Normally I don't write about my ex-husband as I prefer not to remember that particular ten years of my life when I very obviously drifted out of sanity. The only good thing that came out of the entire decade were my two daughters and the confirmation that I truly am better off alone than with the wrong person. I had known that before but it apparently took ten years of marriage to an arrogant, pig-headed, my-way-or-the-highway man to really hammer it home. I should've listened to my Dad as we walked down the aisle on that fateful day in August 1991 when he told me "there's still time to turn around". Sigh - one of the many times I should've listened to my Dad!
At any rate, the reason I am railing at the computer screen today is that I had the conversation to end all conversations with my ex yesterday and rather than hold it inside and keep it to myself, I'll do what comes naturally and write about it. Perhaps then I can either understand it from his point of view or at least lower my blood pressure a little bit.
Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning are aware that I gave primary physical custody to my ex when we divorced in an effort to give both of us the chance to act like mature adults and avoid a nasty, drawn-out court battle which would have done no one any good, especially the girls. All was well, good, and fine until a love connection was made via eHarmony.com and the ex packed up the kids and all of his worldly belongings to move to Kentucky to be with his new bride and her kids.
After a little over a year, Amanda was sent back to me as she was disrupting the entire house and her father no longer wanted to deal with her. Jamie, my youngest, continues to live with her Dad and new step-family in Kentucky and has adjusted better than Amanda. Jamie is the spit-in-your-eye wanna-be rocker of the family but Amanda is the more senstive and emotional one and she had a lot of trouble dealing with her Dad's extreme strictness.
So ... Amanda has been happily living back here with me for close to a year and has done very well. She brought home excellent grades from school last year, graduated with several awards in hand, smiles a lot, happily spends her time drawing or reading, and has not given me a single problem except for minor stuff like a complete and total inability to pick up after herself or turn off the lights when she leaves a room.
During this entire time her father has not written her a single letter, called specifically to talk to her (except when I prompted him to call her on her birthday), or sent a gift for Christmas or her birthday. He definitely has not contributed one single dime towards her support and yet he has still expected me to send him child support for Jamie. I had been doing this up until Jamie returned after this summer's visit as the whole unbalanced injustice of it just didn't seem right to me. Plus I felt it was more important to feed and clothe the daughter I had here rather than send money out to Kentucky to support the care and feeding of the nine dogs that have found a home with the ex and his new wife. I'm sorry but I don't for a minute think that any of the money I was sending out for Jamie was being used on her as the child looks like an extra from Oliver Twist every time she steps off the plane to visit (the visits that I pay for).
Which brings us to yesterday's conversation ... after missing two child support payments it was time for the ex to call and ask me if I had conveniently forgotten to send the checks and when I explained my reasoning to him as well as outlined the financial strains that I'm under raising a child on my own with absolutely no support from any other parent he had the audacity to tell me that perhaps it was time for Amanda to return to Kentucky as "the one-year trial of her living back there is almost over". THE ONE-YEAR TRIAL??? This was the first I had ever heard of a freakin' one-year trial and I never would have agreed to one to begin with if that's what he had suggested. My recollection of the conversation was that Amanda wasn't happy in Kentucky, her unhappiness was causing problems with the new wife, and perhaps it was time for her to live with me instead. Of course, the ex remembers it differently but that doesn't really come as much of a surprise to me as he has always had a selective memory.
He then went on to state that perhaps if I had a better lifestyle then I wouldn't have the financial difficulties that I have. WHAT LIFESTYLE?? I work, I come home, I go back to work for the most part - I have no lifestyle as I can't afford one! Of course, what he was referring to here is my refusal to attend church services each week and if I would be the good Christian that he knows me to be and go to church all would be well and fine in my life.
Ah, and there's the crux of the matter - one of the major reasons we finally got divorced after ten years of unwedded bliss. My ex is an over-the-top fundamentalist Christian who prefers to attend churches where they interpret the Bible from the original Greek text and believe that women are subservient to men. He believed that he was the king of his castle and that I was there to not only work and bring home income but cook, clean, and raise the children while bowing to his greatness. Obviously I failed miserably in the subservient department (go figure!) and though, before I married the man, I had what I thought was a very good relationship with God, the stuff that he was shoving down my throat left a very bad taste in my mouth for church and organized religion. He need not worry about my Christianity or my lifestyle - both are fine, thank you. As Phillipe said in Ladyhawke,
"Sir, the truth is, I talk to God all the time, and, no offense, but he never mentioned you."My religious beliefs aside, the whole thing just ticks me off to no end as he is not for one minute thinking about his daughter. When I told him that it wouldn't be fair to send Amanda back to Kentucky when she had just started her freshmen year and was quite happy and settled his response was "oh well, she'll just have to adjust". I don't think so. I don't think she's going back to Kentucky at all and if I have to bankrupt myself with legal costs, I will make darned sure it doesn't happen unless it's something that she wants. And she tells me that she doesn't want to go back - not at all. At fourteen, I think she's old enough to make that decision and hopefully a judge would think the same thing.
So I guess it's back to court for that nasty, drawn-out court fight I wanted to avoid over four years ago. Swell. But what kind of mother would I be to not fight for my daughter even if the person I'm fighting is her father?
My Dad was right - my ex is a goober. And that's being polite about it!