Always Something There To Remind Me, Part 2

I don’t know why I’m shocked by this but it’s been almost four years since my life exploded. Well, that’s not accurate, is it? My life didn’t mystically “explode”. It wasn’t something that just “happened”. Oops! My husband of twenty years deliberately firebombed my life.

Some days I feel stuck. I feel like I shouldn’t ever give him a single moment of headspace. He should be a distant memory. Who?

Some days I feel like I haven’t accomplished a damn thing in those four years. I mean, look at me. Aside from the mobster, who is a definite upgrade, what have I done with my post-divorce life? I’m working for less than $30,000/year. I still live with my mom. I still don’t have a room to call my own. I’m still poor and I still depend upon him to pay child and spousal support in order to live anywhere close to a decent life.

It’s easy to beat myself up about this, to think I should be further ahead, to think he should never cross my mind and to never have imaginary conversations with him, or be testifying in court in my mind.

Jenny put it so well when she wrote (and I’m paraphrasing slightly) that even though the divorce was final in 2006 it didn’t really end in 2006.

Preach it, sister!

Yes, I found out almost four years ago that CF had firebombed my life but that wasn’t the end of it. It wasn’t even close. Hell, I kicked his ass in court in November and the divorce was final in December 2017. That wasn’t the end of it either. It’s always something with that disordered nitwit.

It’s been that way since the evening I was told my husband had been spending his weekends with his cousin. BAM! Knocked right off my feet. After telling myself he couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to move his family across the country, buy a new house, fill it almost completely with new furniture, buy me a new car, and a put a $57,000 pool in the backyard, I found out he really was that stupid! On top of that brash move he had also been siphoning off money from our account to give to her and her kids. I steadied myself, called the attorneys for the consult, found out what I was entitled to… I’m on solid ground again. Feeling better.

WHAM! I find out in quick succession that the phones he purchased for his dear old mom and stepdad were actually phones for his whore and her kid. I had been the one getting online and paying the damn bill. He had cashed in the remainder of the stock. He had a secret bank account I knew nothing about. He had been taking money out of our savings account to fund his trips to see her. He had taken a $5000 loan out of his 401k. Oh, and he had gotten engaged. I’m taking hits once again.

This whole time he’s living it up with Harley and her kids. I’m watching American Express statements and can see the $300 he’s paid for a dress. The $4200 he’s paid for the engagement ring. The trips. The restaurants. The Christmas gifts. They blow through $30,000 in a span of four months while my kids and I are living off of savings. This entire period I’m biding my time and hoping I will be vindicated in court when we go for our temporary support hearing in December. Until then I have no idea what’s going to happen.

I steady myself again though. Can’t keep me down, you sonofabitch. Six months later our world is rocked once more by him when he takes off, quits his job of 15 years, and moves out of the fucking state! That was a fun week. I spent it crying and worrying myself sick over what was going to happen to me and my kids. Would we have to move mid-year? Was he going to continue to pay his court ordered support or did he figure he was safe from any consequence now that he no longer lived in the same state?

Got through that one. He finally starts sending his support checks again. Bills are paid. Kids are still in their schools. Things are gelling for all of us.

I’m six months out from D-Day at this point. I’m doing mostly okay, but every now and then he likes to throw a monkey wrench into things- like the whole up and moving without saying a word to any of us. I learned he had moved when my support payment wasn’t directly deposited into my account, and after I had to text his boss to see if he was still at that plant.

By May I’m feeling pretty good. I have a plan. My daughter is soon going to be able to drive, which means she can help transport her brother while I work. I have $10,000 in the bank for emergencies. If the furnace goes out I’ve got money for it. When taxes come due, I’ve got money for it. I even go to the Chump Lady book signing. I’m rocking the single life. We’re all doing fine.

Naturally, CF has to toss a grenade our way. Surprise! He’s “lost” his job. What exactly has happened? Is he in the psych ward again? Who knows? Because I’m certainly not entitled to any of that information. Why would I need to know any of that stuff? Like it really concerns me, right?

By the end of year one I had been forced out of my home, had to sell off almost all of my belongings, and move in with my mom in Indiana. I had to move my kids AGAIN, only two years after uprooting them from the only life they had really known.

Meanwhile, as the one year anti-versary crept up on me I was busy enrolling my kids in their new schools where they, or at least Rock Star, did not want to be, and applying for Medicaid seeing as how I had no job and no money coming in.

He firebombed my life, first with the affair and cutting me off financially, and then turned around and came back to do it again!

I can take a deep breathe and start all over, right? We’ll just call Year One a trial year. Year Two is going to be the real test. Now I can get on with my new and improved life. I’ll get that awesome job. Start dating an amazing man. My kids will blossom in their new environment. Right?

Wrong. On one hand, because he was no longer sending me any money he had no way to further fuck up my life. I think he was at least smart enough to know it would be a stupid move to try to go after my kids. Honestly though I think he didn’t give a flying fuck. On the other hand, I was desperately trying to find a job. I was on Medicaid. My kids were getting free lunches and textbooks. I was living off savings until I could find a job.

I found one job which covered my bills and nothing more, so then I found a second job. I began working 14-16 hour days, usually starting somewhere between 2 and 3 am, and making shit money. It was horrible. I finally get a full-time job but it, too, does not pay well. I continue to work two jobs- one full-time, one part-time.

Because I’m not digging this whole “working my ass off while I live in poverty while my STBX shacks up with his whore and spends his fucking days watching TV and sitting on the couch” I take the asshat back to court to get him to pay support. Just another “thing” to remind me. It’s always something. I’d love to get busy with that “new life” thing but I’m kinda busy trying to keep my head above water. Plus, I’m back in court. Hooray.

Technically, I “won” in court; however, I lost a big chunk of money. CF’s plea to have support modified was acknowledged and approved, despite the fact he didn’t bother to show up for the hearing. There’s another blow. $3000 a month wiped out. That caused me to wobble a bit.

As always I rise. I have no financial security. I have no idea what’s going to happen when we finally face off in court. Everything is up in the air.

I do get my back support but CF declines to pay any regular support now that it has been modified. I get a check here and there. It’s for various amounts. Whatever he feels like. Whenever he feels like it. Sometimes he puts a stop payment on it. Other times it outright bounces.

We’re almost two years out and I still wasn’t divorced and I still didn’t know what was going to happen. I lived in fear that he was going to get away with everything.

Even after I won in court the fight with CF still raged on. He hacked my Facebook. He tormented the mobster. He loved flinging insults my way, whether it was through nasty text messages, mean stamps on the support envelopes, obscene emojis, or snotty messages through Venmo. Remember, folks, he was the one that had the affair. He’s the one that left. He’s the one that had someone else from Day One.

He also continued to pay when he felt like it, and God help me if I mentioned he was behind.

I got a promotion but first the insurance premiums and then the extra taxes to account for spousal support ate up the extra earnings and actually ended with me bringing home less money than before the promotion.

There was also the fight about child support and how it was modified once Rock Star graduated. More legal fees. More of CF thumbing his nose at the courts and doing whatever the hell it is he wants to do. More shitty texts from him when he realizes he’s not going to get his own way.

And then there are the legal fees he has yet to pay. Hey, he just doesn’t have it, and according to CF, that’s how court orders work. If the judge tells you to pay something and you don’t have it you no longer have to pay. The end.

Even better, once I finally wised up and realized the games were never going to stop I began the garnishment process. Checkmate! Or so you would think. But no. He evades me once again by somehow losing his job.

So, I’m coming upon the 4 year anniversary of D Day and I feel like I’m right back at the beginning.

I’ve written this all out and yet I can sum it up in one short sentence: It never ends.

It’s difficult to move ahead and try to forge a new life when the ex continues to try to knock you off balance. You just start to hit your stride when something new pops up.

Is it that difficult to pay your damn court ordered support and go about your business? Is it that difficult to keep a fucking job? He managed to keep one for twenty years while he was married to me. I’ve had the same damn job for over two years now, which is no record by any means. It’s still longer than he’s kept a fucking job since we separated.

Logically I know I need to create a life that does not involve relying on him for anything. Realistically that’s a lot easier said than done. It’s not like people are lining up to give me great paying jobs. Hell, I’m finding it difficult to get a mediocre paying job! Right now I have a shitty paying job. And I’ve done the math dozens of times, especially when I figured he wasn’t going to part with a single dime. Even paying off all my credit cards and my car, plus canceling Hulu and my gym membership and then switching phone plans, I am only gaining $900 per month. Call me crazy. Call me cynical. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to pay a mortgage or pay rent, plus utilities, plus food, plus gas for my car, plus pet food, plus household supplies on only $900. Much less have anything left. Kid needs new pants? Too bad. Maybe we can find a pair at Goodwill for $5 or less. Kid needs new shoes? Sorry, there is no way I can help you with that. Kid needs college tuition money? Oh please! That is never going to happen.

Perhaps Year Four will be my year. Maybe he will get a damn job and the state will be ready to swoop in and garnish his ass. I won’t have to communicate with him. Maybe I’ll find an outstanding job that pays me enough to stand on my own two feet. Maybe I’ll be really smart and just stash away most of the money the state garnishes. I’ll live like a fucking pauper (unless I get that great paying job) so that the next time asshat loses his job I won’t be fucked. Maybe I’ll be able to take him back to court and get the judge to order him to pay me the $25,000 he owes me and he’ll actually do it. Maybe in Year Four he’ll decide to stop trying to mess with me. Perhaps the idea of torturing me will lose its luster. Maybe I’ll finally be able to stop paying my lawyer. That would be heavenly. Maybe I’ll finally find direction and discover my purpose.

I sure as hell hope so because I’m really tired of yet another thing. I’d love for this to finally be completely over. Sadly, I think as long as he has to pay me a single nickel he will be playing these games. It will never end.

Always Something There To Remind Me, Part 1

Jennifer Ball hit it out of the park last month with her blog post, Haunted (by) Houses. If you haven’t read her blog you should.

The inspiration for this post? Her desire to buy a home of her own and the realization that she probably never would be able to because of what her ex did to her when he left.

You think CF is bad? I think her ex has him beat. He left her with four kids and “a mountain of debt” for his secretary. They are now married with two children of their own. While he does on occasion see his children it’s at their discretion and as Jenny has noted, “They don’t have much time for someone who doesn’t have much time for them.”

Like CF, her ex had some difficulties with paying support. Apparently it’s hard deciding which Audi to buy, getting your pool fixed, AND paying support. Something had to go! Not only did he somehow manage to get out of paying child and spousal support for quite some time, when she finally got awarded child support again that motherfucker somehow managed to make it tax exempt for him which meant she had to pay taxes on it.

Like me she lost her home to foreclosure. Unlike me she did not have a mother to turn to. She’s worked three and four jobs at a time, shopped at the food bank, declared bankruptcy, and has lived in poverty, or pretty close to it, since her divorce. As she puts it:

Every time I get a little bit tucked away into savings there is something that needs to be taken care of: one of our ancient cars breaks down, a tooth cracks, someone’s tuition is due, we need heat in the winter, etc.

Her ex? He and the OW turned new wife bought or built a million dollar home shortly before his youngest child with Jenny turned 18 and aged out of child support. Some guy, huh? If it’s possible I think I hate him more than I hate CF.

She writes:

This is what I want to tell people who insist that I’m bitter. Who tell me to get over it, who shake their heads and say, “I can’t believe you still think about this.” Who look at my ex, in his million dollar house, livin’ the dream and then at me, livin’ the nightmare of financial insecurity and terror over things like, “where will I live when our sweet landlord gets smart and decides to sell?” and see nothing unfair or unjust.

“Jenny, he’s moved on. Why can’t you?”

Because every.single.day there is a reminder. Some days I’m SO GOOD at ignoring them. I line up my blessings and kiss them on the forehead as I count them. I laugh and curl up with the good fortune I do have and the reminders slink away.

But the houses. Shit. The houses, they won’t be ignored (I wonder if they sound like Glenn Close). They are structures built of possibilities and dreams. They are carnies calling out to me as I try my hardest to just keep walking, eyes focused on the sidewalk, the sky, anything but these homes. “Step right up! Feast your eyes on this little beaut! Too bad you can’t qualify for a gd thing, Jenny! This coulda been yours if only you’d made some better life choices! If only you’d ignored that tall asshole singing along to REM at the bar that night!” (it was The End of the World As We Know It, hahaha) (cry)

I lost the home my dad bought and remodeled with his own two hands thanks to my ex husband’s fuckery. A home that welcomed our new babies, that was framed with plants and trees we put into the ground with love, that kept us safe and warm through seasons of cold and rain. A home I had planned on living in for the rest of my life. Gone, because some dude couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.

God, I get it, Jenny. I really do.

“He’s moved on and you should too,”? Really? These helpful “friends” don’t seem to grasp that subtle difference where our exes had their new lives all planned out before we ever got wind that anything was wrong with the old life.

Jenny and I were both stay at home moms. Our husbands both made decent money. So when they decided to “move on” it was quite easy for them. They weren’t suddenly going to wonder where the hell they were going to live. With the whore, of course! They didn’t have to worry about those pesky kids. They were our responsibility. We’d figure something out. Two, three, four jobs- whatever it takes.

Neither of our exes have dealt with the utter destruction we’ve been forced to face. They had jobs, new partners, new kids, new homes. Everything nice and new and shiny.

Their lives have gone on with very few missteps and when one occurred they’ve both managed to quickly turn it around for themselves.

It’s not so easy when you’re the dumped spouse, forced into an unforgiving workforce after many years of raising your kids.

CF had a twenty year head start on me when it came to being financially independent. I spent those twenty years following him around the country and raising his children. If someone offered me a job paying $100,000 like he was offered I would take it in a heartbeat (the usual disclaimers of no illegal activity and no killing or torturing animals apply). The reality is I’m a middle aged woman with very little recent job history and a useless, outdated degree. I can give myself pep talks about increasing my pay almost $3 more per hour in the two years that I’ve been with the bank, but $11/hour wasn’t enough to live on, much less support two kids, and $13.77/hour isn’t much better.

Move on? Oh, I think I have. But “stop thinking about all of that,”? Yeah, no. I’m not sure that will ever happen. I think it’s very easy for the person who was cheating to not look back. But in my case, and in Jenny’s case, our lives as we knew them were destroyed.

I lost my home. I had to go back to work. My household income plummeted. I farm out childcare duties because I can’t do them.

I don’t see myself ever being able to afford a home of my own. I will probably work until the day that I die, and I don’t see my household income increasing much from what it is now. I guess the good news is if I work until I’m 75 and get those huge 50 cent a year raises by the time I retire I’ll be making over $50,000. Of course, by then $50,000 will be equivalent to $35,000 today.

One day I was buying all new furniture for my new house and putting a $57,000 pool in my backyard. The next day I’m living off of savings and the day after that I’m forced out of my home, out of the state, and working two jobs.

CF’s new life? As my lawyer put it so brilliantly in court: You used to live in a nice big 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. You still live in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. You had a wife that cooked your meals and did your laundry. Now you’ve got someone else to cook your meals and do your laundry. You had 2 kids. You still have 2 kids. Not your two kids, but two kids nonetheless.

Nothing’s changed for him. What does he need to get over? What does Jenny’s ex husband need to get over? The fact they both cheated on their loyal wives or that they discarded their own flesh and blood? I don’t think it bothers them. They are far too entitled to ever feel guilt.

Both of them stepped right into ready made lives that were no different (although they might argue they’re so much better now) than the ones they had before. They just switched out their wife appliance.

I’m as over that piece of shit I married as a person can be. The thought of him touching me makes me physically ill. I realize he was a total mental drain. Hell, I was recording suicide messages for my loved ones after they found my body only four months before finding out about Harley the Whore. I’m completely over him. Don’t want him back. Not a bit jealous that she’s got him and I don’t.

She didn’t just take my husband, though. She took my life. She took my security and that of my children. She took our home from us and then took their mother away from them. I used to do everything for them. I used to be there for them. Anything that needed to be done, I did. Now that’s no longer true. I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t have the time or the money.

The two of them took everything that used to mean something to me and destroyed it. I enjoyed my life in Utah, and I was beginning to enjoy my life in Virginia, but those motherfuckers took that from me.

They took my identity, that of a mom, and crushed it, while they retained their own identities (those cousinfucking baboons). My life has completely changed and it’s a change that was forced upon me. It was not something I sought out.

The two of them irreparably damaged me. Maybe if I had been younger. Maybe if we had had more assets. Maybe if I had always worked and had an excellent career myself. Maybe then the damage wouldn’t have been so great.

I will adjust. I will acclimate. I will lower my expectations. I will endure. But it will never be okay and I will NEVER get over what those two assholes did to me or how much they took from me.

That sounds dark and angry, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to imply that there are no charms to this new life I’m leading. If not for him firebombing my life I would have never met the mobster. He is a gem; I have a much better relationship now. It has definitely shown me what was missing in my marriage and how dysfunctional both CF and the relationship were. I cannot stress how thankful I am that the mobster is in my life.

My kids both seem to be doing well despite my greater absence. Sometimes I forget to pat myself on the back for the things I do manage to accomplish in spite of no longer being a stay at home mom. I pick Picasso up from after school activities 2-3 days a week, and once a week I get him to cello lessons. I still attend his concerts. I’ve been at the family events that Rock Star has invited me to down at college. I’m told I’m an honorary member of her sorority because so many of the girls think I’m awesome. Plus, the entire four months my mom was gone I managed to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and cook meals for my son.

I have the opportunity to live close to my family again. While CF could manage to make his way back to his home state I don’t think he would have ever been inclined to make it back to mine. Or even close to it for my sake.

None of the above makes what CF did to me okay. He and his choices altered the course of my life. If you’re going to tell me I need to “get over it” then I think it’s only fair that you understand that.