Why Do We Force It?

Following up on my lovely post about parental alienation, I’m going to tackle the subject of forcing a relationship between the abandoning parent and the child one more time.

So often I see others admonishing a parent to extend grace to the abandoning parent. They’re told to offer up an olive branch, be the bigger person, love their child more than they hate the ex. Make that phone call. Offer up that extra time. Remind them of the school conference. The dance recital. The football game. The Honors assembly.

You hear over and over again: That’s still their other parent. You should encourage a relationship between the two of them. It’s the only mom or dad they have.

Why? Why does everyone put so much stock into this idea that because you share DNA you must have a relationship with that person regardless of how poorly they treat you? Why do we continue to sell this idea that abusive behavior is love?

I’m not suggesting that you tell your kids to cut off their other parent. What I would suggest is that you listen to your children when they tell you they want nothing to do with the other parent. You don’t force it. You don’t lie to them and tell them that this other parent loves them; you don’t know that. And even if it’s true what a shitty example of love. Love is not putting the other woman/other man ahead of your children’s feelings. When the amount of time that has passed since you last saw your child face to face can be measured in years, that is not love. Love is not telling your child you hated every minute of being a parent. Love is not walking out on your responsibilities because you put your happiness ahead of all else. Leaving your child’s other parent, moving out, disrupting their lives as they know them, moving in with another person and their children and/or having another baby, all in the time span of a few months while your child’s head is still spinning is not love. Love is not disappearing and never being heard from again. You don’t get to put another person’s kids ahead of your own, do things with them and for them that you didn’t do for your own, and then get to claim you love your children. Love is not waiting for your children to call you or text you, to reach out to you.

It’s no wonder so many people end up in dysfunctional relationships. We are sold this idea that when people love you they treat you badly. They ignore you. They minimize your needs. They put everyone and everything else before you. Then when you get into a relationship and that person does those things you think, “Oh this feels familiar. It must be love.”

It is okay to have boundaries, even at a young age. It is okay for a child to say, “This is unacceptable behavior. I don’t want to be around this person.”  As the sane parent I think it’s inappropriate to try to convince them that those feelings are wrong, or should be stifled so as to not damage a potential relationship. When someone has done something wrong admit it! Stop trying to whitewash it and convince your child that it’s completely reasonable to do the unreasonable. 

It’s also perfectly fine to tell your child, if they ask, “I don’t know why your other parent does those things,” instead of rushing to assure them that the other parent loves them. As my own son says, “He loves me? Really? He’s got a funny way of showing it.”

Again, I’m not trying to encourage people to damage a healthy relationship between a parent and child. I’m not encouraging anyone to badmouth the other parent or to create chaos where there is none. But for the love of all that’s holy, please stop trying to convince your children that people who don’t behave as though they love them, who actually do things that are very hurtful to them, love them. Stop selling abuse and toxicity as love. Stop telling your kids that people who love them hurt them and that’s perfectly normal and acceptable. Give them a chance at a healthy relationship.

Stop Blaming the Other Parent For Your Crappy Relationship With Your Kids

’Tis the season (’Twas the season?) for endless questions regarding the children, holidays, gifts from the ex and/or OW/OM (okay, mostly the OW), and having to hear about how nice or fun the OW/OM (okay, mostly the OW) is. Inevitably the question is always along the lines of: Is there anything I can do about this? Or, they’re just venting about what a shit sandwich it is to gulp down.

The next inevitable thing that happens? Someone comes along and tells them not to shame their children. You need to love your kids more than you hate your ex. Don’t put your kids in the middle. You have no right to take away whatever it is that the whore gave to your precious child. Dance prettier, bitch! Dance harder! Dance faster!

And then another someone comes along and doubles down on this idea. They are the person that insists that any small frown or raised eyebrow is proof of parental alienation. Saying no to a child is detrimental to their relationship with the other parent. Apparently if you are divorced or separated anyone can buy your child anything and they have free reign to bring it into your home. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to set parameters on the use of the item or not. Probably not, if I had to guess.

We, the parents left behind, are counseled to “learn how to grieve without PA abuse.” It’s all on us to avoid the so called pitfalls of parental alienation. The cheaters, of course, get a pass. They don’t need to worry about any of their behaviors. Abandoning your kids, ripping apart your family, putting a whore before your children… those are all cool. Nothing wrong with any of that.

But you! Chump! Yeah you! You need to understand that your “grieving” and your “boundaries” and your refusal to swallow down yet another dozen shit sandwiches in the name of “co-parenting” is all much scarier to your children than anything the lying, cheating, narcissistic asshole might be doing. Someone actually said that the cheated on parent can end up far more overtly scary, intimidating, abusive and/or destabilizing to their kids than the covertly abusive cheater because they are “so traumatized” that they become unstable. What utter bullshit!

People, get your heads out of your asses! 

I feel like I have to revisit this conversation every few months. Yes, parental alienation is real. It’s rare, but it’s real. I’ll go one step further and state I believe that most of the time the alienation attempts come from the parent who has already lied and cheated. It’s part and parcel of their plan to entirely decimate the discarded spouse.

I know I’m sensitive to all this bullshit because this is the exact story that Jerry Lee spins. “Oh Sam is a monster! She’s emotionally abusive and extremely manipulative. She’s poisoned my precious children against me. I am an alienated parent. I love my children to the moon and back; if not for that nasty she-beast I would have a wonderful relationship with my children because I am an amazing father who loves his kids with his heart and soul.”

Those are all lies. Oh, I believe he believes his own bullshit. But that’s exactly what it is- bullshit. He sent them both $100 and wished them a Merry Christmas through Venmo this year. Told them he loved them. He couldn’t even be bothered to call them and actually speak to them. As Picasso said, “He did his fatherly duty; he performed his obligation. Now he’s off the hook.”

In the almost five years since he walked out the door without telling his kids he was moving out- oh yeah, and leaving the fucking state!- he has made the drive to see one of his kids one time. That was Rock Star’s graduation. He texted her and offered her the opportunity to talk to him beforehand which she ignored; he never contacted his son. He spent maybe fifteen minutes, if that, with her on that day. He came out of the shadows crying his big crocodile tears because as always, it’s all about him. If you gave me a calendar I could tell you exactly how many round trips he managed to make in order to fuck his gold digging whore of a cousin. I can promise you this- it was more than one!

From what my kids tell me the rare times that he does actually text them it’s all about him, or trying to get them to feel sorry for him. He doesn’t text to check in with them or to see how their day is going. If he texts at all it’s to try to guilt them (or rather, Rock Star; I’m not sure he’s ever texted Picasso). Not once has he apologized for what he has done and the havoc he has wrecked.

He does not call. He does not send cards, especially now that both kids have Venmo. They don’t exist except for their birthday and Christmas, when he does his fatherly duty, as Picasso calls it, and takes 30 seconds out of his day to send them something via Venmo.

The day after Thanksgiving I was dealing with a major meltdown by my daughter who was upset because her dad did not even bother to text her and wish her a happy Thanksgiving, even after she reached out and wished him a happy Thanksgiving first. “He tells me he loves me and I try to give him a chance instead of hating him, and he doesn’t even bother to wish me a happy Thanksgiving.”

That is not my fault. I did not choose any of that; I did not force any of that. He is the one that walked away without ever looking back. He is the one that decided it was worth it to sacrifice his children for Harley. He chose her over them and I will not take the blame for that. That is all on him.

I have spent the last five plus years trying to keep my kids’ lives as normal as possible. I was willing to stay in a town where I knew very few people and had no family support so that my daughter could finish high school there. 

I have been the parent tasked with breaking all of the bad news to my children while Jerry Lee and Harley skipped happily off into the sunset with nary a worry.

Oh, you’re cheating on me and we’re getting a divorce? No worries; I’ll break the news to the kids.

Oh, you’ve moved out of the house? And you’ve left the state? Don’t worry. I’ll break it to the kids.

You lost your job and now we’re going to have to move again? Hey- no problem! I’ll break it to the kids. I’m getting good at this.

Our daughter isn’t going to get her license after all? Sure, I’ll be the one to deliver the news. And I’ll hold her while she cries from the disappointment.

Oh, you’ve stopped paying support again? Yeah, I’ll let our daughter know she might have to drop out of college.

Every single bit of shit news that was ever delivered I got the sucky job of delivering. I was the one that held my kids when they were upset or disappointed or sad. He was nowhere around, much too busy with the whore and the new family.

I was the one that got them settled into their new home with their Nana. I was the one registering them for school in a new district. I was the one who had to listen to my daughter say in a defeated voice, “I used to be someone. Now I’m nobody.”

I’m the one that scheduled therapy for them and got them on medication. I’m the one that Rock Star turns to when she’s falling apart because she’s stressed.

I am the one that has made countless sacrifices so that these kids could have a comfortable life. I am the one who has always been present, always been stable, could always be counted on. Me.

Maybe, instead of chiding the parent who is actually there and doing the hard work of raising the children left behind, they could be supportive of that parent. Just an idea.

Parental alienation is a hell of a lot more complicated than simply refusing to let the whore who fucked your husband give your child a gift. She’s not even a parent so how the hell is that parental alienation?

They remain a sensitive bunch. Everything is parental alienation. You won’t let your ex take his holiday AND your holiday? Parental alienation! You don’t want a creepy “family” picture of the OW, your ex, and your kids sitting around the Christmas tree sitting in your living room? Parental alienation! You dare to have boundaries? Parental alienation! You don’t want to be besties with the ex and the affair partner? Parental alienation!

In the beginning, when I was first discarded for the ‘ho, I was way too busy being the sane parent and trying to keep things as normal as possible for Rock Star and Picasso to be busy trying to alienate him. Considering we had less than a year between D-Day and moving day thanks to his firing I didn’t have a whole lot of time to work my evil magic. He left six months after his affair was discovered. Like, moved 300 miles away from his kids without saying a word, left. That was the first time I worried endlessly about what was going to happen to us because he was no longer directly depositing his money into the joint account.

Then I was really busy applying for welfare, enrolling my kids in school in a new school district, and applying for free lunches and text books because I had no job and was living off of savings. Didn’t have time to fuck with his parenting or lack thereof. 

Shortly after that I began working a job that required me to get up at 3:30 in the morning. That’s real fucking early. I don’t function that well that early in the morning. I do even worse when I have to get up at 1:30 in the morning so I can be there by 2. A month later I began working a second job. For a good 10 months or so I worked two jobs- lots of hours, not so much pay. And very little in the way of time off. Again, not really much time to play a quick round of parental alienation. Too busy working and trying to keep afloat. Especially considering he wasn’t contributing anything.

Last year I was kinda busy having a big ass needle stuck in my arm and then having my blood sucked out, the plasma separated from the red blood cells, and then the blood put back into my arm, and then turning around and doing it again later that week, twice a week, every week basically for four months.  All in order to make sure my kids got a decent Christmas because Jerry Lee couldn’t be counted on to pay his support on any kind of schedule. Didn’t have time to tell the kids how much their dad sucked. The plasma donation was pretty much a part-time job.

This year I spent a lot of time running. Changing my eating habits. Trying not to drink so much diet Coke. Jerry Lee and his pathetic attempts at parenting weren’t on my radar. My kids at the beginning of 2020 were 19 and 17. They’re now 20 and 18. I’m not necessary for any information exchanges. He is able to have a relationship with each one of them completely independent of me. I am not a cog in this wheel. If it’s not spinning that is not on me.

I’ve stayed out of their relationship. I’ve never been a factor the entire time. There are so many things I haven’t told them. I didn’t tell them because I knew all it would do is hurt them. Things like him buying a $300 dress for Harley’s daughter to go to a dance when he couldn’t send $80 my way to pay for his own daughter’s Homecoming dress. Or like how he was able to buy a $4000+ engagement ring for Harley that same month he couldn’t send money for Rock Star’s Homecoming dress. Or how he was able to celebrate Harley’s kids’ birthdays when he couldn’t do the same with his own kids. Or how he could never attend Rock Star’s gymnastics meets or cheer competitions but he could buy a fucking Cardinal t-shirt in support of the whore’s daughter and attend her cheer competitions. The iPhones he bought them. The puppies he bought them. Or how he’s so broke and has nothing in savings but can spend over $1800 on a vacation rental.

Harley is the dipshit that continues to post her drivel on social media where everyone can see it. My daughter isn’t stupid. She said recently she knows damn well he spent a hell of a lot more on “their” kids than he did on her and her brother. She knows he offered to buy Harley’s daughter a car. I don’t know how, but she knows. She knows all kinds of things that I had no idea about.

None of this is my doing. It’s all on him.

To these people who are champions of parental alienation everything falls under that category. Your ex planted listening devices in your home so you won’t accept gifts from him in your house any more? Parental alienation! Your ex and his ho have been known to make derisive comments about your child you have with your new partner, and even wish harm on this child, so you are not willing to graciously accept a gift for this child that is supposedly from your shared children? Parental alienation! Those kids are going to be devastated and don’t you know every time you let it be known that you disapprove of their other parent it says to them that you hate half of them? Again, what an utter crock of shit. 

I am a child of divorce. I knew from a very young age that my mother was not a fan of my father’s. For good reason, I might add. Never once did I say to myself, “Hmmmm… I’m half my mom and half my dad, so if my mom can’t stand my dad it therefore goes to reason that she cannot stand half of me.” Nope, not once did I think that way. That just seems weird to me. I am my own person. I am not one half my mother plus one half my father. I’m one entirely whole me.

I’ve also never looked at either of my kids and thought to myself, “Well, they are half Jerry Lee’s, so I guess I need to hate half of them.” Nope, not once. They are both unique individuals and while we both contributed our chromosomes they are not half me and half Jerry Lee. They are Picasso and Rock Star. Period.

Maybe we need to start by explaining to these children who think they are half of each parent that even though their parents each contribute chromosomes to their genetic makeup that doesn’t mean they are that parent, or even half of that parent.

If you don’t want to share holidays and special events with the ex you’re putting your kids in the middle and forcing them to choose. If you don’t want to hear about all the fun things the OW did with your kids you are putting your children in the middle and making things uncomfortable for them. If you’re not super excited about all the wonderful things your ex did for the kids, like taking them on fancy vacations and buying them expensive toys, clothes, and purses while at the same time not paying child support so you can buy them things like groceries and heat, you are not thinking about your children and letting your pettiness and bitterness rule your life. Apparently, once you become a parent, especially a divorced parent, you are no longer allowed to have boundaries or feelings, and if you do have feelings then they don’t matter.

Fuck that. If you’re the parent that stuck around and is doing the hard work then you get to have whatever feelings you want. You can draw whatever boundaries you’d like. You can create the rules that are comfortable for you.

I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a parent that was cheated on and left behind, put their kid in the middle. Do they vent away in a safe place sometimes? Absolutely. But I don’t recall a single time they’ve ever said they were going to do something that was clearly alienation. They regularly bend over backwards for these people and are often encouraged to keep doing so. Keep giving and giving without expecting anything in return. That’s what a good parent does.

Instead of telling the parent that has stuck around and is doing the hard work how much they suck and how they’re doing it all wrong, why not give them a little bit of praise and support? They didn’t choose a sidepiece over their kids; that was the other parent. Hey, maybe that’s why their relationship with their kid is so shitty. Maybe it has nothing to do with parental alienation at all and everything to do with the choices they’ve made.

You’re a Better Person Than Me

I think we’ve all heard that before. Usually spoken when someone does something we would not be able to do, or maybe something we wouldn’t ever want to do.  As in:

You celebrate all of the holidays with your cheating ex and the AP? Oh, you’re a better person than me!

You invited your cheating ex and the AP over for dinner? You’re a better person than me!

You met up with the AP and had a heart to heart? You’re a better person than me!

You don’t hate the AP and you guys go get mani/pedis together? You’re a better person than me!

You bought baby gifts for the affair baby so your kids could give their new “sibling” something? You’re a better person than me!

Are they though? Aren’t they just better at eating shit sandwiches?

Then, of course, you get the whole, “It’s so great that you are moving on and not letting bitterness and anger rule your life.” Because obviously if you’re not best friends with your ex-husband’s ho then you must be bitter and/or angry. Who wouldn’t want to be besties with the person that fucked your husband behind your back and helped blow up your life? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Do you really have to eat shit sandwiches in order to prove you’re no longer bitter and have a fulfilling life without the fuckwit in it? I say, “No. No, I do not.” I don’t need to be friends with someone in order to prove that I don’t hate them. I don’t need to buy them gifts, have them over for dinner, or have heart to heart conversations with them either. Not being friends does not equal remaining bitter or angry. It could simply equal rock solid boundaries.

Why do we keep perpetuating this idea that the only healthy way to divorce is by cozying up to the people that hurt us? Do we want to encourage people to debase themselves in order to prove something to others? I’m not encouraging people to deliberately be antagonistic. By all means, be civil when you must interact. But this idea that you need to celebrate the holidays together for the sake of the children, or that you must welcome the interloper with open arms as another parent? No fucking way. It is not necessary.

I’m sure that in a lot of cases the divorcing couple and the AP could have an amicable relationship. How difficult is it for the cheating spouse and affair partner to be amicable? They weren’t blindsided. They’re skipping off into the sunset, living their brand new shiny lives. They haven’t lost a damn thing. You wanna act like you’re friends? That would be swell! It’s image management at its finest.

Look! Look! What we did wasn’t that bad? Would my jilted spouse hang around me and my paramour if what we did was so awful? Look at what great friends we are! All is forgiven! I’m still a wonderful person despite the fact that I lied and cheated. My affair partner is still a wonderful person despite the fact that they fuck married people.

I don’t know why this narrative gets so much play. Nor do I understand why so many betrayed people buy into it but I really wish it would stop. You don’t have to befriend the person who gutted you, whether that’s your spouse or the affair partner. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Go live your best life and let the swine roll around in the muck. You don’t owe them a minute more of your time.

Quarantine Craziness!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

Co-Parenting: Another Approach

I learned my lesson, people. The last time I saw someone give what I thought could be potentially harmful co-parenting advice I titled it, More Bad Advice. This time I shall label it, “Another Approach”. Perhaps people will not call for my head this time around. I’m also not going to link to the article this time so that should help as well.

Tip #1

The relationship is over. It is not your job to “ruin” the life of your ex. Please refrain from gossip that may harm the image of your child’s other parent. Remember that is still their parent and you chose them. Taking the high road, especially when you’ve been handed the short end of the stick, will go a long way in establishing a dynamic that is good for all parties.

First of all, who has said anything about ruining another person’s life? If by “ruining” you mean “imposing consequences” then I’m all for it! Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener. Sometimes when you act like a jackass people aren’t willing to help you out.

As far as gossiping goes I do my best to follow Chump Lady’s lead. I report the facts. I do not editorialize. If the facts lead others to believe you’re a shitty person… what can I say? If you wanted people to speak more kindly about it perhaps you should have acted better.

I always find it remarkable that the person who is shit on is the one being given the advice. Hey, even if your partner has completely fucked you over, take the high road. That’s what good people do. You want people to think you’re a good person, don’t you? Do you want people to think you’re bitter and angry? Then you’d better smile and be willing to work with fuckwits. Otherwise everyone is going to know you’re a horrible person who deserved whatever injustice you’ve been dealt.

Tip #2

When you start dating, vet your dates. If a person shows major signs of distrust or envy when it comes to your ex, they may not be mature enough to handle a healthy dynamic. For example, if they cringe at the thought of the two of you going to an event to support your in common child, sincerely take that as a red flag.

Vet your dates? Are there a lot of people out there who don’t do this naturally? Oh him? He was my prison pen pal. I’m sure he’ll be great around my kids. Sure, I had a little bit of a setback with that hitchhiker I picked up last summer… Like I knew he had a head in the duffel bag! But this guy is different. He wasn’t even in on murder. And he’s innocent! It was all a big conspiracy! He was framed! 

All snark aside, I think this can actually be very good advice. If your new partner becomes a green eyed monster whenever you and the ex need to have a conversation about your shared child, or throws a fit if you say hello when you bump into one another at a kid’s event, you probably need to examine that. This is probably not a good pick for a future partner, especially if you have young children and will need to co-parent for a while.

Similarly, I would be leery of the exes that do everything together. If you, new partner, think it’s weird for them to go to brunch every Sunday to discuss little Sydney, or think it’s unnecessary for them to co-chair the big spring carnival, or wonder why they still go to the movies together, this might not be a good relationship for you. They seem a little too entwined to me.

With that said, if you decide you want to act like one big happy, polygamous family, good for you! I won’t fault you for that. I, however, do not wish to hang out with the ex at every event. I prefer cordial when necessary. Not buddies. Not spending vacations together. No hanging out. Then again, that’s my line. You are certainly free to draw a different one.

Tip #3

When separating from the ex you share children with, you should consider it your job to assist when possible the betterment of that ex. What’s that mean? If you learn about an opportunity they could benefit from like a job, let them know about it. Or maybe you were their transportation before the break and they still need you to maintain employment, just do it. For as long as you can. And give a warning before you cease. Be the bigger person. Your kids are watching.

Give me a break! It is not your job to assist them. That stopped being your job when the relationship ended. How crazy would it be if we quit an actual job and people continued to tell us it would behoove us to continue to do that job? Listen, Gloria, I know you quit your job at the bank but don’t you think you owe it to us to come in and assist our customers? If you don’t do it, who will? Here. Just sit down right here at this desk. Turn on that computer. Maybe throw a loan or two together. Open up an account. You owe us that much. It’s your job to do your job that you quit. What kind of a person are you? Are you a quitter, Gloria? Are you?  A little warning that you weren’t going to continue to do this after you left the bank would have been nice.

You want a warning that I’m no longer going to continue to do things for you? Here’s your warning- I’m divorcing you!

Jesus Christ on crutches! It reminds me of Jackass and him asking me if we were still going to have spaghetti for dinner after I told him I knew he was fucking Harley. Gee whiz! I can’t think of a single reason I wouldn’t want to. Oh yes, except for that whole, “You’re fucking a whore!” thing. That makes me not want to cook for you anymore. FYI: Spoiler alert! I won’t be doing your laundry anymore either.

And always with the ominous warning: Your kids are watching!  Oh no! You mean my kids might actually see me standing up for myself? They might actually see me refuse to take any more shit? How awful! My God, they may not grow up to be co-dependent people; they might actually develop a backbone.

Generally I try to be open minded. I try very hard not to tell people what to do. But I’m begging you. Please, please don’t take this awful advice and continue to prop up someone who shits all over you. It is NOT YOUR JOB! Why? Because this person FIRED YOU FROM YOUR JOB! That’s why!

With that said if you were the asshole then I suppose it’s fine to continue to help out. Perhaps it will ease your guilty conscience.

The author goes on to say that she knows some of these examples are far fetched but implores the reader to hear her out. Too often when we split we want to make sure life is not better for our ex’s without us. It’s true. We all like to think we are the best thing that has ever happened to anybody we’ve come in contact with.

Eh. I don’t think CF deserves to have a wonderful life after what he’s done to me and our kids. I think the life he’s living is far better than the life he deserves. I definitely don’t think it’s my job to make sure his life hums along and that he has everything he wants. I owe him nothing. And quite honestly, I don’t have to do anything to make his life miserable. He’s done a fine job all on his own.

Instead, she wants us to get to what’s important. The children. Apparently, if you speak negatively about the other parent that is going to trickle down onto the child and damage their fragile psyche. If Mommy’s a bitch that must mean I’m a bitch. If Daddy’s an asshole, then I must be an asshole. Or so goes the conventional wisdom. The author points out that even if what you are saying are all facts you shouldn’t speak them because you could traumatize your children with that information.

I say, once again, if learning the facts about what you are doing would traumatize your children then YOUR BEHAVIOR is what is wrong. You can’t argue that cheating is okay or beating your partner is okay or gambling away your paycheck is okay or whatever behavior is okay, but actually telling your kids the truth about that behavior is traumatizing and never right. No, no. If it’s okay to do it then it’s okay to talk about it.

She goes on to tell a fun little story about her ex never paying child support. The man was $22k behind. Hmmm…. sounds familiar. Due to circumstances beyond her control he still wound up in front of a judge who was only too willing to throw him in jail for failure to pay. But Your Honor, this is a man who, despite being a deadbeat, sees his children every chance he had and his children appreciate that. His presence is so much more important than the money it takes to raise them. She decided to withdraw her petition for support and forfeited the past due amount. She didn’t want to be left having to explain why dear ol’ daddy had to “go away” for a year.

You know what? Good for her if she can forgive that debt and be completely fine without his financial help. Not everybody can, though. I sure as hell can’t say, “Hey, Cousinfucker, don’t worry about support. I’ll forgive it all. We’ll make it work on my hefty $28,000/year. I love the fact that I don’t make enough to have a home of my own. I enjoy sleeping on the couch. You and the whore take your combined $180,000 and go have yourselves a real fun time. You deserve it!”

Something tells me, though, that this woman always worked. She wasn’t a stay at home mom who followed her husband across the country. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she had been the primary breadwinner. I would also be willing to bet that if she wasn’t the primary breadwinner, that she at least made close to, if not equal to, what the father of her kids made. God bless those who are able to support their kids on their own. Sadly, not all of us can. And if you’re one of those who can’t you shouldn’t be made to feel as though you’re doing something wrong by insisting upon child support being paid.

I would LOVE to find a job paying me $60-$80,000 a year. I would LOVE to be able to tell Cousinfucker to fuck off, that I don’t need his goddamn money and he will NEVER be able to influence my life again. Alas, I doubt that will ever happen so I do the only other thing I can. I hold his feet to the fire. If necessary, I’ll throw his ass in jail.

What would I tell my kids if their dad went away for a year? Well, for starters it wouldn’t be a big change. But even if it were they are old enough that I would simply tell them the truth. Your dad owes thousands in back child support. The state takes his obligation to support his children seriously. He’s going to jail for a year as a consequence for not paying his child support, just like he could go to jail if he had been caught driving drunk or if he robbed a store. Honestly, I think that explanation is simple enough even for a young child. But if you think that’s too complicated try this: You know how when you do something you’re not supposed to, or I tell you to do something and you don’t do it so then you have to go to time out? When adults do things they’re not supposed to, or don’t do things they are supposed to they have consequences, too. Daddy’s going to an adult time out. We call it jail.

She goes on to say that the look on the judge’s and sheriff’s faces made it all worth it because they thought of him as cheap labor. That wasn’t going to happen on HER watch. He was her kid’s hero. I need them to see him as SUPERMAN. Really? A deadbeat is their hero? A man who leaves their mother to not only physically take care of them but also financially bear the entire burden? That is one awesome example.

She ends it by saying she needs her kids to know that both of their parents love them, emphasis on both. She wants them to have another person to run to if she’s not available. I need them to receive all the love God has made for them, even if it comes from their dad’s new love. She is in my place when I’m not there so she is important and is to be respected. She is important because she is there to enhance his happiness so we need her on board with the co-parenting dynamic so she doesn’t disrupt the flow of things.

Oh. Hell. No. For the record, I have no objection to them running to the other parent; however, the “new love” is not my replacement. She is not “the momma of the house”. She is not their momma. Period. She can be pleasant. She can be nice. She can take them to the movies. Hell, my wallet would appreciate it if she would take my daughter shopping. But she does not take over as momma. Even when I’m not there. Even when I’m dead she will not be momma.

Plus, I thought it was important to vet your dating partners. Why is her participation necessary for their co-parenting dynamic? How can she disrupt the flow of things? It is my belief that the other parent might be a little less than stellar if she has that much influence. Then again the man didn’t believe in paying child support so…

Also, she advises that you never be envious of the new love because “he/she is your ex for a reason.”

Sometimes that reason is because your ex is a lying cheater who tries to skirt child support. Sometimes that “new love” is the whore that knowingly fucked your then partner with absolutely no regard for you or your children.

She does wisely advise those who are dealing with a physically abusive person not to try to follow along with this. I think it should go even further.

You are not a failure as a person or a parent if you do not have the blended, happy model that is portrayed on television comedies. You are not a horrible person if you don’t want to pose for “divorce selfies” (dear sweet baby Jesus, yes, that’s a thing) on the courthouse steps. You do NOT need to get together with your ex and the new love to discuss “your” children. You no longer need to behave as your ex’s secretary; it is not a failing to say, “No more.” Your kids will be fine if Mommy and Daddy don’t vacation together or spend the holidays together. You don’t need to fool the world into believing you’re still a happily married couple even after you’ve divorced. You can have your own schedule, parent your own way, have your own set of cleats or tennis rackets or school uniforms and learn to rely on a new support system. That’s all fine if that’s what you want. Hell, I would encourage it.

I’ve also said many times that if being cooperative works in your situation then excellent. I’m happy for you and would never try to talk you into being uncooperative just for the sake of screwing with your ex. HOWEVER, what the author preaches is not the gold standard for co-parenting. Sometimes it’s just not going to work. Sometimes you are co-parenting with a person who does not have your best interest at heart and certainly doesn’t have the kids’ best interests at heart. Sometimes you are dealing with a person who hates you more than they love their kids. And sometimes you’re dealing with a person who just doesn’t care and doesn’t place a priority on their kids. Figure out if you’re in one of those situations and take it from there.

You do not need to act like a doormat in order to co-parent. I would argue that modeling such behavior is actually harmful to your children. You teach them to let people walk all over them. You teach them their needs are not important. You teach them that pleasing others is so much more important than anything else- like standing up for yourself or your principles, or demanding what is rightfully yours.

Remember, cooperation and civility are nice bonuses, but they aren’t necessary in order to raise some damn fine children. If you are willing and able to do that with your ex, good for you. But if you’re dealing with a toxic person there is no shame in walking away and letting them pick up their own mess.

A Hex on Hax

I don’t know what your Google newsfeed looks like but mine is filled with news about the royals, some television, Ted Bundy, as of late, sharks, the Kardashians and Duggars, for some strange reason, and advice columns. So many advice columnists. I’ve got Dear Abby, Dear Prudence, and Dear Amy, and Carolyn Hax.

As you might be able to surmise I have a bone to pick with Ms. Hax. One of her latest columns featured a woman who had been married for 33 years. From what the letter writer writes it seems she was a stay at home mom to 3 children who are now all college educated adults. Husband traveled for work quite often. Letter writer held down the fort. She has “a feeling” one day and spies only to find out her husband has been cheating on her; the affairs go back at least 20 years. The entire time he’s been cheating he’s also been having sex with his wife. Wife quietly gathers proof- she’s downloading emails and texts and dating profiles. She’s got a GPS tracker. She is prepared. And then little by little she methodically divulges this information to the husbands, boyfriends, and families of the people involved.

I don’t want to speak for Carolyn but I think what upset her so much was the very matter-of-fact way the wife went about this and the fact she seemed to have no remorse. As she stated at the end of her letter: Shouldn’t all the players’ lives be altered as the wife’s life has been? Shouldn’t these people, without concern for wife and children- whom some met- be exposed for what they are?

Please don’t advise karma, therapy, divorce, the price of revenge. Whatever wife decides to do about the marriage isn’t relevant, this is about leveling the playing field.

It was probably the whole, “Shouldn’t all the players lives be altered as the wife’s life has been?” 
That sounds way too much like vengeance and as we all know, vengeance is bad. We must accept being cheated on and humiliated with a smile on our face and a song in our heart. We owe it to all the other parties to keep our lips closed and to let them wander about with no consequences.

This was Carolyn’s response:

You suffered a devastating pain, which no one deserves. I’m sorry that happened to you.

You responded, though, by inflicting pain just for the sake of inflicting pain, which nothing justifies. You leveled the playing field with firebombs and calculated fury.

And without apology or apparent remorse.

Even though such payback never affects only the guilty, but also the people who love them. Innocents all.

He did this to you, with them, yes- but you ensured that everyone affected got the most information in the worst way possible.

Yet I can’t talk about karma, therapy or the price of revenge?

Does that mean you’ve written only to invite applause?

I have none. I have only dismay at reading of a person who apparently worked hard for an entire lifetime to build good things, and then, under the influence of incendiary rage, turned destructive as if these were movie people and feelings, not real ones.

I know you don’t want help.

But I hope you cool down enough to see the wisdom of getting it, professionally and soon.

Huh. I guess we are once again back to the old adage, “It’s not what I did that is the problem; it’s your reaction to it that is the problem.”

I find it interesting that Ms. Hax seems appalled at the idea that the wife’s response was more severe than the injury inflicted upon her. I guess if there was a way to measure how devastated this wife of 33 years was by the information she uncovered then her response/revenge could only be equal to that. But how do we measure that? And what is an equal response? If you find out someone you know is fucking your husband are you entitled to call her a big ol’ poopyhead but telling her husband she’s a whore is out of bounds? I’m not sure of the rules here. Perhaps Ms. Hax thinks it’s better if we just go about our lives as though nothing is remiss. Smile and wave, ladies. Smile and wave.

I have this philosophy. It’s pretty simple. Probably too simple. It goes like this: If you don’t want your spouse or significant other to be told you’re sleeping with other people’s spouses, then don’t sleep with other people’s spouses. Crazy simple, right?

I also find it interesting that Ms. Hax seems so bewildered by the fact the wife is not remorseful or apologetic about blowing the lid off of these secret affairs.

If I’ve made the choice to tell someone’s husband that his wife has been fucking my husband I’m not going to apologize for it nor will I feel remorseful. I obviously feel like I’m in the right in doing so. I may feel terrible for that duped husband or boyfriend, but that’s not my shame to bear. Me telling him his wife/girlfriend has been sleeping with my husband isn’t what hurt him; her actually fucking my husband is what has hurt him. Period.

I will also take issue with her statement that the wife inflicted pain just to inflict pain. I think the letter writer can easily argue that she wanted to let these clueless men know what they were dealing with so they weren’t blindsided like she was. She’s offering up information. What they choose to do with that information is their business. At least they are fully informed.

I did love this gem: Even though such payback never affects only the guilty, but also the people who love them. Innocents all.

Are we including the betrayed wife’s children in the tally of innocents? Or just the families of the women who cheated with her husband?

Carolyn, I know you didn’t ask me but here’s my take on this bullshit. I really don’t think any of the guilty parties’ loved ones are suddenly going to turn against them. Their mommies and daddies will still love them. Their siblings will still invite them over for Christmas. Their children will more than likely still think the sun rises and sets by them. What we’re really talking about in this situation is the fact that the person who was sleeping with the wife’s husband may suffer a moment of embarrassment. Oh, the horrors!

It’s possible you might have an irate husband or boyfriend, but even then I’d lay 50/50 odds that he won’t leave her. I’m not sure if all of these people who were contacted were the significant other when the affair took place (they did go back 20 years) but in the case of a boyfriend who didn’t even know the hussy when she was doing the wife’s husband, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he didn’t care about her previous affairs. She didn’t cheat on him…

Plus, I’m still going to offer up the idea that if you don’t want the people in your life to find out you’re a husband fucking whore then don’t fuck other people’s husbands. If you continue to do so then that’s the price you may pay.

He did this to you, with them, yes- but you ensured that everyone affected got the most information in the worst way possible.

Information is bad. It’s horrible. Let’s keep everyone in the dark.

Again, Ms. Hax insists that the problem is not what the cheaters did; it’s the fact that the betrayed wife lets the other spouses/significant others know what they did. Fucking around on your partner isn’t bad. Telling someone their partner is fucking around is downright evil. You need professional help immediately!

I think my favorite part though was when Carolyn admonishes the betrayed wife for turning destructive because these people were real people, dammit! Not fake movie people. And their feelings were real. Their families’ feelings were real, too. Unlike the betrayed wife. She was just a movie prop. She had no feelings. No one needed to consider her. Or her family.

All those women who met her and her then minor children and then went off and gleefully fucked her husband certainly weren’t treating any of them like they were real people Nope. They were simply props in their affair-y tale world.

Quite honestly her final remarks were condescending and arrogant: I know you don’t want help but I hope you cool down enough to see the wisdom of getting it, professionally and soon.

Really? Why does this woman need professional help? Because she isn’t taking crap from the cheaters who felt entitled to cheat behind her back? Because she didn’t shut up and sit down and remain silent when she found out what was going on? Because she decided if some woman wanted to ride her husband badly enough then her family could damn well hear about what their lovely wife/girlfriend/daughter/mom/sister was doing? Because she dared to speak up? Because instead of remaining passive and having things done to her and her life she took charge and started being proactive? Because she dared to push back against entitled cheaters?

Hell, I wish I had half her moxie when I found out what my dear cheating husband was doing. The only thing I did was file for divorce and take all the money. I had no one to tell because I was the one that was contacted. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again for the record. I am enormously thankful that The Saint contacted me. If he hadn’t I probably would have gone on to pay off the pool and the kids and I would have been living in utter poverty from day one.

To hell with you and your worthless advice, Carolyn Hax.

 

Let It Go

I am almost 3 1/2 years out from my final D-Day. You would think I would have everything together, everything figured out, everything resolved and put behind me. You would be mostly right but there are days when some things linger.

I suppose part of it is the fact we are still trying to get support modified for Picasso. My lawyer is taking her sweet time, claiming to be swamped with work. This has been ongoing since July. My patience is quickly coming to a close.

My beef though is with him. This was his responsibility. He has a court order. I used to think that meant something. Instead, he just glances at my texts about modifying the support and not simply cutting it in half and he says, “No.” Calls me a cunt when he realizes I’m not going to roll over and play dead. More importantly I’m not listening to him and I’m no longer letting him have his way. Then he insults the mobster and implies I’m using child support to meet up with him. He haughtily tells me he won’t pay a dime more until he hears from my lawyer. Once he hears from my lawyer he wants to argue with the numbers she gives him and decides to try his hand at playing lawyer. He refuses to pay the legal fees which I have incurred because he is an asshole.

From my perspective he gets away with it. He gets away with all of it. He openly defies a court order. He calculates child support on his daughter down to the freaking minute she graduates. He divides child support in half and dares me to try to tell him that it should be different. When I do, he says, “I know better than you or the judge what happens next.” He drags me through the mud and makes me do all of the damn work and then he says, “No, I’m not paying your legal fees. That’s all on you.” So again, if I want him to pay I have to take him to court again. Which costs even more money.

What can I do? I control only myself. I suppose I can continue to fight him and hope that I win and that by winning I land a solid uppercut right on that smug face of his.

There is a lot of talk of letting go… walking away… being the bigger person… focusing on the big picture…

Yes, I suppose I could drop the rope. Say, “Fine, pay half of the original support amount.” I could eat the legal fees. God knows I have so much discretionary income that another $600-$900 to my attorney is no big deal! <<< That was sarcasm.

Then he wins. He gets away with being a fucking jackass. He gets away with violating a court order. He gets away with talking down to me. He gets away with making me jump through hoops. All so that I can tell myself that some money is just too expensive and it’s not worth it; I can try to convince myself that having him out of my life is worth all of the shit sandwiches I’ve had to eat because of him.

It’s not even about the money at this point. It’s about the fact that I told him very nicely that he should probably contact his lawyer and get this modified. I agreed that it would go down but told him it would not decrease by 50%. He knew that. He was just playing games. He doles out the money when he wants and he pays what he wants. I told him again a few days later after he sent his version of prorated support for Rock Star. It’s not going to decrease by 50%. Please talk to your lawyer and get this modified. Instead he lets me know there are no separate orders for child support and therefore I will now receive 50% of what I had been receiving. He even has the audacity to tell me to read the court orders.

If that’s not enough of a shit sandwich to swallow, once my lawyer finally gives him new numbers he wants to argue. Oh no! I don’t agree with that at all. If we’re going to modify this we need to make sure all the numbers are up to date. I want proof of insurance since my wife is a such a lying, cheater (oops, that’s me!) and I want to see if she got a raise since we were in court last time.

He actually has the balls to scold my lawyer and point out that there are newer forms, which he has used. Finally, he follows all of this up by letting her know he refuses to pay my legal expenses because he is not privy to my business affairs. He has no control over whether or not I choose to get a lawyer involved.

Yes, because my first course of action was to call my lawyer about this. Oh, wait! My first course of action was actually going to him and letting him know he should speak to his lawyer about getting child support modified for one child. He could have had this done and over with in probably 30 minutes- maybe an hour if he decided he was going to look the forms up and do it all on his own right from the beginning. Instead, even knowing that he was wrong and he did indeed owe more he still crossed his arms and stomped his feet and refused to do anything on his own. I had to do it. Furthermore, he thinks I should be the one to pay for it.

I might even be able to shake this all off by telling myself that he looks like a giant ass while I keep plodding along, doing whatever needs to get done. Don’t let him get to you. Pretend you’re a character in a movie. Get to work and just do what needs to be done. Don’t worry about the other stuff. That’s not what’s important.

That’s when the thoughts of, “It’s not fair!” begin screaming in my head.

Because it’s not just this latest thing. It’s the fact that I have had to do all of the dirty work ever since the day I found out he was fucking his whore of a cousin. Who told the kids we were getting a divorce? That would be me. Daddy of the Decade was off fucking his cousin at the time. Probably throwing hundred dollar bills at her kids, too. Who had to break it to the kids that we were going to have to move? That would be me again. He was busy half-ass participating in alcohol treatment and refusing to give me any information. Who had to go through and price all of the items in our house and list the furniture on Facebook? If you guessed me you would be correct! Who held our daughter while she cried because she found out she was going to have to start all over with a learner’s permit instead of getting her license like she had anticipated? Oh, oh! Pick me. Who worked two jobs to pay my bills and attempt to give my kids something for Christmas? Again, me. Who watched as our beautiful daughter became depressed and anxious after being moved her junior year? And who held and supported her as she cried on her Senior Night because she didn’t have much to list on her achievements and didn’t have anyone but me there to support her? By golly, that was me, too! Who had to hire an expert witness at the cost of over $8000 to prove someone was faking PTSD? That money, btw, could have gone towards my kids or a house. It’s me again! Look, it’s a rigged game. It’s always me. Every shitty thing that had to be done was done by me. Every bit of bad news that my kids heard was told by me. Cousinfucker was off doing his own thing with his newly created fake family. They were so much more important than his original family.

It extends back to the entire settlement that I accepted. After more than 2 years, and being told a judge would probably rule this way anyway, I did basically as my lawyer suggested. Now I wish I had fought some more.

There are times that I’m still pissed I had to account for the $27,000 I took. I was told repeatedly by multiple lawyers that as long as I spent that on the household and could prove it I wouldn’t have to split that with him. I faithfully kept receipts for more than 2 years. Still had to account for it in the settlement, which hurt me a lot. It definitely helped him because it mostly offset the stock he cashed in, the 401k he drained, and the money he gave to her. Plus, because his primary 401k was the only asset we had as a married couple everything was rolled into the 401k and how it was divided.

This meant that when I was paying all of the household bills and marital debt while he remained living in the home and paid nothing towards any of it, he was free to blow through tens of thousands of dollars. When I was working two jobs and getting up at 3:30 in the morning he decided to drain his smaller 401k, pocket the $10 grand and was sleeping in and watching TV. Because all of our bills were automatically withdrawn from our joint account I was still paying his insurance. I made his final car payment.

All of that was rolled up into the 401k and then divided. Instead of a big fat check he had to write to pay me my half of all of that, I have less than $100,000 in a 401k, waiting for me when I retire in another 15-20 years.

Our pool ended up being paid off with his bonus check and then we split the rest. His half was already gone by the time he lost his job. I’m assuming the whore blew through it, spending it on Vera Bradley and God only knows what else. I know they got to take a vacation to Florida over Spring Break. I got to use my share to live on when he lost his job and decided he wasn’t going to send another dime until he finally got a job worthy of him.

He got to spend his money on fun things. Vacations. Dresses. Puppies. Engagement rings. Romantic getaways. Bribing children that weren’t his. I used mine to survive while I looked for a job, and the rest of it is waiting for me when I retire someday.

Let it go, right? I can’t control it. It’s in the past. What’s done is done. Move on. Make a brand new life and make it fabulous. Yep, I’ve heard it all. I do my best to follow that advice.

Yet some days I curse, “Motherfucker! It is not fair! It’s not fair that he gets to run around without a care in the world while I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. It’s not fair that he got to spend all of that money on whatever he wanted and got to have fun, and I had to use mine to live on. Goddamn! Sonofabitch! Motherfucking motherfucker! Asshole!”

Add in that he pays support whenever he feels like it and doesn’t think I need to be given a heads up. You want to pay funeral expenses for your mom instead of paying your court obligated support? You go right ahead. Hey, no need to tell me what’s going on. I like the shortness of breath and the tightness in my chest when I think my world might be collapsing again. It’s invigorating. He asked to be allowed to pay every other week instead of in full on the 1st, which I agreed to; however, he pays whenever he chooses with no rhyme or reason. He’s made his first payment as early as the 8th (only happened once) and as late as the 16th. Usually it’s somewhere between the 12th and the 14th. The last two months he’s paid child support on the very last day of the month.

It all comes down to feeling helpless. He walks around doing whatever he wants, paying whenever he wants, thinking he makes all the rules. I can’t do a single thing to change this. Oh, I realize I can take him to court. I can garnish him. That’s where my power ends. And until my lawyer gets her ass in gear I can’t even do those things. Instead I wait and I repeat, “Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.”

Update: Sometimes you just have a bad day and let bad thoughts overwhelm you. I’m doing much better already. He’s an ass. Life is unfair. I’ll carry on. I’m sure I’ll be fabulous as well.

Head Exploding, Part 2

I don’t think my head would have exploded had the author quit at this idea you can do divorce well and have a wonderful life post divorce with you being best buds and new kind of family with the ex.

But no, she has to go on and say this:

I do also understand not all divorces are wrapped up in a nice neat bow. Infidelity and lies do lead to harsh feelings – but even then, if we can take a step back and try to see the other human being as just that – a human being, and take our egos out of the equation then it’s possible to overcome this too. Stop asking, how could they do this to US? Why did he/she do that to ME? And instead understand that infidelity is less about us and more about them and their way of trying to figure out how to fill their own voids. We don’t have to agree with their decisions and we’re allowed to feel hurt but then at some point we need to brush ourselves off and make progress towards a better life and own OUR happiness. Everyone deserves to be happy. And not just happy on the terms that WE’VE given them. They need to find their own way, their own path. If it doesn’t include you then that’s ok. If their decisions bring them down the wrong path, that is their cross to bear. Not yours or your children’s. Your strength will get you through any hardships associated with their bad decisions and that strength will trickle down to your children as well. Your happiness has always been within you anyway.

I. Can’t. Even.  Really? Take a step back and try to see the other human being as just that? How about no? How about instead of seeing them as just human I see him as the manipulative, conning liar and cheater that he is? Why encourage people to open themselves up for more abuse? This is the problem. When we see monsters these days we are told they are not really monsters. Why lie to us like that? Why encourage us to lie to ourselves?

My life was napalmed. This wasn’t some small, innocuous thing. It was the systematic dismantling of my life as I knew it. My children suffered as well. They lost everything they knew and then once they finally began to get their footing he pulled the rug out from underneath them all over again. Harsh feelings doesn’t even begin to cover what I felt towards that bastard.

Sweetie, I assure you, my ego is not the problem. The problem is that I married and bred with a liar. My children’s father is a perpetual victim despite the devastation he has caused- both to me and my children.

By my ego I assume you mean my anger or my outrage. We can’t have any of that, can we? How can we possibly sell cheating and divorce as a good thing when people appear to be so angry over it? We can’t have the cheating spouse feel bad about themselves. If you would just please eat the shit sundae, stuff all of your feelings way down deep, and smile real pretty, this could be a real swell ride for you!

It’s all psycho-babble bullshit meant to ease the guilty conscience of a cheater. She paints it as some existential crisis: Stop asking how could they do this to US? Why did he/she do that to ME? And instead understand that infidelity is less about us and more about them and their way of trying to figure out how to fill their own voids.

Are you kidding me? If the cheater in my life didn’t do this to ME and to US and to OUR KIDS then who exactly did he cheat on and whose lives did he impact with his selfish behavior? I assure you that when he told me not to worry if I saw a wire on our bank records because he was sending his mom money for groceries that he most definitely was lying to ME and affecting ME. When he let me coach him to be able to drive to go meet up with his whore he most definitely was doing something shitty TO ME. When he lied about where he was going and tried to get me to send him naked pictures while he was with her that was something done TO ME. When he siphoned off over half of his paycheck and put it into an account with Harley so that she and her kids could have whatever her evil, shriveled little heart wanted, forcing my kids to have to do without, he did that TO US. Every shitty move he made affected us and was purposefully done to inflict the most damage.

Oh, but ignore that and focus instead on the fact that they were fucking strange because they needed to fill their own voids. Even though your life may have been gutted and irreparably damaged please try to remember this isn’t about you. It’s about the cheater’s journey of self-discovery. God forbid someone suggest yoga, or meditation, or journaling. Hell, maybe try a therapy dog. But don’t cheat on your spouse and then try to excuse it by calling it self-discovery. The only thing being discovered is that you’re a selfish, entitled asshole.

We don’t have to agree with their decisions and we’re allowed to feel hurt but then at some point we need to brush ourselves off and make progress towards a better life and own OUR happiness. 

Bless her Pollyanna-esque heart! I wonder if she has a timeline? Month 1- vomit, be unable to eat or sleep, lose twenty-five pounds, cry every day. Month 2- Resume old life, cry only once or twice a week. Month 3- Decide that this new life, sans life partner is absolutely terrific. Start telling everyone that your spouse’s affair was the best thing that ever happened to you and how you are so fortunate to be given this unique chance to start your life over completely from scratch. Month 4- Can’t even remember you were once married.

Thanks so much for giving all of us cheated on people permission to disagree with our partner’s choice to fuck another person and for allowing us to feel hurt for a moment. We sure do appreciate it.

I even understand, to a certain degree, what this author is trying to say. Yes, divorce sucks but we all have the power to make a new and better life. Well, at least a new life. I suppose better is in the eye of the beholder. And yes, we shouldn’t spend the rest of our lives reliving what happened and wishing it was all some nightmare we could wake from. But that doesn’t mean we need to forgive the person who gutted us, who betrayed us in the most intimate way. Getting on with our lives is not synonymous with forgiving or even getting along with the ex.

Everyone deserves to be happy. And not just happy on the terms that WE’VE given them. They need to find their own way, their own path. If it doesn’t include you then that’s ok.

I’m going to call a big load of bullshit on that one. No one deserves to be happy at another person’s expense. Period. And that is what cheating is. If you were to take a gander at Harley’s Facebook page she talks nonstop about how happy she is. She is happier than a pig in shit that she managed to snag her married man. Yep, she’s the luckiest gal in the world. Her brand new husband left his wife of twenty years and deserted his two children to be with her. What a prize! She is ecstatic! Over the moon! Everyone tells her she deserves it. She deserved another woman’s husband. His children deserved to be deserted so that they could live happily ever after.

That also seemed to be the overriding theme in CF’s life with his mom and sister telling him he deserved to be happy. Hell, his mom encouraged Harley to call him because he seemed so sad and miserable. Now he’s supposed to be happy. He’s turned his kids’ lives upside down. He’s pretty much turned his back on them. He put me through hell. But hey- he had a right to happiness no matter who suffered! Am I right?

Here’s the thing: I believe people do deserve to be happy. I also believe they have every right to decide you don’t make them happy. Furthermore, I believe and accept that they are free to end the relationship. Here’s the other thing: You do that shit before you go looking for another warm body. No one has the right to destroy another human being due to their selfish behavior in search of “happiness”. If you’re unhappy get out. Don’t waste your partner’s life while you search for love.

Sadly, I think the author is woefully misguided when she chimes in with: If their decisions bring them down the wrong path, that is their cross to bear. Not yours or your children’s.

CF’s decisions did end up being my cross to bear. It ended up being my children’s cross to bear. His decisions had far reaching consequences for us. We lost our home. We were forced to move 600 miles away. I lost almost everything I had ever owned in my life. It’s magical thinking to tell betrayed spouses that it’s not their cross to bear. There is almost no way that can be true. Actions have consequences and often those consequences are far reaching.

She ends with more psycho-babble: Your strength will get you through any hardships associated with their bad decisions and that strength will trickle down to your children as well. Your happiness has always been within you anyway.

That’s just another way of saying, “Play nice. Let bygones be bygones. Eat shit and smile pretty. Let’s all forgive and forget and be best friends once again.”

You know what? My strength did get me through the hell I lived in for over two years. I still remember that long period of time where I just wanted to lay down and die; I felt no joy, no happiness. I had no hope. My kids did see me as a kickass role model; I’d like to think my strength has trickled down to them. I’m happier now than I ever was with him, so yes, it has always been within me.

That doesn’t change the fact that none of this should have been done to me, or my kids. So no, there will be no playing nicely with the person who cheated. He might be a human being but he’s a shitty one. I do not forgive and forget. His happiness was not more important than mine or our kids’. Start telling that story instead of trying to package adultery up in a beautiful box with a great big bow.

 

In Sickness and In Health

I was reading that other board that I’ve read for the last ten years or so. Somehow the topic of taking care of your sick, cheating spouse came up. One of the women knew someone who had found out after her husband died that he had been cheating on her the entire time he was sick. She wished she had known because she wouldn’t have bothered to take care of him.

I think that’s a pretty understandable stance to take. And yet, there were others who said they would care for their spouse regardless.

Is it any wonder infidelity is glossed over the way it is? Here we have a man who is actively cheating on his wife while he goes through chemo. He’s sexting his AP and meeting up with her in between treatments when he’s well enough while his wife is left to do the hard work. The AP gets sex and promises, dinners and sexy texts, and a guy who gives her a case of the crotch tingles, and his wife gets to drive him to chemo appointments, wait for hours while he’s being treated, and clean up his vomit and diarrhea afterwards. And there are actually people out there who not only don’t see what the problem is but also try to frame it as though it is a character issue and anyone not willing to look pass the lies and humiliation obviously isn’t as good of a person as they are. It’s as though there is a moral failure with those of us who choose to cut toxic people out of our lives. Their mantra seems to be: When someone shows you who they are, bury your head in the sand and keep pretending they’re the person you want them to be.

One person said, “I would choose compassion, too. I think people often justify not having a compassionate response by pointing out how the person “should” have behaved.”

Hmmm…. interesting. Here’s a head scratcher for ya: Why isn’t the soul mate/twu wuv taking care of her schmoopie? I would think the compassionate response would be to let the AP take care of the sick person. You wouldn’t want that terminally ill Lothario to spend his last months with the horrid, asexual wife, would you? Isn’t it only fair that these two soul mates, destined to be together, aren’t kept apart for one. more. minute?

If the answer is because the AP only wants the fun parts of the relationship and none of the work I would say sometimes that’s what happens when you trade in your spouse for what’s behind Door #2. Sometimes you lay there in your own shit and vomit because your twu wuv doesn’t want to take care of you and you fired your former spouse from that job. Good news, though! Once you’re up and feeling better (and no longer making a mess… ewwww!) your soul mate will once again be available for fun times.

One of the ladies did remark at one point that if the situation were turned around the cheater would have no problem leaving his wife’s body in the middle of the street. She also recounted a story of how a friend’s grandmother nursed her husband back to health, and then when she got breast cancer he left her for another woman. To which someone else (also a very enlightened soul who wouldn’t let a little thing like infidelity steer her course) replied: For me it’s more of I won’t let another person’s actions dictate or change the person I am just by nature.

What bullshit. This is just more excuses, more blaming the betrayed spouse, expecting everything from the cheated on while expecting nothing from and giving everything to the cheating spouse. I will repeat: It is not a moral failure to cut toxic people out of your life. If your spouse cheats on you and you choose to walk away it’s not a horrible failing on your part. Cheaters are not entitled to forgiveness, or being taken care of when they’re sick and find out their fuck buddies are only available for the good times.

Again I ask is it any wonder that we betrayed spouses face the uphill battle we do? It’s our fault. If we had been thinner, smarter, blonder, tanner, had more muscles, nagged less, put out more, cooked vegan, baked cakes, etc. then we could have prevented our spouse from cheating on us. Now that we have accepted the fact that it’s our fault the cheating happened then it behooves us to continue to shove that shit sundae down our gullet and take whatever else humiliation the cheater has in store for us.

We’re mean if we don’t want to take care of a cheating spouse. It’s not fair that we expect their AP to do that job. We’re horrible people who judge and impose unfair consequences and hey, who died and made you God? You’ve no right to judge that person who has gutted you. If you weren’t such a bitter, hateful person you would gladly mop up all that puke and shit and let them bounce off with Pop Tart once they were feeling better. I’m so glad I’m a more enlightened person who would never let a person’s awful behavior dictate my own behavior. I will swallow mounds of shit in order to prove to everyone that I am a better person!

Again I say bullshit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with refusing to be treated like an appliance. There is nothing wrong with saying, “Your behavior is unacceptable and I will not stand by while you treat me this way.” There is nothing wrong with saying, “This is not acceptable and I will not tolerate it one second longer.” There is also absolutely nothing wrong with telling Romeo that if he wants to fuck Pop Tart when he’s feeling 100% then by golly you’re stepping aside and she can wipe his ass when he’s at his lowest.

This idea that we operate in a vacuum is ludicrous. If every time my fictitious friend Rosie comes up to me she spits in my face and bites my nose, I’m going to stop hanging around with her. And yes, by golly, her behavior does dictate my behavior. If Rosie weren’t a violent asshole who assaulted me I’m sure I would be wiling to spend time with her.

If every time my fictitious friend Cinnamon comes over she steals things from my house, I’m going to stop inviting her over. And yes, by golly, her behavior does dictate my behavior. If she weren’t stealing me blind every time I had her over for dinner I would continue to invite her over. But since she steals from me I’m severing this relationship and not giving her another opportunity to take shit that doesn’t belong to her.

If every time I hang out with my fictitious friend Hannah she lies right to my face I’m going to stop hanging out with her because it’s very difficult to have any kind of a friendship with a person who lies to you constantly. Again, you might have guessed it by now. Her behavior, her lying, does dictate my behavior- whether or not I’m willing to be friends with her.

So can we please stop acting like fucking a person suddenly gives them special permission to do whatever they want to you? I wouldn’t lobby the prison and ask to take care of my terminally ill rapist. I wouldn’t volunteer to take care of the person who killed my mom or child. I wouldn’t wipe the ass of my kidnapper or clean up the vomit of my mugger or give rides to the doctor’s to the guy who embezzled money from my company. Why would I offer to do that for the person who lied to me, cheated on me, humiliated me, and financially raped me?

This is the kind of crap we come up against in real life all the time. Once you leave the comfy confines of Chump Lady’s blog you usually run into all the people who don’t think infidelity is the real problem. They want to examine it from all different angles and assign percentages of blame (because the cheater didn’t cheat in a vacuum, of course). They want to encourage being friends with the cheater and doing things for them. In fact, there is no greater sign of maturity than claiming to be “best friends” with your cheater and socializing with them. The problems occur when the bitter, betrayed chump refuses to forgive, refuses to be besties, refuses to do photo ops, refuses to cooperate, refuses to maintain the cheater’s image. Yeah… I don’t think so.

There is something awful about this idea that even though we know if we were the ones who were sick this person would walk away without a second glance, would happily dance on our grave, would fuck someone else while we crawled to the toilet to vomit and then cleaned up after ourselves because no one was there to help us, that we are somehow morally lacking if we don’t rush to help this person. There is something horrible about this idea that even when someone is betraying us and humiliating us and using us we are supposed to say, “Let me help you. I want to take care of you. It is my duty.” There is something almost evil about this idea that people who wouldn’t consent to being mistreated in such a way are somehow lacking compassion and humanity. We are somehow less than those people who would fall all over themselves to help an abuser.

It brings to mind the story of the boy and the frozen snake. You know the story, right? A boy comes across a half frozen snake on the mountain top. The snake begs the boy to take pity on him, put him in his pocket and take him down to the base of the mountain. The boy says, “No! You are poisonous. You’ll bite me and I’ll die.” The snake assures him that he wouldn’t do that to the boy; if he would do this one favor for him he promises not to bite him. Please! He’ll die if the boy doesn’t take pity on him and help him out! So being a kind soul (one of those non-judging sorts) the boy takes pity on the snake and picks him up and puts him in his pocket. As he walks down the mountain the temperatures slowly rise and the snake slowly begins to thaw out. Not long before they get to the bottom the snake bites the boy, sending a shot of venom though his body, essentially killing him. “Why did you do that to me? I took pity on you! I carried you down the mountain as you asked. You promised you wouldn’t bite me!” To which the snake replies, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

#riseup

 

Forced Civilization

Ta-da! This is it. Part 5. Aren’t you glad I broke it up into 5 easily digested pieces? Me too. As always, here are parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. Enjoy!

I’m going to say it one more time: Maintain no contact! If you’ve chosen to remain married, maintain no contact with the affair partner. Pain shopping never ends well.

Remember all those things I’d love to say? It would only result in me looking crazy. Hell, I probably look crazy right now as I write this.

It is patently unfair. They get to preen around like peacocks and we’re expected to sit quietly, say nothing, and be happy for the new couple lest we be deemed “bitter”.

Do they “deserve” to have someone chime in on their page and remind them about the kids he abandoned, or the fact that their happiness came at The Saint’s and my expense? Sure. Would it be fun to say something like, “Hey, it’s great that you can be a dad to her kids; too bad you haven’t seen your own in over 2 years,” or “Does everyone know that you could drive 12 hours round trip to see your whore every weekend for 6 months but you haven’t been able to make that drive to see your children one time in more than 2 years?”? Well, of course it would be fun!

But it will also make me look like a bitter, crazy person. Oh, look; she just can’t let go. It’s so sad that Sam can’t focus on her own life and try to find some happiness. Looks like she’s going to let this divorce destroy her. Her poor children. Obviously, Sam prefers to be bitter and hateful instead of appreciating the fact that her husband of twenty years released her from the burden of being his wife.

Even though I’m telling the truth no one wants to hear it. They want tidy. They want shiny. They want everything to fit comfortably inside a little box. As Jack Nicholson would tell you, “They can’t handle the truth!” They don’t want to hear about all the ill effects of adultery. Affairs are between two people and we just never know what goes on in another person’s marriage. Sam probably had it coming. She was probably a terrible wife and that’s why he cheated. Besides, everyone is happier now so it was all for the best. Get over it!

In playing your role as the crazy ex you give voice to their untruthful narrative. See? I told you she was unreasonable! I told you she was hateful and mean and tried to make me eat a turnip!

You’re just a big bowl of cray cray so what else could they do? They found comfort in one another. They bonded over the craziness that was their exes and all of the abuse and neglect that was heaped upon them. Thank God we found each other and can now revel in real happiness with someone who truly loves me and takes care of me.

When you go after the affair partner instead of the cheating spouse it gets even worse! She’s now the victim in all of this. You are unreasonable! You are blaming the wrong person! She’s crying to anyone who will listen to it and everyone pats her back sympathetically and nods their head in agreement. “Why is she doing this? You slept with her husband and now she’s acting crazy! What’s the big deal? Why won’t she leave you alone? You’re innocent! My God it was just a little bump and grind!”

So you stay away. You maintain no contact because there is nothing to be gained. It is a setup from the very beginning. You are destined to lose. If you point out all the destruction and pain you’re labeled bitter, vengeful, jealous. They tell you to get over it. To think of the children. Your truth is unwanted by these people. Similarly, the cheaters’ truth is lapped up like a luscious bowl of cream.

The ex would like nothing better than to convince everyone that I’m not his victim; I’m exactly the same as him so no one should pay attention to anything I say or anything he’s done. He’s done no worse than me so I can’t talk about him.

It’s not true. I’m not sneaking around behind a clueless wife’s back. I’m not having clandestine meetings in work spaces or parking lots or minivans. I certainly never siphoned off money for a boyfriend and his kids, or took money meant for someone else’s kids. The minute I start to defend myself against him, though, I lose. Facts do not matter to them. The truth does not matter to them. The truth is malleable. You can twist it and turn it to suit your purposes.

Just like he wants everyone to believe he’s a devoted father who loves his children. The only reason he hadn’t seen them in over two years was because of me and the fact that I poisoned them against him.

You end up dropping the rope because you realize the only way to win is to not play. Kind of like War Games. The only move I can make is to keep my mouth shut and let the happy couple look like a couple of idiots with a bunch of delusional supporters. I can snark away at them over here on the safety of my blog. I have to be secure in the knowledge that the only people who really matter know the truth. I realize that if he ever were to get in my face and start slinging shit my way the best thing I could do would be to say, “Dude, I know it’s really important to you to believe that story, so I’m gonna let you have it. It seems to be much more important for you to believe that you’re right than it is to me to prove that you’re wrong.”

I’ll let you in on a little secret. As hard as it may be to stay away and keep silent, it really is the best course of action. Cheaters hate not being central. They hate not being in control. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over these last few years it’s that those of us who have been cheated on have also been slowly and systematically trained to cave and give into the demands of the cheater. It’s not always an overt type of thing; I’d go so far as to say most of the time it’s not. The cheater just always thinks he or she knows best and we follow along. We try so hard not to rock the boat, to give them what they want, to make them happy, that we often end up losing our agency.

Would it have been wonderful to have put a HUGE sign on his car that said, “I tricked my wife and kids into moving 2000 miles away so that I could resume my affair with my cousin!” along with all of his clothes in his work parking lot? Oh my God yes! Would it have felt great to post signs all along the route to our house that said, “Cheater lives here,”? Uh-huh. Or maybe renting a big billboard in their new city with their pictures on it, letting everyone know to congratulate the happy cheaters. Again, yes. Expensive, but yes, it would have been satisfying. There are definitely days I wish I had called her up and told her about my crying kids or that I had ripped him a new one, or that I had even just dumped everything of his out on the lawn.

But you know what? It wouldn’t have mattered. I would have played right into their narrative that I was a crazy, jealous, overbearing pyscho and he had to get away! On the other hand, despite doing none of that I know he lies. He tells people I filed for divorce and he has no idea why. I know he tells people I rounded up all of his stuff into black garbage bags and threw it on the curb. He continues to tell people he moved away from his kids and in with his mistress/cousin six hours away because I forced him to move out of the family home (and wouldn’t let him take one single thing with him!). Ultimately though he knows none of that happened. I cared so little for him and his antics that I simply pretended he no longer existed.

I have no scientific proof of this, but I sincerely believe that ignoring him (or any of them) is much more effective than going balls to the wall with them- spouse or affair partner. Like we can’t fight against the injustice of their stupid image management, they can’t fight against silence. How do you fight against something that isn’t there?

I would like to believe that me ignoring him drives him crazy. I was supposed to beg and plead and instead I merely wiped out the bank account and gave him the deep freeze. There was no pretending to put on a united front. I didn’t protect him. I told our kids the truth. I told my family the truth. Hell, I told the lady at the vet’s office the truth. I sang loud and proud. No fucking way I was going to own his shit show. If he didn’t want everyone in our small town to know he was a liar who moved his entire family across the country to get closer to his cousin then he shouldn’t have done it.

Every time he has tried to antagonize me I have refused to take the bait. Well, except for that one time in May of 2016. Even then I kept it pretty funny and brief.

Hacking my Facebook page? Changed my password. Contacted my lawyer. Proved it was him. Sending text messages to the mobster from a burner phone? Ignored. Playing with child support? Show cause hearing which has resulted in him having to pay large lump sums to me each and every time. Sending the checks in obnoxious envelopes? Ignored. Checks cashed. Telling me to check my damn mailbox and calling me greedy because I dared to ask about support? Let him know that if it was too much for the poor dear to hear from me I’d be more than happy to garnish his paycheck. Fucking around with paying support and doing it on his own schedule. Again, reminded him of the court order and let him know I would be filing a garnishment with the state if he did it again. Doing his own child support modification? Hey, I gave him fair warning and then I contacted my lawyer. All of his lies? Confronted with the truth in court.

As far as I’m concerned I’ve been an ideal ex. I stay away. I don’t contact him unless it’s absolutely necessary. I do not and have not ever harassed him or the whore by phone, text, email, or in person. I’ve never asked him for a dime above what he’s been ordered to pay, and quite honestly, those times when he wasn’t paying and should have been I didn’t say a word. I figure out what needs to be done and then I do it. Usually it’s through some sort of court order and then he gets really pissy but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ll say it one last time. Stay away. Stay off social media. When you feed the beast it continues to grow. It feels good in the moment but it’s giving them power. They still matter! Or, in other cases, you continue to be the big, bad hinderance to true love. What’s that they say? Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Continuing to beat yourself up by looking at the part of their lives they’re willing to put on Facebook is like wrestling with a pig and arguing with an idiot. It does no good. It will never help you. It’s all designed, in fact, to hurt you. You can’t confront them or you look like the crazy person and they come off looking like the poor, stalked victims. Focus on your own life. Take it from someone who did something really stupid and paid the price in self-doubt. Keep being the best badass you can be and, as Chump Lady would say, trust that they suck!