Give unsolicited advice to a random dude with a nasty newly-ex-wife...

… because there seems to be nothing Dopers enjoy more than telling anonymous Internet strangers what they should do! :smiley:

As I’ve mentioned hereand here, a friend of ours is going through some hard times. He is divorc[del]ing[/del]ed from one of those women. The kind who give the rest of us a bad name. She’s nasty, flaky, makes it difficult for him to see his son, was cheating on him near the end of their relationship if not even before that, has already been bringing around a parade of new men to her home, etc. etc. and so on. The whole litany. He’s been staying with us while he gets back on his feet, and we’ve been doing what little we can beyond that to help him while in return he’s been pitching in around the Casa de Shoes. She has full custody, and he sees his son as often as [del]he can[/del] [del]she lets him[/del] possible.

(I don’t know the details of their custody agreement or divorce, largely because he’s an intensely private guy and I don’t want to pry too much. I know that his meager paycheck is being docked for child support already, fwiw.)

Anyway, he has a relationship with his mother to rival mine (e.g. megacraptastic) and his ex’s mother is no better. He has been badly ill-treated by the women in his life. I’m afraid that the bitterness he’s feeling towards all of them will crystallize into mysogyny, which will pretty much erase any chance he has of finding a decent girl and having a healthy relationship in the future. I watched the same thing happen years ago with another guy, and it was not pretty. This guy … deserves better than that. He *really *does. He loves his son, so much it’s almost heartbreaking, but he made this son with one helluva poor choice in partners. He knows it, and there’s no going back in time.

Ok. There’s the background, such as it is. Have at it, folks. If this guy was nursing a beer next to you at a bar, what would you say to him? Because frankly, I’m starting to feel like some twisted parody of Savage’s “It Gets Better” project. What do I say, other than, “Dude, that sucks” and “Hopefully things’ll start looking up soon” in response?

(Anticipating the inevitable: yeah, yeah, “lawyer up.” It’s been said; he knows it. He’s also flat fucking broke.)

Two things -
[ol][li]Dude, that sucks, and[/li][li]Be kind to your son.[/ol][/li]

One word. Strip clubs.

What Shodan said. Plus the usual: don’t badmouth your ex around the child; don’t send messages through the kid either.
If she won’t let him have the court-ordered visitation, he may have to eventually go back to court. In the meantime:
Document. Document. DOCUMENT. Everything she does that is harassing, obtrusive, unhealthy for the son, against the directives of the court order. If he does go to court, he’ll have the documentation to back him up and she very likely will not.

On a side note, it really does get better. You can look at my long history of going though a bad/abusive marriage and subsequent divorce, and it was hell in a blender sometimes. But now that we’re…oh, 8 years on, things have improved. So much so that I actually found my ex a rental home one street over so that he could live near the kids. It works out really well–it just took a LONG time to get there. We are not friends by any means, but we are friendly, and I know that in a pinch we would each be available to help the other.

Good luck to your friend.

Always, always, always take the high road no matter how petty you feel.

Next time, don’t stick your dick in the crazy.

Aside from the time frame the OP could, word for word, be about my boyfriend (he split from his ex over four years ago and it’s still a living hell sometimes).

Every response is right on spot, including strip clubs (we’ve done that!) and "don’t stick your dick in the crazy (funny and true but not very heplful after the fact).

The only thing I tell him and help him do is keep on keeping on. Things *always *change, sometimes not for the better right away, but as Eats_Crayons so wisely said, always take the high road. Even when you think it’s gonna kill you. it never does. Priority one is the child and if he can focus on making life okay for his son it will sustain him. When the anger and frustration threatens his sanity he channels it into positive feelings and actions for his kid. Sometimes the ex will do her best to fuck everything up but kids aren’t stupid. Even at seven he knows what his mother is about and believe me, neither his father nor I have ever said a bad word about her in front of him. In years to come he’ll realize exactly what a piece of shit she is and she’ll be left wondering why the hell her kid hates her.

I guess just do your best to remind your friend that all is not lost and to try not to give in to his sadness and anger; things really do have a way of working out eventually.

You keep doing the same things, you’ll keep getting the same response. Maybe try to convince him that out of 3.5 billion women, he’s just had the bad luck to meet a few nasty ones, and there are lots of good ones out there?

We’re only getting one side of the story regarding this and it’s second hand news at that so it’s difficult to give any advice that will be truly useful.

At some point he has to look around at his situation and interactions and realize that the one thing all of these women (THOSE KIND as you mention) have in common is him. Something he is putting off or doing is drawing them to him or makes him seek out THOSE KIND of women. He has not a chance in hell to change them. He can only look at what it is in him that is causing this to happen again and again and seek to change that.

If she is not allowing him to see his child as per the visitation agreement he needs to contact the court each time she prevents him from being with his child. Document, document, document.

I’m sure there are sliding scale (if not free) counseling services available to him in his area. I think he should find someone to talk to who is completely unbiased (as his friend, you cannot be) so he can get these emotional issues sorted out. If his life is full of mostly toxic women, this is no coincidence.

“Been abused? Well, what did you do to cause it?” doesn’t seem like very practical advice.

Well, not that the person -deserved- to be abused, but sadly, from what I’ve seen, time again people willingly put themselves in situations where they definitely will be abused. It’s like they don’t know any other environment. Often they to this despite repeated warnings from others around them.

So while ‘what did you do to cause the abuse you’re getting’ is a mean way of putting it, ‘think about the women you interact with and the situations you put yourself in, and think about how to not let it happen again’ is practical advice.

Also, ‘strip clubs’ is two words…


When you are the common denominator, nothing will change unless you change.

To be fair, he didn’t choose his mother, or his mother-in-law.

He can’t change his sons circumstances, especially since he won’t lawyer up to protect his owncustody rights.

He can stay close enough that he gets to be in his kid’s life in some measure. Rooming nearby. He can make his payments without being pursued, on time, everytime. He can choose to stay out of her life, just disconnect, show no interest, in what she’s doing right, or horribly wrong.

Indifference. She’ll lose interest, move on to whatever she’ll become next. Once she’s indifferent to him, he may find he’s doing a lot of babysitting, and have his son more in his life than he imagines, at present.

He can’t change that his child is going to grow up in less than ideal conditions. That is the child’s reality, they have to accept it. Dad needs to, too. Because it is.

If he goes this route he should definitely document how much time and what he provides, (shoes, books, etc) for his kid, as the years roll by. The time may arrive when he can lawyer up and go to court, his child old enough to speak about conditions with the mother, he could find himself with full custody and no payments.

This route is not for the faint of heart, clearly. Utter indifference, say nothing, no reaction, you are out of her life, you cannot control her actions, just let go. Shut her down. While being consistently, right there wanting to take the child, for a day, a few hours, the weekend. If he could do it, it may well work out for him. But he needs to swear an oath (and never waiver) to never be angry about anything regarding her, in front of his child, ever.

Do keep us posted on how he’s doing. I’m sending him good vibes!

No, but his mother might be the reason he is choosing such girls.

Bingo. The best thing to advise him would be to talk to a therapist about how his self-worth got screwed up and how it harms his ability to form healthy relationships. It’s not about blaming him, it’s about helping him fix the part of the problem that’s under his control.

What makes you think this is a repeated pattern? I am not saying it is not, but the OP didn’t give me the impression that he has had a string of bad relationships with women, just the one. The OP seems to get along well with and think highly of him, and that’s a woman, no?

The OP said He has been badly ill-treated by the women in his life.

I learned in therapy that we cannot change or heal that which we cannot acknowledge.

As Tom Tildrum and Anaamika have mentioned, he needs to find out why he is attracted to “those type” of women.

Here’s a rough, uneducated guess: his mother may have been a strong woman, possibly abusive (mentally or verbally, perhaps physically) with whom he had no real, solid, loving relationship. She may have been the only significant woman in his life when he was growing up. In his worldview, that may be the only kind of woman he recognizes. Deep down, he may still be trying to get that nurturing, loving relationship from his mother that he will never get. He will need to learn to deal with that pain, accept that his mother was flawed, forgive her, and move on.

I realize money is a big issue for him, but this issue isn’t going to fix itself.

Yes, I’m a woman, and I do think highly of him. I’m an only child, so I can’t say for sure, but I think my feelings towards him are close to thinking of him as a younger brother: protective, and wanting the best for him. Also, exasperated at the mess he’s gotten himself into.

He’s self-aware enough to know already what most of you are saying, re: the pattern with women, how he’s the common denominator, etc. And his sense of self-worth is completely through the floor, having been set that way by his mother long before he met BabyMomma.

I guess what I was looking for with this thread was some ideas for ways to undo? reverse? something? all of that. I don’t know what to friggin’ say to him, so that’s why I posed the bar scenario in the OP: what would YOU say, over a beer, to someone like him?

elbows: can’t, not won’t. Dude’s broker’n’hell. We’ve already researched some low-cost legal options here in Dallas but they are … stretched thinly already, let us say.