing you would need to put up against your thirty wonderful years together? How about if you found out your husband and his mistress were slowly poisoning you? Is that a deal breaker or are you still going to try to work things out? What about if you found out your spouse was draining marital accounts to fund the affair? What if they “loaned” money to the affair partner? What if your spouse bought phones for, and then allowed you to get online and pay the cell phone bill for your “in-laws”, only you find out two months later you’ve been paying the cell phone bill for his mistress and her daughter? Are we still overlooking all of this because, you know, it’s just sex? Is the long history together still winning out over all this douche-y behavior?

Unfortunately, many times it’s not a simple matter of some horny person out there fucking whatever moves. Many, many times, if not most of the time, affairs involve financial deception as well. “I’m sending my mom money for groceries! I’ve got a ‘business trip’ next weekend. I’m ‘investing’ in a friend’s company.” They involve gas lighting and mind fucking. “I’m not having an affair. You’re crazy! When you don’t trust me it leads me to want to actually do what you’re accusing me of! I would never cheat on you! You and the kids mean everything to me. I swear on our children’s lives I’m not cheating. Maybe you’re the cheater and you’re projecting on to me.”

Go read the comments sometime on Chump Lady. You will find person after person who has been left financially destitute after being cheated on and left. Accounts drained (hello!). Houses foreclosed on (hello!). Support withheld (hi again!). Businesses devalued. Money given to or spent on the AP. Signatures forged. Credit card debt run up. Money hidden. It’s not just sex. It is a far reaching plan to deceive and destroy another person.

As for this idea that a cheater is simply a “flawed human being seeking to have physical needs met”, well, I sure hope that both the cheater and the affair partner are on the same page in regards to what’s happening here. I’ve heard a few stories where the AP thinks this is the romance of the century and when they find out that’s not the case… they turn into a bunny boiler. Seems such a shame to ruin this beautiful “physical needs being taken care of” romance with stalking and hysteria and threatening phone calls to the spouse.

I also hope a pregnancy does not occur because these physical needs were taken care of outside of the marriage. That would be a little awkward, huh? According to ID TV that’s usually when the cheater kills the AP. Of course, if the cheater is a woman and she’s the one who gets pregnant… again, might be a little awkward, but totally not out of the realm of possibility that she might try to pass it off as her husband’s child. Nothing like a paternity test to spice up a marriage! But hey, it’s just sex, right?

I hope that poster is right and she doesn’t find her husband leaving her for someone else a few years down the road. It’s not that unusual for men to trade in their spouse when she gets into her 40s or 50s. Gray divorce is a huge topic these days. Why keep the middle aged wife with her stretch marks and muffin top when he’s got a hot, toned, child free twenty something offering him blow jobs and fun times? My jaded philosophy is something along these lines: Even if it’s not a hot, younger woman, if your husband fucks around on you often enough eventually he’s going to find a replacement for you.

As for this idea that there is a cultural trend to shame those that remain with their husbands I have to say, “Oh please!” Aside from Chump Lady’s blog I can’t think of another blog that encourages leaving the cheater. There is, in fact, an entire industry devoted to helping you “affair-proof” your marriage, teaching you all about the 180, promising you that the affair will be “the best thing to ever happen to your marriage”, and otherwise encouraging you to work through the infidelity and to reconcile. They sell programs and constantly promise to tell you how to win back a wandering spouse. And as always, they promise that your marriage will be “better and stronger than before!”

Look at all the kudos for the people who choose to stay and work through the infidelity. They are “applauded”. They are lifted up in praise because they did the “hard work” it took to work through all of that. People are cautioned to “think carefully” before divorcing a cheating spouse because surely there are worse things than a “momentary lapse in judgement”.

Meanwhile, those who do divorce are judged as being unforgiving. They lack compassion and think they are superior. We foolishly base our decision on one small, insignificant mistake instead of thinking rationally and taking into account the entire relationship.

If we’re not judged as being unforgiving and lacking compassion then we’re judged as being moral failures. Hell, there was a blogger that thought there should be a divorce tax and who advocated shunning those who divorce! Obviously we didn’t value marriage; we’re tossing aside our solemn vows because we’re not “happy.”

We’re accused of taking the “easy way out”. <Snort> Please. Like working entry level jobs, moving in with your mom, losing your home and everything in it, being forced to move out of the state, and sleeping on the couch is so much easier than remaining a stay at a home mom who lives on over $200,000 a year, lives in a nice big house she calls her own, complete with a pool and a hot tub, and has all the time in the world to visit friends and go on vacation. Oh hell yes. Getting up at 3:30 in the morning and working at Target before dropping off my kid at school and then going to my regular full-time job was so much easier than getting up at 7:00, making my kids breakfast, dropping them off at school, and then spending the rest of the day doing whatever I wanted.

Not to mention that some of us didn’t get the “opportunity” to do the so-called hard work of rebuilding our marriage. Some of us got dumped. Some of us were blindsided. For some of us our husbands or wives had our replacements lined up long before we knew we were headed for divorce.

It didn’t take a genius to see the writing on the wall. I did give some thought to approaching CF with “an arrangement.” He could have his cousin on the side, but we would stay together until both kids had graduated from high school. He would not be allowed to financially support her; the kids and I would be the beneficiaries of his paycheck and bonus. However, it became quickly apparent that such an arrangement had less than a snowball’s chance in hell of working. He was lying. He was giving her huge sums of money already. They had a bank account together. He was interviewing for jobs out of state. I was certain he was not planning on taking me and the kids with him. It was going to be a solo move. So I bit the bullet. I lawyered up. I protected myself. I filed for divorce.

Here is another very important part to consider. Most of the people over on Chump Lady have tried reconciliation. I don’t have statistics but my guess, from what I’ve read over the years and through various sources, is that the majority of people who find out their spouse is cheating on them, try to reconcile. I truly believe very few people follow through with kicking the cheater to the curb without a second thought. I think most of us at least try. There may be some who try and decide they can’t get over this, but they do at least try to make it work. This is where that important part comes in.

I’ve read way too many stories over there about people who opted to forgive and rebuild trust, who chose reconciliation, who decided it was worth it to do the hard work and not let one little mistake define their entire relationship, who forgave the cheater and welcomed them back home, only to have the cheater do it all over again years later. In some cases it was years between affairs, and in other cases the cheater took it deeper underground and lived a double life for ten to twenty years before cruelly discarding their spouse. I can’t think of a single one of them who says, “I have no regrets; I cherish every single extra year I got with my cheating spouse. Though the marriage may be dead I will comfort myself with the many wonderful memories we created.” No, what they all say, almost without fail, is that they wish they had left the first time and that they regret wasting all of those years with that person. There are a few who say they are glad they tried marriage counseling, they’re glad they tried to fix it, because they know they did everything they possibly could to make it work so they leave with a clean conscience. But I can’t think of anyone who says they are glad for the extra years with their cheater. There is only regret for wasting a single minute more on that person who chose to turn around and betray them again.

 

In Sickness and In Health

I was reading that other board that I’ve read for the last ten years or so. Somehow the topic of taking care of your sick, cheating spouse came up. One of the women knew someone who had found out after her husband died that he had been cheating on her the entire time he was sick. She wished she had known because she wouldn’t have bothered to take care of him.

I think that’s a pretty understandable stance to take. And yet, there were others who said they would care for their spouse regardless.

Is it any wonder infidelity is glossed over the way it is? Here we have a man who is actively cheating on his wife while he goes through chemo. He’s sexting his AP and meeting up with her in between treatments when he’s well enough while his wife is left to do the hard work. The AP gets sex and promises, dinners and sexy texts, and a guy who gives her a case of the crotch tingles, and his wife gets to drive him to chemo appointments, wait for hours while he’s being treated, and clean up his vomit and diarrhea afterwards. And there are actually people out there who not only don’t see what the problem is but also try to frame it as though it is a character issue and anyone not willing to look pass the lies and humiliation obviously isn’t as good of a person as they are. It’s as though there is a moral failure with those of us who choose to cut toxic people out of our lives. Their mantra seems to be: When someone shows you who they are, bury your head in the sand and keep pretending they’re the person you want them to be.

One person said, “I would choose compassion, too. I think people often justify not having a compassionate response by pointing out how the person “should” have behaved.”

Hmmm…. interesting. Here’s a head scratcher for ya: Why isn’t the soul mate/twu wuv taking care of her schmoopie? I would think the compassionate response would be to let the AP take care of the sick person. You wouldn’t want that terminally ill Lothario to spend his last months with the horrid, asexual wife, would you? Isn’t it only fair that these two soul mates, destined to be together, aren’t kept apart for one. more. minute?

If the answer is because the AP only wants the fun parts of the relationship and none of the work I would say sometimes that’s what happens when you trade in your spouse for what’s behind Door #2. Sometimes you lay there in your own shit and vomit because your twu wuv doesn’t want to take care of you and you fired your former spouse from that job. Good news, though! Once you’re up and feeling better (and no longer making a mess… ewwww!) your soul mate will once again be available for fun times.

One of the ladies did remark at one point that if the situation were turned around the cheater would have no problem leaving his wife’s body in the middle of the street. She also recounted a story of how a friend’s grandmother nursed her husband back to health, and then when she got breast cancer he left her for another woman. To which someone else (also a very enlightened soul who wouldn’t let a little thing like infidelity steer her course) replied: For me it’s more of I won’t let another person’s actions dictate or change the person I am just by nature.

What bullshit. This is just more excuses, more blaming the betrayed spouse, expecting everything from the cheated on while expecting nothing from and giving everything to the cheating spouse. I will repeat: It is not a moral failure to cut toxic people out of your life. If your spouse cheats on you and you choose to walk away it’s not a horrible failing on your part. Cheaters are not entitled to forgiveness, or being taken care of when they’re sick and find out their fuck buddies are only available for the good times.

Again I ask is it any wonder that we betrayed spouses face the uphill battle we do? It’s our fault. If we had been thinner, smarter, blonder, tanner, had more muscles, nagged less, put out more, cooked vegan, baked cakes, etc. then we could have prevented our spouse from cheating on us. Now that we have accepted the fact that it’s our fault the cheating happened then it behooves us to continue to shove that shit sundae down our gullet and take whatever else humiliation the cheater has in store for us.

We’re mean if we don’t want to take care of a cheating spouse. It’s not fair that we expect their AP to do that job. We’re horrible people who judge and impose unfair consequences and hey, who died and made you God? You’ve no right to judge that person who has gutted you. If you weren’t such a bitter, hateful person you would gladly mop up all that puke and shit and let them bounce off with Pop Tart once they were feeling better. I’m so glad I’m a more enlightened person who would never let a person’s awful behavior dictate my own behavior. I will swallow mounds of shit in order to prove to everyone that I am a better person!

Again I say bullshit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with refusing to be treated like an appliance. There is nothing wrong with saying, “Your behavior is unacceptable and I will not stand by while you treat me this way.” There is nothing wrong with saying, “This is not acceptable and I will not tolerate it one second longer.” There is also absolutely nothing wrong with telling Romeo that if he wants to fuck Pop Tart when he’s feeling 100% then by golly you’re stepping aside and she can wipe his ass when he’s at his lowest.

This idea that we operate in a vacuum is ludicrous. If every time my fictitious friend Rosie comes up to me she spits in my face and bites my nose, I’m going to stop hanging around with her. And yes, by golly, her behavior does dictate my behavior. If Rosie weren’t a violent asshole who assaulted me I’m sure I would be wiling to spend time with her.

If every time my fictitious friend Cinnamon comes over she steals things from my house, I’m going to stop inviting her over. And yes, by golly, her behavior does dictate my behavior. If she weren’t stealing me blind every time I had her over for dinner I would continue to invite her over. But since she steals from me I’m severing this relationship and not giving her another opportunity to take shit that doesn’t belong to her.

If every time I hang out with my fictitious friend Hannah she lies right to my face I’m going to stop hanging out with her because it’s very difficult to have any kind of a friendship with a person who lies to you constantly. Again, you might have guessed it by now. Her behavior, her lying, does dictate my behavior- whether or not I’m willing to be friends with her.

So can we please stop acting like fucking a person suddenly gives them special permission to do whatever they want to you? I wouldn’t lobby the prison and ask to take care of my terminally ill rapist. I wouldn’t volunteer to take care of the person who killed my mom or child. I wouldn’t wipe the ass of my kidnapper or clean up the vomit of my mugger or give rides to the doctor’s to the guy who embezzled money from my company. Why would I offer to do that for the person who lied to me, cheated on me, humiliated me, and financially raped me?

This is the kind of crap we come up against in real life all the time. Once you leave the comfy confines of Chump Lady’s blog you usually run into all the people who don’t think infidelity is the real problem. They want to examine it from all different angles and assign percentages of blame (because the cheater didn’t cheat in a vacuum, of course). They want to encourage being friends with the cheater and doing things for them. In fact, there is no greater sign of maturity than claiming to be “best friends” with your cheater and socializing with them. The problems occur when the bitter, betrayed chump refuses to forgive, refuses to be besties, refuses to do photo ops, refuses to cooperate, refuses to maintain the cheater’s image. Yeah… I don’t think so.

There is something awful about this idea that even though we know if we were the ones who were sick this person would walk away without a second glance, would happily dance on our grave, would fuck someone else while we crawled to the toilet to vomit and then cleaned up after ourselves because no one was there to help us, that we are somehow morally lacking if we don’t rush to help this person. There is something horrible about this idea that even when someone is betraying us and humiliating us and using us we are supposed to say, “Let me help you. I want to take care of you. It is my duty.” There is something almost evil about this idea that people who wouldn’t consent to being mistreated in such a way are somehow lacking compassion and humanity. We are somehow less than those people who would fall all over themselves to help an abuser.

It brings to mind the story of the boy and the frozen snake. You know the story, right? A boy comes across a half frozen snake on the mountain top. The snake begs the boy to take pity on him, put him in his pocket and take him down to the base of the mountain. The boy says, “No! You are poisonous. You’ll bite me and I’ll die.” The snake assures him that he wouldn’t do that to the boy; if he would do this one favor for him he promises not to bite him. Please! He’ll die if the boy doesn’t take pity on him and help him out! So being a kind soul (one of those non-judging sorts) the boy takes pity on the snake and picks him up and puts him in his pocket. As he walks down the mountain the temperatures slowly rise and the snake slowly begins to thaw out. Not long before they get to the bottom the snake bites the boy, sending a shot of venom though his body, essentially killing him. “Why did you do that to me? I took pity on you! I carried you down the mountain as you asked. You promised you wouldn’t bite me!” To which the snake replies, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

#riseup

 

For the Low, Low Price of a Kimono Robe

I have a good new/bad news situation going on. The good news is CF has been sniffing around lately; the bad news is CF has been sniffing around lately.

Seems that since CF modified his child support payment on his own he has a bit more in his pockets and for some reason he’s choosing to spend that on his daughter. He asked her if there was anything she needed and coughed up $200 to go towards a new laptop and then ordered some sheets, a body pillow cover, and decorative pillows that she wanted for her room.

The other day a package came in the mail. It was a white waffle weave cotton kimono type robe with her name embroidered on it in pink. She later tells me he’s also sending her a tumbler. She doesn’t know why because she didn’t ask for either of the two latter gifts. I have my suspicions.

First the good news. I recognize that it is generally a good thing when a child has two involved parents. I know that basically being abandoned has been difficult on Rock Star. I think I pointed out once before that both kids were extremely pissed off at their father; I feel comfortable saying they would have loved to have lashed out and hurt him, rejected him, told him they wanted no part of him and his whore cousin. That was stolen from them. How can she possibly reject him when he has already rejected her?

On a selfish level for my own self every dollar he gives her and every item he buys her is one less thing I have to purchase. Rock Star is going away to college and she acts like she now must furnish a 2500 square foot home. Apparently they no longer provide linens at the college. You must buy them. She also needs a comforter, a mattress pad, storage units, a shower caddy, more towels…. you get the picture. It can all easily add up. I’m just thankful I won’t need to do it all over again next year!

If he wants to toss $200, $300, $400 her way, be my guest! I don’t want to get my hopes up but I’m hoping she will tell him she needs an extra thousand or two to pay for tuition and he’ll be willing to help her with that as well.

Unfortunately, we all know what happens when you take money from the devil. He owns your soul.

I hope that Rock Star can maintain her boundaries and resists the lure of easy money because here is the bad news: I don’t trust him.

This is a man who calculated child support for her down to the half hour on her graduation day. I don’t need the extra few dollars that actually paying through the entire day would have brought me, but there is something seriously wrong with a man who does that and then turns around and wants to lavish gifts upon her. He wants to be seen as a hero and not as the selfish, greedy ass that cut his daughter off seconds after she walked across that stage, diploma in hand.

This is a man who still has not sent his son a birthday card, much less an actual gift.

This is a man who wrote his old address on her most recent cards instead of having to admit he had moved with the new fam. I know this because I noticed an envelope addressed to him. At first I thought it was a thank you note but upon closer inspection it was obvious it was a graduation announcement. I suppose he asked for one after buttering her up with cash and gifts, and she obliged. I had to laugh and tell her that the address was incorrect. It was then that she told me it was the one on her cards. “The ones he just gave you?” I asked incredulously. Oh, yeah. That’s how I know he put the old address on the cards he gave her for graduation and her birthday this year.

Go ahead and call me a bitch because I told her he had moved his new family into a new house over a year ago, one that looked very much like our old house in Virginia. I’m not sure she knows yet that he got remarried. If she does she has not said anything.

I have been honest with my kids when asked questions. I have not rushed in to tell them things that would hurt them. I am not infallible. I did disclose, very early on, the fact he had made waffles for not-his-kids. I finally did tell Rock Star about the $300 dress he bought for Harley’s daughter after she was looking online and planned to order a dress from China so that it wouldn’t cost much. At that point I said, “Oh no! If your dad can spend $300 on not-his-kid’s dress, he can spend that kind of money on yours. You will have a nice dress.” I did not, however, reveal that the same month he didn’t have the money to buy her a Homecoming dress, he had $4200 to spend on an engagement ring for Harley. I might have mentioned he promised her daughter a car; I think I did, but I’m not sure. I don’t believe I ever told them about the puppies he bought for her kids, although I might have. I never outright told them that while they were learning to do without he was sharing a bank account with Harley and she was blowing through five grand a month on herself and her kids. Maybe they never really thought about where all of his extra money was going, but if they did I’m sure they could have figured it out. I never told them about how he spent exactly the same amount of money on them at Christmas that first year as he did on his fake kids, or him going to Show-n-Tell with her son, or celebrating their birthdays out at dinner with them, or playing hero daddy at the hospital, or going to the zoo with his new family, or wearing a t-shirt with not-his-kid’s school mascot, or how he told someone he felt it was very important to show up and support not-his-kid at her competition, or going on family vacations with them. Up until the other day I didn’t reveal that he had moved them into a nice new home that looked like our old home, complete with a neighborhood pool. I also didn’t tell them he had flown to Vegas to marry Harley.

No, I didn’t tell them these things because I figured it would only hurt them.

Also, contrary to the narrative that the betrayed wife must always be bad-mouthing the ex and spreading vicious rumors and lies, I said little about him. As Chump Lady would advise: I gave facts; I did not editorialize. Your dad is in Kentucky with his girlfriend. Yes, his family knows about it; yes, they’re okay with it. Your dad lost his job; we are going to have to move because he is not sending me anymore money. Back when he was still paying no support (followed by what he felt like paying once he got a job): No, I cannot take you shopping; my two jobs pay our bills and allow us to eat. Now: I cannot do this/buy that until I get the support money. Once I get the back support your dad owes me I can help you with buying a car; I cannot do it until then. We cannot fly down to Orlando because I did not receive the alimony or child support in time.

Small side rant: When I took the parenting class that was court ordered way back in the beginning, one of the things the instructors cautioned against was talking about child support. I think that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I believe there is a difference between complaining about the amount you receive (We can’t have nice things because your parent is a cheapskate that fucked me over in court!) and letting them know certain things will have to wait until you receive the money you are court ordered to receive. In that respect it’s no different than telling your kid you can’t buy them the new X-Box or go to the movies until after payday. I have already said that my days as his PR manager are over. I’m not falling on my sword to protect him, and in that case, I’m not hurting my children by being truthful. FYI: I have never asked that man for a dime above and beyond what he is ordered to pay me. My kids will never hear me say, “I would buy you X but your dad won’t give me any more money. I guess he’s too busy spending it all on his new kids.” Nope, never! I will, however, without one bit of guilt, tell them we cannot do something because he has not sent me the support yet. Rant over.

Not only did I not badmouth him I will also once again point out that I actually reminded them of things he had done with them, trips he had taken with us, times he had way more patience with them than I did.

You want to know who badmouths the other parent? Big twist- it’s him! He has never missed a chance to bash me and try to make himself out to be the victim.
And that scares the shit out of me.

Each and every time he has come around looking for sympathy Rock Star has shot it right back at him he’s responded with: Let me tell you about how bad your mom is.

To date the excuses are I never loved him and I never took care of him with the added bonus that one day he’d like to talk to her about all of that.

He even pulled that crap with Picasso his first weekend back after being outed. I had taken all of his money. I had a lawyer and he didn’t. Yes, he had a girlfriend but it was okay because we had grown apart.

When Rock Star went off on him about Harley posting on Facebook about how much she missed the comfort she had grown so used to, i.e. I miss having my married lover in my bed, he sprung into defense. “I don’t know who told you this, or what you think you saw, but she’s not like that. She wouldn’t do anything like that.” Yes, it must be me spreading horrible lies to my children and not his beloved whore actually behaving like a whore. Even worse is the fact that once she sent him a screenshot of what Harley had posted he ignored that. He cried that he hadn’t been lying; he had truthfully never seen that. Never confronted the fact that Harley did indeed post such crap, just said he hadn’t seen it.

So this is what I think is happening and how I see it playing out. I believe he thinks that now she is 18 she is suddenly independent and out from under my thumb. I think he figures that once she’s off to college he can communicate with her and she won’t say anything to me (or more likely that I can’t check her phone, not that I do that anyway). My guess is that he’ll continue to offer money and gifts, and then eventually he’ll ask about coming up for a weekend so they can spend some time together.

Maybe he’ll rush right into his big defense; maybe he’ll give it a visit or two. Eventually though I think he will try to start spreading his own narrative. He’ll do his best to paint me as the perpetrator and himself as the victim. I was a horrible wife. We weren’t well suited for each other. He hadn’t been happy in years. I treated him like a wallet and a handyman. I never loved him. I didn’t take care of him. I didn’t care about his PTSD. I was only in it for the money and the lifestyle. You know the drill. I was awful and evil and he was my poor, bullied victim so what else could he do when this angel of love and understanding appeared before him? It was fate. He’s happy now. Don’t you want him to be happy, Rock Star? Isn’t everything so much better this way? Forget about your shattered life- the end of gymnastics, leaving behind the only life and friends that you remember, being moved thousands and then hundreds of miles twice in two years, leaving behind all of your new friends and this great life you had formed for yourself, moving in with your grandmother, having no home of your own, having to start all over your junior year of high school, not getting your license on time, feeling like you were nobody, basically losing your mom because she worked 50-60 hours a week, having few friends in this new place, having a crappy graduation party because no one knows you here. The end result is I’m happy and isn’t that what’s important? Now let’s talk some more about how your mom sucks and she’s the real reason you’ve suffered through all of that!

I know my daughter pretty well. I would like to believe that she wouldn’t fall for his crap and wouldn’t even entertain it.

“No, Dad, my mom doesn’t talk about you. She doesn’t go around telling us about all your faults as a husband. She gives us facts when we ask; facts that can actually be verified. She doesn’t badmouth you. She has actually defended you. YOU are the one that is constantly badmouthing her.”

There is always that possibility though that she will be so ecstatic that he is finally paying attention to her that she’ll allow herself to be bought over with the lies. He’s a pretty good liar; I mean he convinced me to move 20 hours closer to his mistress. I bought the pack of lies about how Anne was some crazy stalker that he had tried to help. I believed him when he said Harley was the biggest mistake of his life. If I could be fooled in my 40s, how can I be certain my daughter won’t be fooled when she’s only 18? He’s her father, for crying out loud. Much like I wanted to believe him back then I’m sure she wants to believe him, too.

As I said a few days ago I can accept her having a relationship with him, even if he’s telling her lies about me. I would like to believe she would ask me about it and not just run with it.

I can accept her having a relationship with him even though I sincerely believe he won’t be content just having a relationship once again with his child. I believe he wants to destroy me in the process. Call me crazy but he’s acted like the victim throughout this entire ordeal. Again, I will have to trust that my daughter is smart enough to see through that. To be able to look back on her own life experiences with him. To remember which one of us was always there and which one abandoned her.

Unfortunately, in addition to him trying to destroy me, what I see happening is him trying to slowly integrate Harley into Rock Star’s life as well. If he’s looking to destroy me what could be a better way than to find out my children think the whore is fantastic?

“She’s really nice. She really wants to meet you. She cares about you and your brother. It has broken her heart that you haven’t given her a chance. I know you’ll love her. She’s great. Can’t you just give her a chance? One meeting. That’s all I’m asking for.”

If that happens and she acquiesces that is the point at which you will see my head spinning faster than Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist.

I cannot and will not accept that. My kids were old enough to know the hell I went through because of her. They are old enough to remember the upheaval they experienced because of her. Yes, I know he was my husband but he’s also their father and I may have to eventually accept the possibility of them having a relationship with him. I do not have to accept it with her so she’s the one I’m focusing on. That bitch knew he was married, knew we had just moved, knew I had followed him all around the goddamn country and had been a stay at home mom for the last 15 years. She knew I had no way of supporting myself or staying in my house long term. She knew that when she began her affair with him she was going to destroy my life; she knew I would be left with nothing.

She blocked my daughter after Rock Star tore into her father about his whore’s shenanigans. Didn’t apologize. Nope, she’ll just block her and post about fucking a married man until her heart’s content.

My kids are both old enough to know what the hell happened, how I was duped and betrayed, and how my life has been one long struggle since that day. They are also old enough to be able to tell their father, “I want a relationship with you but I want nothing to do with her. If you want to have a relationship with me then you’ll respect that. If not, well, looks like once again you are putting her ahead of us.”

I’ve had people tell me that’s unrealistic or to say I can’t expect them to eschew Harley while they have a relationship with the mobster. To that I say, “Balderdash!”

The mobster didn’t break up my marriage. I wasn’t cheating on their father with him. The mobster has never blocked my daughter. We’re not where we are because of the mobster.

Funny story. I hadn’t planned on introducing him to my kids anytime soon, if ever. I thought this would just be “our” relationship. It wouldn’t involve our kids at all. We’d get together here and there and talk and text, but our relationship would be with one another.

The first weekend we met up I didn’t bring him around. I don’t remember if it was that weekend, or the next time we saw each other in person, but I do know I asked him if the next time he came up to my town he would like to meet my kids. I remember explaining to him that their father had never bothered to introduce Harley to his kids; he had to keep her a secret. He had to keep both of those lives separate because of what she represented- the destruction of his kids’ lives. I didn’t want my kids thinking that dating after divorce was a big secret. I didn’t want them to think that I was ashamed of him or didn’t want them to ever meet up for some reason. I wanted to be open and honest.

I think he’s been around my kids six times now- only five for Rock Star because she wasn’t here the first time I introduced him to Picasso. I asked both of them if they were interested in meeting him, and let them both know it was completely up to them. I was willing if they wanted to, but I would understand if they would rather not. They both chose to meet him.

He and Picasso have a lot of similar interests. Ok, really they both just like to play video games. There was one time that I asked him if he would talk to Picasso about something, which he did. They occasionally text back and forth.

The mobster has been very sweet and supportive of Rock Star. He texts her before important events, wishing her good luck. He sent flowers on Valentine’s Day. He bought her a Keurig for graduation and her birthday.  She has even said it’s almost like he’s her stepdad; she said one time that she wonders if this is how it feels to actually have two supportive parents.

I don’t feel like a hypocrite when I say that while I’m fine (obviously) with the mobster being around my kids, if Harley is around them and wants to start making memories we are going to have some serious problems.

That’s what scares me. It’s not simply that he will fill Rock Star’s head with lies and try to convince her that what he did was no big deal. It’s that Harley will become a part of Rock Star’s life. I don’t worry about Picasso so much because it seems pretty apparent that CF isn’t having anything to do with him. Picasso has also surprisingly been much tougher on his dad than I ever imagined. I thought he would have a much more difficult time with everything that happened; instead he was pretty much, “I can’t ever trust my dad again,” and “My dad is dead to me.”

I worry that Harley will attempt to turn on the charm and try to buy my kid. Between her and CF they will always have more money. They can afford to give her things. I worry that she and Harley will become great buddies; they’ll go shopping together, grab lunch together, get mani-pedis together. Her and her daughter and my Rock Star can form a sweet little trio, full of inside jokes and shopping and vacations. Maybe she would wonder why I can’t make as much money as Harley does. Or she’d find herself thinking, “Hmmm…. Harley managed to work and still be involved in her kids lives. Why can’t my mom do that?” I stupidly worry that when Rock puts us side by side and compares us that I won’t measure up. And I know that’s stupid because I’m her mother and she will always love me. But as I’ve always said, “I don’t share.” I certainly am not willing to share my kids with a whore that fucked my husband.

It turns out I’m quite selfish when it comes to my kids. I realize my kids are older so they don’t require the constant supervision they would if we had divorced when they were, say, 2 and 4. But I’ve never felt jealous of those people who talk about how they have entire weekends or weeks to themselves. I’m glad I get every day with them. I’m glad I don’t have to split holidays. I get every Christmas, every Thanksgiving, every Easter, every birthday. Then again, I didn’t walk away from my kids. I didn’t move six hours away from them without saying a word. After I had already moved them.

I have to share with him. I won’t share with her. I am hoping that my daughter cannot be bought for the low, low price of a kimono robe, or even a few hundred dollars.

(A Long) P.S. I ended up talking to Rock Star right before I finished this. I warned her that with the money would come strings. She replied, “I know; that’s why I didn’t ask for much when he offered.”

I did end up telling her my fear was that as they talked he was going to start weaving his tale, playing victim and trying to make me look like the bad guy.

She’s a pretty smart cookie. She has taken screen shots of their text messages as proof that he has offered all these things. I guess he has also told her that if she ever needs anything to just ask. How kind and generous of him after all these years.

I also brought up Harley and told her it was quite possible that once her dad began sending her money that he might begin asking her to consider meeting the new wife (which as far as I know Rock Star does not realize she is his wife). She replied, “No thanks.” She is quite adamant that she doesn’t want to meet her. I asked her if she really thought it would be possible, with her dad giving her money, to stand her ground and maintain her boundaries regarding being introduced to Harley. “I’m not scared of him,” she told me. “And he’s offered all these things. That’s why I’m taking screenshots, so that if he ever tries to insinuate that I asked for this and should repay him by meeting her I’ve got proof he’s offered. I’ve got proof where he’s told me if I need anything to just ask.” Fat lot of good that will do if he’s in one of his tizzies, but it makes her feel better.

It was a good conversation. At least it alleviated some of my fears.

P.S.S. Another update. Another box of goodies. Face masks, nail polish, body scrubs, a make-up bag, a loofah, and loads of other toiletries.  He is going all out for some reason. This is the man who still has not sent his son a birthday card, much less a gift.

I did cave and told her he had married the whore. She was telling me how she thought all his comments and such were because he still loved me and couldn’t believe I had moved on. I assured her that was not the case and that he had most definitely moved on. She kept going on with the ol’, “I know but…” so I finally told her that he had gotten married. “To her?” she asked. Apparently she didn’t think it was legal to marry relatives. You would think, huh?

Anyway, she didn’t seem too affected by the news. I still wish I had kept my mouth shut, though.

Forced Civilization

Ta-da! This is it. Part 5. Aren’t you glad I broke it up into 5 easily digested pieces? Me too. As always, here are parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. Enjoy!

I’m going to say it one more time: Maintain no contact! If you’ve chosen to remain married, maintain no contact with the affair partner. Pain shopping never ends well.

Remember all those things I’d love to say? It would only result in me looking crazy. Hell, I probably look crazy right now as I write this.

It is patently unfair. They get to preen around like peacocks and we’re expected to sit quietly, say nothing, and be happy for the new couple lest we be deemed “bitter”.

Do they “deserve” to have someone chime in on their page and remind them about the kids he abandoned, or the fact that their happiness came at The Saint’s and my expense? Sure. Would it be fun to say something like, “Hey, it’s great that you can be a dad to her kids; too bad you haven’t seen your own in over 2 years,” or “Does everyone know that you could drive 12 hours round trip to see your whore every weekend for 6 months but you haven’t been able to make that drive to see your children one time in more than 2 years?”? Well, of course it would be fun!

But it will also make me look like a bitter, crazy person. Oh, look; she just can’t let go. It’s so sad that Sam can’t focus on her own life and try to find some happiness. Looks like she’s going to let this divorce destroy her. Her poor children. Obviously, Sam prefers to be bitter and hateful instead of appreciating the fact that her husband of twenty years released her from the burden of being his wife.

Even though I’m telling the truth no one wants to hear it. They want tidy. They want shiny. They want everything to fit comfortably inside a little box. As Jack Nicholson would tell you, “They can’t handle the truth!” They don’t want to hear about all the ill effects of adultery. Affairs are between two people and we just never know what goes on in another person’s marriage. Sam probably had it coming. She was probably a terrible wife and that’s why he cheated. Besides, everyone is happier now so it was all for the best. Get over it!

In playing your role as the crazy ex you give voice to their untruthful narrative. See? I told you she was unreasonable! I told you she was hateful and mean and tried to make me eat a turnip!

You’re just a big bowl of cray cray so what else could they do? They found comfort in one another. They bonded over the craziness that was their exes and all of the abuse and neglect that was heaped upon them. Thank God we found each other and can now revel in real happiness with someone who truly loves me and takes care of me.

When you go after the affair partner instead of the cheating spouse it gets even worse! She’s now the victim in all of this. You are unreasonable! You are blaming the wrong person! She’s crying to anyone who will listen to it and everyone pats her back sympathetically and nods their head in agreement. “Why is she doing this? You slept with her husband and now she’s acting crazy! What’s the big deal? Why won’t she leave you alone? You’re innocent! My God it was just a little bump and grind!”

So you stay away. You maintain no contact because there is nothing to be gained. It is a setup from the very beginning. You are destined to lose. If you point out all the destruction and pain you’re labeled bitter, vengeful, jealous. They tell you to get over it. To think of the children. Your truth is unwanted by these people. Similarly, the cheaters’ truth is lapped up like a luscious bowl of cream.

The ex would like nothing better than to convince everyone that I’m not his victim; I’m exactly the same as him so no one should pay attention to anything I say or anything he’s done. He’s done no worse than me so I can’t talk about him.

It’s not true. I’m not sneaking around behind a clueless wife’s back. I’m not having clandestine meetings in work spaces or parking lots or minivans. I certainly never siphoned off money for a boyfriend and his kids, or took money meant for someone else’s kids. The minute I start to defend myself against him, though, I lose. Facts do not matter to them. The truth does not matter to them. The truth is malleable. You can twist it and turn it to suit your purposes.

Just like he wants everyone to believe he’s a devoted father who loves his children. The only reason he hadn’t seen them in over two years was because of me and the fact that I poisoned them against him.

You end up dropping the rope because you realize the only way to win is to not play. Kind of like War Games. The only move I can make is to keep my mouth shut and let the happy couple look like a couple of idiots with a bunch of delusional supporters. I can snark away at them over here on the safety of my blog. I have to be secure in the knowledge that the only people who really matter know the truth. I realize that if he ever were to get in my face and start slinging shit my way the best thing I could do would be to say, “Dude, I know it’s really important to you to believe that story, so I’m gonna let you have it. It seems to be much more important for you to believe that you’re right than it is to me to prove that you’re wrong.”

I’ll let you in on a little secret. As hard as it may be to stay away and keep silent, it really is the best course of action. Cheaters hate not being central. They hate not being in control. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over these last few years it’s that those of us who have been cheated on have also been slowly and systematically trained to cave and give into the demands of the cheater. It’s not always an overt type of thing; I’d go so far as to say most of the time it’s not. The cheater just always thinks he or she knows best and we follow along. We try so hard not to rock the boat, to give them what they want, to make them happy, that we often end up losing our agency.

Would it have been wonderful to have put a HUGE sign on his car that said, “I tricked my wife and kids into moving 2000 miles away so that I could resume my affair with my cousin!” along with all of his clothes in his work parking lot? Oh my God yes! Would it have felt great to post signs all along the route to our house that said, “Cheater lives here,”? Uh-huh. Or maybe renting a big billboard in their new city with their pictures on it, letting everyone know to congratulate the happy cheaters. Again, yes. Expensive, but yes, it would have been satisfying. There are definitely days I wish I had called her up and told her about my crying kids or that I had ripped him a new one, or that I had even just dumped everything of his out on the lawn.

But you know what? It wouldn’t have mattered. I would have played right into their narrative that I was a crazy, jealous, overbearing pyscho and he had to get away! On the other hand, despite doing none of that I know he lies. He tells people I filed for divorce and he has no idea why. I know he tells people I rounded up all of his stuff into black garbage bags and threw it on the curb. He continues to tell people he moved away from his kids and in with his mistress/cousin six hours away because I forced him to move out of the family home (and wouldn’t let him take one single thing with him!). Ultimately though he knows none of that happened. I cared so little for him and his antics that I simply pretended he no longer existed.

I have no scientific proof of this, but I sincerely believe that ignoring him (or any of them) is much more effective than going balls to the wall with them- spouse or affair partner. Like we can’t fight against the injustice of their stupid image management, they can’t fight against silence. How do you fight against something that isn’t there?

I would like to believe that me ignoring him drives him crazy. I was supposed to beg and plead and instead I merely wiped out the bank account and gave him the deep freeze. There was no pretending to put on a united front. I didn’t protect him. I told our kids the truth. I told my family the truth. Hell, I told the lady at the vet’s office the truth. I sang loud and proud. No fucking way I was going to own his shit show. If he didn’t want everyone in our small town to know he was a liar who moved his entire family across the country to get closer to his cousin then he shouldn’t have done it.

Every time he has tried to antagonize me I have refused to take the bait. Well, except for that one time in May of 2016. Even then I kept it pretty funny and brief.

Hacking my Facebook page? Changed my password. Contacted my lawyer. Proved it was him. Sending text messages to the mobster from a burner phone? Ignored. Playing with child support? Show cause hearing which has resulted in him having to pay large lump sums to me each and every time. Sending the checks in obnoxious envelopes? Ignored. Checks cashed. Telling me to check my damn mailbox and calling me greedy because I dared to ask about support? Let him know that if it was too much for the poor dear to hear from me I’d be more than happy to garnish his paycheck. Fucking around with paying support and doing it on his own schedule. Again, reminded him of the court order and let him know I would be filing a garnishment with the state if he did it again. Doing his own child support modification? Hey, I gave him fair warning and then I contacted my lawyer. All of his lies? Confronted with the truth in court.

As far as I’m concerned I’ve been an ideal ex. I stay away. I don’t contact him unless it’s absolutely necessary. I do not and have not ever harassed him or the whore by phone, text, email, or in person. I’ve never asked him for a dime above what he’s been ordered to pay, and quite honestly, those times when he wasn’t paying and should have been I didn’t say a word. I figure out what needs to be done and then I do it. Usually it’s through some sort of court order and then he gets really pissy but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ll say it one last time. Stay away. Stay off social media. When you feed the beast it continues to grow. It feels good in the moment but it’s giving them power. They still matter! Or, in other cases, you continue to be the big, bad hinderance to true love. What’s that they say? Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Continuing to beat yourself up by looking at the part of their lives they’re willing to put on Facebook is like wrestling with a pig and arguing with an idiot. It does no good. It will never help you. It’s all designed, in fact, to hurt you. You can’t confront them or you look like the crazy person and they come off looking like the poor, stalked victims. Focus on your own life. Take it from someone who did something really stupid and paid the price in self-doubt. Keep being the best badass you can be and, as Chump Lady would say, trust that they suck!