They Cheat Because Their Souls Were Starving (Oh Brother)

I needed the perspective. I needed the REASON why he did it. Much like you his only answer was selfishness. That wasn’t good enough for me. You say there’s no good reason but there is. You were lonely and sad and you felt unloved and unwanted and you were HUMAN; you were human searching for someone to feed your soul after a long time of starving. You say it’s not a reason but it is. Your wife has a responsibility in it just as I did. Leaving someone’s soul to starve and decimate over time no matter how depressed we were is still cruel; it’s still not ok. In its own way we should have let you go instead of handcuffing you to a dead person. Isn’t that the same thing as leaving someone before you cheat? They are both actions that denote consequences for another that is detrimental. If you refuse to accept your wife had some part in this I don’t see any hope for you.

I was bored this morning and wanted to languish in my comfy bed, surrounded by snoring dogs, so I read old posts from others I follow and I clicked on links and came across this. It was a comment on a cheating spouse’s blog.

As you can probably glean from the comment the actual cheater was not making excuses for the behavior. It was a betrayed wife who was making the excuses.

As far as excuses go I think this is the one that gets the most traction and the one I find to be the biggest load of bullshit.

I’m going to take a wild stab at this and guess that almost everyone who reads my blog has had a job at one point in their life.

Let me ask you, those of you who have had jobs, if you begin working for a company and over time start to believe you are underpaid does it ever occur to you to embezzle from that company? Do you ever start to think, “Wow! The pay and benefits here are horrible! They really should pay me more. I might be able to make more money elsewhere but I really don’t want to put forth the time and effort to job hunt. I know! I’ll just embezzle from them. Maybe fudge a few expense reports. If they paid me more I would have never done this.

I’m genuinely curious because I do happen to know three embezzlers. Good grief, I’ve lived a colorful life! Thankfully, none of them were close friends. One was a friend of my mother’s and  happened when I was a child. One was the first wife of Pastor Fake. The third was actually an ex-boyfriend. To be clear, I was not dating him at the time.

All that aside I can honestly say it has never once occurred to me to steal from my place of employment because I didn’t think I was getting paid enough. My thought process has always leaned more towards, “Hmmm…. I should look for another job.”

Yet this seems to be a common refrain in the reconciliation industry. No, you aren’t to blame for your spouse cheating but you must honestly examine your marriage and see where the cracks were that led to the cheating. No matter how many different ways you try to spin it the question at heart becomes: What is it that you were doing wrong to make your spouse cheat? What are your faults? Where were you lacking? What can you do to improve?

I think that’s a very slippery slope you start to go down when you begin to explore that. Why? Because again, what it all leads back to is you are responsible for your spouse’s behavior. Your behavior determines whether your spouse will be faithful or will cheat.

Did your spouse feel abandoned by you? Like nothing more than a handyman and a paycheck? Did they feel like a cook and a maid? Did they feel like they couldn’t depend on you? Did they feel like they couldn’t talk to you about deeply personal issues? Did they feel like they couldn’t be their true selves around you? Were they lonely? Feeling sexually neglected? Did they feel like the two of you were nothing more than roommates? Were you focused solely on the kids? Did you no longer wear makeup or do your hair, or belch and fart in front of them, thus erasing the magic of your romance? Did you shut them out? Did you make them feel less than? Did you have poor communication?

Oh, ok! We can work with that! Just stop doing whatever it is that you did and then your spouse won’t ever cheat on you again.

The problem with that thinking is it doesn’t get to the underlying reason of why the cheating spouse thought that an affair was an acceptable solution to all of that. What happens when something else occurs in your life to take attention away from them? What happens if they begin to feel abandoned or betrayed or unheard or unappreciated again?

We don’t do this with physical abuse. We don’t ask the wife, “What did you do to make him mad?” Then when she goes through the litany of answers:  Oh, I didn’t have dinner on the table… I talked too much… I wouldn’t back down in an argument… My clothes were too sexy and he said I was flirting with other men… I blocked his view on the TV… I argued with him… I put mushrooms in the pasta sauce… He couldn’t find his favorite shirt… We don’t nod wisely and then suggest, “Stop doing that then! If you would stop arguing and be a better wife he wouldn’t beat you.”

We don’t ask a person what they did to cause their spouse to physically abuse them, so why do we continue to ask a person what they did to cause their spouse to cheat on them?

That brings us to the second problem with that kind of thinking. You’ve just told the person who betrayed you that ultimately they’re not responsible for their own behavior. YOU are responsible for their behavior. Your actions are so powerful that they will determine whether or not your spouse cheats.

Let me be very clear. I don’t think there is a problem with looking at a relationship and seeing where things went wrong. Acknowledging that you didn’t communicate well, or you never made time for yourselves as a couple, or you fought dirty is all good and fine. Work on the communication. Make time for yourselves as a couple. Resolve to stop fighting dirty. But don’t ever let anyone use those as excuses and justifications for infidelity. You were both in that relationship.

CF told everyone that he was nothing more than a paycheck and a handyman to me. He told me we were nothing more than roommates. He pointed out that we had barely spoken or had sex in the last 6 months to a year. What he didn’t point out is how his own behavior led to any of this. What he neglected to acknowledge is that we were both in that marriage and yet only one of us began an affair with our cousin.

That was the first time around! That was the time when I was eagerly hopping onboard with this idea that it was a marriage problem and if we resolved all of the issues that made him unhappy and led him to seek out another person then all would be okay.

Does anyone else find it absurd that he cheated and yet I was the one with the checklist of things to fix? I was faithful but I needed to fix this. He cheated but he had reasons and therefore nothing to fix.

The second time around was even more bizarre. I was accused of hating him. He’s a crying, drinking, isolating-himself-in-the-bedroom mess, and I’m running around like that guy who tries to keep all the spinning plates from toppling off the sticks and crashing to the ground. I’m taking him to the psych ward. I’m visiting every day. I’m bringing him goodies. I’m taking care of the house and the kids while he’s having a break down. I’m making his appointments. I’m going with him to those appointments. I’m cheering him on. I’m hoping to God he’ll come out of this slump and we can finally start to do things again as a couple. Meanwhile, he’s telling everyone how horrible I am and fucking around with his whore cousin. If anyone had a reason to cheat it would have been me! So no, I don’t give much credence to this thought that the cheated on spouse has to own their part in their spouse’s infidelity.

You can examine every inch of your relationship backwards and forward. You can see every flaw in your relationship, every crack that existed and even nail down who did what to whom and when. It still comes down to one person unilaterally making the decision to cheat. No one made them do it. It is a choice they freely made. I don’t care if they were lost. I don’t care if they were weak. I don’t care if they were manipulated. I don’t care if they hadn’t felt human touch in twenty years. Ultimately this person decided they were entitled to cheat. They decided that “job hunting” would be too much trouble so they were going to embezzle instead. Sadly, they have a whole army of people lining up to pat them on their little heads and tell them that it’s not their fault; they wouldn’t have done any of this if only their spouse had done things differently.

If you choose to believe this line of thinking I would suggest you ask yourself one more question: What has changed in this person so that the next time a crisis occurs or they aren’t feeling loved and special they don’t opt to go fuck another person?

Maybe because of my own experiences with being betrayed, forgiving, and then being betrayed again I am jaded. Or bitter. Pick whichever one makes you feel better. Nonetheless it is stunningly obvious that despite the fact that I was willing and eager to “own my part” and “look at what led to the breakdown”, despite the fact that I made all of those changes he asked for, while he made none, and despite the fact that I uprooted my children and agreed to move us 2000 miles across the country so that he could be happy, when he was faced with another moment of unhappiness/disappointment/crisis he resorted right back to his first response- cheating. He didn’t talk things out with me. He didn’t try to fix things. He took no responsibility. He simply resumed his relationship with Harley and blamed everything on me.

The Myth of the Sexless Marriage

I was reading a conversation over on DC Urban Moms and Dads. The original poster asked why on earth anyone would recommend Chump Lady’s site because she was so bitter, angry and negative. Several people patiently pointed out that anger is useful to get you through the initial phase of being discarded and accepting what you married. Others pointed out her tag line is: Leave a cheater, gain a life. She’s not into the reconciliation business. Eventually it meandered over into the fact that men NEED sex and that most people who cheat do so because of sexless marriages.

Well, of course they do! It couldn’t be the fact that the person has bad character. It couldn’t be the fact that the cheater lacks impulse control, or feels entitled to anything he or she desires. It couldn’t be the fact that they act like toddlers, throwing a tantrum anytime things don’t go their way. It can’t be that they are needy and clingy and are bottomless pits of need. No, it must be because their spouses (wives usually) have cut them off from sex, forcing them to cheat. They wouldn’t do this awful thing if the “refusing” spouse would simply hop into bed and participate. This is not their fault! It’s the cheated on spouse’s fault!

Why not divorce? Coz reasons! It’s no fair that if my wife cuts me off from sex and I believe that’s a deal breaker then I have to be a grown up and make hard choices. One person even put it like this:

I’m not comfortable defending the position of a cheater but…

A wife who unilaterally chooses to be sexless gives her husband a Hobson’s choice. Either cheat or divorce, and along with divorce comes a free raping by the divorce court. Losing their kids, their house, half their stuff and the added bonus of continuing to pay the person who caused this for the rest of their life. That’s a ridiculous choice to have to make. So in that case, cheating is not a wholly unreasonable solution.

A wife whose husband has become sexless can make a legitimate choice to divorce with limited negative consequences, so there is no excuse for them to cheat.

Oy. And vey. Dramatic much?

A wife who unilaterally chooses to be sexless gives her husband a Hobson’s choice.

First of all, who are these wives this person speaks of who entirely cut their husbands off? There is a difference between, “I want to have sex six times a week but my spouse will only give it up twice,” vs. “I haven’t had sex in five years.” Not to mention, cheaters lie. It’s what they do.

CF will tell anyone who will listen that we hadn’t had sex in ten years. That is an outright lie. He will also tell people he is an Army Ranger. That is another outright lie. He lies. It’s what he does. I feel like I’m in a fucking Geico commercial!

In addition, the only spouses I’ve ever heard of who cut their spouse off sexually were the cheaters! They did it to maintain control. Meanwhile, they were out there screwing anything that moved.

Either cheat or divorce, and along with divorce comes a free raping by the divorce court. Losing their kids, their house, half their stuff…

Secondly, if you do even the tiniest bit of research you will find that it is generally women who pay the greatest price when it comes to divorce. Hell, I know I got a great deal compared to some people but my standard of living is still far, far below what it was. I will again remind the reading audience that while CF is indeed paying out in excess of 60% of his paycheck to me, he’s doing so because he refuses to leave his sweetie behind to find a better paying job. He was imputed at his previous wages. Even with a ten month gap in employment and being basically fired for drinking on the job, he managed to get a $100,000/year job. I finally got one for $11/hour. He lives in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom 3000 sq. foot home which looks eerily like our old home in Virginia, with a community pool and a community clubhouse. I live with my mother, have no bedroom to call my own, and sleep on the couch.

Sure, there are stories of women who take their husbands to the cleaners. The ironic part? They’re usually the ones cheating. I know far more women who have been left destitute after a divorce.

…and the added bonus of continuing to pay the person who caused this for the rest of their life.

I’m pretty sure CF must have written this. Yet another person lamenting having to pay “for the rest of their life.” No, it’s not the rest of their life. In many states they pay nothing aside from child support! Child support ends at some point. Spousal support ends at some point. In my case it will end in 16 years. That is hardly “the rest of his life”.

I loved this though: So in that case, cheating is not a wholly unreasonable solution.

A wife whose husband has become sexless can make a legitimate choice to divorce with limited negative consequences, so there is no excuse for them to cheat.

Nice! So men are forced to cheat because otherwise they may have to give up some of their stuff. Women, on the other hand, never have an excuse to cheat.

It’s too bad some of these people never grew up. If they had they would understand that sometimes doing the right thing isn’t easy. They would understand that on occasion you get to choose between two shitty things. These poor babies just assume the fact that divorcing comes with consequences they don’t want to face means they should be excused for cheating.

Could we please stop acting like women (or whoever is withholding) have all the power? It’s not like a stay at home mom who is “refusing” to have sex has nothing to lose if her husband leaves her. Many states start with 50/50 custody so she stands to lose her kids. Even if she has primary custody she still misses out on weekends and holidays with her kids. A woman who divorces may find her children being raised by another woman. After reading a Mom vs. Stepmom debate board for over ten years it seems to me that women are much more territorial when it comes to the children. Many states have no alimony, so even if she does get custody of the kids, she won’t be receiving it any longer than 18 years and it will go down as each child ages out. Her chances of finding a job where she makes as much money as her husband are fairly low unless her degree is in something that will remain current- think nursing. I’ve known women who were teachers, IT professionals, and accountants who struggled going back into the workforce after years of staying home with children. If she was already working then he’s not going to end up paying her alimony anyway, if they live in a state that awards it, unless he makes significantly more than her. And, if their salaries are very similar he might not end up paying her much in child support either- probably none at all if custody is 50/50.

It’s all a narrative to justify cheating. Those trying the hardest to justify it keep referring to the “refuser” in the relationship and how that person is the one who first broke vows. Apparently, one of the vows you make when you get married is to have sex on demand. If that vow isn’t met then the other spouse is justified in cheating, or so their theory goes.

Even when it’s pointed out that if that is indeed happening then both parties know they are not having sex. The person being refused sex is not left in the dark. When the other person decides to go outside of the marriage both parties are not aware of it. When that is pointed out, and divorce is offered up as the responsible response to such a situation (not getting all the sex you deserve) they once again chime in with, “But… consequences! Why should I suffer any consequences for any of my decisions? I have to cheat. I deserve to cheat because they won’t do what I want them, no NEED them, to do.” They are nothing but big ol’ cake eaters.

Here’s another truth. It’s not about the sex. If he’s getting it twelve times a week at home then he’ll complain that she won’t do anal, or oral, or some other thing. Or it’s that she won’t do a threesome or let him watch her have sex with another guy, or participate in a gang bang, or agree to an open marriage, or participate in S&M. Look at the swinger from last week. He and his wife are having sex upwards of five times a week and he wants to be able fuck strange on the side. His complaint about his first wife wasn’t simply that she only wanted sex a few times a month. It was also about the fact that she wasn’t willing to indulge his other fantasies.

If you read Chump Lady you will hear that narrative over and over: I had plenty of sex with my husband, but he went looking for other sources because I wouldn’t… (fill in the blank).

People don’t cheat because they’re in sexless marriages. I would be willing to bet that most of them who make that claim aren’t even in sexless marriages. They cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. They cheat because they want to eat cake, as Chump Lady would say. They cheat because nothing is ever enough for them and no amount of groveling and catering to them will ever make them happy or satisfied. They always demand more. They cheat because they don’t want to have to do the hard work of filing for divorce and going through everything that entails. It’s far easier to keep your spouse and some strange on the side, than it is to be honest and do the hard thing. They cheat because they have convinced themselves that it’s YOUR fault. You’ve made them do this; the poor lambs didn’t have a choice.

Don’t fall for the narrative, folks. People with an ounce of common sense don’t ask what the rape victim could have done to prevent the rapist from raping her/him. People with an ounce of common sense don’t tell the battered spouse, “If only you would do (fill in the blank),” or “If you wouldn’t do (fill in the blank) your spouse wouldn’t be driven to abuse you.” People with an ounce of common sense should also realize no one makes another person cheat. It’s a damn choice. Own it!

#riseup

Am I Truly Happy? Part 3

I didn’t discuss the mobster when talking about my happiness in Part 1. Why? I don’t know. He is still present.

No, I do know. He deserves his own page. He makes me incredibly happy. He makes me laugh. He talks me off the ledge when I’m losing it.

I’ve never been with anyone like him before. He is wonderful. He’s sweet, supportive, complimentary. He is fun. He brings me out of my shell. He makes the drive to see me. He spends hours cleaning sap off of my car. He talks to me. He listens. He pours his heart out to me. He never tells me to get over it or to stop whining. He’s okay with me being sad; he doesn’t consider it a personal insult. He says he’ll always be here for me. He actually likes being with me and wants to spend time with me. We talk on the phone and video chat for hours. For some reason that I cannot even begin to understand he loves me. Like, willing to sell his house and business and move up here with me, loves me. He makes me want things I never thought I wanted.

A week or so ago he asked me if I would be okay if the judge ruled against me and CF got away with everything. He asked me if I would be okay if I got no spousal support and we ended up living on whatever the two of us made together- which combined would be maybe $60-70k a year. A far cry from the $200k CF and Harley would be making. A far cry from what I’ve been living on the last 15 years.

Truthfully? I’ve been mulling that question over ever since and I still don’t know 100%. I think I know the answer and yet I hesitate to say yes or no because how do you really know until you’re right in the thick of it?

Here is a cold, hard fact: I want CF to pay for what he’s done. No, I want him to suffer some consequences! He wasted my life. He ripped my world apart and destroyed everything I ever had. He replaced me with a 3-time arrested, lying, cheating, manipulating, gold-digging whore and his life goes on without missing a step while my kids and I struggle to rebuild from nothing. Taking his money away from him and preventing Harley from gaining this fabulous new life is the only thing that will really hit him where it hurts. Asking me if I can be okay with him not being forced to pay and the two of those wastes of oxygen living like royalty is like asking me if my child was murdered and we never found out who did it, would I be okay with it.

How are you really okay with something like that? On the other hand there would be nothing I could do. I can’t scream out for the murderer to turn himself (or herself) in so that he/she could be punished. And really… even if they are punished that doesn’t solve the real problem which is the fact that my child is dead.

That’s pretty much what I told him. I can’t do anything if the judge rules in CF’s favor and he’s off living his fabulous $200k a year life while I’m making less than 25% of that, struggling to pay my bills and support my kids. There is a definite sense of helplessness. It’s frustrating and it makes me want to scream. He may very well get away with everything and there is nothing I can do.

Will I be okay with it? I’d like to be. I hope to be.

When he first asked me that I kept trying to envision what life would be like living on only $60-70k a year. It’s been a very long time since I’ve lived on that kind of money. It may sound snobbish but it’s true.

At first I tried to envision the kind of house we’d live in. All I could see at first is what it wouldn’t be. It wouldn’t be a 4000 sq. ft. home with 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a pool, hot tub, game room, updated kitchen with granite countertops, enclosed porch, formal living room, dining room, finished basement, separate laundry room, 2 car attached garage, etc. But then I started thinking, “We don’t need 4000 sq. ft. of space. We don’t need 5 bedrooms.”  Some of my best memories of family vacations have been in my mom’s 2 bedroom townhouse in Florida with 9-10 people sharing living space. Do I really want to be paying out 30% of my income on a mortgage payment? I reminded myself that even when CF was making good money we couldn’t indulge like others around us. Why not?

Well, for starters we never built up equity in our homes so we were always starting from scratch. We kept progressing into larger and larger homes. Rock Star was in a very expensive sport. I indulged the kids in expensive birthday parties (even the ones at home), I spent a lot at Christmas, and I shopped often for clothes for Rock Star.  Picasso got his fair share of clothes as well but he’s never been the fashionista that my daughter is. Buy the kid a new Xbox every two years and he’s fine.

We didn’t indulge in the great family vacations that I saw posted on Facebook. We didn’t buy the big toys. We were too busy spending our money elsewhere and paying a large monthly mortgage.

Do I really want that again? No. Furthermore, do I really want granite countertops? Well, yeah, probably. They are really nice. Can I live without them? Of course. Jetted tubs are wonderful when you actually use them but how often did I use our tub when I had a jetted tub the two times we had one? Not often. I’m a shower in the morning type of gal and I just never found much time to soak in the jetted tub. I don’t need a formal living room or a separate dining room. I think I would be quite happy if I had a large master bedroom with walk in closets and an en suite. I really hate having to wander out into the hallway in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Recently the mobster and I were checking out houses in my area together to see what was available. It turned out to be a lot of fun. The prognosis wasn’t as bad as I had feared originally. And really? I’d much rather live in a smaller house with him than in a 4000 sq. ft. home with all the luxuries with CF. The house just doesn’t matter anymore.

I’m realizing that a lot of the things I worry about and fear don’t matter. For instance… there were times I would let my mind wander to a dark place and I would ask myself what this new future was going to look like. Sure, he’s willing to go places with me, but will we be able to afford to go anyplace? I know he would soak in the hot tub with me but will we ever be able to afford a hot tub on what we make together? I know he loved having a pool and would love to have one again. But will we be able to make that a reality? Other things I wonder about: Will we be able to afford to go on vacation? Will we be able to help out our kids? Will we be able to splurge at Christmas? The mobster loves Christmas. I used to love Christmas before wasting 20+ years with CF and becoming broke. Can we go out to dinner? Can we go out and do things, like visiting wineries, or festivals, or go to the zoo, see a movie or a play? I wondered: Will I be so happy and in love that I don’t care that we struggle all the time? Will I be so happy with him that I no longer want to buy anything or go anywhere if we don’t have any money left over? Will he be enough to make up for the fact that I’m not living in my Barbie dream house? Will I always be longing for a walk-in closet and an en suite? Will I not care that I can’t pay for my daughter’s wedding, or afford to buy her a plane ticket home from college because I’m in a good relationship?

This is what I’ve come up with. I think I was pretty unhappy for a long time. I know this is going to sound like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth but bear with me.

I made a choice to be happy when I was with CF. I knew our relationship was not like a normal relationship that most people had. I told myself quitting was not an option. Cheating was not an option. So I found joy in things I could. I liked spending money. I liked volunteering. I liked doing things with my kids. I found joy in being the person that would throw money around- not in a vain, in-your-face kind of way, but in a way that would help people. I got joy out shopping, out of decorating, out of buying gifts. It was a pretty lonely existence. Looking back now I believe that I shopped for my kids, my home, and myself as a way to fill that loneliness. It was a justification in some ways for staying.

Here’s another thing that is worth noting. The mobster is the best man I’ve ever been with. He is adventurous and kind and committed. I love spending time with him. I love talking to him.

In the beginning he used to worry that he couldn’t give me all the things I was used to having. I remember telling him that as long as we had enough to pay our bills, do the things we wanted to do for our kids, go out, and take a vacation or two I would be happy. Sometimes it’s very easy to get caught up in all these other scenarios. Sometimes it’s very easy to get caught up in jealousy because the lying cheating ex you were once married to seems to be living high on the hog and not suffering a single consequence.

I think that’s where Chump Lady’s brilliant advice comes in. Concentrate on your own fabulous life. You control no one except you. If I focused on him and what he and the whore are doing and all they have I’d go crazy.  They’ll always have more money than me and the mobster.  If they’re happy for even a day it’s not fair. Those two disordered nitwits should be miserable for the rest of their lives. But they won’t be.

There’s a twist to that though. Cousinfucker will never truly be happy. He’ll be happy for a little while with his whore and his new fake family, living close to his dysfunctional family back in his home state. It’ll go away soon and he’ll be stuck with himself.

It’s true he likes his money and some days I think that may be enough for him, but eventually he’ll start to resent being seen as a wallet. That’s his catch-22- he loves to toss that money around but then he begins to feel like nothing except a paycheck. Because that’s what he’s turned himself into!

The other wrench thrown into this mess is the fact that Harley is a lying, cheating whore herself. Oh, this new lifestyle is real nice right now. It’s new and exciting. But the newness will wear off and she’ll want more and more. The once exciting will be mundane and he’ll have to up his game.

Remember, she’s already blown through over $30k in four months time- just on random crap. No amount of money he makes will ever be enough for her. She’s always going to want more and sooner or later he’ll be fishing her pathetic ass out of the county jail once again because she’s literally written checks her ass can’t cash.

He’s going to be right back where he started: Thinking his money actually means something, trying to be the big man throwing it around and paying for everything, and then resenting that everyone sees him as a payday. He’ll once again be complaining that she’s only with him for the money.

Me? I’ve learned that money doesn’t buy happiness. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’d definitely rather be rich than poor. I’m not stupid; however, I’ve had the guy who made great money. I was alone. I took vacations with my kids while he stayed at home (or went and fucked his cousin). When he did come along he usually ruined them. He didn’t want to do things with me. He didn’t want to socialize with others. He didn’t like celebrating holidays. He was not a partner. He didn’t want to be a part of a family. He didn’t help me. He was a gigantic pain in my ass, looking back on it. He always threw the money in my face, too, and loved to tell others I only stayed for the paycheck. Asshole!

That’s the other twist to this story. This time around I want to be the one making the money. I want to be able to take care of myself even though the mobster tells me he wants to take care of me and he wants to share everything completely.

Ultimately, I think that I’m going to be okay. I don’t really have a choice. If the judge rules that Cousinfucker gets to continue his $200k a year life while the kids and I are reduced to pretty much nothing, then I’ll have to find a way to go on. If Cousinfucker and the whore live lavishly on $200k while the mobster and I live frugally on $60k then so be it. In the end I’d rather be with someone who makes me laugh, someone who values me, someone who loves me over someone who thinks all he has to do is throw money at me. I’d rather do fun, inexpensive things with the mobster than take some grand vacation with CF, not that he’d ever go, of course. I’d rather live in a modest home with the mobster than in a lavish home with CF. Because our home is not eating up our entire paycheck we could buy a hot tub. We would lounge around in it, sip wine and talk about our day, something CF never bothered to do. We could put in a pool eventually and have fun family and friend pool parties as well.

What else does this new future look like? Pizza Night, Family Game Night, and Movie Night with our kids in our cozy home. Walks together in the evening. Getting ice cream. Kayaking. Trips to see our kids. Trips to introduce each other to long distance friends. Vacations together where I’m actually interacting with a partner! Holidays spent celebrating instead of trying to just get through them.

The mobster asked me if I would be okay if the judge ruled in CF’s favor and I ended up living on $60K a year. He also asked me how I would feel if it turned out Harley and CF ended up happily ever after and if they were really a much better suited match. Here’s the final answer. I would love to make CF pay for everything he’s done to me, but ultimately I don’t give a fuck about him and Harley. They deserve each other. They are going to eat each other alive. I can’t even say I wish they get everything they deserve because that bestows too much caring upon the outcome. It grates on me some days; I’m only human. But in the end I really don’t care because I know he’s a horrible person. I know they’re both horrible people and the only thing they have that they care about is the money. I don’t know how yet, but I do know I can make my own money. I may not make as much as they do but I’ll make enough. I also know I would much rather be with the mobster over CF any day. I know he’s a much better man and a much better match. He is the peanut butter to my jelly. He makes me happy. I don’t recall being this happy with CF even in the beginning of our relationship. So… will I be okay? Will I be happy? Hell yes I will!

Am I Truly Happy? Part 2

I guess I didn’t realize some people were so two dimensional. I am very much a three dimensional kind of person. That question of, “How can you say you’re happy when you sound so bitter?” brings me back to the days of trying to have a baby.

We tried for four years before Rock Star was born. It took me nine months to get pregnant the first time and it ended in a miscarriage two weeks later. It took me another nine months the second time and that pregnancy ended only days later. After undergoing some very painful tests I managed to get pregnant 6 months later the third time; that pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy which took weeks to diagnose and find. Finally, after more than a year after the last loss, I got pregnant with Rock Star.  Meanwhile, my brother and all of his friends were having babies as teenagers. Not just as teenagers, but as people that weren’t even trying to have a baby. In every situation the parents to be were saying, “Oops! What now?” Everyone around me seemed to be having a baby.

In the beginning it was undeniably difficult. I was definitely jealous. Add on to that the fact that my niece was born the day after I miscarried the first time. I remember my brother asking me, “When are you going to come see her?” and me replying, “I just need more time.” It took me a month before I could see her.

I remember I met up with my SIL to be at a dress shop where she was shopping for a wedding dress. And I took that sweet little bundle of delicious baby out of the car seat and I fell in love. I hugged her and loved on her and never looked back. I took that child for weekends when she was younger. When she got stung by a jellyfish I took her in my arms and ran with her through the sand back to the townhouse so that the stings could be doused in ammonia. It was not a short run and as I’ve walked that path in the ensuing years I tell her, “I’m not sure how I did that.” I took her for Spring Break when her parents didn’t know how they were going to pay for child care during the time off from school. I flew her out to see me over the summer when I lived 1500 miles away. I drove 600 miles for a single weekend just to cheer her up when college decision making was overwhelming her. I love her beyond words and she loves me. I am one of her favorite people. It took me a month to be able to see her but ever since that day in the dress shop I have loved that child and I have been the best aunt I could be to her.

Eventually I got to the point where I wanted people, if they were to say anything about my circumstances, to say that I handled myself with grace. I didn’t want to be the jealous, bitter childless woman. I didn’t want to be the woman who couldn’t bear to look at babies or pregnant women, the woman who couldn’t attend a baby shower or child’s birthday party.  As more people I knew got pregnant, especially those who were not trying, I could be happy for them when they shared their news and yet still be sad for myself. I told others in the same situation that exact same thing. Being sad for yourself doesn’t mean you’re not happy for them. It just means they are pregnant and you are not. They’re having a baby, and you are not. It’s okay to feel sad about what you’re missing.

I also realized that other people getting pregnant didn’t lessen my chances. It was still difficult to take sometimes. I was sad for myself because I didn’t know if I would ever become a mom. That’s a hard fact to face when you want that. But the sadness I felt for myself didn’t take away the happiness I felt for others. Hell, to this day I feel a twinge of jealousy when I hear of people who have no problems getting pregnant, or people who have the number of children that I wanted. I am grateful for my two; I truly am. I wanted more, though, and I didn’t get to realize that dream.

That’s the answer to the first question. I can be happy and still be angry at everything my kids and I have been through. For those of you who have read for a while you know the hell I’ve been through, especially since June 10th. So when someone believes it’s impossible to be upset, or angry about what CF has done and still be happy at the same time I am amazed.

I think of my cousin who lost her oldest son in Afghanistan. In the beginning I think she was practically paralyzed by the grief. She mourns his loss every single day. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some happy times finally, 5 years later. She has two other children. She takes pride in them and their accomplishments. She spends time with them; she loves them. She’s gone to some fantastic places, done some fantastic things, and had some amazing times. And yet still, there is that loss. It will never go away.

Every holiday when her two kids are gathered around at her house she is going to notice the gaping absence of their brother. When her two other kids get married they will all be missing him and knowing that he should have been there. When she becomes a grandmother for the first time she is going to be reminded of the loss. Every time his birthday rolls around… every time the date of his death passes by… every time a milestone in life is celebrated and he’s not there to celebrate with them… it hurts her and she mourns. Obviously losing your child is not the same as your spouse cheating on you and yet…

Six months ago I was crying every day. I was begging God to end my life; I prayed for an aneurysm or heart attack on a daily basis. Hell, I thought I was making progress when I begged for a terminal illness instead of instant death. Granted, I was going to use that time to create havoc on CF and Harley with no fear of penalty, but still… it was a slight step up.

I had no joy in my life. It consisted of working and sleeping and running my kids around. That was it. I got up at 3:20 in the morning 5 days out of 7, went to work from 4-7 and then turned around, came home, took Rock Star to school, came back home, and then got ready for my second job. I worked 6 days a week most weeks. By the time I quit I was regularly working 7 days a week.

Now? Well, I don’t cry every day. I’m no longer begging for death. I actually have things I look forward to. I’m no longer working two jobs and getting up at 3:20 am most mornings. I have weekends off. I’m doing my best to cultivate relationships. I’ve joined a group at work. I have more work friends. I’ve been on a couple of wine walks around town. I can occasionally feel hopeful about living back in my hometown and all that it has to offer.

I would consider that happiness.

My kids seem to be doing okay and that makes me happy, although there are slight bumps. Picasso is transitioning into high school so I worry about him more. His group of friends don’t go to the same high school and I worry that he has no friends. His cousin attends the same school and they have a class together and eat lunch together. He seems content but you never know. He just spent the weekend at an anime convention so I suppose all is not lost. As I said to him as I drove him to the convention, “Oh, you love anime. You’ll really enjoy this convention.” His reply to me? “Yes, Mom, that’s why I’m going.”

Rock Star at times seems to be over the moon happy and at other times seems to hate her life. I realize most seniors reach that point where they’re “done” with high school but the school year has just started! She has already told me senior year is nothing special for her; she doesn’t know these kids all that well. It’s not like she’s spent four years at this school. I’m sure she would be enjoying her senior year a lot more if she were at her old school, the one where she started her high school years. Not some strange school she was forced to attend after being uprooted. I know there has been talk that she shouldn’t have been made a captain since she hadn’t been here as long as the other girls. I know it upsets her and frustrates her. Them’s the breaks when your dad is a selfish asshole who only thinks of himself. Then again, she has her days when she says she’s basically the main captain and the cheer coach listens to her and seeks out her opinion. She goes back and forth on being happy and being miserable. I know that shortly after school started she had a mini breakdown, bawling that she was so tired and she missed me.

I thought maybe she was upset that I had seen the mobster, or that I wasn’t spending enough time with her because I was focused on him, but that wasn’t it. She just plain misses having me around. She said I was never here because I was always at work but that she was never around either because she was either at practice or work. I couldn’t do much more than hold her and stroke her hair, telling her I loved her. We spent some quality hours together this past weekend so hopefully she understands she can always ask for more time.

She’s also been asking to be put on anxiety meds because she says her anxiety is out of control. The doctor is reluctant to do so and is recommending she see a counselor which she refuses to do. Looks like we’re at a stalemate.

Overall, I think they’re both doing okay. They appear to have adjusted to this new, down-sized life. The life where we have about 90% less money, we don’t have a home of our own, and their mother is never around to do mother type things. Because I’m working to earn that 90% less paycheck.

Am I happy my kids seem to be doing okay? Absolutely. It sure as hell beats the months I spent listening to Rock Star cry. She cried over not getting her license on time. She felt defeated because she was once “somebody” and now she was “nobody”. She had few, if any friends, in the beginning. It was heartbreaking seeing my once vibrant daughter who had been “it” at her former school reduced to feeling as though she was a nameless, faceless, nobody in a sea of new students. Yes, my heart did sing when the tide began to turn.

I’m happy I have a job. It doesn’t pay for shit but it covers the bills I have. Unfortunately, that’s about all it does. It beats not having a job and watching every penny you have slowly circle the drain. I’m not yet at that point where I can confidently say that this will lead to great things and a stellar career. I may have to switch companies before I finally make a decent living. But for right now I’m thankful I have a job even if it only pays $11/hour. I’m thankful somebody was willing to hire me and that I am gaining work experience (again).

I’m thankful I have a place to live. I realize that there are countless people out there going through the same thing that either have parents that won’t or can’t let them move in with them, or simply don’t have parents anymore. I also realize my kids and I would be homeless if not for my mom. Seriously. I. Do Not. Make. Enough. to afford even a shitty apartment somewhere. Ironically, I have approximately $555 left over for the month after I’ve paid my bills. That does not include rent, utilities, or food. Or luxury items like toilet paper, saline solution, tampons, pads, dog food, shampoo, or laundry detergent.

With all that said it is still humiliating to be 48 years old with a college education and not be able to provide for your kids.

Is it really that difficult to imagine how I could be beyond grateful to have a place to call home while at the same time feeling ashamed that I can’t even afford an apartment for the 3 of us?  Their father can afford it but I can’t. In fact, as many of you know by now, their father can afford to move his whore cousin and her 4 kids into a lovely, 2800 sq. ft. brick home that looks remarkably like the home he forced us out of.

He can also afford to put his kids and me on his damn insurance but he doesn’t. Instead, the kids and I are on Medicaid. I would pay $370/month for insurance for the three of us through my employer and then I would have a $2600 deductible for each of us. I barely make enough money to pay the damn bills. How in the hell am I going to manage to cough up another $370 for the insurance and then $100 or so to put aside in an HSA for the time when someone needs to go to the doctor? Oh, that’s right. I do have $555 left over at the end of the month so let’s go ahead and eat through all of that extremely generous amount of money.

He can afford to pay child and spousal support but he doesn’t. Instead his kids get free lunches and textbooks through the schools because we’re considered poor.

Is that bitter? Is it angry? Who the hell cares? It’s a fact! Just like it’s a fact that he’s able to afford all of this because I supported his career ambitions for 20 years. I moved all around the country so he could move up. Of course sometimes we moved because he didn’t like his boss or he didn’t like his pay raise. And now he thinks he should be allowed to discard me and his kids, and his lifestyle should remain the same.

I can be pretty damn happy with my life and still be pissed off at CF’s continued financial rape. The truth of the matter is I haven’t yet managed Chump Lady’s goal of gaining a new life. Oh, I suppose I have; it’s just a really shitty new life. I still struggle with being poor. I still struggle with not being able to provide for my kids on my own. I still struggle with the humiliation of using Medicaid and freebies when 2+ years ago I had no financial concerns. Two plus years ago I was the one checking the box that said I would be willing to send in extra money for a child that couldn’t afford a class field trip; today my kid is the one needing the free field trip. I still struggle with this idea that I will move up or find a new, wonderful job that will pay me well. I still struggle with feeling optimistic because every time I’ve ever let myself feel optimistic it has punched me in the face. I still struggle with this idea that he will get away with everything he has done. I’m steeling myself for that on court day. Despite all of that I am happy. I have done my best to try to find the good in all of this. Again, I’m no longer crying every day or begging for death. Things have definitely gotten better.

That brings me to the next question: Will I be okay if he gets away with it all? Will I be okay if my new life with the mobster means living on maybe $60k a year between the two of us? And that is a question I will answer in Part 3.

Am I Truly Happy?

In the past week or so I’ve been asked if I’m truly happy. Apparently it isn’t believable that I could be happy with the recent developments in my life and still be so “angry” and “bitter” over CF and his treatment of me and our kids. I believe I was accused of talking out of both sides of my mouth actually. I’ve also been asked if I can be happy regardless of the outcome of my divorce. That was a question posed by the mobster one day, and one that I have mulled over at length.

Let’s tackle the first question. Am I truly happy? Or more to the point, how can I say I’m happy when I still rail against the injustice of infidelity and divorce? How can I say I’m happy when I have no desire to be friends with Cousinfucker, and still have copious amounts of anger towards him and the whore?

I believe I already attempted this explanation back in November. My divorce is not final. I don’t have a settlement. What he originally offered me was a joke. He continues to do shit, and a lot of that shit is not something I can easily ignore. Like, say, stopping payment on his support checks. Or…. not paying his court ordered support.

Believe me, I would love to be in a position where his support check was simply a bonus. At this point in time, however, I am not. I am a 48 year old woman re-entering the workforce after a more than 15 year absence. I make $11/hour and I have two kids that are used to living a fairly affluent life. After I pay my current bills I don’t have enough money to rent an apartment, pay utilities, and buy food and necessities, much less have anything left over for fun or for my kids. It’s going to be a long time before I’m truly able to stand on my own and not need his support check.

I’ve said before that he has simply shed his old life for a new one. And that is hard to take some days. After his first affair with Harley (the emotional one) I told him if he ever did this to me again I would make what happened to Jezebel’s Husband #2 seem like a walk in the park. In my old FB entries I referenced taking everything and destroying what I couldn’t take. The truth is he is losing nothing. Nothing that he cares about anyway. And I can’t do anything to him.

Sure, his kids don’t talk to him but he doesn’t really care. It’s good for a pity party soundbite, to act like he misses them and loves them, but the reality is he doesn’t give a shit. He’s got four new kids and they will fawn all over him and act like all his big gifts mean the world to them. Let’s face it- their lives have dramatically improved. They’ve been moved into a home that is nicer than anything they’ve ever lived in. Their mom’s income has doubled by partnering up with my husband, and in turn, their lifestyle has dramatically increased. He goes to their cheerleading competitions and show and tell. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s coaching one of their sports teams. He’s much more involved with them than he ever was with our kids.

Me and my kids? Well, we went from living in a 4000 sq. ft. home with a pool, hot tub, game room, separate bathrooms for all, and nice huge bedrooms into living in my mom’s 1500 sq. ft. home. We live with my mom! He lives with his whore. And our income/lifestyle has decreased by 90% or more. 90%, folks. Think about that for a minute. Imagine losing 90% of everything you have and then get back to me and tell me how happy you are. Tell me you have a smile on your face every fucking day and that you never think about everything that you’ve lost. I will, in turn, tell you that you are a liar.

It is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I told him I would wreck havoc upon his life if he ever cheated on me again and I haven’t. I can’t. There is nothing I can do to hurt him and to wreck his life the way he wrecked mine, and by extension, our kids. He is getting away with everything and doing beautifully in his new life.

The mobster likes to point out I won’t walk away with nothing. He’s going to have to give me half of his 401k and pension. I know he’s not eager to hand over any money but the reality is he’ll be able to easily make up for that money he’s had to pay out. He can replace it in about 5 years. I will never be able to replace what I’m losing financially.

He will have to pay child support. He may end up paying spousal support. There is a really good possibility that the amount of support he has to pay out, regardless of how much it may piss him off, still won’t bring my lifestyle anywhere close to his. Combined and accounting for child support I think they live on about $12k a month. If he has to pay me $2000/month for both child and spousal support he’s still living on what we used to and I’m living on a third- and that’s only while he’s paying child support for both kids.

So I do my best to not think about those things. I absolutely do my best to try not to think about the lavish lifestyle he’s living and the fact that his income has actually gone up. I do my best to concentrate on the things that are going well in my life and to not dwell on the fact that his life is not falling apart. I try my best to think about the positives. I do my best to concentrate on me and making my life good and I try like hell not to think about everything that cousinfucking piece of shit is getting away with.

You know what? Some days I fail. Some days I rage against the injustice. Some days I find it hard to have faith in myself and believe that I will one day rise out of all of this bullshit and be successful on my own. Some days I find it difficult to believe that I will ever be in a position where I can not only pay my bills but also move out into my own place and still have enough money to help my kids out and go on vacations and go out to dinner and the movies and to buy gifts. There are many days when it is difficult to believe that this, this right here and now, is not how it’s always going to be. I have a really tough time looking into the future and believing that things are going to be so much better.

Does that mean I’m angry and bitter? No, it means I’m trying to be happy with the little that I have. It means that sometimes I get these little surges of hope that I will be able to do great things and lead a great life, one that is even greater than if I remained married to Cousinfucker.

I’m Taking It All Back

I wrote recently about not being held hostage by dates of significance any longer. I’ll go one step further. I refuse to lose one more thing due to him and his disgusting behavior. All those songs I said I couldn’t listen to? Over it! Places we went? Things we did? Rewind and reframe! As a commenter on Chump Lady wrote a few years ago:

…early on, when I was still so fragile and still navigating the divorce process and it’s aftermath, we had a standing half-joke: “Re-Write” when we would do something fun or take a trip in a place that had once been “special” for X and I and/or our kids. We realized that we were writing a new ending, writing a new story for those triggers.

That’s where I want to be. That’s what I plan on doing. In the very beginning when the wounds were fresh I wasn’t sure what to get rid of what, what to stop liking, It felt like anything that had even the slightest relevance to him had to be excised from my life. One of my favorite cities? Could I still like that city? Singers and movies that he had turned me onto? Do I continue to be a fan or do I ditch them?

I know it seems strange to think I even had to worry about any of this because he so seldom spent time with us. Many of my memories involve my kids and other members of my family, but not him. Time spent at Yellowstone? He wasn’t around. That vacation up in Idaho? Nope, he didn’t come along. Gymnastics meets? Most of them were attended by me and me alone. Most of our marriage involved separate memories so this should be easy enough, right?

I’ll admit- the songs were hard ones to take back. So many songs that reminded me of him. Songs that we danced to at our wedding or his sister’s wedding. I Swear. Amazed. I loved those songs before they became significant parts of my history; I will love them again. Just Give Me a Reason by Pink. All of Me by John Legend. Those were the songs of the summer of ’13 and ’14. The first was the song I clung to, hoping that our marriage could be restored after I found out about Harley. The second was the song I thought described us once we had “reconciled” and were “better than ever”! Now though, they’re just songs.

No, that’s not even accurate. The mobster sent me the lyrics to “All of Me” recently, not knowing the history behind the song for me. He said that it reminded him of me. What’s even crazier is that I was driving not that long ago when that song came on. It made me think of him. I could listen to that song and not think of the lying, cheating, victim morphing poopy head I had married, but instead could envision this new life with this new guy. A guy who appreciates me. Who thinks I’m wonderful. Who offers to call the doctor’s office for me when I’m frustrated. Who buys me polar bears.

Days after I found out my husband was once again cheating on me, when he would leave every weekend to go spend those days with the whore, I could do little but watch TV and play Candy Crush. My brain couldn’t anything more challenging than that. I was watching “Baby Daddy” and it was the episode where Brad proposes to Bonnie. He assembled a flash mob and they all sang that song to her. I remember having to fast forward through it because I could not handle listening to it. Now, however, that song- All of Me- has been reclaimed by me. No more switching the radio station. No more avoiding it on iTunes.

Need more examples of things I’m taking back? He was a huge Elvis fan. I’ve seen most of his movies, had “Love Me Tender” as our first dance at our wedding, and visited Graceland at least six times. Here’s the thing. I liked Elvis even before I met the shit eating chimp. I wasn’t as obsessed with him as CF was, but I liked him. So Elvis stays. I’m not going to banish everything Elvis because of CF.

While visiting Graceland the first time I fell in love with Memphis. I love their barbecue, their fried dill pickles, their zoo, their humidity, the music, and Beale Street. Memphis is mine. I might have only fallen in love with the city because he was around to take me but I was the one who actually suggested we visit Graceland since CF was such a huge fan. He wanted to go to Gatlinburg and going to Memphis as well never crossed his mind. I love that city and I created many fantastic memories there. He doesn’t get to steal that away from me.

I cheered for his favorite college basketball team for years. I knew I was in trouble if they didn’t win early on when he threw my foot off of his lap when they lost a buzzer beater game. My mom said they always said a prayer that his team would win. My kids, or at least Rock Star, still like the team. I don’t have any hard feelings against them. However, I think it’s more fun rooting against them because I know how much he hates it when they lose. That one might be a toss up. I did put a curse on them in the early days, declaring that they would never win another national title. We’ll see how that plays out.

Sadly, there aren’t many other things I need to reclaim. Trips we took together? I think I can probably count on one hand the number of trips we took together: our honeymoon, Memphis/Gatlinburg, Disneyland, Moab, and the Grand Canyon/Four Corners. Yes, those are memories I made with him. They’re still mine.

Our honeymoon was a cruise. I had a fantastic time and would love to go again. He’s not taking that from me. Our next vacation was to Memphis and Gatlinburg. I would also love to take my kids to Memphis and let them see Graceland. I’d love to take them to Gatlinburg. Both of my brothers have gone with their families and they love it. Just because I went there once, many moons ago with CF shouldn’t mean it’s ruined forever more. Nope!

He almost ruined Moab for us. He pricked his hand on a cactus and that was the end of that. He went into panic attack mode. Silent mode. Oh my God, the sky is falling mode. Back at the hotel he suddenly decided he was dehydrated. Then needed me to hold him and stay beside him in the bed at the hotel room. That was fun times for the kids, let me tell you. The next morning on our way to breakfast he was still acting like he just couldn’t bear to be out in public. I finally lost it. “We’re going home!” I declared. I promptly called up the tour guide company and canceled our rafting trip and our HUM-V tour. If he couldn’t even make it out to breakfast he wasn’t going to be able to do any of that with us and I sure as hell wasn’t paying over $100 per night to sit in a damn hotel room with him while the kids looked on miserably. He ended up begging me to reconsider. I remember him looking at me in the restaurant and asking pitifully, “Are you going to leave me?” I should have taken the bait and said, “Hell yes! This is no way to live!” but I didn’t. I told him I wasn’t but that he wasn’t allowed on anymore family vacations with us. He ended up remaining behind in the hotel room while my niece and my kids and I all went white water rafting and did the HUM-V tour.

You know what? We had a blast! We didn’t let him stop us or ruin our vacation. So that “family” trip? That’s my memory with my kids. He did eventually go to one of the parks with us but that was the extent of his involvement.

He was on his best behavior when we went to Disneyland and then the Grand Canyon and Four Corners. He was in a good mood. He was fun to be around. He seemed like he had a genuinely good time. I don’t think he ever really had a problem. He just… I don’t know. Wanted attention? Hated seeing us happy? Didn’t ever want to leave his bedroom and felt this was a great way to achieve that? Hell, maybe he figured if he acted like a big enough douche we wouldn’t want him to come with us and we’d stop asking. Who knows? I don’t care anymore!

I say this because it is obvious he is perfectly capable of going on vacation and doing things when he wants to do them. I’m sure he and the whore have gone on many an excursion together. I would bet some serious money that he didn’t play this bullshit game with her when he went. It’s amazing how quickly having an affair can cure you of everything that ails you.

For the longest time seeing pools made me sad. I had finally got mine and it was abruptly taken away just like that. I spent more time waiting for it to be constructed than I actually got to use it. The thought of having another one made me sick to my stomach for a long time. Now? Hell yes I want another pool. And this one won’t be dependent upon that dipshit. I’m not going to let what he did to us kill my dream of one day having another pool.

So that’s it. Things I did and enjoyed with him, I’m going to continue to enjoy. Things I liked I’m going to continue to like. Songs I once loved I’m going to love again. He’s taken enough away. No more, Satan! No more.

Two Years Later

Normally I would do a Blast From the Past for Throwback Thursday, but this Thursday, August 10th, marks the two year anniversary of finding out my husband was a lying, cheating, cousin fucking, marital asset stealing dirtbag. I figured maybe I should write about that today.  You know why? Because I no longer care.

I bought a cake today to celebrate my freedom from that shit eating chimp. I took it into work and shared it with my co-workers who know my story. This time last year I was unhappy and fearful. I had lost my house; I had lost almost everything I had ever owned. I had moved out of state and back in with my mom. My kids were having to transition to new schools and I was having to look for a job and apply for Medicaid.  This time two years ago I was stressed, wondering what the hell was going on with my husband until the moment I received the message from Harley’s husband, letting me know that CF had been spending his weekends in Whoreville with the whore. The bottom dropped out of my world and I began making my way along this long and winding path. Today I ate cake. I celebrated the fact that I was free of him. I no longer have to listen to his sob stories. I no longer have to pretend I care about his every little problem. I won’t ever actually thank that cousin fucking sorry excuse for a human being, but I am thankful he cheated because I never would have left. And had I never left I probably never would have started this blog; I definitely never would have met the mobster.

I refuse to be held hostage to this date, year after year. Yeah, he cheated. He interrupted our lives. Hell, he entirely changed the course of them. But we are all still standing. He didn’t win. He lost, in fact. He lost his kids and took on four kids that already have a devoted dad, ones who talk shit about him behind his back. He lost a faithful, devoted wife and got a cheater instead. I’m doing my best to make sure he loses a lot of his money and that whatever income comes his way he has to pay a hefty share to me.

Me? I’m eating cake and celebrating the day I ended up being freed to live a far happier life.

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A Little Slice of Fate

Back in June I wrote about the one year anniversary of my life falling apart when good ol’ Zack basically got fired from his job and just washed his hands of us. Out of sight; out of mind. I was with the mobster that weekend. The significance of that date barely registered because of the company I was keeping.

As fate would have it the anniversary of us moving back to my home state is rapidly approaching. Once again I will be with the mobster, and once again I bet I will take note of the date, shrug, and turn my attention to the future.

Is it fate? Was he an angel sent to help erase the painful past? Was it just dumb luck? Whatever it was, whatever this is, I’ll take it! I am infinitely grateful that he’s in my life.

The Best Revenge

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I came across a meme the other day, very much like the one above. I also came across this:

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and this:

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Logically, I know that this is all good advice. I knew this way back when I was a mere 21 years of age. There was a guy that I dated for about a month. He dumped me for one of my best friends. I briefly fantasized about being an alcoholic and watching my life fall apart, and then quickly realized neither of them would really care about the mess I had made of my life.

The stakes are higher but it’s the same philosophy now, 25 years later. Me being miserable for the rest of my life won’t make CF or Harley feel bad. Hell, if anything it would probably make them ecstatic. The thought that I can’t make it without him has to be glorious news to Cousinfucker’s ears. I’m sure he takes great satisfaction in knowing that my life has fallen to shit and that I will never have anything to call my own again. There will be no more shopping trips, no more vacations, no more day excursions, no splurges. My kids will never have anything they want anymore. I can’t afford it and I doubt I ever will. That must make him and the whore so happy.

If I killed myself tomorrow, or was diagnosed with cancer, or just had a heart attack like I’m hoping for, he wouldn’t feel shame or regret or guilt. No, he’d be dancing on my grave, thanking me for letting him off the hook for child and spousal support. Oh, did I say thanking me? No, he’d never actually thank me. He would dance gleefully and probably shout out loud about how happy he was that I was so stupid and pathetic, though. Ding dong the witch is dead!

In my head I KNOW all of this. I know that the best revenge is living well. I know the best revenge is to be awesome and amazing and to show him that I don’t need him and that the kids and I are doing great without him. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me suffer. I want him to hear that I’m doing awesome without him, that I have a full social life and I have a great career and I’m making money and I don’t need him to support me (although I will take his money- I earned every dime). I don’t want him thinking he’s broken me because, honest to God, I sometimes think that’s exactly what he tried to do with his cross country move.

I sometimes think he wondered to himself, “Hmmm… how can I destroy Sam? She’s way too happy for my tastes. I need to knock that bitch down a peg or two. How can I make her suffer? I know! I’ll move her across the country and take her entire life as she’s known it for the last eight years completely away from her. I’ll move her to a desolate place where she can’t get involved and will have few friends so that she must rely on me. I’ll give her everything she’s ever wanted. And then, when I’m the only one she has and when she has everything she’s ever wanted, I’m going to walk away and leave her empty handed and completely alone. She will never recover. Finally, she will know what it’s like to live life like me- never happy, always miserable.”

Yep, that about sums it up, I believe.

So knowing this, knowing I don’t want to be pitiful and knowing I don’t want him to beat me the question then becomes HOW do you do this? How do you rise? How do you live your awesome life? How do you find happiness in a world of gray repetition? It’s a nice little quote but it doesn’t offer much guidance.

How happy am I supposed to be when I’ve lost everything? I’ve lost my house. I own very few possessions. I live with my mother. My husband cheated on me with HIS COUSIN, for crying out loud. I work two jobs, both of which pay a whopping $11/hour. I’m NOT living a fabulous life. I’m just not.

It is demoralizing to get up every fucking morning at 3:20, work stocking shelves at Job #1 and then get ready to work as a damn bank teller for another 9 hours. And the end result isn’t a fantastic lifestyle. No, it’s being able to barely pay my bills, put food on the table and buy household necessities. Or as I prefer to put it: I don’t have to choose between wiping my ass and eating.

Rock Star wanted to know if I could take her clothes shopping. I had to tell her no. After years and years of being able to indulge her whenever she wanted to go shopping, I can’t drop even $100 on clothes for her once in a blue moon. I don’t find anything happy or fabulous about that.

She wants a car so badly. She was promised a car when she got her license. Then her dad lost his damn mind. There is no car, and again, I so badly want to make her happy. I would love to present her with an inexpensive car. Obviously, if I can’t afford to take her clothes shopping I can’t buy her a damn car.

I hate not being able to go places. I hate the fact that I won’t ever get to take my kids on vacation again. I hate not being able to spend money like I used to. It sucks! Anyone who says that money doesn’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop! The fact of the matter is money problems are the leading cause of arguments and disagreements within most marriages. It’s a huge stressor in people’s lives, and more than a few people have actually divorced over it. Money may not guarantee happiness but it certainly helps. I prefer not having to worry about how I’m going to pay my bills over worrying constantly.

Because I get up at 3:20 in the morning and don’t get home until around 6 every day I have no energy to go and do things after work. I think about volunteering somewhere but the truth of the matter is when I finally get a chance to go home I want to take it. I want to go home and chill for an hour or two before I need to go to bed so that I can get up and do it all over again.

I work 6 days a week most weeks.  That means I have one day to catch up on everything I need to do. While I do get off work by 9:30 at the latest on Saturdays keep in mind I’ve been up since 3:20 am. If I don’t take a nap on Saturday and I run around getting stuff done then I’m conked out early-  like 7:30 or 8:00.  I usually don’t want to go anywhere. It’s exhausting. If I go and do something and run all day on Sunday then that means I have to go another 6 days at full speed before I get another chance for any downtime.

Then we add in the fact that he moved me 2000 miles away from my life and then, just as I was adjusting, I was forced to move again. I have to start all over and I’m tired of starting all over. I’m tired of reinventing my life again and again. I’m in a town I don’t want to be in. My friends all have lives of their own. I do not have a jam packed social schedule. I don’t even have a moderately packed social schedule; the last time I went out with any friends was approximately 6 weeks ago. My friends who would have had me over for a night of drinking or who would have gone out with me or kept my mind off of the hell I’m living or who were actually going through the same crap all live 2000 miles away. I rarely go out and do anything with anybody I know. I’m tired of MeetUp groups. I have no desire to start attending church again. I can’t get involved at my kids’ schools because I work constantly. I can’t even help out at the track meets because you need to be there by 5 and I wouldn’t get there until at least 5:30.

So I don’t have this great new social life. I don’t have a life that is full of activities that I enjoy. They don’t exist anymore. I don’t know anyone. Or rather, I have about 3 people in my social circle and they are unavailable most of the time. Quite honestly I think I’m being very generous when I say I have 3 people in my social circle. I used to have PTA, and Bunko, my neighbors, my fellow gym moms. I was a hockey mom. I volunteered for my son’s T-ball team. I have none of that anymore. I will never have it again. That part of my life is gone. He made sure to take it all away. I don’t know what to fill it with. I don’t know where to go to get involved. I don’t have the time or inclination to do it anyway. Like I’ve said before I’m tired of wasting my time with dead end events that never go anywhere. I have no desire to go walk dogs or take hikes or to go out and sit in bars with people I don’t know and end up having nothing in common with.

Yet there is a part of me (a very small part) that says I need to somehow keep trying because I will never find a new, fabulous life sitting in my mom’s living room. I didn’t get my old life by sitting at home. I got it by putting myself out there and reaching out. I didn’t meet some of my very best friends by watching TV and eating cookie dough. I did it because my daughter was involved in gymnastics and I would sit with some of the same parents. Some of them I really clicked with and we are still friends today. But I wasn’t working 55 hours a week then either. If I wasted some time it was no big deal because I had plenty of it to spare.

There is a big race coming up this summer. I have thought about training so that I can run. I only have time to do a 5K, as opposed to a 10K. But let’s be realistic. I’m up at 3:20. I work from 4-7. I come home, get ready for my second job, and then work until 5:15 or thereabouts. I head to pick up my daughter and finally get home around 6. I honestly don’t see myself strapping on my tennis shoes and going out for a run. I’m a very slow runner so eventually running 3 miles would take me almost 40 minutes. Take a shower. Eat dinner around 7. After I’ve reheated it because my mom is not going to eat at 7. She’s got dinner ready no later than 6! And then I have maybe an hour or two before I need to go to bed.

I’ve even thought about joining a gym but the same questions plague me. When would I go? My mom usually goes in the morning. She doesn’t want to wait until 6 or later. Now I have to actually drive somewhere so that’s taking even more time.

I see people traveling and taking vacations. I don’t have the money for traveling or vacations. I see people getting involved in things they love. I don’t have the time and I don’t know what I love anymore. That’s the truth. Everything I enjoyed was taken away from me and now I have to start over yet again and I have no clue what I want to do if I even had time to do anything.

I sometimes think the reason forgiveness and this whole “living well is the best revenge” tripe is so popular is because they have all these nifty phrases. Vengeance gets a bunch of warnings and people pleading with you to take the high road. No wise words. No inspirational memes.

I don’t think I’m going to be getting any sort of “revenge” on Cousinfucker and Harley anytime soon. That’s okay, though, because I prefer Confucius’s warning about revenge:

 

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I’m fine with that. I’m willing to go down with the ship in order to take him down. It’s not like I have anything else. My happiness is nonexistent so I’ll stick with making sure I can make him miserable as well. Living that insanely happy life is probably a better form of revenge but I don’t think I’m ever going to get that so this is all I’ve got.

 

Let’s Try This Gain a Life Thing Again

My sweet friend J called me Saturday morning, late, wanting to know if I’d like to go to lunch with her. I had just got home around 10:30. Of course because I was hoping for a low key day the truck on Saturday was huge and I ended up staying until almost 10. I picked up carpet shampoo and things for breakfast and dinner. Picasso asked for breakfast burritos so I obliged.

Anyway, despite being tired and planning on taking a nap before I tackled cleaning the house, I said sure. I had to drop Rock Star off at a restaurant to meet a friend to work on a paper (Whew! That was a mouthful!) so we decided to go to lunch at the same place. Afterwards we drove over to where Rock Star works and took a walk. Then we went for ice cream! I was going to treat her since she bought lunch but she wouldn’t hear of it and insisted on paying for mine. Finally, we went to Kohl’s since I had some Kohl’s cash to spend. I got Rock Star a shirt she had liked and a cute little necklace that was on clearance and I got Picasso two t-shirts.  This one is my favorite:

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Sunday my dad and stepmom came up to see the dogs and take us out to lunch. Yes, they really do travel to see my dogs. I’m not sure what will happen when the dogs die off. I’ll probably never see them again. Okay, it’s not that bad. They do drive up for the kids’ events as well. I think they just love driving because they’ll drive two hours, spend an hour and then return. My dad once traveled over 20 hours out my way and spent a single night. Granted he was already on a trip and I was simply a layover, but still. I drive but I stay for a while, too.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m always going to be tired. I even agreed to come in on Wednesday at Target so I’ll be working there six straight days this week. But I need the money so I guess I will try to look at it as, “Thankfully I’m able to make more money this week.”

Tired is my new default mode. I figure if I accept it and stop bitching about it maybe it will seem okay. So even when I’m tired I’ll force myself to go to games, attend conferences, go out with friends, make an attempt at creating a new life for myself. I’m sure Cousinfucker would love to hear that my life is total misery. Some days I say, “Who gives a fuck?” but today, for at least a little bit, I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. For today, at least for a little bit, I won’t lay down and die. Today, I won’t let him break me or win. At least for a little bit. I may change my mind tomorrow.

This is the cute little bracelet I bought for myself (thank you Kohl’s credit card) on Saturday. It is a reminder to me to try to brighten my attitude.

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It’s not just cheaters that need to be reminded that their happiness is their own responsibility. I need to remind myself of that as well.

I won’t lie. It’s hard most times. My life has done a complete 180 compared to what it has been. But as I’ve written about before if I drop the rope and accept that the old life is completely gone then maybe I can find some good in this new one. Like, being able to pick up shirts for my kids. It’s not the shopping sprees I was able to go on but it’s something. Or, making breakfast burritos for my kids because that was what one of them had requested. Maybe Saturday morning breakfast will become a thing for us. I can go to work at 4 am, come home, make breakfast and we can spend some time together before Rock Star is off doing something. It’s not what I ever would have asked for but it’s what I have so I may as well try to embrace it. Maybe instead of dreading Christmas once again this year we can come up with some inexpensive traditions to make the holidays merry and bright. Perhaps I’ll become very good at doing things on the cheap and my kids will still have some fantastic memories instead of dwelling on all the things we no longer have.

Here’s to “bee”-ing happy despite everything.