I met my ex-to-be through a mutual college acquaintance. We had some reckless fun, married, and bred. I put him through law school keeping gardens, goats, and bees, and selling produce, goat cheese, and hive goods through farmer’s markets and to local restaurants, all with well-loved, diaper-clad offspring constantly underfoot. Our marriage initially appeared enviable: I was homeschooling the little ‘uns and playing superwife, having given up my own career much too willingly. My ex was an up-and-coming, big-fish-in-a-small-pond attorney, headed for politics and presumably big things.
Then my youngest son was born—maybe I had some sort of stroke—but suddenly I found an almost mystical clarity. I looked at my then husband one day when my son was six months old and I knew he was lying about everything. He stepped into the confessional and spilled his horny guts about his other life, his long term internet affairs, including some slimy stuff, boy. My immediate and admittedly naive response? “People do that?!? Why?”
Things got ugly, especially once he fell off the wagon he had been on (I thought) since long before we married. In September of 2003, I high-tailed it out of small town nowhere with kids in tow, at first to take time-outs, then to settle in the throbbing metropolis of the Washington D.C. metro area.
Some would say that when I left it was a selfish act. I wasn’t happy and that should be enough. I’ve endured enough scrutiny to know that not everyone shares that view, especially when there are kids in the mix. So if you’re one of those who needs to square the deal: The situation was hurting me and it was hurting the children, and I couldn’t stop it except by leaving. We clawed our way out.
Of course, my ex and I—we were the only two present for our love’s ghastly murder and both of us claimed the crime to have been perpetrated by the other. Certainly the poor victim was brutally tortured by the barbs of our festering resentments first. It was a four day divorce trial of the air-all-the-stinking-laundry, spend-the-kids’-college-money, custody-battle variety. I won handily as of April 2007 and received his fierce and eternal acrimony as reward.
In the end, the judge acknowledged my lapses in judgment, but deemed Ex unfit for anything more than a handful of scattered short visitations. He has taken to missing even those with increased frequency. With regard to child support and the like–he has been a classic deadbeat.
In February of 2010, I started this blog and began calling Ex out as a deadbeat and a no show on the interwebz. He discovered my work in March and sent me a nasty note demanding that I label it as fiction or take it down. I have done neither and for awhile he was an even bigger pain in my rump. He petitioned to reduce his financial obligation to the children to $40 per month, (presumably so he could no longer be properly called a deadbeat—$40 a month would certainly be affordable). He demanded to see the children on his non-negotiable terms. He tried to put me in jail. He called the police to our home on Christmas Day. Worst—while he was drinking during the summer of 2010, Ex seriously injured our eight-year-old son. Things have quieted down considerably since then and but for nasty comments from his supporters, he ignores the blog—and thankfully me—almost entirely.
It’s been rough to maintain my placidity during the more nightmarish episodes, but I am working double-time. This blog has been transformative for me. It has helped me to find my voice as a writer and a human being. Even better, the support and friendships that have come through this endeavor have been sustaining and the authenticity and intimacy it has brought to my everyday life has been absolutely amazing. We’re gettin’ by with a little help from our friends.
Thank you for the blessing of your readership!
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