As you know, I’ve made no secret of my dating experiences, which, by and large, have been positive ones. The women have been in general, intelligent, charming, witty and attractive, even if our first meeting was our last. I had assumed that my ex had begun dating even before she announced that she wanted a divorce, but I was informed recently by an impeccable source that in fact she didn’t start dating until after she had learned that I had. I don’t know how early she started dating, or what kind of guy she would want to date, but now the pieces have fallen into place.
Let me back up a little. A few months ago I was getting the kids ready to take them back to their house after their weekend with me when in response to her brother, my daughter said “Oh good, that means I get to meet Ryder”. I assumed that this was a new horse at the stables where she takes lessons, and let the remark go. Imagine my surprise when upon exiting the car we were assailed by a large dog of somewhat mixed heritage. This, I learned was the “Ryder” in question, and my son then informed me that his mother was
“Taking care of it for a friend”. I said nothing, being too busy extracting burning fragments of bullshit detector from the walls and treating the wounds I suffered in the explosion.
After their next visit, I saw a guy in the far reaches of the garden, and was informed by my daughter that this was “Andrew”, a friend of her mothers’ who was helping with the garden. It was then that I decided to spare no expense and invest in a really high end, industrial strength bullshit detector. They don’t come cheap, but in the long run they are more cost effective than the ongoing cost of bandages, Neosporin and fire extinguishers.
I never doubted that at some point she would start dating, but when we were having counseling sessions, we both agreed to give the other a polite heads up if we started dating someone on a regular basis and would wait six months before introducing anyone new to the kids. For the record, I’ve stuck to that second rule, but as she seems to have torn up the agreement, I see no need to inform her of my current situation.
I did wonder about him, but as my ex said nothing, I refused to give her the satisfaction of seeing me make the first move. I had expected that at some point either she would say something or he would at least introduce himself, no matter how sheepishly, but not so. In fact, he didn’t even have the guts to look me in the eye, making sure he got as far away from me as possible, even when he had to walk within three feet of me to get out of the garage when I arrived just as they were unloading the car after a Costco trip.
Even when in the same room, he lacked the courage to act like an adult. On walking into the kitchen one Friday to collect the kids for the weekend, I saw him sitting at the counter eating a sandwich. Rather than stay where he was, I spied him out of the corner of my eye slipping out of the back door like a loose turd. And this from a man who is supposedly in the armed forces, purportedly an Army Ranger. Hmm, if that is the kind of individual on whom this country depends, Darwin help us.
Since then, my opinion of him has not improved. Far from it, in fact. Apparently, he chews tobacco and then spits into used soda bottles. Charming, really charming. He also lacks the ability to put anything away, as his gear litters every spare inch of floor space. He has been heard swearing in front of the kids, and is a redneck to boot! Apparently the first time he met my ex Father In Law he got into a heated political argument. Nice. My ex Father in Law is very liberal, very well read and a PhD, and yet this Fox “News” watcher tried to argue politics with him?
The kicker, however, came a few weeks ago. I received a text from a friend saying that she and another friend of ours wanted to have a talk about my kids. Apparently, GI Joe had forced my daughter to perform some sort of military calisthenics as punishment. Yes, you read that correctly. Thankfully he has not laid a hand on either of the kids, but if he ever does, I guarantee that I will put him in a wheelchair. As a result of his boorishness and my ex’s inability to see the situation, our two closest friends have cut off all contact with her, and refused to let their kids associate with ours at their house. Bear in mind that my son has known two of these kids since he was two years old, and my daughter has known all four of them all her life, and you can imagine what this means.
I had a chat with the kids about the situation, and both of them understand that he is not their father, has no right to tell them what to do and that they do not have to listen to him. In fact, I made it quite clear to both of them that if they felt uncomfortable at any time that they should call me and I would come and collect them.
Now, I realise that I am not the perfect partner. I accept and acknowledge my wide range of faults, but since when did regaining singledom mean that someone trades down? I know that sounds harsh, but really? Has my ex’s self esteem dropped so low, is she so lonely and desperate that she is willing to accept a tobacco chewing redneck enlisted man as her best option? To be honest, I only really care about the kids in all this. She can go to hell in a handcart for all I care. I know that sounds harsh, but as we told the kids when they were small, choices have consequences. I can’t imagine she is actually happy with the situation, especially as he is out of the state for several days at a time, and I have no reason to believe that he can be trusted to be faithful to her. May she live in interesting times.