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

Posts tagged “my ex-wife’s boyfriend

I Must Be Insane: It’s the End of the World, and I Feel Fine

love poem - your a song I want to sing - john mcelhenney

love poem - your a song I want to sing - john mcelhenneyThere’s not much that is going to plan at this moment. YET, I’m happily plugging along on my path and flipping the bird to the ex-wife, bill collectors, family members who think they know exactly what I need to do. Fuck’em.

And as I checked in with my therapist this morning, he said, “Either you’ve gone completely insane, or everyone else has.” I’m gonna stick with our assumption that unhealthy systems don’t like for people to get healthy, or stand up against them.

Let me be clear, I am behind on my child support payments. THIS I KNOW. But I am not avoiding them or trying to hide behind excuses. It’s pretty simple. A client’s business took a hit recently and changed their payment terms with me. I’m not working any less or taking time off, but I’m not getting paid with the same frequency. They will get caught up too. And when they do I will give my ex and my kids all the money they deserve. This is not a choice I am making to stiff them or begin my slip towards becoming a dead beat dad.

Of course, that does not help my ex and her own cash flow problems. I tried to have a discussion with her since she keeps sending messages of some urgency. Here’s how the conversation went.

ME: I’m happy to meet or talk at anytime this week if you’d like to talk about things.
HER: First question: When can you pay me?
ME: Um. I’m not sure.
HER: Next question: How much?
ME: Okay, I see this is how the conversation would go if we were to get together. Maybe that’s not necessary. Let me ask a question. “Is there some extenuating circumstance, or something I’m missing that is causing our kids great suffering? Or is it just cash flow?”
HER: I am incurring debt because of things your are not paying for.

Ah, so… It’s really just a choice, then to pound me for the money, even when I’ve been as clear as possible about my financial situation. Am I going on vacations or spending money on anything other than food and shelter? NO. And I won’t rehash how her financial situation is just fine… Not my business or my concern.

You see, knowing that you owe taxes is not the same as having the money to pay them. Avoiding penalties is great if you have the money. When you dial back to survival mode you have to thicken your skin a bit and take care of what you CAN take care of and ignore the rest of the URGENT MESSAGES that come from everyone looking for their money.

I tried to explain this to my ex. Her urgency didn’t translate for me. In fact, it just made me a bit more frustrated as I tried to give her information (she was asking for information) but no firm dates and amounts. That’s what she wants. How much and when. That’s fine. But it’s not possible for me to answer that question. And there’s a wrinkle, that I’m looking into as well. [Based on actual income vs. estimated income, I’ve overpaid her significantly since we got divorced.]

As we move along, perhaps the urgency or villainy will be moved from me to someone something else for her. Today I’m her target, but I’m getting ready to punch back. Or not. Just like my divorce recovery class says, “Treat them like a convenience store clerk. Just take care of business and get out.”

When she came by on Saturday to pick up the kids she looked great. She’s still my type. I could see how I would still find her attractive and want to date her. I would hope, today, that my self-awareness would allow me to see some of the fatal flaws before falling in love with her. I noticed her and her attractiveness like I might a pretty waitress, and then we conducted the business of transferring the kids’ stuff.

I wish her well. The better she does the better my kids do when they are with her. And I hope her boyfriend turns out to be more reliable and a better honey-do than I was.

I will get her all of her money. All of the money that belongs to my kids. At this moment, that money is for extracurricular things. And I don’t have a single extracurricular dollar. That’s why the downstairs bathroom is in need of repairs. And why the creditors, including her, will have to wait until things move back into the plus column. They’ve been heading in the right direction all summer, but a few hitches along the way, and I’m still plugging along in survival mode.

The good news is: even under the duress of the financial and familial stress I am still centered in my own happiness. That is the only happiness I can manage.


The Off Parent

< back to The Hard Stuff pages

related posts:


The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Recently Divorced, I Discover that Untethered Joy Is My Natural State

I have a joy about me that I will no longer contain. In the relationship with my ex, there was friction between her and my whimsical and joyous nature. In her universe, the cleanliness of the house could be more important than making love or playing with your children. Not in mine.

So maybe at 49, coming untethered from her two years ago, was the release I needed to transform — through the shit storm of depression and self-doubt and into something even more self-sustaining and full of smiles.

My kids wrote those little love notes to me several weeks ago and their messages still punctuate my every waking hour.

My 11-year-old son’s first line, “You are so happy.”

And my 9-year-old daughter’s poem”

“You are always so cheerful
You are fun
You are funny
You are very loving
You are smart
You are awesome
And I love you”

And looking ahead, in October and November the three of us enter our EVEN years, while their mom will become ODD in a few weeks. And maybe we were just out of sync the entire time.

In my new life, we laugh more than I remember laughing while married to my ex-y. A buoyancy has taken root in our lives during our time together. We sing we roll our eyes at each other, we laugh an awful lot, and our family unit has regained or re-embraced some of the uber-joy I try to create in my life. I think this joyous way is my gift to my children. There is plenty in life that will challenge, hurt, and reset your goals and expectations. But there is nothing quite as important as how you deal with those things.

I can do very little to influence or control my ex-y’s life way. I imagined at some point that my joyous perspective would rub off on her, that WE together would experience a joyous life. And perhaps somewhere along the way, she lost faith in the joy-focused path. She returned to what she knew: calculating, measuring, planning, organizing, and trying to fit emotional variations within the formula of an excel spreadsheet. And observing her father’s behavior and relationship with our kids, it is easy to see where she learned to calculate rather than celebrate.

The friction and the limiting tie-downs have been removed. We, my smaller family unit, is free to move about the universe with a joyous and playful belief in the world. And as my ex makes arrangements to introduce the kids to her new BF in the next few weeks [as early as the parenting contract will allow] I understand that the introduction is not for the kids, it is for and about her and her happiness.

My hope is that she has found someone who lifts her up out of the chores and Excel calculations enough to enjoy some of the fruits of her labor. My understanding is that internal joy and lightness comes from within and not from another. A relationship to another person can influence and join your “way of being” with another person, but it never merges or changes a person’s internal nature. My hope is that whoever he is [he who she started dating in January] that he brings a huge influence of lift and laughter into my kids’ lives. I think the seriousness of divorced time has passed.

And regardless of my ex and her boyfriend’s trajectory, I hope that I can provide the platform of happiness that my children will stand upon when they are facing tough times in their future. And that’s what I owe them. That’s what I owe myself.

You are so always so cheerful.

You are so happy.

I am untethered and full of joy. It is my gift to my children. And perhaps it is my influential effect on my next serious relationship. But the joyousness has to be found and established inside ourselves. There is no BF or GF that is going to make us more happy. We have to find that for ourselves. And honestly, I do not know if my ex is happy. I know that she was ever-more unhappy as time with me moved along. And she has been released back to her natural state.

And I suppose, so have I.


The Off Parent

related posts: