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.

It Brought Me To Where I Am

Oh cheaters… gotta love ‘em. Bless their selfish little hearts. I was reading on Facebook about “scandalous” cheating stories that rocked Hollywood. Spoiler alert: They were not that scandalous. Nor did they much rock Hollywood. They were all pretty run of the mill. What I took issue with though was Katharine McPhee and her response after being caught locking lips with her director.

He, of course, was married with children. Good ol’ Kat was simply married. Both marriages imploded. They aren’t together; I’m not sure the “relationship” lasted much beyond discovery. She was later quoting as saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, that she didn’t regret anything because it all led her to where she is today. Where she is today is divorced from her first husband and remarried to a man who is old enough to be her father, if not her grandfather. Her stepdaughters are older than her. But, he’s rich and famous and I’m sure her hope is that he will make her equally rich and famous. He tends to discard wives though so she had better be performing one hell of a pick me dance. I hope she’s able to keep that same attitude when her time as the latest Mrs. Foster comes to an end. Hey, Kat, it’s all leading you to where you are and were meant to be.

I’m pretty sure Claire Danes had the same attitude about her affair with Billy Crudup. He left his 7 months pregnant girlfriend for Claire. Shockingly, the relationship did not work out although they did manage to stay together for 3 years.

Actually, let me amend that. Claire’s position on this was that she was only 24 years old and in love; she felt she needed to “explore” those feelings, pregnant girlfriend be damned. She claims to have had no idea the repercussions that might come with dating a man who left his pregnant girlfriend in her last trimester of pregnancy. 

Really? Because I wasn’t even 24 when I had my first married guy come on to me and I was smart enough to realize that taking him up on that offer would have been the wrong thing to do. 

She said it was a very scary time in her life but she made it through. Whew! We should all give a sigh of relief at that blessing. She went on to say that everything worked out; thank God she and Billy are still friendly to this day.

A scary time in your life, Claire? I imagine it was a pretty scary time in Mary Louise Parker’s life, too. You know, what with being abandoned in her seventh month of pregnancy. After eight years with this guy. And having to see all the headlines and pictures of her longtime boyfriend and his new girlfriend together. Not to mention the amazing time she must have had handing her child over to his father, knowing that his home wrecking whore would have her hands all over her baby. Trying to co-parent with a fuckwit that puts his dick above his own child. Dealing with the public humiliation.

These people go through life acting as though they’re the only ones that matter. Broke up a family? Caused a woman to give birth by herself instead of with the father of her child by her side? Eh, it’s all good. It brought me to this awesome place in life. 

They really don’t give a moment’s pause to what they have done to anyone else. Katharine McPhee could not care less about the kids whose lives she affected. Does not care one bit about the woman she helped devastate. It brought her to where she is now. Claire Danes had no thoughts of pregnant Mary Louise Parker. Probably never considered what kind of a life their baby would have with his parents split up. No, she was in love and owed it to herself to “explore” that. Selfish, selfish people.

Here’s Your Bitch Cookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving the Punch

I need to add an addendum to my post, Quarantine Craziness, Part 1. Remember how I was telling you that my mother was civil when she had to be? That was not a lie. She was civil. And she did allow my father and step-mother in her home on occasion.

A little background. My stepmother’s name is Mary. I feel comfortable using her name because it’s a very common name. It’s not like anyone is going to say, “Oh my God! Mary! I know exactly who that is!” If her name was Sabina or Pocahontas or Beyonce I could see coming up with an alias, but it is literally one of the most common names out there.

Mary is a very odd person who knows everything. As my brother once said, “Oh good God! She’s a lawyer, a doctor, a judge, a farmer. She knows everything about everything!” When Rock Star was running track her junior year she told me she would sometimes get weather reports from her and reminders to wear sunscreen. She asked me before I got married if I would be interested in having a plain gold wedding band so that if I wanted to garden or otherwise get my hands dirty I could still wear a wedding band and not have to worry about getting my nice ring dirty. Like I even garden! She one time sent a bag of peaches to my younger brother and included instructions on how to eat them. I kid you not. For years I kept a copy of that on my refrigerator because people could not believe she gave him instructions.

Remove pit and slice into pieces OR wash and eat like an apple.

I may not have the verbiage exactly as it was but I know the second part of the instructions is accurate. That was actually one of the few times Jerry Lee showed his sense of humor. “I need more information. If she thinks I’m so stupid I don’t know how to eat a peach, what makes her think I know how to eat an apple?”

I would not testify to this in a court of law but I’m fairly certain my high school graduation was the first time my mom ever invited them to a function she was having. My dad and grandparents lived two hours away from us so on graduation day they all came up. My mom threw my graduation party and took care of all of it and was gracious enough to extend an invite to her ex-husband and the AP turned wife.

I have to say, I was not that gracious for my own daughter’s celebration. It’s not like she wanted him there, of course, but even if she had I wouldn’t have done it. At least I don’t think I would have.

Anyway, at some point before my actual graduation my stepmom was asking me if there was anything she could do. She wanted to help but she didn’t want to be in the way or overstep; she was very big on etiquette, which is kind of funny when you think about it. I’m pretty sure Miss Manners would say it’s not polite to sleep with another woman’s husband, and well, sleeping with someone else’s husband is a huge overstep. Yes, I know I had an affair with your husband but I don’t want to overstep my bounds. Would you be okay with me serving the punch at your daughter’s graduation party?

That is what she settled on. She was wondering if perhaps she should offer to man the punch bowl. So I went home and told my mom that Mary was wondering if she should serve the punch. This has led to a long time inside joke. My mother replied, “I’ll serve her the punch alright!” as she punched the air.

To this day we laugh about it. I can’t drink punch without thinking about it either.

By the way, no one served the punch. My mom remained very civil and, well it was a sunny day and we had peaches so Mary was kept busy running around reminding people to put on sunscreen and educating them on how to eat a peach. Take the easy way- eat it just like an apple.

P.S. It was a sunny day but there were no peaches. I just made that up so that I could end my post.

Quarantine Craziness, Part 3

Normally I would have a knee jerk reaction to this and say, “This whole idea of being civil and doing things that are way out of my comfort zone ‘for the kids’ is bullshit! It would never work. Some people you cannot do this with!” But, I mulled this over with a clearer head. I slapped down that knee jerk response and pondered the idea for a moment. Write this down, folks; it might be the only time you ever hear me ask this. What if I’m wrong?  What if a cordial, friendly relationship with Jerry Lee is possible?

Maybe my approach has been all wrong and if only I were a little nicer to him we could have conversations about our kids, he’d be up here visiting, he would be generous with his time and money. His kids would never want for anything. Maybe, when he came up, all four of us could go and do something together! Go out to dinner, catch a movie, go bowling.

<<You now see Sam over in the corner laughing hysterically.>> Oh my God, that was a good one!

That. Will. Never. Happen. Do you know why?

Well yes! Because you’re a mean bitch who won’t give him a chance!

No! I mean, I am a mean bitch who won’t give him a second chance but that’s not the reason why.

It will never happen because he is a toxic person who must always play the victim. He tells bald face lies and believes them. He honestly thinks I have done him wrong.

You cannot have a conversation with him where you are not fawning over him. You must avoid any criticism whatsoever because he takes that as a full blown attack. He is the smartest man in the world and he knows everything so please don’t even try to tell him what you think should happen because you are wrong and he is doing everything perfectly.

Every time I attempt to engage with him I go out of my way to be as non-confrontational as possible. Granted, it’s almost always about money so he’s not happy to hear from me. Doesn’t matter how I phrase it. He’s snide, dismissive, arrogant, and condescending.

You’ll get your “well deserved funds” in plenty of time.

Greedy much?

Since you like to keep a close eye on MY money I thought you might like to know your lawyer has given me permission to access MY money.

Don’t sweat it. You’ll get your money.

Thanks for the condolences by the way.

You need to read the court order. It says no separate orders for child support. Therefore, $XXX for two children, $XXX/2 for one child.

Again I will point out that I did not harass him, stalk him, scream at him, attempt to kill him, throw his shit away or on the lawn for all to see. I did not go to his workplace and embarrass him by leaving all his crap in the parking lot in front of his car with a big sign that said, “I moved my wife and kids 2000 miles across the country so I could have an affair with my cousin.” I even let that motherfucker move back into our home after he accused me of stealing every dime he made. Yet when I said, “Hey, you’re living here. You need to come up with half of the money for the household bills,” his response was, “I don’t have it.” His attitude was, “I’ve got $750 I’m willing to put towards the $5000 it takes to run this household each month. Take it or leave it.” That was the thanks I got for letting him move back in. But to hear him tell it he paid all the bills and in turn was terribly mistreated by us.

All those months I sat by quietly, pinching pennies and denying my kids, while he and Harley blew through over thirty thousand dollars? Didn’t result in one positive thing. In fact, it ultimately cost me thousands of dollars. He never had to pay that back as a cash payment; instead he rolled it all up into the 401k.

This is a man who has consistently lied about me and things that I have done. How can you have any kind of a relationship with a liar? I’ve tried before and it’s impossible. You are always on guard because you never know when they’re telling you the truth and when they’re making shit up.

He has called me a disgusting whore and a cunt. My friends don’t describe me like that. And quite honestly, he has no reason to. I didn’t cheat on him. I was faithful to him for twenty years.

He treats me with utter contempt. I do not deserve to be told anything. He enjoys blindsiding me, I think.

He moved out of our family home and out of the fucking commonwealth without saying a word to any of us! He didn’t even take all of his clothes. I finally realized about six, seven days later that he probably wasn’t coming back. Of course, I was the one that got to break it to our kids. Little did I know that he hadn’t just moved out of the house. Oh no! He’d  resigned from his job of fifteen years and moved 6 or 7 hours away to a completely different state. I was left to figure that one out on my own as well, which I did when I realized the direct deposit from his company hadn’t gone into my account as scheduled.

He lost his job, sent me a two line text, and I never heard another word from him. It was seven months later before I found out he hadn’t been locked up in a psych ward again; he’d checked himself into the VA hospital for drinking- for three days. I was told nothing. Never once did he check up on his kids. Never once did he send a dime to help out with them. Instead he drained a $10,000 401k and spend it all on himself, the whore, and her kids- all while claiming to be completely dependent upon his “fiancee”.

Then again in March of 2019 I find out, only after asking him if he has a plan to catch up on spousal support since he only sent half of it in February, that he’s “lost” his job. Not another word from him. Not even when he conveniently got himself another job. Or when he moved yet again to yet another state. I mean really, what business is it of mine whether or not he has a job?

For four months he played me, acting like he was sending what he could when the reality was he had a job. If I had to bet I would be betting that this new job paid even more than the old job, and yet he was sending me less money.

And now once again he has up and moved without saying a single word. I’m sure there has been yet another raise but it was only once he realized I was taking his ass back to court that he finally started paying what he owed in spousal support.

I know that without court intervention he will never pay me the original court fees he owes me. I know that without court intervention he will never pay the spousal support arrears. He figures it’s all my loss unless I force his hand.

He hacked my Facebook. He contacted the mobster insinuating that there were naked pictures of me all over the Internet. When he first began sending me my support checks he would stamp the envelopes with the Grinch, a robber, or an adulterer. He sends obscene emojis and snide messages almost every time he Venmos me the money he owes me.

Child Support (Original Amount Pending Revisionist History). Your attorney has not given me the new $$$ required to keep you and the Potato Chip Squire living comfortably and able to meet up. When that amount is determined… then the amount will change.

What’s it for? That doesn’t even deserve an answer. Everyone knows why this money is changing hands. Because the party of the 1st part needs to supplement the inability of the party of the 2nd part to live on her own merits.

Alimony bitches

Alimony- grateful or otherwise

Because sometimes the pay cycles are off and you happen to be 6 days off on paying. Grow up.

He threatened his sister and one of his friends from high school, simply for supporting me (which he found out when he hacked my Facebook).

Sweet baby Jesus! Who wants to hang around someone like this? Why would I want to spend Christmas morning with this?

It never gets better. You might think it will but it doesn’t. You might think treating him with respect and kindness will work, but it doesn’t. I reached out to him for Rock Star’s graduation. I will admit I fully expected him to tell me to fuck off or that he didn’t need my help or to admonish me that he didn’t need me to micromanage his relationship with his daughter. So I was rather surprised when he texted back and was cordial, grateful even that I was offering him a ticket. You might have thought a corner was turned but you’d be wrong. He barely acknowledged me when I handed him the ticket and he promptly cut his daughter off, prorating child support right down to the minute she graduated.

I’ve heard people say that having a cordial relationship with an ex sometimes mean you do things even when that person hasn’t behaved their best. Quite honestly I think that’s crazy. At some point you need to stop beating your head against a brick wall.

I love my children. I’m not willing to unnecessarily degrade myself for them. I’m not willing to put myself in emotional distress for them just because. I’m not going to help them deny reality and play happy family with their father and perhaps their father’s mistress.       

In my case I suppose it’s a moot point because he never sees his kids so they can’t tell me they really wish we would be civil towards one another and act like one big happy family.

But if he did? I’d be telling them to suck it up. There’s nothing to work with. I don’t believe in modeling being a doormat for your kids. I’m not going to bend over backwards and turn the other cheek constantly while he spits in my face. Divorce ends families. As much as people try to peddle the bullshit of, “We’re still family; it’s just in a different form!” it’s not true. You are no longer family. That is a consequence of fucking around on your spouse and ending up divorced.

I’m sure there are people out there who divorce for reasons other than infidelity, addiction,  and abuse. If they can work things out to the point no one knows they’re divorced, good for them. If they want to invite their exes over for graduation and goodbye parties, be my guest. If they want to spend every holiday together, go out to dinner, have sleepovers, go on vacation together, etc. have a ball. But for the love of God please stop telling people who don’t do this, who CAN’T do this, that being friendly and doing everything together is the only way to do things. In my situation it will never be possible.

Let me be clear. I can be civil. I won’t be coming at him or Harley with knives or anything. More than likely I would be ignoring them but if I couldn’t avoid it I can be civil. We will never be friendly though. He’s done way too much and he’s demonstrated his lack of respect for me at every turn. I’m not friends with people like that.

Quarantine Craziness, Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It happens again and again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much more civil could I have been?

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

Quarantine Craziness!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

I’ll Review

One final entry for September.

I was going through mail yesterday. I opened a bill, which I thought was for Rock Star, but instead turned out to be for Picasso. $1282 for a doctor’s visit that included 2 or 3 shots. Let that sink in for a minute. Almost $1300 for one visit.

Folks, I make less than $15/hour. I pay over $400 a month for insurance. After I’ve paid all of my bills I have about $300 left over from my paycheck. This bill will take me take me a year to pay off. Or, it would if I had to pay the entire thing myself.

After I briefly spiraled into hysterics I suddenly realized that this bill was for Picasso. He is the child that is still covered by the court order. Because Jerry Lee hasn’t gotten around to modifying the support order he is still on the hook for 71% of that bill. Now, whether or not he’ll actually pay it is another topic altogether.

I put on my big girl panties, took a picture of the bill, and sent him a text. Basically, I told him I had received the bill, he could pay the doctor’s office directly instead of me if he preferred, and that I didn’t expect him to pay it all at once. I told him I would like to get it paid within 3-4 months.

His first response? I’ll review.

Review what, motherfucker? You owe 71% of your son’s medical bills. Are you thinking that the entire bill is not for him? That maybe I snuck in a charge or two for myself or Rock Star? That maybe I don’t know how to compute 71%?

Well, as it turns out I stupidly got my figures transposed so instead of $910.22 I told him it was $922.10. So maybe he was correct in reviewing me. Nonetheless, I realized my mistake while I was ranting to the mobster and I quickly gave him the correct amount.

His next text? That is what my math calculated as well.

Really? You got a new method of computing 71% that somehow doesn’t add up to what I just told you? Is your 71% different from my 71%? I don’t think so.

I’ll just sit here rolling my eyes. As long as he actually pays I’m happy. Of course, Jerry Lee and I will be going back to court anyway to settle up on the court fees so if I need to tack this on I will.

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.

PAS, Falling In Love, & Other Excuses, Part 1

I recently came across a blog post about parental alienation. I’m not going to link to it because I find the author to be a mindless little twit who excuses her whoring around because “love”.

I’m going to tackle this in two separate posts because there is so much to say about this. Today I’m going to explore the PAS angle.

Before I begin let me say I do believe that parental alienation is real. I believe it’s rare but I believe it’s real. Unfortunately, I think a lot of crappy parents hide behind it as an excuse as to why they have no relationship with their kids. It’s nothing they’ve done. It’s what the ex has done. It’s not their bad behavior or shitty choices. It’s the ex alienating the kids. It’s gotten so bad some parents are actually forbidden from telling their kids the truth because the other parent can claim parental alienation. Yes, apparently telling your child the truth instead of lying to them to make mommy or daddy look good is alienating the child. Golly, life is so difficult when your betrayed spouse refuses to be your PR agent any longer.

Let me give you a bit of backstory here. The writer is the girlfriend of a man who claims his ex has alienated his children. The ex is bitter and angry (ah, key words there; anyone recognize them?) because Daddy Dearest has left her for his mindless twit of a co-worker. The kids say they don’t want anything to do with him but that’s not really them speaking; it’s their mother. She emotionally abuses them every day. The emotional abuse comes in the form of brainwashing them to believe their loving father wants nothing to do with them, not letting people who support the affair see the kids, and not hiding the financial devastation they have encountered due to Daddy’s choice to leave and go be with his soul mate.

So much of what this person writes could be written by CF. I’m sure that is his spin on everything that has happened. I have no doubt that’s the story his family tells. Oh, we never get to see our grandchildren because their mother won’t let them visit. Hell, his attorney had it written into our settlement agreement that I wouldn’t interfere in their relationship. Oh yes, dipshit! That’s why the kids have nothing to do with their father. It’s because I’m interfering. It has absolutely nothing to do with his behavior- the fact that he walked out the door without saying a word, the fact that he doesn’t support them, the fact that they were forced to move out of the family home and in with their grandmother. Nope! It’s all me.

That’s the story these people have to tell themselves. Consequences? What are consequences and why on earth would you assume that I will suffer them?

She goes on to talk about another divorce situation, one that involved her childhood friend. She writes:

The children’s mother would openly make disparaging remarks about the father to her friends in full earshot of the children. She would then scold herself and pretend she should not make these comments as they would influence the children. Rolling her eyes when his name was mentioned or reminding everyone who would listen that they were short of money and had to “go without” knowing this would reinforce the children’s beliefs it was due to their father’s departure.

Okay, I will be the first to admit that disparaging your ex in front of your kids is not a good thing and should be avoided. As Chump Lady always says, “Feel free to report the facts; however, do not editorialize.” Yes, children, your mother/father is having an affair. She/he has moved out and is living with someone else, is fine. Your mom is an immoral slut/your father is a lying cheating bastard! is not.

I wonder, though, what she classifies as “disparaging” remarks. These cheaters and their apologists are a sensitive bunch. To them, telling the truth and not covering for their horrible behavior is “disparaging”.

Rolling her eyes? Maybe not the smartest thing to do but seriously, if your children can be turned against you simply because the other parent rolls their eyes (or makes disparaging remarks)? You’ve got bigger problems in your relationship with your children than you think.

I love the final no-no, though. She would remind people they were short of money and had to go without knowing this would reinforce the children’s beliefs it was due to their father’s departure.

It was, you whining whore! Just like I’m sure your dearly beloved’s departure created financial upheaval for his own children. When my husband decided he was no longer going to “let me steal every dime he makes” or “continue to drain the account” he had a severe impact on our financial situation. When he quit his job and no longer sent us money he had a severe impact on our financial situation. There was no tricking the kids into believing their daddy’s departure caused us financial instability. It was the truth. He chose to hand over the majority of his paycheck to his whore for four months, spending wildly and wining and dining her and her kids. His own children received nothing from him. For five months he had to pay me more than he got to take home. Five months. And now? Well let’s see. He took a powder for 10 full months and didn’t pay a dime. Drained a $10,000 401k and didn’t bother to send a single cent to his children. Then he paid back support. Meanwhile, throughout all of that I was working two jobs, a lot of 13 hour days, and more often than not 6 days a week. All while being the sole parent to his children. Finally he got a job. It paid less than half of what he made before but then again his support obligation was reduced by almost half. Still, he hasn’t paid even half of the court ordered support yet he moves his girlfriend and her kids into a new home in a nice subdivision with a community pool and clubhouse. Even the judge believes his primary focus is on his girlfriend and her kids. His kids do suffer because he places the whore and her kids before his own. It’s not theory; it’s a fact backed by the ruling judge himself.

This particular author would like to look past that. I guess I’m supposed to lie to my kids and tell them that I’m just too lazy to work two and three jobs so that they can have everything they want. I’m supposed to explain to them that Daddy is madly in love with someone else and so now his financial obligations are to his new family and if they go without it’s my own shortcoming.

How exactly is that supposed to work in the real world? Your child comes up to you.

Parent (I’m trying to be gender neutral here), here is the yearbook order form. You: I can’t afford to buy a yearbook this year. Child: But I always get a yearbook! Why can’t I get one this year?

According to Baroness von Nitwit I’m thinking the appropriate response is to simply reiterate the fact that you can’t afford to buy it, completely sidestepping the fact that the reason you can’t buy it is because the child’s other parent refuses to pay court ordered support, thereby crushing your standard of living. It’s far better to gaslight and spackle than it is to tell the truth. The truth might hurt the cheating parent.

I would have had to expend way too much energy to keep covering for CF. As I’ve said before we went from living on over $200,000 a year to living on less than $20,000. It would have been next to impossible to try to protect their father from that fallout. They knew the changes they were experiencing were due to him. I didn’t move because I wanted to be closer to my mommy. No, I was willing to stay in a town where I had very little support, probably not many job prospects, and my expenses were outrageous and ate up a huge chunk of the support I was given so that my daughter could graduate from the high school she loved, a school where she reigned as a superstar. I also busted my ass working two jobs just to be able to give them a Christmas and put food on the table after we did move. I’m not going to throw myself on my sword and take the blame for their lives going down the toilet. Their diminished standard of living is due to him and his choices, especially his choice to put the whore and her kids ahead of his own children. As far as I’m concerned I did my due diligence by not outing every shitty thing he did in order to impress four kids that didn’t belong to him.

I also love how she interjects this jewel:

She should not let her ex’s decision negatively affect their children’s psychological wellbeing. His decision was not to leave his children; it was to leave the marriage as it was not working.

What exactly does that mean, you vacuous whore? Is that your fancy way of saying she shouldn’t let her husband’s affair with you negatively affect her children? She should cover for him? She should lie for him? She should dance harder and faster to make him look like a good guy for her kids?

Here is the brutal truth. When you choose divorce you are choosing to see your children less. You can dress it up in all the flowery terms you want but that is the end result. When you are married to and/or living with the other parent of your child you have 100% access to that child. There is no splitting the holidays or weekends. There is no missing a birthday because it’s not “your time”. You can tuck your kid into bed every single night. You can help with homework every single night. You can eat dinner with that child every single night. When you leave that marriage that is no longer working, primarily because you’re fucking someone else, you are not going to get 100% of the time with your kid. You are going to lose time. You are, in fact, choosing your side piece over your child. Again, couch it in whatever flowery terms you choose. That is ultimately what happens.

You do not get to leave your spouse and then demand they play PR agent for you. It is no longer their job. I can’t speak for what those kids went through and feel right now. I can, however, speak on behalf of my own.

Any psychological damage that my children suffered is due to their father’s behavior, not the fact that I won’t cover for him. That’s the lie cheaters and their enablers want you to believe. They were hurt by the fact their father couldn’t be bothered to talk to them, couldn’t be bothered to apologize profusely, couldn’t be bothered to say good-bye to them when he moved out of the house and out of the state, couldn’t be bothered to drive to see them even one time, couldn’t be bothered to contact them on a regular basis.

If you talked to him, though, I’m sure he would say it’s all my fault. I’ve poisoned them against him. Hell, I know he’s said that. I’m sure he would have this author’s ear as well and she would nod her head astutely and agree that everything was definitely my fault and the only thing CF was guilty of was fleeing an unhappy marriage to find his true happiness.

Once again I will remind everyone that I do believe parental alienation is real. I just think it’s rare and used mainly by entitled assholes to explain away their own odious behavior and their children’s reaction to it.