Thursday, December 27, 2007


It's Different This Christmas part II: the drama continues

In 1999, I got stationed in Hawaii. It was the first time my ex lived outside of Texas (unless you count 6 months in Oklahoma - I don't, it's a Texas-wannabe county). She was 22 years old and had had her daughter when she was 19, so she had never really had a chance to experience night life. I was a young captain at the time and Hawaii was kind of expensive. She met a female friend, I gave her some money, and she went out. At first it was just Friday nights. Then it was Friday and Saturday. Being in the Army, we get 4 day weekends when there is a Federal holiday (Friday through Monday). Believe me, the Army gets its time back.

By the summer of 99, it got to the point where she would leave on Thursday night and I wouldn't see her again until Tuesday morning when I had to go to formation. I was spending my weekends alone with 2 kids - her daughter and my son. OK, so she was 7 months pregnant with him when I met her. She was going to give him up for adoption until she met me. She even named him after me. I was the only dad those 2 kids ever knew. Around Thanksgiving, she told me that she had been raped during one of her weekends, and that she was pregnant. I knew it wasn't mine because we had stopped having sex in February of 1999 - about the time she started going out.

In her defense, she moved out and got an apartment with a "friend". She lived with him for a year. I would watch the kids at night and on the weekends. She kept them during the day, and prepared for the new kid at night. Her 2nd son was born in May 2000. At the end of 2000, her "friend" had a drunken, violent episode. I offered to let her move back in with me. I told her that I didn't blame her for being raped and I thought we could work things out. She moved back in. What I didn't find out until earlier this year (when cracking her e-mail) was that her "friend" was actually the father of her 2nd son. I had my suspicions. But, she was my wife, she told me she was raped, and I chose to believe her.

My investigating her papers and computer revealed at least 2 more boyfriends by whom she did not get pregnant. Which brings us to May 2007: she's planning to move in with the father of her baby, and take the kids with her. He was going to get everything I had wanted: a child with my wife, a family, MY kids, all wrapped up in a nice, neat little package. It was at this point that I found out about the father of her 2nd son. I also found out that all of her friends already knew. I had been played for a fool for years. I lost it. I had come into town to help her move out of the apartment. Upon my arrival, she immediately turned around and went to her boyfriend's house, leaving me with the kids. I lost it.

I went to his house in a righteous rage. I beat in the door (well, I beat a dent in the door) until they answered. One of the guys in the house actually brought a shotgun to the door. I had a tire iron for protection. I didn't do anything, and left, but managed to embarrass her in front of her new friends. I took the kids with me to my Dad's house in Austin and made the rounds calling my relatives looking for support. I met with a lawyer 2 days later.

I took the boys with me to Kentucky - where I'm now stationed. Later, I went back and picked up her daughter. I was trying to play the nice guy. I had been wronged, but I wanted to do what was best for the kids. I was pretty sure they would be better off with me.

Among other things, my ex has OCD. She pulls out her eyelashes when she gets stressed. The other thing she does is gamble. When I returned from Cuba on leave once, I found 2 garbage bags full of scratch-off tickets in the trunk of her car. I stopped counting one of the bags when I got to $1500. At the time, I had about $30K in credit card debt - mostly spent to keep her happy. Call me dumb, call me naive or undisciplined. It was what I felt I had to do to keep the family together. She had conditioned me early: "well, if you can't afford that, maybe I should take the kids back to Abilene". I'd do anything to keep the family together, including ruining my credit rating.

In June, she came to visit the kids in Kentucky. She was about 4 weeks from her due date. She went into premature labor and ended up having the baby in a hospital in Louisville. Her boyfriend actually came into town to see her and his new daughter. She wasn't sure about going to live with her boyfriend, so she stayed with me for a few weeks. Here's why: I contacted his ex-wife.

Originally, when I contacted his ex, I just wanted to find out if it would be safe for my kids to live with him. As it turns out, he hadn't told his ex about my ex and the baby. She was pissed. It also turns out that he had slept with her after he had found out my ex was pregnant. Enough drama for you? This started a chain of fights that eventually led my ex to decide not to move in with him. Did I intend on that happening? No. But I took a perverse pleasure in watching his happy home life fall apart.

So there she was, in my house, with a new baby, divorce on file (waiting the 60 days for it to be final in Texas), and what did I do? I offered to let her stay. That's me: do anything to keep the family together. She went back to Texas around the 4th of July.

I took her daughter back at the end of the summer. She's 11 and had made some pretty good friends in Abilene and didn't want to leave them. I even co-signed on the apartment my ex is staying in so she'd have her own place. The boys stayed with me. I put them in a school on post, and even coached my son's flag football team.

In September, after some legal problems, the divorce was finally signed and final. I'm paying her $750 in child support for kids that aren't mine. At the time, I was still paying for her storage. She's got one of the cars (I'm still paying). I was still paying over $300 a month for her cell phone and mine. Then came November. She wanted me to pay $50 a month for her daughter's clarinet rental. OK. Then, she said she was behind on bills and would lose the apartment. So, she wanted her daughter to come live with me.

I finally said no. She was upset. I also told her that I wasn't going to pay for her cell phone anymore (you know, the one she used to hook up with her boyfriend). I also happened to mention that I wasn't the father of any of her children...and she hasn't spoken to me since. She text messaged me and threatened to call the cops on me if I didn't bring the boys back to I did. And I miss them. All of them. I admit I especially miss my son. He's got my name. And you may think I'm a heartless bastard, but this time I'm doing something better for me. They need to be with their mother. I need to get away from her. As long as I have the kids, I have to deal with her. Now, I can call the kids on her daughter's cell phone, and I don't have to speak to her. My child support is deducted automatically, so I don't have to worry about coordinating a deposit. And I'm trying to move on. But it's hard.

I'm actually finding out what love really is, and I really did love her. I was willing to sacrifice everything about myself: money, self esteem, pride, convenience, personal comfort, physical order to please her. It's only become clear to me over the past few months that I've realized how depraved what she did really was.

I've managed to go a few days without thinking about ways to get her back, but they mostly involve bribes that would just revitalize old habits...or addictions. Doing something to get her back would by like a crack addict that had been clean for a year going back on the pipe. As she fades, and I get on with my life, I can only pray for the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Last year I was married, optimistic, and happy to be home. Now, I'm divorced, alone, and trying to recover. Christmas sure is different this year.


Thanks for the Red State Blue State blog comment. I'm up to 4!

BTW, we all need therapy. Hang in there, and remember, Norman Rockwell's America is not the standard. Life is tough.
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