Jennifer Ball hit it out of the park last month with her blog post, Haunted (by) Houses. If you haven’t read her blog you should.
The inspiration for this post? Her desire to buy a home of her own and the realization that she probably never would be able to because of what her ex did to her when he left.
You think CF is bad? I think her ex has him beat. He left her with four kids and “a mountain of debt” for his secretary. They are now married with two children of their own. While he does on occasion see his children it’s at their discretion and as Jenny has noted, “They don’t have much time for someone who doesn’t have much time for them.”
Like CF, her ex had some difficulties with paying support. Apparently it’s hard deciding which Audi to buy, getting your pool fixed, AND paying support. Something had to go! Not only did he somehow manage to get out of paying child and spousal support for quite some time, when she finally got awarded child support again that motherfucker somehow managed to make it tax exempt for him which meant she had to pay taxes on it.
Like me she lost her home to foreclosure. Unlike me she did not have a mother to turn to. She’s worked three and four jobs at a time, shopped at the food bank, declared bankruptcy, and has lived in poverty, or pretty close to it, since her divorce. As she puts it:
Every time I get a little bit tucked away into savings there is something that needs to be taken care of: one of our ancient cars breaks down, a tooth cracks, someone’s tuition is due, we need heat in the winter, etc.
Her ex? He and the OW turned new wife bought or built a million dollar home shortly before his youngest child with Jenny turned 18 and aged out of child support. Some guy, huh? If it’s possible I think I hate him more than I hate CF.
This is what I want to tell people who insist that I’m bitter. Who tell me to get over it, who shake their heads and say, “I can’t believe you still think about this.” Who look at my ex, in his million dollar house, livin’ the dream and then at me, livin’ the nightmare of financial insecurity and terror over things like, “where will I live when our sweet landlord gets smart and decides to sell?” and see nothing unfair or unjust.
“Jenny, he’s moved on. Why can’t you?”
Because every.single.day there is a reminder. Some days I’m SO GOOD at ignoring them. I line up my blessings and kiss them on the forehead as I count them. I laugh and curl up with the good fortune I do have and the reminders slink away.
But the houses. Shit. The houses, they won’t be ignored (I wonder if they sound like Glenn Close). They are structures built of possibilities and dreams. They are carnies calling out to me as I try my hardest to just keep walking, eyes focused on the sidewalk, the sky, anything but these homes. “Step right up! Feast your eyes on this little beaut! Too bad you can’t qualify for a gd thing, Jenny! This coulda been yours if only you’d made some better life choices! If only you’d ignored that tall asshole singing along to REM at the bar that night!” (it was The End of the World As We Know It, hahaha) (cry)
I lost the home my dad bought and remodeled with his own two hands thanks to my ex husband’s fuckery. A home that welcomed our new babies, that was framed with plants and trees we put into the ground with love, that kept us safe and warm through seasons of cold and rain. A home I had planned on living in for the rest of my life. Gone, because some dude couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.
God, I get it, Jenny. I really do.
“He’s moved on and you should too,”? Really? These helpful “friends” don’t seem to grasp that subtle difference where our exes had their new lives all planned out before we ever got wind that anything was wrong with the old life.
Jenny and I were both stay at home moms. Our husbands both made decent money. So when they decided to “move on” it was quite easy for them. They weren’t suddenly going to wonder where the hell they were going to live. With the whore, of course! They didn’t have to worry about those pesky kids. They were our responsibility. We’d figure something out. Two, three, four jobs- whatever it takes.
Neither of our exes have dealt with the utter destruction we’ve been forced to face. They had jobs, new partners, new kids, new homes. Everything nice and new and shiny.
Their lives have gone on with very few missteps and when one occurred they’ve both managed to quickly turn it around for themselves.
It’s not so easy when you’re the dumped spouse, forced into an unforgiving workforce after many years of raising your kids.
CF had a twenty year head start on me when it came to being financially independent. I spent those twenty years following him around the country and raising his children. If someone offered me a job paying $100,000 like he was offered I would take it in a heartbeat (the usual disclaimers of no illegal activity and no killing or torturing animals apply). The reality is I’m a middle aged woman with very little recent job history and a useless, outdated degree. I can give myself pep talks about increasing my pay almost $3 more per hour in the two years that I’ve been with the bank, but $11/hour wasn’t enough to live on, much less support two kids, and $13.77/hour isn’t much better.
Move on? Oh, I think I have. But “stop thinking about all of that,”? Yeah, no. I’m not sure that will ever happen. I think it’s very easy for the person who was cheating to not look back. But in my case, and in Jenny’s case, our lives as we knew them were destroyed.
I lost my home. I had to go back to work. My household income plummeted. I farm out childcare duties because I can’t do them.
I don’t see myself ever being able to afford a home of my own. I will probably work until the day that I die, and I don’t see my household income increasing much from what it is now. I guess the good news is if I work until I’m 75 and get those huge 50 cent a year raises by the time I retire I’ll be making over $50,000. Of course, by then $50,000 will be equivalent to $35,000 today.
One day I was buying all new furniture for my new house and putting a $57,000 pool in my backyard. The next day I’m living off of savings and the day after that I’m forced out of my home, out of the state, and working two jobs.
CF’s new life? As my lawyer put it so brilliantly in court: You used to live in a nice big 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. You still live in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. You had a wife that cooked your meals and did your laundry. Now you’ve got someone else to cook your meals and do your laundry. You had 2 kids. You still have 2 kids. Not your two kids, but two kids nonetheless.
Nothing’s changed for him. What does he need to get over? What does Jenny’s ex husband need to get over? The fact they both cheated on their loyal wives or that they discarded their own flesh and blood? I don’t think it bothers them. They are far too entitled to ever feel guilt.
Both of them stepped right into ready made lives that were no different (although they might argue they’re so much better now) than the ones they had before. They just switched out their wife appliance.
I’m as over that piece of shit I married as a person can be. The thought of him touching me makes me physically ill. I realize he was a total mental drain. Hell, I was recording suicide messages for my loved ones after they found my body only four months before finding out about Harley the Whore. I’m completely over him. Don’t want him back. Not a bit jealous that she’s got him and I don’t.
She didn’t just take my husband, though. She took my life. She took my security and that of my children. She took our home from us and then took their mother away from them. I used to do everything for them. I used to be there for them. Anything that needed to be done, I did. Now that’s no longer true. I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t have the time or the money.
The two of them took everything that used to mean something to me and destroyed it. I enjoyed my life in Utah, and I was beginning to enjoy my life in Virginia, but those motherfuckers took that from me.
They took my identity, that of a mom, and crushed it, while they retained their own identities (those cousinfucking baboons). My life has completely changed and it’s a change that was forced upon me. It was not something I sought out.
The two of them irreparably damaged me. Maybe if I had been younger. Maybe if we had had more assets. Maybe if I had always worked and had an excellent career myself. Maybe then the damage wouldn’t have been so great.
I will adjust. I will acclimate. I will lower my expectations. I will endure. But it will never be okay and I will NEVER get over what those two assholes did to me or how much they took from me.
That sounds dark and angry, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to imply that there are no charms to this new life I’m leading. If not for him firebombing my life I would have never met the mobster. He is a gem; I have a much better relationship now. It has definitely shown me what was missing in my marriage and how dysfunctional both CF and the relationship were. I cannot stress how thankful I am that the mobster is in my life.
My kids both seem to be doing well despite my greater absence. Sometimes I forget to pat myself on the back for the things I do manage to accomplish in spite of no longer being a stay at home mom. I pick Picasso up from after school activities 2-3 days a week, and once a week I get him to cello lessons. I still attend his concerts. I’ve been at the family events that Rock Star has invited me to down at college. I’m told I’m an honorary member of her sorority because so many of the girls think I’m awesome. Plus, the entire four months my mom was gone I managed to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and cook meals for my son.
I have the opportunity to live close to my family again. While CF could manage to make his way back to his home state I don’t think he would have ever been inclined to make it back to mine. Or even close to it for my sake.
None of the above makes what CF did to me okay. He and his choices altered the course of my life. If you’re going to tell me I need to “get over it” then I think it’s only fair that you understand that.