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blessedwithstress's picture

I spent a large chunk of yesterday not eating and stewing over everything that happened the night before. There were moments during the work day where I could hardly choke back the tears and keep working. I Googled “how to know when you’re ready for a divorce”. Ultimately, I don’t think we are there but it is still floating on the periphery.

DH was gone all evening at a sporting event with his father so it was just me and the littles at home. I visited my parents but never said a word about what was going on. They never picked up on it so I pretended like everything was ok. They did cheer me up a little. The evening went fine although I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The littles and I spent the rest of the evening snuggled on the couch watching Avengers: Infinity War. Bless their hearts, they went right to bed and fell asleep immediately – which is rare. I was able to watch The Handmaid’s Tale without interruption for once.

Earlier in the day I had posted on FB that I was depressed and needed chocolate to ‘keep the Dementors away’. My BFF since kindergarten showed up at my house at 9:30pm with a huge bag of candy bars and Little Debbie cakes and we talked until midnight. It was so cathartic. She’s been through similar troubles in her life so she can empathize with me. Usually she’s the kind of person to talk over you (though not in a mean way) but she did a lot of listening and it felt so good to be heard. She’s known DH for years and isn’t quick to say ‘Divorce his ass!’ but she did encourage me to be honest and tell him that the D word has been in the back of my mind…as much as it pains me to admit it.

By the time DH got home it was too late to talk about anything. I tried not to let on that I was still upset. This morning though – literally as I was getting into my car to leave for work – he comes out to the driveway and says “Are you going to be OK? I see your posts on FB. You’re making me feel like a bad husband.” What am I supposed to say to that? Not really a great time to hash things out. So I just said “I’ll be fine. It will pass. Don’t worry about it. We can talk tonight.” Then he got all huffy and walked back to his car grumbling “Yeah, don’t worry about it. Ok. Love you BYE.” Seriously? Perhaps I should have said “Don’t worry about it right now. We can talk more tonight.” So now we are both stewing. I texted him to say I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t want to talk. Just that a 5-minute conversation in the driveway before work wasn’t going to cut it.

I have no idea what the evening will hold once we are both home. The littles are spending the night at my parents because of some camping plans we have with them this weekend. I hope we can talk more tonight and make some progress – at least enough so that our camping trip won’t be an uncomfortable one. We’ve had the same conversation over and over and over. I feel like this is the one that has to be different or else it’s a deal breaker. I’m so nervous. I don’t know how to communicate any differently that something HAS to change. Most of all, I’m afraid that he is never going to change. I’m afraid of what that means for the future.


blessedwithstress's picture

It seems prudent to mention that DH and BM opted out of Friend of the Court when they divorced and have made an agreement between themselves regarding how much child support should be. I don't fully understand it but I know it is no longer fair. Below is a proposal that I drew up outlining how I would like to renegotiate the child support agreement (if possible). I'm one to put my thoughts in writing to avoid miscommunication so I was hoping to use this as a tool to start the conversation with DH. We never got that far...


In an effort to promote a spirit of fairness and continue effectively co-parenting, it is necessary to review and revise the terms of financial support for the children we share. Doing so will ensure that a disproportionate burden is not placed on one household. As financial and family situations have changed in the last 13 years, we would like to update our mutual agreement to reflect these changes.


The following will continue as it has previously:

  • Weekly child support in the amount of $150, to assist with the cost of:
    • food
    • shelter
    • clothing/shoes
    • extracurricular activities (athletic fees & physicals, equipment, instruments, apparel, small school field trips)*
    • educational expenses (books, school supplies, fees for special classes and testing…)
  • share 50% of medical care costs
  • share 50% of the cost of large-scale school trips (ex. Disney, Chicago)
  • seasonal purchase of clothing as needed in a dollar amount determined at our discretion

Additional provisions:

  • Expenses related to extracurricular activities, clothing/shoes, and education will be covered under, but not in addition to, the weekly child support amount. …In the case of special classes and testing, both parents may agree to split the cost before class registration is completed. Small school field trips are defined as those taking place within the state of Michigan that do not require fundraising efforts to finance (ex. Michigan’s Adventure).
  • Expenses that are not covered by child support will no longer be split 50/50 unless the cost is determined to be exorbitant and both parents agree to split the cost prior to a decision being made and the cost incurred. Examples of these expenses include formal attire, fees for activities and events outside of school, etc.
  • Vehicles
    • Each parent will be solely responsible for the cost of auto insurance for one child, whose vehicle title shall be under that parent’s name
    • Vehicle payments and gas will be the responsibility of the person who drives the vehicle
    • Each driver will obtain employment and remain consistently employed. Employment must be sufficient to cover the cost of car payments and gas. If employment ends, the driver will reduce their spending and possibly forfeit driving privileges until a new job is obtained
      • Acceptable grades must be maintained in order to keep driving privileges
      • Too many extracurricular commitments are not a valid excuse for lack of sufficient employment and/or poor academic performance
    • Maintenance of vehicles will be the responsibility of the driver. If significant maintenance is required, each individual parent will determine how much financial assistance they can provide.
    • Additional gas money may be gifted at the discretion of parents based on need and merit

def. – child support: the payment of money for a child that is ordered by the circuit court. Support may include payment of the expenses of medical, dental, and other health care, child care expenses, and educational expenses (

*According to Michigan child support guidelines, extracurricular activities are covered by child support (

tog redux's picture

Well, the bottom line is that DH has to agree with your wishes on the child support matter.  Instead of focusing on what he sends BM, focus on what is needed to cover your monthly bills, including paying down your credit cards and saving for vacations, home renovations and retirement. 

All you can do is let him know you will be splitting finances and expecting X amount as his contribution to the monthly bills if he won't even discuss the financial issues. 

mommadukes2015's picture

First off-girl BEEN THERE. Done that. And I’m here to tell you, that little thread of hope you are clinging to is a VERY powerful thing. 

Ive been off ST for a hot minute, but no less than 2 years ago I sat where you sat. My SO’s finances were a mess, we were hemorrhaging hundrededs (although not necessiarily all due to CS-but CS was part of it) and BM2 (yeah 2)  just wanted more more more. 

Take a breath. I too am head penny pincher and bookkeeper for my family. My finances are separated from my SO’s but I control all the accounts. 

What worked for me, was setting up 3 accounts-my account where all my money goes. His account where all his month goes-but I have the ability to transfer funds in and out-and a shared savings account (that only I have access to). BM2 would lay guilt on thick or only let SO see SD9 when there was a lot of money to be spent, book fairs, shopping, going to arcades, gymnastics, softball, theatre camps, dance etc when we were barely keeping a roof over heads (ie 3 months behind in rent and I had been 6 with out medication I very badly need). Getting him to agree to this was a fight, because no one wants to give up all of that control but the simple truth was, I couldn’t make ends meet by myself at that point and his paycheck might as well have read BM2’s name on it. I literally just took BD5 to buy brand new clothing like from a store on Tuesday for the first time in her LIFE. Clothing that wasn’t a handme down or from a second hand store. Meanwhile BD9 wants for nothing and never will. 

He told you he wishes he was dead. In your other thread someone said that was manipulative. I strongly disagree. He CLEARLY is between a rock and a hard place. He wants to keep his word to BM (even as ludacrious as it is-and it is ludacrious) but it’s not necessarily altruistic-he’s afraid of blame, shame and pain and believe you me-a lot of men will do ANYTHING A N Y T H I N G to avoid that. My SO included. Then he’s got your shared children, but even if he’s not conscious of it, he sees them at an advantage because they live with you both. Is it fair? No. But he doesn’t feel the absenteeism he feels with his older children that is causing him to hurl money at them trying to put a band aid on a bullethole-perceived or otherwise. In sum he is lacking in CONFIDENCE. This is why your fights go nowhere because they too are blows to his confidence. Are you responsible for that? Hell to the no. But here’s the thing-do you want to be happy or do you want to be right? 


This will not be fixed overnight. This is a long term problem that requires a long term solution-that is attainable if you feel that is in your and your children’s best interest (notice how I put you first-YOUR happiness is their 1st and best interest-because you can’t take proper care of them if you don’t take proper care of you)

What I have learned, is that if you want to fix the problem, you’ve got to yank that sucker out by its roots. If you are having these financial problems, you have got to quash the way he deals with his guilt towards his older children. If my parents didn’t have money for something-I didn’t do it. If I didn’t take care of my responsibilities like car insurance at 16 with a job, I didn’t have a car. SD might be mad at him-which magnifies his guilt. BM will most certainly add onto that-again magnifying that guilt. Then, if he gives them what they want, he’s disappointing (and rightfully so you don’t deserve this) you. Your littles can’t provide for themselves. SD is old enough to pull some of her own weight-becaue guess what sweet cheeks that’s LIFE. If you want him to take that stance-you have to build up his confidence as a man and as a father to say NO to the money vampires and start instilling values in his children or they will be life long leeches and he will be alone becais you will have rightfully walked away.

Now is any of this YOUR responsibility? F-no. If you go, no one, including myself, would blame you for one hot second. Just do me a favor going into this conversation with him tonight-remember people don’t fight to be right. They fight to be understood. What do you want him to understand about how you feel? Don’t dance around it just lay it out. Also remember-respond, don’t react if he angers-because guilt is a nasty emotion and it will protect his ego at all costs. That’s not him-that’s just the pain in him fighting to stay put. And then make a point to try to sift out what he needs YOU to understand. You can have opposing opinions, and still be on the same team. Then work on a plan. What are you gonna DO? What does each of you NEED? Are you willing to give those things to one another? 

Godspeed Mama. There is a light at the end of the tunnel but only if you grab the bull by the horns and want it. If you don’t-that is okay too. You are free to get up and walk away if I’m your soul you know that’s what’s best. 



blessedwithstress's picture

You nailed it right on the head. With a sledgehammer. His previous marriage ended because BM was a filthy, cheating whore and the wound has never healed. He does have serious confidence issues and I try so hard to explain where I'm coming from in a way that doesn't leave him feeling more beaten down. I'm not worried about being right (well, not totally) but I am worried about what is fair and what we can both live with. I have always wanted to be his partner in everything - even all the BS with BM. 

But he doesn’t feel the absenteeism he feels with his older children that is causing him to hurl money at them trying to put a band aid on a bullethole-perceived or otherwise

▲▲▲THIS▲▲▲ He is always saying that BM 'stole his children from him' because she moved to another town when he was too poor to follow. He missed out on so much time with them when they were little because of it and now he is using money to try and make it up. Only he's taking away from the new family we are building together - both with money and time because he works SO MUCH at side jobs (to cover extra CS demands and bills) beyond his normal job that he's hardly ever home...and he wonders why the LITTLES don't have a close relationship with him! After we married, we moved to the same town and BM and now live less than 3 miles from her. And he's STILL throwing money at this perceived problem. I understand with all my heart that is is between a rock and a hard place. That is what makes these conversations with him so difficult. I don't want to add to his troubles but we can't keep going like this. In business lingo - the current model is unsustainable.

My finances are separated from my SO’s but I control all the accounts. 

I'm not sure if this would work in our situation but it is an option I am seriously thinking about trying. DH couldn't budget his way out of a paper bag (bless his heart) so regardless of whether we had separate accounts, I would still manage everything.

<3 Thank you for your comment. It was VERY helpful and inspiring!

thinkthrice's picture

is the ONLY way to fly in StepHELL.  Finding most DuHs can' t budget to save their lives and tend to overspend on the skids (guilty daddy buying love) or just in general.  SM usually steps in as CFO.

mommadukes2015's picture


Hahahahaha girl-after my hiatus I’m a whole new animal. 

Of course lady! 

You say he tells you a lot about how he feels. Take aim at making him feel understood. Tell him that he’s a damn good father working all those extra hours to provide for his family. Remind him that, that too comes at cost. The cost of his littles living in a financially unstable home and missing out on time with him-time he’s all too familiar missing with his older ones. Remind him he’s going to miss it again if he doesn’t soften his focus on making up for things he needent make up for. There are plenty of functional adults with divorced parents. It’s not wrong to expect older kids to contribute to their bills especially big ticket items like cars. You’re the safety net-not the the bank in this situation. They are now learning to be adults-and it’s best they learn financial responsibility now as opposed to their 20’s. It’s tough love they’ll thank him for later. 


And repeat. And repeat and repeat. Let it marinate. Repeat some more. You’ll be surprised over the course of time what listening and reminding him he’s human will do. Good luck! 

susanm's picture

First, kudos for not giving in to an urge to talk right then and there this morning.  I am one of those people who like to deal with things right away and stewing is incredibly destructive to me.  As a result, I can not tell you how many times I got to the office far later than I had planned because we got into something in the morning.  Not only did I get a late start to my day but I was in a crap mood that made me completely unproductive and unfocused.  He was too.  Both of us would then have double the work the next day to make up for the wasted day before.  You were smart to put it off.

Second, you have every right to be concerned.  My question to you is whether your DH is acting out of a sense of guilt, responsibility, or ego.  Or a combination of all the above?  If so, what percentage of each?  Because I dealt with the same issues and I believed my DH when he claimed that he acted out of a sense of responsibility with a side order of guilt.  I loved him and wanted to see him in the best light.  But then I found out that he was hiding some things from me in order to continue providing an extraordinary amount of money to the skids and BM.  If he was truly acting mostly out of an aboveboard sense of responsibility then there would be no need for any deception, defensiveness, or anger.  People who believe that they are truly doing right are not angry when confronted.  They are confused by someone thinking they are doing something wrong and want to explain their actions.  Not attack and belittle and do the smoke and mirror routine.  So I knew there was a deeper issue and we had serious work to do beyond basic dollars and cents. 

My suggestion to you is to get to the bottom of where all of this is coming from first because no budget agreement is ever going to stick unless he wants it to.  A new child support agreement can be signed but that will not prevent additional money from being spent how he chooses.  The only thing that will is a genuine understanding being reached between you and that trust is a delicate thing.

Winterglow's picture

Thid might be a low blow but ... check out the child support calculator for your state and find out how much he would have to pay if you got divorced. It might be a handy card to use as leverage should you find that nothing else works. It might be the only way that he'd actually contribute the necessary for your children.

Harry's picture

If $600 a month is a lot or little.  He has a responsibility to his kids. He has to pay medical and exter major expenses.  Kids don’t need a car. It’s nice if he can afford it but if he can’t he can’t 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I don't think you can solve this only by focusing on renegotiating your H's support for his older kids, The proposal you drew up only addresses one part of his financial obligations. Your H has three sets of obligations: his current household, his c.s., and his debt, in that order. Your H needs help understanding that his income is a pie, and currently a disproportionate amount of that pie is going out the door. As in, the pie is aalll gone, leaving his younger children with no pie. 

Using credit to make ends meet is a scary, scary way to live, and it's not sustainable. But I can see how difficult your situation is, because your H is the emotional, fragile ego blustery type who has a hard time listening. Men like that need to hear truth from people they respect - as in a professional, preferably male. 

I agree with other posters who've pointed out that your H needs to be made aware of certain hard facts, such as how much he can be expected to pay you in child support if he continues to break faith with you. Facts and numbers, delivered by someone other than the nagging wife, are what this guy needs, as well as a healthy shot of fear. 

Please, please meet with a divorce attorney. Many offer free consultations, and you need facts in order to make good decisions. I'm not suggesting divorce, only clarifying your position and rights. Again, facts and numbers. Next, line up some financial counseling for you both. Don't tell your H any of this. And lastly, apply pressure and scare your H. Take your bios, and stay elsewhere for a few days. Leave an empty fridge, a pile of bills,  zero $$ and a note saying you need time away to think. Stay No Contact while you're gone, let him worry and turn off your phone. Stay gone until he's begging for your return via vm, and then hit him with your terms for returning: financial counseling, financial fidelity, and prioritizing your household.




blessedwithstress's picture

DH has agreed to pay his half of all of the extras that BM has currently asked for (athletic fees and crap that has come due only recently). He has also promised to "reduce the amount of extras" he agrees to pay going forward. I'm not holding my breath but it is a small victory getting him to admit that it needs to be done. I'll take what I can get at this point, even if it is only baby steps.