October 4

Let The Kids Decide

There are so many things wrong with my current scenario, but it could play out better than I would have hoped. My ex has told me that she will let the kids decide when they want to spend time with me. The GAL has told her he won’t stand in her way on these decisions, but he won’t encourage them or support them. He has given up on me as a father. That’s some shit. He creates rules that don’t let me parent, then judges me for not being a model parent. The big catch is of course that she isn’t telling them that they have this new found super power. She explained to me that she expected my youngest to want to come over often, and that my middle two probably wouldn’t want to come over much or at all to spend the night at least. My oldest has a lot of work to do that makes all of this too complicated to dig into for him, so we will not talk about him right now. I might dig into things with him in a separate post.

The fundamental problem of letting the kids choose at any age where they are still dependent on their parents is that it creates a competitive environment. Even if the parents don’t compete, if the child chooses one parent over the other, then they risk hurting the other parents feelings. It places the child in a position of power that should not belong to them, because they are not ready for it. They don’t understand the law of unintended consequences at all. They are being made responsible for relationships that they aren’t mature enough to be responsible for.

This weekend, a lot of things have happened. I would call most of the weekend progress. My youngest stayed the weekend. I went to take pictures of my oldest daughter before homecoming. My younger son had dinner with me and my wife after the pictures. He and my youngest came to a family dinner with my wife’s family on Sunday. Notice my oldest daughter chose not to come to dinner.

So first to my youngest. Its awful how she ended up spending the night for three nights, but I am forever grateful for her doing what it takes. I would never encourage her behavior, but I am not surprised at all by her behavior. She has been more and more reclusive at her mom’s house. She spends most of her time in her room. She only comes out to eat. She reads like a maniac (which makes me very happy), and watches a ton of TV and movies, which doesn’t bother me because she is an active reader and athlete. Its background while she does life. She has become nastier and nastier with her mom, and when her mom talks to her about it, she is very clear that she wants to be with me. I don’t believe she is saying live here, but that might come if her mom continues down the path she is on. She means that she wants to be with me in my space, where I can be her father and not some strange friend or baby sitter for them. So I got the phone call asking if she could come stay with us, like I would say no. My kids could call me and say “Dad I am coming over” and I would race them to the house if I wasn’t there.

Now for my son. I took him out to dinner after we took homecoming pictures with my daughter. He chose not to go this year. He didn’t have much fun last year, or so he says. I think he protects his older brother’s feelings a lot more than we ever know, and he didn’t have a date either. I have written about how he has spent most of his life protecting his brother and protecting the world from his brother. At dinner he asked why his sister was allowed to come stay with me for the weekend, and he wasn’t. He said “I don’t understand the rules.” My answer since we are still in court, and can’t speak as freely as I would like is “You need to start asking.” I hope he does. I love when he is here. Some of my fondest memories growing up is the late night talks with my dad. We would often argue and debate. It made me think through my ideas, and it brought us closer together. We did it on into adulthood, and I miss it with him. Maybe me and my son won’t have that same relationship, but we haven’t had a chance to develop it. I want to develop what we might have for the rest of my life. He came to the family dinner, and it was great seeing him interact with the adults and the younger kids. There weren’t any kids close to his age. He is such a great kid. He tends to carry the world on his shoulders. I wish he didn’t, but he did grow up with me, and I tend to do that too.

My older daughter chose not to come. She had homework. This was just dinner from around 5:30 until 8:00. I wouldn’t be so bothered, except this is the fourth time she has chosen to not spend time with me, when given a chance. I don’t know if she is protecting her mom from being alone with my oldest son, or if she has some problem with me. I need to find out. It worries me. It makes me sad. I love her personality, and she doesn’t seem angry with me, but the longer this goes on, the more awkward I feel.

I have wondered for a long time if I ever get a relationship with my kids again. With my youngest, I don’t doubt she will be around forever. She is also my only biological child. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but I suspect it does. I have little doubt with my younger son, he says he wants to spend time here with me, and plans on doing so as he can drive on his own. I don’t know with my other daughter. Time will tell with her. I do think there will be something with my oldest, but I don’t know what it will be. He still desires one, but we have a lot to deal with. That will either be the end or the beginning of what is to come. I hope its a beginning.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

December 1

Letting Go

10 of 365 - Let Go

This is something I am not good at. When I take a Meyer’s-Brigg’s personality test, I always get INTJ. I have found this tool to be very accurate in describing how I think and react to things. This type is rare, and struggles finding people to associate with. We are not understood well, and though we understand others, we don’t see value in acting on things that fit right, so we easily discount others. This makes relationships hard, but one of the things often associated with an INTJ is loyalty, so once a relationship is established we will fight for them. I think my story shows how willing I am to do this. Lets break down my personal perspective on being INTJ before we get to far.

I – Introversion preferred to Extroversion: This means that social interaction costs something. It can be tiring. This does not mean that I am not social. I am very social. I am not energizes by being social I seek time alone to recharge my batteries. A relationship that cannot respect this about me will not be valued.

N – Intuition preferred to sensing: I see the big picture, and tend to focus on that. When I get into the details, I am very good at figuring them out with my sights on the big picture. The problems tend to come when I allow perfectionism to blind me to finishing the goal. I can get mired in the details, and fail to ever reach my goal. This has happened in my divorce, and it happens a lot at work. Its a constant topic with my boss. He gets it, and its his job to kick me in the head to shake things up. We have a good relationship in that way.

T – Thinking preferred to feeling: Logic is the greatest thing for making decisions. Social constructs don’t matter much to me. I will try to reason my way through the world. This works great at building and designing things, but it doesn’t always work well in dealing with people. People don’t make sense. They are illogical. I often can predict what someone will do like I am living in a video game, but I fail to find the capacity to act on that knowledge because it doesn’t make sense. This is something that I am working on.

J – Judgement preferred to perception: Predictability is the core of this trait. Decisions that I will make are not hard to figure out. I have given you all you need to know to know how I will react to something. Most often this trait is one that drives early decision making. I don’t tend to this. This is also in the more comprehensive tests for me the lower case version. It is my weakest trait in the INTJ or INTj. I come close to the middle on this one, but always have fallen to the J not the P.

I explain all this, because what I have been going through has really torn at my core. The person I chose as my mate has turned against me in the ways that hurt the most. I struggle to show emotion. I don’t always process emotion in the moment. When I do, I am surprised by it. My family has changed a lot since I started this process, and that is where things have gotten messy.

My Dad died two years ago. I miss him everyday. He was very different than me, and we had great arguments. The best kind. I never doubted I was loved by that man. He and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but we knew we could count on each other. I know he had brain cancer, but he died not believing in me. I struggle with that every day. I don’t know how to resolve the feeling that go with that. He saw me as a failure for the first time in my life. I know that his cancer affected how he perceived things, but it still hurts like a son of a bitch to think about it.

While my Dad was sick, my sister pushed me out of my mom’s circle. I was no longer someone she called. I didn’t see at the time, that my sister was doing this, but as I look back, I see that she was actively pushing me out of my mom’s life. A little less than a year ago, she stopped talking to me. I don’t know why. She withdrew almost completely. At family events, she talked around me, but almost never to me. She began talking to my ex at events more and more, and now openly treats her like a sister while ignoring me, and insisting that my nieces and brother-in-law do the same. I haven’t had any significant time with any of them in quite a long time. My sister gets my kids together with hers by going through my ex. She actively rejects my step-kids. My step-son cried to his mom why his aunt doesn’t love him anymore.

My mom recently decided to make a huge issue out of a small issue. It revolved around my current wife. She has tried to force me to push her out. She is looking at things as if the marriage ceremony and vows don’t mean anything, because there is no legal license to go along with it. She wants me to choose her over my wife. That isn’t going to happen, as anyone who understand me or any other INTJ for that matter should know. My mom remarried on the day before my birthday. She did so on the down low. She didn’t want to be judged for living in sin.

My new step-father, a man I thought was going to be a good thing in my life has chosen a very poor course with me. He decided to step into this fight between my wife and my mother, and even my and my sister. He challenged me by emasculating me. He became the great white knight. He tried to cut me down before them, and insult my manhood. Its something he doesn’t belong in, but he put himself into the middle of and made it between me and him.

I will write about the details of all these things next. I am writing this because the results are hard for me. I have told my step-father that I am done with him. Those were the words he told me if I didn’t do what he expected. My sister doesn’t talk to me. I told my mom that we needed to take a break, because she isn’t hearing anything I have to say. I have to let go. Its time to let go.

Letting go is not something that I do well. I have to let go of the things I can’t control. I have to let go of what is right, at least in my case, when it comes to the family court process. I have to let go, because I will be called on to help others who are going through what I have gone through. I have to let go of the fatherly relationship that I desire. Mine is gone, and this man who married my mom isn’t going to fill his shoes. From what I can tell he already has a son like me, and isn’t interested in him either. I have to let go of my sister. I don’t have the emotional cycles to deal with whatever she isn’t talking about. I am not going to pretend that I am innocent. I just don’t know what is bothering her. My mom has chosen to be more selfish than I have ever known her to be. I have to let that go. She isn’t hearing me right now. She may never hear me again. My father may have been more the translator than I ever thought he was for us. What I can hold on to is the fact that my father and his father are the only men who loved me for who I am, and accepted who I am as well. That is enough.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

October 7

When Does It End

The Endless Tunnel

I have been reading things at A Shrink For Men. Its abuse week or some such thing. The stories stand out to me, because these men have or are dealing with the things that I have. Some to a greater degree, and some to the same. I know these stories seem crazy when you read them, but they happen, and with greater frequency than most people understand. The reality is our culture breeds borderlines. We forgive their actions, because they are women. Men who behaved this way go to jail. Women who behave this way send men to jail.

I am heading back to court next week. I have lost all hope of a good outcome. I don’t have a settlement yet, and I suspect that she will not give me what I want. I am financially unable to pay my rent. I have to dig up $600 to avoid contempt of court to pay the GAL who basically decided that I am not a worthy father. He handed all the power to her. He took away any normal negotiation tool that I may have. So far she has taken the position of simply limiting my time to a point to maximize her child support. This isn’t so bad, except she has the power to make it less, and she very well might do so. I hope that I will get a settlement, and the one I want. I am not asking her for anything really. I am asking for her to accept my retirement money, and to cash out a portion to give back to me. Money that is already mine, that I don’t have access to. Money I need to get back on my feet. Money I need to avoid bankruptcy. I am not even sure that bankruptcy saves me, because much of my debt is in the category of things that aren’t subject to bankruptcy. I am sure my lawyer has made sure that a good chunk of my time has been charged for custody and child support issues, so that it isn’t subject to discharge.

The system loves women like my ex. They feed the system with unending debates. She can look reasonable, because the conflict feeds her. Its a natural place for her to thrive. Absent of this conflict, she is likely to explode to create the conflict that she needs to feed on. The process is killing me. I walk around with constant chest pain. I have had multiple panic attacks while playing soccer that have dropped me to my knees. The judge has lost her patience with the case, but I won’t be surprised if it continues. If she settles with me, then it will be a constant return regarding the children. I have decided that I have to move if things become worse. I need to go live somewhere where I am not constantly reminded that my children aren’t mine anymore. The supreme court has upheld that parents not being married don’t lose parental rights, but the family court denies these rights to men everyday. They do so by threatening the worst, even though its probably not legal. Men settle fearing to lose it all. Lawyers get rich off of divorce. Divorce is a predictable cash cow. I haven’t won a single point in court or negotiations, yet my attorney will still collect the thousands of dollars for this privilege. In my field I don’t get paid if the work isn’t satisfactory. If I do get paid for shoddy work, I will get sued. Most courts won’t hold attorneys to account, because they are all a part of the system. When I went through my DUI case, the attorney explained to me which lawyers were prosecutors where, and judges elsewhere, and defense attorneys somewhere else. The system feeds on itself. If a lawyer loses a case against another lawyer they risk being ostracized in future proceeding with that attorney or their law firm. Unless you can afford to hire a hotshot from out of town, then you will not find an attorney who will be vigorous in these cases. The same goes for the GAL in family court. No one wants to challenge them too harshly, because they have to deal with them in other cases, and can’t afford to lose every time they are in the same courtroom.

I don’t have much fight left in me. I truly understand how men walk away from all this. The pain of living it everyday is too much. Its easier to live your life completely apart from anything that may bring you in the path of your children who might choose to ignore you. When you are unable to provide directly for your children, it hurts to say that they have to ask their mother, knowing that you have provided the funds for the things they need. The only glimmer of hope I get is when my kids see things for how they really are. I am attacked for pointing it out to them, so its not often. I don’t see them seeing the truth for long if I lose time with them. Someday, when my sons are facing the family court themselves, they will understand. Its possible that they will also be so estranged from me that they won’t call me, but they will mourn what they lost, and what they will likely lose with their kids. Its at that moment that they will realize the pain that I felt.

I don’t know what is going on, but she seems to have turned my family against me. My sister has pulled away from me for most of the last 3 years. All the while telling me she doesn’t like my ex, and never did. A couple weekends ago, I was at my daughter’s soccer game, and my sister was at the game. I didn’t know she was coming. She sitting next to my ex and chatting like they were the best of friends. She wouldn’t acknowledge me. I talked to my brother-in-law for a bit, until she gave him a look. He sat down behind her like a puppy dog. My mom has met with my ex on at least two occasions. The first time she came at me with all sorts of accusations that were straight from my ex’s lips. She has since blown up over a Facebook post from my current wife. One that had nothing to with her. I assume that a guilty conscious fueled the backlash. I guess people asked her if it was about her. I can only assume that she has talked about things that would make them think like that. For years I have asked her and my dad to be more involved in my kids life. I have pointed out that as they get older, they will see that she is more engaged with my sisters kids. I was told as my ex and I split, that she was largely the reason. Nothing changed. My dad was sick with cancer, and that was the new excuse. My dad has since died and my mother remarried, and nothing has changed. They still make it my nieces events. When my daughter played on the same team as her cousin, they watched her play. They haven’t seen her play since. My daughter also always said that they were there to see her cousin. My step-daughter was super-excited that my mom was at her school show, but she didn’t even realize my step-daughter was in the show. She was there to see my other niece. I have come to the conclusion that the problem is likely with me, because I am the constant in the equation, but she has never indicated what the problem is. I wish I had moved away years ago. I have stayed in the area, because I was made to feel guilty to do otherwise. Now I feel trapped by the fear of losing my children. This is why if I lose more time with them, I will make that move. I will likely make it with or without my current wife. There is only so much pain I can face, and if she is unable or unwilling to move with me, I cannot stay.

I honestly think that my ex has manipulated things for her advantage. I suspect that I will hear in court that I should have less time, and that she will do a better job than I do in keeping the kids connected with my family. I think she will hold my kids hostage to get what she wants from my family. She will threaten that they don’t get to see them if they don’t play along, and then use the contact she controls to justify taking them away from me. I have grown to sympathize with the men who after family court have committed suicide in fantastic ways to send their message to the world. I understand how a mild mannered man is driven to murder. Not that these are things I am considering, but what once seemed so crazy to me, now is evident. These men feel powerless. Not just powerless, but enslaved. They have been enslaved through the system to the very person who despises them. They are continually punished by their slaver, and they are treated as something despicable. Their is no justification for what happens in family court. For the court, it is simple pragmatism. The court operates as it always has. It functions to control conflict, and has a system that does just that.

In every case that I am personally familiar with, only one parent is willing to use the kids as pawns to get what they want. That parent will win. The other parent, who actually has the kids best interest at heart, will lose. They will lose big time, and the kids will lose as well. The kids lose the parent who cares most for them. The courts do not use the wisdom of Solomon. Most judges probably look at the story of Solomon, and think that they are like him, but they are not. They are more like the appointed judges under Moses. Their job was to give Moses time. To let him do other things that were demanded of him. Often they would try to mimic what they thought he would do, but in the end when he made wise decisions these judges were surprised by what he did. Wise people do not mimic others. They instead learn to understand that thought process of others, and use the same tools that other wise men used to make new wise decisions. I hope for a day where some wise men make changes to fix this mockery of a family court system.

This post is all over the place, there is just a lot of shit going on in my head that I needed to dump.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

October 6

Prepare For Your Divorce

Love, Commitment and Adulthood

From the start of your marriage, you should prepare for your divorce. This is truly the case when you plan on having kids. You need to protect your ability to live on and live well after divorce before you get married. This might sound a bit crazy, but its true. Its sad that the world has come to this, but it has. Men are not treated fairly in court, and so they need to limit their damages the best they can. Traditional marriage with children should be forgotten, because if that is the route you take, then you will be punished for it later.

Prenuptial agreements are worthless if there are children. The court and clever lawyers can eliminate most parts of this agreement in the “best interest of the child.” Understand that this principle applies to all decisions the court makes. From who gets the house to how property is divided. The only time a prenuptial agreement holds real weight is when she wants it to, and when there are no kids involved. The one value that they have is that it may set the tone for where you start negotiating. They won’t save you in court, but they might help you stay out of court and get a fair deal through mediation and negotiation.

You must be an equal partner in every way with the kids duties. Not just doing half the work or care for the kids, but half of each type of work. Make sure you have a flexible job, and slow down the promotions. They won’t do you any good anyway after divorce, because she will just get a bigger chunk. Try and have a job that pays around the same as the job she has, and yes she must have a job too. Take as much time as she does doing things with the kids alone. Discourage breast feeding. Yes it might be better for the kids, but it takes you out of the duties of feeding the kids when they are infants. It will be argued that this creates a bond that you can’t have. Take the kids to school half the time, and pick them up and do the homework with them at least half the time. Making breakfast and dinner anytime you can, and make sure you are doing it regularly half the time. Go clothes shopping and school shopping. Nothing that involves your kids should be done without your active involvement. You should probably only have one child as well. Child support in the future is far less with one child, and makes tearing the family apart less appealing.

Be alert to the possibility of divorce pending. A year or two off, stop looking for raises. Start taking more time off, and if you are hourly, then work fewer hours. Use this time with your kids. This lowers your pay while you are married, so you are held to a lower standard for any child support and maintenance. Understand that I am advocate of equal parenting time, and I believe that men and women should care for their kids. I don’t believe that court ordered child support is the correct mechanism to do this. Not only does lessening your hours set a lower bar for future earnings when calculating child support, but it also prepares you for the truth of what is to come. You can increase your hours to help with the economic burdens of divorce, and it not be used against you in most states. You will also need more time off to deal with things that used to be divided duties when you were together. Including tagging the cars and other mundane tasks you don’t think about when you are married, because usually one of you is more able to take care of that issue on any given day. If you are working to your best potential at the time of divorce you are likely to not only suffer from having to share your income with your ex, but also having less income coming in do to your new time constraints. Divorce courts don’t deal with the realities of the economics of divorce. They tend to go with a “greater good” philosophy in their decisions. These are masked in other terms, but generally men are more likely to get along without assistance after divorce, even when monies are taken from them. If they shift the kids to one parent in a legal context, and the other parent pays them, then it is likely that the greatest number of people in the case are going to be okay. The kids and mother are taken care of and the men are likely to get along, even if not so well.

You need to have a go bag. You should have all the things you need in a bag that you have access to, even if you don’t have access to your home. This should have the basis you need to survive. Clothes and money should be in the bag. Anything you use daily should be in the bag. It could be doubly helpful in other situations, but think that you might be out of your house for a few weeks and not have access to things you use everyday during that time. If she pulls the trigger and gets a restraining order, its going to take some time to sort things out. You should have enough immediate cash to allow for you to live during that time, including getting some shelter. Think hard about this and put the bag together. Having the cash is important. Make sure to include having enough cash to meet with a lawyer for some advice as well.

Start putting money aside early. Have a bank account that you stash a certain amount in every paycheck. This is handy when things are good for buying presents without snooping, but let it grow. This is your nest egg. It will get you started when you are looking for new housing, furniture, and all other things when you start over. This should not be a shared bank account. This is yours and only yours. The more you have, the better off you are when divorce is eminent. This can also give you the balls to lay down the law when you need to lay down the law in your relationship. This can be some alpha boost, and may help you in your relationship long term, and avoid the very thing you are preparing for. Insurance so to speak.

Have a family law attorney on retainer. As soon as you have the money to put an attorney on retainer, do so. Give them a mailing address that your spouse doesn’t have access to. You don’t need to have anything for them to do. Just find a good law firm, and put them on retainer. If things go south fast, you don’t have to worry about getting this money together or spending your safety net money for this. You just have to make a phone call and go in and meet with them. Given this advantage, you can go ahead and file for divorce and set the initial rules of engagement if her opening isn’t to file then tell you. This will keep you from being caught flat footed legally. This can be the difference between months of panic, and quickly resolving things in a favorable way.

These are all hindsight is 20/20 types of observations. I am sure there are more, but the point is that you should plan for the likely end of the relationship before it hits you. Once you have the law firm on retainer and money automatically going to an account as a safety net, you don’t have to think about these things again until you need them. They will comfort you rather than hinder you while you go forward and try to beat the odds. They may be the difference in you divorcing and not. It may be counter intuitive to you, but not fearing divorce may very well prevent it. It wouldn’t have for me, but I would be in better shape if I had these things in place. I wouldn’t have needed the go bag, but having the money and the attorney would have stopped me from making certain decisions I felt I had to in the heat of the moment.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

February 25

Being Non-Custodial

DV Benes

What does it mean to be non-custodial? It can mean a lot of things. The term is used to apply to anyone who pays child support. Lets look at my situation. Its a modern example of how the system is dysfunctional, and that the system isn’t at all about taking care of the children involved, but it is about taking care of the women. There has been a big shift in my state in the last few years. The legislature has recognized that the modern family has two involved parents and they are encouraging judgments that are in favor of shared parenting. This is a 50/50 timeshare of the kids or some approximating this. To get this, the parents need to be intentional when the process starts, because a judge isn’t going to change things much once a pattern has been established. If the mother is trying to hoard the kids time, then the father needs to take action right away to change things, or he will be stuck with what has been established. To go along with this new understanding of family, they have changed the child support calculators to include provisions for shared parenting. I give them credit for this move, but it is not nearly enough, but it does clearly demonstrate the overall problem with the child support calculators in most states. The truth is child support is too high in every case that I have seen. I know that is a small sampling, but I have played with the numbers from more than a few states to see how things could have been different, and they are high everywhere I have checked things out.

How does my state modify things for a parent in shared parenting? Sorry, I am not going to reveal which state I am in, but just understand that other states are doing similar things, and that the concepts are not unique. The new calculators for shared parenting kick in when you have near equal time share with the kids. It does not make it clear what is near enough, so the judge gets to decide. For some courts this is good, and others it is bad for the fathers seeking this arrangement. Its not really different than the old arrangement with liberal visitation. Its been common for a long time that men with liberal visitation has had near equal time with the kids, but the mother has had significant control over whether that is allowed or not. Now basically they apply a 20% discount for the non-custodial parent, and the custodial parent is responsible for direct expenses. No where is direct expenses explained. If the parents agree to each supply clothing, then there is another discount of about 4% applied to the child support. Direct expenses do not include medical, dental, or other health care costs. They do not include extra-curricular activities outside of school, and maybe inside of school. These are listed strangely under special needs expenses which are also not considered direct expenses. Medical expenses are expected to be divided based at the same proportion as the gross income of the parents differ. The non-custodial parent is defined in my states law as the parent who earns more money. That is it. Nothing else is used to determine this.

The end result is I get to pay for things twice. Pretty much everything. My child support didn’t go down, because under the old arrangement men would pay child support, and usually the court wouldn’t require any other payment from him unless there was an extraordinary expense involved. I pay $1000/month in child support for kids. I then pay 64% of health related costs and 50% of sports and extra-curricular costs. She pays the school expenses and the other portions of these costs. Before I was responsible for child support, I paid for all the kids expenses at 100%. Sometimes these reached the $1000 mark, but usually not. Typical expenses in a month are close though. So I pay her $1000 and then pay my proportions, which are about another $500-$600. If you do the rest of the math, this leaves her with about $500-$600 in her pocket even after paying for lunches for the kids, which she could decide to only do for the days they are with her. After paying taxes, child support, retirement loan for marital debt, and health insurance is I have about $3500 dollars a month to pay for my rent utilities and these kids expenses. To put in perspective to her income, she takes home about the same amount from her pay checks, and then gets another $2400 tax free between CS and other government checks.

As I have laid out above, there is an extreme imbalance in the reality of CS and the actual costs of raising the children. I might be able to accept this. We have certainly made some strides in the right direction for men protecting their rights with their children, but there is just one huge problem with this experience. I am under constant threat of court order to pay this amount. It doesn’t matter what my job situation is. I have lost my freedom to decide on these things. The activities that my kids are involved in are somewhat locked into place. I can’t decide that I can no longer afford them. I have can be sent to jail for having a budget change. I can lose my drivers license or have money removed directly from my checking and savings accounts. I am in fact indentured to my ex-wife through my children. I am her servant. I am required to work to ensure she is paid. I have less freedom than I had when married to her for the next decade, and she has greater freedom. She can continue to choose to work at a job that for all practical purposes is a part time job. There is no pressure on her to improve her financial condition. If I choose to improve mine, then I am then obligated to improve hes. This is a major disincentive to move up in my career. The only thing that is a driver to do better in my career right now, is that I need to make some moves or I will be the guy who gets overlooked forever.

As a father, I live with the constant threat of the court over my head. I live with the fear that she may win the battle for more time, and take even more of my paycheck. The slippery slope that will lead to me not being able to maintain a home large enough for them to visit me, and thus give her more ammunition to further reduce my time, and further tap my paycheck. I have to continue the fight for my kids. A fight that no father should have to fight. I have to pretend with my kids that everything is okay. That me and their mom don’t have problems. I can’t tell them how she has treated me, because that would be alienation of affection. I can’t do a lot of things. When people look at divorce and wonder why men are bitter, they need to understand that men are effectively slaves to their ex-wives for the time their children are growing up. This is why men are bitter. Ask a black man what the legacy of slavery has done to his life, and then understand that in the modern world, all men are subject to slavery through their children to the mothers of their children. This is why men are so bitter. This is why men can’t get over their divorce. It isn’t because women are emotionally stronger and more capable of dealing with the loss of divorce. Its because for the men it is never ending until their children are 18 years old.

Being non-custodial means being a second class citizen. Your children and their mother are superior to you under the law. People can argue this case otherwise, but the fact is proven in the number of men that are subject to this system. I will recommend to my sons that they don’t have children. That they don’t subject themselves to this burden of slavery that we call fatherhood. I love my children very much, and I would not like to imagine a life without them, but I would be free to make my own decisions if I had never had them. I would not turn back time, but I would protect those I love from this fate. I hope to change things before that time comes for them, but if things do not change, then I will recommend they choose freedom from slavery over this. I am not as good of a father as I might be without this burden.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 16

I Won’t Live Alone In A Cave

The Cliff Dwellers (1906)

All too often the suggestions I hear come down to two things. One is go fuck as many women as you can. That is fun for about a minute. I am not that guy. Never have been. The other is to go my own way. Now this is appealing in some ways, it doesn’t solve the problems that I have in my life. If I were a young man without kids, I would consider this the way to go now. Make sure I can’t have kids, and disengage from the life chosen for me, and do whatever the fuck I want to.

The problem is, I do have kids, and I like the companionship of a woman. I do have a red pill view of these relationships, but I don’t see them as being something I can’t have. I just have to understand the risks that I face as I enter into these relationships. The big solution to the problem is that I could crawl into a cave and spend my time with my kids and hang out alone when they aren’t around. This is depressing. I might get some reading and writing done, but I would be unsatisfied. I do plan on doing these things, but I want a partner.

So now I am faced with building a relationship and knowing the score. I know the female nature. I also know what I am willing to accept from a woman, and what I want. All woman in my life will demonstrate jealousy of the time I spend with my kids when they aren’t “mine”. This manifests itself usually as jealousy towards my ex. It really is jealousy of the time and that I sometimes have to get up and leave. My ex uses this to cause problems, and I do have to learn better ways to mitigate the situations. She is a manipulator and likes to create strife. There isn’t much I can do about that, because she is willing to use the kids to get her way. This is not good for anyone involved. All it does is score her a win. Its not even good for her.

I understand how men walk away from their kids. Its not fair to the kids, but there is a limit to how much a man can take. There is a limit to how beneficial his presence is, when a vindictive woman is manipulating things on the other end. When the kids come to you and are treating you like crap, what do you do. When no amount of discipline teaches them what they need to know, because the other parent is working against you, there is a time where you have to say that I can’t fix the damage under these circumstances. Its the heart wrenching decision that has to be made sometimes. These men are broken and torn apart, and society will heap more and more shame on them for this decision. As I have gone through this process of divorce in my life, I have developed a new compassion for these men. Most of them are not the man who drops a litter and runs from town to town. Most are good men, who want nothing more than to be with their kids.

I have a lot more on my mind, but for now.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

April 9

The Letter I Will Never Send

Package from The Letter writers alliance

Dearest Ex Wife,

I married you under the pretense that we would walk through the ups and downs of life together. We promised that through good times and bad, that we would maintain this bond. We promised to be faithful to each other. We did this not only for each other, but for the future children we would have. We would build a family and live our life the best we know how. I entered into this union without an exit plan. I took vows before my God, my friends, and my family to proclaim that intended to spend the rest of my life with you as your husband. I had dreams for what our life would be like, but I also knew that things could change and that times could be hard, and may be forever, but I took those vows intending to keep them.

You married me under the pretense that we would walk through the ups and downs of life together as well. When times were good, you were not there by my side, you chose the company of others. When times were bad, you blamed me for the problems we both played our part in. You promised to be faithful, yet you were not. You thought very little of our children as you chose to leave my home and make a home for yourself separate from me. You entered our union knowing that you always had an exit plan, and you continually reminded me that you could pull that trigger anytime you wanted to. You had dreams that I would support you financially and emotionally in all that you do, whether it benefited our family or not. You were prepared to break our union when things became hard, and so you have. You took these vows hoping to keep them, if they weren’t too inconvenient for your current dreams.

I offered to pay for every expense for our children. Your only obligation would be to provide a home for them when they are with you. I told you I did not want to pay the state to pay you in my stead. I was preparing to have civil papers drawn up for your review, so that we could finish our broken union peacefully. You chose to go to a lawyer and demand child support that would of put me out of my home, and have run up lawyer fees on my side alone that far exceed anything we would have spent before. You have sought every advantage to take my money as your own, not just now but for the future. You have made me desire nothing more than for my children to grow up, so I can be done with you. Every dollar that I have to give to you is a reminder of the pain that you have caused me and our children with your selfish actions.

I cry for our son, who you have no empathy for. You treat him as if there is something wrong with him. I do not miss living with you, but I do miss the opportunity to act as his shield from your rages. You have made him the bad guy of the family. The other kids do not treat him well, and this is a direct result of the way you cast him to them. I regret that we ever adopted our children, because of the pain that you have and will continue to cause them. I cried with my father before he died about this very thing. It is a horrible day when you realize that your children would have been better off, if they had not been brought into your life. The destruction you leave in your wake will live on for generations, and there is very little I can do to fix this. I can only hope that my presence and actions will give them hope as they grow up.

You will never understand these things. You believe that you have done nothing to cause others harm. You were a miserable wife, but I would have stood by your side throughout the decades, because that is the promise that we made. You have changed me forever. You have stripped me of hope for my future. My life still remains subject to your whim. You know that I will do little to manipulate you, because I try to do the right thing, and this gives you freedom to do as you please. If only you could give me the same courtesy, but I will not have that courtesy from you. You are one of the most selfish people I have ever met, and sadly I thought I could build a life with you. I should have left you the night you told me that you cheated on my after a homecoming football game. I was stupid and overly committed to our marriage to do that. Now I must pay that price.

You left me to seek happiness, but you will not find it. You will constantly be dogged by the advantage you didn’t take. You will be the victim of people who won’t put up with your behavior. You will never understand that whatever advantage you take of me, I will be more content than I have ever been. Happiness will come and go in my life. It is not a state that sticks to anyone because their life is on the right track. I will live my life to love the people who I choose to have in it, and I will be content in the fact I value them more than I have in the past. For this, I thank you. Without knowing how hard things could be, I would not understand the value of these people in my life. Without the trials that you put me through, I would not know who would stand by me. Without your willingness to walk out on me, I would not know that most people do not walk away so easily and that most people do not hang the threat over my head for advantage. Without this, I would be a slave to those people who would, but now I will not put up with it.

Your last act is your worst. You chose to interpose the state into our relationship. We could have made things work without state interference. You know have made me subject to the state to pay you for the privilege of being one parent of our children. What you do not understand at this time, is you have also made yourself subject to their authority. You have taken away our ability to just work things out, because now that the state is there, they will remain there. I would be foolish to negotiate with you without the state involved. They are now an agent in our relationship. You will not feel the impact of this perhaps for years, but feel it you will. There is a reason that most divorced women end up on the loosing end of the financial game after the kids have grown up and moved out.

I wish this was good bye, but I will have to deal with you for the rest of my life. You will be a thorn in my side for years to come, and will most certainly manipulate my children against me as you already have. It is not fair to them, but it doesn’t change that you will do as you do. I wish you find your happiness, for it goes better for my children if you do. Any ill will I have to you must be suspended, because my children’s lives are also tied to your fortunes. You are selfish, manipulative and mean. These are the things I will remember you by.

Warm Regards,

Ex Husband.

There is more I could write, but I just needed to vent a little of what I would like to put in a letter to her.

Ten-Fourend,

JeD

January 22

Catching Up

Catching Up with a Cup of Tea

Its been a long time since I posted anything. I haven’t lost interest, but my life has consumed my time almost completely. I haven’t had the downtime to address things on here. My last post was a time that I had my oldest son full time. That came to an abrupt halt as my mother needed help as my father took a rapid downturn in his health. This is going to be a long post, and will cover the gaps from October to now.

My Father

My father died of brain cancer on November 8, 2012. He had suffered from lung cancer that metastasized in his brain. He was a strong man who fought every moment in the end to retain his mental capacities. He managed to make most people not even realize that he was being affected as badly as he was with his quick wit and ability to steer the conversation as he pleased. Him and my mother just missed their 40th wedding anniversarry by a couple of weeks.

My mother is still relatively young. She grew up in the feminist expansion era of the 1960s. She would have graduated high school in 1972 if she had followed a normal path in life. She adored my father, and went to great efforts that even in his reduced mental capacity, he was able to be the leader in their relationship. It was something amazing to watch. She is the reason that I have such a hard time with most modern women. They say they want to be like her, but none really want to make the sacrifices that are necessary to be like her. They don’t see the rewards that come with those risks taken with a man they love. As much as I am aware of how the world has changed, I still hope that I may find a woman like her. A woman that understand men and women are different, and wants to say “fuck you” to the culture and do things our way.

His downward turn was shortly after my last blog post. His memory with me, my sister, and his seven grandkids will be a tribute to his life. He was a man who wore his emotions on his sleeve. You never were left wondering where you stood with him, and no one regrets the conversations never had with him. He helped rebuild a relationship between my mom and her older brother that had soured over a business deal between them and him. He had a childhood friend who gave him an ultimatum decades before and had walked out of his life, who heard he was dieing and returned in hopes of rekindling that relationship. This man hovered over my dad, and was willing to carry him if he had to just to spend time with him. My dad would complain that this man was hovering, but then with a smile say “but he needs to do this to close the gap in lost time.” My dad put up with his hovering to let this man heal the wounds created by his own decision to walk away decades earlier. He didn’t hold grudges, and he always thought of the other person. He was not a soft man. There were many times that he and I had ridiculous arguments, and yet we both walked away with a mutual respect for each other.

I loved my dad like I could love no other man. The only two grudges he held in his entire life were with my mom’s sister, who intentionally and continually hurt and alienated my mother, and my ex who isolated me from the rest of the family and has done so much damage to my oldest son emotionally without remorse. He actually banned them from his funeral. That was the only thing we did not honor of his wishes. I understood the feelings, but it was not the time to carry out his grudge. Both will fade from our lives forever over time. He held those grudges not for the harm they did to him, but the harm they did to those he loved most.

My Mother

My mother has needed some extra help, but not a lot. I worry about her far more than she needs me to. Going through the holidays has been tough for her. My dad loved everything about the holidays. She is glad to have spent those first close to his death. That they won’t drag out over the next year and catch her again a year later like he just died all over again.

My Dating

I was talking to a woman while my dad was in his last weeks. She was supportive. She was someone to talk to that seemed to get what was going on. Sadly she had some health problems, and turned out to be a flake. After not hearing from her for a while, I called it quits. That was followed with some panicked calls from her, but I don’t have the patience for someone who stops communicating with me. We haven’t talked much since then. I know she found someone to date. I think she just wanted a guy, and was scared that another one would not come along.

I met another woman very quickly. We have connected better than I imagined. Her story is similar to mine as a woman. I have let her be involved with my kids, something I have not considered with any of the other women that I have been involved with. I see some real oporunity here. I struggle with how the laws and the system works, but I am not going to be scared. I won’t be having kids with anyone anymore, so if I can find someone that I could spend the next 20+ years with, I would be happy. I don’t need that to be happy, but I do like the companionship of a wife. My standards are much different than before. My view of the world is much darker than it was before. I will cautiously move forward with this woman for now. She is the first woman to not be terrified of a man with 4 kids, who is actually involved in their daily lives, and who is probably going to seek full custody of the kids soon.

The Ex and Kids

She has become more aggressive in her behaviours with my oldest. This past weekend she scratched his neck during an argument. She blames me because I embarassed her by bringing my girlfriend to the kids games over the weekend. The kids had asked for her to be there. She said something within earshot of him after the game before he left with me. He was crying and I talked to him. Explained that my feelings weren’t hurt, and that he shouldn’t have had to hear it. She brought it up the next day as she was taking them to church. He called me to come get him. Before I arrived she had taken him to church. I have asked some questions and found out that she announced to the other kids he scratched himself. So they pipe in to defend her everytime he says something. I am starting to get together documentaiton of things to seek full custody of him, and by extension all of the kids when I file for divorce. I have reached my wits end on this. I have friends and family who will testify to how she treats the kids, and I have kept some logs of things as they happened to add to that. I hope that I can get a judge who isn’t stuck in the 1960s view of the world, and can get this thing done in the best interest of the kids.

DUI Fallout

There isn’t much. I show up every month and I talk to my CSO. I pee in a cup when they ask me too, and go on with life. I have been driving, but don’t have my license back. Thank goodness I drive like an old man anyway. I took the tint out of the windows, so no one has a reason to pull me over. I will be going in to get the ignition interlock and get my license back on a restricted basis soon, so I don’t have to be quite so careful, and so I have an ID to travel with, if I need to.

That is the condensed version of my life for the last few months. Its been a roller coaster. I will be blogging more, because its theraputic for me as well. I have some things on my mind to blog about. Some of them are the things mentioned above, and some are topics of interest I have.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

September 20

Online Dating Update

Dangers Of Online Dating

I changed my profile completely. As I said I would, I used some of the women’s profiles as archetypes for mine. This has been an excercise in reverse engineering the technology, and then extracting social cues from the women’s profiles that I thought I would like to attract. The end result is an honest, but engineered profile. It also does a fair share of social engineering to get desired results.

Interests

I added a lot of single words to the interests section to make sure that I get hits based on that. Stupid me had that relatively short, thinking that if I covered it below in then I didn’t need to there, but that area is like meta-data to POF. You need it to be there, so you are presented more often to women. I didn’t put anything in there to just get hits, but I put a lot of things in there I wouldn’t have thought to add before. I put things in there that everyone has an interest in, like music and movies. I put specific things, and the generic counterpart so I could catch people who had one or the other in their. So you have float trips, canoeing, and kayaking in there.

About Me

So the about me is the meat of this system. This is where you say whatever it is you want people to know. There is a lot of space, but it is limited. I used it all. Using it all gives the impression that I took some time to do this. It tells the people reading it that I am not wasting their time, and that connection can carry into the first few conversations. I give details and inject some humor as I go. I rewrote each piece a couple of times until when I read it, I could hear my own voice saying the words. I am selling myself, not some image of me that they won’t see when we meet. That is something I learned in dealing with Sarah. I was not surprised in any way by her. She sold me what she was in looks and interactions.

Disclaimer/Introduction

Most women have a disclaimer in their profile. Telling you what they don’t want. I find this very off-putting, so I twisted the idea into an introduction. It basically says that I am not playing the game by the rules. I will not send out 100s of emails without responses. I will write women who catch my eye, but if I catch yours, then you should send me a thoughtful messages that shows you read what I wrote. I also tell them if they do that I will respond, even if it is to inform them I am not interested or we are not a good match.

Kids Come First

Again the way women write this piece, though it exists in all profiles, is a put off. I let them know that I am a busy involved dad with some real examples of how. Kids are a great place to interject humor. I hint at a peaceful relationship with the kids mom. I don’t say the kids come first and if you can’t handle that kiss off. I think any woman that reads a section describing my activities with my kids who can’t come to that conclusion on her own is too stupid for me to deal with for long. I can filter these women out pretty quick.

Active Lifestyle

Everyone likes to think they are active. I skip past the active women who only say they go to the gym, unless they look like they are about ready to compete in a figure or fitness competition. I do this because I know they are at the gym five times a week to meet men. Once they have one hooked, they will kick the habit and down goes the figure fast. I list what I do to have an active lifestyle. The sports I play. The activities I do. I inject a lot of personality humor into this section. Its a lifestyle born of disciplines, and I don’t want to focus on the disciplines. They aren’t fun and are evident to anyone smart enough to keep my attention.

The Career

Women write a lot about their jobs. I don’t really care about her job. I do, but only once I get to know her. Its not a selling point. I only care that she has a job to take care of herself, because this man has four kids to care for. She cares about my job. They all do. There needs to be a hint that you are secure and stable in that job to get any hits. I give some hints at what my work life is like and what I do. I am not too specific, but I paint a picture of the job and environment I work in.

Intimacy

Women always have something about hugging and cuddling. I wrote a section that covers my emotional disposition and thought process, but only little glimpses. This is something they need to discover, but they need a teaser. I let them know that I am protective almost territorial about the people I love. Its a lot of strong and affirmative language reflecting my character.

Interests Revisited

I expound on my interests. I talk about my love of fires and the outdoors. I paint a picture of their being room there for someone without making it sound like someone is missing. I talk about the different volunteer activities I have done. I have done a lot, so there is some stuff there for everyone. I explain some of my musical tastes and add a little humor to this section. I don’t talk about movies and TV. Who really cares. Yes there some I love and hate, but I don’t plan on sitting around watching movies or TV with anyone very often. I did that with the STBEW, and that relationship sucked. I talk about my love of reading and writing. I talk about my love of art, and make some cracks about how little I know about art. I talk about doing photography.

Relationship Status

This is a head them off at the pass section. Women rarely have it, but they do care. Especially since I am not divorced yet. Its simple and clear. Divorce is coming, and we get along well enough to deal with kid issues without fighting.

The Close

I say something that dares them to pass me by. No well wishes. No passive letter closes. Its the you should know me, and choosing not to is a bad idea.

First Date

I put some creative things I would actually like to do that are not the same stupid things everyone else puts in there about drinks, coffee, dinner, or god forbid a movie.

Results

I didn’t break it up into sections. I just had paragraphs follow this format, and in this order. The order was something I noticed as I read women’s profiles. I have had good results. My response rate is at about 30% when I send out messages, and I don’t send out a lot of messages. I have 3-5 women I am communicating with right now, and two that are likely to escalate into a date. I have been contacted by numerous women, and as I said in my intro, I do respond if they say more than “Hi, wanna chat?” The other thing I have noticed through this process is that I have very little patience for someone who has not taken the time to fill out their profile with something that gives me at least a little hint of who I am dealing with. Women with the punch lists of don’ts are bitches, guaranteed. Women with the punch lists of wants are never going to be satisfied. Women who say they don’t want players and assholes are off the list, because the only guys they are going to respond to are players and assholes. I don’t have a problem with those guys, and the women get what they deserve, when this is the type of guy they choose. I mostly look at the women who say something about themselves and what they like to do, and who have taken some time to choose pictures that show what they look like and some personality. When meeting a woman, if they don’t look like their pictures I will walk away. That is lying of the first order, and its not acceptable to bait me in with 10 year old pictures that don’t look at all like you. I have seen some of this with friends, so far the women I have met have not done this. I have had no surprises. I know that with time I will meet a few truly crazies.

I am surprised to say the least. This change has been dramatic to the whole online dating experience. None of it really fits what POF lists as good profiles or what many web gurus will tell you. I am liked by women in the physical world. They like my personality and how I carry myself. I needed to bring some of that into the profile. I am selling me, not some everyman for women to drool over. In the same way that I would walk if I find she misrepresented herself, I expect that the type of woman I want will walk if I do. I spend less time with the stupid site, and get better results. I have made a few international pen pals along the way as well. All in all, I think my assessment is changing of online dating.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

September 12

Lust, Pornography, and Christiananity

Jesus is Watching You (and adult videos)

Well this isn’t so much a personal story as it is a commentary based on personal observation and experience. If you haven’t noticed reading my blog, I don’t use a lot of facts and figures. This is about what I observe in the world. I work in a world of facts and figures and statistics. I don’t want to write about them. Other people cover those things quite well. This is one of those posts that people will wonder about the facts and figures. I say go find them. I don’t have them. I am not sure I believe the ones I have read, because of the nature of the questioning that would have to occur to get the results. As with so many things revolving around sex, we really can’t get to the heart of the matter, because of the many taboos even in conversation that exist.

I am going to start with lust. Lust is one of those words in the Christian world that gets thrown around a lot. It is always used to shame men. I won’t argue this, I have sat in the pews of too many sermons that are on the topic of lust. None of them have ever dealt with it in any way that is not shaming men. Its an easy target. Men want women’s body’s to be theirs to enjoy. Its a part of how we were built. God made us with a desire for women. The unfairness to this is women lust after men too. Its not completely based on body, but it is a part of the equation. Women like the bad boys who set their own rules. I rarely hear women chastised for this lust of theirs. We use this word lust, but what does it mean. http://dictionary.com gives us this definition”

lust? ?[luhst]
noun
1. intense sexual desire or appetite.
2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually followed by for ): a lust for power.
4. ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish: an enviable lust for life.
5. Obsolete .
     a. pleasure or delight.
     b. desire; inclination; wish.

Notice something in that definition. There is nothing about looks. The verse that is referred to uses the word look, but lust is not about looking. Its about desire and appetite or craving. So women lust after men all the time. Women get horny. Women desire men sexually. Its just not based on something they always see. It might be wealth, power, prestige, or beauty. Women are not immune to lust. This is the verse used to go after men.

Matthew 5:28
New International Version (NIV)
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The context of this verse in Matthew 5 is Jesus calling out the judgmental people who sit back and do all the right things that they too are just as guilty as the ones who committed these acts. He is saying to the overly religious that if you want to judge the adulterer, then you tomust judge yourself, for what man has never looked upon a woman lustfully. He is speaking about the spiritual ramifications of these things. He is saying that for your spiritual well being you are no better off thinking about carnal acts with women who are not your wife than you are if you do the carnal acts. I would say that the core of this message is that no man is deserving of the saving grace of Jesus, and that being said we can do better. To do better we must stop worrying about our neighbor’s failings and start worrying about our own, for no man knows what is on my heart but myself. A verse rarely used for lust, but one that is used to attack homosexuality is this.

Romans 1:26
New International Version (NIV)
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.”

I am not going to say anything about homosexuality. If you are a Christian then you are answerable to God on that issue not me. Verse 27 is the verse that is used for this. I have left it off on purpose. The word lust is clearly used in relationship to sex and women. Not only that, but its used in way that is derogatory towards their actions. I think the point can be made that women have lusts that are not Holy in nature. The Church needs to stop presenting this issue as a male only issue. One of the things that gets thrown at men in sermons is this lust, and as a side note women are told to be dressed provocatively is inadvisable and not very nice, but men you are still supposed to have it under control. The women’s dress is treated as cultural phenomena that women should think about, but has no spiritual consequence. There may be some truth to this assessment when you are talking about little girls, but you will notice that women will dress to show off the parts of their body that they know have men’s attention. For some women this is cleavage, and for others it is their legs, and for others it may be their stomachs. They are knowingly showing off parts of their body for the purpose of gaining male attention. Not just any male attention, but male sexual attention. These women lust for male sexual attention.

Pornography consumption is merely more of the same. Men and women watch pornography to fantasize about sex. They lust for what is being done on screen. There is an addictive nature to it, because of the chemical releases in the brain. I would venture to say that all lust has an addictive nature to it for the same reason. It is in the modern era that you can see porn without shame from society, so it becomes more prevalent. In the past to sit around and stare at women was a juvenile thing. If a woman was to look up at you staring at her while she was at the beach or pool, you would be chastised or she would move. Watching other people have sex is not something most people are invited to do, so again there is no historical corollary that really applies to be able to watch a couple of actors put on sex show in the privacy of your home. It is a kind of supercharged lust. The act of lust tends to kick endorphins into your system, and pornography gives you almost unlimited means to do get that release of endorphins. The closest anyone probably got to this in Jesus’ era was the temple prostitutes or orgies, but these things of course required participation.

I blame the Church for so much of the damaged sexual relations in Christian marriages. The Church has painted a picture of men being predators and uncontrollable lust monsters while women were pure and virginal(even when they weren’t) lustless creatures. Women were warned to watch out for the men. The men only wanted one thing mentality. Here is one of proverbs warnings against adultery.

Proverbs 5:1-6
New International Version (NIV)
Warning Against Adultery

5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
    sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
    her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

To me this warning is clear. Men watch out. She will entice you. She will make you feel good, and she will drag you down to your death given a chance, and she will be none the wiser about what she is doing. There are plenty of verses that make it clear she is not absolved of her actions, so I won’t read into this that she is somehow innocent. The context of the Bible must be read as a whole. The problem here is the Church gives her a pass for her adultery all too often. It is blamed on the men. It is blamed on her husband’s failings, and on her lover’s charms. She was helpless to do anything about it. This is bunk, and everyone knows it.

Now lets get to my experience. I found that in my marriage, pornography was a problem. Not that I consumed it often or in large quantities, actually quite the contrary. Lust for other women and the temptation to just take a peek were there all the time, unless I was getting regular and quality sex. I only remember a very brief time in my marriage that happened. I think it was driven by some guilt on her part. I noticed right away that these temptations were almost completely absent during this time. As we separated I found that initially these temptations were huge. So was going out to pick up some woman just to have sex with. I gave in these temptations. I do not regret it. It has given me an understanding of things that I would not have had before. The absolutely carnal sex of pornography and casual sex was addictive in nature. I craved the endorphin rush, and the I craved the adrenaline rush of the chase. So what changed. I met Sarah. She was very sexual, but this was hardly casual. This was albeit short lived, a relationship. She was a person, not a body. She met other needs I had, and had needs I met. For me the sex was incredible. I had never had regular, healthy sex in a relationship, since high school. I know many will say sex out of wedlock is not healthy and spiritually speaking they would be correct, but psychologically speaking the definition expands some. Here is the kicker. I desire the healthy(or healthier) sex to the other stuff. I have not been tempted to go seek out the sex of pornography or one night stands after we split up.

Sarah never used sex as power. We had great sex up unto the day before she decided to move on. Sex as power in the relationship is at the core of what the Church teaches women. They are taught that there is no consequence to their actions sexually. They are taught that it is not their fault. Men are to get in line and do things right, and if they do, then their wife will desire them. There is the power play. The wife can say that he isn’t doing this spiritual thing or that spiritual thing right, and that is why they don’t desire their husband or worse strayed to another man. Of course if it were some womanly spiritual discernment that made them not desire their husband, then that same discernment should have told them that the man they were fucking on the side was in it just for the sex. Christian women hold men hostage with sex. I know women in the culture at large do this as well, but it is far worse in the Christian world, because the men will stay with these women because of their faith, and be tormented by their failure as a Christian husband.

I think that if the Church were to spend less time talking about lust and sexual purity, and more time about truly healthy relationships. If the Church taught Biblical truth about love, marriage, and leadership, things would be better. If the Church took the time to worry about spiritual successes rather than failures in its teaching, then men and women would strive to reach those heights. Too often people will look at the failures that are being talked about, and look around and see a sea of people who are doing worse, and decide that the teaching isn’t for them. I think that all too often the Church in focusing on the sins of men and women, they put the ideas into their head to become distracted by. How many people chose to look at pornography out of curiosity. To see what all the fuss was about. Those images are stuck there, and won’t go away. What if the Church stood up and said wives it is your duty to sexually please your husband? What if, instead of telling men to keep their lusts in check, they said husbands it is your duty to direct your sexual desires on your wife often? What if?

Ten-Foured,

JeD