My mother and I have developed a term to refer to mr. ex and a whole host of his behaviors: slime. At first it was just a piece of slime, but it has become all-encompassing. If he does it, it’s sure to be slime. But slime is not just a behavior; it is a state of mind. Slime refers to any man (no stories have surfaced of female slime) who abdicates his responsibilities as a parent and a decent human being once divorce looms. Slime is a man who makes you ashamed of the “I love you’s” you once uttered. Slime makes you wish you could do it over again (with the caveat that you would have the same wonderful children).
If he makes choking sounds when he passes me, it’s slime. If he calls me a $5-a-pop slut in front of our daughters, it’s slime. If he tells our daughters that I don’t love them, it’s slime. If he hides a $90,000 bonus check from me, it’s slime. If he calls my lawyer a liar in court, it’s slime. If he doesn’t buy food for his daughters, it’s slime. If he doesn’t pay his share of the utilities, it’s slime. If he doesn’t return calls from the realtor about lowering the price of the home so that it can be sold after more than a year on the market, it’s slime. If he can’t act in a mature fashion more than eight years after I initially broached the subject of divorce, it’s slime.
Unfortunately, being slime is not limited to him; no, it extends to a whole host of other men who have, for some reason, become unhinged once the women in their lives decided to forego the marriage. What? They’ve never been rejected before? My mother and her friends either get to discuss the joys of being grandparents, or the slime that their daughters are divorcing or are divorced from and the slime they are shoveling at their daughters and grandchildren.
Unbelievably, these are two fairly common examples of slime: refusing to pay spousal support (does anyone get this any more?) or child support or tuition for their children; and stopping to work so they won’t have income that their wives would “get” to support their children. There’s nothing you can say about these behaviors and the decision-making process that must have preceded them except slime.
What has happened to these men’s minds or moral and ethical code? Where are these men from? Is there a special class that they take in college that we women are unaware of? (Surely if we knew of it we would offer some kind of “special compensation” so that they wouldn’t attend Slime 101.) And who raised these men? Were they coddled too much? Were they not coddled enough?
These men are akin to space ships: initially the whole unit glides into space together, then there is an explosion and a separation, and off they go. Only now they are without the boosters and they’re on their own in space, and boy, are they out there. They have lost their power, and often that means that they are no longer in orbit. They have lost their purpose or the essential stabilizing influence that they require and without which they cannot function properly, and they are in free fall.
It would be sad, except it’s so painful for the women and children to have to rise to the occasion and live in the wake of such constantly hurtful behavior.
And it’s too painful, too, to constantly be barraged by amateur-hour therapists and positive-thinkers who attest that I have placed myself in this situation because it will lead me to some higher plane of personal growth, or that I need to put my chin up and look forward, and not let the past weigh me down, in any form, otherwise I am a weak woman. For goodness sakes, can’t I just get a hug without all of the moralizing? I’ve been battered enough by the slime, don’t make me feel worse about it and myself.
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