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‘Hero’ Cheater Is a Deadbeat

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Voodoo dollDear Chump Lady,

December marks three years since D-Day with the 21-year-old babysitter (among others).

We had been together for 5 years, married for 2. I was 2 months pregnant at the time of discovery, and we also had a beautiful 2-year-old boy (hence the need for a babysitter a.k.a. shiny new kibbles).

I have since escaped the abuse cycle, lawyered up, and I’ve gotten on with my new life. Of course that sounds a LOT easier than it actually was. I am at the point now that I am grateful for the “hard blessings,” and I am doing my absolute best to be the sane, responsible, consistent parent. I’m doing a damn good job. The ex has moved on to his next 22-year-old Hooters girl, and although they are not married (yet), they have had two more children under 2.

In the eyes of the public, my ex was Captain America. The reason I want to reach out to you today, is because I now know I can’t be alone in this. My cheating, lying, financially abusive ex was a Fireman, and a Military Veteran. It was hard enough to speak up about what was really going on, but the judgment I got from former friends and family for saying a negative word about a “hero” was un…real. Sadly, this untouchable “hero” persona carried over to the court system as well. (Try convincing a judge that Captain America would ever leave his former wife and children high and dry! He would never!) Nothing but an uphill battle every which way.

Years later I am still fighting for child support, and still perceived as the angry, bitter ex of a true Hero. Captain America started a pool cleaning business on the side, and has so many ridiculous business expenses that he claims a negative salary to get out of support (despite being a Fireman and receiving VA disability from the military every month).

I can’t make this shit up. As crazy as it seems, I know there has to be another person out there that has experienced this perceived “hero” bullshit? The last time I checked, the cheater was the bad guy. Why is it different if the turd wears a uniform?

Sincerely,

Don’t Call 911

Dear Don’t Call 911,

Enforcing child support is an absolute travesty in this country. I believe you that he skates, certainly with friends and family, with his Captain America persona. But child support is based on a formula, which has nothing to do with his square jaw line. The problem here is not a singular fuckwit — it is systemic injustice. (82 percent of people owed back support are women.)

According to 2013 U.S. Census data, only 43 percent of people owed child support received the full amount they were owed. Yes, you read that right. Less than half. 25.9 percent received nothing at all.

Oh, but that was 2013. Since then we’ve really invested in child support enforcement at the state level and…. hahahaahhahaahahaha, I’m sorry. I’ve collapsed into a fit of cynical laugher and can’t come to the blog right now.

There are many workarounds for the deadbeats who don’t want to pay. Working under the table, moving states, running out the clock until your child turns 18 and the state won’t enforce it.

This leaves you with the option of getting the state enforcement agency to schedule a hearing (Good luck! Do you enjoy automated phone queues? Soviet-era waiting rooms? Paperwork and notarized court orders? Sending missives into an empty bureaucratic void? Did anyone change addresses? Start over! Please leave a message.)

Or the expensive option of hiring your own lawyer to enforce support, or prove “voluntary impoverishment.” (I once wrote a story for Washington Lawyer magazine on unpaid child support, and was told by a lawyer — whose retainer was $20K — that financial discovery, including subpoenaing paramours’ accounts, tended to settle over 90 percent of her cases.) Now do the math, how much it costs to enforce your order, versus how much you’re owed.

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice (the actual lawyer I am married to insists on this disclaimer). Newbies to the divorce process please heed the advice from the $20K retainer lawyer:

O’Rourke builds strict language into the order that if someone is unable to meet his or her legal obligations, there is a mechanism to address the breach. “This works very well,” she says.

Emphasis mine. When you work out custody and support WORK IT INTO YOUR ORDER what happens if they don’t pay. That you get legal fees. Or their head on a plate, or something. DO NOT ASSUME THEY WILL UPHOLD THEIR OBLIGATIONS.

God, if I could go back in time. Now, I’m not saying you won’t have to chase down THAT money, but having the penalty written in, could sure help, in my opinion.

Excuse me, Tracy, are you saying my support court order isn’t worth much if I don’t have another original court order that assumes my support order won’t be adequately enforced?

Uh, yes.

A moment for everyone’s heads to collectively explode.

Back to you, 911.

My advice — yes, tilt at that windmill and try and enforce support, but never, EVER count on it. It’s an epic shit sandwich and grossly unfair (clearly, I’m still pissed off and totally un-meh on the subject).

Most people pay support and do it gladly. Because they love their kids and know it takes more than $200 a month to raise them. Another subset of fuckwits, who work straight jobs, can have their wages docked.

And then there are the motherfuckers — I had one, sounds like you have one, who enjoy the power trip of getting away with not paying. Who will devise any workaround (a pool service business that never earns a profit, huh…) to deny support.

For these motherfuckers I say — document, document, document — and go it alone. EXPECT NOTHING. Quit making yourself miserable and being broadsided every time you expect baseline human decency.

Cold, hard grey rock.

A faith in a Higher Order probably helps here too. A fire and brimstone God who will send them to roast on an eternal spit in Hell.

“He abandoned a 2-year old and an infant.”

MORE LIGHTER FLUID, Beezlebub!

***

Now to your original question. Everyone loves him because he’s a hero. A fireman and a veteran. And you’re bitter, because you expect, I dunno, food for your children and other outrages.

the judgment I got from former friends and family for saying a negative word about a “hero” was un…real.

Right-o. Maybe you should stick your children in a burning building or a war zone and see if he gives a shit?

(Sorry. My Gorgon is unleashed.)

Cull these “former” people from your life. Who cares what they think? You know the truth of who he is and what he’s done. If they want to dress a turd in a uniform and salute, that’s their business.

despite being a Fireman and receiving VA disability from the military every month

How’s this guy on disability and doing physical stuff like putting out fires and cleaning pools? Is he committing disability fraud?

I know there has to be another person out there that has experienced this perceived “hero” bullshit? The last time I checked, the cheater was the bad guy. Why is it different if the turd wears a uniform?

It’s not. People believe what they want to believe, and it’s generally not that deep or based on evidence. It’s based on how they want to see the world. (Firemen good!) Or how a person makes them feel. (He’s always nice to ME.) Or how they look. (Solid citizen!)

You’re three years out and you’re rocking this sane parent gig. For your future sanity, I implore you, don’t waste your mental energy getting mad at people for liking your ex.

You need all your strength for child support enforcement.

And here, I’m not being cynical. Figure out what battles are worth fighting. Your children’s dental coverage? Yes. Take Captain America down. Focus on what you can control. Stupid people’s hero worship? No control. Your own sane parenting? Great investment.

You’re the show-up parent here. The white hat, the good guy. I’m rooting for you.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • The child support thing is such an outrage… I get furious at the numbers…

    Sorry to hear about your fuckwit, I hope things get easier for you. Im also rooting for you!

  • I’m gonna weigh in here on the Judgement People.

    It hasn’t been about the not-putting-food-in-your-own-children’s-mouths paying issue so much for me, but the “former friends” and yes family who made a decision, regardless of who I actually was or how I behaved, that I was the bitter negative ex, and patted themselves on the back for being noble in their non-judgement of cheater. So enlightened. So sophisticated..

    He didn’t have blatant ex-military hero status in my case, but as CL makes clear, they’re all heroes and poor sad suffering sausages in their own minds … and if they’re good at ‘claiming the narrative’, they can be as untouchable as Capt America.

    One of the hardest things (4 1/2 yrs post Dday) has been taking the rose-coloured glasses off altogether. Once you realise you had them on with ExFW, you can’t really keep them on for others (believe me I tried). So the new Gain a Life scenario involves a LOT more than being Cheater-free. It means letting go of those who just Do. Not. Get. It.

    I’m really sorry those people are making your life so hard. Listen to CL: “People believe what they want to believe, and it’s generally not that deep or based on evidence. It’s based on how they want to see the world.” They see it like they do for a million messed-up reasons that have nothing to do with you. Leave them on the curb with Ex.

    • “Once you realise you had them on with ExFW, you can’t really keep them on for others.”

      Heck yes. There are many reasons why I stay single and this is one of them.

    • I’m currently attending a training session for an organisation of which I am the Board chair. One female, lawyer speaker has commented that ‘adultery is not viewed with the same moral opprobrium that it was twenty years ago’. My answer ‘well then, it should be’. Not popular though. We are free spirits spreading our genitals where we wish, except for those of us picking up the carnage left behind by the free spirits who have no time or energy to use our genitals at all 🤢

      As for ‘non-judgemental friends’. Their views change once it happens to them, but, hopefully, we don’t know about it because we have booted them out of our lives with a slap round the chops. We need to be selective about who we admit into our lives.

      • MightyWarrior I hear you! My own divorce lawyer said those same words to me when I tried to get adultery into my decree. BUT I insisted it be named case of the divorce. It’s a shame that those of us here have to be brought down by those saying ” nobody really cares about infidelity anymore, they kind of expect it.” Why? I certainly expected to be married for life to someone who could achieve the marriage contract. Doesn’t seem like to much to expect if you ask me. I don’t know of any other legal contacts you can just step out of and get a big ” so what.” We then get kicked in the gut by so called friends and family who call us bitter and keep yammering about forgiveness. Nope to all of that.

      • adultery is not viewed with the same moral opprobrium that it was twenty years ago….

        Until it happens to them…

        • So many people want to show off this “I’m so French!” facade that many times even after it happens to them, they will try to go along with the narrative. The whole “issue” people have with us Chumps is that we don’t go along with the narrative (and CL, it takes A LOT of courage to use that name), we understand that the shame is not ours, we point out to inconsistencies, hypocrisy, etc. Any person or group that tries to break up with those narratives will always find backlash.
          In my opinion it’s as simple as that:
          Is family important? ( ) yes ( ) no
          So to destroy a family is a problem? ( ) yes ( ) no
          Is an “intact” family important for the well being of children? ( ) yes ( ) no

          I recommend watching Dr Kevin Skinner on youtube, he makes an entire case as to why Adultery and divorce is a matter of public health.

    • MamaMeh this, absolutely this. I’m working through reassessing every relationship with the glasses off – your perspective really does change when you seeing things truthfully.

    • “patted themselves on the back for being noble in their non-judgement of cheater. So enlightened. So sophisticated.. ”

      Boy howdy. I clicked on this post without thinking I’d see myself at all, but I do. This is so hard to let go of but you have to. I’m still working on that. It feels so unfair but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

  • Dear Don’t Call 911-your letter pretty much describes my situation. I was married to a Police Sergeant. I feel like my town looks at him like a hero and it drives me crazy. It’s amazing how a “hero” can be so abusive toward their loving spouse, paint us as irate in the court system and still get away with looking good to the public.

    Bio dad did everything he could to get out of any child support, including “get around my lawyers questions” in court so he could paint himself as a good person and get 50/50 parenting. This was something he was proud of when he told my son.

    I can say that kids are smart. They will see through the hero facade. My daughters don’t like their father because in their opinion he’s manipulative. Watching others look at him is one shit sandwich after another. I understand. However you are the hero here. We all see it.

      • My “hero” joined the Guard tor attention, went in pretty high as he had a degree
        He volunteered to go to AFGH where he worked in a FP clinic(cold,coughss) at a base for 3 month deploy
        As many do, he used someone to F—— with when he was there
        Told many a story after about wartime interactions, although he had none
        Even cried about them
        2 years later he made major the same year I found he was F——ing a coworker here at work in the states
        Character………sure
        Two years later he wanted to volunteer to go somewhere else
        Getting lots of patches for the uniform
        These are not our heros.

        • Ha ha, my FW was in the US Marine Corps – aircraft fire crew – then decided to do embassy duty. His first hardship duty was Alexandria, Egypt, where he spent 18 months going to BBQs hosted by the British Consul’s wife. Second, non-hardship, post was Geneva, Switzerland (where I met him). I’ve mentioned before that his psych report dropped out of a fishing book when I was sorting through his things and he claimed that he was “traumatized by all the women who had left him and BY THE FACT THAT HE HAD SEEN MEN KILLED BEFORE HIS VERY EYES”!!!!! The delusional, lying little asshole. He NEVER saw active duty and the most trauma he suffered while overseas was getting caught by the Swiss police driving in the bus lane!

          • Ex was a military cargo pilot. During Desert Storm he flew into Iraq once. Brought supplies to a military base in Iraq, they landed and supplies would be off loaded.
            His second war hero story is on their way to Iraq, flight crew had a layover in Greenland, then another in Spain before flying into Iraq to offload supplies. In Greenland ex came down with a sinus. infection and couldn’t fly. The flight crew had to leave the war hero behind in his hotel room nursing his sinus infection until he was well enough to fly home.

            Ex wears t-shirts with Air Force plastered on the front waiting to hear someone say, “thank you for your service.” if they ask if he was involved in Desert Storm he deepens his voice and becomes more serious as he recalls his Desert Storm experience. As if he won the war single handedly.

  • I’m a veteran, as was the narco-path I dated. Veterans are no different than the rest of the general population. Some of them are just shitheads, and they are milking the “hero” image for all its worth. I spent my entire deployment in Iraq making PowerPoint slides and giving briefs to Iraqis about how digital forensics is better than relying only on eyewitness testimony. It wasn’t heroic. Neither was the narco-path’s job of putting up T-walls. But narco-path was a total embellisher about his accomplishments. He went to Iraq, but his stories about his heroics under fire were total horse shit. The dumbass gave me his DD-214 to help him apply for a federal job. There was nothing remarkable about his service. In fact, he was kicked out after two years for failing fitness standards and he was classified as a false enlistment. Then he complained that immigrants were stealing veterans’ jobs.

    People are afraid to acknowledge that a veteran might be an outright bastard because they don’t want everyone to think they are unsupportive of veterans. But some people are just grifters. PTSD and TBI have specific symptoms, but they do not include being a lying, cheating sociopath. PTSD doesn’t turn a person with good character into someone with shitty character.

    FYI: As far as the VA pension, receiving VA disability isn’t necessarily disability fraud by itself, unless he’s doing something to falsify the extent of his injuries. I get my VA pension. But it doesn’t make any of us Captain America.

    • “People are afraid to acknowledge that a veteran might be an outright bastard because they don’t want everyone to think they are unsupportive of veterans.”

      &

      “PTSD doesn’t turn a person with good character into someone with shitty character.”

      So much yes. Thank you

      • My veteran FW claimed that some of his behaviors were a result of PTSD but he forgets I knew him before he went to combat.

        Child support was never a thing since he dropped dead, but he was definitely trying to gaslight me into looking like a lunatic.

        He told me that he was going to commit a large public violent act like a mass shooting ( this was a person given to serious rage) and that since he warned me, I would be responsible. He never wrote /texted/ emailed it… it was only said verbally. I think he wanted me to call the cops then when he was interviewed, he would pull out his Hero Card and tell the cops his wife was batshit crazy… well then golly, he would HAVE to divorce me. He would get out of the marriage and have people feel bad that his Heroness was burdened by such a lunatic.

        I have zero idea if this was a calmly thought out plan or just a tangent of lunacy mixed in with all the rest

    • I was about to say the same thing; you can collect disability and still work unless you are deemed 100% permanent and totally disabled and unable to be employed due to the disabilities.

      Klootzak is 90% disabled and gets over $2k per month in disability on top of military retirement pay and a six figure salary.

      Don’t Call 911 – make sure your atty is well versed in military divorce matters. His VA disability does count toward his income for calculation of child support in most states and part of it may be apportioned for the kids. Research apportionment of VA disability and see if it may be an option. I think you just have to complete some forms and send them to DFAS and/or the VA. There is a private military divorce group (and a less active former military spouse group) with lots of information you can search. Good luck!

      • Oops. I meant to say those groups are on Facebook. And also, a woman on there named Bridget is usually always right about things. If she wrote anything on the subject, you can take it to your attorney and likely he or she will verify it as correct. lol

    • So true! A uniform is just a costume with a different context.

      Here’s an equation that most people don’t seem to put together: the military is rife with sexual assault. Which means that a lot – A LOT – of soldiers and sailors are rapists.

      For my first 7 years of service, I fended off various continual forms of harassment and assault. In my 8th year, I was raped by my commander. When I filed a complaint, I was ostracized, then transferred, then ostracized, then transferred, then ostracized again. I spent the last 6 months of my duty in an office where no one spoke to me – not even to give me work. I sat at an empty desk for 8 hours a day with no one to talk to, nothing to do, and no way to leave. After I was discharged, I filed a request with the VA for PTSD disability. It was denied on account of my being diagnosed by the VA as “delusional.”

      None of these people were heroes – not my commander, or anyone in my chain of command, or the people who ostracized me, or the doctor who labeled me delusional. A hero is someone who has the moral fortitude and courage to protect people from harm. A hero is not someone who stands by and does nothing while others are being harmed.

      There are some genuinely good people in the military, but most soldiers are not heroes. Many are ordinary assholes. Some are monsters. All wear the uniform, in large part, because the pay and benefits are good.

      • Yeah, that’s pretty much my experience too. I reported to persons in the chain of command and every one of them ended the conversation by assuring me everything I said would be kept in strictest confidence. As if they were doing me a favor by sweeping it under the rug! Hello, they were supposed to conduct an investigation, ask civil authorities to investigate, strip him of his rank, etc. Rapist enablers they were, one and all.

        I think rapists are disproportionately found in uniform; the uniform makes them look good, look safe, and gives them easy access. They need the uniform to carry off their disgusting crimes.

  • My ex was a judge (in a job I helped him land by putting my own career on the back burner and working on his political campaigns). I had to sue him twice, count that twice, for the basic bottom line child support mandated by the county. After hideous legal machinations, I settled for the back child support going into my daughter’s college fund. That paid for her going to Stanford, so you do the math.

    The nice part about that is that at some point in her college years her dad was yelling at her for not doing something he wanted and said “I paid for your college!”Her boyfriend, now her husband, said “Yeah, wasn’t that your mom’s back child support? Didn’t your MOM pay for your college?”. Mwah haha.

    As for the hero worship given to the military, that is part of the government’s plan to get economically disadvantaged youth to be willing to risk their lives to fight wars in ridiculous places. That knee- jerk “respect” is part of their compensation package that doesn’t cost the government anything. It breaks my heart how that lures economically disadvantaged young people, who don’t otherwise experience respect in public places, into a life choice that can leave them dead, or damaged for life.

    Just roll your eyes when people carry on about Captain America. You know the truth. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Hero is as hero does”, and your ex is not cutting it there. Someone who makes his kids beg for money is not a hero. You are the hero, and you know that.

    • I understand how ‘the government’s plan to get economically disadvantaged youth to be willing to risk their lives to fight wars in ridiculous places’ could be construed. But I served my country 26 years and it never entered my head to do it for ‘hero worship’. And I would say that most of the men and women that I served with never thought of ‘hero worship’ when they served in the military.

  • Former military pilot/airline pilot, you’d be surprised at how many people lose their composure when ex mentions he’s a pilot for an airline. Ex’s attorney repeatedly emphasized ex’s occupation as a “pilot” which means he’s responsible, an upstanding citizen, a man wh makes wises choices compared to me being a lowly SAHM with a “questionable lifestyle”and “questionable lifestyle choices”.

    Neighbors reported to ex that I had unfamiliar cars parked overnight in my driveway. The cars parked in my driveway belonged to my parents, and brother who lived out of town and occasionally stay overnight.
    My questionable lifestyle.

    • Yes to the pilot thing – you’d think he was cheating death every time he sat in the cockpit. Instead he was just cheating. I didn’t discover his betrayals until six months before his retirement. He had nice hotels to conduct his affairs in and the company even provided Viagra samples, condoms and STD testing every six months, all unbeknownst to me. I wanted to believe that once he retired he wouldn’t have the opportunity to cheat but of course he found a way – he brought her into our home when I was gone to visit my family. I found out (I’m pretty sure she deliberately left subtle clues for me) and finally summoned the courage to file for divorce.

      It’s all about controlling his image, especially in his immigrant community and he is fighting me every step of the way. My legal fees are approaching $20,000 with no end in sight but my attorney is confident we will get all we’re asking for, including re-imbursement of my expenses. In the meantime I am still entitled to all the retirement benefits he has with his airline (which are pretty good). He has surrounded himself with his flying monkeys but I have my loyal friends and two wonderful children and I feel so much happier without him. I think I can see Tuesday coming up ahead!

    • Tangent: In my experience, men who are pilots are absolutely insufferable. And condescending. The women I’ve met who are pilots have been cool.

      The men, though? God. I’ve had a pilot lecture me for referring to the taxiway as “the tarmac (TARMAC IS THE MATERIAL, NOT THE PORTION OF THE AIRFIELD!)” Oh my God, my guy. When you say “tarmac,” more people know what you are talking about. Sue me and shut the fuck up, winged genius.

  • I’d take him back to court and try to get a judge to dis-entitle all the fake expenses he’s using to lower his income. I would self represent to save costs. I’d also launch an appeal with state child support enforcement. at the same time. Anything you can do low cost I would do.

    Report him to disability anonymously, you have to give things like his address, company name, customer names if you know any, truck license plate numbers etc. As many details as possible.

    We had a ‘hero’ from around here. He was a Captain in the armed forces, he is now in jail for kidnapping and murdering two women. A lot of scum abuse a uniform.

    • Collecting disability from VA and working is not fraud unless the Va put in his record that he is 100% disabled and not employable due to his disabilities. He could be collecting and still able to work. VA disability is weird. They pay for sleep apnea and tinnitus and a scar on your lip.

      • The standard for VA disability isn’t whether or not you can work in a physically demanding job, but whether or not your disability makes it so you can’t be a soldier. My sister is on VA disability. Her feet and ankles are messed up and she has tinnitus and significant hearing loss. She is not 100% disabled and can work pretty much any job she wants regardless of how physically demanding. As I understand it, for VA disability, the recipient’s disability must be directly caused by being in the service and, due to that injury, not be able to meet the military’s physical and/or mental requirements. Many service members suffer tinnitus and significant hearing loss due to gunfire, both learning, practice and/or in actual conflict. In situations where hearing and understanding orders or being able to hear what is going on around them is critical, a soldier with tinnitus and/or hearing loss puts their own and others’ lives at risk. However, many other physically demanding jobs, like firefighting, don’t have as high requirements.

    • This is a tough situation because sometimes the peace of not being in court all the time is somewhat worth the not receiving of child support. But frankly, both choices suck.

      One thing I’ve learned about these cheater narc types is that the only way to get them to change their behavior is to make it harder for them to NOT change. This last piece is different for every dirtbag, but for some like my ex going to court fills him with dread and anxiety. In fact, being challenged in any group or public forum does. So, when I need him to change a behavior, I go for that particular jugular. My go-to is a legal letter outlining his transgressions and my impending legal actions if he doesn’t do XYZ. It still works surprisingly well…until the next thing. It’s always whac-a-mole with these a-holes.

      So, if you can figure out his Achilles heel, head right for it and use proper child support as the way to get you to relieve the pressure. Or…if you can afford to do so, let it all go and live a more peaceful life. Trust me, your kids will understand one day who their reliable parent is. My daughter figured it out all on her own.

  • I’m right there with you, 911. My FW is a decorated war hero who put his life on the line to protect our country during the last 20 years. So brave, so selfless, all the sacrifices he made, wah, wah, wah. Meanwhile I did nothing, the kids raised themselves, the household ran itself, everything just went perfectly, magically smooth in his absence. No really, who would believe he found dozens of schmoopies just lining up to show their gratitude with open mouths and open legs? And even if he did, how dare I complain when I “didn’t work” and had the “luxury” of raising 3 kids under 4 in random shithole Army towns with no family support? Why, he damn near DESERVED to be rewarded with all the dirty cooch he could handle. And he could handle a LOT, lemme tell ya.

    I don’t have any advice really, other than come on over to chump land and eat your shit sandwich with the rest of us. I have cut out everyone who knew what he was doing and anyone who listens to the song of the sad sausage. It’s been a few years and I’m still surprised by the number of people who I’ve lost but I am so much better for it. I don’t try to hold in my laughter when people wax poetic about what an amazing hero he is anymore. It’s an act that he plays well, but it doesn’t keep him warm at night. My 3 teenagers are not at all impressed with his conquests and resent the time he wasn’t home but made time for blowjobs and buttstuff. They are the only ones who matter in all this. I can rest my head at night knowing these 3 amazing young people keep me going and are becoming people of character with firm morals and integrity. His shit sandwich is coming, as they get older they see him for who he really is and they’re not very interested in developing a relationship with him. Sure he takes all the pics to post on social media, but he’s only fooling himself. He doesn’t know them as anything other than an extension of himself and they’re done playing his games. He may wear a hero uniform for most people but his kids know he’s just a sad sausage playing dress up.

    • Remarkably similar to my life. Different branch of service…..left town to get away from the “hero worship”.

  • Yes yes yes. My ex is a military veteran who was able to claim full disability shortly after our divorce. I knew he was working towards this with a veteran organization (don’t want to drag anyone through the mud). I was surprised they said they could get him set up with someone who would definitely be able to word things in the way he needed in order to be bumped up to full disability. Sure enough, a few months after our divorce, he quit his job and stopped paying daycare expenses. He ended up getting full disability and that cannot be garnished. So, I have seen just $500 from him in the last 2 years for my two kids.

    Funnily enough, when we were separated he joined the volunteer fire dept as well. Thankfully, he accidentally sent me a text that revealed he was let go due to threatening behavior and the chief had “allowed” him to resign. I was terrified of the hero narrative. He’s a diagnosed narcissist, and combined with his veteran status, I was sure he would charm anyone. Of course he has charmed his new gf, who is convinced I just “paint” him in a negative light. Of course this veteran from a small town couldn’t possibly be financially and emotionally abusive, threatening me physically, threatening to kidnap our children and turn them against me. Oh no, that’s just the crazy ex wife lying and trying to keep these innocent kids from their caring dad. Who else has heard this story time and time again??

    Any hope that the courts will have seen this over and over again? We are set to start mediation because he wants more time (now that the gf can watch them and cook and clean and all that good stuff). I’m hoping he won’t con his way through the court system here.

  • There are FACTS in your story which make it clear your ex is a dick.

    No honorable man leaves the mother of his (toddler/infant) children and starts another family so soon. His choice of very young women also speaks to his character.

    Follow CL’s advice (even though she’s not a lawyer) and know that your ex is not fooling anyone. I suspect child support judges and military folks are especially familiar with this kind of slime.

    I wonder if the the specific recommendation on child support orders could be legislated?

    • “No honorable man leaves the mother of his (toddler/infant) children and starts another family so soon. His choice of very young women also speaks to his character.”

      Amen.

    • There were reforms in the 1990s. It’s supposed to help with the state skipping. The support is tied to a SS#. The trick there is, if the FW does not tell their employer they owe support, the government has to catch up with that SS#.

      Ask me how long that takes.

      Then ask me how much they pay you back.

      So, let’s say the arrearage is $6,000. They will not give you back the $6K you lost, they’ll do it in $50 increments with a small interest rate until it’s paid off.

      That’s with a straight job that can be docked.

      Now, what if the deadbeat works under the table, or siphons funds to a new partner or family? Or has a business that mysteriously earns nothing?

      Then you have the choice I outlined, that expensive lawyer lady recommended — court with financial discovery (subpoenaing their credit card statement’s and people in their orbits.) Super pricey — (and she says effective).

      OR, you play catch up with the state. And… this happened to me in Texas… when my child turned 18 I got a letter saying how much I am owed (it goes on his credit report) and I have no enforcement options, as child has aged out of the system.

      If you are on public assistance, you have a much better shot at getting CS enforced, as the state doesn’t want to pay.

      If you read the article I posted, in state’s where it is legal, you can get a debt collector who takes a commission of a third. Is that predatory? Maybe. Is two-thirds of something better than nothing? Yes.

      Why doesn’t the state enforce the goddamn orders? IMO, because exhausted single parents are not the most effective lobbying organization.

      • “When you work out custody and support WORK IT INTO YOUR ORDER what happens if they don’t pay. That you get legal fees”.

        Is this always done, or is the burden on the custodial parent to insist?

      • And also because it’s primarily a women’s issue, and those come up about 20 years too late legislatively…if at all. And yes CN men, I see you and I know your struggles on this front, before anyone jumps down my throat. But women have the numbers on owed child support and financial ruin after divorce. It is what it is.

  • Yep. There are (sadly) many of us. Wasband works with kids, and had a loads of groupies to insist he he’s wonderful. I’m 13 years out (but this topic still makes my head explode) so wanted to offer some support. ChumpLady is perfectly correct – move away from those who want to depend the indefensible. You WILL find people who share your values, although it might take some time and shrink your circle quite a bit. It is so very worth it.

    On the issue of child support – what a topic of complete and total unfairness. Yes, there are decent people who DO pay what they should and more. My exH paid NOTHING for six years, despite me being a SAHM when he left, with 2 pre-schoolers (now he pays only what C/S enforcement can find). Those were dark days, and we struggled; but we found good people – and they found us – and rebuilt a life. My oldest still asks “are you SURE we can afford this?”, so I know that pain runs deep. Wasband owes over $90,000 currently; the small amounts he has paid I used for the kids braces. He had himself declared “indigent” – so his monthly obligation is very minimal – and the only money we’ve gotten has been from tax and stimulus capture. He is currently building/just finished a $600,000 house – you know, like all indigent people do…

    It is so hard – some days more than others – but please know that you CAN do this. You can build past it – and your kids will be stronger and better. We learned the expensive new house news this summer as my oldest was working 3 jobs and applying for every single scholarship for college – that’s the stuff that knocks me off of my “meh” a bit. Good news – scholarships came through – and although there will still be lots of jobs and scholarship applications – it will work out. I choose to see the blessings there.

    Many/most of the ladies at our Child Support Enforcement office are very kind, and I feel for their frustration. The system is broken – did you know that the third Stimulus payment this year (the biggest one) was NOT subject to child support garnishment? Awesome, right?

    I love CL’s advice to build consequences into your divorce decree; for those of us who didn’t – if Bible verses are something that you hold on to – here’s a fun verse that isn’t very “meh” – but still…1 Timothy 5:8 “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

    Better days are coming.

  • Mine is a “hero” too. He (and now he and Wifetress) dresses up in costume and raises money for charity like a Hollywood Superman handing over cheques to agencies for cancer research.

    Literally, dressing up like comic book and movie superheroes. A side gig of cosplay.

    Now, who wants to believe my depressing “abandoned with two kids by my cheating husband” story when he’s just so gosh darned charismatic, extroverted, fun, and… oh yeah… also moonlights as an actual superhero on evenings and weekends? His side of the story–where he is always the hero of the story–sounds a lot more fun. You can always attract a lot more files with honey.

    He’s been curating the hero persona ever since we were dating right out of high school. It’s definitely a hero complex and it’s vitally important to him that people see him as a hero. All his affair partners, including the one he married, have been girls that he had to “save.” I definitely don’t see him as a hero anymore (although I did have him up on a pretty high pedestal once upon a time; he loved being up there because I couldn’t see what he was doing but I could still worship him) and he knows I don’t see him as a hero anymore. He can’t stand it when people don’t see him as a hero and, consequently, he never shows his face around me which has been a heck of an added bonus for me!

    I’m not as hard up as you are, 911, but my FW definitely does have a hero complex that his crowd enthusiastically engages in and he definitely pays as little as possible, often falling behind on child support payments. Once I asked him to share in the cost of new glasses for our children and the result was emails and emails of absolute vitriol that somehow concluded that he was the best parent ever and I was an awful mother (I took our children to the doctor, doctor recommended glasses, I purchased glasses, I asked FW if he could share in the cost… that was literally all I did). I lost sleep and cried for days.

    I called that instance Glassesgate because it was memorable, insane, and, as a result, I never, never, never asked him to share in any extra expenses for our children ever again. It simply was not worth the money to me and from Glassesgate on, I absorbed all extra costs (from surgeries to winter coats) myself as a single mom. It sucked sometimes, yes, but I have never regretted it. He doesn’t contribute therefore he gets no say and I have been spared his painful diatribes. Worth every penny.

    Fair? Heck no, but I am grateful for the silence on my end. Peace is priceless.

    So, yeah. My FW manages a hero persona on his end that a large circle of people buy into while systematically shortchanging his children (although your FW is admittedly worse on that front, 911) and being cruel to his former wife. I feel you. It sucks. And it used to drive me crazy too. “Folks! Don’t you see what he’s done! He’s literally moved out of his martial home and into his girlfriend’s house. Stop dressing up as a superhero with him and taking selfies at the bar!” my inner monologue screamed, but, to no avail. Hero worship is a lot more fun than facing the fact that he sucks; I used to be there myself.

    So, as advised here, I began a regiment of training myself to not care so much about it (hard work!) because people are going to hero worship FW and there’s *nothing* I can do about that. I’d drive myself crazy trying to do something about that. So, I culled his cult from my life (I don’t need to hear about how wonderful you think he is) and became more of a social media privacy/boundaries expert than I thought I could be (I don’t need to see how wonderful you think he is) and had to train my friends to not bring him up (Listen, it really hurts, could you not tell me anything about his life? I don’t need to know).

    It was hard work and it took years to bear fruit but it feels good to be on this side of it now. It doesn’t drive me crazy that most folks think of him as a hero anymore (they still do) because that’s how he plays it. Whatever. Either those folks will learn or they won’t.

    My life without his influence is richer. You can’t buy that kind of peace.

    • Very well put. Without those hero worshipers around, I have also found peace. I was out walking with the fuckwit (after DD1 and moving into a new house that hadn’t been tainted by the skank and him fucking in our bed), we ran into one of his young colleagues and her boyfriend. She introduced her boyfriend to Mr. Wonderful, she must of said he was wonderful two more times, and then said to me, “Your husband is so wonderful!” I turned to her and said, “You’re not married to him.” She became very quiet, she and her boyfriend exchanged glances, the fuckwit didn’t say a word to me (at that time I was no longer putting up with his shit), and they quickly ended the conversation. My sons were all grown and gone by the time I divorced the fuckwit and fortunately, I have not had any occasion to interact with him since I divorced nearly 7 years ago so, I don’t have to hear about how wonderful he is anymore. #NoDrama (I saw that hashtag earlier and that how apropos!)

      • I had a similar moment. At a “women’s night,” a gathering of women faculty, a professor I didn’t know said, “Oh, you’re married to XXXX? You’re so lucky!” I looked right at her and said, “Would you like to be married to him?” Shock and silence all around. Later, when I had left him, I sat down with her, and, because I knew she was a cheated on wife who divorced her fw, said, “As you know, what it looks like from the outside of a marriage is often not what it is like on the inside.”

    • Fourleaf, this is spot on! Mine used to have ‘superhero’ dreams, and all his female affair partners were vulnerable, in some way or another. The men, not so much.

      There was a time when I thought it was cute – that this (nice but extremely ordinary, slightly homely) guy would have these huge fantasies and actually play dress-up to go to work. Now, not so much – good luck to anyone who runs into that foolish car crash of a man, including his gullible orphaned wifetress 🙂

  • I have so much empathy for what you are going through and am so sorry you are. Our child support system is so broken. My ex owes me 80K in back support (and another unfathomable sum in $$ he stole from my retirement, etc) and has managed to avoid paying anything by eventually moving out of state, making himself hard to find, and not mostly having an on the books job.

    All this to say I did have it worked into my agreement that he would pay for my legal costs involved in enforcing child support and other support if he was in the wrong. And judgment was against him not once, not twice, but three times. Each time he avoided the order and then I had to take him back to court and he was found in contempt. The last time he was told in no uncertain terms that if he was in contempt again he’d be sent to prison. So he moved out of the state and my lawyer was unwilling to pursue given that he was still owed most of his legal fees from the last two cases that ex walked out on.

    That is when I went to the state to enforce. It has only resulted in a little bit of payment (his tax refund a couple years ago and his first COVID check) but the order to garnish is now on the books and if any payments are made to his SS # through the federal system like the IRS or courts I will automatically receive them and that order doesn’t expire even though both my kids are 18. So here is hoping that one of the people he cons leaves him a ton of money and the Estate process triggers a payment for me!

    For me it got to a point where having the state enforce your child support payment was not the most efficient way to go about this but was/is my best shot at maybe eventually getting to see some of the money my kids so very much needed while they were growing up. If your state has no statute of limitations on child support like NC does, it may be the best of a bunch of bad options eventually.

    My ex was not a “hero” but just always comes off as a really nice guy to most people and they don’t believe he would intentionally hurt his children and he convinces them this is all some injustice of the system I am sure and they help him hide. I don’t have the energy to spare to get upset at folks who fall for this anymore. My kids, now that they are adults, understand who their dad is and that is most what matters.

    So glad your kids have a solid, caring parent in you, and in the long term they will be so grateful for that too.

  • VA disability is just another form of welfare. Yes, some people earned it and deserve it. But the vast majority of people did not. It’s such a joke.

    • I’ll respectfully disagree with you. Simply by joining the service you place yourself in a constant position of potentially going to war, even if it never happened. Even if you sit at a desk for 4 years and get a wrist injury from typing and that’s why you’re getting your VA disability. Essentially, wittingly or not, military people roll those dice every day they’re enlisted. I say that warrants a hefty payout.

      I’m plenty old enough to remember Desert Storm and how many military folks were thrust into battle after years of other type of work and relative peace. So, like, their dice came up bloody.

      This doesn’t make them perfect people…you can be a soldier and a dirtbag.

      • That’s fine. I’m in the military and see what people pull every day. I don’t think anyone deserves a “hefty payout” simply for enlisting. Go to war and get injured- yes, 100% they deserve disability. Get legitimately injured while performing military duties. Sure. Planning out your “injuries” so you’ll be rated 100% through the VA (erectile disfunction, ringing in the ears, fake PTSD, back pain)- totally wrong and it’s ripping off the VA system and stealing money from those Soldiers who need it and actually deserve it.

  • We so desperately want heroes that we tend to turn a blind eye to anyone in uniform. For a while I found a blogger whose husband’s girlfriend so severely damaged the blogger’s face with a knife that she had to have plastic surgery. There were pictures online and she was not kidding. Both of these people were/are firemen. It’s awful when people begin to believe their own publicity. As you know from what we have on television we have series about cops and other first responders and we want them all to be good people but some of them are not.

    I think a little jail time might move the case forward.

  • How’s this guy on disability and doing physical stuff like putting out fires and cleaning pools? Is he committing disability fraud?

    This was my FIRST thought! Investigate!

  • My ex passes himself off as a veteran and an MD to veterans who are MDs/other health care professionals. My ex is neither.

    • If he has done this anywhere that there is evidence of it (on LinkedIn or a recorded interview or anything), you can report it to Stolen Valor to look into it. Misrepresentation of your military or veteran affiliation is a big deal.

  • I was lucky to have grown children ( though I still think we all would have been better off if they weren’t exposed to the toxic sludge for so many years), however I completely get the “intentional impoverishment “. He worked part time for the 4 years of our wreckonciliation then no income at all for a year right before we separated( he was “building his new business”). All done deliberately to not have to pay spousal support. And he blew our retirement fund in his other loser business. Hundreds of thousands gone and I have no retirement fund now at 61. They are truly evil people. (((Hugs mamma)))

  • It’s all so sad and infuriating. Hitler wore a uniform, too.

    My x was a doc *and* a vet. One patient actually once referred to him as “a god.”

    On my path to meh, I’ve attained some degree of equanimity by acknowledging that the only thing I can do is cut the hero worshippers and the sympathizers (PEOPLE WHO FEEL SUPERIOR BECAUSE THEY DON’T JUDGE) out of my life. I’m slowly filling those vacancies with new friends.

    Even so, in dark moments, my undisciplined mind tends to go down old, worn paths, speculating about what others are thinking or saying about me and the x. I wonder what x is saying and doing to influence these sympathizers. Needless to say, this is not helpful and, in a sick way, perpetuates the abuse.

    My sanity depends on ignoring the noise. I know this.

    Don’t call 911, as for your child-support issues, I have nothing to add except that I’m sorry this is happening. Call me naive, but I like to think that, in the end, good things will happen to good people. Good luck!

    • p.s. I went trick or treating with my kids and grandkids yesterday. I’m the winner. I got the luggage.

      I also have the baggage. Bad memories. His voice in my head. And the shame I feel for staying with an abuser for so long and for not protecting my kids enough. Why did our effed-up dynamic “work” for decades? What did I gain from it? I’m determined to figure this out so that I’m a better me going forward. Thank God I have a good therapist.

      Onwards and upwards fellow chumps! Happy Monday!

      • Oh most definitely you are the winner! Your effed-up dynamic worked for decades probably because you were dedicated to being the best wife and mother. And that is something that you should be proud of yourself about. Just because you had a fuckwit for a husband does not take anything away from you, not your accomplishments, your responsibilities, your overcoming shit sandwiches. In fact, it makes you even mightier that not only did you survive it, but that you have wonderful children in spite of it. Congratulations to you! And keep up the therapy.

    • “On my path to meh, I’ve attained some degree of equanimity by acknowledging that the only thing I can do is cut the hero worshippers and the sympathizers (PEOPLE WHO FEEL SUPERIOR BECAUSE THEY DON’T JUDGE) out of my life.”

      This is definitely what I did.

  • I am going to tell one of my friends stories. She left her drug addict ex and he was paying her $100 a month in child support. He stopped paying it. He worked in the WV coal mines in a union job. His excuse “I only make $7 an hour, not working much, blah, blah, blah”. She took him to court, had to drive 4 hours in the backwoods of WV to file, but she did. His tax returns were subpoenaed, he made $73,000 that year (10 years ago). He had to pay her $400 a month, keep health insurance on the child and had to pay school expenses. If he didn’t pay, he forfeited any tax rebates. She also was able to claim said child on her taxes; all while working and taking care of her mother with cancer. The child is now a junior in college on an academic scholarship and adulting well.

    I hope her story gives some of you guys some hope.

  • The con artist I was married to, aka Benedict OJ Madoff, like all con artists, puts an enormous amount of energy into perpetuating his image as a Nice Guy. He really truly believes he is a Good Guy and is outraged, four years with ongoing Bad Guy behavior, that I don’t agree. I have no idea how lying, cheating, hiding/embezzling money/abandoning your family, breaking agreements/wedding vows right and left, adds up to being a Good Guy, but that is Cheater Math for you.

    My therapist, who knows him well too, reminds me that the people closest to him, me and our daughter, don’t think share his opinion of himself. Victims of con artists see the con artist differently. The world is full of new targets to move on to, and the OP is the first one in line. The cosmic joke is actually on them! 😛 I do NOT think it’s a sign of intelligence, mental health, or emotional maturity to sign up for a partnership with a person who fucks over their spouse/partner/family.

    Many of us who have been cheated on have to be the little boy in the story of the. Emperor’s New Clothes.

    Heroism begins at home. If you’re not a hero in your own home with your own family, you’re not a hero for being of service to strangers. That makes you a con artist.

    • PS….all those other people weren’t married to him. They didn’t have your experience with him. So they aren’t qualified to opine about the lying, cheating, veteran fireman.

    • “Heroism begins at home. If you’re not a hero in your own home with your own family, you’re not a hero for being of service to strangers. That makes you a con artist.” Oh how very, very true, Velvet Hammer! I honestly believe that one day we will all meet our maker and He won’t admire the medals earned or the fundraisers attended. He’s going to say, “Well…, let’s see how you did as a father/mother… Let’s see how you did as a spouse… How did your children turn out? Did they turn out respectful? With integrity? Full of love for their fellow man?” I believe that it doesn’t matter how ‘wonderful’ you are on earth. It matters how you took care of your family and the examples that you set because they will probably walk the same path that you did. Not always, but I believe God’s going to assess us on the path that we exampled.

    • “The con artist I was married to, aka Benedict OJ Madoff, like all con artists, puts an enormous amount of energy into perpetuating his image as a Nice Guy. He really truly believes he is a Good Guy and is outraged, four years with ongoing Bad Guy behavior, that I don’t agree.”

      My X works on this kind of Cheater Math too and puts a lot of energy into the Nice Guy image.

      • “He really truly believes he is a Good Guy and is outraged, four years with ongoing Bad Guy behavior, that I don’t agree.”

        According to my therapist, to think otherwise (i.e., to face reality) might lead them to despair.

        They are TFCs, as CL points out. The x surrounds himself with people who praise him. If they stop doing that, he becomes enraged. He lavishes praise and affection on those who view him in a good light. It’s a simple calculation.

        In x’s sick way of thinking, his nearly three-year affair was but a blimp. He will never acknowledge the decades of shitty treatment. “I am a GOOD GUY and GREAT DAD.” He’ll be muttering it in the nursing home. Whatevs…

    • My sister spent almost 10 years helping her ex-boyfriend, a former police officer, spread the story about how his ex-wife was crazy, demanding, gold-digging, mean and delusional. My sister recruited our mother to join them, and she did, gleefully. The story was that he left the force to save his marriage, and took on a menial job to make his wife happy. My sister and my mother were true believers.

      Both of them stood by him when the Associated Press published a story about the real reason he left the police department (he was a dirty cop, and his accomplice was a married woman he was fucking while he himself was married. He served no time, and even tried to stick the police department for the bill to pay the million-dollar settlement he reached with his victim.

      The day they both stopped being his flying monkeys was the day my sister found incontrovertible evidence that he was dating another woman.

      It hurts knowing my sister and my mother were recruited to help a liar attack his wife. It makes me feel oddly ashamed that he used my sister and mother to provide unpaid childcare for his child, who really was very sweet.

  • Seriously some of the best advice ever is to have it in your agreement consequences of not following the order. Most of the fucks have to be hit financially to get their attention and action.
    Second thing I wish I’d known about is a lump sum settlement aside from property so there are no ties to monthly payments since that = control on their end. He was a shit with child support and expenses. His support was less than I paid for their monthly insurance. They’re young adults so no support for them now but I still pay their insurance until they can get their own.
    It took my attorney 7 yrs to realize sort of what I am up against. This year was the first time I was awarded any costs of court and it still left me owing almost 12,000. He only had to pony up half the trial cost to my attorney and he was the one that filed to do away with the agreement. I was like uggh sorry you had to encounter him because he naturally made a trip to her office to pay. She actually said he was level and nice that day. I was WTF? I just said and…..that’s how he reels you in and gets you and left it at that.
    I was fortunate that we had not one mutual friend in our 33 yrs together. I never heard a peep from his family. He had a wide net of people/customers due to having several separate lives that I had some names of while it was just the kids and I together. One kid did a name change and is NC while the other is learning what a disordered shit he is.

  • My ex husband was military and law enforcement.
    He received so many kibbles from strangers when he wore his uniform. People stopping him on the street to shake his hand and thank him for his service. After D day, he physically assaulted me and was arrested. Then he tried to use the excuse that due to the pending charges he couldn’t carry firearm and therefore could no longer work and shouldn’t have to pay child support. You can’t make this shit up.

  • There’s an interesting commonality among the comments here. Namely how these cheaters chose careers that elevate their status to others. I submit they’re all posers. Hollowed out internally, they gravitate toward uniforms, clubs and associations that are perceived to be benevolent, public service focused, and esteemed by others. What better fit than a naked soul all dressed-up in a costume that gives them identity?

    The rest of us follow our talents, interests, education, personality, values and goals to achieve success. When you don’t have any of the above to draw from, you become an actor, poser, con and fake. The world is their stage. They simply find a set, costume, script and audience to ‘play’ to and off they go.

    This is said in no way to diminish the value of countless police, fire, military, medical or other professionals whose honor and service is commendable. We’re talking about disordered people in this post.

    • “Hollowed out internally, they gravitate toward uniforms, clubs and associations that are perceived to be benevolent, public service focused, and esteemed by others.”
      I couldn’t agree more, Latitude. Though I would contend there are two extremes for serial cheaters/sex addicts.
      One, as you described, the other is choosing to work in a position of relative anonymity (or that takes them away/out of their home community for periods of time) so that there are not well known and have no real reputation to uphold at home.
      For my cheating bastard ex, the later was his choice during his working years, the former during retirement. Just two week before I filed for divorce, he received a state-wide honor for a volunteer project he headed up that served the community during the pandemic. (Prior to that, he was celebrated with several local awards for his volunteerism during the past 5 years.) None of the folks singing his praises have so much as a clue that, during the pandemic, he played Russian Roulette with my life by having unprotected sex with multiple hookups and escorts during Covid. Talk about disordered …

  • Where is it written that mothers must house and care for the offspring of divorce? (I know, this sounds alien and nobody likes it, but bear with me for a minute here.) One of the smartest women I ever met, a high school drop out married to a law enforcement officer, when confronted by her spouse with the news that he had found a 20 something hottie at the courthouse and he was moving out and leaving her with the four or five kids (I forget how many, as this happened in the 70s) one of which was in a wheelchair – well, Betty packed her kids’ stuff in paper bags, marched them down to the courthouse the next morning, and handed them over to Ms. Hottie with the statement “he comes with accessories” and then she went back home. Deputy Dawg was home with his family by lunchtime and after a hard discussion, he decided to stay. We may not want to live with the wandering penises…but there is no law that says WE must assume all parental duties. If he won’t pay, leave his little expenses with him at his job site. Walk away. Pretty easy to jerk a knot in a man’s tail (or his penis) if you just think outside the box society tries to stuff women into. THEY ARE HIS KIDS TOO AND IF HE LEARNS YOU WON’T BE FILLING HIS SHOES HE IS FORCED TO RETHINK WHERE HE’S STANDING. Oh, he’ll try to get his mom or his new sweetie to step up, but they won’t, not for long. I know you think you can’t bear to have the OW raising your kids – but if you keep custody she is still going to be in their lives, plus she’ll be aggravating the devil out of you every chance she gets. Think of it as the kids going away to camp or to college – you’ll get to be the fun weekend Disney land parent and FW will have to deal with the daily struggle. Trust me, he won’t deal.

  • When you think about how many working couples struggle to provide for their children, it is really no surprise that single parents struggle, too. There is often a difference of opinion in how to spend marital funds, and what rights and responsibilities each partner has in the marriage. To me, many of these issues harken back to the mythology of the husband being the provider, and how he will “look out for” the interests of his wife and family. If you grow up believing that fairytale, is hero worship that great of a leap?

    If we do not regard men and women as deserving of equal education and opportunity, there will never be equal economic distribution. One Ex made more money on paper than I did — but it was paid sporadically, and he was gone most of the time. Sometimes he had insurance, sometimes he did not. My “little jobs,” as he liked to call them, provided steady money to pay essential bills, buy groceries, and provide health insurance. Plus, I was there to raise the kids, and keep the home. Where he was, and what he was doing, or spending, was never clear. He filed expense reports, and that money never made it into the household funds. The other ex worked cash jobs, and never contributed regularly to any expense, so I was the primary breadwinner and the only sane parent in the house. Neither of these men fit in with the expectations I had while growing up. I never even thought about economic distribution when I was young and seeking the love of my life. I expected they would have values, and character. More is the pity for me — it took a long time for me to realize my FOO training was harmful and deprogram myself. Once I became convinced I could only count on myself, and that I was capable of living a better life without a “Heroic Patriarch” figure in it, my life became better.

    Many men I have talked to consider “child support” as funds they are forced to pay their ex-wife, and they don’t seem to realize how expensive things like child care, diapers, and food are. They want to cash their check, go have a few brews with their buddies, maybe convince a bouncy younger woman to “go to dinner” with them, and THEN, if they have some funds left, they might take the kids out for fast food, sometimes. Perhaps they will rent videos to amuse the children when they have custody. They need a “girlfriend” to look after the kids when they have custody. They see nothing wrong with these mental gymnastics. The ex-wife deserves to be treated badly because she is a bitch, or crazy.

    I apologize to the good men out there for my description, but, I did not meet you when I was young, or dating, and my children were growing up. I would have liked to meet you, but eventually I gave up. I am retired now, and I am not seeking “a manfriend”. Still, they sometimes meet me at some of the events I go to, and ask me out. My screening process includes a lot of questions now, and they usually want sex, a housekeeper, a nurse, and a purse. Not necessarily in that order. I own my home, I have a pension, I carry health insurance to supplement my medicare, I cook and do laundry, and pay a yard service to mow my grass. I do not need assistance to work the remote control, or to decide whether or not I can go somewhere. I would enjoy conversation, and companionship, but I have learned to get most of those needs filled from my female friends.

    It is sad that there are good men and women available, and interested, but seemingly unable to connect with each other. When you are young, with children, child support is the tip of the iceberg. If a man will not support his children, IMHO, he is no hero. He is not much of a man at all. Be glad he is not in your life, and carefully screen any future applicants for your “love connection.” Being cute and funny is not enough, look for values and character. If you don’t find someone who has those, pass. You are better off relying on yourself. The children may do without many things you would have liked for them to have, but they will also figure out who the deadbeat is. Maybe they will be smarter when and if they find a mate?

    • Sounds like my life. I’m still working, but am winding down and planning to retire in a few years. The men who have shown interest in me are not at all people that I would want to get to know better. NOT AT ALL. I have some lovely female friends that I do things with and have gut-bearing discussions with when I need that, and that’s all I need.

    • Portia,

      I was about to quit reading when I saw that you posted. I always love your posts so I stopped to read this one. I’m so glad I did!

      So carefully thought out. So perfectly worded.

      I’m eye-to-eye with you. About screening men now and about the naive decisions I made during my youth. I’m quite happy now. I still feel young and I still get asked out but I’m still single.

      My life is not as put together as yours, but I’m working on it. Working on me now, finally! Usually I just get out there and find a man again… but I’ve grown beyond that. When I see a red flag now, I can see things play out in my expanded vision, and I say, “no thank you,” before my heart gets involved. And hopefully I’ve gotten a little wiser.

      I do still think that it’d be great to have a partner. A husband. A man to play with and to respect. One who thinks that the things I’ve been through are not “baggage,” but “learning opportunities,” and who sees what I’ve learned rather than looks for flaws because of what I’ve been through.

      But it’s not so important now.

      Thank goodness!

      Thank you, Portia!

    • Thanks Portia – I really appreciate your posts. I also don’t need “assistance to work the remote control, or to decide whether or not I can go somewhere” LOL, nor do I need a driver for my car or some ‘boss’ to steer my grocery cart and make decisions for me because I’m a female. I’ve seen it so often among older couples. What a misery.

      Like Elsie, I am working full time but retiring in a couple of years. It’s so freeing to be unattached. It was an adjustment in attitude and thinking (and probably a decrease in hormones too, lol)

  • People want to believe that only good comes out of heroes. That if you’re a good leader, then you’re good in everything else, as a father, a husband, that you go to church, etc. In my case, my ex-fuckwit achieved Lt. Col. before retirement, made Major 3 years below the zone, Lt.Col 2 years below the zone. He was offered a Squadron command. He was definitely on the fast track to Colonel. He had a chest full of medals. But he was a cheater. He was a ‘good man’ in the sense that he really was a good commander. He looked out for the welfare of his troops, he got them promoted, if they needed to take care of things at home, he not only let them handle things, but offered whatever assistance they needed. He honestly believed he was doing the right thing and many of his troops would tell him that if he ever needed them to work for him again, they would do so. He was handsome, dynamic, and very charming and women flocked to him. A tall handsome military man in uniform was the poster child for the Air Force and he was a General’s aide-de-camp for two years. All of this led to even more self-doubt for me, because for all of my complaints hundreds of other people told him how wonderful he was and proved it by giving him more promotions and more responsibility. So, when you think of it, he couldn’t help but think that the problem was me since I wasn’t as enamored of him as everyone else was. It was just more mind-fuck for me.
    And when I divorced that fucker, I was the ’embittered’ ex-wife, because he was ‘such a wonderful man’. “It couldn’t possibly be him! He’s wonderful!” Oh, I heard how wonderful he was at least 100 different times. Maybe he was and still is ‘wonderful’. I don’t believe that cheaters can’t be decent, good people at a lot of things. It’s a conundrum. How can they have integrity in so many other areas of their lives and still cheat on their wives? For 15 years in a 30-year marriage!!!! Are they sociopathic? Or are they totally immersed in their own glory? I just can’t figure it out, but in my case, I just don’t care anymore what people say about me. I know what I went through. Maybe he’s still wonderful to everyone else, including our sons, but he was a liar and a cheater to me.

    • Yes. My veteran was in the Marine Corps (who he betrayed when he {as a purchasing officer} fucked the sales rep who was selling him $millions worth of equipment. And he fucked his family whenever he cheated

      so the saying of Semper Fidelis (always faithful) makes me wonder “faithful to who?” …apparently his dick and himself

    • Yes. Everyone thinks he’s wonderful. So the problem must have been me. Shallow people don’t know him very well.

  • Yes, I get fired up about these things even though our kids were in college when my ex blew things up and took off. He basically threw off being a husband and father. How can you produce a child and then not take any kind of responsibility for them much less your wife who gave up her career to raise your children and look out for you?

    As is often related here, it’s a horrible character flaw. I don’t care what they are/were professionally and/or in the community. If they are rotten to their families, they don’t have my respect AT ALL. I still have people on the outskirts of my life who think I should be buddy-buddy with my ex. Really? Do you exchange Christmas cards with people who cost you tens of thousands in legal fees? Do you have lunch with people who blew up your life?

    At one point in the legal proceedings, my ex’s attorney emailed mine, “Just so you know, I despise my client. He is morally reprehensible to me, and I’m doing all I can to get this settled for yours because she seems like a decent person.” Mine forwarded that one and several others with similar messages to me.

    Mine was a “gray” divorce, and going through what I did certainly gave me a different view of humanity than I had before. I don’t trust and believe people like I once did. I’m sorry that Don’t Call 911 had to learn this with little kids and way earlier than I did.

    • Every attorney the ex hired disliked him as well. Once in court ex’s ex attorney was there and he “jokingly” told mine to let him know if a case involving ex was scheduled in the same room as him. Ex stopped him on his way out and spoke loudly about delivering something special to his office and how he wasn’t lying this time about his situation. Eye roll! I was on the front row and could clearly hear him.
      I don’t know if it’s true but one time I felt his attorney tried his best to represent him but helped me as well. He was a big experienced criminal attorney so he’d seen every flavor of disordered clients and he got a whole other understanding whereas mine only got a taste. She did feel he’s at minimum bipolar but he’s got every disorder in that portion of the manual.
      Last trial was during COVID and we were the only ones allowed in the court room with our attorney. I felt without all the usual distractions that the judge was able to focus and catch things that would be overlooked otherwise like it had been in the past.

      • My ex’s attorneys couldn’t stand him. They told my attorney. He’s had several because he would fire them when he didn’t like what they told him.

        In the state where I live, they award child support by formula. So because I get maintenance (spousal support) from him, and we have 50/50 shared custody of our one minor, he only has to pay $25/month in child support. For a 16 year old daughter!

        Even after accounting for maintenance he still makes double my salary. And I buy all of her clothes, hygiene stuff, everything. At least it’s deducted from his pay so I get it automatically.

        He’s no “hero”, but he’s the covert narcissist who acts like a hurt puppy because I left. He’s also not the cheater, the cheater was my next relationship.

        The FW was a “hero” – a part-time cop, in addition to his regular job. He loved playing cop, wearing that uniform, even though he never actually did the hard stuff. He just play-acted, never gave tickets, avoided conflict, just patrolled neighborhoods and waved at kids. He was a chicken shit. Just wanted to be seen as a “nice guy”.

        That blew up in his face after D-Day. I told everyone that he cheated. His reputation was shot. He ended up moving out of town to live with his newest victim, even retiring from his beloved part-time cop gig. Thank God I didn’t marry or procreate with him.

  • 911,
    The “hero” BS blows! I had to do deal with it on another level since he wasn’t the actual hero….instead it was his dad, his uncle, his cousin, his mom and how could HE be bad when he comes from such a GOOD family? (Insert major eye roll here). Mind you, his “amazing” family called themselves the “Wolf Pack” and threatened outsiders that if we ever did anything to “hurt” them, they would do everything to destroy us. Sounds like a G-R-E-A-T family, right?! (NOT! Insert major eye roll). They were elementary school
    Principals, guidance counselors, police officers, military, coaches, and nurses. He would bring them in as “influencers” in every way he could to get his way with the court, with teachers, doctors, our kids Principal, the family therapist, etc. It was absolutely ridiculous the amount of clout they and he were given just because his family was viewed as “good” within society standards!

    The other thing that you briefly touched on that I believe should have more discussion is how society coddles and empathizes more with good looking and fit people. (Square jaw line). I can not begin to tell you how fucking much this played a role in the BS my kids and I went through! 5 asshole therapist (including our court ordered family therapist for our kids) absolutely loved my ex and perceived me as the angry bitter ex-wife. And, every single one of them would comment on how handsome he was and how “good” his family despite all of the horrible evidence I showed them. It was a Royal Mindfuck on so many levels for so long!!!!! Those people were supposed to help US and instead they would fall under his charming spell and we would get fucked over again and again.

    I’m 8 yrs out. The first 5 yrs were absolute hell! He and his family stalked me, threatened me, financially tried to ruin me, character assassinated me, tried to turn my children and my own family against me, tried to take my kids away from me, etc. After the hellacious custody battle (that I won) things settled down and luckily things are now palatable. As far as child support? I don’t count on it, I just feel lucky when I get it. (He too runs a cash business as a landscaper and claims little, to any, profit….my feelings and annoyance perfectly align with CL’s
    On the subject. The system is beyond broken!)

    What got me out of this horrible abuse cycle with not just him, his family and the therapist and the court? When I wouldn’t cave in to the asshole lawyers trying to strong arm me with our custody case (giving my ex full custody and me 20% time with them) they insisted on a guardian ad litem be brought in for the kids. They also insisted that we have a borage of personality test done. To help the process, they wanted the guardian ad litem to be a psychiatrist who could run the personality test and figure out WTF was going on. I won’t lie, it put me in debt between $20,000-30,000 but it was worth every penny! I insisted on a psychiatrist that specialized and had experience in narcissism/personality disordered individuals and my efforts paid off! I presented the YEARS of documentation to him, he tested me/my ex, he interviewed family members on both sides and met with our kids. A lot of things came to light including how my ex and his family were forcing our kids to lie about me and how they abused their professions/hero like persona to gain favor and exploit their agenda of crushing me. He created a report to share with the court and explained that any time my ex or his fucked up cunt of a family try anything with me to whip out that report and show it to whomever in charge. Every time I had to bust out that report my ex would pled with whoever to not pay attention to it and say it’s a false report. After a couple of times, he and his family finally stopped!

    My advice to you:
    1. FUCK what society and the cumquat hero loving “friends” think!
    2. Become a documentation queen! (I call it CYA mode….Cover Your Ass Mode) And, use all of it when it’s needed. No shit, I dropped 5 years of pure hell into the guardian ad litem’s lap (very well organized of course). It saved me and my kids lives!!!!!! (The guardian ad litem couldn’t believe the amount of abuse and bullshit we had been through….and, you bet your sweet ass he used every single bit against my ex)
    3. Just like CL, choose your battles. Cumquat hero loving fanatics = ditch. Jack ass square jawed ex nit abiding by the parenting plan = engage & document.
    4. We chumps are your tribe, however, I’m not sure if any of us are in your same region. You can reach out to us whenever however, it’s always helpful to have someone in your same area that can help navigate the ins and outs of the real life fuckery (like which lawyers are best in your area, which therapist to steer clear of, etc.). Find those peeps! I found a “Women in controlling and abusive relationship group” and I swear they were a Godsend at some really bad times in my life. They helped me figure out the correlation between good looks and more sympathy in society as many of them experienced the same thing.
    5. Eventually his sorry ass will show his true colors – I PROMISE!!! A douche bag can’t help but be a douche bag. Just give it time and when he does document the shit out of it and use it against him when the timing is right.

    • When I mean by engage on my list of advice, I mean engage your time of documenting. Sorry for the confusion! Grey rock, no contact, or limited contact is always the way to go as far as actual communication.

    • I am so glad you didn’t lose your children! It was worth it. You literally saved their souls. Congratulations!

      • Thank you! You’re absolutely right….I did save their souls (and mine). The kids are teenagers now and can see the mindfuckery with him, ex OW smoochie (they are now divorced) and his family. I went through some extreme PTSD issues during the brunt of it (including wetting the bed, loosing a lot of my hair, sleepless nights, confusion, etc.)….he and his family told the court and “friends” I was a substance abuser and that’s why I was so disheveled. When the psychiatrist unraveled the shit that’s when the tables turned and the kids and I were able to finally start healing. To those who are currently in pure hell, hang on with everything you have and fight (the right way….with documentation and grey rock) when the time is right. If I can do it, so can you!

  • In 9 years I have never received child support. Now, I don’t ever expect to because WA determined it would be “unfair to felons” if they were tasked with paying back support and thus have absolved inmates duties to pay while incarcerated. It is a “hardship” and paying for their children is a “barrier to re-entry.” Fory son’s sake, the hero would have been preferred over the felon.

  • “Heroism begins at home. If you’re not a hero in your own home with your own family, you’re not a hero for being of service to strangers. That makes you a con artist.”
    This!!! ( thanks V Hammer, I fully agree!)
    It’s incredulous how they truly do convince themselves they are doing the most good in the world and really do believe they are good people. I think it frustrates the hell out of them that they’ve lost the ability to con us with that belief. So , since they can’t con us, they must discredit us. They are able to get limitless ppl on board with their super hero status of greatness and amazing value to the world, as we stay in the background viewed as broken, bitter, narrow thinking discarded spouses who just don’t understand how great they truly are. It is difficult and frustrating to be the one that sees the naked emperor when most everyone else cannot.
    My exFW landed himself a job post retirement that is high prestige without pay at a educational facility. What a good guy he is, how giving to the world and what a role model for all those young promising lives he oversees. Meanwhile, he moved his way younger mistress into lodgings with him before any divorce was ever discussed, wreaking complete havoc on his home base of wife and three children. But all his goodness is celebrated, even saluted, in a military setting where integrity and honor reigns supreme.
    I often wondered how much could he have been vetted for the job when it would not have taken much work to discover he was a serial cheater for decades, master of manipulation, devoid of character and integrity, hurt many many people along the way, a misogynist of the highest order. Those are his true super hero skills. They do deserve oscars for their ability to deceive though, they are really amazing at it, I guess all that practice makes perfect.
    My heart goes out to all the chumps trying to chase after funds for their kids from these scummy scumbags! My kids were older and on their way, although I think less exposure to his rampant narcissism at younger ages, may have been the better option in the long run. I was not able to work my way out of the fog and confusion thrown in my path, to escape it earlier.
    Sane stable parenting, unconditional love and as little contact with these fools going forward as possible is what I see as the only path out. Our kids will see the emperor too someday, without any help from us to do so.
    Willie Nelson has a good song that sums it up nicely,
    “ It’s not something you get over, it’s something you get through”. It’s a grueling process, but I know there is not one of us that isn’t going to be better off in the areas that really matter in life, when we lose these total losers. Let them take their con games to some other stratosphere.

  • If I read 911’s post correctly. Her FW ex is a fireman and is also receiving veteran’s disability. Not sure how that works but whatever. He also has a side business cleaning pools and due to that side business he is losing his shirt and unable to pay child support? Yeah I think the IRS needs to get a phone call and a full scale audit needs to be imposed on this deadbeat.

    • Oh and while I certainly respect the jobs fireman and police do everyday, they are known to be cheaters. So as far as the hero worship goes, cheating shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

      • I disagree that a certain profession can be “known to be cheaters”. There are cheaters and faithful people in every profession.

        • I agree with you, Jennifer. They certainly come from all walks of life and all professions. It is curious, though, how many military men and women seem to be cheaters.

          Cheaters are just people with no boundaries, huge egos, and very little empathy for other people.
          The cheater in my life was an upstanding person in his profession, a ‘family man’, a man to be trusted. Not the case. Behind the lines he was cruel to his four children, especially his son, and cruel to his wife.

  • Wow, I am so glad my son was already done with college and in his profession when my DDays hit. The FW is a veteran and has joined all the veterans groups to try to wrap himself in the flag and make his cheater narrative seem so much more palatable. Of course I am the evil bitter wife and he accuses me of every deadly sin possible. Problem is his narrative does not support the his dealings to include lovely pictures of him and his fuck buddy going at it. Did not cover his tracks very well.
    My son sees him for what he is and has gone no contact. Everything to be said can go through my attorney. I am just trying to keep sane and safe. All I can say to 911 is that regardless of his being wrapped in the hero’s mantle, he sucks and will continue to suck. A real man and a real hero would own up and do the right thing for his children. He is neither a real man or a hero. Keep strong and support your kids.
    I am just in the start of the process and am sure FW will try to fight but this is a fault state and his adventure was nicely captured so he can’t tap dance too much.

  • Dear Don’t Call 911,
    You are not alone. This is what they do. It’s all part of the same narcissistic pathology. I read that narcissists have only two thoughts–controlling their image and punishing those who have seen the truth behind the image (exhibit A-Trump). Those are the only two things on their mind 24/7. So projecting a hero persona while not paying child support? Too perfect for them. Fits their only two goals in life. It is who they are.

    In my case, the FW is an ICU doctor. In his mind, the clouds part and he swoops down from heaven and saves people from COVID. At the start of the pandemic, he even flew to the hospital in Brooklyn that saw the first deaths from COVID. A few months ago, he flew to New Orleans to care for COVID patients during the hurricane. Nurses fall at his feet. Patients and their families tell him he is god. His parents think he is the second coming. We do court-ordered co-parenting counseling and even the therapist says “thank you for your service” every single dang time. WTH. Of course, he wears scrubs and answers life-saving pages at every session (on Zoom).

    The thing is he had multiple simultaneous affairs. And he’s a kleptomaniac. And he forges receipts and commits fraud. We were married 23 years and I didn’t know about any of it. We separated last year, divorce became final in August this year. Right from the start, he refused to pay child support and alimony. Simply refused. I had to sell jewelry and borrow money from my mom. I had to file a motion of contempt. The judge found him in contempt. He was forced to pay. But now, he filed a motion against me saying I owe him money. He wants to be paid back for my expenses for the children during our period of separation. It is simply unbelievable to me. I shouldn’t be surprised but I still am! I want to stop people on the street and tell them the latest unbelievable thing he did! My sister always has to remind me, “Why are you still surprised? He’s the anti-Christ. You should be surprised if he actually did the right thing.”

    I think we will heal faster once we stop being surprised. We should accept that this is who they are and congratulate ourselves for divorcing them. They are evil douchebags, full stop. Once we accept that, we can get into fight mode faster and more effectively.

    • That court-ordered therapist saying “thank you for your service” to one party at every session should be sued for malpractice. That is rank favoritism. Court-ordered therapy itself is nuts. For the personality-disordered, therapy is just another way to gain advantage.

  • My ex wife is one of the Registered Nurse heroes as is her sparkle dick. They both love the attention “hey look at me and how great am I that we help people”. People that use this “status” thing make me sick. And to go along with the child support thing she and her sparkle dick have manage to avoid child support by both of them working part time at 20-30 hours a week. These fucking judges allow this shit. They both went from making $120k a year in their positions to they both barely make $60k now. But their fucking heroes because they take care of people. It’s all bullshit the systems need to be revamped to prevent these assholes from pulling this shit. The only one they are hurting are the kids by pulling this part time work thing.

    • Yes, I’ve been through the same. My ex quit his job so that his wife could support him, and so that conveniently he could avoid child support. Outrageous, but legal.

      • Wow, what a prize! And she doesn’t think to herself, wow, if he’ll stop supporting our household just to spite an ex, what’s he going to do to me once I’ve stopped being useful. It’ll be interesting when your kids all age out, whether she gets dumped or not. That’s not your concern though. Rock on being mighty under shitty circumstances.

  • I could spend weeks tallying up the tens of thousands of dollars that my son’s father morally owes me, but that I will never get. Instead, I’ve moved on and don’t count on anything from him. He’s not much of a father, either, and that’s even worse.

    People who put the abusive ex on a pedestal need to be cut out of your life completely. This isn’t even about him being a perceived hero. People taking a truly rotten ex’s side happens all the time. The ex’s family, friends, even mutual friends- you can’t expect them to be fair and face reality and see him for what he truly is. They’re going to spackle for him and criticize you. That’s happened to all of us, especially those of us our abusive ex blatantly lies about.

    The family court & child support system in this country is a travesty. Full stop. That doesn’t mean it has to ruin your life. Make a new life without your ex and his supporters. It will feel very liberating not to be around them. Trust those of us who have been there and done that and know.

  • My FW is the king of “nice”. It’s why I overlooked so many red flags when I was dating him. It’s a facade that really only a few people are aware of. Like you OP, this frustrates me even two years out. I freely tell people what happened but in his world, people would be shocked and probably wouldn’t believe me. Mine too was cheating when I was pregnant and he actually filed for divorce when our kid was 3 months old. He created a story in his mind and for everyone else that this divorce was justifiable but conveniently left out how he has a severe porn addiction, was constantly messaging other women and having some type of affair with our neighbor. Not to mention, I discovered he has a thing for hooking up with pre-op transexual prostitutes.

    Since our divorce, he has played the role of super dad pretty much perfectly to the public. He knows how important his image is. He doesn’t mess up like some FW’s I read about. He works in the public school system, mostly with special needs children. He relishes the role of struggling single father with a young child. Most of the time, I do think people believe him and assume I must have been bat shit crazy for this nice guy to leave his wife who just had a baby. Yes, I still care that people don’t know who he really is. I don’t have any advice but you’re not alone in dealing with this type of FW.

  • Alternatively – here is something I rarely see discussed. FWs being purposefully underemployed either working under the table, not furthering their career, living off family money while the other parent is now a financially struggling single parent who in an attempt to make a better life for themselves, advanced in their career. As a result this parent now out earns the FW and owes them support bc they work the system that way. It works both ways.

  • My x (well, not x yet because his attorney files continuance after continuance costing me around $2k mo and mediation was 7 months ago) is a doctor. Bow down—he’s a doctor. Who solicits prostitutes. At work. Who use drugs. But, but he’s a doctor. A hero anytime, but now in covid times, damn, put a halo on this man. Child support—not for people if his stature.

  • One of the top reasons I stay is because my children are accustomed to a standard of living on FW’s six figure salary that I can’t even earn 1/5 of on my own. His family has a business. He says he will quit his job and go work for his family for minimum wage, getting paid the rest under the table, so he looks like he doesn’t make much money. He’s also threatened to ask for 50% custody, thinking he won’t have to pay anything. We would live in different states, so I don’t get how that would even work, and he spends NO time with them as it is. The family’s maid would be raising our kids. I believe he will do this, because it’s just what his dad did to his mother. And his family will pay for all the legal fees he wants to rack up. I don’t have anyone to help, and he knows it. The kids and I are screwed.

    And he wears a “hero” uniform. Once when we were posted overseas, I asked a particular Facebook group what to do about getting myself and the kids back to our home country if FW threatened to divorce me and throw me out of the house again. The moderator reported it as a potential DV threat to…wait for it…my husband’s office. I was completely unaware until I came home from preschool drop off, and he was waiting for me, shark eyes and all. I was absolutely terrified, and immediately backed out the house so I wasn’t alone with him. He smoothed it over with his office because it’s an old boy’s club. I was painted as unstable. So if you post on those groups, consider changing any identifying details.

    And I wonder how the combat veterans who have lost limbs, eye sight, and fellow soldiers feel about the veterans who get to go on disability for sleep apnea, carpal tunnel, and hangnails. It doesn’t seem fair.

  • My 2 cents on the VA disability con……if you have 30% or more you get priority government contracts along with woman owned or minority owned small businesses. It’s infuckingcredible how many men get 30% disability when they retire due to sleep apnea, or the family inherited bad back, or some other affliction that lots of people get as they age. Remarkably smooth process to get that documented as you retire. Then all your civilian friends rush to form a small business with you. And the gravy train stops right at the dick’s door.

  • I completely get the hero issue. This was exactly what happened to me as the hero in my story abandoned a 6 year old with autism. On her birthday. Hasn’t spoken to her for 4 years now, and 4 years later she still hates her birthday.

    He is absolutely committing disability fraud. But the VA won’t do anything, our tax dollars at work. He runs his new wife’s horse farm after quitting his job to avoid paying me anything. That new wife was my best friend.

    Long time lurker, but this post spoke to me.

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