One of the most enjoyable things about blogging, apart from the writing itself, is discovering other interesting blogs and fantastic writers. One of those I follow and relate to most closely is Authentically 50 written by Janie Leeds, whose life experience on turning 50 and getting divorced mirrors (sometimes quite scarily!) my own.
Recently, there have been a couple of posts on her blog which have not only resonated with me, but have made me stop and do some deep thinking.
In her 1st March blog ‘Single Parenting’ Janie writes, “It’s like I have handcuffs on even though I’m divorced” … oh yes, I feel that! And later in the month in ‘Single parents, can you relate to this?’ she describes forced co-parenting as job sharing where “the person you job share with is an idiot and has no clue what he’s doing”… I know that feeling too.
Then last night, I was out for a drink with a friend who is long time estranged from the father of her children – they were never married, but the issues around separation, extrication of finances and co-parenting are the same. Amongst other topics discussed during the evening, talk turned to the latest “pile of poo” (technical term) that had arisen in my post-divorce single-mum existence.
Without boring you too much. let’s just say that since my ex-husband walked out to forge his way in his post-marital new life, it has become clear that (a) he is not financially astute, and (b) that he is incredibly selfish. When you put those two things together, you end up with a man who overspends on feathering his new nest, to the extent that he gets himself into debt, then cries that he ‘can’t afford’ the child maintenance agreed in the divorce court order, and cuts it without so much as a by your leave. So in material terms, this means that he can still afford to drive a 280 mile round trip every other weekend to see his new ‘belle’ but can’t afford to honour the terms of the divorce agreement. He has also flagrantly ignored the clause of the order that requires him to protect the children should he ever find himself out of work – he was required to take out an insurance for incapacity to work, but apparently ‘can’t afford’ that either, and two years post divorce I am still facing the threat that if he is made redundant or becomes too ill to work, I could lose the roof over mine and OUR kids heads… And we’re about to end up back in court over it 😦
Forgive me if I sound bitter. It’s difficult not to…
But then, it’s also totally unproductive and self-destructive to let this STILL be eating away at me this long post-divorce.
In my blog for Challenge #13 I wrote, “The man I married, the man I loved, the father of my children – the man I see today is not that man.” I know that to be the truth, and yet I still find myself disappointed every time I look for him. The man I was married to would have done anything for his kids, and always put them first. He wouldn’t have knowingly threatened their wellbeing or risked their security. But he does that now, seemingly without any compunction. He argues that it is more important for him to exercise what he calls his “right to a life” than it is for him to ensure that for the next couple of years the kids needs are put first. It’s killing me.
So, what has this got to do with 50shadeofbrave, you may be wondering? Well, if I had a penny for every one of my friends who is telling me to cease all contact with him, to stop having any expectations, to forget about co-parenting or fair play or the kids coming first… I probably wouldn’t need him to even pay child maintenance!! But it would seem that this challenge is one I’m having difficulty in rising to.
I’ve asked for help with challenges before. And help has always materialised. So, here I am, on this blog, asking you as friends, readers, followers, for help. If you have any practical, spiritual or other suggestions how I can meet the challenge of moving on and releasing all expectations of my ex-husband, I invite you to send them my way.
And I promise to be brave enough to try. Harder.