Of Monsters and Mice
The other day, Vince asked me if he would be getting a step-daddy. To say I was caught off guard is an understatement. Before I was even able to formulate a response, he followed it up quickly with, "Am I going to have a step-mommy, too?"
Volcanic lava started to gather from the depths of my soul. Calmly, I asked, "Vincent, where did you hear that?"
Completely unaware of the storm brewing next to him, he casually replied, "Daddy said if you get married, I'll have another daddy and if he gets married, I'll have another mommy, but she'll be a step mommy."
I asked him, "Do you want a step mommy or daddy?"
He shrugged and said, "I dunno. Will I [get one]?"
I again calculated my tone and replied, "Vincent, you have Mommy and Daddy. That's it. Maybe in the future you'll get a step mommy or daddy, but right now, it's just you, me, Nate and Daddy."
That seemed to satiate him, so he happily continued on with his lunch. Me, on the other hand, wanted to find John and smash his face into the nearest brick wall. Yet again, I'm left to pick up the pieces from his careless communications (or lack thereof). So I called John and told him we needed to talk.
Of course, John goes into full panic mode. He starts texting me a litany of reasons as to why Vince talking this way isn't a big deal... there's a logical explanation for it.
When will he ever realize that what is logical to an adult will NEVER be logical to a 7 year old (let alone a 7 year old on the spectrum)? There will always be fallout from this sort of discussion because it's a lot for an adult to unpack let alone a child who is confused and scared about the stability of his family.
This is the sort of stuff that makes forgiveness so hard for me. Every time I take a step or two towards forgiving him for his self-centered choices, this kinda stuff happens and I'm right back at wanting to punch him square in the face. Things would be so much easier if he actually learned his lesson and stopped being so thoughtless, but nope. He just keeps piling on astronomical levels of stupidity.
Fast forward to that night. I sit him down and explain why those conversations cannot happen without me - at the very least - being aware that they took place. I need to be ready to answer questions and I need to know what he said so that we can at least appear to be on the same page. He apologized (as he constantly does to no effect) and said he'd let me know should it happen again (which might happen once before he conveniently forgets... ad nauseum).
Then I broach the topic of his girlfriend (who, btw, he stated seeing before I pressured him to finally file for divorce). Given the fact that she's a full 10+ years younger than him, I was very clear in my expectation for how she'd be kept away from the boys. But since I know how John is, I knew this would only be honored insofar as he felt socially acceptable.
What do I mean by this?
Well, keep in mind that John cares very much about what other people think of it. Correction: John cares very much about what his peers (currently people in their 20s) think of him. Actual adults, on the other hand, not so much.
With that in mind, remember that John didn't want to tell anyone about the divorce for at least a year. He wanted to stay living in the house for up to two years before making anything official. He said it was to "help with Nathan," but it was for two things and two things alone... 1) he didn't want his parents to suspect anything was wrong because he was afraid of losing their house (which they had wanted us to purchase) and 2) he didn't want anyone knowing that he walked out on his pregnant wife/infant son.
When I finally kicked him out in November (Nate was 4 months old and John hadn't done much of anything to help out with him at that point), he went straight to the new girl because John is incapable of being alone. He needs someone to build up his ego, and he'd never find a woman his own age to do that. Women my age are typically past all the insecure crap and we're also able to identify guys like John without a second glance. He'd need someone young and naive who would give him the hero-worship he was desperate for.
God only knows what he told this poor kid. I have no doubt to her, John seems like a lotto ticket. He seemed like that to me when we were first together as well. Took me a few years to recognize his terribly selfish, juvenile behaviors. And it's a shame. John has a very specific type, so I'm sure she's nice, generous and quirky... just like me and his last fiancees (seeing a pattern here?).
And just like the last three of us, this new one will also come to her senses and kick him to the curb. How do I know this? Because John has not changed. How do I know he has not changed?
One question. I asked him one question and I had my answer.
Since he's contemplating introducing this girl to my sons, I needed him to understand the severity I would be taking on the issue. John thinks he's in love... he thinks he's ready for marriage... but if he's wrong (which he obviously is), it is going to not only hurt my children, it's going to hurt this girl and whatever child(ren) come of that marriage, too.
My question, to help him understand this, was simple:
"Have you talked to her about children?"
He immediately clammed up. He mumbled, "Well, yeah."
I said, "And?"
He said, "She knows I don't want any."*
I responded, "And what does SHE want?"
He replied, "Zero to one."
I said, "Zero to one?"
He said, "She's always wanted a daughter."
I responded, "Well what happens if the two of you have a boy?"
He said (laughing), "Then I'll get snipped."
I said, "Oh, and she's okay with that?"
He just shrugged his shoulders as if to say "I don't really care."
So I said, "She's young yet. Maybe she only wants a daughter now, but that could change... especially if she has a boy first and still wants the girl."
He again shook his head and shrugged it off. John doesn't like to follow a trail of logic when it leads to uncomfortable realities.
He then said, "I don't have to justify how I feel about her to you."
What a stupid thing to say. I don't care about how the two of them feel about each other. I don't care what decisions they personally make. What I DO care about is when those decisions start to influence MY children, and if this idiot thinks he wants to try marriage again, he absolutely needs to be sure about its permenance because divorcing again when the boys are older and even more sensitive to his failures will be even more detrimental than what he's already done.
So yeah, I'm going to ask the hard questions that no one else in his life is forcing him to contemplate. Why? Because the stability of my kids (and, frankly, any to come of a future marriage) is on the line.
He again got indignant and said, "You just asked about the ONE thing she and I haven't fully talked about. That's all. Everything else is fine."
People, let that sink in. He felt I pulled the rug out from under him because I haphazardly stumbled upon the one and only thing they hadn't fleshed out.
How in God's creation did he not understand that this was the ONLY question I needed to ask to know where things stood?
His selfish, juvenile response to this question is precisely the response that crippled our marriage.
He fully admitted that he doesn't want anymore children. Even with her. He then backtracked and reluctantly said he'd allow her to try for one, but then get a vasectomy if it was a boy. And then he got frustrated and tried to change the topic of conversation by claiming he didn't need to justify their relationship.
Again, this poor, poor girl. She legitimately has no idea the giant man-child she's involved herself with. She apparently thinks John's willing to try for another kid. In truth, he doesn't want to and would only do so reluctantly. He's probably clinging to the fact that she said "zero" at some point and will throw the idea away entirely upon dealing with Vince and Nate on a more regular basis.
Problem is, John has a very specific type of girl he goes after. She's gotta be pretty, she's gotta be quirky, she's gotta be generous - but above all, she's gotta be nurturing. John prizes that quality because he craves nurturing, himself. So this girl, I have no doubt, is a natural with kids and animals. I would bet every dollar I own on it. And if she's as nurturing as I bet she is, she's going to want children of her own. And yes, I said children. Plural. More than one. Even if she has a daughter first, she's going to want more. She might not think so now, but she's young. Once that first child is placed in her arms, there's a good chance the flood gates will open.
But John is already carelessly blowing off her choice in the matter. And if he really would go so far as to get a vasectomy after she had a son, even knowing how much she's always wanted a daughter... deplorable.
Herein lies John's supreme failure not just as a husband, but as a human being... he is repugnantly selfish. Sure he can be generous with money... with things... but when it comes down to sacrificing what he wants for someone he claims to love, there is no contest. John chooses himself and his own selfish interests every.single.time.
I don't think John is capable of truly loving another person. Loving another person means sacrifice. There's no way around it. One must always sacrifice for the other. John was never, in the history of our relationship, able to do that. The one time he attempted to (conceiving Nate) ended in divorce. It took him less than 2 months to fall back on his "sacrifice." Whereas I suffered through a forced infertility for the majority of our marriage... because I was willing to sacrifice. Because I understood the choice that love is day in and day out.
And this poor girl has no idea because there is no possible way for her to recognize this side of him yet. As I said before, it took me YEARS to understand the depths of John's selfishness. I, too, thought I'd hit paydirt in him. Oh how I wish I could've warned myself of his true character.
So of course it only took one question. For all his chest-beating about being a changed person, he is exactly the same, making the same selfish choices for the same insecure reasons.
And God help that poor girl he will eventually pull down with him.
As I said to him, should he actually marry this girl, I would be their biggest supporter because it would then be imperative for them to stay together for the sake of Vince and Nate's stability. I just have no faith in his ability not to screw it up.
It's all cyclical with him. Meet girl, get engaged, get dumped. Meet girl, get engaged, get dumped. Meet girl (me), get engaged, get married, get dumped. Meet girl, get engaged, and eventually, she, too, will mature to the point where she's able to recognize him for the error in judgement he is and kick him to the curb.
I just pray she's smarter than me and does it sooner rather than later.
*For those of you who saw the asterisk near John's original quote of "She knows I don't want any[more]":
This was a rather telling admission that underscores what a horrific and selfish person he is. As many of you are aware, John "admitted" years ago that the "real reason" he didn't want any more children was because he didn't want them baptized. He didn't want to bring any more Catholics into the world.
But now he's with a girl who wouldn't raise them Catholic. That point is moot, yet he still doesn't want any more and admitted he'd get a vasectomy regardless of her feelings about it. The truth is that John doesn't want to be a full-time parent. He doesn't want to give up his freedom to chase Peter Pan from dusk to dawn.
And even knowing how much I yearned for children, how much it pained me that I was denied more, he attempted to dislodge his own guilt by blaming my faith for his selfish choice. He tried (and was successful for a time) getting me to believe that it was MY FAULT.
What a vile person. What a vile, selfish, obscenely juvenile person.
And again, this poor girl has no idea what she's in for because, as they say... the devil comes knocking dressed as everything you ever hoped for.
Say some prayers for her, folks. She's gonna need 'em.
Top Rated Entries
My Darkest Secret
Do Animals Have Souls?
10 Things a Parent of an SPD Kid Wants to Say
Fun and Easy Lenten Crafts
Blessed Mother as Intercessor
Loss of Life
Women Priests II
Render Unto Caesar
The Godparent Poem
NYT Anti-Catholic Ad
Pages I Stalk
A Woman's Place
Having Left the Altar
Fr. Z @ WDTPRS
These Stone Walls
St. Joseph's Vanguard
Traditional Latin Mass
Truth, Beauty and Goodness
The Way Out There
Written by the Finger of
Little Catholic Bubble
So You're a Church Musician
There and Back Again
Make It - Love It
St. Monica's Bridge