Let me preface all this by saying that at no time will I reveal my ex-wife’s name. I must state that because I don’t want to hear her accuse me of publicly embarrassing her. Not so. She’s doing a fine job of that herself. Names have been left out to protect the inno-. Well, names have been left out. I won’t go into the reasons for our divorce because that’s not relevant to the story, but I’ll gladly answer any questions about it if someone were curious enough to ask. Also, if you’re my kid, I prefer you don’t read this, but you – unfortunately – already know this story. There’s no need to relive it. Let me add to the preface by stating that sometimes you can see the IP address (a unique code to each computer) of each blog visitor, and sometimes those IP addresses also show the location (city, state) in which the computer is located.
Before I launch into this – thing, I should also state that I asked at least one intelligent friend to pre-read the post in case there was a reason I shouldn’t post it. She gave me great advice about how she evaluates posts before publishing them, advice that I’m too dumb to have known without her help, so now there’s two ways she’s ahead of me. She’s smarter than me, and she looks far better than I do in a schoolgirl outfit. One of those is a joke, but I’m not saying which. Or maybe neither. So why publish it? Maybe there’s another guy out there who is facing a situation of separation or divorce. And if that’s so, I hope he asks me about my divorce experience so I can make some worthy suggestions about what to do or not to do.
I recently learned a very strange thing: my ex-wife stalks my blog. I kind of suspected for years she was stalking me, like when she tried to stop me from seeing my kids after reading a post in which I said that I hated Christmas because it was so depressing to not seeing my kids that day. Interesting. She prevents me from seeing my kids on Christmas – it depresses me – so she tries to stop me from seeing my kids completely.
But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Tonight. At the moment. I’m writing about the incredible irony contained in the fact that my ex-wife stalks my blog while having a court order aimed at stopping me from stalking her. I – me – one of the friendliest, most helpful, typical Libra, very liberal, tree hugging, uber sweet (as women often refer to me) lovable, wonderful me – I have a court-issued restraining order against me.
Oh, it’s going to be a fun day over in the “House of Genius” when she stalks this post. That’s been my name for her over all these years: Genius. I call her husband Boy Genius. When she reads this, things will be thrown in that house. No, wait, that’s a regular day. Curses will be shouted. Eh, still regular. She’ll be so upset she won’t be able to make dinner. Oh, never mind.
I hear stories about ex-husbands and wives who get along better than ever following their divorce, and I’m jealous of that. I knew the woman for about half of my life, and her family was very nice to me most of the time. After you read this story, you’ll understand why we can never get along in a friendly way. I don’t believe that what she does in this story was of her own creation. I believe someone gave her this plan of attack, and I do mean “attack.” I could accept if she were to apologize, but she has not and will not. I could accept if she were to say, “I didn’t realize the full effect of what I had done to you,” then I would say, “Okay, thanks. Now let’s be normal again.” But to this day she denies everything that I’m about to tell.
Okay, gather ‘round kiddies because Uncle Jack is going to tell you a story. I referred to myself as “Jack” because when we were in court last year, my attorney asked her attorney why she has such vicious hatred for me, and her attorney said, “Are you kidding? She thinks he’s worse than Jack the Ripper.” I’ll swear on any deity you’ve got that this is exactly how it all happened about 12 years ago…
My ex and I had verbally agreed to splitting up around November of ’99. Maybe it was 2000. Not sure. Regardless, she wanted me to move out of our 4-bedroom Victorian house that she really wanted and got. But the house was so expensive that I was working two jobs, combined with her zero jobs. When we agreed to split, she assumed that I would be moving out immediately. Not so. I told her many times that there was no way I could afford to keep paying for that house and also live on my own somewhere, and that meant she was stuck with me in the same house for a while. It was a horrible time for me, seeing my kids every day but knowing that soon I would not see them every day, but that’s how it works in New Jersey. The wives get whatever they want, and the men get to bend over and take it, but I haven’t really begun to tell you just how far I had to take it.
So, for months she’s asking me to leave, and for months I’m telling her that I really want to leave but can’t afford it. I didn’t like it either, but there was nothing I could do about it. Stress the “I could do about it.” We worked it about as best we could for two people who hated each other but were living together. I’d go to work and return home at about 6 or 7pm. When I arrived, she’d leave the house immediately and head to her boyfriend’s house where she’d stay until morning. I’d feed the kids, give them baths, and put them to bed. In the morning, when I’d leave for work at about 7:30, she’d arrive home to take care of the kids until I got home again at about 6 or 7pm, and over and over.
One particular afternoon when I got home from work, she didn’t leave. It was a surprise for both of us to spend time with the kids and even have dinner together. I don’t think the kids knew anything about the pending divorce at this point, probably not, since they were about 5 and 1 at the time. By about 9pm, the older child was in bed and I was in the process of bathing the 1-year-old and getting her ready for bed. I specifically remember standing near her changing table, drying her and getting her diaper and pajamas ready when I felt something odd: A punch. I turned to see my ex-wife ready to punch me again.
“Are you nuts?” I asked. “I’m putting pajamas on a baby, and you’re punching me? Really?”
“Get out,” she said. “I want you to move out.”
“And I very much want to move out,” I said, “but I can’t afford to pay for this big-ass house you wanted and also rent an apartment. Maybe if you went back to work, that would have helped.”
I was then holding the baby, about to put her in her crib when I got punched again. Yes, she punched me while I was holding the baby. Amazing. I put the child into the crib as quickly as possible to avoid her getting hurt by accident and left the room as the ex followed me down to the kitchen.
1 like to bake, and there was always a cake or cupcakes or something around the house. I sat down at the kitchen table with a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of milk. She angrily followed me despite my request she go to her boyfriend’s house as she usually did. Again, she demanded that I leave, and again, I explained why I was not leaving. I’ve mentioned her boyfriend a couple of times, but I’m not trying to suggest that the reason for our divorce was that she was cheating on me. She wasn’t. In fact, I recall the exact moment she got her “boyfriend.” Right after I told her that we were done, we would have to split up, she called a friend from college and told her what was happening. The friend then gave her a name and number of a guy she knew who lived in our area. I watched as she wrote the guy’s name and number down. Two years later they were married. Regardless of how strongly her therapy group told her to NOT get in a relationship, she immediately launched one. She’s always been the type who will do exactly what you tell her not to do – not because she wants to do that but because she wants to prove that she can do what other people believe should not be done.
Okay, back to the cake. I’m at the kitchen table with cake and milk. First, she pushed the table into my chest, pushing me against the wall. Then she picked up the plate and threw the cake at me. Then she finished that off by picking up the glass of milk and drenching me, all while insisting that I “Get out!”
I stood and wanted to leave the kitchen, but she was blocking the doorway. I asked her nicely to move so I could change my clothes, but she wouldn’t. I asked her a little more loudly to move, but still no. Here’s where things changed. I walked towards her, put my hands on her shoulders, and pushed her backwards so I could leave the kitchen. She stumbled a few steps backwards, dramatically threw herself to the floor, stood up, and sprinted out of the house. Curious, I followed to the window and saw her leap into her boyfriend’s car and drive away. I thought it was odd that her boyfriend was waiting outside all of this time, but I shrugged it off and then changed my clothes from the cake and milk.
The next morning she did not appear as usual as I was ready to leave for work. I think her sister showed up instead, which wasn’t unusual because the sister lived a short walk away. When I came home from work that day at about 7, I was surprised that neither she nor the kids were in the house as was the usual. I assumed perhaps she was with the kids at her sister’s house, wasn’t sure, but wasn’t concerned either. I got changed and was about to get something to eat when I heard a knock at the door and saw two policemen.
They asked me to identify myself and informed me that my wife had filed an assault complaint. It seems that in New Jersey, if a woman says a man has assaulted you, there needs to be some kind of evidence. However, if that woman and man are married, and the woman claims to have been hit, there is no need for evidence. That man is guilty until proven innocent. It’s the result of years of judges and cops telling women that “unless you have proof that he hit you or threatened you, there’s nothing we can do.” Unfortunately, there were many times when it was true but without evidence. And, there were many times when eventually those men seriously hurt, even killed some of those women. The result is the reversal of “innocent until proven guilty, when the two parties are married.”
“You have 30 minutes to get everything you need and get out,” one said.
“I’ve been in this house before,” said the other. “Didn’t your wife go into labor here? You called 911?”
“Yeah, that was us,” I said.
“I remember that,” said the pudgy officer.
“Why do I have to get out?”
“Because your wife says you hit her,” said the thinner one.
“No I didn’t.”
“I know, sir. Maybe you didn’t, but that’s the law.”
“Guilty until proven innocent?”
“Yes, Sir. Let’s go. Thirty minutes.”
I was in turmoil. It was my first time having the police escort me out of my own house, so I wasn’t sure what to get. I first went for clothes for work, then a few other things like toothbrush and those things. I wasn’t sure if I were ever going to be able to return and get other personal items, pictures, things like that, so I just rushed around in a flurry, also not even sure of where I was going. I can’t remember, but I’m sure I ended up at a nearby motel that night.
Up to that point in our divorce/separation, I didn’t have an attorney, but I found one immediately. Unfortunately, she was an idiot. My ex had what is called a TRO, Temporary Restraining Order. That can either go away after a hearing or it can become permanent. My idiot attorney suggested that I allow it to become permanent. When I asked why, she said, “You’re a good guy, normal guy. You’re not going to stalk her or do anything stupid, right? So if you do nothing wrong, it’s no big deal, and it will make her feel comfortable. And if she feels comfortable, then she’ll be more nice when we negotiate later on in the divorce.” One of several stipulations of a restraining order is you’re not allowed to own a gun. I never have before, and I knew i never would anyway, so at that point I was still too ignorant to know better.
Once you agree to a restraining order, it will never go away unless the female approves. I could show 30 years of perfect behavior and sweetness, doesn’t matter. There were times when I was very poor and qualified for free legal advice and representation. When I showed up and they saw my full situation, including the restraining order, they told me they couldn’t help because the state-funded group that provided the funding had one condition – they don’t help guys with restraining orders.
So I found an apartment in which I was sleeping on the floor and had no furniture. I had an ironing board before I had a chair. Part of the restraining order allowed me to spend time with the kids at the house instead of the sad, barren apartment. One night when I was there, I noticed that she hadn’t put the lids on the garbage cans, and they were full of rain water and floating trash. I left her a note that suggested keeping the lids on the trash cans. Even something that simple was a grave mistake.
A few nights later I’m standing in my sorry apartment, ironing pants for work, and there’s a knock at the door. Another police officer. He asked me to identify myself and tells me that he has to take me to the police station.
“What did I do?” I asked.
“Your wife has a restraining order against you, right?”
“And it says no written communication, right?”
“Officer, I left her a note about the garbage cans.”
“Well, yeah, but.”
“Hey, I know how you feel. I’ve been there too,” he said. “Relax. I’ll drive you to the station, finger print you, take your picture, and you’ll be back in about a half hour. Not a bid deal.”
Not a big deal? Yeah, it is a big deal. To twice have the police knock on your door? It’s a big deal. To be asked to leave your own home? It’s a big deal. Photographed and fingerprinted? Big deal. And when your ex tells your kids – and then you have to explain how their mother had you arrested twice? I can’t think of a bigger deal. And 12 years later, I’m still paying for it in more ways than one. So far the only positive was the officer agreed to put on the flashing lights while a Van Halen song was playing. I’m pretty sure the song was “Running with the Devil.”
Yeah, that’s me. Devil. Stand back everyone. I’m on the loose. Oh, the danger.