April 3, 2012

Kill 'em with kindness

There has been an unsettling and unfamiliar turn of events in the past month with my ex-husband and Mrs. 2.0. I'm not sure how to put this other than to just come right out and say it. Given our history as an odd trio it may be shocking. They have become... Nice. 

I feel it's only fair to share this since I've shared years of whatever the complete and total opposite of "nice" is. Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate "nice". I deserve "nice". I have longed for six and a half years to be treated nicely and with respect. I'm not perfect, but I didn't fuck up the biggest wedding vow of all. The big whopper that we promised in our church, in front of God, our families, and a soloist we paid far too much for. You know the vow, the one that goes something like... I promise to not knock up another woman and leave you alone to raise our infant child and be the biggest cold hearted douchenozzle possible in the process. Amen. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.  



Even when he broke that vow I still deserved nice not only from him, but from her.In fact, especially then. 

It's six and a half years later and something has changed. It's nice, but for some reason the abrupt and sudden about face has given me emotional whiplash. It's weird. Or it could be the fact that I find it weird means I'm even more cynical than I thought. Either way, I'm more shaken by the emotions that this sudden niceness has brought to the surface than I am about the weird and creepy niceness itself. I know in the past year he has reconciled with his parents after not speaking to them for five years, they began going to church regularly and I am now guessing it is in fact quite possible one, or both of them, have been returned to their mother ship and have been replaced by actual human beings. I'm just... confused. 

I've always believed that some degree of anger as a reaction to a marriage that ended in adultery is healthy. It enables self preservation. Anger protects, motivates and in some ways helps heal a wounded ego and heart. I'm not saying anger is good, but I'm not saying it's bad. Anger is heavier than loneliness and pain, it lays on top of it and covers it in darkness. I didn't even realize this until the campaign of niceness began in the last few weeks. I've become comfortable with anger. Righteous indignation has been my way of post divorce life, it's been my battle cry, and now the cold war is over. 

And I am ashamed, and embarrassed, to admit that I don't know what to do with that. I thought I was past feeling anything about this. At six years I should be past it. 

I know and understand that our being "nice" is the goal and has always been for the sake of our daughter. She is, and always will be, the single most important thing in my life. I've wanted "nice" for years but never got it. Now I have it and I don't know what to do with it. I'm in an stew of unexpected emotions. I find myself now being the difficult asshole desperately clinging on to some completely illogical need to be less "nice" just to keep my peculiar emotional universe in balance. I'm afraid of the feelings that might replace anger and that is the most frightening thought of all. I can't go back to the feelings of loneliness or pain. Anger is empowering, pain is debilitating. And that is fucked up but it is the truth. 

I keep finding things to be angry about. I recently received an email from Mrs. 2.0 saying how she hopes we can become more than cordial and that they'd like to have me over for family get togethers in the future. It took all I had to not email her back and tell her that if she wants to sit around and braid each others hair I'm going to need her to first apologize for fucking my husband. But I didn't. Six years ago, or maybe even one, I would have. Instead I politely answered the non-related question she had and ignored the olive branch part. The fact I did not beat her with said branch shows progress. 

Evidently it was not to be ignored. A week later I received an email from my ex inviting me for a family dinner to celebrate our daughters birthday, Easter and, wait for it... his birthday. I sent a short reply telling him I appreciated the thoughtfulness but that I'd have to respectfully decline. I admit, I am not a big enough person to sit in a family gathering on his family turf with his wife, their children and our daughter. I'm great with neutral territory, not this, this is too much out of nowhere. An 180 degree abrupt change with no warning. 



I'm jarred, and I feel selfish. And angry that I feel this way. And jealous. And angry that I'm jealous of all that he has - a spouse, happiness, a family around him, no scars on his heart from our divorce, no weight on his shoulders - he's free. And happy.. And then I feel anger again, I'm angry that I'm angry. And angry that what was the most thoughtful and kind and right thing for him to do made me feel lonely. Not lonely from the want of him, that has long passed, but lonely from what could have been, what was but is no longer, what he has that I don't and that nothing, nothing at all, has changed for me. And mostly, most importantly, that I am now acutely aware that I am angry at myself for all of this because the place I'm in is my fault alone now, not his. Not hers. It's all mine. And now I truly know what it feels like to be killed with kindness. As a device of torture, kindness, is in fact stunningly effective.

To keep the universe from imploding I asked that he keep to our birthday visitation agreement and bring our daughter home by 3pm next Sunday for her Birthday. I can't do his family gathering that day but I do want her back home by the time in our parenting agreement set for her Birthday. He responded that because it's his year for Easter and her Birthday is on Easter this year that makes the agreement "nebulous". Then I couldn't help myself. I clicked respond and earned myself a one way ticket to Hell by quickly engaging in the below with him...

Dear ex-husband, 
When Jesus spends four days in the hospital in labor, with three failed epidurals, then his resurrection will take priority over the birth of our child. I'd like her returned home by 3pm, the time in the parenting agreement, that is kind of why it is in the agreement.  


Dear ex-wife, 
Jesus would be very unhappy you said that. How about 4:30?


Dear ex-husband,
Yeah, but his mother just gave me two snaps in a Z formation. How about 4?


Dear ex-wife,
Fine. But you pick her up. 


Dear ex-husband,
Fine. Deal.


Wait a minute, this means I have to pick her up at the family gathering that I already "respectfully declined" because I was a selfish chicken shit that chose self preservation over self torture

Dear Jesus,
Vengeance is in fact yours. Well played, per usual. 

I'm fairly certain I'll regret sharing this and that I really should just set fire to my laptop and save myself from... myself. And for those of you not yet as far out in the "process" as I am please do not be afraid. Most people have their shit together by now, you'll be fine. I'm just your cautionary tale. 

51 comments:

  1. I'm five plus years out and if my ex's .... younger, crazier thing (trying not to write whore here) .... suddenly invited me to MY daughter's birthday dinner and tried to be friends with me on their turf, I'd decline too. I can't imagine a less appealing olive branch. You have good reasons not to trust either of them.

    But if you can find middle ground someday because it makes you feel better, then good for you. It's a bitch carrying those burning coals around in your guts. I know.

    I'll bet Jesus didn't cheat on his wife.

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    1. "I'll bet Jesus didn't cheat on his wife." That is the best line ever.

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    2. I understand how you feel. I wouldn't have gone either. Sometimes people don't deserve to be forgiven for things. jesus is not real though sorry

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  2. i guess it's hard enough untangling your (our) feelings, without having to feel guilty if we don't like niceness. i cry anger and envy when i think i have the single mom's job of explaining to a 4yrs old how much his dad loves him, while he's out and about with his new girl. then i forgive myself for only being human. suppose mr Jesus would understand.

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    1. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big Jesus person (obviously), but yeah I think he'd be cool with forgiveness. Why is that we are so hard on ourselves? It's exhausting and we're already exhausted enough.
      Hugs.

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  3. Its been 8 years for me. Both of us are remarried and moving on with life. That being said, I was invited over his house (my OLD house) for my daughters confirmation celebration. My husband and I went. It was VERY ackward (even for the kids). The most annoying part of the whole evening? She served me cake ON MY WEDDING DISHES!! Talk about a slap in the face!!!

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    1. Wait a red hot minute... ON YOUR WEDDING DISHES? I have a stiff cocktail with your name on it.

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    2. WOW what is your address I want to send you a medal!

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  4. I feel you here. My ex used me for green card, he mentally and emotionally abused me. It been 4 years since divorce. I found out a month ago he remarried last April to someone I think he had an affair with, they are going through IVF, and he showing her off. With me, I was hidden most people didn't know he had a first wife. How I find this out about her some faced booked me thinking I was her, to tell had the IVF info. I got the story. It hurt, she was living life I was supposed to have. I fought with him to just use the last name. Everything happens for reason, it made me fully accept he used me so he can do his medical residency here us. The infertility that could be karma for how he treated me. If they doing it when not even a year married, that sends up an alarm. I know he wants a son more anything. I know god let me know for reason, and it hurts but I did finally start to accept I was used and he missed out on a wonderful woman in me.
    Http://www.lovelypinkdiva.com

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    1. I hope your ex became a proctologist and is elbow deep in assholes now. I'm sorry. I mean not that I said that, that I mean, but that this happened.

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    2. HAHAHA yes very fitting! Glad that GOd saw fit for you to have a window in to their shitty lives

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  5. Your honesty and straightforwardness about this is much appreciated. A lot of women go through this and they feel guilty and angry and confused. Sharing this like you did, makes us know we all have these moments and difficulties and less admirable feelings. We are only human. And knowing the pattern you describe, means there is some understanding of the process, which in turn means you will be able not to act on it......Hats off to you!!!

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    1. Thank you. Recognizing the insanity is the first step right? Heh.

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  6. Girl You F'n rock!!!!!!! I love your honesty!!!

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  7. You have balls writing this sort of thing.

    Ok so here's the thing. It sounds like you're not mad about what they're doing, you're just mad at the way you're handling it. Which is pretty funny if you think about it.

    Take a step back and look at it from your daughter's perspective because she's what really matters here unfortunately. It's not about your feelings or her dad's or his dad's girl's. It's about your daughter.

    The bottom, hard to deal with, line is that your daughter would probably LOVE to celebrate birthday with both of you there. It is SO hard to stomach that. I'm still battling with that but an invitation to celebrate together has never come up and I've never extended one.

    If it did though, I'd probably freak out at first and then swallow my pride.

    It might feel like it's too much for you to deal with but think about what you have ALREADY dealt with. This is nothing compared to that. And it would come as a huge present to your daughter.

    At the end of the day, you obviously need to do what you need to do. But I've been reading you for a long while now and honestly? I think you can totally handle it. I really do. I believe in you, I believe in your strength, and I believe in the love you have for your daughter.

    You don't have to sit and gossip and be all friendly with them, as a matter of fact tell them you're bringing someone and try and do that. Bring a really good friend or relative that will help you feel comfortable and will keep you engaged most of the time you're there.

    And honestly? I wouldn't ask them permission. I'd tell them and I'd be completely open about your anxiety. It's legit. And the best way to have a good working relationship with your ex is to communicate freely. And if you let him know you are feeling anxious about it, and understandably so, I think you're making huge progress.

    And if all of THAT isn't enough to get you to go, just think of the blog posts that will generate! ;)

    Bottom Line: You can do it and your daughter will LOVE it and I think in the end it will make YOU feel great about you too.

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    1. You're right. I do in fact have huge balls. Ok fine, and you're right about the other stuff too and I heart you all over for leaving such a thoughtful response. I can't do it, I have nobody to take with me. Every relative I have lives 1,000 miles away and honest, I've looked into hiring a hot man hooker to go escort me. Unfortunately the ones that are ridiculously out of my league hot, over educated AND witty are out of my male escort budget. I know, I'm horrible. Wait - do you think women ever actually do this? I mean I know there was that movie with Debra Messing and what's his name but do you think this ever happens for real because I can TOTALLY see how it could. I would never, but, I get it now.

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    2. OMG...Single Mom Survives, I love your bluntness and sarcasm. I'm blogging for the first time. As a matter of fact, I was searching "top bloggers" so that I could learn how to "blog" on my new website. I'm laughing my ass off and selfishly wishing we were neighbors or old friends. We would be sipping on martini's and contemplating improper forms of punishment upon our ex's. My ex of EIGHT years (that is re-married with a two year old and baby on the way) sent me a text asking me for lunch... and a full body massage yesterday. The last conversation I had with him was 4 years ago, it went something like this....call me again, and I'll call your wife. So back to the text.. I told him the full body massage was possible...assuming he laid in the parking lot of the restaurant we dined at and allowed me to run him over with my car multiple times. His response... I needed to go to Happy Ville & Chill....I told him as long as I could imagine myself in that parking lot, I WAS IN HAPPY VILLE. Single Mom Survives...I can tell you are a very strong woman and in my opinion, joining a "Family Event" isn't necessarily better for your daughter. Your daughter will respect you more in the end if she knows YOU RESPECTED YOU enough to pass on a self-serving invitation by someone that totally disrespected you AND HER when it mattered most. I agree we need to forgive, forgiveness is necessary for our soul, but not theirs. Cheers and wishing you peace throughout the time-sharing Holiday season!

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    3. YES YES YES I have to agree with this. Sure your daughter might LOVE to share her birthday with all of her family. That shouldnt mean that it is at daddys house with all of daddys friends and wife etc etc etc. It seems degrading! I could not do it. I would tell them lets go somewhere that is neutral. It does not even seem appropriate to me for them to have asked you.

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  8. I am so so glad you are writing again. I felt like a stalker there for several months looking to see if you had posted! I really relate to your situation and I have to say, you have given me so much encouragement and smiles through your posts. This couldn't have come at a better time as I am dealing with the fact that I have been divorced for several years and have recently begun communicating with my ex (for parenting purposes). He abandonded me and our daughter when she was 1 and hasn't seen her for two and a half years, but thinks he can just swoop in and pick up where he left off with her... He has started a family with one of the whores he had an affair with and it completely broke me...again! It's hard to understand why these feelings come and go. Just when you feel like you have the control back in your life, wham! Something rocks the boat! I hate it. I have so much respect for you and appreciate you sharing your story. It helps us other "holding on for dear life" single moms out there :-)

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  9. If they want to apologize, and work on restoring the relationships in a way that is real and genuine and acknowledges the damage done, well, then you might have to give it a try. This thing where they just invite you over, so you can all pretend like everything is fine? Don't waste a minute feeling bad about turning that invitation down.

    Thanks for this post. I spent the morning beating myself up for feeling bad that the exhubs has my kiddo with him for the week so he can marry the ho. I guess because I feel like I should be over it by now. And I am. Except for that aforementioned burning coals in the gut thing. It helps to know other folks are still working on it!

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  10. I can SO relate to this (not the invitation part) but the anger part and I've been divorced for almost TEN years! My ex finally remarried last May and I really felt nothing either way.
    You're right about the anger being empowering at first but after so long, it really does become crippling in many ways. So glad that you're back posting again!

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  11. Going to any event at the ex's and his new wife's house is just giving approval to how he treated you. It is a load of crap that your daughter would love to celebrate with both her parents together. What she would learn is that her father's behavior is acceptable, which it is not. She needs to know that his behavior, cheating on his spouse, is not to be condoned.

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  12. Dude. I just spent the night at my ex-husband's house (our former home together) so that we could co-host a sleepover party for our 9 year old daughter. I did the same thing a month ago for our 7 year old. Granted, our marriage didn't end because he cheated on me, but still.

    My advice is to do your best to accept the niceness without over-analyzing it. Accept it at face value, smile and make nice (while still maintaining your personal boundaries). Making nice doesn't mean that you have to spend time with this man if it not something you're ready to do right now.

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  13. I think you're right to put space between yourself and them, no matter how friendly they are being right now. If neither of them has actually apologized, to your face, with a really heartfelt meaning, then none of their friendliness is 100%. For your daughter's sake, it sounds as though you're being civil, and that's great. That's what makes her life easier. But you are most definitely not required to become all chummy with them.

    Also, how can you ever fully trust either of them? If she continues to offer the olive branch, I would have to put it to her that way. "How can I ever be chummy with someone who slept with my husband and destroyed my marriage?"

    I'm sorry that her bday and Easter coincide but am glad that you are still able to be with her today. Hope the civility continues and that you find peace for yourself (regardless of them) very soon.

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  14. At the end of the day, you obviously need to do what you need to do. But I've been reading you for a long while now and honestly? I think you can totally handle it. I really do. I believe in you, I believe in your strength, and I believe in the love you have for your daughter.

    I am with Mutant Supermodel on this point. Except that I would change out the "but" in sentence #2 for an "and".

    I arranged to have an Easter Egg Hunt with Honey's ex (at her house) so that T could have the event with his step-brothers and so that all three boys have these memories to hold on to. I'm not gonna kid you, it sucked. But I survived - when you are ready to take that step, you will too.

    Love ya.
    Stay strong.

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  15. I have a friend that I admit all of my awful horrible TRUE feelings too, and then we laugh that most people would be horrified if they heard those thoughts. I have literally said "I don't feel like being the bigger person yet." Truth is, I'm not sure if I will EVER be ready to be the bigger person and accept HER in my life. I'm still mad about what they did, and well, the fact that I'm where I'm at and they're where they're at. NOT FAIR is my mantra. He gripes that I ignore her, and I respond that she is LUCKY that I ignore her.

    Anyway, thanks for bravely sharing those truthful thoughts of anger. You are not alone.

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  16. Oh the pitfalls of the "immediate response email." It feels good to get it off your chest RIGHT NOW, though, doesn't it?

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  17. I just discovered your blog. I am at the very beginning of my divorce journey and my story also involves his leaving because of cheating. I read some of your older stuff and was so happy to see you talk about the unique self-esteem issues this brings up. I'm in my 30s and I feel like I'm revisiting the insecurity of my teens. Not a good look and not something I want to pass along to my 2 year old daughter. Will try to remember that I am awesome and he is a jerk-off. But the thing that really gave me a moment of pure joy was the term whore waffle. I'm borrowing it! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  18. Mutant Supermodel wrote:
    The bottom, hard to deal with, line is that your daughter would probably LOVE to celebrate birthday with both of you there. It is SO hard to stomach that. I'm still battling with that but an invitation to celebrate together has never come up and I've never extended one.

    If it did though, I'd probably freak out at first and then swallow my pride.

    Oh hell no! First of all, your daughter is absolutely fine celebrating 2 birthdays, one with each parent. And it sure is nice to hand out advise if you haven't actually been there. Secondly, they both sound like unapologetic a-holes, why would you want to hang out with them? Uh, no thank you!

    So glad your back!

    Diana

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  19. My ex cheated on my and he would never have dreamed of putting me and The Slut in the same room. There would have been bloodshed! I hated (and still do) that woman with every fibre of my being. I put his past behaviour behind me in order to be able to work with him to raise our kids but I had no reason to interact with her. Thankfully The Slut has been out of his life for about five years now - good riddance to bad trash! His current girlfriend is a really nice woman who had absolutely nothing to do with destroying my marriage and we get along pretty well. The three of us are now partners in raising the kids and, for the most part, it works really well. I don't blame you for not wanting to be around Mrs. 2.0 since she was a very big part of one of the most painful things that you've ever been through (your divorce). Maybe one day you'll be able to come to terms with interacting with her but definitely do it on your own schedule, not theirs.

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  20. lmao! I loved reading this. I liked your honesty and your candor. Sucks to deal with Mrs 2.0 and I can totally relate to the ex trying to change the damn parenting agreement. I still think u handled it well lol.

    ~Cicely
    thesinglemomtrepreneur.blogspot.com

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  21. So I'm a recently single mom and I googled "single mom blog" and this popped up. Ahhhh... just what I need. Not that I wish this on you but "misery loves company", right? Anyway, I loved the honesty and feeling and the way you were able to put it in words. I connected with it right away. I will definitely be following this. Oh and I love that you are in Chicago too! Cheers, mama! (wine always helps, right?)

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  22. i also just googled single mom blog going through a divorce currently and wow i love your blog! Our situations seem to be fairly single from the post i read above! Hope you havea happy mothers day tommorow and i look forward to reading more!

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  23. fucketty-fuck-fuck-fuck

    Had to attend my now 6yo stepson's birthday party yesterday. With his mom and stepfather, my Honey and my ex all in tow. Big T (T's dad) was there b/c it was his weekend to have the boy and apparently he couldn't simply leave the child for a couple of hours. Nope, he had to stay and cause the room temperature to drop at least 10 degrees.

    It totally sucked.

    So, while I still stand by my (perhaps overly)optimistic take on your ability to roll with the punches, I also appreciate the desire to throw the punches.

    Happy Mothers' Day and all that.

    Keep writing, it helps.

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  24. I'm not sure that anyone would be able to share in the celebrations given the circumstances. Your emails to the ex had me laughing so much I was in tears!

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  25. Okay - I'm your newest subscriber. And I think you're awesome. I just spewed iced tea all over my screen after reading those emails.

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  26. Just have to tell you that I love this post! It describes so much of my own feelings, except my ex and wife 2.0 are sticking with being douch bags. Thanks for making me laugh so hard while my son is with said douches.

    Angela

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  27. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  28. The way that you responded makes you a human being. This story floored me. You are doing better than your best. I wouldn't be able to be their bff's or even want to. I now have to go through your blog and get the whole back story on this, but I'm assuming from the post that he left you for his new wife? If that is, in fact, true - you have already earned your way into heaven by being able to deal with this at all.
    Yes, anger is easier, and sometimes all someone deserves. Don't feel guilty about being a human being.
    Thanks for following me on twitter so I could find your amazing blog.

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  29. I understand your feelings!!! But why should couples broke up? When getting married, you promised that live together and on death will fall you apart... Hope he remember those words....

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  30. As someone who was cheated on while engaged and pregnant by someone who eventually abandoned me (with 6 month old son) and who apparently knocked up and is "trying to make things work" with ONE of the "other women, I can relate to your feelings of WTFness. Our situations are different in that my ex left and has not been heard from since so I have not had to deal with him at all in the year or so since he left. I daresay, I would not respond very well to sudden interest or civility. In fact, I would go off -- nuclear style.

    www.singlemommywarrior.com

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  31. BTDT. Not specifically but I have come to learn that sudden and overwhelming "niceness" is another form of manipulation. Kindness and niceness are entirely different. Kind people do thing because they enjoy giving. Nice people do things because they expect a return.

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  32. My husband just told me that he is leaving me for the 2nd time with the same women he left me earlier. I am devastated as I thought that he has repented..but he has been cheating me on my back.. the best part he said that the lady would like to meet me.. i said no .. why should i meet her.. initially when I found out abt then she refused to meet me.. I am torn if should I meet her up and give her a piece of my mind or just to ignore her.. Please help me..

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  33. Just discovered your blog, thank you for your candor and humour, i don't feel so alone now. :)

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  34. I just found you. My "baby daddy" and I split 3 days before I found out I was pregnant. We were going to work things out then he married his bar tender whore when I was about 5 months along. When my daughter was about 6 months old he signed over parental rights. Fast forward 2 years and he is now trying to get back together with me. Asshole. Please write again. I'm going to follow in hopes that I will be able to read your candor once again.

    ~Erica
    thepaintedtrailer.blogspot.com

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  35. Brilliant, stinging, painfully true, and a well needed dose of self-preservation. Thank You!

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  36. Beautifully and honestly written. In my opinion, if your ex and Mrs 2.0 want to include you, then they need to treat you with respect and honor your (sometimes negative) feelings, otherwise their niceness can simply be a means to remove their guilt (to which your anger is an insightful response).

    I would expect if they are honest in their quest for civility, first they need to offer you a TRUE apology for the pain they've caused you. This would include listening to you, as painful as it may be for them, and showing you they recognize the affects their actions have had on your life. Second, they need to tell you how they intend to help you feel comfortable, should you choose to attend. And third, ask for your forgiveness. (To which you have the option to give if/when you choose.) This is the adult way of making amends and if they can't do this, then you are better off keeping a distance. From my semi-professional position (a therapist who is going through my own divorce for the first time) I think your anger is a beautifully masked display of gut wrenching pain and well needed boundaries. It is unwise to become friends with someone who has taken so much, without a real acknowledgement of the damage they've help to create. Warmest Wishes of health, forgiveness, and emotional healing.

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  37. I really feel related to this. I have experienced something like it myself. It is terrible and you are really not acting wierd at all even after so many years.

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  38. Wow! Can I just say that I've been looking for a "after divorce" blog like this for six months now!YOUR MY ANGEL! blunt and don't care to use my common curse words! ahh! SO glad I have found you my dear! This entry shows that my fear will to come upon me! I was married for 8 years and he cheated on my for 5 of those. i stayed bc i thought it was best and was wrong. Once I realized I didn't love him anymore I filed for divorce,,,but now he is engaged n pregnant and we are not even out of our 6 months yet! it scares me to be ok with this n being "nice between us all! you give me hope!

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  39. Reading your blog inspired me for the ont I just started....I competly understand mine was a complte asshole to not only me but our 1 yearold son aswell I got our lives back on track without him and then he wanted to call and skype with him now that he is two and he is perfectly fine without him...but I put my big girl panties on and let him talk which results in us talking and he is being extremly nice and it pissees me off because I still hate him but yet this stupid ass friendship is forming and idk how I feel about it and I have all my guards up in case he tries to hit me while my guard is down.....so I understand, amanda. Theyoungsingleworkingmom.simplesite.com

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