After my husband moved out, it was almost seven months before I downloaded a dating app. I was petrified. Looking for a partner when you are a forty-something mother to a bunch of kids was a lot different than it was in my 20s.
I soon found out, though, it was going to be harder than I thought. Getting over my insecurities wasn’t the hardest part, although it was really freaking difficult to do that.
It was clear that the men I would be interested in had already lived quite a bit of their life. I wanted someone close to my age, and with that comes people who have been married or partnered for a long time.
I was set in my ways like many of the men I went on dates with. This isn’t a bad thing, but when I was in my 20s and met my husband whom I was married to for a long time, I realized we’d grown and changed together. You think you know it all when you are young, but you don’t. And you also haven’t had as many experiences that can influence your beliefs.
One of my first dates was with a man who had been divorced for about a year. He spent the entire time complaining about how his wife was “demanding a lot of alimony, which made it hard to date.”
I sat there and listened for a few minutes before changing the subject. I know this wasn’t going to work out after he made several rude comments about how unfair it was that he had to pay her and that “she didn’t work. She just took care of the kids while we were married.”
I was also that woman — the one who “didn’t work” for most of my marriage. I was simply at home while my ex-husband worked long hours, took classes, and went on a few trips a year with his friends.
I did all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, carpooling, taking the kids to their appointments, and making sure everything was set up for him so he could focus on his business.
I did a good job, too. I poured my heart into being a mother, and caring for our home. It was something we agreed on before we even got married.
I am very lucky in that my ex-husband pays my alimony, and has no problem doing so. He knows that the woman is the backbone of the household. He also knows I didn’t work outside the home so I could work hard inside the home without any payment.
He knows I did this because I wanted to, but also so he could pursue his dreams.
But the thing I need to say to all those men who feel like they are being punished because they “have to pay their wives” is that alimony is based on what each person earns in order to make things fair after the partnership has ended regardless of whether you worked or not.
I recognize getting alimony is a privilege not everyone has. I also think if you get alimony, you deserve it — and there should be zero guilt attached to that.
That man (who I never saw again) wasn’t the only date I had who complained about alimony. There was a lawyer who only saw his kids twice a month (because he chose to move to a different state) who complained about alimony a few minutes into our first (and only) date. He told me this after he asked what my “child support and alimony situation was.”
Then, there was the guy who admitted to cheating on his wife while we were getting to know each other through text and was bragging about how much alimony he paid her. Ew.
I could tell you more, but I’m feeling myself swell with anger about the stigma that men have put around paying their ex-wife alimony. Most of them think they aren’t deserving of having to pay them, regardless of how their marriage ended.
The facts are that women usually have more time with their kids than their ex does, and most of the time, child support doesn’t cut it; take into account the fact we are the ones doing most of the meals, taking them shopping for clothes and everything else they need, as well as doing most of the driving.
If you are being paid alimony, you deserve it. Also, it is no one else’s business. Take it from me, if you are dating again and you find yourself messaging with, or sitting across from, a man who starts complaining about alimony — go ahead and excuse yourself.
He’s a dick, and you shouldn’t have to waste your time.