Just because your ex gets a dog doesn’t mean he isn’t still a dog!
Is that a dog? I stared in disbelief as I pulled into the parking spot beside my ex. It was our normal day and time to exchange the kids. All was normal, except for that cute dog.
My ex stood waiting by his fancy German car with the hatchback open. A cute brown dog was laying in the back of the car on a blanket. What a polite dog. I would have expected a dog to jump out as soon as the door was open.
Yes, my ex confirmed my suspicion. He got a dog. Sort of an obvious conclusion to make, if you didn’t know the backstory.
My ex hates dogs. He isn’t nice to dogs. But he seems to be nice to this dog. Only a nice guy would bring his dog along for the car trip, and give him a blanket to lay on.
It feels wrong. My intuition is telling my brain not to believe what I see. But my eyes are telling me to believe what I see. My ex has changed.
If the man gets a dog, and he is nice to the dog, it must mean he is a nice man. Right?
Check, Check. Is brain working ok? Is everything plugged in ok? Am I wrong? Or is this an illusion?
Did I imagine his dog loathing in the past? And if I imagined it, if I made him out to be a meanie but he really wasn’t a meanie, did I make other wrong assumptions about him too?
He treated his dogs in the past horribly. The dog we got when we were first married drove my ex crazy because of the barking. He threatened to put the dog down because it barked too much. I liked it when the dog barked. It was a sign to me that the dog could sense there was something wrong when my husband came home. He could sense my tension. Or at least I thought so because the dog didn’t bark the same when other people came in the door. Just my ex.
My ex used to scare the living daylights out of that dog. Coming at him like a maniac when he barked. The dog would shiver by my leg when my ex was at home.
I believed that his meanness to dogs was a reflection of his character. He was mean to me in our marriage, so it made sense that he would be mean to dogs too.
But the handsome man in front of me and the cute polite dog paint a different picture. For almost a year now, he has had the dog by his side. Almost every time we meet to exchange the kids, the dog is with him. There are no signs that the dog is being mistreated. At all. He seems like an unusually happy and polite dog. Maybe the dog is an alien, in disguise. Or a robot, created to test me.
Or maybe I conjured up the severity of his meanness.
Or, it could be the same old guy I know, but I’m experiencing a different side of him. The nice side. The fun, handsome and charismatic side. When we were married, I was jealous of everybody else he came into contact with, because they got to see that side of him. But at home, when the door shut and he was protected in the privacy of his own home, he was a different man. Manipulating, threatening, and dark.
If that is the case, that would make me one of the “other “people now. The people he flashes the million-dollar smile to. I never got to see that smile after we got married. Six short months of seeing and then poof never saw it again. Well, that’s not true. He’d give it to me a few times a year, to keep me hanging on.
It’s the smile everyone else got to see regularly. It’s why I was jealous of everyone else who saw him. They got to see his good side. They didn’t have to see him when he arrived home at night. In a cloud of grumpiness and insults. Why did you move the paper I set right there on the counter? Can’t you ever get it right? I bust my ass all day, is it too much to ask to count on you to just make my life easier when I come home from work? You are spoiled. You take this life of luxury I provide to you for granted.
I haven’t seen the grumpy bear in a few years now. I see the million-dollar smile carebear.
And now he has a dog.
He looks more handsome than ever. Did he whiten his teeth? Is that the damned dog playing mind games on me. He looks so trustworthy toting that cute, well-behaved dog with him.
Is it happening again? No, I’m not falling for him again. I won’t go as far as to marry him again. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. But that dog. He is so well behaved. He softens my ex’s appearance. He says: your ex is different now. He treats me nice. So maybe he’ll treat you nice too. Just give it a try.
Did he change for real? Or is he up to one of his old manipulating games, to get me to let my guard down. Make me relax, by flashing that million-dollar smile. Then POOF, he’ll file a lawsuit against me. Again.
Christina, remember the last time you let your guard down? Oh yeah, that’s right. He stole my journals and scoured them for ammunition to use against me in court. He mounted video cameras across the street from me to monitor my activity. And God knows where else he spied on me.
The last time I fell for that million-dollar smile, I spent the best years of my life under his manipulative spell.
So, which is true? Did he change and is now trustworthy? Maybe it’s a sign that our co-parenting is getting better and life is getting easier. Or is this another of massive manipulative ploys? Albeit an enjoyable one for a change.
Here’s my plan: I can borrow a friend’s dog to see if it trusts the human and make sure the other dog isn’t an alien. Brilliant.