Is this my purpose?

I've been really distracted. I haven't made a meaningful entry here in ages. I think I've finally found a purpose... for, that is.

For a long time this was a place for me to vent my anger about my Lousy ex, and to hopefully help others with advice and cautionary tales. Now that my divorce is more than two years behind me, and Lousy ex has been married and divorced again, (teehee), I was lacking focus. Where did belong? Was there a purpose at all? 

Recently I had a revelation. A sad, infuriating, nauseating reality has come to my attention. So stay with me here... I don't make my points quickly.

We are now in the age of the anti-bully. What was a tradition of middle school and playgrounds everywhere had somehow spiralled out of control largely due to our technological advances. We all do it, whether we realize it or not. I for one was relentless about making fun of the unknown girlfriend of my ex, until I was later legally bound to not say or write anything about her. hmmmph. Bullying is a soft word for physical and emotional torture. The strong overpowering the weak to get what they want, and to make themselves feel important.

Society has deemed this unacceptable and there are movements to teach our children that it is wrong to bully. We are also teaching them to stand up to the bully, to call them out, to not allow those that are bigger and stronger to take advantage of  them. There's a government website!!

So what's eating at me is that the bullies grow up and continue bad behavior. After too many years of telling children that they should have everything they want, that they should do whatever it takes to find their bliss, we have a society of spoiled, entitled bullies. I've said the same thing about lousys and here's where it applies: The Lousy that controld the money controls EVERYTHING.

We have a legal system that rewards those with the money, and only them. I heard a story not too long ago about a lawyer who took his family on vacation. He was a Lousy, because while his spouse slept, he gathered up the children and their belongings and left. The spouse returned home to find she was locked out and all of her belongings in boxes in the garage. Because he had control of the money he bullied her into signing away her parental rights because she could not afford a lawyer. That's the part that sickens me... he took away her children. The law did nothing to protect her. She had nowhere to turn, or she didn't find her way, and he took advantage of the situation. He has partners and staff who know what he did - they helped him!! His children resent him and will always know what he did... and now he's shopping for a new wife so he won't have to bother with the responsibilities of parenthood. (BTW, asshole, their mother would be happy to help raising them.) Really!

If there are laws to protect people from bullies, to stop cyberbullies from making fun of people, why are there no laws to protect spouses from their lousy spouses? Especially lousy lawyers?! Why do lawyers represent people who want to tear their children from the other parent just so they don't have to deal with them anymore? Is there no ethical training in law school? It seems that the only motivation a lawyer EVER has is to win for a client that will pay - no matter what.

It happens all the time, and I've heard it so many times. It happens to men and women. They lose a spouse because the spouse has decided that they aren't "fulfilled", yet ironically, usually full of shit. Then the one with the money decides they don't want to support the spouse anymore, and then squash them with the law and the children are used as pawns. "Don't ask me for support, and I'll let you see the kids twice a month for an afternoon." Just plain evil.

I don't hate lawyers. I hate bullies. I think it's time that there is something legislated to protect parents from being bankrupted by the desire to remain an involved parent. Does anyone out there agree? Who's with me?


The parade with no end

Since I wrote here last - a year ago?!!! So much has changed. I'm not talking about this website, but the bigger picture. My big picture is better, but that's not why I'm writing. Lousy-ness seems to be everywhere you turn. You can't avoid it unless you live a very, very sheltered life.  Even the new OWN network has started a series called Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal. Unbelievable.

While Oprah has been a touchstone for millions of people, this is what her network is broadcasting? While they don't pass judgment, it reads to me as a pathetic opportunity for the common folk to "get on the TV". Yuck.
Okay, maybe I haven't put enough time in to appreciate their... what? message? It's worse than reality TV because they actually employ actors to recount the stories. WHAT?! I don't get the point of it.

Yeah, you screw around and people get hurt. How many different ways does that story need to be told? I think that this show is the first time that I've felt disappointed in Oprah. Maybe it wasn't her idea, but it's on her network, so I hold her responsible. I have some other Oprah stories, but I'll save them for now.

So, back to the parade... what's bugging me is lousy-ness that surrounds me: Friend 1 - she's known for a long time that her Lousy was having an affair. He stopped covering his tracks which encouraged her to detective, just a little, and bust him. She didn't bother until he stopped hiding it, which became an insult to her. Once confronted, he admitted everything and they came to an agreement that a divorce was the course they wanted to pursue. No problem, move on. Well.... that never really works, does it? She was so sure that he would be fair and reasonable in financial supprt, but... Just like the rest of us, she expected the best from him, but he'd already stepped over the line to the dark side, and is now fighting to not pay anything and just keep their child himself. I had tried to warn her - cut the chord NOW, do it quickly. Once that genie is out of the bottle, he's not going back. She was so sure that he would not want to sully his reputation, but she's thinking like a woman. He's got everything he wants - his freedom, the other woman, and he wants to keep all his money. That's just the way it is. As I sat on the sidelines I nearly chewed my tongue off keeping the "I told you so's" to myself. I won't go into the money that's been wasted on private detectives, and wasted legal fees...

Friend 2 - After learning that her husband had slept through his old office, her family's move three states away made sense. He not only had a great career opportunity here in Atlanta, but he was diving into a pool of fresh meat. Yuck. So, back to the discovery - her instinct was to pack up their beautiful kids and move back home where she had family, and friends, and had left her career to support him. Well, he put an end to that idea in a hurry. It is his right as the father to block her from taking the kids out of state, as a matter of fact, she couldn't even drive them home to visit her family without his consent. The disgusting part is that Lousy never pays attention to the kids regardless of where they are. When Lousy takes them for visitation it's a big burden, or a big favor to the mother. ?? Why keep them around?  So that you can ignore them more effectively? Way to go, Lousy!

It happens over, and over, and over. The parade of Lousys will never end. We started this website, what? three years ago? so that we could teach spouses about lousy behavior and how to survive. Just as driver's ed should be mandatory, so should marriage ed. It's too often taken on lightly, and it is a contract which is not always understood or respected. How do we get our message into the curriculum?


Shifty Lousys

So, yesterday I was sitting in a Starbuck's when a couple came in and sat down behind me. I was minding my own business, but I couldn't help overhearing. The man, wearing a crisp blue button down and tie with slacks, looking very corporate, was talking as he collected their overly-done coffee drinks. He was saying "I hate telling this story" in a voice loud enough that all in the room could hear the story.

His date was clearly younger, not more than 10 years, and jusdging by her outfit, of lower corporate station. She was cute, with a mature but naive look to her. Yes, I'm being very superficial, but that's all I have to go on, and I'm setting the stage.

So, he starts telling this story. I couldn't hear every word as I was actually working on my computer developing a landscape base plan. The gist of the story is that he had married a foreign woman who was a single mother. She was being harassed by the child's father, she's gone back to her homeland to either care for her special needs child, or to fight for custody, or both... long story short: HE'S MARRIED.

Clearly this little coffee get-together was something of a first date. Did I mention that he's already married? What I heard was that he just wanted her to be clear about his situation, "in case this becomes more of a relationship" (ie: he's expecting to get laid), so that she wouldn't be blindsided in the future if his wife showed up someday, (she can't get indignant about his marital status because he's being honest about his status).

He went on to say that he could get the marriage annulled (he hasn't), but it was a complicated situation, and he was hoping that this young lady would be able to look past his past. She was clearly taken aback by his story. She was having a hard time processing it all while maintaining a pretty smile, trying to appear supportive and accepting of his pitiful plight. After the whole story was complete, he was impatiently awaiting a sign-off that would give him the green light to continue his courtship ritual that would ultimately fulfill his desire to bed her. He was literally twisting in his seat waiting for her to say something like "oh, you poor thing" or just an accepting"okay".

I'm sure I sound like a prude, but yuck. What a sleazebag!

Despite my reputation for being an in-your-face confrontational feminist, I did not drop a LousySpouse business card on the table in between them as I left. I did, however, tuck one into the ladies' room mirror, and left one with a hand-written note saying "Run Away,Girl!" on the sink. Whether she visited the ladies room before she left is a mystery to me, but her situation was certainly interesting to me.

Do people always try this shit? A separation is not a divorce. Once you get involved with a separated person you are an accessory to adultery. Yes, a marriage may be over, and yes it may be messy. Stepping into that mess leaves shit all over you. It happens every day, and I should not be surprised, but I am disappointed.


What Do I Say?

Every couple of months another marriage in my expanded circle bites the dust. Every circumstance is different, the emotional hot buttons, the level of anxiety, the level of despair. As a contributor to a "divorce website" I have become the go-to girl for advice. I like having purpose, but it's a tricky position to be in.

Most of the time it's just a cryptic email or text saying... "we're getting a divorce, what should I do?". I've learned to listen when I can, but if nothing is being said then I just start spouting sound bytes from this website. I tend to wax overly-dramatic about protection from Lousy, whether I know who's really been lousy or not. I'm prone to diarhea of the mouth on occassion and these are not the conversations to overdo... I have trouble self-editing. That's why I like the written word... I can edit as I go, and always return to delete the unccessaries later. I find a lot of unnecessaries in these writings.

My first advice is always to go through the website and see what applies. I think Ellen and I wrote down just about everything we know, so it's got to be in here somewhere... but every circumstance is different. What we are learning now gives us 20/20 hindsight, and there's more to know in the post-divorce/ co-parenting realm that we will be able to predict. It keeps coming.

What I wish for all my friends is that if they're going to divorce, that lousy-ness does not apply. Those who can divorce on a reasonable and pseudo-amicable level are blessed whether they know it or not. Those of us who have a Lousy not only have the wrenching reality of a broken marriage, but also the devastation of betrayal or abuse. In either case, it's never a quick and easy business transaction.

So my first advice when I really get to talk to someone about their impending divorce has to start with "are you really sure about a divorce?". There are alternatives, and everyone should consider those before they nail that coffin shut.


Funds for Financing a Divorce

A long-time reader and supporter of recently told me about something I didn't know was out there. Our reader, who is a family lawyer in northern Virginia, sent me a recommendation for two new funds that act like loans and take a cut at the end - Balance Point Divorce Funding and Churchill Divorce Finance.

She says, "they basically make the loans to cover the costs and then take a percentage of the settlement as payment. It is for those who can't afford and to even out the equities in the fight."

Brilliant! I thought of that too, but nerve got around to it. What a great tip for those worried about expenses. Your lawyer has some involvement in the application process, so be prepared! This kind of helpful tip is what gets me excited about Has anyone had experience with this kind of service? Let us know about it in the Forum.