Well Simon hasn't had much coverage on this blog. Apart from as a pathetic figure, the knight in shining armour who expects you to carry him away on your steed.
There have been reflections on why I married him, but today's thoughts have brought me to a place I could/should have explored months/years ago, if I didn't have this bleeding heart liberal approach to him whereby I think, poor simon, he's sick he can't help it, he's weak I'm strong, I need to facilitate his connection with his son, I need to pay for everything he can't to make sure our son has a good life.
Since meeting his hispanic girlfriend Beatriz things have changed. He always cancels/changes his weekends with Connor.
Well finally my mental health is being affected. The hideousness of middle aged dating, the demands of work, the time needed to support a child with reading difficulties (did I mention) my injuries meaning I can't do sport. All add up to making me feel very alone. In fact hideous as it is, those nights out with singles are better that staying in all the time kid wrangling, and when he just SMS me to say "no sorry, no can do any of the nights I am slated to" (1) the bottom falls out of my world, I was holding out for my weekend off, I need respite (2) I get angry.
Having just bought the cute girl townhouse of my (short term) dreams, my need to be near my family and support group gets stronger. I went out for a singles dinner with a group called " a table for six" on Saturday night. I did not really click or relate to either of the men there, but the women were interesting. Every case of divorced and separated families I can think of the partners either offer practical, or financial support, or the custodial parent has full custody and the freedom to move around. Below I describe the two women I met and the dinner and one other
(1) The first girl had given up work to bring up a family, after the divorce, her ex husband still supports her to stay in the family home and be a full time mum (as does the government) although she is not near her family.
(2) The other girl, was in a situation not unlike mine, she was a 39 year old single mother of one daughter who had an excellent transglobal career. Her daughter though, was adopted, so no pesky father in the background, and she had migrated home to be near her extended family. But she did have the full time hands on job of caring for the child and no respite.
(3) I met a colleague at a conference last month, who had split up with the mother of his only child, she had gone back to her home country, and he continued to support her financially.
How is it? I ask myself that I get the worse of all possible worlds, no financial support from my ex (as in cases 1 and 3), not close to my family for support (as in cases 2 and 3) no financial or practical help from my ex (as in cases 1 and 3), and no freedom to migrate as in (2).
As far as practical help goes, maybe it is just easier for the majority of men just to do the financial thing and be free to get about, socialise, love, shag, drink and work like they're single again. Perhaps, I belatedly realise, shared care is not something that comes naturally to most men, it is a social construct. On meeting Beatriz, Simon wants to be free, and "luckily" for him he hasn't historically earned much, he has a rumbling mental illness that could flare up at any time, and I have a good job, which lets him off his financial obligations to his son. Why has he been pussyfooting around changing diapers and doing the school run all these years. Bugger it!! Be free!!!
Since our parenting plan (where he had 5 nights per fortnight and would've liked more) was filed in court. I propose to give him the option, in mediation, either to take Connor for 5 nights, or he will give me full custody giving me the option to move, and more support from the government if I stay.
Along the way, my mother and Neil had suggested this "full custody" plan to me, but I had always rejected it, believing it to be unfair to Connor and his dad. Now it seems I have to do it for my own sanity.