"standard of living" continued


#1

Since “Athos” has moved this, perhaps more information is warranted…of a legal kind.

I disagree that I made “choices” that put me where I am today. It is not fair to say that I am the one responsible for everything that has happened to me.

Fact: At the time of separation, I had nothing whatsoever. The ex closed all accounts, cancelled credit cards, and took the cash from my purse.

Fact: Contrary to the advice given to me to “lose weight”, I weighed 87 pounds at the time of separation. I had to get him out before he succeeded in killing me.

Fact: I had difficulty finding a lawyer. I had no money with which to pay one.

Fact: The lawyer who finally agreed to take my case, took most of the assets I was awarded in the end.

Fact: I lived for two years on the minimum amount the ex was “willing” to pay in voluntary payments. During that time, I took odd jobs while trying to get my health back. After a year of this, I had no choice but to return to teaching at a much reduced salary because I did not have much experience.

Fact: I am 53 years old.

Fact: The PSS amount was reasonable after 2 years of hardly nothing at all from the ex. However, other expenses involved with the case ate up everything I had.

Fact: In the final analysis, the judge reduced my “reasonable expenses” by over 2,000.

Fact: I did not receive 50% of the property.

Fact: I received no attorney fees.

Fact: I was ordered to pay 50% of all extracurricular and medical expenses for my son.

Fact: The ex retained exclusive control of the childrens’ accounts. He uses these accounts for expenses he incurs for the children. I have no say whatsoever.

Fact: I have been ordered to pay my ex 200.00 a month in child support.

Fact: The income differential is over $30,000 per month.

Fact: The ex uses his money and clout to take me to Court over whatever he can find to take me to Court over. I believe most judges would tell him to “get out of my Courtroom” with this, but I was ordered to take my child to a tennis tournament on my custodial time that the ex had arranged. It was classified as an “emergency hearing”. It involved going out of town and staying for a week with all expenses incurred by me. The judge told me that if I didn’t take my child, “he would remember it”.

Enough said.


#2

Please do not misconstrue what I said about you making choices that put you where you are today. That statement was not blaming you for your situation.

For instance, at one point in my life I chose to date a man who was verbally and emotionally abusive.

Did I know that when I met him? No, he was an angel. The abuse and seclusion was a gradual development over the time that we were together.

Did I deserve that treatment? No.

Did I choose to stay with him in the hopes that one day it would go back to the way it was when we first started dating? Yes.

Did I deserve the treatment I got because I chose to stay with him? No, but I take responsibility for the fact that I made the choice to stay.

It’s hard when someone is so wonderful at first because you just keep thinking that if you say/do the right thing, you’ll go back to that wonderful time. The truth is people can only keep their masks on for so long before they start slipping. Then they start slipping more and more frequently.

Were there clues in the beginning that he was that kind of guy? Yes, but I didn’t have the experience to recognize them. it sucks that I had to go through that to get that kind of experience.

I hate that I lost 3 years of my life to him, but it was a lesson. I will never ever be treated like that by anyone else in my life again. I know much better now what I want, what I deserve to get, and what I absolutely will not put up with.

So, acknowledging that you made a choice doesn’t mean that you are completely to blame for what follows. It is a statement of fact.


#3

I am sorry that you have experienced what you have. Maybe you are tougher than I am. You are also younger and perhaps, with no criticism intended, not as wise. I see my situation for what it is, Athos. I understand that many cannot see my situation because it isn’t understandable. It defies comprehension.

I hope that you find someone who will treat you kindly and generously. Don’t be so proud that you think you don’t deserve anything, ok? You certainly never deserved to be abused. Take it from one who knows abuse. However, I am doing the best that I can with things that make no sense whatsoever. I, of all people, know that life isn’t fair. But you know what? I do have someone in my life. He thinks I am beautiful and he is younger than I am. He doesn’t understand why the ex would ever want to “toss me away.” Maybe it’s a lie, but there are no strings. And…there will never be…I reckon at 53 that’s pretty good and something I never expected…not from this gorgeous man…or any man…so I wish you luck…and I will try not to be mad at the world for the injustices…but it’s a helluva pill to swallow…but I will continue to wish bad things for the ex… the judge…and the judge’s newly married daughter…and all the people who haven’t treated you/me right either…that’s only right…take care…


#4

lost in space wrote: << Well, thanks to all who replied. It seems as though the mind set is that I didn’t do enough to protect myself! I thought “marriage” was a partnership, but apparently, it is not! Yes, I may have had a more “privileged” lifestyle than some others because my ex made more money than most people can ever dream about. I did not go into my marriage planning for a divorce! MY BAD! Yes, maybe I was fortunate in that it was actually BAD for me to work and I stayed home and raised my children…something that many mothers cannot do! I did not sit around eating chocolate candy and doing NOTHING! I was the one always present at everything my children did! I was the one volunteering at school, at sporting events, and making sure the kids had every opportunity that was possibly available! I was also the one they came home to and hugged every day because daddy was out screwing around! Now, I can’t be there for them! My 14 year old is saving money so we can go to Italy! He doesn’t want to go with his father, but there will be no trip to Italy! Laugh about that if you will, but they have no semblance of the life that they once knew when they are with me! And they prefer to be with me! Sure, by most standards, I should be able to “make it” and I wish to hell that I HAD NOT STAYED HOME now, because at my age, I could have retired! Maybe I did choose to stay home, but he chose to marry me and he chose to screw around! This is the same “double standard” that the Court employs! Woman, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN and the marriage counts for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!>>

It’s interesting to me that you verbally and emotionally lash out at anyone who doesn’t tell you “oh, you poor thing”. I think you need to talk to someone so that you can vent…preferrably a neutral party who doesn’t have a vested interest in either condemning you or pleasing you so that you like them. You are SO angry that you are sometimes reading things into people’s responses that aren’t there.

The general concensus of the replies seem to have been, yes, you were lucky enough to have lived an extraordinary life for a while, you suffered a terrible loss which hurts badly, but your life wasn’t the normal experience for most people. You made choices that while reasonable, put you where you are today. Note: This doesn’t mean that you deserved to have a cheating husband who left you. Life is a crap shoot…it’s unfair and unpredictable. (If it were fair, then children wouldn’t die, and I’d have a summer home in the south of France complete with an awesome wine cellar.)

Most people are trying to encourage you to pick up the pieces of your life and build something new and wonderful rather than dwelling on what isn’t right with it. Your life has changed and there is nothing that any of us can do to bring it back to you.

Hey, you’re not tied down to “Mr. Wonderful” (heavy sarcasm here) anymore, so you are now blessedly free. You now have a choice…you can either shrivel up in hate, denial, and anger and hope that some prince/princess comes along to fix what’s broken or you can pick yourself up and go after what you want. Is this an end or an opportunity? The choice on how to react is yours and yours alone.

And who says you can’t go back to school? There are plenty of grants geared towards women returning from being stay at home moms. My Humanities professor in college had quit her 2nd year of college to marry and raise a family. After her husband died many years later (and no, he didn’t make much money), she took out loans and went back to school as a 72-year old freshman. I know all this because she became a friend. I’ll never forget the day she graduated with her PhD. The entire auditorium gave her a standing ovation. She is still one of the most inspirational figures in my life.

Help is out there, perhaps not to get you back what you lost, but help to get you past the emotional hurt and help to allow you to become self-sufficient. THere are many resources that can help you with your legal issues too, but you have to be willing to listen to what people are telling you whether you like it or not rather than barking at whoever says something at odds with they way you want things to be.


#5

Lost in space: I hear you loud and clear girlfriend. Don’t pay any attention to the cliche statements made by those that don’t have a clue, and don’t give a damn.
I too was a stay at home wife/mother of two. I didn’t just take care of my children, I took care of the whole neighborhood. While other parents worked, and had their romantic time,
or slept on the couch, whatever. Sometimes kids would be with me for days, before their parents even called. I did it for the children, and I did it because it was the right thing to do for them and because I love all children. Especially the ones that were neglected and tossed off to me because their parents didn’t take time for them . There were many, and I now get hugs and smiles and love from those same grown kids when they see me somewhere. Every Tuesday I double buckled in the Suburban and took 8-12 to the .99 cent Golden Corral, some of them for the first time, teaching them to tip etc. The best memories of my life are with those darling children, and I’d do it all over again.
Our society looks down on a woman that puts her children and marriage first, and that’s a far cry from what God intented. It’s a selfish, greedy, entitled generation, and it’s the children whom are paying the price.
Before I married I made a six digit salary in my 20’s. I’m now 52 also, and haven’t worked in over 25 years, dumped and duped.
It’s easy for people to say pick up the pieces and let the bitterness go. I have let the bitterness go. I’m not angry. I’m not resentful. I’m just confused, depressed and feeling quite helpless since my purpose and direction has come to a screeching halt. It’s hard to pick up pieces, when you’re traumatized, when you realize your life is not what you thought it was, your husband was not whom you thought he was, and that you’re completely alone, with everyone telling you to get a job, but no one will hire you. Still having teenagers at home, and wondering how you will now put them through college, IF they get over their depression and finish high school? Not to mention, often not having food to feed them?
I’m not whining, just stating it like it is. I just wonder how many of these people that made their empty statements had a mother that stayed at home. How would they have felt if their father dumped them all and had no contact whatsoever? I know they mean well, but until it happens to you, it’s easy to make cliche remarks.
We did what we were supposed to do. We stayed home with our children, honoring their fathers’ wishes. Why are we being punished? Why don’t the courts respect it? Why are we looked down upon for making that sacrifice? No. We’re not honored for giving so generously of ourselves, but we are demeaned for being what they perceive as stupid.
In hindsight, I guess we were, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and they’ve no idea what they’re missing.
So, let them all work hard full time, over time, while someone else raises their children. Maybe they can have a big house, drive a Lexus, take multiple exotic vacations, wear Armani…
Whatever they think will make them happy…we are older and wiser. We know better. I am proud of what I did. I did it with all my heart, and I still have heart!
We’ll get through this, though hard times galore, and I will never apologize to anyone for making a selfless choice. My divorce hasn’t even started, though it’s been 18 months.
My guess is the rich and powerful man will prevail, but I did what I believe was right, and if I’m persecuted for it, so be it. Stay in the Bible lost in space, you will get your moxey there.


#6

No, I didn’t have a mother who stayed at home or a father who abandonned me.

I had a mother who worked, but also raised me by herself. Just because someone isn’t a stay at home mom, doesn’t mean that they care more for material things and don’t care who raises their kids. Just as you feel that you have been discriminated against, for being a stay at home mom, you are discriminating against working mothers. Shame on you.

I am of an age with you. I’m not some youngster spouting empty platitudes. I know what it’s like to go hungry or live without running water and to live in places where you wake up with rat bites on your feet You have lived a very privileged life so far, not everyone gets to make the choice to be a stay home mom. For many women, there is no such choice. You work or people don’t eat.

You made a choice to be a stay at home mom, no one put a gun to your head, It’s an honorable choice, but it comes with potential consequences. One of those is that if you give up some form of work, it will be difficult to get that back if you divorce. You trusted and were let down, It’s hard, really hard, We do get that.

Growing up, I looked to my great grandmother who raised 4 kids, including one with severe mental retardation, through the Great Depression after her husband died. She did remarry for a short period of time, however, when she found that the man sexually abused her retarded child, she immediately threw him out and divorced him in an era when divorce courts favored the husband. After that, she and she alone provided for the children until the boys were old enough to help in an era where women were not wage earners. She prayed, she relied upon family, and she never looked back.

It can be done. It’s not easy, and sometimes you have to pare down what you think are necessities, but may not be. As I’ve said over and over…life isn’t fair, it throws curve balls.

(This is an unusual era in that people are living longer. For most of history, the blended family was the norm as disease and accidents took spouses from each other. It wasn’t uncommon for people to have several spouses in their lifetimes and end up dying in their 50s. Our notions of relationships haven’t caught up with the change in lifespan since the advent of antibiotics.)

Look, I’m not saying (nor do I think that most others are) that you shouldn’t feel traumatized by what happened. Yes, there’s usually a mourning period when the relationship ends, for the spouse and the children, however, for yourself and your children, one must pick oneself up and soldier on. One can play the blame game forever, but it’s absolutely wasted energy at a time when you need all your energy to help yourself and your children.

Children pick up on these feelings. (You’d be surprised to know how much your children “get”.) If you treat them as though they are damaged, they will picture themselves as damaged by the divorce for the rest of their lives. Don’t do that to them. Children are good mimics, how you react to the situation often dictates how they will see it.

[FWIW, wealth is an advantage, however the courts in this state level out the playing field by allowing attorney’s fees to be paid by the supporting spouse whether or not the suit is successful. It may be difficult to pay the retainer, but if you have a decent support structure and friends, you may be able to scrape together enough until it can be repaid.]