I’m not sure when everything became so messy.
There was her, and there was me, and we were together. And then he came along. He – our son – our beautiful, 6-year-old son named Adam. Named after the First Man because that’s what her maternal grandmother wanted. “A biblical name brings great things,” she said. But I should have known when we had the first ultrasound picture I’d given up the right to make any decisions.
Before the baby came Melissa was different. She looked at me with the same green eyes with a kind of passion you only have in the first year of dating. She worked hard at being a great wife, a great partner in this relationship. She went to yoga regularly. Was always looking out for me and trying to do whatever she could to make us both happy.
But when Adam came all of that stopped. I was no longer her focus anymore but instead Adam was. I understood, obviously, but any time I tried to touch her or ask to get a babysitter for a night we could go out, she refused. She wanted no part of the world we had built together pre-baby. It was like I became a ghost in my own home.
All I wanted was the chance to make our marriage work. I knew parenting was going to be difficult, and I knew it would change our dynamic, but I didn’t know it would be like this. So I put up with it. I let her make all the decisions. I let her pretend like I wasn’t there but use my money to pay for everything. Adam had to have the best of the best and I allowed it because I was his father. But what good did all of that do me when I barely get to see the kid now?
When Melissa told me she had spoken to a lawyer about divorce only three years after Adam was born, to the exact day, I was devastated. I knew we had been having problems but isn’t this just the way it is when you have a kid? It sucks for awhile and you deal with it until the kid is old enough to be independent and do his own thing, and then you and the spouse can go back to how things are. That’s what I thought.
Instead, Melissa told me this wasn’t working. She said I wasn’t doing enough. I had been late to pick Adam up a few times from preschool, I admit, but those times weren’t entirely my fault.
So the divorce happened, she moved out and took Adam with her. We agreed we wouldn’t go to court to fight over custody because I believe a son needs to be with his mother when he’s young. But now I’m seriously starting to question why she so adamantly didn’t want to do a legal custody agreement because the way it is I never get to see my boy and everyone just thinks I’m a piece of shit deadbeat.
Things turned ugly between Melissa and I about 6 months after the divorce. I was out running errands when I saw her with a guy on the street walking into a cafe. Uhm, that was weird. Wasn’t she supposed to watching our fucking son instead of getting a cappuccino with her yoga instructor or whoever? I followed her inside and asked her about it. She said she was letting her sister babysit Adam while she took the afternoon off.
She took the afternoon off. Interesting, considering she could never take an afternoon off when her and I were together after Adam was born. The yoga bro looked at me and said, “what do you care who’s watching him anyway? It’s not like you’re ever around.”
It was everything I could do to not punch this yoga loser in the fucking face.
It was then I realized that Melissa had been building up this story about me. Telling people the reason I wasn’t around Adam was because I didn’t want to be around him. Forget that I work 12 hours a day, 3rd shift. No, none of it matters, it only matters what Melissa says because she’s the mother and mothers are always right. Right? At least that’s how it seems.
I would love to see my son more than once a month but I know if we go to court she’s just going to paint this picture to the judge that I’m just a loser who can’t take care of his son while she’s going off on these vacations with her new boyfriend, updating her Facebook and Instagram a million times a day, trying to look like the greatest mother of all time. It makes me sick.
All we ever hear about is the mother’s side of the story when it comes to parenting. We don’t hear about the fathers who are denied their rights and ignored. We don’t hear about the fathers who have been lied about, talked shit about behind their backs, portrayed to be monsters to society because all we did was hand out our paycheck for years without question to the woman who ended up getting knocked up. You have to wonder, do they plan it all out like this? They get everything while we get absolutely nothing. And this. This is the hardest part of parenting that no one talks about.