I have sole custody of the boys. I make sure they get to school, take care of all of their medical appointments, help with 99% of their homework and take time off work when they are sick. My ex on the other hand? He takes them two nights per month (maybe a few extra nights during Christmas holidays), pays absolutely no child support, will not take them if they are sick and judges every single thing I do for them.
We all make bad decisions in life. I am not immune to that fact. His bad decisions however, were to become a drug dealer/user when the boys were 4 and 1. Cocaine, like many other drugs, isn’t very nice. It turns a person you know into someone you’d rather forget.
Constant sniffling, talking nonsense, a sense of grandiose, sleeping all day and staying up all night were some of the first things I noticed. Then came the mood swings–one minute he was like the person I married and the next he was almost unrecognizable–and the paranoia. Eventually it felt like sex was no longer consensual. I later learned that cocaine sometimes leaves users with a feeling of being a “sex god” and that it is known as an aphrodisiac. It may also influence users to make decisions they would not make sober including over-emphasis on personal desires and can increase feelings of confidence.
I eventually got to the point where I felt I just couldn’t take anymore and I called him out on it. I asked him what was going on and why he would do this to our family. He wanted to know who I was talking to and who was spreading these false things about him (I found the evidence all on my own–nobody had to tell me). He was angry that I would ever think of accusing him of doing those things. Then once he realized I wouldn’t believe him, he reasoned that he was only dealing to make extra money to support us. He wouldn’t tell me the truth and I couldn’t deal with him and his lies. Even though I was terrified of being alone, I told him he had to leave.
In times like this, you realize who your real friends are. I was judged. I was criticized. I was called harsh and cruel. I was told I was unforgiving. Someone even had the nerve to say ‘it isn’t like he cheated on you or killed someone, so why are you acting this way?’ Rumors were spread about me. I was called a lesbian. People said I took all of his money and left him with nothing. At one point it was believed that I was even cheating on him.
I said nothing. I refused to respond to the rumors and the lies and the questions. I didn’t talk about the things that he did in front of the boys or when they could hear–I still don’t. I didn’t bad mouth him to our friends and family. I felt bad for him, that his life had gotten to the point where drugs were more important than those who loved him.
After we had separated, I found out that he had left the boys alone while I was at work, had cocaine and large quantities of money on him most of the time and invited those he was dealing to into our home and introduced some of them to our children.
Some decisions that other people choose to make I have a hard time forgiving. Those decisions, the ones involving our children, were in my mind completely unforgivable.
Today, I sometimes feel guilty. I sometimes wonder if I was too harsh and maybe should have stuck with him to help him get better. But I could not allow him to be around our children in his state and risk something happening to them. I constantly have to remind myself that he made the decisions that he made. He made the choices that he made without thinking of anyone else but himself. I must force myself to remember that it’s okay to be angry at him for what he did.
He is still part of our lives. Many days I wish he wasn’t. He isn’t the nicest person in the world and takes every opportunity to try to pick a fight with me. Even now, almost five years later he’ll tell whoever will believe him that I ruined his life. Sometimes they’ll believe him, but mostly not. I don’t even pay attention to it all.
I keep things simple, mainly texts and I find it easier to deal with him that way. But sometimes, he still gets under my skin. He is now remarried, has two more children and apparently has given up his life of drugs. I still don’t trust him. I do think he loves the boys, but I also feel that he loves himself and his image more than them.
One day, I hope it gets easier when it comes to him. I’m just not sure though. Some days I just want to punch him in the face.