This evening was pretty rough. The Ex had texted me earlier this week to see what we were doing this evening, and we had no plans, so she said maybe she could see kiddo. Fine, I said, no problem. She needs to see her mom on a more regular basis. Well, she texts me this morning all giddy and using lots of exclamation marks because “she hasn’t seen her kid in forever”, and I’m like yeah, okay, don’t get all geeked out on me. And I go through my day, work was fine, and I’m leaving work and she’s all “where are we meeting” blah blah blah, and I thought you know, it would be nice for kiddo to spend some time with just her mom. They never do that anymore. So I suggest it. No no no, she wants to spend time with both of us. Okay, fine. So we go to a restaurant, end up waiting like 30 minutes for her to show up. We sit down. She whips out her phone and starts showing me all the pictures of this new apartment she’s going to be moving into next week. Cool beans. I’m happy for her. Then I remembered that I needed to tell her about something that happened at school. So I did. And she got all pissed at me for not calling her right away, and she got all kinds of passive aggressive, like I’m cutting her out of her daughter’s life and all that stuff. Whatever. I wasn’t going to fight about it. And then I don’t remember how it came up, but she said something about how she’s not going to get benefits at her job until February. Okay, I said, I had been thinking about that and…..
I had been thinking about that and….
THINKING ABOUT WHAT?
Well, you know…about how you’re going to need benefits because….
Bam. She was all over me.
BECAUSE OF THE DIVORCE?
Uh, yeah…but this doesn’t seem to be the appropriate place to talk about it…
GUESS WHAT KID, YOUR PARENTS ARE GETTING A DIVORCE.
Poor kiddo had to sit through the absolute train wreck that ensued.
The Ex ends up getting her phone back and out literally reading off the names of the guys she is talking to on Tinder. Starts showing me pictures. Starts showing me things they’ve said to her – really nasty sexual things, of course. And she’s just throwing this all in my face, along with all kinds of nasty comments about me under her breath, and then she starts showing me pictures of her and John, this guy she’s been living with – nothing sexual, it’s all pictures of them together, one of them kissing, one of them laughing and making faces and all that stuff. And some pictures of them with John’s son having fun. And then she shows me a picture of the hole in my old apartment’s roof, and she says AND WHILE WE WERE DOING THAT, YOU WERE DEALING WITH THIS. She says to me, look at this guy – I’ve been talking to him for a week or two. I’M MEETING HIM AFTER I LEAVE HERE. HE’S A NICE GUY. HE CARES ABOUT ME. BLAH BLAH BLAH.
I’m just sitting there…in a restaurant…with my daughter sitting across the table…and other people milling about…and it’s hitting me like one big FUCK YOU after another, and somehow I kept my shit together.
Actually, it wasn’t that hard. Because here I was, taking it like a champ, while the Ex just launches barrage after barrage of absolute bullshit at me. She was doing everything in her power to get under my skin. And hey, maybe it did. A little. But she got it all out, and I just finished my dinner, and poor kiddo is like “so you’re really getting a divorce?” and I’m like yep, but guess what – nothing is going to change. I’ll still be your dad. She’ll still be your mom. And we’ll both love you more than anything else in the world.
So dinner ended, but not without some more passive aggressive nonsense. I ask her if she wants to split the check 50/50. Nope, she’s paying for herself. Okay. So the waitress comes to get the check and she jumps in.
I’M PAYING FOR MYSELF AND MY DAUGHTER, AND HE’S PAYING FOR HIMSELF.
Well, okay then.
I pay for my dinner, and I leave a tip on the amount I paid.
DID YOU LEAVE THE WHOLE TIP OR JUST ENOUGH FOR YOURS?
Well, I tipped pretty well for what I got, so it could be the whole thing if you don’t want to leave anything else…
I’M NOT LETTING YOU WIN.
She tips the same amount as me.
We leave. Kiddo gives her a hug, tries to talk to her but she’s already got the door closed. She drives off.
Kiddo – bless her heart – says to me as we’re getting in the car, “Daddy, I don’t believe any of those things mommy said about you.”
Well, kiddo, neither do I. Neither do I.
It was validation. It brought back some anger, some frustration, some embarrassment. It reminded me why I’m not with the Ex anymore. And you know what? I’m not eating dinner with her again. Not happening. She can take kiddo out for dinner, no problem, but I won’t be there for it. I’m not sitting through that again. I don’t need it. Kiddo doesn’t need it. Maybe the Ex will talk badly about me while I’m not around, but I don’t care. Kiddo’s smart enough to know the difference. She’s smart enough to know bullshit when she hears it. I feel bad for my Ex. I really do. She’s trying so hard to prove that leaving her in the dust is the wrong decision, but everything she does proves that I’m right.
I’m not going to let her tear me down. I’m not going to let her tear our daughter down. We’ve gone through hell over the past 17, almost 18 months. Seriously. And we’ve come out better off because of it. And the Ex? She hasn’t changed a bit.
The Ex doesn’t know it, but I’m going on a date on Saturday morning. I’m going for a nice walk with a nice girl and maybe we’ll be friends, who knows. I deserve friends. And then we’re going to do our last two shows at the theater, and watch Walking Dead with friends. I’m going to things right. I’m going to be happy.