Monthly Archives: May 2011
As I alluded to in an earlier post, I don’t have any enemies. I was the kind of girl that was friends with every type of social group in high school, college, and as a working adult. My astrological sign is one of peace and tranquility; I shy away from conflict and am known as the “Peace Keeper” amongst my friends and family. This personality type serves me quite well in my professional life. I work in a helping profession and it is my daily task to help people work through their problems to have healthier, happier relationships.
When I met my first husband, he was divorced with two kids. When we became engaged, I contacted his ex-wife (with his permission) and asked to meet with her. Over a three-hour dinner we got to know one another, and I assured her that I would be the best step-mother to her two children that I possibly could be. I had already established a solid relationship with them, and couldn’t wait to be a part of their lives. I assured her that I would not try and replace her, but that I would be a loving, supportive person in their lives. She trusted me, and knew that I had her children’s best interests at heart. She and I never had any conflict (why would we?), and we co-parented quite well with one another. When my first husband and I divorced she was saddened that I would no longer be a part of her children’s lives, and I was sad, too. However, leaving that relationship was the right decision.
Fast forward to dating SaneHubby. I told him I wanted to introduce myself to TheHornedOne, so that she could get to know me like my first husband’s ex-wife did. I naively “knew” that I could become friendly with her, just like I was able to do before. SaneHubby warned me that this might not be possible, as with every other girlfriend he had had since their divorce, TheHornedOne had stalked them and wrecked havoc upon their lives. I was bound and determined to make this situation different.
One weekend we were all at a sporting event for one of SaneHubby’s children, and we saw her across the field with her boyfriend, Crisco (more later on why we call him that). Near the end of the game, I walked over to her. I stuck my hand out and said: “Hi, I’m SaneWife, and I wanted to introduce myself to you so that you would know who your children are spending time with.” She shunned my extended hand, crossed her arms and said very loudly for all to hear: “Welllllllll, you’re the latest Flavor Of The Month. I’m surprised you are speaking to me. None of SaneHubby’s girlfriends have ever introduced themselves to me. You don’t know who you are messing with.” Honestly, I was taken aback. SaneHubby had warned me that this was how she would react, but I didn’t believe him. Surely my nice personality would win her over? Not a chance! She then said: “Well, we’ll see how long YOU last”, and then stomped away. That was the beginning of my hellish journey with TheHornedOne, yet, I was not deterred. I would win her over! I made it my mission. Little did I know that I would waste many precious minutes, hours, weeks, months and years bemoaning my inability to establish a positive, co-parenting relationship with her for the kids’ sake. You see, I was now known to her as The Enemy, for the simple fact that I was marrying HER ex-husband. Our triangle had been established.
I love the way SaneHubby and I met. I had been living as a single parent, full-time employee, and full-time graduate student for five years. My child and I were doing just fine on our own. One day I was talking to my hairdresser about how I wasn’t able to meet anyone to date due to working full-time and being in graduate school. She recommended I try online dating. She said, “You don’t even have to answer any of the emails. It will help your self-esteem to get all of these emails in your in box telling you how beautiful you are. You can just delete them if they seem weird, but at the very least, it will put a smile on your face.” I didn’t really take her seriously, until a few weeks after that appointment. My parents were watching my child for me for the weekend so that I could finish my doctoral dissertation proposal. For those of you who have pursued such madness, it is a very stressful undertaking. Not for the faint of heart.
It was a Saturday night, and I was tired of reading research journals and typing on the computer. I half-heartedly signed up for match.com, not really thinking anything of it. I put up one picture, and filled out a few lines about myself. I then put it aside and went back to my dissertation work. The next morning, I checked my email and had 30 emails from Match! I clicked through each one and immediately hit the “delete” key when I read introductions like, “Hey Doc, will you be my doctor?”, and “I’m the one for you!”, and “I’m only 5’6″, but tall women turn me on!” I was furiously hitting the delete key when I came upon an email that simply said: “I beg to differ.” Curious, I opened it up and read the email. The sender was calling me out for saying I was the “World’s Greatest Hugger” in my post. Keep in mind, I wasn’t taking it seriously and was just putting random things in my intro. The sender didn’t have a picture, but he was obviously very articulate and educated. This was a huge bonus, considering all of the other emails had incredibly poor grammar and spelling. An instant turn-off.
I wrote him back, and thus ensued a fury of emails back and forth between us for the next three days. I then cautiously gave this man my phone number (again, I’m still not taking this online dating thing very seriously). After speaking once on the phone, he asked me to have dinner with him that weekend. My child would be with her father, so I said sure. I still had not seen a picture of him, and thought that I was seriously crazy to agree to a blind-date with a total stranger! To this day, I don’t know what I was thinking agreeing to go on a date with someone, sight unseen. As you can see though, that date worked out quite well. When I first saw SaneHubby, it was love at first sight. I know that sounds extremely cheesy, like something out of a Jennifer Aniston RomCom, but it’s true. I fell hard, and so did he.
SaneHubby was up front about his custody and parenting situation with his ex, and he shared with me that she was a diagnosed borderline. I told him that was no problem at all, as I had dealt with borderlines professionally for years. I could handle it. Little did I know that I was in for the wildest ride of my life! A few weeks after we started dating, I met The HornedOne for the first time….
My husband was married for ten years to his ex-wife. They had two children together during that time. While both of them worked in the healthcare industry, SaneHubby did all of the child rearing on top of his demanding career. TheHornedOne (as we call his ex) simply couldn’t be bothered with raising the children. Instead, she preferred to gamble their money away (upwards of $10,000 per month!), booze and smoke, and go on “work trips” out of town. A “work trip” was really code for: “I’m going to go and meet up with one of my numerous boyfriends and cheat on you, and there’s nothing you can do about it”.
One night while on one of these “trips”, she accidentally butt-dialed SaneHubby and he heard allllllll of the action. He had had his suspicions for quite some time, but now here was real proof. Later, during their divorce proceedings, he would hire a PI to follow her on one of her “trips”. That evidence was produced in court. When asked if that was her boyfriend who was kissing and hugging her in the video, her response was, “which one?”
What ultimately led to their divorce was the physical abuse TheHornedOne bestowed upon each child. For confidentiality reasons I will not describe the abuse and how it occurred, as the children are still minors. SaneHubby was able to file for emergency custody and TheHornedOne was ordered to leave the house. What followed was a 9-month long custody battle, including custody evaluations, psychological evaluations, the works. During their custody trial, a well-known psychiatrist diagnosed TheHornedOne as being “borderline with narcissistic traits”. For those of you in the mental health field, that’s about as ugly as it gets. TheHornedOne lost custody and was given minimal supervised parenting time. Oh, and she had to pay SaneHubby child support.
When SaneHubby and I met, he had been divorced for six years, and I had been divorced for five…..
My story is an easy one to tell. I married too young, fell out of love with my husband when he cheated on me, and decided to leave when our daughter was an infant. I had found out he was cheating on me when I was 5 months pregnant, but I decided to try and stick it out in the hopes that things would improve. They didn’t, and one night when he was screaming at me in front of our daughter, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. So I left. He has narcissistic personality traits and it’s difficult to be in a relationship with someone who only thinks and cares about themselves.
Our divorce was amicable, and took just a couple of months to complete. I agreed to joint custody, because I was hoping he would be a better father than he was a husband. I didn’t ask for my half of the house, even though by law I was entitled to it. I gave it to him, hoping he would continue to raise our daughter in that house during his parenting time. I did not ask for child support, because I made more money and he was already paying child support for two other children from his first marriage. I knew that I could raise our daughter without any other outside financial help. We agreed on an almost 50/50 parenting time split, with me having 54% of the time and physical custody. We shared joint legal custody.
My ex and I communicated fairly well, until I got remarried 5 years after our divorce. He became jealous and felt intimidated by my husband, even though my husband is one of the nicest, sincere men you’ll ever meet. Our communication about our daughter started to take a nosedive, as he began ignoring phone calls and emails pertaining to her. I tried to be a decent ex-wife; I only contacted him when it was absolutely necessary regarding our daughter, and I supported his new relationship with his girlfriend 100%. Even though I’d only met her once, our daughter was deeply bonded to her and for that I was grateful. Who wouldn’t want another adult to love their child as must as they do? I felt comfort knowing his girlfriend would be there to help with our daughter during his parenting time with her.
Things really went south when my husband’s ex looked him up and contacted him two years ago. Imagine my surprise when I saw him standing outside our judge’s chambers with my husband’s ex, when we had to make an appearance for yet another motion she had filed against him. More on that story in another post…
I am a second wife. I am also a mother and a step-mother. My life was relatively sane and quiet before I met my second husband. Unfortunately, he was married to a diagnosed borderline for ten years. They divorced nine years ago, but she has made it her mission in life to “destroy” him and all of his happiness. Even though she has lost miserably at that little game, it doesn’t stop her from trying!
My husband is the custodial parent to two sons, and I am the custodial parent to one daughter. Together, we make an awesome family. Our exes, however, are incredibly angry that WE are so happy. My ex-husband, whom I co-parented with until last year, was a non-issue until my husband’s ex got a hold of him. Yes, you read that right: my husband’s ex-wife found a way to contact my ex-husband (there is no way they’d ever know each other, they do not run in the same circles), and convinced him to try and fight me for sole custody of our daughter. More on that later.
The last four years have been quite the hellish ride, but we’ve survived and are stronger as a family because of everything we’ve been through. I know more about family court, child support, ex parte orders, and custody evaluations than I ever thought possible. Unfortunately, every time we think the fight is over, my husband’s ex files a new motion just to prove that in reality, the fight will never be over.
My husband and I both have advanced degrees and work in a well-respected healthcare field. We are academically versed in personality disorders, and able to deal with them clinically. However, having to deal with personality-disordered exes in our personal lives is a whole different ballgame. The purpose of this blog is to share our story, which includes our triumphs and our failures in family court, and in emotionally dealing with the trauma that comes with having mentally ill ex-spouses.
Disclaimer: for obvious reasons, the names, ages and overall identities of all of the players in this story have been protected. We have three minor children that must be protected at all times. Our ex-spouses names will never be used, as we continue to have monthly court battles with them. Even though the identifying information will not be revealed, everything I write here is absolutely true. You may wonder at times if I am making any of this up, and I assure you I am not. It is all documented as public knowledge at our local courthouse. Here are the key players:
SaneWife: Me…the second wife, step-mother to two children, and custodial parent to one child
SaneHubby: My husband…custodial parent to two children, and step-father to my child
TheHornedOne: SaneHubby’s borderline ex-wife
Crisco: TheHornedOne’s live-in boyfriend
So, please read and feel free to post any and all kinds of comments; we’d love to hear from others who have walked similar paths.