The Real Cost of the Ex-Wife

We all know the tales of the costs of divorce. Tens of thousands spent in lawyer fees. Especially for the good fathers out there, who the law does not favour one little bit, fighting for shared custody, fighting for equal rights in regards to their kids, fighting to enforce agreements, fighting what is best for them. We have spent a literal fortune fighting for those kids.

So, we all know that story and we all think we know the cost. But the cost of an ex-wife is so much more than just lawyer bills.

First, there’s the support payments. Even with 50/50 custody and her being remarried, we still pay his ex-wife $500 a month child support. She is currently on mat leave with her 4th child (with her new husband) and she is laughing to people about how much more we’ll have to pay next year because of her leave. And that’s money we don’t have. We will likely have to sell our house to pay her extra support to fund the mat leave for the baby she had with the man she cheated with and left Curtis for. The law is supposed to make it so that they kids have an equal life at both houses. She just bought a house worth way more than ours, she has tons of expendable income to buy them anything they want and take them on lavish vacations, where we scrimp and save and borrow just to give the kids something a little nice. We will have to sell our house to maintain her level of spending and she is laughing. How is that an equal life?

We could fight it, and incur more legal costs fighting it, and hope we can at least maintain the $500/month status quo, but the law doesn’t have a lot of grey to protect fathers in that way.

She tells the kids how much money we have and makes a big deal about buying them whatever they want, portraying us as the rich people who won’t buy them anything. They know they can have whatever they want at their mom’s. So we try our best to keep up in the ways that we can, the name-brand clothes they want, day trips.

We try to make up the difference as best we can with quality time and sports. We pay for all their sports and their sports equipment. She won’t let them go to sports on her time (because it’s more time with us), so we give up our quality time in recompense so she will let them go most of the time. We’ve already been told that one would be on a rep baseball team this year if we can get him there, so we are trying our best to find ways to make it happen. Those are costs no one figures. And their agreement says that there is no time to be given back, but what is agreed upon in court is not what happens in reality.

On top of the physical cost and the loss of time, there’s also the emotional cost. So much time and energy is spent fighting her, or worrying about what she’ll do and adjusting our behavior before it’s an issue. We drive different ways to avoid seeing her (which is hard since she just moved around the corner from us), we fold the “M” clothes separately so we can send them in her clothes on her days and make sure she gets them back, we keep an extra set of everything (shoes, hats, mitts, boots, snow suits) at our house in case she doesn’t send them since it is difficult to get these things from her, (as I mentioned) we give up our time with them so they can play sports-full time… and these are just a few. The worst is that we let her get away with bad behavior where we have the legal and moral high ground (such as meeting with the school and teachers behind Curtis’ back, not telling him about doctor’s appointments, changing doctor’s appointments deliberately to make it work for her and not work for Curtis, not telling us she was in the hospital over night, and so on) because we’re afraid of the consequences. She’s mean and a bully and she doesn’t seem to care about the effect that will have on the kids… so we have to. And the emotional toll is great. Curtis tries his best not to let it affect us, but that doesn’t always happen. So sometimes we fight about her or because of her… sometimes we let her win.

If it was just her, that would be one thing. The ex-in-laws are in town as well… they go between spreading rumours about Curtis to make his ex look better, to complaining about her behind her back, to trying to fight for the kids when it comes to sports, to supporting her so they don’t have family issues (going so far as to turn the kids’ heads so they don’t see us)… Her sister and her parents will sometimes act like nothing is wrong and chat away like we’re besties (umm… seriously?) and will sometimes act like we have the plague. The emotional costs are never ending. I personally find the whole lot of them – the ex, the ex-in-laws, the new husband – terribly stressful. For me, the ex pretends I’m not there. Literally acts like I don’t exist. It’s less aggressive than it used to be, though. She doesn’t glare at me before putting her nose in the air anymore, or deliberately turn her back to me… I’m just not there. And for the most part I’m ok with it because it’s one less stress to deal with.

There’s one further cost that affects only me. And probably because I let it. She makes me insecure. About myself as a parent, about how I look… I feel like I constantly live in her shadow. It’s not that I don’t understand my role as a step-parent, I completely do. It’s little things like how she is organized enough to beat us to doing things and dictate the terms of it all (sometimes because Curtis doesn’t get his butt in gear and I have to be able to live with that), or how she had a baby and was up and about and taking the kids on trips the next day, or the fact that she had a baby a month ago and she is already back to being half my size while I sweat my butt off and swear off carbs just to lose 1lb in that same month. She is putting the image of a super mom out there and while I know it’s not that simple, I’m buying what she’s selling. She makes me question my worth… and that is one of the biggest costs because it affects how I act (for better and worse). I am trying to be the best I can be, I am always trying to compensate and be a better (step)parent… but I am also letting her win and make me doubt myself and that’s not good for anyone.

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3 thoughts on “The Real Cost of the Ex-Wife”

  1. The ex wife sounds like a narcissistic woman. I rarely have time for the blogger forum anymore but when I do visit back, it’s always an odd coincidence that I stumble upon posts like this one that are similar to what I’m currently dealing with myself. I know the cost of a narcissistic ex wife. We paid the ex $40,000 in 2 years child support that was incorrectly calculated. That doesn’t include the $30k in attorney fees we have paid over 3 years writing deals that have always been to our disadvantage. She gets a brand new Audi SUV and cruises to the Bahamas, $120k from equity in one of two marital homes that belonged to her and my husband. He got $10k from that sale, only to spend it on new legal fees because she’s wants to have her cake and eat it too.
    The point of what I’m sharing isn’t to tell you someone always has it worst, though that may be true. It’s that women like this don’t make off like lottery winners without bad karma following them at some point. As the new wives, we hear and see the horrible choices of our husband’s pasts but easily forget that child support is temporary and greed catches up with people quicker than you think.
    Do not allow money to let you lose sight of who the real winner is in all this: you! That money is only validation that at least in spite of her mistakes at least she still has something to show for it all.

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    1. Thank you for this. It’s so easy to get stuck in the money when we talk about having to sell our house… but I love what you said about her having something to show for it. I will take that to heart. Thank you 😊

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  2. I too am a stepmom who has delt with my fair share of sh*t. I was the “homewrecker” although they were already separated, she told everyone he was having an affair (I don’t think it’s an “affair” when you are legally separated and filing for divorce). On and on it went with her bff working at the same agency as me and telling everyone I was an adulterer (there went my chances for advancement and future in that job, much less my confidence when my name was being smeared). Women like these are the most insecure!! The Ex is literally bullying you because she has lost. If she were TRUELY HAPPY, she would not think twice about you and would want what is best for her kids – which includes a healthy relationship with bonus mom! I know your husband is being the best father but maybe you suggest she has full custody. I wonder if her tune would change when the thought of 100% kids and no $ sunk in. Also, if she is remarried, you can leagally argue to reduce child support payments. Not sure why you would pay more if she has a child that is NOT your husbands. It’s never fair or easy being the stepmom. You must intimidate the hell out of her if she goes to such great lengths to make you feel small. Hang in there mama!

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