All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 5

I freely admit I got badly burned. I barely made it through the first time. I don’t think I could take losing everything all over a second time. Financial independence is a must for me. I’m willing to downsize; I’m not willing to be homeless if I don’t live with my mom or someone else. I know that’s ironic considering I’m still reliant on spousal support, but if I remarry or live with someone I have to give that up. The spousal support I receive now gives me financial independence in my relationship with the mobster. I can afford to buy my kids things they need and want because of that money. I don’t have to ask the mobster for it. If I want to go somewhere or I want to buy something, I can do that. I am not reliant upon the mobster for it. Ultimately though I want to be financially independent even if there is no spousal support. Quite honestly, I would love to make more money than the mobster. He jokes about me being his sugar mama. I would love to be in that position.

I keep going back and forth. Is it important to be able to do it on your own? Yes, I think it is. Do you have more buying power when there are two of you? Yes, I think you do. How do you merge those two? That is the million dollar question. Maybe it comes down to not buying anything tangible that you cannot afford on your own but being willing to co-mingle money when it comes to the intangibles. Maybe. I don’t know. What I do know is I have no desire to lose everything all over again, and it seems like two becoming one is the surest way to do that. 

Maybe the real trick is to make sure marriage benefits both of you. Hell, even looking back at my own marriage I could see that it benefited both of us.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with my kids. That was my main benefit. I got to do all kinds of amazing things with them and I was very involved with their school. I’m sure there are many working women who can say the same. I’m not one of them. It’s like I told Picasso not that long ago, “I used to be a good mom.” I don’t have the time to devote to them. Period.

I also had 100% access to his paycheck. I could book tickets to fly back to Utah. I could pay for gymnastics for my daughter. I could pay for hockey for my son. I could buy them whatever they needed and plenty of it. I could also buy them most of what they wanted. I didn’t have to worry about money, and I never had to ask either. I was free to do whatever I wanted with it within reason.

As for him, he was able to climb the corporate ladder. He was able to make an excellent salary, far more than I will ever be able to earn. He never had to wash a dish, do a load of laundry, pick up a kid from school, take a day off work because a child was sick, run kids around for activities, make a meal, or even fix his own plate or put his own clothes away. He never had to worry about trying to juggle working full-time with raising his kids because I was at home taking care of everything. 

Obviously, the benefits were lop-sided, and he ultimately benefited a hell of a lot more than me in the end.

Perhaps the real indictment is against ever being a stay at home parent. I had nothing of my own to financially contribute. The entire financial burden was carried by someone else. Everything I had was paid for by someone else. And then- POOF- it all went away. Maybe if we had been bigger savers the hit might not have been so bad; there could have been money in savings to split- if he didn’t blow it all on Harley first. If our house didn’t go into foreclosure when he lost his job, or if he hadn’t walked out one fucking year after we bought the damn thing maybe we could have sold it and I would have had a little bit of money to sock away. Shit, I had over $10,000 socked away at the time he lost his job. If he’d kept working none of the bullshit that happened would have happened. I probably could have kept the house, even though it wouldn’t have been a prudent financial decision. My kids wouldn’t have been uprooted. I would have had a $10,000 head start in regards to my divorce.

It’s easy to blame it all on staying at home but even in the prior examples those people are taking risks. My best friend is earning a third less than what she could be and the longer she stays out of private practice the harder it will be to build up her practice again. My cousin might very well not find another job as great as the one she left behind to “take care of herself”. My co-worker could find that she’s no longer being considered for promotion because she no longer wishes to work full-time. All of those decisions require taking a risk and placing your faith in the person you’ve chosen to trust and share your life with.

Not to mention even if you’re both working you’re getting something out of being married in most instances. I make $100; you make $100. Together we make $200. Twice the money to put into savings, put towards vacations, pay household bills, raise children. I know it doesn’t work that way all of the time, but in a lot of cases it does.

Maybe another answer is this. Be able to be self-sufficient. Earn enough money to be able to pay a mortgage on your own. Be able to afford your car payment. Be able to fund your retirement and put money into savings. But if this marriage truly benefits both of you then you’ll both lose something if the marriage ends. 

Perhaps that would be the difference this time around. If I make $35,000 and the mobster makes $65,000 and we bought a house based on what we make combined, then it doesn’t matter if I can’t afford the house payment on my own; he couldn’t either. When I was married I could afford nothing and Jerry Lee could afford everything because I had no job. Maybe this time around I’ll be the one providing the insurance and contributing a good chunk of the retirement funds. After all, there was a period of time in the beginning of our marriage where both Jerry Lee and I worked. Our combined income didn’t come close to what he eventually made but we were young and had no children either. We didn’t stress about money. One paycheck covered our bills nicely and the other paycheck allowed us the freedom to go out, buy gifts, and do all of the little extras. It was a team back then. Honestly, I think we were much happier back then, back when we both worked. Him being the sole provider meant an immediate power imbalance. As much as I miss my free time and the ability to get shit done in the middle of the week I know I will never go back to that.

I don’t know why I puzzle over this so much. Even in this woman’s story, when it comes right down to it, she’s going to marry again- for financial reasons. It doesn’t matter that she can pay her rent, or that she refused to buy a home with her husband that she alone could not pay the mortgage on. It doesn’t matter that she didn’t rely on her ex’s $250 a month for child support. It doesn’t matter that she could support the family when her husband was out of work for a few months. It doesn’t even matter if she continues this mindset with the new husband, refusing to live in a house she alone cannot pay for, refusing to take on any bills she can’t cover. She doesn’t have a well funded retirement and she doesn’t like paying out hundreds of dollars a month for insurance. So she’s getting remarried. She’s teaming up with someone else. Where she falters, he will help her. She can continue to pat herself on the back for being self-sufficient and doing it all on her own, but in the end… she’s not doing it all by herself. She needed help and she’s going to get it- by getting married.

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 4

When I first read Mandy’s story, and throughout the years, I always wondered what the point in being married was if you were going to live like she did. Marriage is supposedly about being a team and combining your resources. Not much of a team effort when everything is separate or must play to the lowest common denominator. Now, having had my life systematically dismantled by a cheating man who held the wallet in our marriage, I see the benefits. Despite the flaws in her thinking I admire how smart it is to never purchase anything you alone cannot pay for. I look back now and I realize none of it was ever truly mine. It was all given to me by Jerry Lee and when he decided he was done with me I lost everything. No more nice big house, no more pool, no more vacations, no more outings with the kids, no more shopping sprees for them, no more financial freedom.

Yes, I understand that me tending to the home while he went out and worked allowed him to concentrate on his career. I completely understand and agree with the idea that if not for me he might not have been able to climb as high and as fast as he did. I get the whole “we’re a team” thing. But when that team breaks apart some of us quickly realize that our contribution to “the team” didn’t mean squat in terms of financial security. Nobody hires us on our ability to help our spouse achieve career success. When you split up that career success all goes to the person who is actually working. They leave and continue to make big bucks. The person who supported them are left behind, scrambling to find a job and figure out a way to support themselves and their kids.

I’ve written before about never dating again, never marrying again, and me not wanting to lose everything because the next guy can’t keep it in his pants, or he just decides he’s tired of me. Well, you know how the “never dating again” thing has turned out. I’ve even relaxed my stance on never marrying again. But, losing everything because he walks away? That’s a huge fear I continue to have. I absolutely do not want to give up my spousal support, be completely financially dependent on the mobster, buy a house, create a fantastic life together, and then have him walk out the door, leaving me destitute again and knocking on my mother’s door because I can’t afford to live on my own. It terrifies me. Financial independence is an absolute must before I ever consider living with or marrying the mobster (and he knows that for those of you who might worry he’s just now learning this).

Then I zigzag right back and I think, “Why bother?” Why bother creating a life with someone else if everything is separate? Isn’t the purpose of marriage to be a team? To combine resources? All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you. Those were my wedding vows twenty plus years ago. All in. Not half assed. 

If I make $35,000 and the mobster makes $65,000 together we have $100,000. Doesn’t that $100,000 go farther than my measly $35,000 or his $65,000? Or even if it’s a lot more equal and I make $60,000 and he makes $80,000 together we make $140,000. Sure, we could both do okay on our own, but wouldn’t we do a lot better combining our incomes instead of living like we were single? Again, there would be two incomes paying household bills, two incomes going towards retirement, two incomes to contribute to savings, two incomes to pay for vacations, two incomes to help put kids through college.

Lately I’ve been seeing lots and lots of benefits of being married. For example, a co-worker at the bank just got married a little while ago. She was able to move from her home in the city to an adorable little house out in the country with plenty of space for her 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 pigs. She loves it out there and is always posting cute pictures and videos of her animals in their new home. She’s also gone down to part-time instead of working full-time. All of this has been possible thanks to her new husband. He is why she can buy a new house out in the country before selling her old house. He is why she can work part-time instead of full-time. She definitely could not do that on her own.

I have a cousin who had an amazing job at this tony military retirement community as an activities director. She remarried a little over a year ago. I know this because her husband, for their first anniversary which is paper, presented her with tickets to Hawaii. Nice. She has now quit her amazing job to take some time to take care of herself. She’s busy posting pictures of the bread and other goodies she’s making and talking about all the projects she’s tackling. Again, this is made possible by a husband. A husband who has no problems supporting her and her son. I suppose we could switch it around and say a man could also do this if he had a wife who made good money, but most men don’t tend to do that.

I’m happy for both of them. Honestly. After what I’ve been through I’m also a little scared for them. I keep thinking, “You better hope the bottom never drops out because if that happens you are going to be screwed!”

Then again, neither of them is as stupid as I was. My cousin is in her 50s and has been married twice before this. She’s struggled and she’s worked. She’s done it on her own before and I have no doubt that if she had to, she could do it again. The co-worker has worked full-time since probably age 18; she didn’t marry until her mid to late 30s. I have every bit of confidence that she, too, can re-enter the workforce in a full-time capacity if she needed to.

It’s everywhere- this benefit of marriage. Partnership. I see person after person who is benefitting from being paired up.

I look at one of my best friends who is a chiropractor. Before meeting her husband she was a single woman in her late 30s, working 70-80 hours a week. Soon after meeting him she quit her job to go into practice for herself. She became a mom to his three children and was the one doing laundry, making dinner, and getting kids to school and sports. Now she is teaching at her kids’ high school for a discount on the tuition. Maybe it’s free. Nonetheless, she has gone from working 70-80 hours a week making almost 6 figures to a teaching job making about a third of what she was making but where she has summers off and plenty of down time during the school year. She leads a completely different life. Thanks to a husband.

Another woman from high school just got married. They’re building a house.

Another one of my best friend’s is thinking about letting her ex turned on-again/off-again boyfriend move back in with her because the little bit he contributes to the rent and utilities helps her out considerably.

Yet another friend lost her full-time job during the coronavirus shut down. She’s been living with her boyfriend in another state during the week and then coming back to our town on the weekends to work her part-time job which she really likes. From prior conversations it’s apparent that he wants to take care of her. I have no idea if he’s helping her with her bills during this time but I know she’s looking for a job in his state and would move in with him for good if she was able to find something there.

It’s a complicated situation. On one hand I don’t ever want to be financially dependent on a man again. On the other hand, I see by all the examples outlined above, how beneficial it is when you work as a team instead of as a single person against the world. But then I think, “What happens if I’m discarded again?” Yeah, it’s nice to have a home of your own. It’s nice to go on vacation and buy things you want and need. But when the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with walks out on you and drastically changes the socioeconomic path of your life you get a little gun shy.

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 3

Like Mandy. She was super proud of the fact that she could cover the mortgage when her husband was out of work. Good for her. She was also “fortunate” enough to land a house that had been foreclosed on. Much nicer house for a lot less money. 

She was constantly patting herself on the back for not needing child support from her ex; she said there were times he would apologize for being out of work and not being able to send it and her reaction was, ‘I didn’t even realize he wasn’t sending it,’. What she didn’t factor into all her blustering was that her ex did a lot of extras for their son- bought him clothes, took him shoe shopping, took him on trips, took him on excursions, bought him a car. Plus, there was the fact that they kept everything out of the courts and they agreed on $250 a month for child support. Hell, if I was only getting $250 I could probably brag about not missing it, too. There was also the matter of her being in her early 20s when this all happened; she had plenty of time to build a career and find ways to make money. Nor did she go from living on six figures down to next to nothing. She lived with her parents for a period of time (probably until she moved in with her husband). 

She also didn’t give much credence to the fact that being married allowed her to be self-employed with no thoughts to how to pay for insurance. She might have been able to cover all the bills, but she couldn’t cover all the bills and save for retirement apparently. And, even though she could pay for everything by herself she didn’t have to. Not only were the bills split between them, I’m sure her husband bought her things she wanted, took her places she wanted to go. There were two paychecks paying for those vacations. Two paychecks contributing to savings. Two paychecks paying for home repairs. If one took on one burden, the other could tackle something else. In the end, despite being able to stand on her own two feet, she’s getting remarried for the financial benefits. She’s getting married again because she wants great, low cost  insurance and money for retirement. She can pat herself on the back and toot her own horn as long as she would like but she’s not doing it all on her own.

Little Miss Lululemon, from the same board, who can discuss child support and how it’s way too much until she’s blue in the face, also talks about how she and her husband both contribute to the cost of raising their child. They both contribute to the household bills. Unlike those slutty single moms who try to live off of those men they tricked into getting them pregnant.

Bull! She’s basically a teacher’s aide who works nine months out of the year. Her husband makes the bulk of their income. She doesn’t own a home in one of the priciest cities in North America because of what she’s done. She owns that home because she’s married. She’s not buying $80 t-shirts, $100 flip flops, or $90 leggings because of her job. She’s able to buy them because of her husband’s job. She doesn’t take $7500 vacations every other year because of her amazing job; they take those vacations mainly because of his job. If her husband ever decides to leave and take his good paying job with him, I don’t care what her Google search tells her, she’s going to be in a world of hurt.

I think it’s a fantastic idea to be able to stand on your own two feet. Sadly, I’m not there yet. I also think there are very few people who can truly say that they could.

I had one friend in high school whose parents both worked. They saved one paycheck and lived on the other one. I never thought to inquire if their paychecks were equal. Maybe they were. Then again, maybe they lived on the larger one and put the smaller one away.

There are definitely some people out there who ended up divorced and found they were able to save more money now that the spending spouse was gone. Ironically, I have more in savings than Jerry Lee does and he earns almost 5 times what I do. And he has a wife that makes around three times what I do also contributing. There are people out there who are the breadwinners and found themselves divorced and also found that life didn’t change that much because their partner hadn’t contributed that much. It’s possible. But I think the reality is that most couples tend to combine their incomes. You make $50,000. I make $50,000. Together we are a $100,000 income family. Of course, it gets a little dicier when you make $25,000 and he makes $75,000 and you’re a $100,000 income family. 

Then again, I think unless you are making a tremendous amount of money any money your spouse brings in is going to help. Jerry Lee makes $140,000 a year. I think most people would think that was great money, and would ensure you could easily stand on your own two feet. However, the fact that his wife works and brings home a paycheck means that even though he’s taken quite a pay cut his standard of living hasn’t changed because she can make up the difference and then some. 

Harley makes somewhere around $80-$90,000. Again, plenty of money to be able to stand on your own two feet; I certainly would be happy making that kind of money. But by marrying her cousin her household income has more than doubled. Together they’re bringing in over $200,000. As a bonus, Harley no longer has to worry about going to jail because she overspends and writes bad checks because she’s got another $140,000 coming into her household.

There’s also the fact that no matter how much money you make if you marry and your spouse contributes anything to the household you’re going to be worse off if that person leaves. Will you be destitute like me? No. But take another look at ol’ Jerry Lee and Harley. Because of what he needs to pay me he would be screwed if she left. He certainly wouldn’t be living in a huge house in a sweet little subdivision. Without Jerry Lee’s money Harley would be dodging the police again because she can’t stop spending money she doesn’t have, and she, too, would have to give up the nice house in the nice subdivision. She’d be back to renting junkers. Marriage benefits them, even if they both earn good incomes on their own.

Sometimes it’s not about the money. My former supervisor worked for the benefits. Her husband’s job did not offer insurance. She covered both of them. My brother’s ex-wife worked for benefits as well when he quit his full-time job and bought his own business. He has done very well for himself but until he got hired on at the fire department he didn’t have insurance. She did, so she was the one that covered the entire family. It’s not an uncommon thing.

There are other benefits as well. As yet another woman from the debate board once pointed out, having a stay at home wife can be a value add to a household. Jerry Lee never had to worry about turning down opportunities because he was saddled with child care. I was there to pick up any of the pieces. Me not working allowed him to climb the corporate ladder. And even if both parties in the couple are working, again, that’s twice the money to go towards savings, retirement, college funds, vacations, Christmas gifts, household bills and repairs, groceries, etc.

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 2

I have met the most amazing man. I always like to say it’s too bad that Jerry Lee no longer feels Harley is worth the money he has to pay me each month. In my case, the mobster is worth giving up that money. And yet… I still hesitate. He says over and over again that we could build a beautiful life together, free from Jerry Lee’s money. Realistically though? Together I think we could do really well for ourselves, especially once neither of us has full-time kids to consider. If he decided to leave me, or for some reason I left him, he would be fine. He could make it on his own; he already is. We’ve discussed this before and he admits that his wife walking out the door didn’t affect his life financially, not the way Jerry Lee walking out on me had on mine. He still lives in the same house. He still has enough money to pay his bills. He went through a brief spell where he worried about losing his house but he refinanced and ultimately picked up several additional stops on his route; he’s actually doing better now than he was when he was with her. His job pays him enough that he wouldn’t be reliant on me. I, on the other hand, would be screwed if he ever decided to leave me. I’d have to sell off a house, sell my possessions, and move back in with my mom. There would be no spousal support to fall back on this time. I would have the meager paycheck I get from my full-time job and that would be it. I don’t make enough money at this job to pay a mortgage, even in the bad neighborhoods. There’s no way I could buy him out of our house. There’s no way I could buy another house, or even afford rent.

I’ve told the story before of the woman (let’s call her Mandy) who was so proud of the fact that she would not buy anything that she alone could not afford, even though she was married. The house they bought? She could pay the mortgage on it by herself if it came to that. She paid her car payment. For many years they split utilities and food. She was very, very proud of the fact that if her husband disappeared tomorrow it wouldn’t affect her financially.

When I first heard this I thought, “Wow! How incredibly sad. What an awful way to live when you’re married.” Then I got divorced and lost everything and I thought, “Wow! She is the smartest woman in the world!”

Here’s where it gets interesting. She and her husband divorced. She let him keep the house; she moved into a luxury apartment. Everything should be fine for her, right? Well, it wasn’t so much that she couldn’t do it on her own. She did, however, come to find out that paying for your own insurance can really suck. Despite all of her bravado over doing it all on her own, or being able to if she had to, she never factored in that her husband covered her and her son on his insurance. She was self-employed. She quickly tired of paying out a bunch of money for coverage.

A year or so after her divorce she ran into an old boyfriend. Keep in mind, this is a woman who swore she would never remarry if things didn’t work out between her and her husband. Hey, we all say things we don’t mean, right? Look at me! I said I would never date again. We also tend to find that we change our minds once a little time and distance has passed. Lo and behold they are talking marriage. Funny thing is she made mention of the fact that she didn’t think she would ever marry again but he had great insurance, and while she was able to meet her bills and her thrills with what she makes, she hadn’t put much away for retirement. You may have guessed it already. This guy has a lovely retirement portfolio as well. I’m not reading anything into this. She actually came right out and said, “I didn’t ever intend to get married again but I’m self-employed and paying for self coverage sucks; he’s got great insurance and he’ll put me on it. I also don’t have much saved for retirement and he does.” I’m sure that in the years to come she will still be congratulating herself on making it on her own and always being able to pull her own weight. When she’s living a comfortable retirement I have no doubt she will go on and on about all of her hard work and her efforts while ignoring the fact that she latched onto someone who could help her in the areas where she lacked.

What it comes down to is this: Marriage, with its benefits and its pitfalls, is a complicated beast. I really don’t know where I stand on this issue anymore. It’s easy to say, “I don’t want to buy anything that I can’t afford on my own,” but actually doing that is a lot more difficult. I know I want to be financially independent but is anyone who gets married really financially independent?

A Petty Confession

I have a petty confession to make. Rock Star and I were talking last week. I told her I had finally told her brother that his dad got married. It happened the same time we set up his Venmo account. He saw the picture of his dad kissing Harley and he says to me, “I suppose this is his pictures. The one of him kissing a ho.” It’s been two years and Daddy Dearest still hasn’t managed to tell either of his kids that he’s remarried.

She said their anniversary was a few weeks ago. I know that. I remember because my mother shared the news with me as I was on my way down to Virginia to throw the mobster his surprise party. I think their actual anniversary is the day before his birthday, so it’s kind of hard to forget. I don’t know the exact date but I do know it’s around the mobster’s birthday.  Anyway….

She goes on to tell me he announced it on Facebook. That was a whole other conversation because I knew she had told me before she wasn’t friends with him. Seems Jerry Lee has two accounts, not that I give a shit either way. Nonetheless, I was being snarky and asked, “So did he gush about how she’s the love of his life and he’s never been happier?” To which she nodded and said, “Pretty much.”

Why do I even care? I don’t want him back. I’ve spent almost five years coming to terms with the fact that I have mourned the loss of the life I had more than I have ever mourned losing him. I’m finally getting to the point where I’m focusing on what is right now, instead of what I had and what I lost. Yet, it still chaps my ass that he goes out of his way to do this shit for her. He never did anything like that for me. Sure, he was only on Facebook for three years out of the twenty that we were married. Technically I suppose we were married 23 years so he was on it for five years. But a review of the timeline shows I signed him up in 2012; by 2013 he was involved with Harley. After discovering I could see all of his activity if I had his Facebook archives I asked for his password. It didn’t work and shortly thereafter he supposedly deleted Facebook because it made him “so unhappy, comparing his life to others and all they have.” He stayed off until I found out about his second affair with Harley in 2015. In other words, he spent most of his time cheating on me when he had a Facebook page. In hindsight I can see why he wasn’t lovey dovey on it; it was his dating app.

December 2013 would have been an excellent time to toss out the “I love you’s” and “You’re the love of my life!”. Maybe even a, “I will spend the rest of my life making things up to you,” or “Thank you for putting up with me and all my bullshit.” Anything really. But nah, he never did. Not one time did he announce our anniversary or make a big deal of it on social media. But he’ll do it for the whore, the woman who actually was still fucking her husband behind his back while he handed her the remainder of his paycheck.

Just like despite knowing how much it bothered me that neither he nor his family ever commented on my pictures and complimented me, he still never bothered. Yet for Harley the Hillbilly Whore he can always find a spare minute to blow smoke up her ass.

On a scale of 1-10 I find this a solid 2. It irks me. It bothers me for some reason; I’m not sure why. It causes me to question how much is image management and how much is real, and if it is real why couldn’t he do that for me? Maybe that’s why it bothers me. Why couldn’t he do it for me? I was married to him for twenty years. I moved all over the damn country for him. I gave him two children. I fixed his fucking plate for him every night. So why not do something like that for me? It’s a big “Fuck you!” from him to me. For the most part though it makes me shake my head and say to myself, “It wasn’t you. It was him.”

It’s easy to fool myself into thinking that they’re just a better couple, more compatible. Good for them! The reality though is that if he had put one fourth of the effort into our relationship that he makes for her we probably wouldn’t be divorced. As much as he likes to lay all the blame at my feet (I wasn’t a good housekeeper. We never had sex. We grew apart. I focused too much on the kids. I treated him like a wallet and a handyman.) he was not a good husband. He made good money and that’s all I can say for him. Oh, he was handy around the house. But as far as putting any effort into me or our relationship? No. He fell short of the mark. Not only did he fall short of the mark, he didn’t care that he fell short of the mark! He was a shitty partner. He was rarely there for me. I was a wife appliance and he treated me as such. I went through most of our marriage alone. Reminding myself of all of that makes me shake my head and say to myself, “It wasn’t you. It was him.” So why does it gnaw at me, even the tiny little bit that it does? Hmmm….

It’s easy to say maybe he knows he’s married to a low down, trifling ho so he figures he better make the big gestures to keep her around. It’s also easy to say it’s like Chump Lady reminds us:  He’s got to make it seem like the love affair of the century to justify what he did to his wife and kids.

Then I look back on the Facebook messages I’ve posted about the mobster. They’re gushy. They’re loving. This past year on his birthday I told him he was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. The past two years I mentioned how even though it was his birthday I was the one that was receiving the gift. We wear matching t-shirts and post them on Facebook. Granted, I don’t post often on Facebook but what I do post is genuine. The mobster and I really are an adorable couple. We are over the moon thrilled to have found one another. No, we are thrilled to have found someone who appreciates the efforts we make and is willing to make an equal effort.

Maybe that’s how Jerry Lee feels as well. Perhaps he believes I just held him back and stomped all over him. I mean, I was emotionally abusive according to him. Plus, she’s probably a better housekeeper which… well, means zilch. Maybe what he really wanted was a wife who made money as well. A wife that wouldn’t put up with his bullshit. A wife who would ooh and ahh over every little thing he did and treat him like he was a king. Maybe she’s a better actress than I am, or was just hungrier for his paycheck than I was. Maybe he really is happier than he’s ever been. Maybe she is the great love of his life. It stings a bit, I suppose, knowing that I was nothing to him. Just a broodmare, a cook, a laundress, a chauffeur, and a bad housekeeper.

Like I said, it’s a solid 2 on a scale of 1-10. In the end it doesn’t matter. They’re two shitty human beings and if being with shit makes him happier then good for him. My guess is it’s a lot of image management. They’re two cheaters and one of them is going to cheat on the other in the end. I know he’s no prize. I know I don’t miss him or want him back. I also know I’ve got the best relationship I’ve ever had with the mobster.

Perhaps it all comes down to realizing that a twenty year marriage didn’t mean a damn thing. He cheated and left after all. Abandoned his kids. So I suppose it makes sense that this new life makes him happier than he’s ever been. If I am happier than I’ve ever been it stands to reason that perhaps he is happier than he’s ever been. Then again, he’s a lying asshole and I’m not.

I don’t think I’m going to get a resolution on this. The best I can hope for is to roll my eyes and let it walk on by. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Fear not, though. I’m not wanting him back. I’m not mourning his loss. I’m simply dealing with yet another slap in the face.

Winning Vs. Losing, Or What I Learned From Michelle Kwan

The fabulous Dolly over on The Queen Is In wrote a provocative post last week. She mentioned someone on Twitter who questioned whether or not she stayed because she couldn’t stand to see the OW win. Dolly admitted she, too, wondered if part of why she stayed was because she didn’t want to see the OW win. Several other people commented that they didn’t want to see the OW in their situations win either. I couldn’t really chime in because as you must know if you read my blog, in my situation the OW did win. She got my husband. They are married now. I was effectively cast out and replaced.

Plus, as I kept thinking up a response it kept getting longer and longer so I decided to do what I do best and turn it into a post.

I can understand not wanting to lose your spouse to another person. I felt that way the first time I discovered what was going on. White hot rage that he had been playing me for a fool all summer long while he sweet talked that bitch. She knew I existed. She knew my kids existed. She didn’t give a shit. She wanted what was mine.

I wanted her gone! I wanted to win. I wanted her broken and destroyed. I wanted her to know that he loved me and he would never leave no matter what plans they may have had; I wanted to show her that all I had to do was snap my fingers and tell him I wanted us to work out and she would be gone without a second thought. I wanted her to know I was better than her and that she wouldn’t win.

I demanded he end things with her. I wanted to see it in black and white. His story was that he called her instead and ended things. He said she cried when he told her he could never leave me. I loved that. I felt great satisfaction in hearing she cried, that she felt discarded. She had been messing around with my husband for more than three months at that point and I wanted to banish her from our lives forever. I wanted her to know how insignificant she was to him.

I told him I had contacted her husband and when he told me to leave them alone and let them concentrate on repairing their marriage while we did the same I hissed at him, “Do not beg for mercy for your whore!” He backed off. I felt powerful. In control. Victorious.

So I definitely get it. I did not want her to win. And yet, I remember when our anniversary rolled around and the reality of everything hit me. I was “celebrating” my anniversary with a man who cheated on me.

About two months later I followed it up with this jewel:

One day I was talking to a dear friend who is wise beyond measure. I referred to the whore as a homewrecker. She pointed out to me that she wasn’t a homewrecker; my family was intact and I had won. I had to think about that. I don’t always feel like I’ve won. It sucks knowing your husband was declaring his love for someone else, someone he considered his soul mate. How do you feel like you’ve won when the prize is a lying, cheating sonofabitch? I’m being melodramatic here. I don’t feel that way now. I’m actually pretty pleased with my life right now. But still it’s that phrasing. Kinda like our marriage is better than ever. You know how I hate that one! I don’t think there are any winners or losers in the aftermath of an affair. Sure, he’s with me. He picked me. He’s a lot nicer. A lot more attentive. But he still lied and cheated. And that’s not a great prize to win.

Much like Katniss who won The Hunger Games only to find herself having to fight for her life once again in an ultimate showdown, I found myself in round two of fighting for my marriage a short two years later; sadly, I didn’t realize there was a round two until it was too late.

So this time I lost and she won. But did she really? What did she win?

She won a man who cheats. She won a man who, when times get tough, seeks out others instead of turning to his partner. She won a man who abandoned his children. Maybe she sees that as the ultimate sacrifice and a sign of how incredibly special she is. Most people see it as an act of cowardice. She won a man who can never be happy. She won a man who, according to his court testimony, can’t drive, can’t be around loud noises, and can’t be in public places with big crowds. She won an alcoholic. She won a man who is always the smartest guy in the room and who demands all the attention and adulation. She won a man she can never rely on when things are tough because for him every small problem is a giant problem; she’ll have to be the strong one all the time because he can’t handle it. She won a man who can’t take criticism and who will demand she is happy and appreciative all the time.

My mother likes to remind me that people can be different with different people. She has tales of her own with my father. As a child growing up I remember him spending a lot of time helping my grandpa out on the farm. Once he remarried though he didn’t spend nearly as much time out on the farm. As my mother said once, “It’s amazing that as his father ages he doesn’t need his son’s help nearly as much as he did when he was younger.”

I, on the other hand, don’t believe in personality transplants. I think my stepmom has something on my dad and that’s why their marriage has lasted 30+ years. And following that logic if she had something on him she could effectively control him.

Even if my ex-husband is a completely different person with Harley what is important is how he was with me.

When I “lost” to Harley, I lost a man who rarely used my name when speaking to me. I lost a man who didn’t want to hold my hand in public (although he thought it was hilarious to grope me). I lost a man who told me on many occasions, “Only one of us can be crazy or unhappy at a time, and that person is always me.” I lost a man who took it as a personal insult if I was unhappy or sad or dared to complain about anything. I lost a man who shut himself off in the basement or bedroom, and then dared to justify his behavior with Harley because I “treated him like a wallet and a handyman.” I lost a man who didn’t really want to go on family vacations or outings with us. A man who didn’t bother to go to parent-teacher conferences with me most of the time (I think he attended two). A man who didn’t really seem to care about being a husband or a father when it came time for the day to day activities. I lost a man who didn’t want to socialize with me and friends together. I lost a man who had no interest in hearing my stories from my life before him, and who didn’t really seem to show much interest in my life outside of him when we were married.

More importantly, “losing” him to Harley led me to finding the mobster. It’s no secret that I would have probably stayed until the bitter end. Her swooping in with her “big win” allowed me to find a love I couldn’t even begin to imagine. Yes, I may have “lost” to the OW but do you want to know what I’ve won?

I’m with a man who thinks I’m funny. He genuinely laughs at my jokes.

He thinks I’m adorable. Seriously. I’ll do something and he’ll say, “You are so cute the way you…”.

He butters my roll for me without me even asking. He makes me breakfast. He wants to please me. He sends me flowers and chocolate covered strawberries.

He greets me every morning with, “Hi, Beautiful,”  “Hi, Cutie,” or, “Hi, Babydoll”.

He appreciates the things I do for him instead of merely tolerating them. He has thanked me over and over again for his “Box ‘O Love” and the surprise party I threw for him. He thanks me every time I drive the entire way to see him.

He thinks I’m smart and beautiful.

He listens to me. He listens to all my crazy stories, both present and in the past. I can tell him anything. And I do. He tells me to never apologize for complaining; he wants to hear everything. We’re partners and he wants to hear the good and the bad. He likes to hear about my day. I work in a bank, for crying out loud, and he treats it like I’m doing amazing and interesting work every day. Hell, I believe he even listened to me explaining Candy Crush to him in detail.

He doesn’t tell me only one of us can be crazy at once and it’s always him. In fact, he calms me down when I’m freaking out and he’s willing to take over if I need him to.

He tells me that I give wonderful advice and I’ve been so good for him and I always think things through and know just what to say.

He ran out to Wal-Mart when we were together for my daughter’s Family Weekend and bought me shampoo and conditioner because I hadn’t brought any and the hotel didn’t have any in the room. My mom told me later she was amazed that he was willing to do that and asked me if I could ever imagine CF doing that for me. Considering he grudgingly made me a lemonade when I was pregnant with his child after three miscarriages I’m going to say, “Probably not.”

He accompanied me to a wedding all the way out in Utah AND met a ton of my friends while out there. Some people would have found that to be much like a lamb being led to slaughter, but he was amazing. He was a bit nervous but he was genuinely pleased to finally be able to meet my friends.

He likes to socialize and have fun. He’s always up for adventure. My daughter has labeled him “the happiest person [she] knows.”

He lifts me up. He wants to be a full-time partner to me.

He’s more supportive and attentive to my kids than their own dad was.

And he’s funny. He makes me laugh and we have the best time when we’re together.

He picks flowers for me from the side of the road. He creates chalk signs for me when I come to visit and he buys balloons and decorates for me. He’s willing to drive 10.5 hours to see me. He sends me song lyrics and creates picture books of our adventures together. He gets me a cup of coffee when we’re together.

He’s also never cheated on me and never lied to me. He has been patient and understanding, especially in the beginning when I was a skittish mess. He is the most amazing man and I never would have met him if I hadn’t lost my husband to Harley.

Years ago I remember an interview the lovely, talented and graceful Michelle Kwan did. It was right after the Olympics, where she had been expected to take the gold, only to have someone snatch it out from under her. The interviewer asked her how she dealt with losing the gold medal. I still remember her response all these years later. I didn’t lose the gold. I won the silver.

Wow- talk about reframing a situation. Michelle didn’t lose anything. She won something that very people even have the opportunity to compete for. What does that have to do with infidelity and Harley and losing CF to her, you may be asking?

It’s simple. I don’t look at it as losing my husband to Harley. I look at it as “winning” the mobster and finally being in a relationship where I am valued, cherished and loved.

The Pitfalls of Pain Shopping

You’re in for a treat. I knew before I even began that this was going to be long; this here is Part 1 of 5. You know what that means though, right? Five straight days of posts from me!

Hi, I’m Sam. I am a survivor.  I am a fighter. I am fearless. I am kickass. I know my worth. I don’t believe a bit of the bullshit that comes out of cheaters’ mouths, excusing their affairs. I believe there is no excuse for cheating on your partner. I believe the most important question isn’t, “How can I save this marriage?” or “What did I do wrong?”, but “What’s important to me in a marriage?” and  “What is acceptable to me?” I don’t do hurt; I do pissed off. I firmly believe in no contact. I know that cheaters are masters at image management. I know they suck.

I am also not immune to curiosity. I “investigate” social media on occasion. I have recently been pain shopping. I am a dumbass.

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I could easily blame this on my mom. She is the one who informed me CF and Harley had gotten married. I could have comfortably lived my life not knowing that. Who could resist sneaking a peak at the happy couple? Certainly not me!

It started with their wedding picture and making snarky remarks about the “happy couple” to friends. Harley looks terrible. She really does. Her wedding picture is maybe one step up from her most recent mugshot.

When she was chasing after my husband and finally landed him she was thinner than me. I’ll admit I was jealous. People complimented her on it. Now she looks like a beached whale. Seriously. I am not someone who usually picks on someone for their weight because God knows I’m not some size 2. But she has to have a good 30-40 pounds on me.

You’d think that would be enough. Yep, there they are. You’ve seen them. Let’s move on from this train wreck. Yes, he actually married the whore; true love won. Move along!

You would be wrong.

Rock Star announced recently that her dad had contacted her, asked her where she was going to school and if she needed anything. I guess he can afford to act like the big shot because he’s got almost an extra thousand dollars in his pocket each month now. He ended up sending her $200 so she could buy her laptop and then ordered the rest of her bedding for her and is having it sent here. What a hero! Cut off support for her the very moment she graduates and then swoop in to save her. What. A. Stand. Up. Guy.

This gets me to thinking about the possibility that he may become a part of her life once again. He and the whore may sneak up to campus and spend weekends with her. He might invite her down to his house so she can live like she used to. He could offer up the use of the pool in their neighborhood. See how nice and luxurious life could be with us?

I’m trying to wrap my mind around this possibility. It does not happen. I have come to the conclusion that I could accept her having a relationship with him. He is her father. But her? Over my dead body. I will not have that whore weaseling her way into my kids’ lives.

The other very real fear is that as he worms his way back into Rock Star’s life he could easily start to share his own version of what happened with her. His version, of course, is that I’m an evil, horrible person who deserved everything he did to me. I didn’t take care of him. I never loved him. We weren’t good for one another. I’m just a bitter, angry person who refuses to thank him for setting me free from the burden of being his wife.

I would like to think that Rock Star is smarter than that and that our bond is deeper than that. But money talks; you hear stories everyday of children who go with the parent that has the deepest pockets.

This is the background story to my pain shopping. Why I chose my next move I am not sure. I suppose I thought I could handle it; I thought I was prepared for anything and figured I could use it as snark in another post.

Oh, there will be snark. But there is also fury and anger and indignation. There has even been some doubt. Doubt that I was a good wife. Doubt that I was a good partner to him. Doubt that I treated him right.

Don’t do what I did! Stay off the social media! No contact is the way to peace and light. Checking up on them is pain shopping. It’s looking for ways to make you doubt yourself; you compare your behind the scenes to their highlight reel and come away feeling like crap in most cases. They are masters at image management; they will never admit when things go to shit. It’s all posed fantasy. I repeat: Do not do what I did!

Who Had June 25th or Six Months Post Divorce?

Cousinfucker and Harley the Whore got married in Vegas. My mom told me. Isn’t that quaint? The two cheaters made it official. Now the destruction they wrought has purpose.

Can I just say, “Vegas? Really?” On one hand it makes perfect sense. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. It’s all cheap drinks, gambling, and street performers. It’s showmanship and glitz. It’s a mirage. Perfect for cheaters like them. A farce registered at Macy’s and celebrated in Vegas.

On the other hand I can still remember him tearfully telling me that he felt so isolated out west. If he had to stay there much longer he would wind up in the psych ward. Apparently he can get married out there; he just can’t live out there.

As far as I know my kids have no idea their daddy has remarried or that they now have a brand spanking new step mommy and four step-siblings. Rock Star has said nothing so far and if I know her like I think I know her she could only sit on this information for a day or two.

Picasso washed his phone and it no longer works so even if his dad wanted to contact him he couldn’t.

I haven’t said anything because it’s not my news to tell, and frankly, I found this all out just as I was leaving work to go down and surprise the mobster for his birthday. None of us needed a cloud hanging over our heads thanks to CF.

I will also add that while he was all tears and stone faced for his daughter’s graduation, he was smiling in his new wedding pictures. Can’t smile for or with his daughter, but can grin away for a whore.

Honestly, it left me feeling strange for a few hours. As the mobster said, it’s like the final discard. He has completely and totally replaced me with this horrid other person. It was a little weird to think that she was taking over my spot in that family. I suppose I should add legally taking over, because let’s face it, she replaced me a long time ago. That’s really at the heart of it. I was effortlessly replaced and no one said a word. It was as if, despite twenty-one years with him, I had never existed.

Fear not! I don’t want him. I don’t grieve the loss of him. As I said I was on the way to see the mobster and throw him a fabulous surprise 50th birthday party. The mobster is my future. Despite any weird feelings CF’s marriage brought up I know I’m so much better off. I am happier than I’ve ever been.

Them? Well, let’s say I wish them all the happiness they deserve. He’s a man who cheated on his wife. She’s a woman who cheated on her husband. And who cheated on him in the first six months they were engaged in their affair! How much longer can he keep that mask on and convince her he’s a loving family man, a doting daddy to her kids? How much longer can she keep her legs closed to other men? Or refrain from sending naked pictures to other men? How long until she winds up being arrested again for writing bad checks because all that extra money that was so new and exciting is now routine? That’s the crappy thing about pretending to be someone you’re not. Eventually you can’t keep up the charade any longer and the real person comes out. Uh-oh!

Now a new pool will begin. How long will this last? How long until she cheats on him again? Anyone think he will be the cheater once again? Final bet: Will he tell his kids what he’s done, and if so, how long until he does so?

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Do We Ever Learn?

On the heels of my uplifting previous post… Drew over on thezombieshuffle wrote about the divorce rates in North America. According to his research the rate of divorce for 1st marriages is 50%, 67% for second marriages and 73% for third marriages.

While doing a little research of my own I came across some statistics from Dr. Phil. His statistics aren’t quite as bad. According to him your chance of divorce in your first marriage is 35-40%. Hey, you’ve been given a 10-15% bump up in success rates! Hooray! Your chance of divorce in a second marriage is 60-65%, giving you a slightly better chance by a 2-5% margin. If you choose to marry a third time (hello, Jezebel!) the chance of divorce climbs to 70%+, which is a slight 3% bump from Drew’s figures.

Regardless of whose figures you use it seems apparent that your best chance for happily ever after is your first marriage. Statistically speaking, of course.

The bigger question he asks though is this: With the identical trend of the rising rate of divorce the more times you walk down the aisle, do people actually learn anything from their failed marriages? Follow up questions: Are relationships a waste of time? Are they all fleeting?

I think more than likely he hit the nail on the head with his first question. I think people don’t learn. Look at cheaters. CF constantly plays the victim. Nothing is his fault. His relationship with his kids is in the toilet, but it’s not his fault. Oh no! It’s mine! I’ve poisoned the kids against him.

I’m taking all of his money. But that’s not his fault. I’m just a greedy, money hungry bitch. His behavior didn’t play even a tiny bit into what has happened to him.

He was forced out of his home. He had to quit his job. He has a drinking problem. It’s all my fault. I didn’t love him. I didn’t take care of him.

He’s not unique. Most cheaters blame the spouse they’re cheating on. They blame us for all of their ailments and failures and unhappiness. And then they turn around and blame us for their affair(s).

You didn’t grow a garden. You didn’t fetch me my slippers. You didn’t wear sexy underwear. You got bald. You wouldn’t help with the kids. We didn’t have sex (often enough or ever). You didn’t support my new pumpkin patch business! You didn’t support my passion for crab racing! You didn’t understand me!

Nothing about where they went wrong. Nope. Just pick a different partner and everything will be tickety boo.

This can apply to almost anyone though, not just cheaters. Many people think the partner is the problem and so long as that changes everything will be fine. Others love that “in love” feeling and bail when things get difficult. Still others can’t bear to be alone so they quickly get involved without ever looking at themselves and the choices they are making. Others are just flat out crazy! No seriously, they have mental health issues that don’t make them suitable partners for anyone.

When you start looking at second and third marriages you have additional complications. There could be an ex or two in the picture, children that aren’t yours, schedules that have to be coordinated because of custody. Then you have money issues: child support being paid, how to fairly distribute funds, what to do when one of you dies. There are family rules to settle and how much authority does the new spouse have? Are your families going to blend? There could be differences in how you raise your children versus how your new spouse has raised his/hers. All of those things complicate the relationship far beyond that first marriage where neither of you had children from a previous relationship or an ex-spouse. Considering all of that I’m not surprised subsequent marriages face an uphill battle.

My favorite Dr. Phil statistic though was the chance of a divorce for a relationship that begins as an affair. He puts it at right around 95%. I guess Chump Lady wasn’t too far off the mark when she described marriage between cheating partners as a farce registered at Macy’s. Or as another reader’s lawyer described it: Repeat business.

Love & Marriage

What is it about marriage that makes people think it’s the highest form of commitment? Legally, I suppose it is, but why do so many people think of it as the pinnacle of a relationship? I understand that marriage comes with a whole host of conveniences and legalities, but does marriage really make your relationship any more legitimate?

I remember reading a comment from Goldie Hawn. She said that she and Kurt Russell had purposefully not gotten married. To them it meant that every day they spent together was a day they had chosen to spend together.

Is she correct? Do married people (some of them anyway) stay together simply because they’re married and not because they want to be with that other person any longer? Could you say the same thing about a couple who didn’t get married but have been together for years and years, probably live together, possibly have children together, and have entwined their lives?

I get it. I don’t think everyone who gets married stays together simply because they’re married; I think many married people “choose” to spend each and every day with their spouse. I also believe a lot of people, including myself, stay in marriages that aren’t all that great because… we’re married. It’s supposed to mean something. It’s a commitment. You don’t quit simply because you no longer feel butterflies, or things get difficult.

However, with that said, I think we’ve all seen marriages go bad, so for many people marriage means absolutely nothing in the long run. It’s a spouse to take care of them and when that spouse outlives their usefulness they are replaced by a new spouse. Obviously not everyone stays together because of the vows they took; they are more than willing to fool around, find a replacement, take off for parts unknown, and/or abandon their children.

The mobster and I have talked about this quite a bit. One of the very first things I ever said to him was that I was never going to get married again. It wasn’t because I was bitter or didn’t believe in love. No, I would never marry again because I never wanted to be in a position where my whole life was uprooted and destroyed because my partner decided he didn’t want me anymore. I lived through having everything taken away from me once; I honestly don’t think I could stand to have that happen to me again.

He, on the other hand, was determined that his STBX would not be his final chapter. He was vowing the day after she left that he would get married again. He also confided in me that for him, the most romantic thing I could do would be to publicly declare my love for him and get married. The fact that so many people don’t take it seriously makes him think it’s all that more romantic when two people who do take it seriously take that step.

I think I’m a lot easier to please. I just wanted a puppy.

I like commitment. I just wonder if marriage is necessary for commitment. I have commented before that I bombed the whole marriage thing. Then the mobster will point out that I didn’t bomb it; I would still be married if it were up to me. I married a guy who cheated on me. One who was actively looking to move away from me and his kids to go be with his cousin/mistress.

Regardless, my marriage failed. Now I’m thinking about marriage and commitment in a totally different light.

If I were to marry again it would be very small. Immediate family only. The last time I had the big church wedding with seven bridesmaids, the beautiful white dress (which CF and Harley destroyed), and the big dinner with dancing reception. Honestly, I would be fine with eloping this time around. Just the two of us. To me, that’s when you know you are marrying for the right reasons. You don’t care about who’s there; you don’t care about all the details. You just want to marry that one person and begin your life together.

What does that mean though? I see those memes all the time. I can hardly wait to begin my life with you. When you find that special someone you want your life together to begin as soon as possible because you don’t want to waste another minute. What do they mean? Are they talking about marriage when they say they want their life together to begin ASAP? Are you really beginning your life together the moment you marry? What about all the things you did together before the wedding? Do they not count?

Personally, I think the mobster and I have a fantastic relationship. I don’t see how getting married could make it any better, or any more real. We’ve had some amazing weekends and adventures together. Those all count. Whether we are together for the rest of our lives or things end tomorrow, the time we have invested in us has been real. Our lives together are happening now, not when we marry. Our lives aren’t suspended until we take vows. We are creating memories and having a great time already; marriage isn’t going to make it more so.

I’ve often wondered what has happened to all of those couples competing for the honeymoon on Four Weddings. I think it would make a great show. They are so worried about every little detail and trying to vie for the best wedding ever! I’ve got a mashed potato bar! I have a signature drink! We had fireworks! I’ve spent nine months creating personalized table toppers! Truthfully, I feel like a lot of those people are much more interested in their wedding day than in their marriage. Don’t get me wrong; I love the show. I love weddings, too. Furthermore, I am still on board with the show making me a permanent guest at all these fantastic weddings.

I also understand that once you’ve been through the big wedding you can see the absurdity of a big wedding, especially if your marriage fizzles. I don’t blame the first time bride who wants to ask her friends to be bridesmaids and wants to say “Yes!” to the dress and pick a venue and do taste testings for a fantastic cocktail hour/dinner (not that I ever got to do that!) and pick out a yummy, beautiful wedding cake. However, the wedding is one day. The marriage will hopefully last forever.

Why do we place so much emphasis on the actual wedding? If the mobster and I stay together for the next twenty-five years will our relationship be any less simply because we don’t make it legal? And what do they really mean by that? It sounds very official and like it’s very important. Our relationship is now legal. We’re legally married. We’re legally husband and wife.

Who cares? My legally wedded husband fucked his cousin. Marriage didn’t protect me. I think probably the only thing it did for me was entitle me to alimony.

Sure, he couldn’t legally sign over his 401k to Harley as long as he was married. I was supposed to be the one to make medical decisions for him if he had slipped into a coma or been on life support, but let’s be honest. There’s no way any of them would have let me know the situation was dire enough for a third party, and Harley the whore would have ended up making the decisions. And as the mobster pointed out, any benefits automatically given to the wife can be given to the not-the-wife by having something drawn up. Power to make medical decisions? Considered next of kin? Provided for after death? Yep, it’s given automatically when you get married, but you can give those benefits to anyone. You simply have to take the time and make the effort.

The mobster’s wife cheated on him repeatedly. Marriage didn’t protect him either. In fact, it has pretty much bitten him in the ass. Despite the fact that she walked out on him and left him carrying everything, and despite the fact that due to her alcoholism she was never on the deed to the house (he was afraid if she got into an accident the victim could take their house if she was on the deed) she’s entitled to half of it. Even better? She can walk into the house anytime she wants because they are still legally married. He’s been told by several members of law enforcement that he can’t keep her out even though she lives with her boyfriend. She’s entitled to walk right back in whenever. Hell, she can cozy up to him in bed in the middle of the night, or bring her married boyfriend over and have a party, according to the laws in Virginia. If he changes the locks she is allowed to break the windows to get back in. So hey, I guess marriage does afford you some protections. If you’re an asshole.

I have a friend who was with her husband for over fifteen years before they finally got married. I’m not positive but I think they finally took the plunge when they decided to have kids. For a very long time I would always mentally separate their time together into two different time spans. They’ve been together for almost twenty-five years but only married for six, or whatever the number was. Now I ask myself what difference does it make?

Sometimes I think I would very much enjoy bucking tradition and never remarrying while enjoying a very long term relationship with my mobster. He says that he knew what he was getting into when he got involved with me and if we never marry he’s okay with that.

Obviously, for me the decision is not as easy as simply saying yes or no. I lose alimony if I remarry or move in with someone. I’ve got two kids to think about; it’s not all about me.

Even putting all that aside I still go back to that overriding thought: I do not want to lose everything if the mobster suddenly decides he wants someone else. I cannot lose my home again. I cannot lose all of my possessions again.

I have no reason to believe the mobster would do that to me after everything he has gone through. I never thought CF would do that to me either, but he did.

I’m not saying I will never marry again. The mobster sure makes it tempting. But this time I’m not looking to be saved. I don’t need a knight in shining armor on a white horse; I want a full fledged partner. I want someone who wants to listen to me as I prattle on about my everyday life, someone who will let me vent when I’m having a bad day, someone who will make me laugh and laugh with me. I want someone who will go places and do things with me. I want to make my own way, my own money. I want to know that I can support myself with no help. Honestly, I would prefer to be the main breadwinner. I don’t need to be rescued; I don’t need to be with anyone. I do, however, want to be loved. I’m just not sure marriage is necessary for any of that.