I don't think my ex-wife or my ex-girlfriend derived any positive benefits from attacking me. And perhaps, their momentary feeling of superiority and vindictiveness was worth the price. But both these women attacked me and took actions to hurt me and my future prospects.
I have been employed or working under contract for most of the time since the divorce. And today I'm gearing up to start a new job so that I can get some money, but more importantly so that my kids will get some money. And yes, the dinosaur will be fed and happy in the next month.
The sad part is my kids don't get much of me and my happiness. They get something less than joyful, most of the time. I can see it and feel it in them. But there's no amount of money or grief that can bring back those lost years. Today, there is only "Where do I go from here as a good dad?"
At some point along the way, I fell behind on my child support payments. I tried to be clear and honest about the situation. I asked for a bit of leeway in how I would repay her. And for whatever reason (I don't think it's healthy or helpful to say what another person is thinking) she felt it was in the best interest of the kids to file our decree with the Attorney General's office.
I will be in the process of recalibrating my life in relationship to my ex-wife probably for the rest of my life. Even after the kids are off and doing their own lives, there are always collective contributions that need to be made, adult advice that needs to be given, and we will never fully separate from the relationship.