Quarantine Craziness, Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greedy much?

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

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

Thanks for the condolences by the way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alimony bitches

Alimony- grateful or otherwise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quarantine Craziness, Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It happens again and again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much more civil could I have been?

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

Quarantine Craziness!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

What Ever Happened To…

I came across one of my old posts, Living With a Cheater on the Weekends… For the Children (Of Course!) and I got to wondering what had happened to that writer, Jaimie Seaton.

If you missed it the first time around the story is this: Daddy cheated, got his much younger mistress pregnant, and left his wife for the mistress. One day when Mommy was dropping the kids off in Daddy’s new town one of the kids wanted to know why she wasn’t going to accompany them on their adventure. And thus set off the new direction of her life. She began going with them on their weekends and letting him stay in her house for the weekend when he came to see their children.

People were divided over whether she was a saint who put her children’s needs ahead of her own anger or if she was a controlling nutjob who was depriving the new baby of her daddy every weekend and denying the OW a chance to bond with the kids.

That was written back in 2016. I found a podcast that featured an interview with her about that article so I had a little more background info. Nonetheless, I was curious so I googled her.

The daughter is off to college in Europe but Daddy Dearest still visits every other weekend and still stays with Mommy.

A little over a year ago she wrote a new piece entitled, How My Ex-Husband Accidentally Became My Good Friend.

Six years later we’re divorced, and he still drives up, alternating weekends between his new home and family, and our children. He arrives on Friday night or Saturday morning and comes straight to my house, parking his car and letting himself in the front door. When he calls out his arrival, the dogs rush to greet him, and my son darts from his room and into his father’s arms. When he arrives on Saturday, he makes himself a cup of coffee and we sit outside and talk about the week: how the children are doing, changes I’ve made to the house, the latest happenings at our jobs. Invariable, we fall into a discussion of the week’s news; dissecting the latest nugget of information from the Mueller investigation, or weighing the chances of various candidates in the midterm elections. We linger so long in these conversations that my son has to interrupt to remind us that his father came to see him, not me.

When he’s here, our home feels complete. For two weeks at a time, I am alone, struggling to juggle a full-time job with taking care of the children; driving my 15 year old son to activities, trying to snatch a few moments of conversation with my perpetually on-the-go 18 year old daughter. I do my best to keep up with the house, with cooking, with mowing the lawn, but I always fall short; it’s too much for one person. When he is home, I have a part-time partner to share in discipling the kids or helping with homework. There is someone to run to the store for milk, or cook dinner. I am finally free to go to a movie or simply sit outside and write. In the afternoons I often fall asleep on the sofa reading a book. Because I can. Because my children have their father.

Oh my. Where to start?

Look, if you want to remain friends with a person who lies to you, cheats on you, throws you under the bus, and blows up your entire life after creating a new family, be my guest. I don’t claim to understand it but if it works for you, awesome.

But let’s get real. He is not “home”. His home is in Manhattan with his mistress and their new shared child. He’s visiting. And the youngest kid is at least 15 at the time of this writing. She can’t take a nap or go to the movies without another adult in the home? Is she afraid her 15 year old is going to wander off, dump out all the shampoo, or get into the household poisons? Since my youngest has been 15 he spends the majority of his time in his room. I go out to dinner. I go to the gym. I go out with my friends. Never once have I thought, “I can’t leave my little baby alone. Who will watch him?” He’s 15. He’s going to watch himself.

She claims she doesn’t want him back and perhaps she doesn’t. As she has said in podcasts and in other articles she misses the life she had. So maybe this is a way for her to get that back for a little while. They sit around drinking coffee, discussing the nearly grown children, their careers, and current events. Their son has to pop in to remind them that Dad is here to see him and not Mom. In fact, in a podcast interview she admits that now when she asks if she can go with them to dinner or breakfast her son frequently responds with, “No!” with the follow up that if she comes along he won’t get to spend any time with his dad because they’ll spend the whole time talking.

She talks about a recent event where the two of them went car shopping together and how she later told him she was never going to do that without him again.

She says they talk almost every day.

He reads her work and gives his opinion on it, which she appreciates because in the very beginning of their relationship he was always her proofreader and proved to have a valuable eye when it came to such things.

He readily acts as her handyman and fixes stuff around the house. Apparently cooks dinner and runs errands as well.

One of the things that she mentions is that this didn’t happen overnight. She had a lot of anger and says it remains a very painful situation. But she also didn’t want her kids to deal with parents who couldn’t be in the same room. She didn’t want her kids to have to spend their weekends in hotel rooms with their father.

Personally, I feel that’s one of the consequences of cheating on your spouse and leaving them and your children behind to create a new family. Kids might have to spend the weekend in a hotel. Kids might get dropped off at Starbucks to spend the weekend with one parent and then the other parent picks them up at the end of the weekend.

I don’t think it’s a horrible thing to explain to your child that when people treat you badly it is okay to no longer want that person in your life. It’s okay and healthy. Nothing wrong with explaining, “Daddy hurt me very badly. I don’t choose to keep people in my life that have hurt me and lied to me and betrayed me. There will come a day when someone in your life does something very hurtful and if you decide their behavior is a deal breaker you have every right to no longer let that person be a part of your life.” I think teaching children about boundaries is a good thing.

I also feel you’re almost setting your kids up for failure if you teach them there are no consequences to cheating on your spouse.

These kids have seen their mom open their home up to their father, engage in long conversations with him when he’s clearly moved on (he lives 5-6 hours away), treat him like a spouse as opposed to an ex-spouse, and eat shit sundae after shit sundae all in the name of making sure her precious darlings never have to suffer the consequences of having divorced parents. What happens if the lesson they internalize is not grace under pressure but rather they can do whatever they wish without consequence? And what happens further if the person they cheat on isn’t as noble as their own shit eating mom? That’s a hard lesson to learn on the fly.

A lot of people commented about her controlling nature from the first article and believed that Daddy should be able to pick up the kids and take them to his new home with the OW and the love child.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, Daddy is perfectly comfortable with the way things are. I cannot imagine that there is any judge out there who would order visitation take place apart from the new family forever. Yet here they are, six years later, and he’s still leaving the new family to go spend the weekend with the ex and the originals.

I’ve got to hand it to her. Most people are not so fortunate as to be able to keep the OP away from their kids. I don’t know how she got him to agree to it but she did. It sounds like those kids have never met the OW or the new sibling. Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with that.

Naturally, she speaks of how exhausting it is to carry that kind of anger around forever. I disagree. It’s not exhausting at all. Because it’s not about going around angry forever. It’s about getting the toxins out of your life and living a life free of that.

Later on in the podcast interview she talks about how difficult it is to find someone with whom she can share her life, and in the same breath says it’s a huge red flag for her when men talk ill of their exes.

You know, at one point I thought the same way. I guess I’m not sure where to draw the line. I don’t have particularly nice things to say about Jerry Lee. He cheated. He moved us across the country to get closer to his mistress. He cheated again (if he ever stopped). He abandoned his kids financially and emotionally. I’m not sure what kind things I should be saying in this instance. He made good money. That’s about all I’ve got. He had a great sense of humor when he wasn’t moping around. Sometimes there really is nothing good to be said.

I do give him credit for the few things he did. I do my best not to speak ill of him but I’ve often said my kids are older and it’s a hell of a lot harder to lie to them. I don’t have the time or energy to try to make him and his behavior look good. I’ve reminded them of good things he’s done and vacations he took with them. I’ve corrected misinformation. I’ve told both of them that I understand them wanting to have a relationship with him, that he’s their father and it’s not a betrayal of me if they wish to have a relationship with him. That’s as far as I can go because I’m not going to lie for him and I don’t think it does my children any favors to lie for him.

I think the biggest reason she doesn’t have anyone else in her life is because her life is filled up with the ex. He’s the one that goes car shopping with her. He’s the one she talks to about her job. He’s the one that gives her advice on her articles. They talk almost daily. He runs errands. He cooks. He lets himself in and the dogs greet him before he goes and fixes himself a cup of coffee and they spend the next hour or two shooting the breeze. How would she ever fit another man into this? She even admits that some of the men she’s dated have told her she needs to get him out of her life.

Her philosophy is that it is a good thing when the exes have a good relationship. I can see that to a certain extent. Would I want to be with someone who’s ex shows up on their front porch, screaming obscenities and calling the police on them on a weekly basis? It would not be ideal. Is it easier if you can have a civil conversation and be flexible with the schedules? Absolutely. Is it easier on the kids if you can both be in the same room without flinging insults or acting like the other doesn’t exist? Probably. But I can assure you I would take the mobster’s ex sending crazy, threatening texts any day over the mobster going out to dinner or spending the weekend with her. That is a flat out no. If he remained that embroiled in her life then he would not have time for me.

I find it interesting though that in all this talk about how her kids never have to choose between their parents and how both of them are invested in the two kids and are able to attend all of these important events in their lives there is never talk about the OW joining them. That is a very important piece of the puzzle. It works because she has managed to exclude the OW and the love child and Daddy has gone along with it. Yes, she is proud of the fact that she planned a graduation dinner for her daughter and instead of her daughter having two separate celebrations for this milestone, she had one with both of her parents there. She’s proud of the fact that she can sign her ex-husband up to help with her son’s drama/singing activities. They sell tickets and concessions together, and sit together at the performances. Yet, in neither of those situations does she have to deal with the OW. Mom and Dad are at these events and OW is conveniently edited out of the picture. That doesn’t usually happen. Most of the time the cheater insists upon including the OP. In Jaimie’s case she’s not only able to put aside her anger to come together and do these things together for her children, but also she’s able to pretend the OW doesn’t exist and they’re still a couple, albeit a divorced couple.

I think when it comes down to it that’s the driving force behind this. She disclosed in the podcast interview I listened to that her ex and the OW are still not married. She also admitted that the OW hates the relationship Jaimie shares with her ex, and that she (the OW) often sends profane laden texts to her, telling her that they need to act more like a divorced couple and that he’s not her husband anymore.

There you have it. A delicious triangle that will go on and on. Her ex is a cake eater extraordinaire. He dumps his wife for the pregnant mistress. The wife eats shit sundaes on behalf of her children, letting Daddy Dearest camp out at her home while he dodges any kind of consequences. This, of course, does not sit well with the OW. She’s now forced to dance, dance, dance to get this buffoon to pick her once and for all because let’s face it, even though he “chose” her he hasn’t completely discarded the wife and he’s not marrying her, even after the divorce. Why do you still talk to her, dammit? And why won’t you marry me? Your divorce took four years and I waited patiently but now you’re free. You have no excuse! Meanwhile, the wife, who has been humiliated and discarded, gets the chance to stick it to the mistress every other weekend; you know she’s got to be uncomfortable with their weekends spent together. She knows he’s a cheater because he cheated with her. Now he’s spending every other weekend in his ex-wife’s home, letting himself in with his own key, greeting the family dogs, and chillaxing with a cup of coffee while he and the ex spend hours chatting. All for the children of course. Plus she also seems to get to call the shots when it comes to the children; she has effectively banished the OW and her child.

Ex-Wife: No, you will not expose my children to that cheating whore. If you want to see your children you will see them without her or her child around.

Ex-Husband: Okay. Sorry, love of my life, nothing I can do. She won’t bend.

Mistress: But I’m your partner now!

Ex-Wife: Ha ha ha- we’re out car shopping and having lengthy discussions on the Trump impeachment hearings.

Mistress: You need to act more like a divorced couple. He’s not your husband anymore! He’s my partner.

Ex-Wife: Bless your heart. Couldn’t get him to marry you, could you? Always the mistress, never the wife.

Mistress: Why are you talking to her anyway? You left her for me. You act more like a married couple with her than you do with me!

Ex-Husband: Baby, it’s for the children! It won’t always be this way. Only three more years!

Mistress: Stay away from my man!

Ex-Wife: Shouldn’t have fucked my husband, you trollop. Buffoon, come fix my kitchen sink and read my newest article.

Ex-Husband: [to the ex-wife] Yes, dear. [to the mistress] Dance, bitch. We’re not married yet. I could still go back to my ex.

Rinse and repeat. Yes, one fine triangle.

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

 

Well Said!

I was reading the comments over on Chump Lady and this one pretty much sums up what I spent thousands of words trying to say.

“No matter how angry you are at me, it is important for our kids’ sake that we show them that we can get along. This is about what they need, not about what you need- you need to put them first.”

Despite stating the obvious, which was she had always put the kids first, the commenter asked for advice on how to respond to that drivel from her ex.

One person offered up this:

… there was no way in hell we were going to be “friends” after what he did to me. I’m not friends or friendly with people like him. And I won’t be friendly with him “for the kids’ sake”. I’m teaching my kids that it’s okay to have firm boundaries set up against abusive people.

I found another answer I liked even better:

“STBX, I think it is important for me to show them that reprehensible behavior has serious and sometimes life long consequences. I want to model healthy boundaries, and show them that they can choose to have healthy people in their lives and minimize or eliminate unhealthy people. I want to remind them that duty goes both ways, and that when someone you love betrays your trust so fundamentally, it is not necessary to keep loving them or to allow them to continue to abuse you. I will model polite cooperation, but I will not pretend to be a happy family or engage in social activities with you.

Let’s Talk About Entitlement

I’m still mulling over some of the comments from my infamous More Bad Advice post. I had so much to say I decided it would be easier to chop it up into smaller parts. Today we’re going to talk about entitlement.

I’m one of those that doesn’t believe you need to be friends. In fact I’ll go one further and say I think this obsession to push others to remain friends with a person who has betrayed them so grievously is pure entitlement. Basically it comes down to this: I want to leave you for someone else (or just leave you). I get to lie and cheat and humiliate you. I want to take all my money with me when I go, and leave you penniless and struggling. While Schmoopie and the new kids are spared no expense. But I think it’s best for the kids if you still pretend I’m a great person and we’re best friends. Except really my fuck buddy will be the love of my life and best friend and I’ll give you whatever crumbs are left over. But you MUST accept these crumbs of friendship or it just proves to me that you are a bitter, rage filled person who can’t move on!

Seriously, folks. One of the consequences (there’s that ugly word again) of ending a relationship is that the other person may not want to have anything to do with you anymore. Deal with it! They don’t have to! They don’t have to meet you for coffee once a week to go over schedules. They don’t have to spend hours on the phone chatting with you about the kid/s. They don’t have to sit with you and any of your minions at any event for your shared child/ren. They don’t have to catch up with you on what Aunt Myrtle or Uncle Fred are up to, or how your mom is having bunion surgery or your best friend is getting married in Antigua when you exchange the kiddos. They don’t have to spend birthdays or holidays with you for the sake of the children. They don’t have to meet you and the new fuck buddy for dinner a few times a month to coordinate schedules and talk about the kids because, you know, you’re all in this together.

It doesn’t mean they’re horrible people. It doesn’t mean they’re bitter, angry, raging people who haven’t moved on and aren’t happy with their lives. It doesn’t even mean things have to be uncomfortable for the kids. It simply means you are no longer their friend and not someone they wish to spend any time with. You can drop kids off and be cordial. You can exchange necessary information without exchanging pleasantries. You can both show up for an event for the kids without sitting next to each other. You don’t get to demand a divorce and demand their friendship at the same time. As I have pointed out before, I don’t choose friends who lie to me, cheat on me, and betray my trust. Those are really bad friends. Choose better! You wouldn’t keep in contact with your kidnapper or your rapist so why does anyone feel the need to guzzle down a shit sandwich and play friends with their ex simply because you had children with that person?

It’s image management, folks! As long as you’re spooning up that shit sundae with the spoiled whipped cream and rancid cherry on top then they can pretend that whatever it is that they did is all perfectly okay. Would Barbara be willing to host me and my new fuck buddy for the holidays if I had hurt her and the kids? Would Greg sit with me and laugh and reminisce if I were a cold-hearted whore who hurt him immensely? Of course not! Therefore, I’ve done nothing wrong. If Barbara and Greg can forgive their cheating exes, or perhaps simply the person who chose to leave them while they sobbed on the floor and wondered what it is they did wrong, then who are any of you people to say that I’ve done wrong?

I was asked to consider that maybe there was room for Matt’s advice, and that not only might there be plenty of room for his advice, but that it might actually be the better way. I was asked if we, as women who have been wronged, shouldn’t be waving the banner for “something better” because, hey, that makes us better people, too.

I much prefer Chump Lady and her state of Meh. You don’t care what the ex is doing. You focus on your own life. You’re not angry. You’re not bitter. And while you’re not engaging in screaming matches at drop offs, or sending drunk texts or scathing emails, you’re not friends either. You are business-like and professional. You keep it brief and as cordial as possible. You’re so busy with your new and improved life that you don’t know and you don’t care what the ex is doing. You don’t have time to be friends with this person who once wrecked such havoc on your life because you’re busy being fabulous.

Again I will say that if going on vacation with the ex and his/her new family is what makes you feel all peaceful and hopeful then you go for it! If you take pride in the fact that nobody can even tell that the two of you are divorced because you do everything together, show up at all events together, work so well together, then you do you, boo. You won’t ever hear me say you absolutely shouldn’t. You might hear me say I wouldn’t and that I have absolutely no desire to do so.

The reality is I don’t feel that’s always the best way. I think kids should realize that there are consequences to their behavior. I think it’s good to model to your kids that you have good boundaries and you won’t let people walk all over you, even if that person who is trying to walk all over you is someone with whom you had children. I think it’s good to show your kids that you can end toxic relationships; hell, it’s good to show your kids that toxic relationships exist! I think it’s good that kids realize cheating is a horrible thing to do to your partner, that it hurts families, that it destroys lives, and that it is morally objectionable. I want my kids to know that there are deal breakers and sometimes, when you step all over another person’s deal breakers then that person might not care to associate with you anymore. That is their right. You got to choose to disregard their feelings; you got to choose to behave badly. They get to choose whether or not they wish to continue to have you in their life.

A Word About Being Bitter

Bitter is just one of those catch all words they use to make you shut up.

I read that one time by a commenter over on Chump Lady. I paraphrased a bit but the message is the same. I think it’s very true. I’ve also pointed out before that people are uncomfortable with people being angry. You can be sad. For an appointed amount of time. You can be upset or distraught. Also for a pre-determined length of time. But anger is a no-no. People don’t know how to react and they get uncomfortable. Then they try to shut you down.

I won’t be shut down. I’m righteously angry and I’ll get over it when I’m damn well ready to. I’m in the fight of my life right now. I don’t have time to pretend that everything is sunshine and rainbows and unicorns eating fairy dust mixed with golden nuggets.

With that out of the way I have to say I’m amused at how many of the “new” commenters on my blog the other day referred to me as “bitter”, “filled with rage”, and “angry”. Honestly, I felt kinda like I did that night when I read Cousinfucker’s texts to Jezebel, telling her that I wrote horrible things about him and said he was annoying me and wasting my time. I couldn’t believe I had written such vile things about him; when I looked back it turned out I hadn’t. It was a figment of his imagination. Completely. I had written nothing during this time he said I was maligning him. I did the same thing this time; I had to go back and re-read because I thought I had gone kind of easy on the original author. I thought, “Maybe I’m crazy and I really did do a hatchet job.” But no. It was pretty tame compared to some of what I write. I did concede to one commenter that I probably could have picked a better title. Perhaps, “Another Option” or “A Different Path” might have been a better title than “More Bad Advice”. It would have suited it better seeing as how I didn’t think his advice was totally off the wall insane and horrible.

I mean, I dared to tell people that might not have the fuzziest of feelings towards their ex that it wasn’t the end of the world. That it was normal and they shouldn’t beat themselves up. I even made a joke about it not being as if they actually had the power to do something by simply thinking about it and if they could then to please think about me buying the winning Powerball ticket. Funny stuff. Not angry. Not bitter. Not raging.

I did take issue with this idea that somehow I was to blame for picking an asshole to father my children. He wasn’t an asshole when I married him. Or at least he hid it well. I never in a million years would have pegged him as a guy who would cheat on me. I thought maybe he would leave me one day but I never thought he’d cheat. Jeez freakin’ Louise, I had one of his friends tell me CF would never cheat. He was supposedly too loyal. I also never thought he would abandon his children or flat out refuse to pay child and spousal support. Joke’s on me because he’s done all three of those things.

I dared to suggest that planning events on your own time, or finding a support system that doesn’t include your ex, or buying another whatever item is needed is a perfectly legitimate way to navigate this divorced parenting situation. How horrible! I didn’t say DON’T cooperate with one another. I said, “Hey, don’t feel guilty if that doesn’t work for you. Instead of kissing your ex’s ass, especially if the ex is an ass, think about these alternatives.” But apparently that is talking out of both sides of your mouth. You know, you agree that something can be good or at least not harmful and then suggest an alternative.

I also said I had no problem with parents sharing information and that I think it’s a shitty thing to do to your kid when you won’t let them contact their other parent. But apparently the fact that I no longer consider myself CF’s personal secretary is an affront to everyone who loves being buddy-buddy with their ex.

I will say again it’s not a side effect of treating your ex well that should insure you know about doctor’s appointments and school happenings and athletic events. In some cases, your ex should be telling you regardless. Kinda like what I did when I let CF know about Rock Star’s injuries over the summer. I told him despite the fact that he hasn’t seen her in over a year. Not because we’re best buds, not because he treats me well, but because he is her father and as the default custodial parent I have an obligation to share.

I also ventured forth with this radical idea of actually talking to your child to get information. That, apparently, is bitterness speaking because anyone with an ounce of common sense knows you can’t ask your own child what they are up to. <<< BTW, that was sarcasm in case you couldn’t catch it.

I said repeatedly that most of the things he views as a perk for treating your ex well could very easily be seen as treating your child well. It hurts your child when they are prevented from talking to the other parent. It hurts your child when they’d like to see their favorite cousin who is in town for the weekend but can’t because the parents won’t switch weekends or give extra time- just because.

I dared to speculate that some of those kids who aren’t healthy and happy aren’t healthy and happy because of the other parent’s behavior and not because their parents aren’t acting like they’re best friends despite the divorce. I’m sure any issues my friend’s daughters may have is not due to the fact that their mom doesn’t want to sit next to their father at a school or sporting event. More than likely it’s due to the fact that he is an out of control alcoholic who attempted to strangle one of them. But I could be wrong and maybe everything would be fine if only Mommy and Daddy would be best friends. <<< more sarcasm

I also suggested that maybe you need new friends if you have to continue to act like everything your ex does is wonderful, even when it’s not wonderful. I guess that’s the bitterness talking. Or maybe the rage. I tend to think it’s practical. They’re not really your friends if they’re fine with someone gutting you. I prefer my friends be loyal to me, not my spouse who left me. Your mileage might vary. But what do I know? I’m the person that has pretty much cut off everyone in CF’s circle if they support him and the whore. Self-preservation and sanity are such frowned upon commodities!

I stand by my suggestion that even if you can’t stand your ex that you can still show up at child related functions and support your kid. You don’t need to sit next to the ex. No one needs to be fooled into thinking the two of you are still married. Why is that so freaking important if you wanted a divorce anyway? You put on your big boy or big girl panties and you go and support your child. I’ll put forth an even more radical notion. If you simply cannot bear to be around the ex it’s fine to skip an event or two, or to even take turns going. Your kid is not going to die or suffer some sort of self-esteem issue if both Mommy and Daddy are not at every single function the kid has. My first choice, of course, would be to just go and deal. It’s usually a pretty big space so you shouldn’t have to see or interact with the ex anyway. But if it is that unbearable don’t go. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible parent if you don’t go. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person if you don’t go and hang out with your ex.

I will vehemently oppose this idea I need to accept the fact that I loved, or still love him in some way in order to feel better about myself. And the idea that we now have a new kind of love along with a brand new family model.

No, I don’t love him. I don’t even like him. The fact that I loved him at one point in time is irrelevant. At one point in my life I wanted to be a veterinarian. That does not mean I am one now. At one point, not that long ago, CF was depositing his entire paycheck into our joint checking account. That’s not happening anymore either. The fact that it used to doesn’t mean shit; it certainly isn’t paying my bills.

I’m not rejecting any sort of reality by realizing that the marriage we once had is now over. I’m not rejecting any sort of reality by recognizing that the person I thought my husband was does not exist; in fact, he may never have existed. I’m sure as hell not rejecting reality by not wanting to be best of friends with the disordered, lying, cheating sonofabitch. He’s not a good person. I like to hang around good people.

We do not have a new kind of love and we do not have a brand new family model. Divorce ends families. It does not create a new, better kind of family. It reminds me of that crap he tried to pull shortly after I discovered his affair. He was all, “Let’s build a new relationship built on happiness for one another; let’s show our kids that happiness is vital for our well being.” Fuck you, Cousinfucker! That’s easy enough for you to say. You’ve got your new life all mapped out. You did it before you ever left. You’ve got a new whore, new kids; you’re looking for a new job and are planning on moving to a new state. And what do I have? I’m destitute, being left to raise two kids who have lived a life of privilege. I don’t have a new man. I don’t have a fucking job. And I’m the one being left to pick up all of the pieces of the family you’ve broken while you go along your merry little way without taking a second glance back. If that’s rage or bitterness talking, well, I’m okay with that.

Once again, I think it’s being practical. I think you end up being a hell of a lot better off not thinking that your ex owes you anything. I’ll go so far as saying you end up faring a hell of a lot better when you don’t rely upon them. You never know when the new family will take precedence, when the new girlfriend or current mistress will get upset with something you’ve tried to work out together, when it will simply no longer be convenient for your ex to assist you. Stepkids or new babies can easily become the priority. What happens if the ex moves with the new family and now he or she is no longer there to help out with your shared child? You’re kinda screwed; instead of cultivating a new support system, one that doesn’t include the person who made vows to you and then called, “Take back!” at best, who lied and cheated and has attempted to destroy you at worst, you’ve relied upon your ex. You relied upon the very person you shouldn’t have because they’ve already shown you that they don’t keep their word. Why?

Because the Internet is full of people who will tell you to stuff down shit sandwich after shit sandwich for the good of the children. It’s full of people who will tell you that if you’re not “friends” with your ex then obviously you are bitter and angry and can’t move on. And that makes the children sad.

I was also amazed at all the concern over my children finding my blog and being hurt by what they read, and this idea that there was no way I could keep my feelings from my kids.

First, as I already pointed out, the Internet is a very big place. I highly doubt they will stumble upon it. Second, if they did come across it I’m not writing about anything they haven’t already lived through. They are fully aware that their father deserted them. They are fully aware of the fact that he’s having an affair with his cousin. They are fully aware that everyone in his immediate family is perfectly fine with his affair and that they think it is wonderful. They are also fully aware of the fact that we had to move out of our home and out of the state because he lost his job and made absolutely no attempt to pay support. My daughter is fully aware of the fact that she had to switch high schools right before her junior year and that she didn’t get her license until she was almost 17 because she had to start all over with a learner’s permit a month before she was due to get her license.

I chose not to lie to my kids. They were 13 and 15 when this happened. When they asked where their dad was after yet another disappearing act on his behalf I answered honestly. He’s in his home state with his girlfriend. Remember, this is the same man who couldn’t go out to dinner with us. He couldn’t go out to dinner with his own kids for their birthdays because he was “afraid” of breaking down. He stayed secluded in the bedroom and couldn’t go out. Naturally they are curious as to how it is that he is suddenly taking off for the weekend every time they turn around. I was honest. I wasn’t going to try to gaslight them or fall on my sword for the lying jackass. When they asked me if everyone down there knew about the affair I replied simply, “Yes.” When her voice got higher and she asked, “And they’re okay with it?” My answer once again was a simple yes.

I’m also perfectly capable of not talking to my kids about everything I might talk to another adult about. There are so many awful things that he has done that my kids have no idea about because I didn’t share it with them. $30k blown on the whore and her kids on such important things as sporting equipment, eye care, Vera Bradley, and numerous restaurants? Didn’t tell them. Him accompanying her youngest to show and tell? Never said a word. Him donning a t-shirt with her daughter’s school mascot and going to her cheerleading competition? Didn’t mention it. Spending just as much, if not more, on her kids for Christmas? They have no idea because I never told them. The engagement ring he bought the whore? The puppies (yes, plural) he bought her kids? The promises of a car to her oldest? They know nothing about any of that. Talking about how much the whore misses having him in her bed when he returns home after a long weekend? Again, not me talking about it. Him moving into a new house that looks almost exactly like our old home? Have not clued them in. Would you like to take a guess as to who it is that posts all that kind of crap over Facebook? Harley and CF!

Harley loves Facebook. She loves tagging her brand new love in all of her posts. She loves letting everyone know how blissfully happy she is now that she has cheated on her husband and is fucking mine! Why wouldn’t she? She gets major kibbles from all the sycophants around her, telling her how happy she looks and how she deserves it. I think she deserves a quick roundhouse kick to the head but that’s neither here nor there and we’re getting off track. The main point is it’s pretty silly to clutch your pearls and moan in despair that one day the children might read your blog when dear old Dad and his whore of a cousin post about that crap on a public Facebook page! Um, CF has sent a friend request to his daughter numerous times; I think she’s actually accepted it. So… maybe if knowing that her dad couldn’t be bothered to attend many of her sporting events while he hightails it to the whore’s kid’s events proudly wearing her high school colors might cause his own daughter pain then might I suggest he and the whore not post about that shit where she can read it? I can goddamn guarantee she can find her dad’s Facebook page (especially considering they are friends) a hell of a lot easier than she can find my blog.

I think my favorite part though was when it was suggested that my kids could sniff out fake-ness, suggesting that there was no way I could rage against Cousinfucker and call him “unsavory names” on my blog and yet still remind them of the (few) good things he had done, or try to recall the (few) good memories we had. Because again it’s almost impossible to vent in an anonymous blog and not say the exact same words verbatim to your kids… I have to wonder though, how authentic is it to force yourself to be friendly with someone who has walked all over you, humiliated you, lied to you, broken your heart, and shattered your life? Isn’t pretending that everything is just awesome and you love this new life that has been forced upon you fake?

More Bad Advice

My apologies in advance. I’m not completely familiar with this blog so I’m not sure if cheating was a part of this story or not. I’m not sure it really matters in regards to the overall advice, but it definitely doesn’t fit when you’re dealing with a cheater.

A while back I read an article entitled: The 7 Life-Changing Benefits of Treating My Ex-Wife Well After Divorce. Hmmm… sounds like something Cousinfucker needs to read. And therein lies the problem. I suppose it could be great advice if you’re dealing with someone normal. Unfortunately, there are many of us out there that aren’t dealing with normal.

My first objection was when he talked about the worst day of his life being the day he found out his wife was in a new relationship. Now, I’m not sure how long after she packed her stuff and left him this was but I keep going back to the whole, “Just because we’ve had children doesn’t mean we don’t have human emotions anymore.” Jeez Louise, we are human beings! We are imperfect. I would imagine that if someone has just ripped your heart out of your chest, cut your time with your child in half (at least!) and is now happily moving on with someone else, even potentially someone he/she began “dating” while you were still married, the first thought in your mind wouldn’t be, “Oh, I’m so happy for my ex! They’ve got someone new while I cry myself to sleep every night. Well, that’s only fair and right. After all, they deserve to be happy and I deserve to be miserable.”

No! You’re probably going to think bad thoughts. You might even hope bad things happen to that person. You know what? That’s okay! As long as you don’t have the power to make things happen just by thinking them you’ve done nothing wrong. And if you do have the power to make things happen just by thinking them please think that I’ll soon buy the winning Powerball ticket.

My second objection came when he said that usually the first or only “bad” thing he learns when dating a fellow single parent is how much of a dick the father is to the mother. That alone wouldn’t have raised my hackles. It’s when he goes on to say: Fair or not, marrying and conceiving children with someone capable of THAT much assholery reflects poorly.

Ummm…. excuse me but when I married my own asshole he wasn’t an asshole. I married a man who had graduated from an extremely prestigious school. He had been a standout in football, a wrestler, a baseball player supposedly who caught the eye of a major league team, a team captain in multiple sports, a certifiable genius. He was described by others as shy, introverted, geeky even. He didn’t come across as arrogant or an asshole.

These guys are good at what they do. They know how important it is to put on an act until their victim is firmly entrenched and has nowhere to go.

Yes, it was my fault I rushed into things. I thought I was far enough along in life that I knew what I wanted and that we were a perfect match. And to be fair to him, although he definitely had his little quirks throughout all of our marriage he wasn’t completely bad all the time. Even the things I bitched about in my Bitch List Parts 1-14 didn’t come along until much farther into the relationship. Him being a complete and utter lying, cheating cousinfucking piece of shit didn’t come until he began his affair and he lost control of me and my reactions.

I digress. Here is his list of the 7 benefits and why I think most of them don’t amount to a hill of beans in my situation.

  1. Reciprocated cooperation is very helpful.

Oh, I’m sure it is. And I would never suggest to someone to not cooperate just for the sake of not cooperating. Like the author says, your best friend or sister is having a wedding and it doesn’t fall on your weekend, how great for you and the ex to be able to exchange weekends. If the kid needs to go see a doctor or dentist and you can’t take him or her, how great if you and the ex can coordinate schedules so that the appointment is taken care of and your child gets whatever care he or she needs. It’s fantastic if little Hayden leaves his soccer cleats over at Dad’s house on Mom’s time and Mom can just call up Dad and swing by, or have Dad swing by her house. Awesome!

It’s also not the end of the world if that doesn’t happen. Mom buys a set of cleats; Dad buys a set of cleats. Appointments aren’t made if that parent can’t get it done. Or instead of relying on the ex to step in and do it, maybe you depend upon a relative or a friend.

Again, I think cooperation between divorced parents is fantastic. I also fully believe that even if Cousinfucker still lived in the same town (or hell, at this point even the same state!) there would be no cooperation because he can’t and won’t face his kids. Cooperation would look like this:

Please, Cousinfucker, I’m begging you! Can you please take off from work to take Rock Star to her doctor’s appointment? I have no vacation time left after all of our court dates and she needs to see someone ASAP. Please, for the love of God, would you do something for your children just once?

And he would look at me and reply: It’s not my problem. You’ve turned them against me. You deal with it all.

Because that’s who he is. He didn’t help out with them when we were married. I’m sure as hell not expecting any help now that we’re divorcing. Plus, there’s that pesky little problem that he moved 6-7 hours away from his kids so even if I were to debase myself and ask him for help he wouldn’t be available because he’s too busy playing daddy of the year to her kids.

In the final analysis I will concede that point to him. Cooperation is very helpful and if you can cooperate that’s a beautiful thing. Good for you. However, don’t feel guilty or like you’re a bad parent if that’s not possible in your situation. I would even go so far as to say if you are repeatedly knocked down whenever you try being civil and cooperative, STOP IT!

2. I get to know things I wouldn’t and freak less

The author seems to think that the only reason he knows things about what goes on with his child when he’s not around is because he communicates with his ex. He also lists his ex being willing to spoon feed him the dates of sporting and school events as a perk of treating her well.

I have definitely heard of parents who refuse to let their kids speak to the other parent when said kids are with them. I think that stinks. I applaud those parents who will let the other parent have unlimited access to them on their time. But that has nothing to do with treating your ex well. It has to do with treating your child well. Sure, when your child is crying because he or she doesn’t get to talk to you whenever they are with the other parent it must destroy something inside of you. The reality though is your ex is hurting your kid every bit as much as they’re hurting you. I guess I don’t look at that as treating your ex well. I look at it as respecting your child and being sympathetic to their needs.

I’m also going to be very blunt and say that playing secretary to my ex is no longer in my job description. Either he needs to tell his whore to get on the website and keep track of that for him because he’s far too important to do such menial tasks, or he can figure it out himself. OR, and here’s a really radical idea, he can talk to his children!!!! I know. Mine are a bit older. They are 15 and 17. I’m going to go out on a limb though and say even a child younger than that can offer up such helpful tidbits as, “I’m playing soccer!” or “I started swimming lessons!” or “We’re having a big program at our school. We’ve been rehearsing every day for two weeks now.” It’s amazing the things kids will tell you when you talk to them.

I think that gets to the heart of it. Even at a young age if being an involved parent is important to you then you’ll figure out a way to get it done. You’ll talk to your child. Even a very young child can tell you what they’re doing or going to do. I’m sure that even at four or five, if they know they’re going to the zoo or an amusement park or some other big trip that they’re excited about they can tell you they’re looking forward to it. They may not have all of the details but they can certainly let you know something is about to happen. At that point you may want to follow up with the other parent. Or not. If I found out through my kids that good ol’ Daddy was planning on taking them to the zoo one weekend what more exactly do I need to know?

Most of his concerns seem to revolve around things that parents either have no obligation to report or should be sharing with the other parent regardless of how they feel about one another.  Here’s a quick for instance for you- when Rock Star hurt herself this past summer I let CF know. I didn’t do it because we have a cooperative relationship. I didn’t do it because he treats me so well. Hell, you all know he treats me like crap. I did it because it was the right thing to do. Because even though he’s a shitty father who hasn’t set eyes on his kids in over 18 months he is her father and I thought he had a right to know. Furthermore, I felt I had an obligation to inform him. Period. It had nothing to do with our relationship.

3. Being together isn’t the worst time ever

Apparently, one of the benefits of treating your ex well is that when you have to be together because your child is involved in activities it’s FUN! If you didn’t treat each other well then maybe one of you would end up skipping out on events and that would make little Amelia sad.

He goes on to say that he and his ex are often in the same place at the same time. They are both there to support him. In fact, many people probably don’t even realize they are no longer married because they are such great friends and treat each other so well.

I admit I’m being a smart ass and this guy probably doesn’t deserve it. This type of thinking, however, drives me batty! I do not need to like my ex nor do I need to have a supportive relationship with him in order to attend my kids’ events. I’m going to be there come hell or high water. I don’t need to talk to him. I don’t need to sit with him. And I can assure you that if he were ever so stupid as to bring the whore or any of her kids with him when he came to “support” his actual children I would not be schmoozing with any of them. We would not carry on as one giant, happy family. No, I am not friends with my husband’s whore. I am not friends with the woman who fucked my husband and helped cause the destruction of my family. I am also not friends with the man who was supposed to be my partner in life, who I was supposed to grow old with, and who ended up lying to me, gas lighting me, and making a complete and utter fool out of me. I call those people enemies. I don’t choose to share my life with those types of people.

Yes, I realize it’s always easier when everyone gets along and there is no stress or strain. Unfortunately, that’s not how it always plays out. So grow up, put on your big boy pants and get to the ball game or the concert or the school assembly and support your kid. Not because you’re absolutely giddy at the thought of getting to spend some quality time with your ex, but because you want to be there for your child. You don’t need to sit with the other parent. You don’t need to talk to the other parent. You just need to be there for your kid.

4. Our son is happy and healthy

Yes, none of us with less than stellar relationships with our exes have happy, healthy kids.

And once again there is more of this, “If you speak or behave in any way that is hostile or otherwise shitty to your ex-spouse, your children will know it and feel stressed and generally uncomfortable any time you’re all together, or even just in phone call situations. Being intentionally shitty to your ex is in many ways being intentionally shitty to your children.”

Oh please! My kids are stressed out because their father is a liar and a cheater who deliberately and with no thought of them whatsoever, destroyed their home and their lives as they knew them. They are stressed because we were forced to move out of our family home and they had to leave behind yet another set of friends. They are stressed because they had to start all over. They’ve gone from having a mom who stayed at home and was available to them all the time to having a mom who at one point was working two jobs and was very rarely available to them. They’re stressed because their dad refuses to pay his court ordered child and spousal support which allows me to keep their lives somewhat stable.

All of the stress they’re experiencing is because of their father’s behavior; it is not because we are not best buddies. Their father has done everything in his power to make us miserable and to make things difficult for us. There really isn’t a whole lot I can do except keep trudging along, being the sane yet impoverished parent.

I do my best not to put him down. In fact, I have gone out of my way to remind them of the good things he’s done in the past. If you ask my mother she will tell you that I have shielded them way too much from his shitty behavior. But I will not lie to them. If they ask me a question I’m going to answer truthfully. There is a difference between being shitty and being honest. Sadly, too often when cheaters (and I’m not calling the author a cheater; in fact, I don’t think he is) speak of not tearing them down in front of the kids what they really mean is, “Hey, I need you to lie for me! Keep up my good guy image so they don’t know what a shitty person I am. And if you won’t then I’m going to accuse you of damaging our kids.”

Generally speaking the people I know of who have kids who are struggling don’t have struggling kids because the parent isn’t speaking highly of the other parent. They are struggling because of something that other parent is actually doing.

5. You preserve important friendships

Apparently, the author believes that you should treat your ex well so that all of your friends will still like you. Because they have conflicting loyalties and if you’re honest about the ex’s bad behavior that may make them uncomfortable and they won’t want to be your friend.

Oh no! Whatever will I do when someone tells me they can’t choose sides and they love us both? What should I do when someone wants to support us both even when I’ve done nothing to deserve the abuse my ex is heaping upon me? I know! I’ll get new friends! Problem solved.

It might be an overly simplistic way to look at it but when you’re going through a divorce, even one that doesn’t involve infidelity or abuse, you need support. The last thing I’m going to worry about is whether or not my so called friends are offended by my vitriol towards this person who has caused me immeasurable pain. In fact, if they are offended by this because they think my ex is so wonderful then they are not my friends. They’re my ex’s friends.

I’ve heard it said before that divorce shows you who your true friends are. Maybe that is true and in that case you probably should weed out those who feel no loyalty whatsoever to you. It’s good to know where you stand and who has your back.

6. You’re not a messy, walking contradiction

Alright, full on honesty here. This is the one that really made my jaw drop. I will quote this since I’m not sure my paraphrasing can do it justice:

Don’t act like you didn’t love- or don’t still currently love- your ex-spouse. It’s a lie and you can’t trick yourself no matter how much we’d all like to.

He goes on to say:

If you want to live a balanced, healthy life where things aren’t constantly shitty and dysfunctional, it’s important that your actions reflect your true values and feelings. When you dislike someone but act like you like them, it becomes this gross, slimy, fake and all-around inauthentic display that most healthy people can identity right away…

You’re always going to feel just off if you spend your life doing things that don’t reflect your true feelings and intentions.

So. Just own it. You loved, and to some extent, still love the person you chose to marry and have children with.

What. The. Ever. Living. Fuck. I almost have no words. Almost.

Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter if I loved him or not. What matters is now. We could argue that at one point John Wayne Gacy was a cute little boy and his mother loved him so much and he had so much potential. Yeah. But the reality is he grew up to be a serial killer and that’s what we’re dealing with now. Memories are great, but not when they obscure reality. We need to deal with what is and not what was.

I have said many times I lost every feeling I ever had for Cousinfucker when I found out what he was doing. It doesn’t matter that I loved him once. What matters is that he moved me and our kids across the country and then after buying a brand new house, a brand new car, brand new furniture to fill the brand new house, and a brand new $57,000 inground swimming pool he began lying to me and cheating on me with the skank again. I’m not going to dwell on my feelings of love or the nice things he did 15 years ago. I’m going to focus on the fact that he started taking money out of our marital bank account and giving it to his whore, all while lying to me and telling me he was sending it to his mom. Or that when he was telling me he was buying new phones for his mom and stepdad he was really buying them and paying the bill for his whore and her daughter. I’m going to focus on the fact that he forced us out of our home after losing his job and has never consistently paid his court ordered support since then. I’m going to focus on the fact that he abandoned his children without saying a word to them. He moved out of the house and out of the state and didn’t blink an eye. He can’t do enough for four children who don’t belong to him and who have a loving, involved father while he neglects his own. He never did even half of what he does for the whore’s kids for his own. Those feelings I once had for him? Aren’t going to do shit for me now. That person I loved is gone. He was replaced by a known liar and cheater. I Do. Not. love him. I don’t even like him.

There is absolutely no contradiction in my feelings at all. Just because I married someone and had children with them doesn’t mean my feelings can’t evolve and change due to their shitty behavior. Believe me, I get the whole, “I’ll always have fond feelings for this person,” sentiment. That’s not for people who have napalmed your life. CF has done so many awful things to me and our kids in the last two years the only contradiction would be if I claimed I did still love him in some way. I can assure anyone reading this that I am not the least bit moved by the fact he is, unfortunately, the father of my children. The only feelings I have towards him are anger and hatred. I am eagerly awaiting the day when I feel nothing at all, one way or the other, towards him. When he registers as nothing more than any other stranger on the street.

7. You get to be you again by healing much faster

You’re going to have to read this for yourself because I’m not entirely sure what he’s getting at here. I suppose it’s more of this enlightened thinking where he has found happiness and purpose by putting aside all thoughts and feelings of anger and unhappiness towards his ex. By treating her with love and respect and reframing their divorce as a “new type” of love he can successfully navigate the murky waters of divorced parenting. It’s more of the, “Let go of the anger and bitterness” advice. Be buddies with the person who gutted you and then you’ll once again be happy.

He mentions in the beginning that his divorce could be a lifelong prison sentence if he chose to be super involved in his kid’s life and a massive asshat to his child’s mother. Again, I think that’s short sighted. If you want to get along with your ex, if they haven’t done something egregious to you, or if you just like getting kicked in the throat repeatedly, go for it! There is another alternative, though. You can be super duper involved in your kid’s life, not be a massive douche but also not be friends with your ex.

You’re cordial if necessary. You cooperate if possible. You provide necessary information. But you also stay on your side of the bench. You don’t go out for drinks afterwards. You aren’t buddy buddy. You don’t call each other up and chat for hours. It’s almost like a client relationship. You are cordial. You take care of business. And then you go on your way.

He also talks about how he found meaning in the truth and in the meaning he found forgiveness and in forgiveness he found the big one- love. He goes on to say:

It looks nothing like the love we’d promised each other standing on that alter, young and ignorant. But I’m pretty sure it can be enough. In fact I think it already is.

Again I have no feelings of love for my STBX. I don’t want to feel any feelings of love towards him. I wouldn’t be interested in dating a man who said he still loved his ex. I don’t understand why we’re trying to get to a consensus of some sort of love between exes. You’ve discarded the relationship. You don’t get to whine that they no longer love you. Yeah, we know! If they did they’d still be married to you. Is it not enough to simply respect the relationship your children have with the other parent and to get on with your new life which doesn’t involve the ex in any way? Is it not enough that we’re not interfering in or trying to make things more difficult in the ex’s life? Must we now profess to be buddies and have to hang out and talk to each other all the time? I kinda think if that’s what my ex wanted then he shouldn’t have cheated on me. If that’s what some non-cheating ex wants then maybe they shouldn’t have ended the marriage.

It’s the end of a marriage, the end of a relationship. You don’t get to end it and then cry foul when that person wants nothing to do with you. You especially don’t get to whine and cry when you’ve lied and cheated and done other horrible things and the person you’ve abused, for lack of better word, no longer wants to be around you or have anything to do with you.

I realize even the author and some of his commenters mention that this advice is only helpful when you are dealing with someone else who is sane. Sadly, I think it’s almost a foregone conclusion that if you really need his advice you’re not going to take it. The cheater in my situation will never recognize himself in any of that. He’s perfect. I’m the problem.

If you don’t need it then you’re going to experience some guilt because you’re not doing any of those things. You might feel like you are somehow failing your kids. If only I could just eat this one last shit sandwich then things would go better for them. If only I could humiliate myself one final time then my ex would do the right thing.

The problem is so many people see this and they begin to feel guilty that they can’t or won’t do these things. Here’s the truth: You are not obligated to be friends with your ex. You are not obligated to have any kind of a relationship with them. The only thing you are responsible for is not thwarting a relationship between him/her and the kids. Too often those of us who have already been kicked repeatedly while we’re down are expected to just take some more abuse in the name of the children. Meanwhile, the people that really need that advice go along their merry little way, doing whatever their little heart desires. I’m not down with that. I plan on helping to write a new narrative. One that says speak your truth and take no shit!

Let’s Be Friends!

I hear this a lot from people who talk about their cheater’s reaction and from cheater’s themselves who think that once the divorce is over that they and the betrayed spouse will be best of buddies. “I’m hoping my spouse and I can be friends after the divorce. I think we will be. Sure, he/she will be mad for a little while but they’ll get over it. Maybe we can even double date sometime.” I guess it’s true what they say. Affairs really do cause people to lose their damn minds.

I’m not saying it never happens. On another board I frequently read there is a longtime poster who is friendly with her ex and his wife, who was the other woman. She even babysat their kids once upon a time and is known as Aunt to them. Hell, they vacation together! Another woman on that same board was cheated on by her husband of twenty plus years. She’s not friendly with the other woman turned wife, not even after all of these years, but she does consider her ex-husband to be a friend. She’s actually proud of the fact that they are friends.

Just in case anyone was wondering where I stood on the whole “friendship after gutting me, betraying me, lying to me and destroying my life” thing, I’m solidly in the corner of, “No fucking way.” I’m sure that’s shocking to most of you.

Look, the way I see it why would I want to be friends with someone like that? Or as someone over on Chump Lady once put it: You want to be friends after what you did to me as my husband?

This person has lied and cheated. Why would anyone believe that now that they’re “friends” this person won’t continue to lie and cheat, gaslight and betray? I depend on my friends to have my back, not stab me in it. I expect my friends to care about me and my best interests; someone who has cheated on me has demonstrated they don’t give one single solitary fuck about me or my best interests. I expect my friends to be loyal to me. A person who cheats on me isn’t going to be loyal now that we’re “friends”. Bottom line: I prefer friends who don’t lie to me. Actually, it’s not so much a preference as it is a prerequisite.

Okay, just for shits and grins let’s pretend that I actually buy this “friendship after an affair” bullshit. Let’s pretend millions of other betrayed spouses buy it, too. It sure sounds like a swell idea, Wally. So tell me, how’s it going to work?

Are you going to call me up on the phone and have long conversations with me? You didn’t want to do that as my husband so why are you so willing to do it now that we’re divorced and you’re fucking a whore? The same whore you left me for.

Are we going to text each other all day? First, what on earth would we talk about all day long? I find people who need to text each other constantly juvenile. Second, I’m not even able to text all day long. I’ve got this thing called a job. I’ve actually got two things called a job. And I can’t be on my phone while I’m working either of them. Maybe once you start making obscene amounts of money they don’t care how much you’re on your phone. Lord knows CF told me many times about how he played games all day long. But when you’re simply a mindless peon you have to put your phone away, which means I can’t text with you all day long to tell you about every minute of my tedious life.

Hey, I just cashed a check! Oh wow, I just cashed another one. Oh, this time it was a withdrawal. Holy shit! I just made a deposit. Oops, answered a phone call. Made another checking deposit. Cashed in some coins. I know; this stuff is fascinating.

Would we go out to dinner together? Would we catch a movie? Maybe go to the casinos or take a walk or see a play or sit down and watch television together? Hey, I know! We could go to the next Chump Lady book launch party together! I’ll introduce you to her. You’ll love her.

Seriously, what is this friendship supposed to look like? And do I have to hang out with your whore as well? Because that’s not happening. I’ll throat punch that bitch.

Don’t tell me how much you admire me and appreciate me. Don’t tell me how you want us to move forward into a new relationship that is defined by us being happy for each other in our new lives. I don’t give a shit about your new life. Your new life came at MY expense. Frankly, I hope your new life crashes and burns. I hope your dick falls off. I hope your whore dies a horrible death. I hope you’re miserable for the rest of your dickless life. Go fuck yourself and your happiness. You’re a liar and a cheater and I don’t wish to be friends with people who stab me in the back and betray me.

I’d no sooner want to hang out with the guy who cheated on me than I would want to hang out with the guy who kidnapped my kids or raped me. Sorry. You’re in that category now. If you wanted to be my friend you shouldn’t have cheated on me.

In the end I think it comes down to two primary motivations- image management and keeping the other woman (or man) on a short leash.

Hey, if someone cheats on their spouse and they continue to be friends that has got to be nerve wracking for the affair partner. This person was supposed to be so awful, so horrible, that their beloved was forced to cheat on them. If not for their egregious behavior the affair partner’s beloved would never have been tempted to turn towards another person. So how come they’re still friends? Why is he texting her (or why is she texting him?)? Why are they meeting for friendly dinners or lunches? This makes no sense. Maybe your soul mate isn’t going to leave behind the wretched spouse after all. By golly, you’ll just have to dance harder and prettier to make sure you’re still #1. Isn’t that a lucky break for the cheater? Yep, not discarding the former wife (or husband) sure keeps the mistress turned main squeeze/new wife in check. Maybe once those marriage vows were said they realized they married a person who doesn’t have a problem cheating on their spouse. And lying to them about it. Dance, dance, dance! A cheater’s got to keep his or her options open. If you won’t dance pretty they’ll find someone who will.

And if the betrayed spouse agrees to go along with the friendship bullshit then the cheater can say, “See? I didn’t do anything wrong. We’re still friends. Would we be friends if I had done anything horrible to my spouse? Of course not! So obviously we simply grew apart. There were problems in the marriage but now we’re going to go forward as best of friends who work together cooperatively for the sake of our children. No need to judge me or label me a low down yellow-bellied slime bucket cheater because my former spouse and I are friends!” Image management, people. Image management.

They can tell everyone that they’re still a wonderful person who refuses to be defined by their cheating, lying, backstabbing behavior. If they had any guilt the friendship assuages it. Again, what a lucky break for the cheater.

Personally, if someone wants to remain friends with their cheating ex I don’t care. Hell, they can make nice with the skanky ass ho, too, if it makes them feel better. I, however, have no desire to play nice with the ex and his whore. I will never be friends with either of them. They have absolutely nothing of value to add to my life. They’re manipulative liars with no conscience. I try to stay away from people like that. I would advise everyone else to do the same.