It's easy to feel pissed at my deadbeat ex on a regular basis. Even the smallest things can set me off. But, it's time to stop being pissed for the sake of me and my kids.
It's unreal for me to think that the man I walked down the aisle with and was married to for nearly 17 years is the same man I am so furious with on a regular basis these days! He's the father of my children, I know this. But I'm pissed; I’m so sick of the selfish way he puts his needs and his drinking habits first and how comfortable he is in the role of a deadbeat Dad.
This shouldn’t surprise me since this was the story of our marriage most of the time. But when my oldest daughter has to drive him home from a high school basketball game because, according to the text she sent her friends, "driving cause dad is drunk af," I can’t help but feel pissed!
In fact, it seems lately I’m always pissed with him about something. For example:
I make more money than my ex-husband. I made more than him when we were married, too. I supported our family and worked hard and I DID NOT COMPLAIN – EVER. So, I don’t know why I get so pissed that he doesn’t contribute financially for our kids now because he never has! Homecoming, prom, school supplies, haircuts, college visits…you name it, these are all things he likes to tell people he’s involved with and post about on social media, but never takes financial responsibility for.
Money, money, money I'm lucky enough to have
My daughters ask me for checks for national honor society, homecoming and basketball game t-shirts. They need new softball cleats, a school yearbook, outfits for the black light dance, and groceries for foods class. They need cash for gas, for dinner with friends and for milkshakes at the ice cream shop. Even when they are at softball games with their dad on his weekend, I'm the one handing out money for drinks and food.
Our divorce paperwork does not include alimony or child support. We have an agreement for both of us to contribute an equal amount to a savings account. This amount is intended to cover school registration fees, player fees for sports and things the kids need like shoes and clothes. The arrangement worked for a while. But when he stopped contributing over 16 months ago, there hasn’t been a thing I can do about it.
Going to court could mean…
- Paying him child support because I make more money than he does and still pay all of the kid’s expenses because he’s so selfish; and/or
- Spending more on chasing down money he owes me when, in reality, I have a kid going to college this fall who could really use the cash. As my attorney put it, “be lucky you have a job to take care of them.” And she's right, I do feel lucky, even blessed I can do it. It still doesn't mean I'm not pissed about it.
Tired of being asked for money but, still grateful
Am I glad my kids ask me for money? Of course! Am I to blame for them always asking me because I do it without hesitation? Absolutely! But I do it because I'm so tired of being pissed. I spent over 20 years being pissed.
Pissed I was lonely yet married.
Pissed at his affairs, his inability to listen to anything that wasn't about where to get his next drink, and his late-night coach’s meetings at the ball field.
Pissed I was just never good enough.
I get so tired that I can’t protect my kids anymore. We have a joint custody agreement with 50/50 visitation. This means my girls are at their dad half their life and are learning these dark secrets I hid from them for years. It hurts watching them exposed to things I protected them from and it makes me so tired.
That drive home from the high school ball game I mentioned? I told my oldest I was sorry she had to deal with that. Her exact words were "It's not your fault." What a smart kid! She's right, it's not my fault and it’s not her or her sister’s fault. We shouldn’t be the ones who keep getting pissed off and pissed on.
Trying to control my actions and reactions to his bad behavior
I’ve decided that I control my actions and my reactions and that I can't control his. If I let him piss me off, he will. He sits with my family at those high school basketball games. He invites himself to events he knows my brothers are attending. He does this because he knows it will hurt my feelings. And I am letting him do that and I won’t take it anymore.
I talk to my kids about his behavior. I let them know what they see is not normal and what they need in and from a father is not that. I don't do it in a way that is hateful towards their dad (which I totally want to do), but I try to point out lessons: don't drink and drive, think of others first, know your money situation and own it. "You don't need a man to take care of you," I tell them. You need a partner. Get an education and a good job to pay your own bills. Period.
I suck it up and I love my kids. I am broke, I'm depressed and I'm stressed and there are many others that feel the same way. I'm choosing to deal with all that by putting my kids first and sacrificing whatever I must so I can make it work for them. Because I don't want my three daughters to be pissed. I want them to feel loved and know they can count on me. Even if they can't count on him for anything but learning what they don't want to be.