I’ve been told by a few friends that with all the turmoil and turbulence in my life lately, I should really start a journal so I can express my feelings instead of spewing verbal vomit on my ex which will damage not only my credibility if/when we go to court but also the ability to peacefully co-parent our young son. I want to be a “good ex” and having all these feeling inside which have nowhere to go only leaves me feeling powerless, frustrated and when that builds up…full of rage.
So, I applied to be a writer on Divorced Moms (having lurked and read everything which remotely sounds like my situation) and to my surprise, I’ve been accepted. Thus here begins my foray into the internet void.
I want to be honest. I want to be brave. I want to write about things that are personal and sensitive but I also need to protect myself and little Hidalgo. I made the mistake of making an off the cuff joke on my facebook page regarding a “part time artist in residence” deal for only 250€ per month which is the amount of money the ex has agreed to pay for child support and boy did it cost me.
I received a court order within a few days which requires that I appear in court in Ireland (I live in France) two months from now so that Mr. Smug can sue for joint custody and liberal visitation which I hadn’t been expecting. We agreed when I left that we would make informal agreements together and only have the court ratify what is decided. Being served a summons to appear in court was the last thing I expected.
Though I guess I had it coming. Mr. Smug has no interest in actual custody of his son and fully admits that taking care of him alone is “exhausting”. He uses his mother as a dual babysitter (himself and our son) whenever he takes him for more than a few hours. He also doesn’t see himself as having any real responsibility for the child’s care as evident by the tiny amount of support he’s offering. He has little interest in actually seeing Hidalgo on a regular and timely basis by the very vague nature of his first proposal for visitation but he is full of pride and ego.
Mr. Smug is a rich boy who wants everyone to know he comes from a wealthy family. He even corrected me when I accidently made the mistake of saying he was middle class once (I was thinking of the English upper class who call themselves middle class). “My family is upper class” he said, dryly and without a hint of humour but full of condesension.
His family keeps him on a short leash giving only enough money to keep him from actually working for a living at the age of 32 but his home is large (bought for far more than it’s worth during the Celtic Tiger days) and has a bank balance which can easily support him for years. He also gets rental income from a property we bought together 50/50 but since I receive half of that income, we are technically “equal”.
Anyway, my lawyer advised me after a call with his lawyer about this terrible breach of trust on facebook that I should refrain from airing our dirty laundry on social media. To be clear, I have never posted anything about our relationship, separation or child support issues…but I have to admit that having friends in common who know a little about our situation, I knew it was possible that some of his friends would figure out what that sum of money was refering to. And it would be embarrassing for him. He is priviledged, he likes everyone to know he is “old money, aristocratic” which means he likes to appear above the fray of the working class. No cares, no worries of the future, just partying through his entire twenties and now working towards a legal profession becoming of his inherited status in the world.
So I have to be very careful. I don’t want to poke the bear and get the full weight of the family dynasty on my already fragile position and burn the bridge to Hidalgo’s extended family. I know they love him and I want them to be in his life. It’s terrible what is happening between his father and I but that isn’t a reason to keep the grandparents, aunts and cousins away…even if they refuse to get ahead of the situation by actually offering financial support. I come from a family of divorce and burned bridges and while it happened when I was too young to recall, I know that I missed something in life by not having a large extended family.
With that in mind, I created my account and then following some guidelines about the best way to promote my articles, created my very first Twitter account. Unfortunately, I did this using my personal email account and not knowing anything about how twitter works, I received my first follower. Great, I thought. I’m going to set the internet on fire! Then I saw who the follower was: Mr. Smug’s best friend from childhood who happen to see that my email account was linked to Twitter. Uh-oh. I blocked him fast and continued with building my profile but now I’m a little worried.
What if I’ve missed something? What if someone he knows stumbles into this space and recognizes our story? What if he finds out what I’m doing and tries to get revenge by taking Hidalgo? I made one little inocuous comment on facebook and got the court/custody hammer down on me fast. I know it’s a huge risk but I want to tell you a story. A story about an international love affair, a year of unimaginable sadness and a little boy who got caught in the middle.