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

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

September 6

My Focus Needs More Focus

Focus Your Vision

I have spent so much time perusing an online dating site. Its addicting. I am done. Tonight I will change the profile to say some different things. One of which will be that if any woman wants to talk, she will have to initiate. Men respond most of the time to women on these sites, and women almost never respond. I get a better hit rate than I see most men do. I get a response about every 20 messages sent, and at least a look every 5 or so. This is stupid. I spend a ton of time doing this, and it isn’t any fun. Its not otherwise productive. I will leave it up there for these women who search like crazy, and if they are bold enough to contact me, then I will say something back. Even if I am not interested in them, because I know how it feels to be ignored. I may block them after I send a message, but I will reply.

What am I going to do with all this time I was wasting? Um, read a book or two. Yes I read about three books a month as it is, but there are so many I want to read, it won’t hurt to get another one or two in there. I am checking out some things through meetup.com. It seems this is a better way to go. I will meet new people for real. Not just women, but men too. I get to make eye contact, and if there is a woman that gets my attention, she will at least know me from the group and have something to base her rejection or acceptance on. There aren’t many places to go meet people in the modern world. Things have become so much less social. The bar seems to be the place, but I don’t want to be there all the time. I also will probably be told I can’t go to bars for the next year, because of my DUI. I am bored of the bars. I like hearing the music, but there are other options for that. I will have time for some projects I have in mind. A couple of them are software projects that I have intended to do for a long time, and have never really gotten off the ground. I have some multi-media projects that I want to get done with my personal media. Nothing that will take too much time, but I do need to give it some time.

What will I miss? The sex and other intimate touch and companionship. I have become accustomed to having that in my life since my separation. I haven’t gone long without it. I didn’t have that in my marriage as this blog catalogs. I know I can live without, but desire it. I think patience will prove to be my friend here. I know that I can go find some woman for sex, but the amount of time that takes can be spent on so much more. The stress. Online dating makes you feel like a failure. There is a tendency to grab hold of women who wouldn’t normally have your attention, because they accept your message and reply. Most of these women, I would reject out of hand in the real world. I think that its time to return to the real world. Spend some time window shopping at stores that I like. It is likely I will run into women who enjoy the same things at those places. Go out and experience the places that I would enjoy going with a woman by myself. It is likely I will meet a woman at those places that would also like to enjoy them with a man.

What do I need? I need some single guy friends that like to do things together. I have a lot of married friends. Well I thought they were friends, but most have moved on since my separation. They aren’t available when I don’t have the kids. I can’t blame them. I am not a bad looking guy, and since my separation have got in much better shape. I wouldn’t want someone like me around their wife, and most men don’t do anything without their wife’s approval, so they are unlikely to spend much time with me away from their home. The problem is me and the other single dads I know, don’t have time. We go above and beyond to spend time with our kids. We have extra jobs or overtime to pay for our kids stuff, while our exes choose jobs that provide very little money, but great hours. It sucks to be more of a wage slave without her than with her, but its true. How do I get these men together. I don’t know the answer to that, but its something to work on with this free time I will have, now that I won’t be spending hours trying to woo that woman online into meeting me offline.

I wish I had more time to raise a dog. I miss my dogs. They died shortly before we separated. They were old, but they were mine. We had a dog that we shared with a neighbor, but it was really the neighbor’s dog. They gave the dog away as we separated. When I have my kids, I don’t get home soon enough to take care of the dog. It would normally be at home alone for about 13 hours. That isn’t fair. When I don’t have the kids, that would still be the case for a day or two. Sad, my broken family takes away my opportunity to have a simple companion like a dog.

I still struggle with the broken vows and separation. I get angry and sad. Its not that I want her, because she was not a nice person. I held onto my vows, always thinking that if I just persevere I will reach the promise of marriage that was sold to me, and shown to me by my parents. Her leaving takes away that opportunity. Knowing what I know, I regret not leaving her when she cheated on me, and we had the boys only as foster kids, and the girls weren’t in the picture. I say that, and know that I wouldn’t miss the girls, because I wouldn’t know them, but have a hard time regretting a decision that has brought their light into my life. I need to work through these feelings. I fear being alone forever, but that would be better than settling on a woman who will treat me badly again. I laugh at the women who put on their profiles that they are perfectly happy being alone. If that were true, they wouldn’t be on the site looking for men.

So often I want to cry, but I have no one to cry with. I have been the shoulder for my wife, children, mother, and even father. My wife shamed me when I was in pain, and obviously is not available now. My mother and father are dealing with so much in their lives now, and they become really uncomfortable when their big strong son cries. My kids obviously don’t need my pain heaped onto their own. I will not burden them with it. My best friend is the one person who can cry with. He is a youth minister of sorts. He is also the busiest man in the world. We live 45 minutes apart, and don’t get to see each other often. He is the only person who I don’t feel guilty laying my burdens down and letting him see my pain. Men need this. Men need to find ways to provide this to each other, because women will attack the weakness it shows all to often. I am not encouraging men to run around crying all the time. I believe the control of our emotions is where some of our strength comes from, but there are times where all a man can do is cry to clear his mind and relieve the pressure of things he cannot change.

I suppose that the tears are why I miss Sarah. She allowed me to cry, and not feel weak. Its one of the things that I will require in a partner in the future. I need a safe place to show that side of me. Many women proclaim they want this in their man, but then judge him weak for showing it. She never did. I had so much bottled up that during the short time we were together, I cried twice. She didn’t comfort me and say poor baby. She encouraged me. She saw where the chinks were in my armor, and fortified with the exact right words of encouragement. I am thankful for that. She needed me to be strong, and saw her part in making sure that I could be. It was not in tearing me down, but in building me up that I could be her hero or knight. Shame was not going to make me a better partner. This is a requirement in any woman that I choose to be with in the future. I am coming to a point that I am just thankful for the lessons Sarah taught me. I am getting over my sadness of her deciding that things wouldn’t work in the long term. There is this piece of me that believes she didn’t give us a chance, but then I understand wanting to leave on a high note. Who knows what the future holds. We parted well, and things could bring our paths back together when the dust settles in my life. If not, I will forever remember her for what she gave me this summer.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

September 5

Online Dating Sucks

Self portrait - Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere.

I don’t have the time or the desire to head out to some place to pick up women. I thought the online dating would be a good way to cut that part out, and get to know someone better. Well it sucks. I can go to most public places and with just a look get a woman’s attention. From there its easy to approach her and talk. Many times she will approach me first. Its just not that hard to meet new women. It doesn’t happen every time, but most nights out, I get a woman’s phone number and she returns the call. The problem is the quality of the woman that I meet out is questionable, or at least her motives are based on how we met each other.

My thoughts were that with online dating, I would meet women who were interested in more. That reading their profile, I could have a decent opening message and expect a reply from most, even if it turns out they aren’t that interested. I figured it would be like real life for me, but better because we can talk about motives and desires. I have found that most women are demanding that they get the best the world has to offer. The only problem is they aren’t that good themselves. They think that they should have the most attractive man, with the best job, who has all the time in the world for them. Women who would have a good time with in the real world, won’t give me the time of day in the internet dating world. I am going to try some different tactics, but I doubt this goes anywhere. Women think that these sites are catalogs of men for them to choose from, and that they can have any one of them that they want. They don’t realize that most of the men have no interest in them. They don’t reach the mark, but they aren’t being rejected. They are doing the rejecting. The men still initiate most of the contacts. Most are ignored. I think many of these women would have better social skills if they took the time to respond to a few more of these men, if it is even to just reject them kindly. Most of these women rarely even look at the profiles of the men who send them message. They are rejecting them based upon the first picture they see. Crazy how shallow most of these women are, usually while accusing men of being shallow.

I am going to try to change my profile. I think I might have done something foolish. I have created a profile projecting what it is that I want to do with a woman, and thus have created a profile to attract men. I am going to basically create a profile that strongly resembles the ones I see from women. That talks about my position and stability. My abilities in the work force, and how independent that I am. I just won’t list my you better not be-s. That can be sorted out by me just fine without just pissing off some women with what they think is targeted at them. I think most of the women are projecting as well. They are righting what is important to them, not what they think will catch the man. Maybe I will get a higher quality of response. I will report back.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

August 31

The Dating Carousel…Everyone Loses

Courtney on carousel

I tend to like the women who fall in the category of late bloomers. They were awkward through high school and often college. They are quirky and tend to have funny hobbies, because they weren’t in the scene with the cool kids. It used to be these women were open and inviting. The kind of woman that I could meet when I was out and about doing my daily things. Its just not true anymore.

Online dating has changed this. These women get an unbelievable amount of attention that they never got before. They are quick to discard a good thing looking for the next thing. They are entertained by the men who want their attention. Being late to the game, they also seem to not understand that the game leaves them. They get older and less attractive. The men they discarded who were good, are no longer available, or they have decided to shop for younger hotter women.

Men like me lose, because I really don’t like dating. I want my quirky girl, and I want to go on and do quirky things together. It used to be that the girl would be there for that, but now she keeps seeing more guys that might just be better, or they at least have in the back of their head that its not that hard to find a new guy.

The other problem is they believe that they can find perfection. They are unbending in their desires. A woman in her thirties or forties is not going to find a man the age that is going to date her, who does not have some baggage. They have had financial crisis, divorce, kids, or other things that bring an attitude about life into the relationship. They have their fears and their ideas that are not the fresh ideas of youth, but the jaded ideas of experience and the irrational fears that follow.

When this modern world is looked at in history, people are going to wonder just how we survived as a species, if we do. Why would anyone want to continually discard something not so bad, with the only guarantee being you can be alone. Why risk something hard for nothing at all. Why not work through the problems that are easily forgotten or fixed. We are a sad people. Our modern independence will be the death of us.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

August 31

Good to Gone, Its Confusing

confused

I swear, I am about done with this. My mind needs to process all that it has absorbed before I can let it go. Its confusing when a relationship is going along, and you are getting to know someone. Things seem to be going well. You are getting more and more comfortable talking about things that come to mind. You aren’t afraid that making the other person mad will simply halt things, and its over. Then bam, I don’t want to see you anymore. What happened? What changed? Why now?

When Sarah told me she didn’t want to see me anymore, she made a comment along the lines that she thought I did things wrong, and that the way I make decisions would driver her nuts. One of the things she was referring to was my divorce process. She has been divorced for a few years, and regularly has lunch with the lawyer friend who handled her divorce. I am not doing things any of the traditional ways. I am trying to have things figured out first, and then put it on paper. We don’t have a separation agreement. We don’t have any court orders at this point. Its risky in the sense that my STBEW doesn’t give a shit about me. She could decide to take action and screw me any moment. I don’t imagine that she will choose this, because it isn’t what she wants. She wants the freedom that comes with having her own time, and that doesn’t happen if she screws me. My divorce isn’t moving as fast as Sarah would have liked. She didn’t want to talk about it, because it was my life issue to handle. She needed to talk about, because instead she stewed about it. I know she thought I was doing it wrong, and that I just needed to get it over with. Maybe she is right, but its my journey, and I want things to work out a certain way, and the only way I get close to that is by doing things my way.

The other thing, I think bothered her is the change in parenting schedules. I had offered at the beginning of the summer that I would like to go to a weekly schedule instead of partial weeks. I thought it would allow us to be more consistent when the kids are with us. Sarah was on a schedule like this. Her week started on Sunday evening. The schedule I thought was best for my kids would start on Friday evening. We would have the same weekends, but opposite weeks. This was something that would have been workable dating her. I think she felt judged when I didn’t do it like she did it. I thought it was best to have a couple days before school started to make sure that I had everything that I needed for the week, and could make arrangements to get anything the kids didn’t have before Monday. No judgement, mostly the difference in managing two kids versus managing four kids. Its just takes more preparation on my part to make sure things work. I think she was also bothered that I really didn’t consider her much in this decision. She and I were getting serious, but we weren’t in what anyone would call a long term relationship. I needed to do what was right for the kids and me and their mom, not Sarah. Sarah was a side note to this decision. Perhaps the reality that my kids were truly coming first was something should didn’t like. I know that many mothers view the fathers as something that doesn’t matter as much, and so would rather her and her kids be the priority, not mine. I don’t know. I know that having four kids will present many issues in dating anyone. I will need to be picky, and accept that there may not be someone who I will meet who can handle my lifestyle.

Sarah had mentioned multiple times that I taught her about open communication. She felt comfortable talking about anything with me, and that she wasn’t afraid of my reaction. I think this is great, and the only way that I can have a relationship. I was judged constantly by what I said in my marriage, and harshly so. I may have made some of my views to Sarah about child support and essentially libertarian principles that made her uncomfortable. If that is the case, then so be it. She wouldn’t have worked. She didn’t see the legal boogie man for men in divorce. She didn’t know many who got screwed. I think she was living in a fantasy land created by men who chose to suck it up and move on. They weren’t going to be outspoken or activists, because that would hurt their chances with other women. There is also a tendency to accept the status quo as okay, and not recognize it as being bad, or to see advances and not accept that there is a lot of room to go. The program for men hasn’t changed much. They get more time with their kids, and recently are being robbed less than they were before, but child support is still something that is essentially a fine for marrying a woman and having kids with her and failing to keep her happy and entertained for the rest of her life.

The other thing that I think came into play is a fear of deep personal relationships. Things had moved past the fun stage. We still had fun, but we were just starting to introduce each other to our world of friends. I took her to my high school reunion. She and I had dinner with good friends of hers. They were safe, because there was a good chance that they knew me, or at least kind of knew me. The husband was in my sister’s high school class. We were starting to really get to know each other. We were starting to rely on each other for emotional comfort. Female hypergamy has broken this aspect of relationships for so many women. Sarah never had that bond with her husband. She allowed her father to suplant that position in her life, and so I may have been the first man to find that soft spot in her heart. It makes me sad to think about what could have been, but if she isn’t going to grow up to a point where she can handle the raw emotions that she is feeling, then there wasn’t any real hope. She demonstrated that she could handle my raw emotions and was incredibly supportive and caring through some of those. I think that its hard for some women to accept that you can’t endear yourself to a man in that way and not start having those feelings yourself. One of the last things she said to me over the weekend before she dumped me was that she didn’t think she liked my ex at all. She had started to relate to my feelings, and as this blog tells the story, my ex is not a nice person.

I want a woman in my life to share experiences with. I want to have fun with her, and enjoy her feminity. I think its likely that I have lost my chance at that. It happened when I married my wife. It happened when I adopted three kids. I made choices that isolate me from the world that most women want a part of. My job is bigger than theirs. As a dad of four kids, I don’t have time for their bullshit. I would have liked to spend the next year exploring the world with Sarah by my side, and maybe longer. I really don’t think with my schedule anything less than a year is going to give me a window into what life could be like with a woman. I doubt that I will find a woman that wants to be that patient. I won’t lose all hope. I know there are awesome women out there. My mom is one of them. She stands by my dad as he is dying of cancer, and she doesn’t flinch. When I ask how she is doing, I get a report on my dad. She is unselfish and loving. She gives me hope, but not much because she is rare and my time is limited to find the rare one.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

August 28

An Angry Day

Fell On Black Days

Today I was angry. Angry about everything. I yelled and cried a lot. I was home sick, and it just came over me. I am angry that my life will not turn out like I planned. It can’t. I have been robbed of that opportunity. There is no hope for me growing old with my wife and looking back at the family we created together. Its not going to happen. Our kids will visit each of us separately to show off the grand kids. If they are lucky, they will have a spouse who truly believes in marriage, but in this world that is unlikely to happen.

So the biggest thing that I was angry about is how my wife discarded our marriage. Not just when she left me, but when she cheated. She made my a cuckold in my marriage. Maybe not completely, but effectively. I had to beg for sex, and it was still withheld more often than not. She disgusts me, because she was never honest with me. She was never in love with me. I was just a man who met her needs at the time. She may have been wrapped up into the marriage to deep to just run when she was done, but she was never invested in me. The marriage didn’t work, because one of us wasn’t present. I was accused of being that someone multiple times, but I can say that other than a brief time towards the end, I was fully present and lonely.

I was angry that as a result of that marriage, I am now single. I will likely remain single. The odds of me meeting the woman that will take on a man that has four kids and won’t have any more is small. I won’t have the time to to look for her. I have the kids. I won’t have the finances for years to do it either. It will be almost five years before I have my debt paid for. It will be over 10 years before my kids are grown. The only thing I would want a woman for at that time is to not be alone. I sure hope by then, I do better at being alone.

I was mad at God or the Church or both. I was mad that because of what I was taught, I felt trapped in a marriage where my wife didn’t care for me. Where she violated the vows multiple times. On the surface, I knew I could walk, but the lessons drilled into me over the years told me I was a better man than that, and could forgive her. The same people told her that it was my fault she cheated, that it was my fault she was unhappy, and that God did not want her to be unhappy. She got the excuses, while I got the responsibilities.

I was mad that sex in marriage sucked in every way. That sex since marriage has not sucked. I want sex. I have to move past feeling that I need sex, but I want it. I can’t ignore that, and won’t ever be in a situation where the woman I am with does not provide sex.

I have to accept that I will likely spend most of the rest of my life alone. I will not have a woman to share life’s experiences with. Girlfriends are likely to be far and few between. I don’t like it, but it is something I will have to come to terms with, and soon.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

August 22

Reading Between the Lines

Reading Between The Lines

I tend to over analyze life. I also get stuck because of that. I need to process things, but I also need to get past them. This blog helps me get past them. I put in writing what I am thinking. In a way, it allows me to put certain things to rest. The relationship with Sarah was short, and when you consider that there was a period where we were both out of town that made it almost impossible to see each other just before the end, it was even shorter. I tend to go all in when I am interested in someone, so I over commit my heart. This something that I understand now. I am not going to change it, but I am aware like I never have been before all this mess started with my wife. I won’t allow that to steer me into bad decisions. Its a balance that I am learning. Don’t fundamentally change, but also don’t be stupid.

Early when Sarah and I started to date, she had the epiphany that I wasn’t as far along in the divorce process as she had thought. I hadn’t misled her, but she had made some assumptions that weren’t accurate. From that day forward, she kept saying things along the lines of, “I think we may move at different paces, I don’t know how that is going to work.” She would ask why I hadn’t moved forward with the divorce. At first I thought it was a case of her doubting I was actually finished with my marriage. I am not sure that is what was going on at all. She also would make comments about not being able to move forward while I was still married. I didn’t really know what she was talking about there.

As for the first point of moving at different paces, I think she is somewhat right. She saw a guy that she liked, and wanted the it all when she wanted it. The problem is that guy had stuff that prevented here from setting the time table, and that guy wasn’t jumping through hoops for her. I am no woman’s prince. I have tried before, and all that happens is immense frustration on my part and on hers. I also have a say in things. The mistake I made was I did make it sound like I could and would have the divorce filed and closed during the summer and all that would be left is the waiting period of 60 days. I could have done this, but it didn’t work out that was in my best interest. My wife and I have a house that hasn’t sold, and is going into foreclosure. That house being off the books will make things much easier for us to deal with things.

I think we also had very different ideas of what moving the relationship forward meant. I was interested in the deeper connection of getting to know each other, and investing in each other emotionally and in our time. This was not hindered in anyway by my still being married by separated for more than a year. She seemed to be thinking about the social and cultural ramifications of me still being married. I suspect her family ran he through the ringer for dating a married man on her vacation. I also think that she worried how some would react if they knew that I was still married and we were moving on with a serious relationship. I doubt it would have been a problem, but it is something to worry about I suppose. I think she may have also been worried about our kids being confused if they met either of us and I wasn’t divorced yet. Again, I don’t think this is a large issue. My kids tell everyone we are divorced, even though we are not yet, and they know it. Its just easier to explain.

When I was talking to her about moving to the neighboring state, as much because I might need a hardship drivers license for a while as anything, and my state doesn’t offer one of those. She became really defensive that she was tied to where she lived. Its struck me as an odd reaction at the time. It was just before she ended things. I think I understand it now. For us to move forward in her mind, I needed to be available to move in with her at some time. She had voiced that she wasn’t sure she wanted to be married again, but that didn’t mean she was out on domestic relations that resembled marriage. If this was the case, then she hadn’t read me right to begin with. I was not going to subject my kids to moving in with someone for a long time. I would need to know that it was a fairly permanent affair before I considered it, and I am not sure that I would do so at all. I think my kids need their own place and space. Her house would always have been hers and her kids first. It would be unavoidable for my kids to not sense that.

We had a debate the week before she ended things. It was around the nature of morality being imposed on men, and sometimes women, by the family courts. I had said that child support in some form was a moral obligation that should not be enforced by the state in any way. She kept referring to the courts as being useful tools when you had men who weren’t good and wouldn’t support their families. I said they should be allowed to walk. There was no good coming from forced child support. The good men take care of their kids. The bad ones avoid it. The blunt instrument of the law tends to catch the fairly good ones who can’t meet the state mandated obligations. The jail time costs more than the money owed in most cases, and that it would be more cost effective to allow these women to fall into the welfare system than to throw these men into what amounted to a debtors prison. She also didn’t understand that I was arguing for her as well. Under the new child support guidelines, her ex-husband could file a for a change in the parenting language that show that he is in a shared custody situation and then child support would not be calculated towards that custodial parent, but under the new guidelines the parent who earns less would receive the support from the other. He earning less than her, would probably receive most of the same amount he is paying her now from her.

I think as progressive as she was in her individual views, she wasn’t near as such in her political views. She let her husband pay far less in support than would have been required. She understands that her choice to pursue divorce affects the people she dates. She just isn’t ready to start applying that thinking to her views on the system. She was a good, smart lady. I enjoyed my time with her, and for the first time ever, I really hope that we remain friends after a cooling off period. Who knows? The sexual tension might be too much. She was the best lover I have had. I don’t know if I measured similarly to her, but I do know that she pleased. Time will tell.

Ten-Foured,

JeD