“I don’t want that skank near my kids!!!” said my client as she plunked a fistful of Facebook screen grabs on my desk.
“What skank would that be?” I queried back.
“The SKANK who’s banging my husband of course!!! It’s all right here,” she said, mushing the pages together like she was playing a game of ‘Go Fish’ with really big cards.
“Ooooooh, that skank. Does ‘that skank’ have a name? Or, more importantly, a rap sheet?”
“I dunno. All I know is he’s posted pictures of himself with her all over his Facebook page having a good old time, meanwhile we’re still fighting over child support! He has no right to be happy, and I don’t want that slut near my kids!”
“Let me get this straight. Your soon to be ex appears happy on his Facebook page with the new person in his life. And because he is happy, you do not want the seeming source of that happiness to spread any happiness whatsoever to your children, correct?”
My client bristled while she let that sink in. So, I helped her wrap her mind around it as only I know how. I hit her right between the eyes with reality, the same way my doctor hits me right between the eyes with a Botox needle. And yes, they both hurt.
Here’s the deal ladies (and gents, for that matter). Your happiness never depends on your ex’s misery. You may believe it does. You may truly think it does. You may even feel with every fiber of your being that it does. But the truth is, your happiness depends on one thing – you.
Your soon-to-be-ex seems to be happy with a new girlfriend (or boyfriend)? So what? You’re getting divorced! Or, you’ve recently gotten divorced. Divorce conjures many different emotions and brings you through many different trials that will test your mettle. But there is, as always, a silver lining to the divorce process. That is, divorce prepares you to move on. That’s one of the perks of the divorce process. You both get to pick up the pieces, start fresh and embrace your new normal. Isn’t that the ultimate goal? I mean, you wouldn’t quit your job and then keep showing up to hang out at your old desk for eight hours, five days a week, just because your boss hadn’t filled the position yet, would you?
If you don’t want to move on, then here’s my advice. Don’t get divorced.
Chances are, once you’ve made the decision to untie the knot, you – and your spouse – may, no, will find another person who floats your boat. When it happens, it happens. And here’s the best part, neither of you needs permission. Why? Because the court doesn’t care who you date, sleep with, go out with, or love. It just doesn’t give a crap. The court is concerned with two things: Splitting your stuff, and making sure the best interests of your children are met. That’s it. That’s all.
But know this: As much as the court is interested in making sure your children’s needs are met, it will never want that as much as you do. So then, back to the original point. Since your happiness is never dependent on your ex’s misery, why would you deny your children a chance to be loved and respected by a new person in your ex’s life? Unless this new person has a rap sheet, is a drug addict, a child beater, or dances like Elaine from Seinfeld (ok, just kidding about that last one), then the court won’t do a damn thing to keep that person from your children. Worse, if you take it upon yourself to keep your kids from your ex because of the new person in his life, it is you who will be in hot water with the judge.
As I’ve said before, if the new “love” in your ex’s life treats your children with kindness and respect, please, for Pete’s sake, take the pins out of the Voo-doo doll.