The hardest part of my divorce has not been the loss of family, the financial strain, or the effect on my children….the hardest part has been watching the person who my partner decide to remove himself from our daughters life. When we were waiting to go into the courtroom this week, he complained to me that he had not agreed to a change in custody, only visitation.To me, they were one in the same. How can you go from 4o℅ custody to a single weekly visit for a few hours (which is much more than than once a month couple hours visit that he is actually having), and still say that you are a custodial parent? He got mad and said he would ask the judge…..the judge agreed with me, and saw that the custody change was what I asked for in the original order. My ex wants all of the benefits of being a parent (like a say in decisions), but none of the responsibilities of actually being a parent.
It’s heartbreaking to watch what a sad person he’s become. I feel sorry for him, knowing that he goes home to that terrible woman at night. His pettiness is beyond belief. I went into that courtroom and asked for a continuance because of his health issues (which I fully realize are inflated), and he refused to allow it. The judge was shocked…he told my ex that this was a gift….people don’t do this, I was being gracious and he should accept it. He has become so mean and petty that he would not allow it, and I just didn’t want to fight. I don’t want to fight him on every damn thing. I took the matter off calendar, and will probably re-file at some point. Even though I lost out on the extra money that I know I would be getting, I felt like being in control was a win for me. The judge told him once again that he was lucky and should appreciate it, but I know he doesn’t.
Last Friday, when I was at the courthouse to make my restraining order against my ex-husband’s girlfriend permanent, I ran into an acquaintance. She was there for divorce proceedings. Today, I was at the courthouse filing a request for order for modification of custody/visitation and child support. I saw the child of a friend sitting in the hallway with his grandfather. I’ve got to stop running into people that I know at the courthouse. Maybe I should just stay out of the courthouse….
Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away. Retailers across the US have displays bathed in red, aisles full of pink, and hearts and candy everywhere. I’m sure that I will be spending it alone and calling it an early night, as I did on my birthday and New Years Eve. I never was one for that sugary sweet, forced romance of St. Valentine, but it would be nice if that were a choice and not a given.
I miss passion, connection, and friendship. I know I shouldn’t compare, but it really irks me that my ex-husband (as rotten as he has become), has found a partner (as rotten as SHE is) that is completely devoted to him. She would go to the ends of the earth to protect him, and he knows it. I am jealous that he has someone in his corner and I stand alone.
It’s not fair. I devoted my life to my family. I gave everything up for him and the kids. He walked away with a career that I had created (he would never even have finished college without me), and slid right back into a life where someone was taking care of everything for him. I am carving a whole new life out of nothing, and I have nobody to share it with.
Mostly, I just struggle in silence. Once in a while, it becomes too much. Nobody said that life was fair….but nobody said that it could be so aweful either.
In lots of ways, I am feeling stuck right now. I’m stuck in between my ex- husband’s drama, getting prepared for another court case because he just can’t accept his responsibilities. I’m still stuck splitting my time, and now I’m stuck trying to find a local job. I’m stuck in a winter session class (halfway through!), and I’d kind of like to have sex, but since my kid is now always with me it makes that difficult.
Half of me wants to cut loose, get drunk, and just have a blurry irresponsible night….but I can’t drink for health reasons. I guess it’s loneliness, stress, and just life. I miss having someone who actually cared how I was and am tempted to go back to online dating to get that feeling, but I know all too well what that entails. I’m not prepared for that, and I’m way too busy.
This morning, I went back to court. Back to see if the judge would make my temporary restraining order permanent. The restraining order against my ex-husband’s girlfriend….who has been harassing me for two years. How did I get to this place where I had to get a restraining order against someone who (in a perfect world) would be a co-parent to my children? For two years, I have ignored her threatening, demeaning, harassing texts- sent via my ex-husband’s phone. I have lived in fear that she would make good on her violent threats, and wondered what exactly my children were subject to at their father’s house.
My turn the other cheek attitude ended on Christmas day, when she became physically violent with me and threatened to kill me….in front of my 16 year old. I could no longer stand idly by and allow her to molest me. My 16 year also followed suit and let my ex-husband know that they would not be spending anymore time at his house. I am proud of my child, and grateful for the court decision. It feels like a hollow victory though, since all I really wanted was to be left alone and not harrassed.
Some of my most vivid memories from childhood are from the dentists office. I only saw one dentist until I was an adult, and he also did my orthodontics. I had braces on for four years, so I spent a lot of time in that office. I can remember the smell of it, the artwork that hung on the walls (modern portraits of athletes like skier Jean Claude Killy), and the toys that were in the children’s waiting room (my favorite was the Fisher Price Little People Castle). I also remember the garden.
There was a waiting room for parents outside, and a separate waiting room with toys for the kids inside the office. There was one small treatment room, and a larger room with three or four dental chairs all together for general check ups and cleanings. This was the days before TV’s and video game consoles on dental chairs. This row of chairs faced large plate glass windows facing into a small garden. The garden was surrounded by cedar fencing. There was a bird feeder that hung on the fence, a round face with outstretched hands where you could place birdseed. There was never any seed in the feeder. The garden didn’t get much light, being that it sat between office buildings, so the plants were all things that could tolerate low light; mosses, wispy grasses, and house plant looking things.
I found looking out at that garden a very peaceful and calming thing. There must have been some thought about the effects of the garden on the patients, but I doubt they could have realized how much it affected us. There was a small water feature in the garden. The sound of that fountain is something I still remember.
The size and placement of that garden reminds me of my own patio now. Without realizing it, I am trying to recreate that same calming feeling with my patio. I haven’t come very far yet, but I know where it’s headed.
Since my ex-husband suggested a visitation schedule (prompted by Kiddo’s refusal to spend any time at his house after his girlfriend’s attack on me), and I agreed, I asked him if he would sign an amendment to our divorce reflecting that. He said he would if I signed a letter stating that I wouldn’t use that change to change anything else in the order. He’s such a dumb ass. I was trying to get him to do it the easy way, but I’ll be glad to drag his ass back to court and do it that way. Visitation only is what Kiddo wants, and she has good reason. I have written proof that he agreed to it before he realized it would change child support payments. He really thought that he could go from 40% custody to visitation only and not pay any more in child support. All of the benefits and none of the repercussions….just like always.