Hi and welcome to DadsDivorce, the leader in divorce help for men, fathers rights and mens rights. We provide divorced dads with concrete, practical divorce resources to achieve the best results in the courtroom.
Throughout the divorce I have made an honest effort to do what is best for the kids, and what makes the most sense. Many times I have gone out of my way to make things easier for the ex (if it made sense).
For example, I live in a rural area about 20 miles from anything other than a gas station. Even though she is supposed to pick the children up at my house, I will meet her in town and save her 40 miles of driving. But only if I have another reason to go to town. It just seems like a waste for her to drive out to my place, get the kids, only for me to follow her the 20 miles into town. On the other hand, If I am picking the kids up at her house, she will refuse to meet me in town. After I pick up the kids, she will get in her car and basically follow me until she gets to work or wherever it is that she is going.
I know that sounds kind of petty, but it's just an example of how she likes to take, but never gives.
Now that the divorce is final and we are trying to tie up the loose ends, I am running into similar situations. She is unwilling to be cooperative on most things, and she can't even at least pretend to be cordial most of the time. It is against my nature to be vindictive. But is getting very hard not to be when the opprotunity presents itself.
For example. She still has alot of her personal items at my house. The decree says that she will pick them up whithin 10 days of the final judgement. It has been 3 weeks. Now she is sending me a list of the things she wants, and asking me to bring them to her because she cant fit the larger items in her car. Part of me wants to tell her that she had 10 days to get her things, they are now sitting by the curb. The other part thinks it may be best just to take the stuff to her, just to help maintain the peace, and to keep her from coming to my house.
What do I do? DO I be nice without going to far out of my way, or do I make things difficult for her every chance I get.
I'd rent a locker, preferrably further away from her, and place all of her stuff in there. Then send her the bill for packing and moving it, along with the rental costs. Look into tenant rules in your state about stuff that has been left in apartments, and follow that to a T.
But I guess first I would be a bit nicer, and send an R3 note saying she has X days (5?) to remove her stuff, or you will be following your state's laws on abandoned property.
The meaning of life is Happiness. What makes you happy? - Dalai Lama
Family court isn't Burger King. In spite of what you may think, you simply can't have it your way. - TK
The term "boot on her throat" really refers to going to court over matters - not doing favors.
The bigger lesson, and what is missed in the prior replys, is this is a form of entanglement that she needs - she still wants to interact with you, even if it is negative. It churns up the drama gland and keeps her voices occupied. She feeds the drama monster inside her head with continued conflict over trivial matters, not because the trivial matters, but because she needs to feed the monster. She enjoys that drive behind you back to town, because it's like giving her monster a big slice of chocolate cake.
Choosing what to do, at this point early in the post-divorce, should take a pragmatic approach that develops degrees of separation. It's not a matter of putting your boot on her throat, it is separating the monster from your life. Minimize and reduce the contact and communication for awhile; because no matter what you do, good or bad, it feeds the monster. Sending a letter, putting her stuff by the curb - monster food! Hauling her crappola to her house for her - monster food!
Meet her in town when convenient, and matter-of-factly pick the kids up at her house - you don't care.
Put all her stuff in the garage and forget about it - you don't care.
She needs help, ignore her requests - you don't care.
Practice Radio Silence - you don't care.
It isn't necessary for your ex-wife to be BPD for you to gain some perspective, by reading up on BPD and the "I hate you - don't leave me" aspect.
"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.” ― my neighbor Jack
Rent a locker and you can forget about ever seeing that money again. That's probably not a good idea.
Agree with the other guys. Notify in a documented way (the Final Orders were her first notification) and let her know when the Veteran's group or other charity is scheduled to pick up everything. If she beats them to your house with a vehicle big enough to carry everything away, she wins. If not, too bad. Anything left behind after that pickup date will be out on the next scheduled trash pickup day. THEN DO IT.
Or you can let her know when is the garage sale, since technically she had forfeited the property. Use the proceeds to treat the kids to something.
I wouldn't leave the stuff out in the weather for her to pick up, though, that would be petty. Maybe.
Thanks for the great responses. It amazes me that even after everything that she has put me through I still feel the need to help her out sometimes. I guess old habits die hard.
Bart, I understand what your saying about feeding the monster. Thats a good analogy. I have done alot of reading on BPD, and even though she is undiagnosed, the traits of BPD fit my ex to the T. So I've had first hand experience with the "I hate you - don't leave me" scenario.
As far as 'keeping my boot to her throat", I do hope to take her back to court one day. I am thankful that I got 50/50 without to much of a fight. But I'm not satisfied with it. She is unstable, and I have a pretty long list of reasons as to why I hope to get more parenting time in the future. But as my lawyer put it....I don't have a strong enough case to convince a judge of that right now. By not helping her, and even making somethings difficult for her (while still following the decree) I hope that she will eventually start to slip.
Study how sensei Thoughts? put together (indeed is still fighting the battle) incrementally residential custody of his sons and soon (we all hope) his daughter.
Give her enough rope to hang herself. Stop the false logic that you enabling her helps the kids...easy to see it that way in the short term, but your kids need at least one parent who can comprehend the long view. Anything your X asks you to do can more sensibly be asked of her parents, siblings, or friends. You can always take the kids off her hands for times where she cannot handle everything, rather than enabling her to be dependent upon you, yet with her keeping the kids.
She doesn't have anything left at your house. Anything that was her property was removed within 10 days of the judgment. After that she forfeited the property. It's yours now. Maybe on day 11 you tossed it in the trash? Ignore her.