I’m stuck in an immature part of the process, but I can’t help it. I am angry and the things that my ex is doing are infuriating. He led a double life for almost two years. A wild party boy who would drink the most, and take home the easiest woman, while he was frequently away on “military training.” Meanwhile, the perfect family man with an oblivious wife and three young kids living an ideal little life the rest of the time. Eventually the truth came out and we have now been going through a high-conflict divorce for months.
My problem is that I can’t disengage. I have been attempting no contact for a while, but it is incredibly hard because he gets to talk to our kids twice over the phone daily and sees them every other weekend. And he relentlessly tries to talk to me through the kids calls or texts.
I try to ignore him, but there is no justice in no contact. If he constantly tries to get at me and I just ignore him, I feel like I’m losing. I don’t get to explain to him why he is wrong, I don’t get to call him out on his crazy bullshit, I don’t get to defend myself from bizarre accusations. I feel like I’m just taking all his crap and I’m defeated.
Things have been much harder for me as a single mom starting over. I was unprepared. I have the kids the majority of the time and he swoops into town, takes the kids to theme parks and stays in hotels with his new girlfriend helping him care for our kids. Meanwhile, I struggle to find lawyer who can stand up to his manipulation. I struggle to make ends meet, I am trying to find my way either returning to school or heading to work.
This sucks. I am pissed. And having to just shut up and let him do and say whatever he wants while I fake “meh”?
I know contact won’t really provide any longstanding benefit and that he is just a turd and always will be, but I feel like I have the right to shove that down his throat every time I have to see him. He ruined my life, the last 7 years were all fake, shouldn’t I get to tell him off if I want to?
Dear Bad Attitude,
I’m not going to argue with you about the injustice — it IS unjust. Co-parenting with a fuckwit is really just a great big buffet of shit sandwiches until your child turns 18. And then it’s just shit sandwiches at holidays and weddings.
I’m sorry that goes against the We’re All Just Friends Here For The Children consciously uncoupling narrative that we’re all supposed aspire to. But the fact remains that some people are awful, and you have to chew on a leather strap to endure them.
So first, disabuse yourself of the notion that you’ve got a Bad Attitude. No, you’re a person who is going through a traumatic event and it’s not over yet — your divorce isn’t final. Until it’s final, until there is a court order for custody and support, and I hope alimony, you have to wing it. And while you are winging it, you absolutely MUST NOT BREAK and lose it with Fuckwit.
His strategy is very deliberate, I assure you. He is a demonstrably lousy person, with the drinking and whoring, and abandoning three small children and a wife. The only way he can hope to tip the scales in his favor is to make you out to be batshit crazy and alienating him from the kiddos. DO NOT PLAY INTO THAT.
Telling him off? Kibbles and satisfaction for him. AND he can document that for the court.
No, the best strategy here is to abide to the letter of any temporary custody arrangement you have. No formal arrangement? Then talk to your lawyer, but I don’t see how you’re bound to send the kids off for Disney weekends with the new girlfriend.
Right now, you need to DOCUMENT, document, document!!!! every thing you do for your kids and when. And document his involvement. Oh Fuckwit called? Fuckwit took them all to a movie once in the last two weeks? Meanwhile, you are hauling them to school, packing lunches, dealing with ear infections — whatever it is WRITE IT DOWN for the court.
What you do NOT need to do is engage with him in any way that’s NOT about the kids.
I try to ignore him, but there is no justice in no contact.
No contact is your best defense against the injustice. No contact protects you, it does not hurt you.
If he constantly tries to get at me and I just ignore him, I feel like I’m losing.
Every time you deny him a kibble of centrality? You are WINNING. He HATES this. Why is he trying so frantically to get to you? Because you are THWARTING him.
I don’t get to explain to him why he is wrong,
You can’t explain to him why he is wrong. If this was an insight problem, a dimwitted ferret with a head injury would’ve worked it out by now. He KNOWS he is wrong. Really, deep down in his heart of darkness he gets that he’s a piece of shit. But he’d rather not face that. So instead, he spreads the poison around and blame shifts to you.
Don’t be there to listen. The more you don’t take his crap, the more he has to sit with it.
I don’t get to call him out on his crazy bullshit,
Let the court call him out on his crazy bullshit. Let child support on three children awake his senses. Let consequences happen. You don’t NEED to call him out. Let the divorce process do that.
I don’t get to defend myself from bizarre accusations.
I know those hurt. I know the injustice of it makes your head want to explode. But just live your life with integrity and raise those children. You are living the truth. He’s a fraud with a boozy girlfriend. Who cares what he says about you? Consider the source.
I know it’s hard to be the Sane Parent when he’s Captain Fun Times, but someone has to do the hard work of raising those kids. That person is YOU. Model strength and resiliency to your kids. He’s going to model being passed out under a bar table somewhere doing Jaeger shots.
I feel like I’m just taking all his crap and I’m defeated.
Don’t take his crap. #winning
BA, you don’t have time for his bullshit. You have some real challenges here — finding a lawyer who stands up for you. Making a plan for your new life and career. These are all-consuming. Do not be derailed by a fuckwit.
You’re the winner here — you get the kids. You get to impart your values on them. You get the intimacy that comes from raising them. He gets whatever it is fuckwits value — playing Wild Party Boy on reservist weekends.
You lost a cheater. However painful and awful things are now, you are gaining a LIFE. You WIN.