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Je veux être la fille avec la plupart de gâteau. Regardez-moi dans la glace.
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21 July 2006


Declaration of Independence

Daniel Skyped me a few weeks ago. There was something important he needed to discuss with me. I told him I could talk for a bit, and asked what was up.

Daniel: I've got some really great news, Madeline, and I wanted to tell you before you heard it from anyone else.

Madeline: Yeah? So, tell me!

Daniel: I got married.

Madeline (stunned): Wow . . . Huh . . . Congratulations . . . Um, when?

Daniel: Two weeks ago.

Madeline: Two Weeks? But you were just here last weekend. Why didn't you tell us then? Wait . . . did you tell the boys?

Daniel: No, I wanted to tell you first but you're never available to speak with me. I didn't want to wait this long , but you left me no choice! Why didn't you agree to meet with me like I wanted last weekend so that we could talk?!

Madeline: Daniel, you told me the reason you wanted to meet last weekend was so that we could discuss the boys' college funds, first of all, and secondly, I had plans on that one weekend a month when I do not have the boys.

Daniel (winding up): You Never want to talk to me! You're Never available to me!

Madeline: I am always reachable by IM or email, which is how our mediator suggested we communicate with each other.

Daniel: That's not convenient for me. I don't want to tell you by email that I've gotten married.

Madeline: Yes, well, I'm sorry about that. But Daniel, it's not like you have all the time in the world in which to prepare the kids; they're coming to visit you in two weeks, and they need some time to get used to the idea. I really can't believe you waited to tell us. It's pretty inconsiderate.

Daniel: It's no big deal! We got married at the courthouse! It was a civil ceremony! None of our friends were there!

Madeline: I don't care if it was a Wiccan ceremony in a cornfield, Daniel, it is a big deal. It is a big deal for the boys no matter how far away you are. This affects them. They've met her once, six months ago. It's not cool to spring this on them.

Daniel: You are overreacting, Madeline, as usual. Why won't you accept responsibility for this?

Madeline (unbelievingly): Um, because it is not my responsibility.

Now I understood why, suddenly, he was able to take the boys for his full two weeks in the summer instead of the one week he'd originally said he could do. Now he had help.

I wasn't surprised, really. Daniel is a person who truly can't be alone and I knew about the girlfriend. It was only a matter of time before he married again. I was, I suppose, mostly disappointed that he was staying true to form and putting himself first. I was also angry that he waited to tell me, and when he had a chance to, he made up a story about college funds.

It was a move for control, and I didn't bite. Instead of doing what I'd do for anyone else and what I used to do for Daniel and accommodating him, I stood my ground that weekend and suggested we discuss the college funds in emails. What he'd wanted was to have control by getting me to come to him under false pretenses and then drop his news. To see my reaction in person.

Madeline (suddenly feeling ballsy): So, is she pregnant?

Daniel (pauses): Yes.

Madeline (stifling laughter): Dude, I've got to go . . . I've got another call.

I was laughing through tears of anger and disappointment. I resented that he'd kept this from us, after all his talk about wanting us to be open and honest and adult with each other. I resented that he was so cowardly and that he'd left another potentially messy situation for me to handle.

Maybe I'm overanalyzing it. I know I've had the urge to protect the boys from Daniel's inconsideration when he's cancelled a visit at the last minute or has been two hours late picking them up without a phone call. I never make excuses for him and around the kids the most I'll ever say about a frustrating situation is to identify it as such.

But who the fuck does this?

I took a day to think it over. Constantly resurfacing was the relief that I was no longer married to this person. That I'd made the right decision. I felt badly for the boys for whenever they realized what I already knew: Daniel is most concerned with himself and that can lead to disappointments. I don't speak ill of Daniel in front of the kids. My belief is that his bad behavior will catch up with him eventually and the boys will discover it on their own. They need no help from me.

I would tell the boys about their father's new wife. I would not let him wait until their plane ride to tell them. I would be calm and matter-of-fact. And two weeks later I would tell them goodbye for half a month.


Blogger NoWin said...

Tell me you're kidding! That man is so UP himself! Oh boy, lady, did you do the right thing by getting out of that relationship! I know men can be selfish, well, some of them - OK, nope, we can ALL be selfish sometimes, regardless, but that...
(Am speechless! Typing, but speechless!)

Anonymous Jordan said...

Unfortunately I am not surprised. You are right that the boys will discover his flaws in due time...we all learn are parents are flawed when we grow up. Hopefully, they will be able to adjust quickly - kids are so resilient. It's just a shame that he is such a damn self-absorbed drama queen!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the most profound things anyone said to me after I left my marriage was 'you cannot protect your child from the reality of his father'

Blogger marcus said...

hey, darlin',
you told me this by phone when it happened, and reading it now is like living it all over again. and i still have two reactions. but the stronger one is that my heart breaks, just knowing that you have to deal with this.

Blogger Evil Minx said...

Oh. My. God. Holy fuck!

That was my complete, jaw-dropping amazement at his behaviour. What a fucking neanderthal. Jeez!

Yay!! Well spoken. Well done! Couldn't have put it better. Absoluely. Way to go. Go Madeline.

That was me being completely in awe and impressed at yours. You being the bigger person, the better parent, and the one who takes the responsibility for the real stuff of bringing up a child...

Many hugs

Minx xxxxx

Anonymous Kgirl said...

I can't believe y'all are so surprised. Almost this EXACT conversation was had between me and my ex-husband and I've had several girlfriends who have had similar experiences. But hold on, the inconsiderate behavior only gets worse over time. One piece of advice: try, try, try to make friends with the new wife. It is really hard, but it makes things soooo much easier. It is good that she will be a mother soon too as she will have a whole new respect for you. If you can make "friends," eventually, you can take the lout out of the loop altogether with reagrd to planning visitation, etc.


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