Monday, March 23, 2009

Internet etiquette concerning writing about others?

Here's a great quote I just read on Single Mom Seeking's blog:

"Calling a man a deadbeat dad, if in fact he is one, is not badmouthing."

The quote came from a posting called Blogging about your ex. It struck quite a chord with me. For one, I've never been one to badmouth my kid's dad. And I don't think I've ever called him a deadbeat dad. In fact, I try my hardest not to talk about him at all. When I do talk about him, it's to tell a cute story about him, one that will bring a smile to Anevay's face. That's the stuff that is most important to talk about.

But the quote above got me thinking... My kid's dad is a deadbeat dad. Since Anevay and I moved to NY (going on six years ago), he hasn't paid a dime in child support. And this isn't because he's a destitute loser. The man makes a a nice salary, he has beautiful health benefits (one starts calling health benefits beautiful when one no longer has them), he can afford weekend trips and a car, and, most recently, he bought a house with his girlfriend.

No, he's not a destitute loser... only a loser.

I never wanted to be seen as one of those women. You know, the type who brings her man to the cleaners. The one who takes advantage of him.

I think that this is a common feeling that women who have been abused share. The idea that the men we've been with are sick... that they need to be taken care of... that we're stronger than they are... that it is only fair that we let it go... to let them go... to let them shirk their responsibilities and their pasts...

Hey, no one's perfect... I've been mean and manipulative, too. But I like to think that I grew up after the birth of my daughter.

Unfortunately, my desire to take care of this man emotionally (even though he was a mean, manipulative jerk who made me feel just about the size of a pea) meant that when it came to paying for hefty doctor bills from a couple of hospital visits when Anevay was an infant, I got stuck with the tab (stuck isn't the right word... I would give my life for my kid... it's just too bad that in the richest country in the world people can be driven into the hole by hospital bills).

Oh, Anevay's dad tried to make it up to me. In fact, soon after Anevay and I moved from Wisconsin to New York (before Anevay turned two... she's now going on eight), her dad "helped us out" (his words) with a check for $200. Unfortunately, he quickly emailed me and asked that I not cash the check. I still have the check in a folder (right in front of all the terrible, abusive emails and notes he wrote to me). He never gave me a check again. Said that I had stolen his daughter from him, and that since he didn't see her, he wasn't paying for her. Poor guy... he never knew what he had in her, did he?


A couple of years ago, friends convinced me to take A to court for child support. What an emotional nightmare. After the preliminary steps, I decided not to proceed. When it came down to it, I didn't want a dime from that man. After all the heartache and the abuse, I realized that I have an amazing kid who doesn't need a thing from her dad. We were in NY, where I was following a dream, living amongst friends... My parents, sweet souls that they are, have, at various times, picked up the financial pieces that he ought to have. They do it out of love. Love for me, love for their granddaughter.

Would I have fought harder for child support had Anevay's dad had her wellbeing in mind? Yep. And you know, I hope that someday he figures out how to be a man... or, better yet, I hope that he learns how to be a loving human being. Perhaps someday, when Anevay is older, she might be able to teach him?

No, I don't bad talk Anevay's dad (even though he's a deadbeat, through and through). I don't say anything that isn't true, and I also don't say most of the things about him that are.

A strange thing, writing these things on a blog. 'Blogging about your ex', indeed! Make sure to go to the full posting on Single Mom Seeking and then let me know your thoughts on Internet etiquette!


  1. Wow, thanks for the links! Well said. Reading your story makes me realize how much we have in common.... here's to following your dreams! You sound like an amazing mama.

  2. Thanks so much! Yes, it would definitely seem as though we have a lot in common. It looks like you've been 'making it work' here in New York- congrats to you on your success. I'll certainly be returning regularly to your great site!

  3. Lots of your fellow single moms shared many of the same thoughts you expressed. it's just not easy and we're all trying our very best.

  4. I definitely agree that we're all trying our best, and take comfort that there are so many strong women out there who have not only taken care of 'business', but are on the road (or have already arrived...) to becoming healthy, happy individuals. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Hi, I'm the one that posted that quote about deadbeat dads. Glad it inspired you to write this - which I could have easily written myself as our situations are very similar. The difference being that I did take my daughter's father to court for child support. It was a nightmare and disgusting to see how hard he fought that responsibility. We can't make them be fathers but the law can make them pay their fair share. I also don't have any family like you do to help pick up his slack.

    As far as the "badmouthing" goes, I write about him and the things he does as it affects me and my daughter's lives on a frequent basis. He is a DBD and we rarely see him, but he's in our life enough to wreak havok when he chooses. I don't "bash" him and everything I write about him are facts, much like you did here. And MANY single moms can relate to what I write; single moms that also have ongoing issues with co-parenting and legal stuff that is sometimes a part of our daily lives. Of course we will blog about it!

    I would love to be in a different situation - where there was nothing to write about - that it was all in the past - but I am not so "lucky". And I think it's important to share these trials and tribulations with other single moms. It's not about "badmouthing" - it's the legacy we were left to deal with. Sorry this was so long. You can read more here:

  6. Thanks for the comment!

    I agree with you- I also think it's important to share these trials and tribulations with other single moms. The Internet is a great forum for discussing some of the issues.

    My kid's dad is not in the picture, which on one hand makes things easier, but on the other, is emotionally very difficult for my daughter to handle. It's complicated, confusing stuff. I certainly talked about her father much more often when I had to deal with him face-to-face (or via email or call) on a regular basis.

    I'll be checking back to your site regularly to read about your perspective on all of this!

  7. Just out of curiosity...what made you move from Wisconsin to New York? How much was he a part of your daughter's life before you moved?

    My ex took our daughter to another province years ago, but it was with my permission and I absolutely stay in contact with her. However, I can understand anger and bitterness from him if he viewed your leaving as "taking his girl away from him".

    Just curious.

  8. Long story, but when I was still in Wisconsin living with my ex, he had said that he didn't want the life he had, and that for him to continue (continue what, exactly, I ask in hindsight...? continue to not take care of his kid?), he would need to move to NY.

    Well, I got busy, and applied to a prestigious school in NY- when I got in, he backed out. See, the thing is, he didn't really want to move to NY- he just wanted to blame me and the kid we had together for the ways he thought his life had failed.

    So we moved. At that point, it was necessary. Although we all lived together in Wisconsin, it was miserable... He rarely helped take care of our daughter, and, in fact, lived a party lifestyle not conducive to being a responsible parent. I could go into all of the details, but it wouldn't really be appropriate. Let's just say that he had some figuring out to do (hell, we all do, but I did my figuring out in a way so that I could still be a great parent).

    Did he later say that I had taken his daughter from him? Absolutely. But you know what? He hadn't really wanted us to stay. I just turned into the scapegoat...

    We maintained contact for a spell, although I made the decision to end this contact when a) the last visit we had ended with my daughter and I fleeing in the middle of the night, staying in a hotel, catching the first airplane home in the morning, and once home, I spent two days comforting my traumatized daughter in my bed; b) he did not want to contribute in any way to her well-being, and in fact, said some horrific things that led me to believe it just wasn't healthy for me or my kid to be around him.

    It's great that you maintain contact with your daughter. I wish that were the case for my daughter's father... But he doesn't seem to have the same head on his shoulders, nor does he appear to have an acute sense of responsibility...

    All of this, of course, is the short answer, and one, I might add, being written while I'm on Sudafed...


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