Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ha ha ha ha haaaa

You won't believe what happened to me today....

Some random dude at the Whole Foods Market asked for my phone number. Bwaaa haaa haaa haaa!  

When I first walked into the store, he told me I looked familiar and asked if my name was Cindy. I said no. Later on, when I was checking out, I ended up behind the same guy in the line. I couldn't help myself and asked him how tall he is. The guy said that he's 4'30".

I guess the fact that I was able to do the mental math impressed him and as he was getting finished, he introduced himself asked for my number. I gave it to him (mainly because I have these cute little cards that only have my name, cell phone number, and email address).

I refrained from telling him that I have an insane ex-husband, more children than a normal person could imagine, and that I'm probably ten years older than he is. I'll probably never hear from him, but it made me feel good. I laughed all the way home. 

Tee hee.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I knew this was coming

There's an issue that I knew was going to pop up at some point. And this problem has arrived.

It's about that whole "Chaste" thing. Yes, I am still living a lifestyle of purity. It's just that I have started to notice that I am a woman again.

To be perfectly honest, I miss sex. Yeah. A lot. Some days are worse than others.

During the last several years of my marriage, my sex life was pretty ho-hum. When the relationship is bad, you don't exactly want to spend a lot of time doing that with the jerk. I was depressed. And I had some health problems that were causing a lot of joint pain and muscle aches.

Today, my health is better than it has been in years. I'm not in constant pain any more. I'm no longer depressed. In fact, I'm pretty cheerful most of the time. I think it helps that I haven't heard a peep out of my ex-husband since the end of September. So now my sex drive is back, but I'm single.

I know that my children are watching how I handle my sexuality. I always taught them that sex is a wonderful gift, but it's for marriage. They expect me to practice what I preach. I expect me to practice what I preach.

I hope to marry again someday which means that dating is in my future.

I'm already thinking about where the boundaries should be.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Six Months

As of today, I have been divorced for six months.


Three years ago I was in a terrible marriage. In October of 2008 my then-husband asked me to meet him at our marriage counselor's office because he had something he wanted to tell me. When I got there, he told me he was moving out of the house.

That first separation was short, but when he came back home the marriage descended into a hellish pit. By the time I asked him to move out again in August of 2009 I was a wreck. I was on two anti-depressants and barely surviving.

Today, I feel like I have been given an incredible gift--freedom. Freedom to explore who I really am and what I really want out of life.

You know that moment when you jump off the high diving board? You go down to the depths and push off the bottom of the pool and eventually pop up into the air and can breathe again? I was unwillingly pushed off, but I have survived the journey back to the surface.

I am free.

I am happy.

I can breathe again.

I'm so very thankful to be here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Musings on dating

Hi, Friends!

I bet you've been wondering what I'm up to. I've been getting the kids settled into going to a traditional school for the first time in their lives, I've started going to church, and I've been making new friends.

Part of my road to healing has been joining a Divorce Care group. This week's session was on New Relationships. The information presented was really eye-opening for me. Most second marriages fail within the first five years. The statistics are even worse for third and fourth marriages.

The video showed an interview with a couple who married shortly after their divorces were final. They went from never having an argument while dating, to having a hellish marriage. Their marriage survived but it sounds like it was awful.

After our meeting a group of us went out to eat, and I started talking to my friend who helps facilitate the group. I didn't realize that she had been divorced twice. J met her second husband in church. Her children and Christian friends thought it was a good idea for her marry the man. Even so, the marriage was horrible and she ended up going through a second divorce.

Up until last night I thought I was just about ready to start dating.

Nope. Not happening.

That cute guy in the divorce group? I've mentally moved him into The Friend Zone. That less cute, but still attractive guy? Buddies. Strictly Buddies.

I've realized that I'm just not in a place to start dating. Sigh. On the other hand, that makes it easier to maintain my position as The Chaste Divorcee.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My anniversary

Today is a special day for me.

Today's date marks the second anniversary since my ex-husband and I separated. His verbal and emotional abuse had been ramping up for years, but it was completely over the top on our last vacation together. We took what should have been a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime trip with all our children--a cruise to Alaska on one of the better cruise lines with really nice cabins. We were supposed to be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

Instead of a happy, romantic adventure there was anger and unhappiness. No matter what I did, my husband was mad at me. No matter what the kids did, he was upset. The kids started avoiding him. While I didn't actively avoid him, I did not go out of my way to seek him out. Which made him ever more angry at me.

Then to cap off the ugliness of this vacation, when we got on the plane to return home, they were oversold. At the last minute, one more person boarded and the only seat left was in first class. The flight attendants pulled out their lists of frequent flyers and offered the first class seat to my husband. Without a word to me, he jumped up and moved to first class leaving me to sit next to the man who had boarded late. Happy anniversary.

As soon as we got back home, my husband left early the next day to go on an out-of-town work trip. Over the course of the next couple of days, I thought long and hard about my life and my marriage. I remembered the three times my husband had hit our children in anger, and I thought about how miserable our "joyous" vacation had been. I made the decision to ask him to move out for awhile so that I could have some space and time to fully assess the situation.

When my husband came back from his work trip, I handed him his (still packed from vacation) suitcase and asked him to go away. He got angry and cursed at me and told the children that I was a terrible wife and mother. But he left. I'm so very thankful he left without violence.

Three months after he moved out, I filed for divorce.

Is your husband/wife/significant other verbally or emotionally abusive to you or your children? Check out the links in the top left column. Share them with a friend who you suspect of being a victim of abuse. I'm so very glad that I'm not living that life any more. No one should live like that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another example of the messed up family court system

Here's my problem with family court. There's no rhyme or reason to it. There's no way of figuring out what kind of crazy thing is going to happen next.

Here's an article about a woman who doesn't want her children to have visitation with their step-mother. Her reason is valid--the step-mother murdered her own children. But according to Commissioner Leonid Ponomarchuk it's no big deal. The bio-Dad of these kids has hidden from Mom the fact that they've been hanging out with a child murderer. And she hasn't killed them so far.  So, it's perfectly fine.

Check it out.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yesterday. . . .

Yesterday would have been my 27th anniversary were I still married.

But I'm not married anymore.  It felt. . . .odd.

On the one hand, I'm so glad to be free from my abuser.  He made my life so unhappy in so many ways.  I'm very, very happy that I'm no longer married to that man.

But on the other hand, I have been blessed with five children who are the fruit of that marriage.  Had I never married that man, I would not have these particular children.  They bring such joy to my life.  They are the good thing that came out of that horrible experience.

The sorrow and pain of the past weigh me down.

The blessing of motherhood lifts me up.

I feel odd.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Here's my problem with family court

This is a summary of what's going on with my friend Mr. M and his blog that has been order off the internet.

Firm Contact: Kevin J. Handy
Divorced Father Challenges Judge’s Order Forcing him to Take Down Anonymous Website and Blog About his Ex-Wife and Divorce on First Amendment Grounds.
Divorced Father Claims that Bucks County, Pennsylvania Judge’s Order Requiring him to Take Down a Website called “” and Prohibiting him from Ever Mentioning his Ex-Wife or Children on any Public Media in the Future is an Unconstitutional and Unenforceable Restraint on Free Speech.
Doylestown, PA (July 11, 2011) – A divorced father is challenging an order entered by a judge in Bucks County, Pennsylvania requiring him to take down a website on which he writes about his ex-wife, his divorce and his custody case. Although the website has the unflattering name domain name “,” all of father’s posts to the website about his ex-wife and his cases are anonymous. According to the father, his ex-wife discovered the website accidentally while researching child support issues involving orthodontic treatment on the Internet and the website appeared high in the search rankings. The ex-wife apparently recognized the content of some of her e-mails, which were posted in a redacted format on the website. Shortly thereafter, the ex-wife asked the court to order the website shut down.
Despite the website’s name, the content of the website is not limited to the divorced father’s posts about his ex-wife and divorce. The website, which is actually owned and controlled by father’s girlfriend, also includes a significant amount of other materials, including discussion forums and resources aimed at helping individuals cope with the difficult issues that arise in divorce and custody cases. According to the divorced father, the website receives over two hundred thousand visitors per month.
Although the website initially started out as a way for father to vent about his divorce and ex-wife, it quickly transformed into a community forum intended to help others going through similarly difficult and emotionally challenging divorces and custody cases. According to the father:
The site is intended to help people in similar situations. I always felt like no one really knew or quite understood the level of chaos that existed in my life, and the website was a way to express it without burdening others with such horror or having to explain and re-explain myself. I felt that it was a way for me to tell the truth of my experiences but to no one in particular.That is why I started posting to the site in January of 2008. Soon thereafter, I started getting an incredible amount of feedback from people going through similar situations that felt as isolated as I did. That is when the site took on a more meaningful purpose, letting others know that they are not alone in their difficulties. I pray that realization prevents them from feeling trapped like I did. At the time, I felt that I had nowhere to turn. Had I discovered a place like this a long time ago, I may have been compelled to make better choices earlier in my relationship and case. Maybe I would have been more honest with myself and with others about what I was going through and gotten help and guidance sooner for my children and myself.

Despite the website’s apparent popularity and inclusion of unrelated content, a judge and former district attorney in Bucks County, Pennsylvania summarily ordered it shut down on June 6, 2011 without a hearing or testimony. The specific language of the order, entered by the Hon. Diane E. Gibbons states that “Father shall take down that website and shall never on any public media make any reference to mother at all, nor any reference to the relationship between mother and children, nor shall he make any reference to his children other than ‘happy birthday’ or other significant events.”
Father and his girlfriend have appealed the judge’s order to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania claiming that the judge’s order violates the rights guaranteed them under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
“The judge’s order is a classic example of an overly broad and unenforceable prior restraint on free speech” according to the father’s attorney, Kevin J. Handy, a partner at the Doylestown law firm of Cooley & Handy. “The order is constitutionally over broad because it clearly prohibits speech that is protected by the First Amendment.”
Although the precise reasoning behind the judge’s order is unclear, the judge presumably issued the order in an attempt to shield the parties’ children from father’s complaints about his ex-wife. There was no evidence presented at the hearing, however, that the children had even seen the website, let alone were harmed by it.
“Even assuming that the court could shield the children from exposure to father’s comments on the website in a constitutionally acceptable manner, which is big assumption, there are many less drastic ways for the court to accomplish that goal without shutting down an entire website. For example, the court could have simply ordered ex-wife to monitor her children’s Internet usage.” according to Mr. Handy. “In the context of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court requires the Government to ‘narrowly tailor” orders restricting speech. The court cannot use an axe where a scalpel will due.”
Father also claims that he never intended for his children to read his posts and that they were directed at other adults going through similar situations.
Mr. Handy points out that the order was issued just in advance the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 27, 2011 decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, in which the Court, in striking down California’s ban on the sale of violent video games to minors, reaffirmed the principle that the Government may not restrict otherwise constitutionally protected speech for the ostensible purpose of protecting children.
“Time and time again,” Mr. Handy notes, “the Supreme Court has reiterated that courts and the Government may not reduce the adult population to only what is fit for children.”
Judges in custody cases often enter orders that purport to restrict what one or both parents may say to each other or around their children. Those provisions, however, are rarely challenged or enforced. In the past, complaints by spouses about their exes were generally limited to conversations with family and friends. The Internet and the ability to post negative comments about ex-spouses indefinitely on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or personal blogs, however, has increased awareness of the issue and the perceived problem.
In 2008, a judge in Vermont in a comparable case ordered a man to take down “any and all Internet postings” about his ex-wife. The judge, however, subsequently reversed himself after the man raised similar First Amendment issues. The case was Garrido v. Kranansky.
“Individuals involved in divorces or custody disputes have no less constitutional rights than other individuals,” claims Mr. Handy. “A judge may no more restrict a parent’s right to free speech that she subjectively finds objectionable than the government can for any other group or individual.”
Cooley & Handy represents individuals in personal injury, class action, divorce, custody, and other litigation in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties and throughout Pennsylvania.
© 7/12/11 Cooley & Handy

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Family Court

Most of my friends have had little to do with family court. Congratulations. It's a strange place.

It's been nearly two years since I separated from my husband. I've learned more about family law and family court that I ever wanted to know. For instance, I've learned that an abusive ex-spouse can continue their abuse through the court system.

I've also learned that justice isn't necessarily just.

Let me tell you about my friends, Mister-M and DW. Mister-M is the author of a blog called The Psycho Ex-Wife. Here's his description of the blog.

"The Psycho Ex Wife is the story about a marriage, divorce, and subsequent custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who is strongly suspected of suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (at least from our armchair psychologist diagnosis), and the husband's new partner. It is based on true events. . . .

We hope that by sharing this story, we will effect change in the divorce cartel. We don't sugarcoat issues, although we do try to protect the innocent. You will read actual e-mails, transcripts, false child abuse charges, and custody evaluations, the result of over $80,000 in legal fees (not including the psycho ex wife's legal bills) and 4-years of litigation."

Mister-M's blog is not so different from my own. He began anonymously writing on the internet about what had happened to cause the end of his marriage, and then continued on writing about the events of his life. Just like me. He never used real names or photos of anyone involved. Just like me. I don't know what part of the country he lives in or even what time zone he's in. It's all very anonymous.

But now his blog has been shut down by a judge.

I guess the reason this upsets me is because I'm afraid that will BE me someday. Maybe Mister-M went too far. I don't know for sure. All I know for sure is that I learned a tremendous amount from his experiences in dealing with an extremely difficult ex-spouse. And I don't want to lose that resource. And I want it to be there for other people who have an extremely difficult ex-spouse.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Freedom of Speech in the blogosphere

This is the first in a series of posts I will be writing about a situation that is going on with a fellow blogger.  The situation is simply too long and complicated to put in a single post.  I hope you will stick around over the next few days.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of speech. . . it's something that citizens of the good ol' USA hold dear.  Over the past 235 years many men and women have fought and died to preserve the rights of citizens to proclaim truth.  The freedom to speak or publish your own ideas and opinions is central to American culture.  It's a freedom that we don't always appreciate until we see it threatened.

One of our founding fathers, James Madison, had this to say, "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

Today, I'm here to report to you a "gradual and silent encroachment" on this freedom by none other than...a court of law.

Yes.  A fellow blogger has been ordered by a judge to take down his anonymous blog and to make sure that it cannot be found online by search engines.

And if this blogger cannot do this impossible task, the judge may find him in contempt and throw him in jail.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good news/Bad news

I just learned some very good news for this week. My ex-husband will be going out of town this weekend to participate in special event on Monday. This is one of his long-term goals, so he will be on his very best behavior to make sure it happens for him.

The bad news? When he gets back from his trip, he will experience the natural let-down that people have after achieving a major life goal. I'm thinking about leaving town for a few days next week.

Why Does He DO That?

I'm reading a very interesting and helpful book - Why Does He DO That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft.*

Bancroft spent many years working with this type of man and gained considerable insight into their thought processes. Interestingly, he always attempted to maintain contact with the wives and girlfriends of the men he counseled so he could get both sides of the story. Much of this book resonates with me.

Bancroft says that there are many types of controlling men and many myths surrounding the abusive man. He believes that the heart of the matter is not the man's past or his struggles with mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse. Instead, Bancroft's position is that a man's thought processes are what leads to angry and controlling behavior.

What are these thought processes that lead to abuse? Bancroft lists ten realities that together make up the abusive mentality.

Reality #1 - He is controlling.

This is my ex-husband in spades. He believed that he had a right to control me. Bancroft says that most controlling men don't try to control everything about their partner, but they stake out specific areas to control. My ex-husband once gave me a two-page list of tasks that he expected me to do every day. Included in that list was that he expected to walk in the door at 6pm every evening and find a hot, tasty meal ready and waiting. If it didn't happen, he was angry. On the other hand, he usually didn't care too much where I went during the day or what the children and I did. As long as we were properly prepared and waiting eagerly for his arrival from work, the rest of the day was mine to control.

Currently, my ex is trying to exert control by trying to control how I parent the children. He has sent me messages telling me how the children and I should spend our free time. He has tried to make me sign a "contract" involving him and one of our adult children. He is also trying to use the court system to exert greater levels of control over me and the children.

Reality #2 - He feels entitled.

Oh. My. Goodness. THAT'S IT!!! Let me share Bancroft's definition of entitlement - "the abuser's belief that he has a special status and that it provides him with exclusive rights and privileges that do not apply to his partner." My ex-husband believed that as a man, and as the only one earning an income his opinions and his desires were paramount.

In recent months my ex-husband's feelings of entitlement have taken a huge hit. He was absolutely appalled when he learned that as his wife I was entitled to half of the marital assets. He assumed that everything belonged to him exclusively. He still has not turned everything over to me, and he has only two more weeks to complete the process.

My ex-husband has always had the mentality that he was special and different from everyone else. And if he receives any recognition for a job well done, his feelings of entitlement rise even higher. As he became more and more successful in his profession, he became increasingly abusive. My experience parallels the experiences Bancroft had in working with abusive men. At one time he had some of his "success stories" speak out publicly about how they overcame their abusive tendencies.  In every single case, the men who received recognition reverted to abusive behavior.

I'll share more about the the thought processes of angry and controlling men another day. If someone in your life exhibits these realities, I'd suggest you get a copy of the book to read.

*Bancroft states several time in his book that he refers to abusers as men because the vast majority of them ARE men, and the vast majority of their victims are women. He agrees that in a few rare cases women are the abusers and their male partner is the victim. Additionally, in the homosexual community both men and women may be abused by their same-sex partner, and he addresses some of the issues that are unique to same-sex relationships.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I have nothing to lose!

That's a line in an email sent to me recently by my ex-husband.  He says that he has nothing to lose.  He also said that he's planning to report me for child neglect and endangerment.*  As you can imagine, I'm not sure how to respond.

My attorney is concerned for my safety.  Men who have nothing to lose have been known to do desperate things.

A couple of years ago, my oldest daughter read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.  The author is an expert in assessing risk and determining what steps to take if someone has been threatened.  My daughter recommended the book to me, and I read it also.  This week, I've had my copy of the book out, trying to determine if I really am in danger.

Early in my marriage, I made it very clear that physical abuse was right out.  Men who hit women should be drawn and quartered.  If I was in an intimate relationship with someone who ever hit me, it would be over immediately.  That's that.

My ex-husband has never hit, shoved, or slapped me.  He has, however, driven in a reckless manner with an intent to scare or annoy both me and the children.  On one occasion I was terrified that the driver of the car next to us would do something violent because of my husband's actions. 

My ex-husband slapped one of the children across her face.  He had a horrible habit of poking, kicking, and thumping the children.  When they or I complained he always claimed it was an affectionate tap, not done with aggressive intent.

The day I asked him to move out of the house, I was afraid that he would react violently.  I had three of the children leave home, and kept the two tallest ones with me.  I had my cell phone in my pocket ready to call 911 if needed.

That night he got angry, he cursed me, and he yelled insults to me and about me to the children.  He told them that I am a horrible mother.  That's been his recurring theme ever since.

In assessing my risk The Gift of Fear has been very helpful.  There is a 30-point checklist to help me figure out my level of concern.  I have gone over that list and my husband has done 14 out of the 30 items.  Hmmm.

In general I am not a fearful person.  I think many women are unnecessarily fearful of what may happen.  I have never been one to waste my time worrying about possibilities.  However, I try not to be heedless.  I want to listen to the warnings.  I am taking steps.  I may or may not post about what I'm doing.

*My two youngest children are 14 and 16.  They are both taller than I am, so we're not talking about little kids here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My new life

My divorce is final.  I am now officially a divorcee.

Today I went to mass at my local Catholic church.  While I'm not angry at God, I'm certainly disappointed and disillusioned with the evangelical churches in my area and evangelical churches in general.  I don't know where I'm going spiritually, but it felt good to hear the word of the Lord and participate in worship.

Now I need to redecorate my blog and get back to blogging regularly.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yesterday was "Blue Monday"

Supposedly it was the worst day of the year.  The days are short and winter seems endless.  The Christmas bills are overdue, and the New Year's Resolutions have all been broken.  Yuck!

Sadly, several of my friends and acquaintances are going through some serious troubles, and for a couple of them things came to a head within the last couple of days.

Me?  Things are looking up.

If all goes according to schedule, my divorce should be final within a month.  I'm still having some lingering issues with panicky feelings whenever I get an email from my soon-to-be-ex-husband, so I decided to have a few sessions of individual counseling.  The first one was yesterday and I found it very helpful.

Also, yesterday I bit the bullet and joined the Y.  They have water aerobics classes that I can take which will not cause joint pain.  They also have exercise bikes that I can use for a modified Couch-to-5K.

Finally, I'm planning a vacation to take over Spring Break with the kids.  We want to go somewhere warm.  We've had a cold, snowy winter this year which is unusual for where I live.

I want to leave you with something that my counselor gave me.  He told me that my homework is to read and reflect on it every day.  The beginning part will be familiar, but you may have never read the whole thing.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next."

Reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy forever in the next life sounds like a great plan.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Exercise, Shmexercise

I have realized that Couch-to-5K is not going to work out for me.  I love the idea of it.  Here's a plan to turn someone from a total couch potato to a regular exerciser.  Ready. . . .Go!

I downloaded a handy dandy podcast from the internet that would tell me when to walk and when to run.  I already knew that with my bad joints running wasn't a good idea and that I should just walk really fast instead of running during the running times.

I put on my walking shoes and headed out the door.  It was really cold (for a southerner), but I kept going.  I enjoyed my walk and did a good job during the walk-really-fast times.  I came home tired but refreshed.  Then I sat down.  And when I tried to stand up again, it was painful.  And the pain in my joints continued for the rest of the day.  Ouch.

Standing at the stove to cook dinner was not a pleasant experience.

I still hurt this morning.


I'm still determined to do something that will improve my overall fitness and health, because therein lies happiness.  I'll have to ponder it.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

And, I'm back

First of the year.

Time for a fresh start.

I had lots going on with divorce and other things and dropped off the face of the blogosphere for a month and a half, but I'm back again.  I'll be redecorating and then back with a longer post.

Happy New Year!!