Thursday, October 14, 2010

Damage Control

                My ex husband and I have an interesting relationship- interesting in that “How long before I fly out there and smack him upside his head” sort of way. If you’re taking bets, the answer is “never.” I spent almost ten years trying to get him to see the light. I’m fairly certain that all the options have been exhausted by this point. But who knows? Maybe answering the door to a surprise ass kicking from your ex who is supposed to be on the other side of the country might be just the ticket to get him to wake up….
                Not likely. I bring this unfortunate thing up because even though we aren’t “friends” on social networks any longer, whether I want to or not, I still know more about what he’s posting than I ever thought I would.
                It usually goes something like this:
                Step One: I’ll send him a text message about something important. For example, this latest bit was reminding him of his court ordered responsibility as a father to send his son child support because, otherwise, I know he would have “forgotten” and to inquire as to why his crack head of a roommate hasn’t turned in her application to be on the lease (Honestly, does she even really exist?) so I can get off of it since he’s held up this process for almost six weeks at this point.
                Step Two: I’ll get a text message back that is usually fishing for sympathy.
                Step Three: I acknowledge that his life is hectic and then remind him that these are requests to make his son’s life less difficult, not to badger or harass him, and make it known in a polite but firm way that I’m not a person he can unload on any longer.
                Step Four: This is when it all comes out that I fucked up his life. I took his son away. I took him off my health insurance. All I want is money.
                Step Five: I point out that A) He had the option of seeing his son twice a week but he said that he needed time to himself and two days was too much so I decided to give my son an environment, hopefully, Elijah would not have to deal with those sorts of arguments, B) when I left Panera we ALL lost health insurance, not just him. It wasn’t a plan to screw him over, and C) if he can’t send his son a letter or a card or even so much as call, if not me than at least call my folks, to see how Elijah is doing then he ought to at least keep to the agreement that we reached and he was given plenty of opportunity to back out of. It’s not like he was forced into any of it. His paranoid father who is convinced that the world is out to screw the clan even went over the numbers and said it was okay (according to Paul, at least).
                Step Six: Paul doesn’t respond. Instead, I get a phone call the next day from any one of the approximately 40 “mutual friends” that wants an opinion on whatever his latest status update is. It’s usually followed by a bit of laughter, some frustration, and a lot of head shaking.
                Step Seven: We continue talking about more interesting things than the ex like the weather, cookies, play dates, cars, jobs, health, etc.
                Step Eight: I think about this pathetic little dance that’s done over and over again. I get angry. I want to shout out that this is really how it’s happening. Look, I’m not stupid. I’m biased. I feel like I’m in the right. I think I did the best thing I could for my son. I think that at some point you have to stop thinking about how the ex feels and you need to focus on what is going to have to happen to give the child (you know? The one with no say but so much to lose in all of this?) the life he deserves.
                In an ideal world, Paul would inquire about his son. He would make an effort to be a part of his son’s life. We could remain civil. He would have found a roommate that could actually be able to fill out a lease. In this world, if he can’t do that he will be asked to at least pay child support. If he doesn’t show even an effort to do that or work out some sort of plan, I’ll just keep records and report him.
                See, it’s not as if Paul was forced into fatherhood. It’s not like I went behind his back. We decided we weren’t going to have kids. I wanted a child but I respected his wishes. One day I was moping about this and he asked what was wrong. I told him I wanted a child and he agreed. There was no argument. He wasn’t forced. I was shocked and then elated that he agreed. A few weeks later we got pregnant. This is his son, too, damn it. If he loves his son as much as he says he does he would try to be a good father. But I guess that’s a lot harder than being a complete deadbeat and then spinning lies…

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