It Must Be True Love

Gather round, folks, because I’ve got something I want to say to you. I’m seeing an awful lot of people on various sites and pages falling for this nonsense that their cheating ex is a reformed person. That the relationship they have with the affair accomplice is true love and they’re going to live happily ever after. That now he or she is going to change and be the person you wanted them to be… for this other person. Karma will never come and they’ve got it all while I’ve got nothing!

Ahem… that is what I like to call… bullshit.

Oh no, Sam! It’s true love. She’s the love he’s always loved. He’s changed for her. Takes her all the places I wanted to go. Does all the things for her that I wanted him to do for me. I’ve seen the vacation pictures. The big new house. The cars. The new babies.

Yeah? Well, it’s still bullshit. As Chump Lady always reminds us they don’t get personality transplants. And social media doesn’t show the whole picture. Hell, I’m Exhibit A!

One year before he left for Harley I was posting pictures of my new house and my new furniture. In April of 2015 I was happily sharing that I had signed the contract for my pool. Throughout the months of May, June, and July I posted updates. In June and July I shared pictures of the kids and I on vacation in Indiana with family and in Utah with friends. I posted pictures of us in Florida, having a great time on the beach again in July. On August 4th I posted pictures of my completed pool. On August 10th I found out my husband was fucking his cousin. Not one time during that year did I post about him going into a psych ward. I never posted about his drinking. I didn’t post about his bizarre behavior where he was constantly crying and kept himself mostly confined to the bedroom. Or the times I found him in the bathtub (sans water) because “that’s where he felt comfortable and safe.” Anyone looking at my social media would think I had it all. Easter of 2015 I was crying in the shower and recording messages for my friends and loved ones for after they found my body.

But this isn’t social media, Sam! This is from friends, acquaintances, relatives, my powers of perception. They will never split up. They will be together forever! It’s true love.

Relationships are a funny thing. They’re a success until they’re not. How long did it take for your own relationship with the fuckwit to break down? People think that just because they’re still together 2 or 3 years later that it means it’s going to last forever. 

Jezebel and Husband #2 were together 14 years! Fourteen! I’m sure his ex-wife thought they would be together forever. And she probably thought Jezebel stole her life and was now enjoying everything that she used to have when she was his wife.

The reality is Jezebel and Husband #2 were struggling financially. Neither one of them wanted to work a full time job. It interfered with all of their vacation plans. But him being a former pastor of a large church (and trying to establish a new church) meant that for some bizarre reason people wanted to get close to them so they could say they were friends. Those people were the ones paying for their vacations. I remember her saying to me once, “We don’t look like it but we’re poor.” It was a mirage. I gave her money that year so she could buy her son clothes instead of having to go shop at Goodwill. They were able to pay off all of their credit card bills because they hadn’t paid them in over a year when he was out of work; their creditors were willing to take just about anything when he finally got a good paying job. He was paying his ex-wife an enormous amount of money in spousal support every month because he was willing to do anything to get his divorce and marry his mistress. I remember Jezebel being furious because he needed her paycheck in order to pay his ex’s spousal support so he didn’t go to jail. In fact, his ex-wife took him back to court after he hadn’t paid her in a while due to the “no job” thing and the judge gave him something like one month to get the $16,000 or so he owed her or he was going to jail. And how did he pull that off? He begged and borrowed from everyone he knew. They eventually ended up losing their house because they had one of those interest only loans and when interest rates went up their mortgage skyrocketed.

Then after Husband #2 finally landed a good job and they were back on their feet again she had an affair with a colleague nine years younger than her. She dumped her 20 years older husband for the new guy. According to Husband #2 she told him he was too old for her. I do know she told me she felt like she had daddy issues and that was what made him so appealing in the beginning but now she thought he needed to find a woman his own age, one that could travel with him. So very kind of her.

Oh, I believe I’ve also talked about how he saw the writing on the wall so he lined up another wife. He was married like a month after their divorce was final.

It took fourteen years but they didn’t live happily ever after. They weren’t always happily ever after when they were together either.

Another woman I’ve seen post has talked about her cheating ex marrying the affair accomplice. They had two children. The children both have a rare degenerative disease. Neither of the parents knew they were a carrier. And after 15 years or so, again the younger affair accomplice ditched the cheater for a person her own age.

Headlines were made back in 2018 when Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova announced their separation after TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS together. By all accounts their relationship began as an affair. Then again, if you look at the timeline, I think Mrs. Ocasek #2 was the other woman as well. My guess is Paulina must have been the one to end it because he got rather salty in the press. He then cut her out of his will despite the fact that they were not yet divorced at the time of his death in 2019, and were still living together.

Yes, sometimes they do stay together. It’s image management. The cheater can’t stand to admit they were wrong. If they leave the affair accomplice then that’s admitting they made a bad choice. You want examples of that? Fine. I’ll give them to you.

Example #1: One of the moderators on a Facebook page I belong to shared a story her former mother-in-law told her. Her ex is married to a mentally ill woman who has driven away all of his family members for the most part. I believe that in the beginning she was welcomed with open arms, which of course, hurt the poster. But now, seven years later, they see who she is. They can see what a mistake he’s made and even his own adoring mother says, “He’s miserable but he’ll never leave her.” Huh. 

I have to admit I smiled a little bit when she told that story. This guy is so arrogant he cannot bear to admit he made a mistake in cheating on his wife with this particular woman. So instead he will sever relationships with everyone in his family who doesn’t think she’s the most amazing person on the planet. He’s so arrogant that instead of leaving this woman who makes life unbearable he’s going to stay in hell forever to prove a point. If that’s not karma I don’t know what is.

Oh, and his mom also said she thinks he’ll cheat on her even though he won’t ever leave. And my guess is his daughter who is only 9 now is going to get tired of the bullshit and refuse to see her dad before she turns 18. It may not happen in the next few years but I would put money on her refusing visitation within the next 5 years or so.

Example #2: Tempest was a very popular, vocal commenter over on Chump Lady’s website. I don’t know how she knew but somehow she was alerted to the fact that her ex’s new girlfriend was now on anti-depressants after being with him for only a short period of time. 

Yes, sure she was living in a million dollar home. By all outward appearances her life was great and Tempest was really missing out. But the reality was the relationship with that man was so stressful and toxic she was taking medication to deal with it. Some fairytale, huh?

Example #3: I wish I could remember more details but what stuck with me is this woman talking about her husband cheating and leaving for the the other woman. He had children with her. He admitted he was miserable and he’d made a huge mistake but he had seen what had happened with his first set of kids and he wasn’t going to do that to his second set of kids. So he stayed.

And finally, my very favorite story. I wish I could find this comment again because it’s stuck with me all these years. I will have to share from memory. Cheating husband leaves his wife and three kids for his pregnant mistress and marries her. By all accounts the mistress had struck gold. She had multiple houses, multiple cars, grand vacations. The wife got cheated out of all of that. They were still together after almost 35 years of marriage. But, the poster went on to explain, the cheater and his mistress turned wife didn’t talk to each other. One was an alcoholic and the other popped pills to help them sleep. The father was depressed and angry that his older three children, the ones he abandoned for Sparkle Twat, had nothing to do with him. Their whole life was a carefully crafted facade built on debt and charity.

When their 35th wedding anniversary came around though, the poster went on to say, she knew they would throw a huge party and everyone would be there. It would be a huge to-do and he would be toasting her as the love of his life. Because they couldn’t let people see the truth, which was that they were miserable together and living in a house of cards.

I’m not saying to stake your happiness on your cheater’s misery. I am saying though to pull your head out of your ass and stop insisting they have it all and it’s true love and they’re blissfully happy while you’re miserable. They’re the same damn person they’ve always been. There is no such thing as a personality transplant. 

The guy who didn’t want kids isn’t thrilled now that his 20 year younger whore just popped two of them out in a row. He wasn’t looking for a new wife. He was looking for a fantasy woman. One that fawned over him. One that made him her priority. Now they’ve got two little babies who demand lots of time. That’s time she can’t devote to him. And if he did want those kids, chances are good it’s because he thought it would keep her stuck with him. It’s always harder to leave once children are involved. 

There is a woman who was married to an idiot that was lamenting the fact that he had married the mistress and they are trying for a baby. This is the same guy who told her how much fun he was having riding motorcycles and living a life of freedom. I didn’t realize you could strap a car seat onto the back of a Harley. Must be a new feature. Mr. Live Free or Die is getting himself right back into the same situation he fled. Traded the old wife for the new wife. Trying to have a baby with that one. The shit that held him down before and made him oh so sad is going to hold him down again.

The guy who was a serial cheater hasn’t magically transformed into a loyal, committed partner. He’s still out there cheating. He may not do it right away, but he’s going to do it. They don’t treat you poorly because they’re not in love with you. They treat you poorly because they’re assholes.

Is he (or she) doing all the things with the new person that you wished they had done for you? That’s just more proof that they’re really in love with this new person and they’ve changed, right? Wrong! You gave them a fucking blueprint. These things will make me happy. And if they will make me happy they will probably make somebody else happy as well.  They haven’t changed. They’re not madly in love. This is not their soul mate and this is why they’re treating them so much better. No, they’ve just stolen your ideas.

I know it’s not a whole lot of comfort when people keep throwing out the statistics on how rare it is when your partner leaves for the affair partner if they’ve already actually left. And it’s not any comfort when they tell you that statistically speaking they only have a 5 to 7% chance of making it to the alter, and then they get married. But let those examples above serve as a guiding light. Once married they’ve got a 75% chance that the marriage won’t last. If they manage to be in that 25% that’s no guarantee that they’re happy. They don’t change. That new relationship high is going to wear off eventually. Old habits will be resumed. The person who devalued you is going to devalue the next one. They’ll be the ones dealing with their temper tantrums, the silent treatment, the scorn, their inability to admit they’re wrong, the bad habits, the nasty attitude, the yelling, the abuse, the constant demands, the feelings of never being good enough. Sooner or later the new supply is going to be wondering where the person they fell in love with went. The person who cheats on you is going to cheat on the next one, unless the next one has them on a very short leash. And that’s karma in itself.

On the Stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stupid Facebook Posts

A divorced friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page. 

I’m reading this and I’m thinking to myself, “Seriously?”

It will be a cold day in Hell before I run over to Jerry Lee’s house with gifts in hand to make him breakfast and celebrate his birthday. I don’t think ol’ Harley would appreciate it either. Maybe I should tell her to rise above it and be a good example. Nah, too late for that advice. 

I also don’t want anything from him. I’m 99% sure my mom would shoot him if he came into the house and tried making breakfast for us. Any gift he attempted to present would be trashed. It wouldn’t be about me at all. It would be about him trying to look good. See? I’m a great guy! I’m scrambling eggs- and making toast!

No, despite not recognizing him on holidays and birthdays I’ve got my shit together. I don’t need to kiss his ass to prove that. I’m already raising decent human beings. I’m doing it all by myself, too. One of the ways that I’m raising decent human beings and trying to set an example as far as relationships go is by not cheating on their dad. It’s a high bar but some of us are up for that challenge.

These posts are so infuriating. They completely discount the crap some of these people have put their former spouse through. They act like we haven’t already eaten a ton of shit and chide us to eat even more. I think of my friend who moved across the country for her husband’s job, only to be told a few months later that he didn’t think he could be married to her any longer. Oh, and he had a new girlfriend. That’s why he took the new job and moved them all across the country. I think of another friend whose then husband attempted to strangle one of their daughter’s while he was drunk, and who had been abusive towards her as well. I think of the mobster’s ex and how she walked out on her kids without saying a word. “Come on, kids! Let’s run over and make your mom breakfast on her birthday! I want to show you what it’s like to have no boundaries and no self-respect!” I think of my own situation, very similar to my friend’s, where he moved us thousands of miles away and then took up with Harley less than a year later. He walked out of the house one day in February 2016 and has seen his daughter once since then; he hasn’t seen his son at all.

This is the kind of shit that makes good people who are doing the hard stuff in life doubt their choices. “Am I doing enough? Should I be more forgiving? Should I try harder? Oh my gosh- I didn’t buy my ex a birthday gift; I’m going to ruin my children. I’ll do better; I promise.”

The people that need to read this and take it to heart will never think it applies to them. The ones who are going to take it to heart are the ones that don’t need to. Stop trying to guilt them.

You want to set an example for how to treat your ex? Don’t badmouth them in front of the kids. Don’t interfere in their relationship. But even before that maybe try one of these: Don’t cheat on them. Don’t try to financially destroy them. Don’t drag out the divorce. Don’t lie and gaslight. Don’t blame the victim when you’re the one out there screwing around. Take responsibility for your actions.

I am not friends with Jerry Lee. I am not going to act like we are still married. I’m not going to set him on fire the next time I have to see him, but I’m not going to make him breakfast either. Just like I didn’t make him spaghetti for dinner after I found out about Harley. I have boundaries in place for a reason.

This person doesn’t seem to realize he and the former wife are divorced.You want to model good relationship behavior? Model it with someone you’re actually in a relationship with! You want to be an example to your kids on how to treat their mother? Maybe try working on your marriage and not getting a divorce. The horse is out of the barn at this point.

At the root of this is image management. Look how good I am! Look at all I do for my ex. Aren’t I fabulous? Don’t you wish you could be as magnanimous as me? Obviously I love my children more than you love yours. It’s too bad you can’t be a mature, respectful adult.

Yeah, fuck that. I’m not friends with people who lie to me and cheat on me. I’m not going to model eating shit sandwiches to my children.

Boundaries are a good thing. It would be nice if that was respected a little bit more.

Here’s Your Bitch Cookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quarantine Craziness, Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It happens again and again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much more civil could I have been?

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

Quarantine Craziness!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

Who Is Mariella and Why Is She So Stupid?

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

Here’s the story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you babbling about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labels and Real Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Word About Being Angry

Fellow blogger, Reformed Cad, just gave me a shout out on his blog. It was a very nicely done post and I very much appreciated it. I always like it when people take the time to reblog something I’ve written, or take the time to tell others about my blog. I think he has a closed blog so I’m not going to try to link to it. If he comes over and says it’s open to the public I’ll link to it, or he can link to it in the comments.

I am, however, going to quibble with one thing he says. She is angry. And if you read her journal it becomes obvious why.

Let the record (or blog) show I am not angry. It always baffles me when people say things like that because I think I keep it pretty light hearted when it comes to my situation. I think if you asked my mother she would tell you I didn’t get angry enough. I did indeed get dealt a shitty hand.; however, it’s better than what some other people are dealt. He didn’t attempt to poison me (as far as I know). He didn’t try to pay someone to take me out. He didn’t get physically violent with me once the divorce began. He didn’t kidnap and kill my children. He didn’t threaten me with a weapon or set me up for a domestic violence charge. He didn’t leave me after I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. He didn’t leave me with a nasty STD. And yes, I realize those are the extreme situations, but I’ve heard every one of those over on Chump Lady except the one about paying someone to kill me. I got that one off of ID TV, where it happens quite regularly.

He also didn’t fight me for custody of our children. Granted, that would have been a tough sell seeing as how he moved approximately 300 miles away from them and left them behind, but I know that others are having to fight for custody even when the only reason the ex is fighting is to reduce or eliminate child support.

And, while he did indeed cheat again I only lost two years of my life “wreck-onciling” with him, instead of five, or ten or twenty.

I know that I have written a lot about all that my kids and I have lost. That’s a fact. It has nothing to do with anger. He screwed us. We invested everything into this new life he said he so desperately wanted. He threw it away, and in the process the kids and I lost our home and were forced to move. Fact.

With my daughter graduating recently I was continually reminded of everything that we lost. Again, that’s a fact. It happened, and no matter how happy I pretend to be about everything that was lost, it doesn’t change that.

That’s not anger. If anything it’s sadness. Sadness that my kids had to go through that because of their dad and his crappy decisions.

I wrote the other day about the triggers that still come. It’s not anger. It’s continuing to mourn the life I had. Imagine spending twenty years with someone, living a certain kind of life, and then one day having that ripped away from you. I defy anyone to say it would be no big deal. It’s one thing to decide you are going to make big changes. It is a completely different animal when those changes are made for you.

Even when you’ve accepted that life is gone you still mourn at times. There are still things that smack you in the face and cause you to feel that loss. I’m not angry. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the life I lived for twenty years is gone, and that it was all a lie.

Do I continue to write about CF? Sure, I do. He keeps doing shitty things. I mostly shrug it all off. Nothing he says or does really angers me. Well, except for the fact that he has yet to acknowledge he has a son. That does piss me off. But the shit he says whenever he has to pay me? That’s comedy fodder for my blog. I give him about as much importance as I would a two year old throwing a tantrum.

I did ask my mom if I seemed angry because, as I said, it always perplexes me when people give me that label. She was pretty quick to answer. “No, you just call bullshit when you see it.”

That’s a pretty good explanation. I’m not angry or bitter about my situation. I continue to write because it does make me angry when I hear stories of others who are going through this same thing. It makes me angry when I hear about a spouse who is so desperate to keep a marriage together that they accept bullshit excuses and tolerate the so called “trickle truth” and evasion of questions. I know what I went through; I hate to see others go through that same thing. If I can be a sane voice out there asking, “Is this acceptable to you?” and leading someone through the dark I’ll keep writing.

As Chump Lady reminds her audience over and over, there are many avenues for those who want to reconcile. She is pretty much the only voice that tells people it’s not their fault their spouse cheated and there is a better life out there without a cheater. I don’t go so far as to encourage people to leave; I think that’s an individual choice and everyone has their reasons for staying or going. I will, however, point out when the cheater is blowing smoke up your ass. I’ll tear apart all the psycho-babble explanations for why people do the heinous things they do, and I’ll mock the “affair-y tale” love stories that mistresses share on a regular basis.

I will also never accept the idea that both parties had a part to play in an affair. Both of you were in the same marriage. Only one person cheated. I fully agree with Chump Lady when she says that you may have been the worst spouse on the planet; you may have truly, truly sucked. But you did not deserve to be cheated on and you did not cause your spouse to cheat.

Furthermore, I’m not one who believes you need to be a martyr for the sake of your children. You don’t need to celebrate birthdays with the cheating ex and the new spouse, or go on “family” outings, or look after your ex if they get sick. Your kids will survive even if you’re not pretending that the other parent is the best-est person in the whole wide world.

I’m willing to tell people you don’t have to, and in fact shouldn’t, gaslight your children. Tell them the truth in age appropriate terms. It’s not your job to be your cheating ex’s PR agent. If they didn’t want their kids to know they were lying cheaters maybe they shouldn’t have been lying and cheating. Nothing good ever comes from hiding the truth. It will always come back and bite you in the ass one way or another.

I let people know they don’t have to be friends with the ex. If that’s something you want I think you’re a little bit crazy, but okay. If it works for you more power to you. However, I refuse to perpetuate this idea that’s the way it should be. When you’re dealing with adultery you’re dealing with a person who lied to you and betrayed you. They were supposed to have your back and instead they stabbed you in it. Welcome home, Michael Myers! As Chump Lady always asks, “Would you be friends with the guy who mugged you?” No? OK, then why are you trying to maintain a friendship with someone who essentially mugged your life?

I advocate gaining a support system and leaning on them, instead of relying on someone who betrayed and abandoned you. Even in so-called “good” divorces I advocate for that because you never know how things are going to change once your ex partners up again.

I believe that no contact is a wonderful thing.

I believe that you can focus on gaining a better life without the person who cheated on you and hurt you while still remembering exactly who they are and what they did. Getting on with my life and living a much better life than the one I had with him does not equal forgiving him.

I don’t think that’s being angry. I think that’s using common sense and speaking the truth.

For the Low, Low Price of a Kimono Robe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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