Your site is so important and has helped me find what I thought was my meh.
D-Day was 4 years ago. Divorce finalized a year ago. I have two 13 year olds. My relationship with my X has been civil for the sake of the kids. No extra contact. Brief texts.
After D-Day he continued in a relationship with his 20-year younger thing and that was his focus. Not his kids. One of my daughters is learning disabled and his involvement with that journey has always been zero. The only custody dispute we had was for the summer months, he didn’t want to have to take them for a consecutive week — just random days so he wouldn’t “waste” his vacation time.
I was doing good. I felt positive and excited for my new life. Fast forward to around January this year and I start getting texts from him with jokes and pictures of animals he’s seen on walks. He starts calling the kids more often and texting them. I correctly assumed his little thing moved on to her next married man. I was certain of this when my daughter was sick, I got a text asking if I needed help with anything.
So now… because we’re in a pandemic and we’re isolating and he’s alone also isolating, for his weekly dinner night, I said he could come here with pizza or something and I would go upstairs or wherever. And as the universe with its really funny sense of humor would have it, it has worked out that since March he is the only adult I have seen in person.
My meh is melting. The storyline has started to run again in my head of the lies and the humiliation. And then I look at him and we have this banter back and forth that I realize how much I missed that. I AM ALL OVER THE PLACE.
For the most part I have been leaving the room when he comes. Last week being the holiday, I made dinner and the four of us all played a card game after the dinner and one could look in the window and think you were looking at a happy family and this is breaking my heart. What a waste.
I know what he’s doing. He’s alone. This is all so convenient for him. His little idiot gone — where is the old fool that was left holding the bag. My question to you is: Is there a balance? Can we ever be friends? Does that really ever exist? He stepped on and grounded his heel in our life and tossed it like a piece of garbage. I don’t want to hold on to those feelings anymore although it is so much easier to be angry than sad. My meh has melted.
Dear Melted Meh,
Can you ever be friends? Not with that raging case of hopium you’ve got. Quarantine yourself for 14 days, no pizza deliveries, no fuckwits, and wait until the fever passes.
Is there a balance?
You had achieved a balance! You managed your expectations of basic decency and his ability to live up to that — expect nothing, be the sane parent, he’s peripheral. Now you are unbalanced. You’ve let him into the peaceful inner sanctum of your home. The price of admission — a box of pizza.
Dinner at your place, warm banter, fuzzy family confusion one year post-divorce. Has he earned this place in your life? Is the pizza that good?
I’m not telling you to be angry, but acceptance and meh are very hard-won. We hang on to the anger because it’s a warning system. An all-points bulletin when you’re being played. No one wants to live in anger or hypervigilance forever, that’s why we have no contact and boundaries, so your precious sanity is not disturbed. Inviting him in has disturbed the force.
Can we ever be friends?
Sure, it just depends on your standards. Several Nigerian princes would like to be my friend.
This guy treats you and your children like Plan B. You’ll do until something better comes along. That’s what his actions have said — those are his values expressed. Right now you’ve won the pick-me dance by default. The OW has left the field. What did you win? The Wonderfulness of Him. A cheater who can’t be bothered to “waste” a vacation day to see his children. You won a turd.
Does that really ever exist?
I suppose friendship can exist in cases of divorce where there wasn’t abuse. But just because a thing exists doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you. Mono-kini swimsuits exist. It doesn’t mean I’m going to wear one.
He stepped on and grounded his heel in our life and tossed it like a piece of garbage.
Wow. Does that sound like the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
What’s going on here? I know COVID quarantining is lonely. The strains of single parenting are hard in the best of times, and these are not the best of times. (At the moment, the world is quite literally a burning dumpster fire.) So what’s a chump to do? SHORE YOURSELF UP. Surround yourself with the BEST support people. Is your cheating ex-husband your first draft pick? Really?
Okay, he has to be there, but so does the guy who swaps out the AC filters. (And he hasn’t cheated on me.) There is no reason your ex has to be in your home, the only human you talk to. Those are DECISIONS you made. You invited him to play cards!
Don’t think for a moment that he isn’t reveling in the impression management you’ve provided. I’m Not a Bad Father Who Left His Wife for a Much Younger Woman and Can’t Be Bothered to Parent. If I was So Awful do you think your mother would be playing gin rummy with me?
Chumps often do this kind of structured activity organizing as a codependent attempt to get the checked-out parent to check in. It’s just another flavor of hopium. You’re trying to ensure some sort of engagement with your kids, giving him a big assist. He can’t be “wasting” his time, so you’ll just give him some of yours. At your kitchen table. So long as the kids (and you) get some of his precious kibbles.
Fuck. That. Shit.
You’re setting yourself and your kids up for the next fall. He’ll ditch you when something shinier comes along. Which is now his right, as you’re divorced.
Please. Let him function or not (probably not) AWAY from you. Let him order the pizza, pick up the kids, and go eat gooey slices in the park.
You then go hang out (socially distance!) with an actual Support Friend. Have a walk, get your own takeout, and rebuild your NEW life.
Unicorns make terrible pizza toppings. Stop this crap today. ((Hugs))