Vindication or Moving On?

It won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has read my blog that my ex-husband appears on the Ashley Madison list. In fact, he’s an active member right now. Interestingly, he seems only to have discovered this website after the divorce.

I suppose he’s cheating on the Other Woman who contributed in her very teeny, tiny, little minuscule way to the ending of my horrific marriage to my ex-husband – an NPD, sex addict, and probable sociopath.

This is the Other Woman showed up voluntarily in court at my divorce trial to badmouth me – a woman she had never even met. A year later, this still takes my breath away.

She showed up at a divorce trial to badmouth an innocent woman whose husband she “stole” (booby prize that he is), and to repeat lies told to her by her cheating partner that she met on an adult website that makes Ashley Madison look as innocent as Disney.com.

And after she testified, she decided that she wanted her name redacted from the court records. She filed motion after motion, filled with vague references to a terrible and life-altering smoking gun against me, which never appeared of course, delaying my three-year divorce by many more months and costing me the remainder of my retirement funds.

The courts turned her down. She will always appear, by name, in my divorce decree. There is some justice in the world. The decree, written by the judge, states that she perjured herself on the stand. Even though she is an attorney.

In fact, she perjured herself twice during a very short cross-examination by my attorneys. She would have perjured herself many more times, but you are only allowed to ask questions directly related to her previous testimony.

So we never did get to ask about the Big Things. It’s too bad because these are very, very Big Things.

I really want to write more here about her job as an attorney, and how she likes to prosecutes people. I want to write where she works.

But I won’t. I know I’m dealing with a lunatic.

But now her “boyfriend” has appeared on Ashley Madison, looking for other women behind her back.

Is she surprised?

No, I’m sure she’s not.

Does she even care?

I’m guessing she does, but since she cheats on him too, I don’t think she has much of a case against him.

But I do know, from their history of Disclosed Emails, that this will lead to a lot of drinking, screaming, threats, and possibly even some violence.

And so how do I feel?

Not so good. Some people will find out that my lying ex-husband is a AM regular with multiple accounts. They may find his scandalous profiles. My children could find out someday.

I think a lot of other things though. I believe that people are generally good, and that the good people I know are too busy and happy with their own lives to look through AM lists.

I also think that I’m lucky to have moved so far away from this man psychologically. I think that my life is good. It’s getting better and better.

I think that he’s somebody else’s problem now.

And that sort of makes me smile.

Divorce, PTSD, and an Early Mother’s Day Gift

My son shut down my laptop when I walked into the room tonight. He is ten.

I froze, panic sweeping over me as I thought of everything his father had hidden on his computer. I got the old familiar jolt of adrenaline, stronger than electricity, that raced everywhere from my core and made my fingers tingle. My chest got tight – and hurt. As always, I think: shit, finally, a heart attack – I’m too young to have a heart attack – and HE will get my children.

On that last thought, I sit up and breathe and suck it up.

This was my son, not my ex-husband. I would not ruin this special evening with him and his sister. They returned from their father’s house at 5 in good spirits, pounding on the door and throwing themselves into my arms. We grabbed a basketball and walked down to the playground in our new neighborhood and hit the courts.

It was fun. No fighting over the ball, no cheating accusations. For the first time, I really saw my son exceed my physically at basketball. It felt good – and bittersweet. Afterwards, we walked back together up the big hill to our new home.

But after they went to sleep, I opened the computer, finally.

BEST GIFTS FOR WOMEN.

I nearly died. What in the world? I remembered the strange charges on ex’s credit card, and on my credit card – he was even once stupid enough to order bizarre sex items (trust me) using his father-in-law’s credit card, which he stole from my wallet, probably in some drunken stupor. Or worse, someone else stole the card from his wallet.

It haunts me.

But I look again. Another page is open on my laptop.

It is Amazon.com, one of about ten sites my children are allowed to visit on Safari.

BEST MOTHERS GIFT. It’s filled with things called gold rose foil flowers and superpower mom mugs.

I get teary as the adrenaline leaves my body and I realize that I have left my ex behind more than six month ago. He is no longer allowed to affect me this way.

I breathe. The world is a good place, generally. People are good, generally.

My children are good, period.

We are going to make it.

Cancer Doesn’t Stop for Christmas: Reflections on divorce, hardship, and hope

I’m at Sloan Kettering with my father who is undergoing 40 daily radiation treatments for cancer. We believe he will be okay afterwards.

Well, we follow this assumption, anyhow, until someone tells us otherwise. So far, so good.

It’s quiet here, and very beautiful, even on this drizzly day in a cancer treatment center. Everyone is upbeat and friendly, if just the tiniest bit distant, as if they don’t want to get too close to people who might die at any time.

2014 has been hard. My beloved aunt A, who never smoked a day in her life, died from lung cancer on St. Patrick’s Day. Less than two months later, my uncle died of prostrate cancer that had travelled to his brain. My dad survived open heart surgery and many complications. My mother got strangely forgetful and developed some strange farsightedness that the doctors cannot seem to fix. I went back to work, full-time, after staying at home with my children for nine years. I sold my home and moved with my children to a new one. I survived a six-month custody evaluation followed by a three-day divorce trial against an NPD-addict-sociopath. He and the sociopathic Other Woman filed motion after motion to the court, prolonging the judge’s decision because she wanted her named redacted from every court document even though she appeared willingly at my trial to lie about just about everything – including me. The Other Woman kept alluding to some smoking gun but never elaborated, putting me and my attorneys into a frenzy of fear and paranoia that lasted months. Then my children started overnight visitation with their father, and I was nearly bowled over by my grief and worry for them.

. . .

Well, that’s one way of looking at things. We have the power to interpret our own histories, our stories. So here I am at Sloan Kettering on Christmas Eve, writing my story of 2014:

2014 was filled with progress. I finally got divorced after three years of hell. I fought to protect my children, and it made a difference. The custody evaluator and the judge believed me. In writing, my ex and the Other Woman were branded liars who impeached themselves repeatedly under oath – both of them attorneys, too. The smoking gun never materialized because there was never any smoking gun, and my fear is finally gone, replaced with a steely resolve to never again let myself be intimidated like that. I enjoy working (at least most of the time), and I’m learning how to organize my new life and juggle work and home. While working full-time, I fixed up my old house and staged it and sold it for more money than I ever expected. I bought a lovely new home for myself and my children. My dad is beating the cancer. My children are still doing well. My youngest brother got married to a lovely girl. My extended family, which has grown apart through the years, ended the year reunited through grief and a wedding.

. . .

I watch a woman leave the radiation room. She is beautiful and achingly thin.

Then old couple leaves. The wife is round and bubbly; her husband is frail. I am certain he is the one doing radiation.

“Happy holiday,” the wife says to the receptionist. “We’ll see you Friday.”

A pause. “God willing,” she adds and laughs darkly.

I smile to myself because “God Willing” is such a New York sort of expression. And now I watch the receptionist get up and I realize she is all dressed up in a bubble mini-skirt and the highest of high heels. It’s Christmas Eve and she must have plans other than work amongst the dying.

I like her shoes, I think. And her skirt.

Life goes on, I suppose. We keep trucking and hoping and living and wearing fancy heels even though life can be hard and messy and sad. I choose to believe we are coming out of the tunnel and back into the sunshine that I took for granted for so many years of my life. I’m told by friends that there is love and light on the other side of this tunnel, and I am reaching, reaching for it in 2015.

Happy Holidays.

-Madness