Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Hidden Blessings

So the guy I've been dating for three months just broke up with me on Sunday. Basically, he thought I was going to break up with him so he decided to preemptively strike out at me by picking on the things I'm most concerned and self-conscious about. He hurt me, he really did. Ironically, I wasn't planning on dumping him, that was just his mistake. Of course, after he made me feel like crap on the bottom of his shoe, I wasn't going to correct his bad assumption. I went right along with his script and I'm quickly recovering.

However, there is a weird sadness that lingers from all of this because he seemed like such a good guy right up until the break up. We had some disagreements before this stuff, but nothing that wasn't livable. He was great with the kids - really freaking great. I find myself sighing over how near-perfect he was . . . and then I remind myself how thankful I should be that he revealed his true colors before we got any more serious. There is a big blessing in finding out who someone really is. I am so glad that my ex-boyfriend volunteered this little scene to expand my awareness of his character.

This brings me to the hidden blessings of Jake's arrest and all the drama I endured because of it. It is a blessing that his true character was revealed. It is a blessing that someone reported him to the police. It is a blessing that I didn't have to figure these things out on my own and make the decision to turn him in. It is a blessing that I didn't get an STD from his extra-marital affairs. It is a blessing that my kids were not abused. In so many ways, I am relieved that everything happened when and how it did.

It is a tough road to find out that your spouse is a sex offender. It breaks your heart and tears up your family. But there is a second chance that is born out of it. The biggest blessing is being given choices. I had several wise people encourage me to start making decisions based on what is best for me and my children. It took a long time for me to grow into that idea, but it has served me well. My life is incredibly flawed right now, but I feel so free compared to the situation I left. I wouldn't go back for all the money in the world. And I won't settle for a flawed relationship, even with a near-perfect man. I like having my choices and I like having a second chance. I hope that every spouse of a sex offender finds this personal freedom. You don't have to choose to leave your spouse - just make sure your choice is really best for you and not just a guilt reflex from that "till death do us part" line. I'm guessing that vow was already broken by the sex offender and it isn't your job to fix it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

After Divorce

Ah, anonymous commenters, you bring me back every time. The latest comment reminded me of how long it has been since I posted - three months! And so much has happened.


My divorce from Jake was finalized in April. It was such a strange process. We worked though our lawyers to come up with a separation agreement. It was incredibly awkward since he is in prison and has very limited ability to talk to his lawyer. He wouldn't agree to let me change the kids' names to my maiden name - no surprise there. He also wanted me to pay off one of his debts as part of the divorce. This sent me through the roof with anger. I recently had to file bankruptcy because I couldn't afford childcare, let alone credit card payments left over from my destructive marriage. I feel like my unfortunate financial circumstances all lead back to him. I don't want to be childish, but in all fairness, HE owes ME money and great apologies. Instead, my lawyer talked me into appeasing him by promising that if he is ever taken to court and forced to pay off the credit card then I will forgive him from having to pay a portion of child support. This is all quite laughable - and I laughed like an insane person gone manic when my lawyer came up with it because: A) the state of Colorado doesn't believe that incarcerated persons should have to pay child support, B) the debt is so small that it is unlikely any credit card company will care enough to take him to court, and C) even after he is out he will never pay me child support as long as he lives because he has a knack for wiggling out of all responsibilities. Basically, I got nothing out of the divorce except my freedom from him and a huge lawyer bill.

At least I have a few years before he can get visitation with the kids. I fear the time when he will have access to them. How will he con them? Will it be for sex or money? God help me that I have to lay awake at night worrying about these things. Well, before he can see them he has to be out of prison and through a certain amount of sex offender treatment. Any visitation will be supervised. There is a little comfort in that, I suppose.

I thought I had six years to prepare for the time when the kids would be exposed to him again. Six years was what I believed his earliest release date would be with good behavior. However, when I looked Jake up in the prison system, they have his first parole hearing listed just three years from now. My heart sank when I saw that. Just three years. Do I dare hope that they routinely deny parole for a few years? I am terrified for my kids. They don't deserve to have such a father. They really don't deserve to have him reintroduced to their lives while they're too young to understand his manipulative ways. How can I protect them?

Well, I am thankful that the divorce is final. I have a second chance to choose a better life for myself and the kids. It's been hard. We're poor. But we're often happy despite everything else. In terms of the future, I'll just have to hope for the best.