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…

Let’s Be Friends!

I hear this a lot from people who talk about their cheater’s reaction and from cheater’s themselves who think that once the divorce is over that they and the betrayed spouse will be best of buddies. “I’m hoping my spouse and I can be friends after the divorce. I think we will be. Sure, he/she will be mad for a little while but they’ll get over it. Maybe we can even double date sometime.” I guess it’s true what they say. Affairs really do cause people to lose their damn minds.

I’m not saying it never happens. On another board I frequently read there is a longtime poster who is friendly with her ex and his wife, who was the other woman. She even babysat their kids once upon a time and is known as Aunt to them. Hell, they vacation together! Another woman on that same board was cheated on by her husband of twenty plus years. She’s not friendly with the other woman turned wife, not even after all of these years, but she does consider her ex-husband to be a friend. She’s actually proud of the fact that they are friends.

Just in case anyone was wondering where I stood on the whole “friendship after gutting me, betraying me, lying to me and destroying my life” thing, I’m solidly in the corner of, “No fucking way.” I’m sure that’s shocking to most of you.

Look, the way I see it why would I want to be friends with someone like that? Or as someone over on Chump Lady once put it: You want to be friends after what you did to me as my husband?

This person has lied and cheated. Why would anyone believe that now that they’re “friends” this person won’t continue to lie and cheat, gaslight and betray? I depend on my friends to have my back, not stab me in it. I expect my friends to care about me and my best interests; someone who has cheated on me has demonstrated they don’t give one single solitary fuck about me or my best interests. I expect my friends to be loyal to me. A person who cheats on me isn’t going to be loyal now that we’re “friends”. Bottom line: I prefer friends who don’t lie to me. Actually, it’s not so much a preference as it is a prerequisite.

Okay, just for shits and grins let’s pretend that I actually buy this “friendship after an affair” bullshit. Let’s pretend millions of other betrayed spouses buy it, too. It sure sounds like a swell idea, Wally. So tell me, how’s it going to work?

Are you going to call me up on the phone and have long conversations with me? You didn’t want to do that as my husband so why are you so willing to do it now that we’re divorced and you’re fucking a whore? The same whore you left me for.

Are we going to text each other all day? First, what on earth would we talk about all day long? I find people who need to text each other constantly juvenile. Second, I’m not even able to text all day long. I’ve got this thing called a job. I’ve actually got two things called a job. And I can’t be on my phone while I’m working either of them. Maybe once you start making obscene amounts of money they don’t care how much you’re on your phone. Lord knows CF told me many times about how he played games all day long. But when you’re simply a mindless peon you have to put your phone away, which means I can’t text with you all day long to tell you about every minute of my tedious life.

Hey, I just cashed a check! Oh wow, I just cashed another one. Oh, this time it was a withdrawal. Holy shit! I just made a deposit. Oops, answered a phone call. Made another checking deposit. Cashed in some coins. I know; this stuff is fascinating.

Would we go out to dinner together? Would we catch a movie? Maybe go to the casinos or take a walk or see a play or sit down and watch television together? Hey, I know! We could go to the next Chump Lady book launch party together! I’ll introduce you to her. You’ll love her.

Seriously, what is this friendship supposed to look like? And do I have to hang out with your whore as well? Because that’s not happening. I’ll throat punch that bitch.

Don’t tell me how much you admire me and appreciate me. Don’t tell me how you want us to move forward into a new relationship that is defined by us being happy for each other in our new lives. I don’t give a shit about your new life. Your new life came at MY expense. Frankly, I hope your new life crashes and burns. I hope your dick falls off. I hope your whore dies a horrible death. I hope you’re miserable for the rest of your dickless life. Go fuck yourself and your happiness. You’re a liar and a cheater and I don’t wish to be friends with people who stab me in the back and betray me.

I’d no sooner want to hang out with the guy who cheated on me than I would want to hang out with the guy who kidnapped my kids or raped me. Sorry. You’re in that category now. If you wanted to be my friend you shouldn’t have cheated on me.

In the end I think it comes down to two primary motivations- image management and keeping the other woman (or man) on a short leash.

Hey, if someone cheats on their spouse and they continue to be friends that has got to be nerve wracking for the affair partner. This person was supposed to be so awful, so horrible, that their beloved was forced to cheat on them. If not for their egregious behavior the affair partner’s beloved would never have been tempted to turn towards another person. So how come they’re still friends? Why is he texting her (or why is she texting him?)? Why are they meeting for friendly dinners or lunches? This makes no sense. Maybe your soul mate isn’t going to leave behind the wretched spouse after all. By golly, you’ll just have to dance harder and prettier to make sure you’re still #1. Isn’t that a lucky break for the cheater? Yep, not discarding the former wife (or husband) sure keeps the mistress turned main squeeze/new wife in check. Maybe once those marriage vows were said they realized they married a person who doesn’t have a problem cheating on their spouse. And lying to them about it. Dance, dance, dance! A cheater’s got to keep his or her options open. If you won’t dance pretty they’ll find someone who will.

And if the betrayed spouse agrees to go along with the friendship bullshit then the cheater can say, “See? I didn’t do anything wrong. We’re still friends. Would we be friends if I had done anything horrible to my spouse? Of course not! So obviously we simply grew apart. There were problems in the marriage but now we’re going to go forward as best of friends who work together cooperatively for the sake of our children. No need to judge me or label me a low down yellow-bellied slime bucket cheater because my former spouse and I are friends!” Image management, people. Image management.

They can tell everyone that they’re still a wonderful person who refuses to be defined by their cheating, lying, backstabbing behavior. If they had any guilt the friendship assuages it. Again, what a lucky break for the cheater.

Personally, if someone wants to remain friends with their cheating ex I don’t care. Hell, they can make nice with the skanky ass ho, too, if it makes them feel better. I, however, have no desire to play nice with the ex and his whore. I will never be friends with either of them. They have absolutely nothing of value to add to my life. They’re manipulative liars with no conscience. I try to stay away from people like that. I would advise everyone else to do the same.

You Owe It To Your Children

I like Facebook. I believe I have recounted how it allows me to stay in contact with the various people I have met throughout my life. I’ve moved a lot, supporting CF’s climb up the ladder, and it’s a wonderful way to keep up with people I would have otherwise lost touch. Currently, I don’t post a whole lot on Facebook.  My first attorney advised me to keep most stuff off of there (I’m guessing he was speaking about divorce matters, not whether or not I went cherry picking or bought a new dress) and my life hasn’t exactly been a good kind of exciting lately so I don’t post a lot. I do, however, try to keep up with others.  I’m frequently wishing people a happy birthday or happy anniversary. I’m liking things and commenting. Anyway, I came across a post yesterday that really stuck in my craw. It was from someone I went to elementary school with before my parents divorced and we moved.

The post was giving a shout out to her ex and his family for hosting a going away party for their shared son. That part was fine. But she goes on to say that the best gift you can give your children after a divorce is to “get along” with the other parent and their spouse. She also adds in how sad it makes her when people don’t remember the positives from their relationship, despite the blessings that resulted from them (i.e. the children). She warns that your children will remember how you handled the early years and that you will see this person many times over the coming years- graduations, weddings, births, birthday parties…

Some of the comments were just as infuriating. One person said that the best attitude is to realize that it’s not a “broken” home it’s only a “change” in living arrangements. Another said that even as they negotiate this “new change” in their relationship that they continue to be family. Someone else said she always feels sorry for the kids caught between fighting parents and that her friend feels whenever she puts her child’s father down she is putting the child down as well.

I haven’t replied to any of this because I don’t think my comments would be very helpful; it is obvious to see that many people think this is a wonderful thing and fully support the whole “let’s be buddies for the sake of our kids” philosophy. If I did reply I think it would go a little like this: I think the best gift you can give to your kids is to love their mother or father and not get a divorce. I suppose getting along would be the next best thing you could do for your kids but sometimes that is not possible, especially when dealing with adultery, abandonment, addiction, and/or abuse.

I will be honest. I’ve always wondered if two people were able to get along so well “for the sake of the children” why they couldn’t make their marriage work. If you’re going to hold joint birthday parties and graduation parties, go out to dinner, vacation together, hang out with one another, why not cut out the middleman and just stay married? Perhaps these are the divorces that so-called conservative Christians rail against, the ones where someone is simply not happy or they have fallen out of love or it’s just not exciting or “working” anymore (Oh, believe me, I’ve got a separate post coming about that very thing.). I suppose if my husband had come to me and said, “Sam, this isn’t working anymore; we’re both miserable. I want out,” and we had divorced with no other parties involved, I might feel a little more generous. I might be willing to put aside my hurt and go out to dinner with him and the kids to show them that “we’re still family!”. Might. Not a definite.

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just not possible. I’m thinking of the woman who had a gun shoved in her face when she tried to leave. That man will never be welcome in her home.  He’s not even welcome to know anything about her. I’m thinking about the person whose husband left with his cup of hot coffee still sitting on the counter, abandoning her and their two small children to go live with his stripper girlfriend on the other side of the country. I doubt she wants to discuss party arrangements with him. I’m thinking about the man who had to pay alimony to his cheating wife and had to fight for 50/50 custody of his kids. I don’t see him and the ex sitting together at school functions. Ultimately, I’m thinking about me.

My husband has done his level best to destroy our lives. He started out by moving us across the country and uprooting us from lives that we loved- all of us! Our kids were happy where we were.  I was happy.  The only person not happy was him. So we moved.  To make him happy. And then once we began to adjust and adapt to our new lives he threw a grenade right into our laps.  Surprise!  I’m fucking my cousin! If that’s not bad enough he moves out of the damn state he moved us to without saying a word to even his children. And now… well, this has been the best trick of them all. He resigned from yet another job and isn’t paying a dime in child or spousal support, forcing us to move another 600 miles, forcing us to leave our home and move in with my mother. I swear to God, I think if the man thought he could get away with killing me he would.

He has lied; he has handed over thousands of dollars to the whore. While lying to me, of course. He has abandoned his children. I assure you he is not the type of person with whom I want to celebrate anything. He isn’t welcome in my home; he isn’t welcome in my life. Remaining friends with him would be akin to someone kidnapping one of my kids and then wanting to stay in touch with us after they were apprehended.  Not gonna happen! Don’t betray me, stab me in the back and fuck me over and then act all shocked when I have no desire to remain friends with you.

The best attitude is to realize that it’s not a “broken” home it’s only a “change” in living arrangements? Oh, you are closer than you think, Mr. Commenter.  Yeah, my kids have definitely experienced a change in living arrangements. Their dear old dad has blown up their lives spectacularly once again and their living arrangements are now 600 miles from where they were living. Their original home is definitely broken. I do a damn fine job of raising and loving these kids, but I never intended to be a single parent. I waited until I was married to have children for a reason; I fully intended to raise these children in an intact home with my husband. Their lives as they knew them are over.

And you?  The person who believes that despite your divorce, this new change in your relationship as you call it, you are still family with the ex?  Yes, you!  You are not family anymore.  Divorce ends families; it doesn’t create them or make them better. Please don’t get me wrong.  I think you can probably end up with a much better situation overall in certain cases, but to act as though divorce is some wonderful thing is just, well, just ridiculous. You and your ex are no longer related.  You are no longer family. You may certainly choose to spend copious amounts of time with a lying, cheating sonofabitch if you wish, but you don’t have to. And if your ex isn’t a lying, cheating sonofabitch, well maybe that right there is why you don’t have a problem hanging around with him.

To the person who thinks it’s so sad when kids are caught between fighting parents: I agree that if the parents really are forcing the kids to choose sides or preventing a relationship with the other parent that is terrible.  However, not every child is in that situation and just because mommy and daddy don’t have joint birthday parties and sit next to each other at ball games doesn’t mean that little Emily or little Aiden will be psychologically damaged. Again, divorce ends families.  If you’re so worried about Emily or Aiden and their need to see their parents getting along try not getting a fucking divorce! That might help.

And as for your friend who feels that if she ever puts her child’s father down she is putting him down? Get a grip! Your spouse and your child do not morph into the same person because they share half of their DNA. In my case my husband is a lying, cheating, cousin fucking, jobless waste of skin who is constantly playing the victim card and really expects people to feel sorry for him. He is what he is. My denying that reality doesn’t protect my kids. Accepting that reality doesn’t mean that I think either of my kids are lying, cheating, cousin fucking, jobless wastes of skin who are constantly playing the victim card and really expect people to feel sorry for them. Believe it or not, they are actually two separate people from me and their father!

I will say I don’t think it’s a good idea to tear down your child’s other parent. I also don’t feel that a person does anything wrong by telling the truth, even if the truth isn’t always flattering. I think there is a big difference between, “You know that your mother does not accept any differences in opinion,” or “You are obviously aware that your father has difficulty with the truth,” and “Your mom is a lying, cheating whore and she’s fucked the entire neighborhood.  She never wanted you and I had to promise her I would take care of you so she wouldn’t place you for adoption!” or “Your dad is a horrible person who has never loved you! He walked away without a moment of regret. He’s replacing you with the whore and her kids and don’t you ever forget that!”

As for the milestones- the graduations, weddings, births, grandchildren’s birthday parties… In my case I don’t think I will even have to worry about it. But even if I thought he’d be around it’s not necessary to celebrate those occasions “with” him. I can attend a graduation without ever setting eyes on him. I’m sure there will be lots of people at their graduations that I don’t ever see. Why make an exception for him? The actual graduation party? Eh, that might be a little more difficult but I bet I could throw a party for either kid and not ever interact with him or anyone in his family if they bothered to show up. It wouldn’t even be awkward; it would simply be the way things worked out what with me being so busy and tending to other guests (you know, the ones I actually like and want to see). Weddings? If he’s there I’ll deal with it but I don’t see a need to speak to him.  I don’t have to sit with him and we won’t be taking pictures together. I’m almost positive neither of my kids are going to want a picture with us together. He kind of ruined that with the whole “cheating on their mom” thing. I don’t foresee us needing to eat the wedding meal together so hooray for separate tables. We won’t be dancing together. There is absolutely nothing that the parents of the bride (or groom) are expected to do together. Birth of the grandchildren should I be so lucky? I’ll just come when he’s not there.  Easy peasy. The only one that might be tricky would be grandkids’ birthday parties but I’m fairly certain I could find plenty of people to interact with instead of trying to act all chummy with him.

Finally, this idea that the best gift I can give my kids includes getting along with his new spouse is hilarious! That whore is not welcome anywhere around me or my children. Period. If, one day, my kids decide they want to give her a chance, fine. I hope they are both wise enough to realize that I will never give her a chance.  I will never be friends with her. I will never be gracious to her. I will never go out of my way to make her feel comfortable. I will never co-host a shower or any kind of event with her. I will never ask her opinion on any such matters. That bitch had better be satisfied with me not trying to shank her at the graduation ceremony!

I think it’s a lovely idea my friend has; I just don’t think it works for too many people. I think whenever you’re dealing with what I like to call The Four Big A’s- Addiction, Adultery, Abuse, Abandonment, you are dealing with many complicated issues that go far beyond slapping a smile on your face and pretending that everything is okay, as though sitting side by side at a graduation is going to make everything all better. I also think this push to be friendly and to put aside all of our differences for the sake of the children is hurtful to all of us out there who have been traumatized and/or victimized by our exes. Maybe it’s easy for me to say that because I know how my kids feel about their dad right now. Maybe I would feel differently if they felt differently towards him. Maybe not. I don’t believe that cheaters are entitled to your forgiveness or to your friendship after a divorce.

“This Can Be Civil”

Another entry that was written a few months ago.  He has now been court ordered to pay temporary support so he doesn’t get to “decide” how much to give me.

Words to live by, huh?  This is what the lying, cheating douchebag of a soon to be ex (STBX) says to me after letting me know he doesn’t have money to pay his half of the household bills (and after informing me that he shouldn’t have to pay a cent for my cell phone.  Hey, let’s give him a break; he’s paying for his whore’s and her daughter’s cell phones so he really can’t afford to keep supporting his actual WIFE.)

This can be civil?  First, let me ask you what your definition of civil is because in my eyes I have been nothing but civil.  I haven’t screamed, yelled, ranted and raved, cried hysterically, begged you to take me back, blown up your phone with text messages or phone calls while you’re away every weekend with your whore and her kids, or encouraged our kids to do the same.  I haven’t bashed your head or testicles with a baseball bat while you’re sleeping, screamed obscenities at you, keyed your car or rented billboards to advertise your cheating with your whore of a cousin all over your home state, particularly in the towns you frequent.  I haven’t thrown all your possessions onto the lawn, or thrown them away, burned them, ripped them up or in any way trashed them.  I haven’t sold them online or donated them to Goodwill. For the love of all that’s holy I haven’t even thrown you out of the house!  You still have full access even though you don’t think you should have to pay half of the bills.  And when you banished your own self to a motel room for ONE WHOLE NIGHT in an astounding display of self pity I allowed you to move into the guest bedroom and told you I thought that was a wise decision.  I haven’t shown up at your place of employment with all your belongings and dumped them in the parking lot with a huge sign that reads:  I moved my entire family here one year ago and now I’m leaving them for my cousin!  I haven’t written the same on your car windows while you were inside either. And I haven’t shown up there and thrown an absolute fit about your abhorrent behavior.  I haven’t called your boss and informed him that you’re having an affair and all that vacation time isn’t being spent with family (oops, I guess it is actually!) but with another woman, a woman you’re leaving your wife of 20 years for.  I haven’t let him in on the fact that you’re interviewing for other jobs to get closer to your tramp.  I haven’t let the higher ups know that either.  I wonder what they would say after all that campaigning you did to get this plant…  Do you think you would remain the golden boy or would you be tarnished and dirty once they realized it was all a ploy to get near your cousin so you could start up another affair with her?  I haven’t let any of them know that you used your corporate card to conduct your affair so that I wouldn’t know what all was going on.  Or that you are using the company discount (if indeed there is a company discount and that wasn’t just another bullshit story told to me to cover your tracks) and your corporate card to pay her cell phone bill.  I could so easily start attending church where your boss does; he’s invited me several times, you know.  But I haven’t. I haven’t trashed you in front of our kids.  I haven’t told them how you’re interviewing for jobs in other states so you can get closer to your girlfriend.  I haven’t told them about the deposit you put down on a dog for kids that aren’t yours.  I haven’t told them your cousin is wearing a shiny new diamond ring despite the fact that you’re not even close to being divorced. Hell, the words, “Your dad loves you very much,” and “He did things with us as a family; don’t you remember our last two vacations together?” have actually passed through my lips.  So all in all I think I’ve been very civil. In fact, I’ve been told by many, many people that I’ve been TOO civil.

What have you done to be civil?  Make small talk?  Act like you care whether I live or die?  Make sure we continue to keep our standard of living?  Hell, have you even apologized for your inexcusable, boorish behavior and assured me that you’ll give me a more than generous divorce settlement?  Oh no, you started screwing your cousin and siphoned off thousands of dollars to give to her and her kids. From OUR account!  You opened a new account that I knew nothing about and cashed in the rest of your stock.  Then when you were discovered you started depositing the majority of your paycheck into said account, leaving me not even enough to pay the bills, much less buy food for your children.  Let’s not even get started on buying anything fun for them, or buying toilet paper or dog food, or any of those other pesky necessities that I so carelessly spent all “your” money on. The best part though? Or perhaps I should say the most civil? That must have been when you told me you were not going to let me continue to steal every dime you make!  And, hey, where do you live right now?  Oh, that’s right.  As discussed above you’re still living in the marital home (although you slink off every weekend with nary a word to me or your children to go fuck your whore) and yet you don’t think you should have to pay your half of the household bills.  You give me what your attorney told you you would be paying and you expect me to pay all the bills and take care of all of the kids’ and pets’ needs, while you take the rest of your check and blow it on the gold digging bimbo and her kids that talk about you behind your back.

That’s not even bringing up all the bullshit you’ve subjected our kids to!  Do you think it’s civil to not have a conversation with your daughter in over 3 months?  Do you think it’s civil to tell your son, in the one conversation you’ve had with him in 3 months, that you’re not going to deny you have a girlfriend but you’ve been very unhappy for years?  In fact, according to him, you told him we hadn’t had a happy marriage in a long time (LIE!) and that once we had kids we started to drift apart.  Are you fucking kidding me?  Do you even realize what you’ve just told him?  You’ve affirmed every kid’s worst nightmare that it WAS their fault.  Hey, if you hadn’t been born your mom and I might still be happily married.  Nice job!  Where do I send your nomination for Father of the Year?  I think my favorite part though was when you told him I took a lot of money from “your” account.  First of all, it was a joint account and everything you have is 50% mine.  Second, you forgot to mention the part where I switched it over to another account (one we’d had for years and that you knew about!) because YOU WERE GIVING ALL OF OUR MONEY TO YOUR WHORE!  When your daughter texts you to tell you that it’s very distressing seeing your mistress posting all over social media about how much she misses you being in her bed (wow- civil and classy!) did you apologize for your whore’s horrible behavior?  No!  You basically accused your daughter of lying or accused me of making shit up.  And turned it all around to how YOU are a victim.  You’re not welcome in the home even though you pay all the bills.  You starve while we eat.  Thankfully your smart daughter called you out on all your bullshit.  She even sent you a screenshot of the whore’s post.  Did you apologize then?  Oh hell no!  You simply told her you weren’t lying when you said she hadn’t done anything of the sort because you hadn’t seen that.  Do you want to take a guess as to how civil your whore was?  I’m guessing you must have told her what your daughter found because instead of writing a note of apology, letting her know how sorry she is for her sorry ass behavior, she does what she normally does and she blocks her.  I don’t think that’s very civil; do you?

But here’s the most pertinent question: How does being civil benefit ME?  What’s being civil going to get ME?  Does being civil mean that you’re going to help me keep this house so your kids don’t have to move again? Or does it simply give you an opportunity to tell everyone, “Look!  I’m not that bad of a guy.  Sam doesn’t hate me.  We’re civil!”?  Does being civil mean that you’ll work with me so that I don’t have to try to refinance the house and the kids can remain in their home until they graduate?  Or does it just let you off the hook for being the shit you are?  Does being civil mean that you’re going to pay the vet bill when it’s time for your daughter’s cats to be spayed and neutered?  Or does it simply mean you don’t have to worry that I’ll tell people how you’re fucking your cousin?  FYI:  I always make sure to include that tidbit.  It’s the best part of the story.  Does being civil mean that if the furnace goes out over the winter or the A/C goes out next summer that you’re going to help replace it?  Or does it mean you don’t have to feel guilty about firebombing our lives?  Does being civil mean that if I’m running low on money you’ll step in and help me out?  Or does it mean you can now tell everyone, “See, it really was for the best!  We just weren’t good for each other, but now we have a new relationship based upon being happy for one another in our new lives!”?  Does being civil mean that you’ll finally start paying your share of the household bills and marital debt instead of blowing all your money on your white trash whore and her kids?  Or does it mean you can feel better about what you did if I’m all smiles and giggles every time you’re around?  Hell, does being civil mean that you finally man up, stop throwing me under the bus, and own up to your own churlish behavior?  Or does it mean I bring you your dinner and do your laundry all week long while you run off and fuck a whore every weekend?  Does being civil even mean that you step up to the goddamn plate just once and be a father to your children who are SCREAMING at you to get you to pay attention to them?  Or does being civil mean I accept the fact that now you are lavishing all that time and attention (that you could never muster up for our kids) and spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every month on kids that aren’t yours because you want to impress them and their gold digging mommy?  I’m sure being civil means I then turn around and put a nice little spin on that for your actual kids.   I’m just curious as to what being civil gains me because as far as I can tell “being civil” just means I’m supposed to bend over, grab my ankles and take it any way you want to give it to me.