When I tell people that it took massive amounts of forgiveness to arrive at the level of coparenting that I have accomplished with my ex husband, I am not exaggerating.
When I walked away from that marriage, I left him with the house and almost everything that was inside of it. I took my girls, our old camping dishes, and some old basement furniture. He racked up a $900.00 phone bill in my name, because of the obscene amount of text messages he had exchanged with his new girlfriend. I couldn’t afford to pay it, so my phone got shut off and turned into collections. His mom bought him a new cell phone and paid the bill for him. My mom didn’t even know my phone was shut off, because she refused to talk to me, because she was mad about the divorce.
He quit his job as an assistant bank manager, to work a minimum wage job in a screw factory, so his child support would be next to nothing. Three days after the divorce was finalized, he had a job lined up making over $50k per year. I could not afford the $100.00 fee to file a motion in court and have his support raised. So the girls and I struggled while he flourished.
All of my money went to rent and daycare. I had to wash laundry in my bathtub because I couldn’t afford the laundromat. And he was all over Facebook, taking his new girlfriend to fancy restaurants and staying in fucking castles for the weekend.
A few years into the divorce, he inherited about a quarter of a million dollars in assets from his grandfather, including a house, classic cars, property, and two newer vehicles that were all paid for with cash. He also inherited plenty of cash.
My grandmother passed away that same year. My inheritance consisted of her beloved coffee mug that says , ‘You think it’s easy being a bitch?’ And even though it seems like life can be unfair, I fucking love that cup. My dad filled it with Hershey’s kisses when he gave it to me. A little reminder that sometimes you have to be a bitch on the outside to protect the sweetness within. And if you are truly a good person, than being a bitch can be the most difficult thing to be. But being a bitch is essential to the survival of modern day women. My grandmother taught me feminism in a million different ways and because of that, my inheritance was worth so much more than his will ever be.
I have had my job for fourteen years. I make decent money. But it was never enough to pay for everything. And even though I am better off now than I was back then, my financial life since the divorce has been my greatest struggle.
And now this mother fucker has the audacity to tell me that he wants custody of my youngest daughter because he fell in love a few months ago and his new girlfriend will be able to stay home with her, rather than have our fifteen year old daughter babysit. He thinks that I am unreasonable for making my teenage daughter spend her summers as a daycare lady.
I think it keeps her out of trouble and I see it as us being a team and making our little family work with what we’ve got. The money that I save in daycare costs is enough to pay for that daughter’s brand new iPhone 7 and a few summer getaways. For example, we’re driving to Kentucky this weekend to watch the great American eclipse in it’s totality. A trip that I absolutely can not afford. But I can’t really afford to miss it either. When science this glorious falls upon the earth, we are driving eight and a half hours to witness it!
Aside from the summer daycare, there’s a half hour before and after school that she babysits while I’m at work, and I have the flexibility to rearrange my schedule when my oldest daughter has after school activities. This system works great for everyone involved until he starts interfering and telling the girls that they shouldn’t have to do anything to help. He doesn’t understand the value of responsibility because he has never had any.
One month ago I was hiking through the upper peninsula with my ex husband and bragging about our incredible coparenting skills. Today, I am fantasizing about choking him.
He actually said that he missed out on our older daughter’s life, so he wants to make that up with a chance to raise our younger daughter.
He is the one who decided to move 100 miles away from us after the split. I would have never…no matter what…moved 100 miles away from my kids. He made that choice, not me. And now he is expecting me to just hand my daughter over to him and his new family and just accept the fact that the little girl who I have raised on my own for the past six years will now live 100 miles away from me. Not happening. Not a fucking chance.
My eight year old daughter resents me now, because I won’t let her change schools and live with her dad. She loves him. She misses him terribly. And she should, he is a great dad! He fucking shines at being a divorced dad..every other weekend and a few weeks out of the year. But she was too young to remember his violent temper. She doesn’t know that her hero of a dad punched holes in our walls and knocked out three windshields. She doesn’t remember him trashing the kitchen in a tantrum over his lost keys. She didn’t see all the neighbors rush out to their front porches while he screamed in my face and threw garbage cans at me. She only sees him in small doses, while he is on his best behavior. He knows and is aware that even one outburst while the kids are with him, and his weekends will be reduced to nothing. He has two weekends every month to put on a smile and be the fun guy, the one they love to be with because he is a good dad. But he is not a good person, and he should not be in charge of raising children just because he found a girlfriend who is willing to help him.
I have worked really hard at forgiving him. It’s a process , but I have absolutely found forgiveness here. However, I have not and will not forget what he has put me through.
I will give him 100% in an effort to coparent. I will consistently bend over to help in any way that I can. But when he starts fucking with my kids, feeling entitled and thinking I owe him a second chance to get it right, I will unleash my inner bitch like he has never seen before. She has been very hard at work, growing boundaries and learning how to defend them.
Just like my Grandmother’s cup asks … You think it’s easy being a bitch? It’s not! I want so badly to let my guard down and have a genuine friendship. But that guard protects me. Every person who has ever broken the barrier has fed their ego with my bones. I’m all done being a blood doll. I’m a bridge burning woman, now. Because I have to be.
And I knew it all along.