Life does not stop after divorce, it begins anew!
It’s funny how something you hear in passing or read about, can bring you back to a time or a place you would rather not relive. A friend of mine was telling me a scenario of her friend who is just in the beginning stages of divorce (the poor woman). Her friend’s husband is fighting her over the family pet and wants to share custody.
It brought me right back to the same place I was a little more than five years ago. While I was going through the divorce, my ex, who is known for being ridiculously wordy, amongst other things, was trying to keep expenses down and wrote an in-depth schedule of our daughter’s coming and goings for the remaining six years before her 18th birthday. It was to be part and parcel in the agreement. If that wasn’t bad enough, he wrote another section about our then dog, Scruffy (name changed to protect the innocent). He wanted shared custody of our dog.
There were three paragraphs written devoted to Scruffy’s whereabouts on any given week, recommended food items, vitamins, and what should happen in case of emergencies. My attorney looked at me and said with more than a hint of sarcasm, “I cannot understand why in the world you would want to divorce him?” Then, “does he seriously want this in the agreement?” We both chuckled, but I knew he was dead serious. In fact, the man was always so grim it was difficult for him to get his head out of his ass most days.
As a control freak and would stop at nothing to put every word he saw fit into the agreement. I argued the points I felt strongly about, and let the rest slide. I had known him long enough to know that going against him would only provoke, and all he would then do would be to dig himself deeper into the sand and delay the divorce. In fact, our divorce was delayed many a time because he didn’t like something written in the divorce decree. Our divorce was much like our life together, long, difficult, and not a lot of fun.
Last year Scruffy passed away at the age of 17. I didn’t get to see much of him the last two years of his life, because I had stopped the shared custody arrangement to retain my sanity. The sharing of custody proved to be too difficult. In fact shortly before I ended the shared custody, I was dog-sitting for a few months for my boyfriend who had been traveling, and when the ex found out, Scruffy was not permitted back to my home until the other dog was gone. It was bad enough he tried to control the schedule with our minor daughter every chance he could, telling me on a whim that Scruffy was off limits, was too much. I needed to end the pandemonium as quickly as possible. The less contact with him, the better off I was.
The final straw came when I wanted to keep Scruffy an extra day since my brother (an animal enthusiast) was visiting from out of town and wanted to see him. There was a huge blow-up (by the ex of course) and he was demanding I bring our doggie back right then or he would keep our daughter an extra day. Of course he confused two separate issues and made it one and the same, a lovely quality of his I had the misfortune of being accustomed to. He then involved our daughter who was upset because she did not want to stay with him an extra day. An argument ensued, but at the end of it I realized what I had to do: cut as many ties to this man as I was able to do. My daughter was not an option, but unfortunately Scruffy was.
After the dust settled, my kids were mad at me for not keeping the Scruffy schedule alive and kicking. Honestly, I was upset for a little while, but in the end, it was great to not have to deal with him on the subject anymore. One less area of his attempted domination thwarted. What was interesting was that the ex kept trying to keep the schedule going, but I refused to fall prey. He wanted me to be the dog sitter when it was convenient for him, and he tried the guilt route when all else failed as to how it was upsetting our daughter that Scruffy was no longer at my home. But in the end, none of it worked. I was done. I took control of the reigns and declined. And truth be told, I was kind of happy that I had one less responsibility on my plate.
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