This week, in a text message, I told off Ex. Why I always try to take the high road is beyond me. Sometimes… sometimes being brutally honest feels damn good.
I anticipated the disagreement. I just hoped it might be different. I asked to switch visit days to accommodate Blue Eye’s birthday party. He told me a “birthday party seems pretty insignificant” and “he’ll work on it.”
Our court order says neither of us can withhold consent for family events. So I replied “Miss M would like to go to her sister’s party. It is a family event. And important to both kids.” This, apparently, was akin to launching an assault missile.
He writes to me:
“If you can provide evidence that they are sisters (legally) I’ll strongly consider it… otherwise I would prefer you not use that term. It’s definitely not a family event… are you attending?”
There is some stuff in the middle, but here is my favorite part:
“As I stated before, you will receive absolutely no cooperation from me on anything moving forward, I warned you and now it’s time to be true to my word. But what do you care, you do whatever the fuck you want regardless, you’re a self centered controlling douche bag that I honestly wish nothing but horrible things for. You’re a shitty person, and bad things happen to people like you who try to impose their own ideals* on others. You’ll see.”
The rhetoric fills almost every exchange I have with my Ex. I almost always take the high road. I do. There is no fight here to win. Trying to make someone feel differently is a futile. His feelings are his own to work through. He’s entitled to them.
And then there is the irony. The irony gets me. The repeated message about bad things happen to bad people. The fact these accusations seems so much about him as a person. Much less so about who I am as a person
Bad things happen to bad people. This from the guy who opened credit cards in my name and ran up balances in secret. This from the guy who emptied out Miss M’s piggy bank before her first birthday. This from the guy who drove around prostitutes in exchange for drugs when there was no money. This from the man who put his hand of my shifter on the demanding McDonalds when we had twenty dollars to our name or he would crash the car. This from the man who has two OUIs and no license. This from a man on probation. This from the guy who is not allowed to currently be alone with his seven year old daughter.
Today, for no particular reason, I replied:
“Yeah, yeah. You’ve been saying I’m a horrible person and shitty things will happen for years. The shitty things seem to keep happening to you. Make better choices and stop being a man-child… At least get some new material. You’re a broken record.
I’ll call them sisters because that’s what they are. She sees Blue Eyes more than she sees you, Ex. Blue Eyes and her have shared a house since they’ve been two. They call themselves sisters. Grow up and respect your daughter’s feeling more than your own for once.
Of course I’m attending the party. Blue Eyes is my daughter too.
I don’t need any favors from you. These texts are never favors for me. These are always for Miss M. Miss M needs something from you. My interactions with you are never about me. I divorced you. I’m done with you as a person I need. I’m just stuck with talking to you because we have a kid together. If there was no Miss M we would have been done talking back the day we were divorced. You are a complete and utter fuck up who ruins good things. I’m sorry you are the guy she has for a father. I am. You have her two nights out of a month and can’t even manage to avoid fucking that up.
Stop worrying about her teeth, table manners, how her events inconvenience your schedule…and get your act together! That’s all anyone wants. Her dad to be a functioning, respectful, non-inflammatory, financially and life supporting adult when you are on her time. For cripes sake… stop being such a jerk. That’s your karma you are effecting. It sure as hell isn’t mine. Grow up.”
This felt good. And this is just a small portion of things I would like to say. I think it is time I start saying them. That he hears them. Maybe he will start to actually listen. I am going to put a little of my hope there. For Miss M.
“Go fuck yourself you useless slutty worthless cunt!!… You are a white trash piece of shit. Print it… bring it to court. I stand behind that statement…. Since she was 2 huh… interesting.. we divorced when she was 21 months… so you just shacked up with the first fucker who doesn’t like getting laid huh… must be a wonderful scenario… enjoy your misery cunt.”
There was more. But this tells me he heard me. That he didn’t like what I had to say. The drive to defend myself has vanished long ago… because these are just stones he’s hurling. Hoping to hit me. Hit me in the same place he must keep being bombarded by his own shortcomings. He can’t hit me. We have no relationship him and I. Whatever affection I used to hold for him is gone. And with that his misplaced opinions are like little vibrations in the air. No longer the storm that use to leave me hurt or angry or shocked. Broken records become white noise after a while. Inhale, exhale. They are vapors that hold no poison for me.
Although, honestly, I wish he took more care with his insults. Slut because I moved on… sexless because most of our marriage was. If you are trying to cut me with words… pick ones that don’t contradict each other. Either I’m a cold fish or a wanton woman. Which would you like me to be? Which makes the part of you feel better?
And just in case you’re new here. My marriage was over before I conceived Miss M. I was out the door in mind and heart. My body stayed to keep the peace, to– I believed– keep him in one piece. Try to drag him to sobriety. To drive him to meetings. To go to ones myself as a wife. To try and objectively decide if he was manic-depressive. To try and sort out he debt. To give us both a fair new start. And then, in keeping the peace, in fear of rocking the boat any harder, I suddenly was pregnant. I took my vows very seriously. For better or for worse. I thought that maybe, maybe if we just come out the other side I would have the best marriage. We would have survived together. We would have something special. We would have earned the love we shared. (<– Ridiculous! Love is not something you have to earn. I was a silly, young person.)
I waited nine months to see if things would change. I knew they wouldn’t for me… but maybe for her. Maybe for her he’d find a way to be a better person. It was status quo. I remember sitting in the hospital on the day I was to be discharge wondering if he’d show. I remember trying to decide who I would call if he didn’t. If he didn’t come, why? Maybe high? Maybe at the casino? Maybe he did finally kill himself? But, in the end, he showed.
Ex lost his job. We moved back to my childhood home with my mother and older brother. He couldn’t keep it together with witnesses. My mother saw. My brother saw. And so when our daughter turned a year old… I told him to leave. It was hard. He did. He got a ticket driving out to his own mother’s that night. I had to pay it because the car was mine. I filed for divorce that week. It took almost 16 months for my divorce to finalize. I had been done being his wife for along time. I had been honest with him about being done as a wife. I was there for the mere purpose of being glue. I was there because I did love him.
But here is the thing… one of the many things I learned. There are many, many kinds of love. And all of them are just as important as romantic love. I became a mother.I realized that true love– that true love that moves mountains, stands in front of bullets, that makes you live when you might want to hide in the dark shadows– true love is between a mother and child. That there is a love bigger and badder than whatever the fucked up thing I was feeling with Ex was. That pieces of my heart could walk outside my chest.
I learned that loving a man doesn’t mean he is right for you. It doesn’t entitle you to a happy ending. It isn’t some weird kismet twist of fate that plopped you into their path. There isn’t always whirlwind romance. And if I had walked away from my marriage and never dated again… I would be fine. Because romance isn’t something I need to complete my life. It isn’t the point of my life.
However, I made the decision to date again. I like back rubs. And, you know, company. God knows, I need someone to open shit and fix things. I wanted more kids. And sex. I wanted to have sex. The idea it would just be Ex forever made my stomach curl. I went out and dated. I put a penis between Ex and myself. That guy was nice, but couldn’t handle the crazy. I went online and shopped for a man and voila: Match. Match and I– we can handle crazy. Like bosses. We respect each other. We love each other– but not in that deep, lost, Romeo-and-Juliet way that means we’d give up everything else in life to stay together. In my thirties that love seems bullshit. I like our love. It is reasonable. It is agreeable. Its peaceful. It is an additional to an already great independent life. It is complimentary to what we want and have. He adds to my well being. I add to his.
A few days later, Ex reached out:
“I’ve decided against your request. It is not conducive to my schedule. I’ll happily explain it Miss M… If it were a major family event I could understand, but essentially it is a friends birthday party…” “I’m sure you’ll claim they are sisters and such, but birthing illegitimate children to someone’s father does not make them sisters, marriage will make them step sisters… I’ll explain that as well.”
I told him Miss M won’t be around for visit that day. He has to reschedule. The crazy train picked up speed and started to cruise:
“And there it is… you giving me notice doesn’t make it a family event, I will arrive at the birthday party and your house with the police. You want it, you got it. Try me cunt. Scummy fukin dirty useless cunt.” “See you Saturday cunt. Mark my words… You are so literal when it comes to interpreting a court order, but loosely throw around terms like sister. Is Blue Eyes a bastard child like the other 2? Is Miss M the only legitimate child? Your parents must be so proud. I’ll see you bright and early [that day] with the police you filthy whore cunt.”
This is kind of a normal thing for us. Although this week he seemed exceptionally fond of the word cunt. Normally, I ignore him. Or at least try to address what needs to be discussed, like make up time. I went a different route. I went with honesty:
“I do not want to text fight. It is stupid and a waste of both our time. I’m not budging on Blue Eye’s birthday party because it IS a family event. A modern family, Ex. A mixed family. I gave you notice. You can no reasonably hold consent…
You’re welcome to file contempt charges if you honestly, truly believe I’m violating the court order. However, I think you are going to sound real dumb in front of the judge. I do. Of you want to just show up the [day of the party] with the police tot ry and enforce your visit feel free. I think they will tell you they can’t help you and to pursue your options in court. You aren’t the custodial parent. You have supervised visits. I you do come with the cops and say she goes with you– I’m sure that will go over well with Miss M and she’ll be a pleasure to be with all day. She’s gonna be crushed.
This is about you. Not Miss M. This whole thing is you trying to screw me over somehow because you feel like that’s what I do to you. I don’t. I do advocate for Miss M. I do have concerns about your sobriety and ability to care for Miss M. Let’s be honest. They are valid concerns. This past July is proof I should worry and watch. And I do make sure when she is with you that there are safeguards. I’m her mother. That’s my job. She’s gonna have a better childhood than you did. She deserves it. She is the only good thing that came out of our relationship.
Do you honestly think Miss M is more legitimate because she was born to us while we were married? Ex she would have had a shitty life if we tried to eek it out together. We weren’t right. We weren’t healthy. And our fucking marriage was in secret for most of it! What part of it was legitimate? So yes, I’m not married to Match. Yes, we have kids even though we aren’t married. Yet, he didn’t leave me in the hospital to go spend his paycheck at the casino. My mother likes him. My family likes him. His family likes me. I mean hell– your family still likes me. The problem isn’t me.
Dimples and Bean are pretty good evidence it isn’t the sexless relationship you seem very concerned about. We didn’t have good sex Ex. That was an us problem. We aren’t together. That problem resolved itself. That problem had a lot to do with how you treated me and probably the fact your dick is tiny. I hope to God you have better sex than we did. I do. If it makes you feel better to think that’s how the rest of my life will be, then go ahead. Your opinions you need to voice are yours… I just think you sound like an idiot. You don’t know what you are talking about.
I don’t know where you get off calling me a slutty. You’ve had more partners than I have. I don’t know why you think calling me a cunt is gonna upset me. I know I’m not a cunt. But again, if that’s what you need to do… go on with your bad self. You just sound silly to me. Those names are ridiculous. I’m not any of those things. No one thinks I am, but you… and you are kind of an asshole to be an asshole.
You want things to be a certain way… they are not that way, Ex.we aren’t together. Miss M’s life is filled with new people. I’m not the one trying to control anything. That’s you. I’m trying to raise Miss M. Your time is important, but Saturday visits will have conflicts occasionally. That’s the reality. You want to withhold cooperation. You want Miss M to be a certain way. You want time because its your time. You never just accommodate her. It is always a drawn out argument. She wants to go to the party. She wants to see you. But a party only happens once a year. You visit more often. She wants to see you another day. You have no problem not seeing her because of the two week inpatient program. You have no problem cancelling if you have no ride. You have no problem cancelling if you are sick. Yet if Miss M needs something it becomes about you and me. Like I need it. Blue Eyes wants Miss M there. Miss M wants to attend. I’m the one telling you because I’m their adult. You don’t make her a priority every week. Yet when she needs something– you can’t get past it being me asking. Again, I divorced you. I don’t need a single thing from you as a person. But she does. And will. And so we have to communicate.
I don’t call you names every time we disagree like you do. But I’m done. You need to grow up. You need to be accountable for your choices. You need to stop acting like you’re a great Dad. You’re not. You’re a shitty one who buys presents and worries about things that don’t matter. You try to redefine things like who she considers family… those things are already defined in her heart. Be a dad and support her life. The people in it. Maybe on day she’ll have joint parties like Blue Eyes. Maybe one day, years after you stop calling me names and insulting family, we’ll do things together as her family. But who the fuck wants you around with all the lies, manipulation, and bad choices? Who wants your vile vocabulary? Who wants your hurtfulness near them? You burn every bridge you’re given.
And I hope you grow up if you are dating someone with kids. All the things I am doing.. you’ll be doing.
Make better choices. She’s seven. I can’t cover for you forever.
Don’t text me about this matter again. We both said our piece. Show up, file contempt, or tell me another time you’d like to her her and I’ll try to accommodate it.”
“Whatever you say. See you that morning. 2 Weeks isn’t enough notice.”
Listen. I don’t expect miracles. However, I am done listening to this baloney and not pointing out how ridiculous it is. I’m getting off the train. I’m putting aside the need to be polite. And maybe we will end up in a little better place sometime in the future. I hope so.
This was long. Thanks for sticking through it.