What is Fair in Divorce


So many of our divorce laws are based on the idea that a perpetual contract is being violated, and not that it is now null, but now it is managed by the court, because the parties involved are unable to manage it. Once kids are involved there is no such thing as a split. This is a renegotiation between adversaries who might even be hostile towards each other. The general principal of fairness that is applied in an equal partnership is that each gets half. Since the partnership is managed by the court now, the court almost reflexively tries to maintain a 50/50 partnership through divorce. Each party gets half of the stuff, or at least as close as the court can get. Each party gets half of the money. This isn’t done at the time of divorce. Support payments and maintenance are used to keep this split over a prolonged period of time. In most cases it is the man who makes these payments. He will pay out a portion of his earnings to equalize the lifestyles of the two for sometimes the rest of her life. The ideas about child support are rooted in a philosophy that the child is due a portion of the parents earnings, and that too in a shared custody situation should be split 50/50, thus the higher earning parent now must pay the other parent to equalize this. In a sole custody situation this money transfer becomes large enough that often times the ex-wife now can maintain her lifestyle completely, and the ex-husband lives in squalor. His living arrangements now prevent him from gaining more time with his kids. This all makes sense to the courts, because they truly aren’t closing a contract between two equal partners, but they are now managing that contract.

We are now in an age when marriage is not even entered into as a permanent contract. Very few people enter into marriage thinking this will be forever. I see far more men duped by the idea that marriage is forever than women. Now legally marriage may be a 50/50 partnership, but we all know in truth it is not. The husband generally puts in more hours to earn the money for the family. The wife may work, but after kids come along, she will reduce her hours, and even change jobs to a job that allows her to spend more time with the kids. This all makes sense in the partnership. The man is willing to sacrifice his time to allow his wife to spend time with his kids. In modern marriages most men come home to a wife that then quits for the day. She figures he has been out of the house and now it is his turn. He takes over completely with the kids, and may even cook the dinner, and do the housework she didn’t have time to do while taking care of the kids or napping because she was exhausted from taking care of the kids. This may sound obnoxiously sexist, but just spend some time reading Facebook, and you will see moms posting about their naps and their hard days at the park with their friends and other taxing things like making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These women will often take off to have a social life once their husband is home, and leave him to take care of the kids alone. A true partnership would be one where when he arrived at home, they would parent together, and spend this time working together to finish what was unable to be done while he was at work.

Now splitting in divorce has become the tricky part. It shouldn’t be. Marriage is no longer permanent. This makes me sad, but it is a reality I am forced to face. I accept that the contract was 50/50, and that in the marriage the reality may not be anything of the like, so anything owned by both should be split in the most equal way possible. I would say this about retirement moneys earned by both during this time as well. What is fair payment after the divorce for support or maintenance, nothing. That’s right, nothing. The marriage is over. The contract is closed. There should be no support. A budget for the children’s necessities should be drawn up, and an account should be set up that is contributed to equally to pay for these things. In most custody, this would be medical and school expenses. Each parent can get clothes and food when they are together, and if dad can feed them steak and mom can feed them hot dogs, so be it. That is the cost she paid and passes on to her kids by the divorce. She would have steak with them if she hadn’t divorced their dad. The idea that the husband owes some amount for any amount of time after the divorce is antiquated. It should be cast off just like the idea that marriage is forever has been cast off. Those two ideas went hand in hand. It is not fair that one goes away, and the other has stayed. Anything extra for the kids can be negotiated between the parents or each parent can pay for what they care about. There is no reason for child support to do this.

Well that is my rant. I do understand that the biggest part of the inertia for change is the fact the government is trying to keep stupid people who divorce from entering the welfare roles. This should not be a part of our family law decisions. The husbands in large part are being punished in divorce, because the wives might not be financially prepared to go out on their own. Its time for fault based divorce to return to society or for legal marriage to go away. I am a fan of the government getting out of the marriage business, and marriage being left to the religious organizations or social clubs as people see fit.



Tears for My Children

Tears and Rain

So much of my anger and emotions are wrapped up in what this does for my children. As I have stated before, we adopted 3 children and had one of our own. Last night I cried for the first time in months. The last time I cried was because I was afraid of the effects on my oldest adopted son. He is so insecure in his home, and his value, and she has always been the one that creates more instability. This of course has caused more insecurity than ever. Yesterday afternoon she called telling me she couldn’t or wouldn’t parent him anymore. She told me to come pick up all the stuff he needed and to take him, while she took the other kids out with her to my daughter’s practice. I wrapped up at work, and came to get him. They had “made up” and he was going to stay for the night. I took him out to dinner, and we talked while the other’s were out.

It all started with her coming home, and immediately accusing him of a number of things as she came through the door. He being the child who always wants to please her was shattered. He had pulled a perfect score on a test in a class he has been struggling with. He lost his temper, and she chased him down the temper trail. He has learned to be very melodramatic from her, so he starts acting scared and yelling things like please don’t hurt me as she storms after him. The two of them become the perfect storm of manipulative anger. She is so afraid of being accused of abuse, that she will get rid of him before tat happens.

He learned quickly after we separated that I would not put up with that behavior, and he would have to endure his rage by himself. He also learned that two year old temper tantrums were punished as I would a two year old before we ever get to the root of whatever problem that is going on. I no longer have to deal with this kind of rage from him. Sure, he is still melodramatic about things, but no unchecked rage.

I cried a lot last night. I want to find a way to save my children from her. This attitude that she can throw a difficult child away will be seen by all of them, and they will be hurt badly by it over time. I know she has thought about abandoning them. Her step-sister dumped a difficult step-child back on the mother, who by all accounts was crazy. I almost wish she would just do it quickly, so I can pick up the pieces, and she can run away, and be the favorite aunt like person who comes into their lives in a rush, and showers them with affection. They will adore her most of the time, and her damage will be limited then.

I thought I was done shedding tears over her, but I guess that won’t come. I will always shed tears for my kids, and I can’t save them. I have to try that much harder to ensure that my house, and my time is good for them. I have already decided that I will do everything I can to remain in the place I am renting, so they have a stable place. She chooses to move a lot, and so I imagine that her home for them will change nearly every year as leases run out. I want so badly to be at the very least a safe place for all of them to come to, where they know they are loved, and that they always have a place that is their own.



Chivalry Lost


I have a bad habit of trolling through craigslist ads. Mostly because they crack me up. I never in my life seen so many BBW women wondering where their prince charming is. Well for the record, he left with the skinny chick. The other common theme I see is all these women complaining about no chivalrous men left out there. I am sure there are some. They are happily married and retired. Lets define what chivalry really is, because I think it has been lost on so many in our society. Women want it, even expect it, and men don’t do it because they are tired of the madness that this post-modern world has created in relation to men and women.

The first thing to extinguish is the idea that any woman deserves chivalry. It’s origins is from the days of knights. It has many meanings, but generally came from the concepts of how a knight is to behave himself when not in battle. I suppose the ideas spread as at every age, men preferred to liken themselves to the battle hardened warriors of their era, rather than to the realities of their life, so they adopted the behaviors they attributed to knighthood into their daily lives. Chivalry defined how a knight was to behave in the castles and court. They were to extend certain courtesies to those around them. Acknowledging that they were under their authority. Things like opening doors for even the little lordlings and ladies who had no true command of resources or physical ability to have authority over a knight was a for of respect. . The knights extended these courtesies to ladies of the court that also had no authority, nor any honor due to them. This extension was submitting an honor or power to someone else, that they had no right to. I am not going to talk about all the aspects of chivalry, but this last point is important to understand. Chivalry as we understand it in modern culture is based on the voluntary submission of privilege or position to honor someone else. You must also understand that socially, politically, and in almost every other way in the cultures women were not afforded the same “rights” as men. This public showing also demonstrated that this man was providing protection of the woman. Chivalry was far less practical in the home. Men didn’t show the same deference for his wife. He also in the average family home gave her far more equality in decision making for the family than she was allowed in public. This meant that the power difference in the home was less, and the was less honor to give by the husband.

Lets skip ahead to modern times. As women have become publicly and socially equals to men, so has chivalry faded. The men have less power than they used to. These courtesies are based in power, so it stands to reason that men would be less chivalrous than they were in days gone. Allowing a woman to pass before you is not a courtesy when she can merely just go before you without prejudice. There is no cause for chivalry when the decision is hers to make. There is no social or legal moor to prevent her from retaining the right of way when passing through a door. In the past the woman would have waited for the man, and he would then open the door and allow her passage as a courtesy. I have rarely seen a woman in the modern world who pauses for a man to go first, so it stands to reason that there is no reason for him to allow a courtesy that there is little opportunity to provide.

Lets further explore the realities of the modern world. Men are second class citizens in the west. We are treated as necessary evils. Where men in the past treated women as things to be treasured when they had the power. In many ways women were treated as fragile, but valued. Now men are treated as the unwanted dog, or the jester in modern society. We are objects to be tolerated or laughed at. We have very little true power in society or in the family. We aren’t even considered physical threats. This negates chivalry. If men were to try to be chivalrous, it would really be duty to keep the women who have the real power now happy. Chivalry is not rooted in duty. If there is chivalry to be shared, then it is the women who should be chivalrous to the men. They hold the levers of power now, so I should have more doors held open for me.

Before I get a bunch of NAWALT type arguments, it doesn’t matter. Societal moors, family courts, and DV laws have changed the playing field. If you don’t like what you see from men out there, I suggest you go talk to women. Women need to stop fighting for more to be taken away from men. They need to stop breaking up families because life is hard, and when they do, they need to accept that it is going to be hard to work with that man to raise kids in separate households. Women need to fight for men to have a strong footing in society again. Stop complaining, and look at the playing field from a man’s perspective. If you want men to behave like men of the past, then the world they live in needs to look more like the world of the past. If you want men who are going to use you, and go about their lives doing what makes them happy, then keep on doing what you are doing. Men will adapt, and you are not going to find freedom when men stop making themselves a choice in your lives. There will be fewer and fewer gullible chumps looking to marry you, because that is how you raise a family, since very few families are being raised by an intact family any more. The dream has been exposed to young men, and they aren’t signing up for what their fathers endured.



Angry About the Loss Of A Dream And A Promise

Foever Lost, Forever Present (in red)

This is something I hadn’t expected to come up as often as it does. It plays to my overly sensitive sense of justice, and right, and the idea that your word is your bond. I knew as the talk of divorce cropped up, that this would be an issue for me, but I didn’t imagine the ways it would hurt. I figured I would internalize it, and process it, and after a time of mourning I would be done with it. That has not been the case.

I was struck by this the first time a couple of weeks ago. My grandmother died. We weren’t close. She was terribly manipulative of my mom, and had shown with my nieces that she wouldn’t be reliable to show up for a lunch let alone other grandmotherly things that you would expect. She had been a significant factor in my growing up though. We spent some portion of nearly every weekend when I was a child at their house for a family dinner or some other event. I was sad and grieving as you would expect. As I drove to the hospital to get there before she died, I was so angry. I couldn’t figure out why at first, and then it smacked me in the face. I had been there through multiple funerals for my wife. I had been there when her mother died shortly after we got married. I had gone through this turmoil providing what she needed at the time, or at least trying to meet her needs. They were obnoxiously hard to decipher. But now, here I was alone driving to the hospital. I would be there with my crazy aunt and uncle who had each other, my mom and dad, my sister and her husband, my cousin and his husband. They all had someone who had committed to be there through the tough stuff, through the sad stuff, and mine was not only there, but did not want to be with me through the tough stuff. She wanted to be happy. Such a shallow feeling, happiness is. It is something fleeting, and rarely found when you are looking for it. It sneaks up on you when you are busy being content with the crap life brings along. My mom was so confused by my reactions at the hospital, because I was angry more than sad. The grieving came later, but I was truly and justifiably angry. I didn’t take vows with this woman to be cast off when things weren’t as good as you planned. I took vows to stay together even if it sucked, and trust me there were many things that sucked. Basically, I felt ripped off by the fact that I didn’t have that person who pledged alongside me to be there for this stuff. To further dig the thorn in, she made a big deal out of the fact that my dad does not want to be around her, and that she wasn’t welcome at the funeral. My mom would have made it work, but there wasn’t any reason, she didn’t know my grandmother well, because as I said before we weren’t close. It was just so inappropriate at the time.

Earlier this week I had another moment. This one just made me sad. For most of my life, I have wanted what my parents had. They enjoy each other tremendously. They tell stories about when they were young before kids, and about life with us kids at an early age. They yuck it up with friends from years far past. I was sitting at a bar getting some tacos and a beer for dinner after dropping off the kids with their mom. I was sitting next to two couples who were telling these kind of stories to each other. They were easily old enough to be my parents, or at the very least the younger friends of my parents. I became sad, and very inwardly turned as I saw these couples and the joy they had in bragging about partner and how they handled a situation, and the occasional jab about something far in the past. These are things that I just won’t have. Not even if I were to get back together with the mother of my children. She is incapable of telling stories that don’t make me look bad, and her the hero. She doesn’t playfully jab me, she knocks me in the jaw and tries to call it light hearted. I have lost this part of the dream. There is no getting this back. I chose badly when I chose this woman, and the price of that choice is I will never have the dream. I will never have be loved by one person regardless of circumstance. I will never have stories to share with my partner about life before kids.

The first part of the promise I can have, if I ever venture out to find another partner for life. I would like to hope that my judgement is better than it was in my 20s, but I don’t know that I can trust that a woman is capable of this. Not that there aren’t women capable of this, but that I can’t tell them apart. Women, you need to police your own better. Marriage is off the radar for me for the foreseeable future. The risks are too high, and they aren’t shared between us. women are seeking divorce at an alarming rate, and that rate isn’t much different for the religious as it is for the irreligious. If you are woman who believes in marriage and desires to find men of quality willing to marry, then you need to do something about the culture fostered among women that men are interchangeable and disposable. I married a woman who all would have counted as a Christian woman of conviction, and those convictions were cast off chunk by chunk as she wasn’t completed by me. Which is another bone I have to pick the Jerry McGuire theology of you are supposed to complete me is crap. Marriage is supposed to be a commitment to working together to make it through life, not that I or you should be creating a whole person by the union, but that two whole people are better than one. That proposition is being broken in our society all the time, and I honestly don’t see how I could try at it again, especially while I have kids that would be torn apart by another family break up.

Sorry for the semi-random thought processes here. This has been a rough couple of weeks.



Child Support Is Immoral: A quick followup

Slave shackles

I just want to clarify one thing for anyone reading this. I don’t support men not fathering their children, or paying for things the children need. My accusation of immorality is the against a system that demands that they owe a portion of there income to their former partner to pay for the children, and that system is going to take it by force. It has turned motherhood into a paid vocation. The only system in history where motherhood has been a viable vocation is the ones where the mother was married to the father of her children. We have replaced the husband/provider/protector role of men in society with a model that has women choosing a lover of the moment, the government is her protector, and the father(s) of her children are her providers. Women are given the children in so many cases because they were the primary provider, and men are accused of not being active enough in the children’s life when they were together. Well that doesn’t account for the fact that there isn’t a man I know who wouldn’t want to stay home and raise their kids, but responsibility takes over, and they realize someone has to provide the means for these little people to grow up. They do this willingly, and often view the time that the mother has with the children as a gift they were able to give to both the mother and the children. That is used against them in custody cases and child support issues. Men if you are brave enough to get married, then realize that she will be treated as sacrificial for your sacrifice of time with the kids, and if you are the stay at home dad you will be treated as lazy for not getting a good job, and letting her stay home and be the doting mother.



Child Support Is Immoral

Slave shackles

I know that in our culture, this statement is considered ridiculous. We have been fed a line for our entire lifetime about dead beat dads. I think it is time for us to reexamine this thing we call love, marriage, and child raising. The rules we are playing by are from the 1930s. They are based on a society very different than the one that we live in. Alimony and child support are based on a society where women rarely worked if they were mothers, and couldn’t earn what a man earns. They are based on a society where women rarely left left their husband providers, but the men left their families to start over with another woman. I don’t know that I actually believe that story, but it was certainly more likely than it is today. I am not going to talk about abusive relationships, and when I say abusive, I mean someone is being controlled or broken in some way. We all feel abused after going through the trials of a failed marriage. Truly abusive relationships are much more rare than we are led to believe. Now in modern culture marriages are ended with little more thought than a dating relationship, and women have the same opportunity to earn what a man earns.

The next problem is that the courts, at least here in the USA aim to provide the same standard of living for the children that they had during the marriage. They also apply a standard that the children deserve a certain portion of the parents income. The standard of “the best interest of the children” is applied.

The first problem is when two parents are not together, unless there is significant means involved, it is impossible to provide the children with the same standard of living. You suddenly have two households where there was one. Now that father’s rightfully expect to have equal time with their kids, they must have a home that is adequate to house their children.

The next problem is the idea that the children have any right to the parents income. This is the idea that is applied to justify child support. When a marriage stays intact, the only index used to measure if the child is receiving what they deserve is whether they are healthy mentally and physically, and if they aren’t then they are receiving appropriate care. Suddenly in divorce, they deserve a percentage of the income, and that income is entrusted without strings to one of the parents, usually the mother. This is insane. What if the parents normally saved 60% of the income, and now suddenly one can’t. Or what if the divorce is over the fact the husband wants to take a job that pays 50% of what he used to make, so he doesn’t have to travel anymore. Suddenly the court has control over whether he is allowed to do that without going to jail. The court says he must earn close to his total earning potential. He no longer has a choice in the matter like he did before. Sure sounds like slavery to me.

The best interest of the child drives me nuts. If the court were interested in the best interest of the child, then there would be more remidations ordered to avoid divorce by the court, and less screwing with peoples lives. Since when is it in the best interest of the child to have the court in the middle of their lives their entire childhood. The other problem with that argument is that it is completely subjective. The courts are supposed to try to make objective decisions, and they are being placed in a position that requires subjective reasoning, which they are not equipped to handle, so they try to pretend that with the right experts they are making a subjective decision. Lets not kid ourselves, none of this is about the best interest of the child. If it were, then very few parents would be allowed to raise our children. We screw them up even in a good home. That is a part of life. We learn how to overcome the shit in our lives, and we all have shit even in the best of circumstances.

All this sets the stage a little, but the truth is in the western world, money is power. Having money gives you power, but so does controlling someone else’s money. Child support being based on a percentage of the parents income is not about providing for the child. It is about transferring wealth, and that is always evil. Simply put in the modern world, when parents are sharing responsibilities for the kids, there is no reason for a wealth transfer. The logic is convoluted. Probably because it isn’t about the kids at all. If a mother or father has chosen to cut out the other parent, then they deserve no part of that person’s income, and if that person shares in any part of the parental duties, then they should pay while they are have the children in their custody for the child’s needs. If the carrot of money from the other partner is removed, there would be far fewer divorces and out of wed lock children.

Now lets look at the logic of child support turned on its head a little. If time with children is valuable for the parent, then the time that is taken away from the parent should be compensated for. The parent who has the most earning power has the most valuable time. They should be compensated for the lost time with the children at a higher rate than the parent who has a lower income. In most divorce situations that would mean a stay at home mom would be due no child support at the time of the divorce, and if she had the children 50% of the time, she would owe the father a large sum for the lost time with his children. She would have to get a job, and support herself and compensate her ex-husband for his lost time with his kids. Isn’t this how most law suits work. The person who has incurred harm is compensated to make up for the harm. Well in a split custody situation both parties have incurred harm, but one is more valuable in the market place than the other.

Men have sought divorces at roughly the same rate throughout the history that it has been tracked. They divorce today for roughly the same reasons they always have. Women rarely sought divorce before. It took some extreme circumstances to give up the security of marriage. The system has been changed enough that they don’t lose the security when they divorce. They get financial support, and the state steps in to make sure their ex-husband continues to dutifully take care of her in the name of the children. Once the risks of not being married with children were reduced women have sought divorce for rather frivolous reasons at an alarming rate. Not that the men’s reasons were less frivolous, but the rate of them choosing to divorce is and has been much lower than the women choosing to do so now.

The truth is I don’t think anyone should pay child support. If two people or one of two people choose to part ways, then the children should be considered marital assets (didn’t want to say property). They have value to both the parents. It doesn’t matter much if one is a better parent than the other, if both are adequate. Yes merely adequate, because if the bar is set any higher, it is just a foothold for the state to come take everyone’s kids and give them to parents they deem better than you. We have already established that with the parents not together, the best interest of the child isn’t really the issue. Both parents decided to have kids together, so they decided at some point the other one was going to be the kind of parent they would like to raise a kid with. The ramifications of that decision is that you are stuck raising that kid together whether you want to or not. Along with the decision to split, both parents should determine how they are going to afford to not be together. The fact our society puts so much weight on romance in marriage is ridiculous. The purpose of marriage is to raise a family. It is designed to combine the financial a time resources of two people to take care of each other’s needs and the needs of the children. Since the marriage is broken, then each party should be responsible for both the financial and time needs of their family, which is inclusive of the times you have the kids and are nearly complete, and the times when you don’t and are single.

We all know that the biggest reason for child support is to prevent divorce from putting women and children on the welfare roles. I suggest that if the financial incentives for divorce were removed, and some disincentives for divorce were in place, then you would have fewer split families, and the cost of the welfare cases that result would be less than the cost of child support enforcement costs now, and fewer dads would be estranged from their children. Of course this is supposition, but I don’t think I am too far off.



Going Pink

Raising breast cancer awareness

For the rest of the month, I will leave my theme pink. I have a friend who is a breast cancer survivor, and since there isn’t any good awareness for other cancers, probably because they affect men, I am doing this for my Dad as well. He just got news that his lung cancer is likely cured, yes cured was the word. If not, it will be with some intense radiation after the first of the year. No more chemo, and time to get back to living.

I make the comment about men, because there are no awareness activities for men. There are for races, religions, women, and children, but not men. Perhaps it is because men don’t take these things very seriously, or its that men are an afterthought in America. I don’t know the answer. I do know that these months are a little silly most of the time. I wish October were made cancer awareness month. The things my friend has been doing to talk to at risk women is fantastic. Cancer is treatable and survivable in most cases. It would be good for people to know how, and this month is a good one for women. The history months, and other such things tend to be just drivel at best, and attempts to rewrite history at worst. In case anyone was wondering, I don’t hate women. I don’t hate my wife. I do believe that our society has created a bunch of princesses that throw fits and run away when they don’t get their way. We have removed accountability from their lives. Dads used to be able to treat their daughters like princesses, knowing life would come quick enough and teach the hard lessons. Now dads need to teach those hard lessons early, if they want a good woman at the end of the path of raising daughters, because the world will let them remain children. Enough said for now. I will certainly venture into these topics later as I blog.



Hard Day

098/365 Some days are harder than others

This should be a hard day. Its 10/4. Its the day I was married 14 years ago. I expected the wash of emotions I felt a couple of weeks ago on my son’s birthday that had me stay home throwing up. I expected sadness. I expected something. It just feels like another day to me. I don’t really know what to think. My marriage was hard, but I loved the woman, but after such a short amount of time, I already have no desire for what we had.

I was talking with a friend last night. She stopped by to make sure that I knew that the lady I have been playing with life is a mess. I knew this. She knows this. We are hanging out, and having fun. Not your typical friends with benefits, since we are becoming friends and that is OK. There is enough physical space for us, and our circles are separated enough that we won’t be constantly running into each other if things change. Back to the friend last night. She was asking me if I could get together, and talk about things. See if things have changed. My first reaction was she wouldn’t, and to get a bit mopy and defeatist, but the truth took over. I don’t want to. I really don’t. A year from now, when new patterns are set in each of our lives, then if she wanted to talk, I might be open to it. I am done pursuing her. We had those talks at least once a month for the last 6 months we lived together. I am not going to pursue her, she would have to initiate anything. She is the one that left, and she will have to be the one to come back and ask for another chance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect this. I wouldn’t have open arms, saying “Its been so long. I am glad you came to your senses.” She flat out rejected me. She made it clear she doesn’t love me. With her mouth, and her actions over the years, and more so the last few months. All I desire right now is a good enough relationship to finish raising our kids minimizing the damage from a broken home.

She has rationalized these effects, and rationalized that feelings are what matters. She has made herself the center of the decision, and not only placed me, but our kids as secondary issues that will be able to manage regardless of her actions. I have no desire to re-enter a relationship with her. The risks are too high for my children. They will suffer from our split, but they would suffer more if we create a pattern of coming together and splitting, then they will be far more damaged and confused as they enter adulthood, and try to form their own relationships. It will already be hard for me to encourage my sons if they are considering marriage. Unless the landscape of the US family law changes, I won’t be ashamed to tell them to have an extremely explicit prenuptial agreement. They can always change it as they decide that she is more or less trustworthy. If she is less, of course it will require the threat of divorce to modify it. I know that if I consider marriage again, then I will enter into as a legal business contract to protect what I have for my kids. There won’t be any new kids. I have four, and I can’t see having kids with another woman, and they see that kid have the life that me and their mom couldn’t provide to them. That will limit the women that will want to be with me long term.

Well as I said, it is strange that this day is not hard. It should be. I passed on a night at the bar with old friends tonight to be with my kids. I figured it would be safer than going out today. Unless something hits me later, then I could have gone without a problem. This ride is an interesting one. I will see where it takes me. I have a few back story posts I plan on sharing, but I will be mixing in current posts as well. There are many that are coming every week.



Physical Separation

Greatwall China [1907] Herbert G. Ponting [RESTORED]

The six plus months of time that we were living in the same house after she said she wanted a divorce were some of the hardest of my life. As covered in some of my other posts, she was all over the place in how she interacted with. She slept in the guest room, she slept in our bed. I refused to leave our bedroom. She wanted this, so she could come or go, but I was staying. She erected a pillow wall between us, and when challenged she took it down. She would flirt to get my attention, and then act offended if I responded. She would yell at me for not trying, or not knowing her, or some other thing, but also yell at me when I demonstrated I knew her, or tried too hard. One night she screamed at me “I am still leaving your ass, nothing has changed, and you can keep that little psychopath(the oldest boy).” She would go out, and not come home until it was almost time to wake up. She would leave and not tell me where she was going or what she was doing, and then come home and wake me up angry that I hadn’t stayed up waiting for her. It was exhausting. I am not sure what she was doing. The only thing, I can come up with is she was working up the courage to actually leave or to get me to leave or kick her out.

As things go, she told me in early June was moving out, and taking the kids. Justifying this action by saying we had talked about moving the kids back to the city. I was a little shell shocked, and didn’t know what to say. The next day I made it clear that I was not going to be a weekend Dad, and that I would be on her lease and have a key. I would be able to spend time with my kids at the apartment without her until things changed. She agreed. I later found out that she agreed, because she couldn’t get the lease without me. She didn’t make enough money, since we still have payments on our marital home. I helped her move out, mostly because I didn’t want strangers and her moving out stuff without my knowing what was being taken.

She spent the first night in her apartment “alone.” I don’t know who she spent it with, nor do I care anymore. I did then. The next night I left the kids with her. When I left the apartment after saying my good byes, I was walking down the stairs. My lips became numb, and I just started to shutter. I couldn’t cry yet, I just shook and my face ached. I have never felt a pain like that before. It was the reality of the loss of my marriage, and the new relationships I would have to build with my kids just overwhelming me. These waves would wash over me for the next few weeks. Sometimes they would last hours, and other times minutes. There were times, I would leave work and just walk for miles to distract myself.

I spent the last part of the summer alternating with her at the apartment. Initially it was not so bad. It was hard to be in a place, so intentionally devoid of me. It was uncomfortable. She then started going out while I was with the kids, and coming back to the apartment and sleeping on the couch. After a while, she made it clear she wasn’t going to sleep on the couch, and I wasn’t sleeping in the same bed as her. I slept on the couch a few times. I started to then bring the kids back to our home when I had them. Once school started, she played nicer about leaving the apartment, but I was quickly becoming exhausted with my drive after finishing with kids activities. I wasn’t getting anything done I needed to get done.

She had spent some money to prepare her apartment. It was my understanding that this was coming out of the fund we had set up for vacations. It wasn’t she was saving that for living on. She spent the money that I had set aside to pay the mortgage. After failing to pay the mortgage, I decided that I needed to find a place closer to my kids, and before my credit was smashed to the point no one would rent to me. I wanted a place with a garage for their bikes, and a yard to play in. I also wanted a two story place, so when I was their alone, I wasn’t constantly faced with empty bed rooms that should have my kids in them. I found a duplex that meets the requirements. I got moved with the help of some old and new friends.

I had spent a week without my kids, and so was going to spend the next week with them. I really didn’t have the place ready for them. Partly because she had left the kids with me during the move, so she could take one of my sons to a soccer tournament that we had agreed to not play in. I was now shuttling my other son to his games for a tournament, while trying to get my place ready. My youngest daughter made the boys and girls rooms look ready to sleep, and wanted to stay the night. Of course I didn’t have mattresses yet, so that wasn’t an option. She kept repeating how great it was that I had got them a house. It had a basement, a garage, and a yard. I was glad that she was happy with my choice. I hadn’t been able to include them in the looking at places, because my wife had kept putting off talking about what was really going on between me and her with them.

The first week with the kids was a bit crazy. I didn’t have any dishes yet, or much food for that matter. I also didn’t have time to prep everything for them. I am still working on some of that. I had to get them to school, and pick them up. I live in the boundaries for different middle and elementary schools, so no bus when they are with me. Which is OK. I enjoy taking them and picking them up. Its a good chance to talk to them. They are a captive audience at least for a little while. My wife was constantly making sure I knew where I was screwing things up. I wasn’t getting the girls hair right. I needed to get my own hair products for her( I bought the ones she was using now ). Well none of this mattered much, because I could hang up the phone, and it was over. No having to talk about it as we went to bed, no waking up to the same conversation, etc.

This process has started the road to establishing what life is like with Dad, and how it is different than life with Mom. The kids are noticing that Mom dominated life when we were together. I am getting questions like why we never did this or that before. I have to answer sadly that I didn’t make it priority. I don’t want to say that when I tried, I was blocked one way or another by their mom. I don’t want to start having negative messages about each other going to the kids, even if I know its true. I have also began at this point to establish that my opinion may not be the same as it was when we were together, and that I expect my voice to be a bit stronger now in our new circumstances. New boundaries are being established. This is good.



The Ruiner


No that is not a new super villain, but at times it feels like it. Over the months that led to our eventual separation, there were some obviously important dates to us. She managed to ruin a number of them with her timing. Over the past few years, our anniversary has landed on weekends. In that time we have not been able to go out for our anniversary, because she has been in charge of the school carnival. This past year was the first year she was not in charge of the school carnival, and our anniversary fell on the Monday. So when it was on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday she was doing carnival things. The fallout from the carnival generally took over the preceding and following weekends, so our anniversary really didn’t amount to much. This frustrated me, but I chalked it up to life with 4 kids. The kicker was she would complain about how I didn’t do anything for our anniversary. I felt like I was in a catch 22 situation. This has been the story of our marriage, and a habit that I am trying to break my oldest son of now when he is with me. He does the same thing to everyone in his life. This by itself really wasn’t that big of deal, but as I look back there are many times where an important date would be coming up, and she would book something that would interfere with anything we might be planning. I was unable to schedule anything without going through her, because I would either have to cancel because she had other plans, or cancel because I was needed to take care of the kids. This was one of the things that I accepted as being married to her. What I could never wrap my head around, was why did she get so angry with me when I didn’t plan anything anymore, since whenever I did I had to change it.

I am reminded of a time when she got angry with me about making a list of things to do around the house. She told me I didn’t care what she thought, because I wouldn’t let her make a list. I looked at her, and told her she can’t make a list, because if she does, then it will be treated as a task list by her, and she will be angry when I haven’t checked off everything on the list. This was one of the rare moments where she recognized the truth in what I said, and admitted it was true.

So as she prepared for our parting ways, she decided to tell me she wanted a divorce. This happened on my son’s birthday right before we were meeting her family for dinner. It is going to be hard to shake the shame that is now attached to that day when I celebrate with him, but he is more important than her, so I can’t imagine too many birthdays where I will struggle with this.

During the time between when she told me she wanted a divorce and when she moved out, I did my best to make holidays and other things still meaningful. She generally did her best to do what she wanted to do without me, or to make me feel bad for it. Valentine’s Day blew, but there is no surprise there. Mother’s day was a day when she made no plans, but got mad when all I did is offer her a card and gifts from the kids. She went to my parents house with me, and was rude to my parents. Easter was spent with her family, and my father in law fumbling over how to talk to me. It boiled down to him telling me about how his brother’s marriage sucks, and they live in different places, and his brother screws around with anything that will spread its legs for him. Talk about an awkward conversation.

On the anniversary of the adoption of our 3 oldest kids, she chose to have a talk with me. She told me that she was looking at apartments, and planned to move to the city with kids. I told her I had been thinking of the same thing. She then informed me that she planned on moving without me. I knew this. She beat me to the same conversation by about an hour, except I was going to suggest we all move. Again another date ruined for me, and again I will have to make it temporary, because I can’t imagine life without those kids.

Father’s Day was a good day. I took the kids to my parents house, and we had a nice dinner. She was mad that she was not invited. She asked me if my Dad knew he was burning bridges by not inviting her. His response was the bridge was burned the day she told me that she wanted a divorce, and started to to force things down that path.

Independence Day was interesting. I had planned to go see my parents in the afternoon. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer around the same time she started tearing down our marriage. She had invited her family over to go see fireworks. She was mad that I was leaving when her family was coming over. Understand that she had already signed a lease on an apartment at this time, and was moving out. I told her I would be back in time for dinner. I spent my time with my parents, and then went back to my house. The kids were running around with neighbor kids, the cousins were feeling left out. She was buried in her phone while her family milled around. It was the strangest scene I had experienced in a long time. I ran off the neighbor kids, so the cousins could play with my kids, and started acting like a host, because needless to say they were guests in my house. My wife’s sister’s husband told me that their biggest concern in this whole thing was that I not let her run me over, and that I get to remain as close to a full time Dad as possible. That was a nice surprise. We went to fireworks, and everyone went home.

I had expected something exciting like divorce papers on my birthday, but there was nothing. Maybe she is done planning things for days that matter. I won’t count on it. It doesn’t matter much anymore. My life is shaping up into something I enjoy. If only I could get through a day without having to talk to her about anything. Too many days I get a phone call from her before I talk to anyone else. Since our separation, I have talked to her first thing in the morning because she called me more than I did when we slept in the same bed over the past year. It annoying that someone that doesn’t want to be married to me, still has so much of my time. I guess I will get used to it, and it will change over time. She is losing her influence over me, so her ability to ruin special days is fading.