Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “An ultimate fuck you

Tell Me Again, Why You Think This Is a Good Idea?

Finally taking the boot - divorce tales

divorce - child support

So you sued me. Um… For the last six months, you won’t talk to me, other than texts and emails. Okay. I think it’s a terrible idea, but okay.

Money has never been easy to talk about for me and the ex. And the awful realization, probably for both of us, is even in divorce we are strapped in the same financial boat together, for the duration of our kids’ young lives. Ack. It doesn’t have to be terrible, or adversarial, and it didn’t start out that way, until this summer.

The economy… Yadda yadda. My primary contract hit a snag in April, and my income was cut in half. And I have been working in a number of ways to replace that gap since even applying for full-time gigs and giving up my on-going business development. Everything is on the table. I’m scrambling.

The reality was that our two household family unit, required even more money than when we were married.

When we defined our agreement I was anticipating a quick-hire, buy a company that was “working up an offer” for approximately 80k per year. (great money if you can get it) The contract didn’t go through, but my divorce did, and I agreed to child support payments in the amount that would be in-line with that income level. The problem is, I have not yet achieved that income level since, at least not for more than 6 months at a time.

Okay, so, as things are getting REALLY tight, I let the ex know that I was going to get behind, but that I was going to keep her informed of my income and potential to pay as soon as I had the information. This did not go over well.

I understand.

She too has bills to pay, and her projections were based on counting on my support. I was apologetic, but I didn’t have an answer to her question. The question she began to hammer home week after week. “When” and “How much?”

So I was sliding, unwillingly, down the slippery slope towards becoming a deadbeat dad. The reality was that our two household family unit, required even more money than when we were married, and she was as dependant on my job as she had been when we were married. The fact that she was still living in the very nice house in the very nice neighborhood was a bit of a sore subject, but I wanted what was best for my kids. And uprooting them during the divorce, three+ years ago, was not an option that either the ex or I considered reasonable.

Today, however, the kids are older, well-adapted to the divorce routine, and she is sitting on a house that is nearly double what mine is worth, in today’s hot market. So she’s got that as an option. But let’s go back to early summer.

As the first month behind wore on my ex-y’s patience also began to fray. Her emails became more accusatory and demanding. I even started taking them into my talky therapist to see if he could help me parse out the anger from the request. With his help, I tried to craft week-after-week reasonable responses to her requests. The demand for payment or an exact payment schedule was not something I could produce. And I kept looking for work.

During the second month (again I am behind, it is my fault) she began to rattle a different saber at me. She started mentioning the Attorney General’s office. As in “maybe it would be best just to turn the whole thing over to the AG’s office and you can sort it out with them.”

My initial reaction was disbelief. I was not hiding anything from her. In fact, my talky therapist and I agreed that giving her a weekly update would alleviate some of her anxiety and stress. We were wrong. She wanted her money and now was prepared to turn me over to the state.

At this point, I took my first defensive posture of the entire process. I told her, “If you do this, I will want to go back and review what our decree said and how much I was agreeing to pay you and reset that amount based on what I actually made.” But I was asking her not to take such an adversarial position, I was trying to give her information and updates, but I could not agree to a timeline and budget that I had no idea how I could project or meet.

She presses on and says she’s going to file. I do a rough (and very conservative) review of what I had actually made in three years and that initial 80k per-year estimate that my child support was calculated on. I sent her my back-of-the-napkin calculations showing I had over-paid her 16k over three years. And again, asked her to reconsider filing against me with the state. I was happy to give her all the information I had.

She took my calculation and plea as a threat. Again, never once, did I dispute the amount she was owed, nor say that I was not going to pay all of it when I had the means. But at this point, I had missed a mortgage payment as well and was taking action to try to prevent losing my house.

In a seminal email in August, one day before my house was to be foreclosed on, she asked, “Any update on your house?” It seemed like a caring question. I reported back that Wells Fargo had given me another 30-days to provide additional proof of income. Five minutes later her reply came.

“I know this is bad timing for you, but I filed with the AG’s office, today.”

The story continues: Can Things Get Worse? Yes, Easy!

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Fathers Teach Their Daughters What Honest Love Looks Like

father daughter dayI’m doing the best I can to demonstrate for my 10 yo daughter what honest love should look like. We hold hands. We listen to each other. And we never fail to offer up, “I love you” at random and magical times. Many a night, when the kids are with their mom, have I gotten a text of heart emoticons from my daughter, just touching in before she goes to be. And her Facetime chats on those nights have been known to boost my mood by 150%. It’s not that I depend on her for my happiness. But she shows me random acts of love all the time. And that’s how I walk the earth, too.

It seems that I have a bone to pick then, with the fathers of my first two wives. Something was seriously amiss with both of their relating functions. And now, with hindsight, I blame their dads for a good portion of their damaged response to being loved. Let’s cover them one at a time, just for example.

My first wife had emotional problems early on in the marriage. I did not see them while we were courting. (Well, okay, I saw some indication of them, but was oblivious due to her hyper-sexual tractor beam that had a hold of me. Her father was even more messed up than she was. He was a lawyer that seemed to enjoy fucking with people. The were estranged when we met and courted and got married. Perhaps that should have been a clue. But later as the real-life of living uncovered some of my first wife’s emotional problems, his presence raised its ugly head rather dramatically.

She had been sexually abused.

I want my daughter to be strong in this world. And when she is treated with disrespect I want her to KNOW in her deepest heart that it is not right.

I tried to put the genie back in the bottle after her sexual abuse was revealed, due to some therapy our new financial union had afforded my wife. But the demons came screaming into our bedroom and never left. Some of the nuttiness was certainly on my wife, and she went through phases of recovery, when she continued in counseling and got ever more clear in the distinction that I was indeed a man, but I was not her father, nor an abuser. But as her commitment to “working on it” wained so did her ability to remove the target from my heart. Things didn’t get any better as we began some engagement with dear old Dad. He was a creep and a user right from the start. You could tell from his dyed curly hair and his “everything is awesome” attitude that if you didn’t watch yourself around him, you were gonna get fucked.

When things had progressed towards the demise of my marriage, I’m sure, Dad, the family lawyer from Oregon, had given her a final piece of fatherly advice. “File for divorce while he’s out of town, get what money you can into bank accounts that you control, and file a restraining order before he knows what hit him.

I returned from a business trip to New York and was served in my office on a Monday morning. An ultimate fuck you to the end of a very troubled and painful marriage. (Note: when the abused becomes the abuser, it can often turn into an out-of-control rage that threatens both life and sanity. If you are in a relationship with someone who has been sexually abused, please seek help for yourself. You CAN choose to be in that relationship, but rocky times are ahead.)

I show her how a gentleman treats her. I am always listening, often adoring, and when applying discipline, I try to stay close and not punish with cold logic.

The ex-y and her Dad had a very different relationship. His style was much more suited to his engineering mind and career. He kept his emotions in check at all times. (Of course, that my second wife’s mother was off her rocker would factor into this dramatically, but he had learned this coping mechanism long before he met my ex-wife’s mom.) He was rarely concerned with understanding or expressing emotion. But wanted to know the bottom line in every transaction. Rather than engaging in a relationship with me, after we got married, he seemed to always be asking, “What do you want from me?”

My ex-y got her relationship skills from the engineer. If things got difficult she reverted to his “process over emotion” method. She rarely told me she loved me except in response to my overture. She liked to “run the numbers” all the time, when I proposed a quick getaway. “Hey let’s go to the beach this weekend.” She’d start with, “We don’t have the money for that.” (Come to think of it, that’s still kind of her approach to me, in divorce, it’s about money first, money always, emotions and expression of feelings second or not at all.)

So my second wife learned to cordon off her emotional bonds and use logic and spreadsheets to rule the day. I guess in some zen-like practice this is good. It has seemed to work for her dad. But of course, if you are trying to relate to someone who’s always asking, “But what do you feel?” your approach may not work. Still, she is a master spreadsheeter. And like her dad, she can start and finish conversations with Excel. But there’s no way to navigate LOVE in a spreadsheet.

So I get to give my daughter something different.

I show her how a gentleman treats her. I am always listening, often adoring, and when applying discipline, I try to stay close and not punish with cold logic. It’s how I would want to be treated. It’s how I treat a relationship. It’s where I start from.

I want my daughter to be strong in this world. And when she is treated with disrespect I want her to KNOW in her deepest heart that it is not right. To love from the spreadsheet may get you down the road of business, but it will kill the passion in your relationship. To love fully, we must open to the pain of loving, to the pain of feeling raw emotion. This opens the possibility for full-love. And perhaps I’m experiencing it in a platonic/fatherly way with my daughter. But I believe it’s the way to loving deeply and loving for the long haul.

The fathers of my two wives did not do a good job of being fathers. And their daughters are still struggling to find their love language. I am clear on my role as Dad and protector. But I am also clear that I am showing her what it feels like to be loved deeply and fully. And hopefully, to know when something is missing before she enters into a serious relationship with someone who is damaged or damaging.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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