What Is Best for the Child

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I did fear getting a divorce for so long because of my daughter. Growing up, I didn’t really know any children from divorced families. The one I did know, she already had a step-father and was adopted by the step-father. So, I never wanted my daughter to grow up in a broken home.

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I know – deep down – that divorcing my ex was the right decision. He brings out the worse in me, which affects my parenting for my daughter. For those two years after the divorce that I stayed with ex, I was still showing a horrible example for my daughter.

Teaching her what love looks like and how people that love you should treat you well is important. Even after I was finished with ex, I would still defend him. I would make excuses for him, because in my mind I was doing what was best for my daughter.

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I realized by making excuses for ex was really not the best thing for my child. I was teaching her that if someone loves you then they treat you horribly and like your feelings do not matter. Now, the best I can do is apologize to my daughter for ex’s behavior. I can’t fix it. I can not make excuses. I cannot change it. I do not regret he is her father – the two of us made her.

Honestly, I do not know if my ex would qualify to be a “narcissistic” individual. I hear and see that term used so much that I really do not want to misuse it. I do believe he definitely has narcissistic behaviors. I do know instead of communicating with me, he lies to me or he uses my daughter as a messenger.

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There are many examples of how ex will not co-parent with me. He teaches my daughter to lie to me. He undermines me. He tries to turn her against me.

He was supposed to be gone for another week on orders. Well, that fell through. So, guess who came back on Friday? *joy…*

I did ask ex about switching days – I get my daughter for Saturday and he get her for Sunday – because we’d already had plans for this weekend. Technically, I think I had the legal right not to let him have her at all this weekend, but I am not going to behave like that.

Well, ex sends my daughter a text saying that since he is getting her Sunday he is just going to ask me if he can keep her Sunday night and take her to school on Monday morning. My daughter and I have a great relationship. She tells me what ex says. She does try to keep me inform so I’m not completely blindsided, BUT she is a child. It is not her job or her responsibility to do that.

So, yesterday when ex came to pick up my daughter I was waiting for him to ask about taking her to school on Monday. He said nothing about it. He turned to leave and said “I’ll see you later.”

Really, he is going to leave without saying anything? He needs to communicate.

So, I ask “when are you bringing her back?”

He says, “Uhh, I was kind of hoping I could take her to school on Monday.”

Me: It’s up to her what she wants to do.

My daughter hates making decisions. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. She doesn’t want to cause dramas or fights. Her and I had already discussed her staying with ex Sunday night – so I knew her thoughts and feelings on the subject. I see my daughter’s anxiety starting up. I tell her to go get all of her stuff for school.

She goes back into the house to get all of her stuff.

Me: When were you going to ask about taking her to school?

Ex: Uhh… right now.

I want to scream at him. I know he think he is being cute and funny, but I no longer find him cute or funny. I find him challenging.

Me: Well you need to start communicating with me.

Ex: I sent her a text asking her about talking to you about me taking her to school on Monday.

Me: You need to ask me. Don’t expect her to do it.

Ex: I know.

Sure he knows, but he doesn’t care. We will have the same issue in the future. Nothing is going to change.

 

 

Expected Rainbows and Song Birds

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Six years ago I filed for divorce. I have went back and forth wandering if I made a big mistake by filing. Wondering what is wrong with me. Wondering why ex wasn’t content being with me. After our divorce was finalized five years ago, I stayed with ex. I still believed I had made a big mistake. We didn’t live together anymore. So, if we did fight then we could be away from each other. I was dating my ex again. Our relationship was the best it’d been in years.

Four years ago, I was blindsided. I went over to ex’s house and there was another woman sitting on the couch next to him. Her kids were sitting in the floor playing with my daughter. I honestly did not know what to do or say. I left. I went to the store and tried to focus on what I needed from the store. Ex called me and asked if I was okay. I asked him if he was seeing that woman. He told me yes. How could I have missed the signs?

Worse part is, I continued to see him. My ex is like a drug. I know he is bad for me, but I was addicted. I had to go back. I could not live without him. I did not know how to live without him. I continued to sleep with him. I knew he had a girlfriend. Apparently, she would not have sex with him so that was what I was for.

In my head, I excused his behavior. We had been together since high school. Maybe if I let him see what else was out there then he would realize that he still loved me. I lower my self worth. I made myself more “available” for him. I did oral for ex all of the time – even though I hated doing oral on him.

I was happy to see that chick out of the picture. But I was more aware of signs after her. I noticed ex’s behavior for a few weeks and asked him if he was seeing someone else. He lied to my face and said no.

Now, here’s the thing about my ex, he has a specific facial expression that he makes when he lies. I have seen that expression millions of times. He thinks he is fooling me – even now he still lies to me.

He told me she was just a friend that needed help fixing her dishwasher. I should have seen everything wrong with that lie. You don’t want ex fixing anything. He gets angry and throws things and then usually breaks things even more. I continued to stay with ex. I needed him. I loved him. I needed him to love me.

I actually did not know about girlfriend until three-years-old. That means they were together for an entire year while he was still with me.

One day, my daughter started crying. I asked what was wrong. She said “dad told me not to tell you.” What?!? I find out that ex had taken my daughter to this woman’s house for sex and then told my daughter not to tell me. He lied to me. He was teaching my daughter to lie to me. I was pissed off beyond words.

When I confronted ex about, now current girlfriend, and if they were sleeping together he got the biggest shit-eating grin on his face. I do remember sleeping with him again after that, why I do not know. I needed that drug. I seriously thought I did not deserve better. I felt like I was doing the right thing for my family. I cried and hated myself every single time we had sex. I felt cheap and dirty.

I wanted to know about this woman. She had stolen my man. She was around my daughter. I wanted to know her.

Ex would not tell me much about her.

Even after I completely broke things off with ex, he would not tell me about this woman. He would not allow me to meet her. He was sneaking her over at night and then pushing her out of the house before our daughter would wake up. My daughter caught them and ex told her she was making things up.

I wanted – still want – a good co-parenting support for my daughter. I wanted ex and girlfriend and I to be civil and be able to hang out with each other for my daughter’s sake.

Honestly, I really did want to be friends. Even though I hated ex and did not trust him. I was more angry at him than at girlfriend. I mean, he was with me and telling me he loved me yet still shopping around – just like during our marriage.

I don’t know who to really be mad at in this situation. I mean, I was angry at myself for being so stupid and continuing to sleep with him and let him treat me like a crazy person. I was angry at him for not having the balls to talk to me like an adult. I was angry at him for using me. I was angry at him for not being faithful. I was angry at girlfriend for messing with another woman’s man. I was angry at both of them for trying to replace me in my daughter’s life. I was angry at both of them for not wanting to set up a successful co-parenting/support system.

I don’t know who is to blame, really. I blamed myself for a long time. Some days, I still blame myself. I blame ex. I know you cannot steal a man that does not want to be taken. I know he was always looking for someone else. I blamed girlfriend for messing around with someone else’s man. I know it was like a game for both of them. For me, it wasn’t.

I tried meeting girlfriend – the first time she would not get out of OUR bed and meet me. The next time she made out with ex in front of me. I mean, I don’t know if it was like to prove to me that she won and I lost. It was gross. I wanted to tell her that he cheated on her with me. Actually, I still want to tell her.

Back then, I really did feel like she won and I lost. Now, I look at the “prize” and think what a shitty thing to win in a horrible mind game. She can have him. I am done with that drug.

Just like with anything addictive, I think about what-if. I used to smoke cigarettes. That was a very hard habit to break. Now, the smoke makes me sick to my stomach. I used to self-injury. I do think about falling back into old habits, but I have to remember that I am a role model for my daughter. Same thing with ex. I think a part of me – deep, deep down – does still love him. I’m not sure if I actually love “him” or do I love the idea of being in a relationship and having a man in my life.

It has been one challenge after another. I have hit rock bottom during some of those challenges. I stayed angry at both of them and myself for so long. I have remained bitter. I still think ex plays mind games with me. I still think he gets off on making my life hell.

I know his opinion of girlfriend and her kids. I know he has told me she is easy and has been around. I know they have broken up multiple times and he still goes back – maybe she is his drug. I know he has told our daughter he is only with girlfriend because her kids need a dad.

Those kids have dads. They see their dads. He needs to be a dad to his own daughter.

Ex has brought girlfriend and her kids to my house. They do not get out of the car. But he would never tell me where she lived. I thought it was important that I know because my daughter was over there so much.

Before I met girlfriend I imagined what she was like. I pictured a cute blonde and very thin. Not knowing where she lived or what the house looked like, I pictured his cute, picture perfect house with a white picket fence.

Things are not how I pictured. Ex always gave me hell about my weight. Ironically, since girlfriend has been with ex she has gained a ton of weight. I have heard her speak before. Her conversation bored the living hell out of me. Honestly, all I heard was “blah blah blah.” I wonder if girlfriend and I tried conversing again if I would be less bitter this time – that last time was three years ago.

I would see ex hold her hand and kiss her. I would feel so jealous. I would hate them both. I would hear about everything they did together and with the kids. Again, I would feel angry because ex never did that with my daughter or me.

I know every relationship has a honeymoon phase.

I know things are never as they appear. I know it is easy to make the relationship look happy and both parties to hide the truth.

Ex moved in with girlfriend. I told him he had to tell me where she lived. Our paperwork states I have to have current phone number and address for ex at all times.

I finally got girlfriend’s address.

Ex is currently on orders across the country. My daughter’s belongings are at girlfriend’s house. Last night, she needed something that could not wait. I told her to call her dad to make sure girlfriend was home – since my daughter does not have a key to the house – and I would drive her over there to get her things.

My daughter led me to girlfriend’s house. I pulled up to this house. I expected this gorgeous home, white picket fence, birds singing, and a rainbow above it. Instead, I wasn’t impressed. The house was nothing special. The yard was neglected. The cars – most of them were ex’s – but the one’s that were girlfriend’s were dented. There was no white picket fence. No gorgeous rainbow plastered in the sky above the house. Honestly, if I did not know who lived there and just judging by the house and surroundings I would guess an old woman. If I was taking my daughter trick-or-treating, it would be a house that I would probably just pass by – that would be the house that would give out the popcorn ball or that gross candy in the black or orange wrapper.

I wander what happened with ex and girlfriend when he called to tell her that I was bringing my daughter over.

I did not get out of the car – there was no point. I went there to let my daughter get some things, and that’s what I did.

Hopefully another step in the right direction. Proof that I am still continuing to heal.

***

Oh, update on the 24 year-old with online dating… Yeah, he did not make the cut. I had to block him. He last longer than most. Good conversation. But he was way too needy, and clingy. Maybe that’s why he was looking for an older woman, to mother him. Ha, sorry, I’m the wrong chick for that. But, maybe looking for a younger guy would not be completely insane. I mean, age is just a number, right?

I Don’t Want to be Replaced as Mom

My daughter was seven when I filed for divorce. However, I continued to be with my ex-husband for two more years after our divorce was finalized. After ex and I were finished, he was seeing someone else (actually before we were finished – but that is a different post completely). She was already around my daughter. Ex was paying for them to have their nails done together – something that he had never done for me. I felt like I was being replaced as her mother. He was trying to make my daughter bond with this other woman. Paying for things to try to bring them closer together. Giving them opportunities to do things I’d never gotten to do with my daughter.

It did not help when I found out he was seeing this woman the same time he was telling me that he loved me and was having sex with me. He was spending the days with me and our daughter, and sneaking – now girlfriend – this woman into the house at night (we lived in separate houses that’s why I was not aware for this happening).

When I found out, I broke. I had an anxiety attack so bad that I ended up blacking out. I fell into a three month depression where I was physically ill all of the time. I was not eating or sleeping. I was a horrible role model for my daughter. I really did fear I would be replaced. Actually, looking back I’m surprised my daughter did not want to replace me.

I’m pretty sure if it was ex’s choice, my daughter would have to call this woman “mom.” I’m pretty sure he would just erase me from the picture completely.

Back then, I feared I would be replaced in my daughter’s life. I mean, what nine year old would not love to get their nails done; go shopping; and have this “family” because that was the woman with her dad.

My daughter is about to turn thirteen. I do not fear being replaced as her mom. She knows I am mom. She knows I am in her corner 100%.

Yesterday, my daughter I were talking. She’s having to do a fundraiser for school. The school told the students the best place to sell is at church. Um… neither ex nor I are Christian, and do not attend church. I know girlfriend makes her kids go to church, so I made a comment to my daughter that I guess she could try going to their church and sell her stuff for the fundraiser.

I asked what type of church do they attend – I was raised going to church so I was preparing for possible questions. My daughter did not know. So, I started explaining to her what church was like depending on the different domination.

My daughter’s next comment actually stopped me in my tracks: I’ve already went to church with girlfriend and her kids.

What!?

When?!?

Ex went??!?!?!?!

Apparently, ex did not go. He sent my daughter with them. But this happened years ago. Apparently it was just the one time.

I was so hurt: 1. I did not know about this sooner. – What if she had questions? What if she wanted to start attending church? I was in the dark about another thing in my daughter’s life. 2. Ex would make a decision like that without talking to me. – Typical behavior from him. But seriously, I think both parents should be included. Yes, my daughter’s religion and beliefs are hers to make, but if we are introducing something important that could and possibly would affect her BOTH PARENTS SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THAT DECISION. 3. What else do I not know that I am going to be blindsided by? This is the one that really scares me. What else has happened while my daughter is with ex and girlfriend that I do not know. Why didn’t she tell me – was she scared? Did she not think it was important?

I did talk to my daughter about it, so we got that situation taken care of.

Then she made a comment about girlfriend – honestly, I don’t remember the comment. I said, I don’t know because I don’t really know girlfriend. My daughter said, that’s okay you’re not missing out on anything.

So, I don’t know if that comment was made because she wants to protect my feelings or if she really dislikes girlfriend.

I have heard my daughter refer to girlfriend as “step monster.” I tell her that is not nice. I do expect my daughter to have respect for people that earn/deserve it. I know the stories that I hear this woman has not earned my daughter’s respect. As far as I can tell she is respectful to the girlfriend. She doesn’t call her names. She helps around the house. She does things with girlfriend – they still get their nails done together.

Here’s my conflict. A part of me does want to get to know this woman. I want to have this support system for my daughter.

Actually, a lot of things I hear about girlfriend – she is a lot like me! Same taste in movies, and some music. We both have tattoos. We both dye our hair (I do red and black. She does blonde and black). But we are different. I never wear makeup. She never is seen without makeup – my daughter said even when they do not leave the house, girlfriend wears makeup 24/7. Her hair is always in a tight bun. Mine is always down in my wild curls. Used to girlfriend was thin – ex always criticized my weight. Last time I seen girlfriend, she was pretty close to my size.

I wonder if girlfriend and I would click.

But then I think why? Why try to be friends?

I don’t want to be friends with someone that sleeps with someone else’s man. I don’t want to be friends with someone that tries to keep the parents from having a good, civil relationship with each other for the sake of their child(ren). I don’t want to invite dramatic possibilities into my life. Besides what would happen when we start sharing stories about ex. eww.

As much as I don’t want to be replaced as mom – I don’t think I will be replaced – I wonder what will happen when I meet a great man. My daughter has already asked if/when I get remarried if she could call the new guy “dad.”

Oh, and I finally got the address from ex – since he is moving in with girlfriend. I got her address and home phone number. I put that information in my phone. Found her Facebook profile and got a contact photo of her. She’s not saved in my phone by her name – nor is ex. But instead, ex is saved as My daughter’s father; girlfriend is saved as Ex-husband’s girlfriend. Both are in another language.

Hopefully, healing is taking progress… baby steps.

Once in a lifetime opportunity.

Yesterday was the last day of cheer camp for my daughter. The squad put on a performance for the parents at the end of the day. They did an awesome job. It’s amazing how far our seventh grade cheerleaders have come since they first started cheering – many of them have been cheering together since third grade, my daughter included.

At the end of the camp there was also an award ceremony. My daughter received an award for her leadership skills and overall cheer skills. Awesome! The award included a medal and a certificate. The award also includes a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The once in a lifetime opportunity is getting to perform with the group (everyone that received this award at cheer camp over the summer in the country) at a halftime show at a major football game in a completely different state. Sounds awesome, right? It is a week long event. The actual performance is on my daughter’s thirteenth birthday. She mentioned that would be an awesome birthday. Again, I completely agree.

So, what’s the issue? Money.

It is going to cost over two-thousand-dollars per performer. Depending on how many people stay in one room, the cost could be over three-thousand-dollars per non-performer. This includes a five day, four night stay in a hotel; five meals per person; a charter bus to all events and locations; a ticket to an amusement park; the performer gets a costume for the football game; a ticket to the football event; and various other items.

The money is a major issue. I sent my family a message yesterday; their response: “tell ex-husband.” That was it. Not, “oh how about this idea” or “we could donate five dollars.” So, obviously family is out of the question.

I contacted ex. He is still deployed. Surprisingly, he thinks it would be a great thing for our daughter to go. For the past thirty minutes we have been communicating via text on how could this work? How would she get there? How are we going to come up with the money?

Of course, ex automatically asked if instead of staying at the assigned hotel could they just stay on a military base (which would be cheaper), but if the company needs the girls at the hotel for practice you would think they need to be guests at that hotel. I don’t know. I’m just glad he did not automatically say “no.” There might be a chance my kid gets to have this awesome experience – and for it to be on her thirteenth birthday, wow that would be a birthday to remember.

Would I be okay with ex taking her and I not go (because seriously, for non-performers it is going to be over three-thousand dollars. That is not in my budget – unless I win the lottery or find a sugar daddy, gross)? I want her to go. At least if ex goes then I know she would be okay. I’m sure she would stay so busy with practices and assigned group activities that she would have fun. I figure parents are going to be stuck having to entertain themselves for the majority of the trip, which would work out better if I stayed home and continued to work (five days of no income and spending over three thousand dollars, yikes). I’m pretty sure I could get pictures and videos from all of the events and activities for the entire week from ex (and if any other cheerleaders from our area go).

I can handle being away from my daughter for a week, I think haha. I would know that she would be having this amazing adventure and I would get to hear all about it when she gets back home. However, missing her birthday? Could I forgive myself? Would she forgive me?