Last Thursday, Todd called asking when exactly we would be filing for divorce. I told him I didn't have money to file for divorce. In truth, I have forms, but I haven't looked at them yet, at all, and didn't want to look like I was plotting against him by admitting that I picked up forms a couple of weeks ago.
He said that we can sit down and do it together online for about $250 out the door. I told him that seems excessive and that we could just buy a book with forms included for 24.95 (wink, wink) and the only difference would be that we would have to fill them out by hand.
He said he didn't care what we did, and he would pay for it, but we need to do something. People are starting to make comments to him wondering why we haven't filed. This irritated me as he has always cared too much about what other people think. I said so. "Who cares what other people think? We're not together. There's no chance of getting back together. Why do people need to know more than that?"
Then he said, "I need us to get divorced for my own sanity."
Ouch. I don't love him, I also want a divorce- it's one of my New Year's Resolutions. But it's not like there's not been closure. We've been apart for a long time- long before we actually separated. As much as I pride myself on my nerves of steel, it's quite painful to hear someone tell you that they need to get rid of you to be sane.
I tried to mask my horror at his words and told him I would look into buying one of those books.
That was that.
On to today's issue.
When we separated, we agreed that it would be best if child support was "legal." In other words, he pays the State, they pay me. This saves any future bickering over money, how much, etc. The court date to determine child support is tomorrow. Last week, I called him to tell him this.
I told him when and where and what time. I explained that only the custodial parent, me, had to be there. There are formulas for these things and he isn't going to have to pay more or less because of whether or not he shows up for the hearing. Unfortunately for him, the law doesn't much care about him. He said that it wasn't a big deal and he wouldn't be coming because he would have to leave work early- then go back (he commutes one hour).
Today, he called and said (as soon as I said "hello"- he didn't even offer a greeting), "What's with this court thing tomorrow?"
I immediately begin fuming. He never has listened to me, about anything and clearly he never will. With much control on my part, I managed to calmly tell him that we talked about this less than a week ago.
He said a child support hearing didn't make any sense because we're not divorced. I asked him if I could call him about this later because I wasn't having a great day and have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and now I was getting angry and I didn't want to be bitchy on the phone.
I know how to push his buttons, and he knows how to push mine.
Demonstrating this, he informed me that if I wasn't willing to tell him why I was going to court tomorrow then he would just have to rearrange his whole day so he could go, too.
No longer disguising my annoyance, I started from the beginning.
The part where we agreed to go through the State to deal with child support. He remembered that.
The part when I called him on the phone (a couple of months ago) and told him that I had filed the necessary paperwork. He remembered that.
The part where I had already explained to him that the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent, regardless of marital status. This is why in cases where couples never get married, child support still must be paid. He didn't seem to agree here.
The part where I tell him that he's been giving me money every month since he moved out anyway and, after this, he'll probably be paying me less. He agrees on this point.
The part where I tell him that if I was trying to screw him in some way, why would I have called him to inform him- and INVITE him, to a court appointment that he's not even required to attend.
Somehow, we still end the conversation with him attempting to make me feel bad that he has to leave work early to come to court because I'm not telling him the whole story.
Now I'm left feeling utterly female. Normally, I love being female, it's great, it's usually a powerful position to be in. But females get emotional and females cry. And, even though I hate it, I cry. I wish I knew how to not cry.
An hour and a half before I was to leave for school, I turn into a female. I can't control it and now I'm skipping class. I cannot stand missing class.
Here's the thing. I thought that out of sheer willpower, Todd and I could prevent this whole thing from turning ugly. I figured that since we both wanted equally to separate, and we both love our children so much, and we generally like one another, we would be different. So naive.
I've communicated to him better since the split than I ever have. I keep him in the loop on everything. Yet, he doesn't trust me. After all of these years, I should at least get that.
But, it is now clear, that in divorce, there are no givens. We aren't going to be different. We're going to be the same as everyone else.
I'm still reataining some of my identity and not giving in to the rage. At the end of the conversation, when he was informing me that he would be there tomorrow, I so badly wanted to pull the "spousal support" card. Just to threaten it. I've never said those two words in all of this. I've never said that, if I were the person that he makes me feel like I am, it would be very easy for me to prove that he's been supporting me through the last two years of my schooling.
But, I'm just not that kind of girl. I never will threaten that, even though it would give me a temporary sense of power over a situation I can't control.
Ultimately the real power will be in hindsight, when I can see that I maintained my integrity.
In the meantime, I will be sobbing on and off through the night because I've learned that I'm making Todd insane, he doesn't trust me, and divorce is always messy in some form.
This whole thing looks utterly... stupid... to read. I appear to be overreacting. Maybe I am.