In my previous post It’s all about her, I shared the story of Jenni as recounted from the blog sincemydivorce. Since then the blogger there has done three more installments on Jenni’s story, so I thought I would bring the story up to date.
As you might recall, Jenni was married to a terrible man and had to escape. Granted, she did make a few mistakes as the blogger at sincemydivorce explains in the first post of the series:
Jenni admits she made some poor choices beginning with a series of extramarital affairs that compounded the issues.
In post #4 in the series He made me feel stupid the blogger and Jenni tell us just how bad this guy was. Trust me, you’ve never seen a guy with this man’s ability to ruin people’s lives. Jenni didn’t meet him until she was 20, but he was able to retroactively cause her to have poor grades in high school and prevent her from starting college after that:
He kind of made me feel stupid. I was the stupid one in the relationship. I had a 1.97 GPA in high school. I hated school and never applied myself. I just didn’t do well.
When my husband and I would fight, he’d tell me I would never make it on my own, that he was the one with the education and the money. He said he’d use that in court against me so he could keep the children.
He’s almost finished with his Ph.D and although he said he wanted me to go to school, I never felt it was for an equal opportunity. It was always, “wait until I’m done.”
Now that they are divorced, Jenni is finally able to go back to school and pursue her dreams:
Right now I’m doing all the basic classes and I’m not sure what I’ll end up majoring in. Currently, I’m working towards a degree in fine art and graphic design but I feel like writing is something I should be doing. I don’t know what I’ll do when I graduate. I’ve been a hairdresser for eighteen years and I love what I do but at the same time I’d like to try making it at something else.
As a bonus, Jenni is able to live off of the student loan money as well:
Part of it was a financial strategy. I knew I could get extra loan money if I went full-time and I would be able support myself with an apartment and at least a couple of months’ money to live on.
In post #5 A DIY divorce, we learn more details about the financial and custody arrangements of their divorce:
We did everything ourselves and came up with a custody arrangement by ourselves. He and I held hands during our divorce hearing and went and got a beer and sandwiches afterwards.
In the agreement, it’s about a 70/30 split with my ex having the children most of the time. However, he’ll call me when he needs to go to work on a day off and ask if I can watch them so I probably have them closer to forty or forty-five percent of the time.
Not burning bridges with her ex was a wise move and has really paid off for Jenni. Your ex husband today could turn into a paying customer tomorrow:
Early on there was some negotiating because of sexual favors, not so much anymore. I figured I had something he wanted and he had the money. I have cut a lot of that off now even though we are still very co-dependent.
Co-dependent? Yeah, I’ll buy that. But I have to admit it wasn’t the first word that came to mind. I’m not sure which one looks worse in that arrangement, the hooker or the john. In addition to paying her for er, odd jobs, her ex husband also pays her alimony of $400 a month.
Fortunately aside from a minor complaint Jenni is satisfied with how her ex husband is raising their kids:
He doesn’t keep the house the way I wish it was kept but the kids aren’t dying. He does what he can as a single dad and I commend him for that because he works full-time in addition to going to school full-time and having the children most of the time. I do what I can to help financially here and there but he’s the one helping me more than anything.
This brings us to post #6, A better mother after divorce. We learn about her rejuvenated parenting ability after divorce. As any concerned mother would, she counsels her oldest daughter on drug abuse:
I can’t babysit you every minute of every day. You’re going to have to make that choice and deal with the consequences if that’s the choice you make for yourself. I can’t be there to hold your hand the rest of your life.
In order to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, Jenni has restricted her own drug use to marijuana and alcohol. She has even made some friends who aren’t drug users: I don’t surround myself with everyone who smokes. Its nice to have friends who don’t smoke.
She also understands how much she has done to harm her kids by her past actions, and has apologized to her oldest daughter:
I’m sorry that I let you see your dad treat me the way that he did all those years, and I’m sorry I set the example…it’s not okay to let someone treat you like that who is supposed to love you. They shouldn’t speak to you the way that your dad used to speak to me.
Her twelve year old daughter gets it, and now thinks her mom is pretty cool. Unfortunately her seven year old son still struggles with the divorce:
My son’s had a harder time with the separation and the divorce and being away from mommy. He’s still at the age when he wants to hold my hand when we’re walking down the street. I try to keep him from feeling so angry and sad about it. We talk and I try to do special stuff with him.