I was at one time, believe it or not, a "submissive Christian wife." I deeply respected my husband, and had a very hard time coming to terms with the fact that he mistreated me...

After realizing and admitting to myself that I was in fact in an unhealthy marriage, the ONLY reason I was able to escape was BECAUSE I became an Atheist first...Had I still been a Christian, I would not have opted for divorce. That's the truth.

I've been an Atheist now for about 3 years, and yet I still find myself in the mindset of submission. Despite all of the ways he has mistreated me, and disrespected me, and undermined me, I still treat him with the utmost respect. I talk highly of him. To our son and to others...most of the time. I ask his opinion on matters regarding our son. I keep him involved. I ask "permission" to raise child support (when I could just file the papers through the courts and force the issue...) I try to maintain an amicable relationship for our son's sake...

The problem? I am doing all of the work. I am doing all of the appeasing. I'm still bending over backwards. I'm putting my own financial stability on hold so that he can get a leg up financially first. I am submitting to him even still. I am giving him a level of respect simply for the fact that he's the father of my son, not because he's earned that respect...

I wrestle with this. Why can't I become a bitch to him? Why can't I let go of this mentality? Why do I still do all of the work and get nothing back? Well I suppose what I've gotten back is that he is more respectful towards me now than when we were married. It's a step in the right direction. But he still takes advantage of me and he still uses my family for his own benefit.

My dad just recently helped him get a job. A good job. There's no reason he should only be paying me $100 per month is child support. Most men in his shoes would be paying $500. Do I press the issue? Do I rock the boat and force it? Do I stop treating him with such "respect?" Do I just keep living like this? Do I keep emailing him details about our son's upcoming events, and teacher meetings, and soccer practices, etc...when he never comes?

I feel like I'm driving myself crazy trying to maintain a good relationship with my son's dad for my son's sake. The Christian perspective would be to keep trying. Keep going. Keep being a doormat. Keep doing it...because it's what "God" would have me do - submit.

No. I need to stop. I need to find the right balance between doing the right thing, and no longer being the only one trying in this co-parenting partnership. I don't know what that looks like. I'm still trying to figure it out.  

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It seems to me you're doing all this for your son's sake: you believe that he needs his dad in his life.  Is that true?  That's for you to decide. 

Since it seems that you do think it's right for him to be in his life, then I think you're doing absolutely the right thing by staying polite and respectful and trying to help him and keeping e-mailing him about events.  Even if he wasn't, good manners and respect cost nothing and save a lot of trouble in the long run. 

"I could just file the papers through the courts and force the issue...

- personally I think you should do this.  It doesn't show a lack of respect towards your son's father: it's just being professional.  After all:  1) you have every right to get it;  2) your son needs it.  And this is beside the point, but your family provided his job.  If he doesn't like it, then he's just being an idiot and trying to get away with shit like he always does.  Could he be any worse than he already is? 

I don't see that he's ever going to come through and really play his part, so you're forced to make the best of a bad situation and be the best mother you can be, and as you see it, that means having his father in your son's life, useless though he is. 

Hats off to you for being a brilliant self-sacrificing mother.  That's not being a doormat: rather, some kind of tiger. 

Belle,  you recognize the stinking afterburner of your past. Being nice and accommodating will do nothing to further your interests. Bullies, be they dictators or wannabes are emboldened and encouraged when the exploited acts as you have. You dont really have to be a "bitch".

Just get a hold of the child support guidelines and determine the level of support you are entitled to. If he wont pay voluntarily in accordance with the guidelines then go to court. You really dont need a lawyer for that either. It is easy peezee. If your state will grant an immediate wage witholding order then request that child support is secured by an immediate wage witholding and if not then by a contingent wage witholding. Your son is counting on you.

Just get a hold of the child support guidelines and determine the level of support you are entitled to. If he wont pay voluntarily in accordance with the guidelines then go to court. You really dont need a lawyer for that either. It is easy peezee.

Yes it is a simple process as far as the paperwork. Based on the calculations I would be entitled to about $530 a month with his new earnings. (WOW!!!) But this is where it gets tricky...and I'm going to talk about this because it's something that our society really fails to address and is very easily overlooked.

People will often tell a woman in an abusive marriage, "just get out, you don't need him!"....

Yes I agree, but what they fail to consider is the ramifications, and aftermath of it all. While I don't need a man to survive, my son still has to see him on visitation (unsupervised). My I still have to communicate with him in regards to our son. And it is very common for abusive men to use their children as pawns to hurt the mother.

Simon, you asked how bad it can get? It can get really bad. Things between me and him have improved, but only because I've chosen to take the path of least resistance and I've chosen to placate him into feeling the power that he craves at times.

For example: He calls me up with literally NO notice and just says, "I'm coming to pick up my son. Have him ready. I want x, y and z of his things." If he shows up and something is missing that he asked for, or if he's not ready and properly dressed the way he expects, I pay for that. So, yes. When he calls, I don't ever tell him he "can't" see his son, even if I had plans. I don't ever argue with him anymore, or really stand up to him. Our contact is minimal, and civil. I know what he expects and so I prepare for it, and he leaves happy with his ego and control in tact, and I've learned to basically manage his demands so that our son doesn't feel the tension between us (adding a few words of encouragement like, "you get to see DAD! Dad loves you, you're going to have a great time....").

If I were to take him to court it would set him off. I don't know what he would do, but I can tell you that his "being nice" would end. Our son would pay for that. The best way to get child support raised is to talk him into thinking that it was his idea and getting him to willingly sign the papers. Forcing the issue will totally piss him off and our son will be hurt for it.

The thing about him, and really every man that I've ever known is that it seems they need to be in control. I have mastered the art of letting him think he's in control...lol

Belle Rose, is he really that bad? Did he change during the relationship? Is your son better off without him in his life? Any decent guy will separate his feelings for his x from his feelings for his son.

So I wonder whether the mentality of submission colors your perception of him. To my way of thinking if the man is going to allow issues and feelings with his x to affect his relationship with his son then he is not worthy of your son. Your son will grow up with or without him.

Being paid child support in accordance with guidelines and requiring more advance notice for visitation is simply customary. If such an assertion of rights on your part sets him off then maybe he is not safe for you or your son.

He isn't safe for us. That's why I left. But he is still my son's father and I've always been supportive of that bond between them. It is not my place to take it away.

No matter how bad he is or isn't, my son deserves to know his father. The courts see it that way too. It is a consequence I have to pay.

He is not all bad. He does have some great qualities he's already passed on to our son. Unfortunately, our son has started to be violent towards ME. That is what really scares me.

I am sorry Belle Rose.

No need for sorry, you did nothing wrong, lol...

It is a scary thought that my own son may beat me some day. I don't know what to do.

Well one thing to consider is that men are not universally controlling freaks or violent. I have seen kids grow up with a new "dad" and flourish. And the old dad completely vanished from the lives of both mom and child...

As for tendencies towards violence I really dont know other than better role models perhaps and love.

Well one thing to consider is that men are not universally controlling freaks or violent.

This is what they keep telling me...lol.....just kidding. I've just never been able to find one that wasn't virtual.

I have seen kids grow up with a new "dad" and flourish. And the old dad completely vanished from the lives of both mom and child...

I think that is part of the problem. Societies expectation of women is basically, "If your first husband doesn't work out, get another one and your kids will have the step dad." I really TRULY believe that a child needs their own father. Just like they need their own mother...I think we brush aside fathers far too readily and quickly. There is no man who can be a father to his son better. My experience watching women get with other men after they leave their husband is that the new husband just wants her all to himself, and the kids are just the nuisance in the way. They new man doesn't really care about the kids. He just wants to get laid. Of course this is from my own anecdotal sample size. I don't think men relish the idea of taking care of some other man's kids. It's.....not something they really want to do.

As for tendencies towards violence I really dont know other than better role models perhaps and love.

And genetics....

You are right in terms of the average guy. They want to get laid and they are not happy about the kids. But there are many exceptions.

Genetics..yeah stinkin genetics

(p.s. this is not a reflection on what any of the guys on this thread have said but a general commentary on the minority of men on earth who don't have some authority over their wives)

There was this #notallmen hash tag going around at a time when women were trying to bring rape and daterap into the open. Women were tweeting #YesAllWomen after mass shootings targeting women and college rape cases being hushed up. Many boys (especially gamers and pickup artists) responded to the #yesallwomen with #notallmen which expressed more or less: hey...not all men are douchey violent dominating scumbags...Im not...why are you attacking me? No one ever doubted that not all men are scum and the #YesAllWomen wasn't an attack on men..it expressed that all women have experienced sexual assault or deal with the fear and taunts and jokes and unwanted aggressive attention and the pressure to submiyt to men. Just as atheists often ask "where are all the good Muslims criticising the radical ones when terror acts happen or during the months of ISIS...so should men respond to what dominating fuckface men do. Instead of #notallmen...how about #TooManyMen or #StopBeingDouchebagsToWomen or #WomenAreNotBornToSubmitToUsMen.

Its nice to see that most people here...men and women are conscious of the grim reality and understand your difficulties and support you Belle. I do. Big hugs!!!

I really shouldn't complain...I don't have it so bad, lol.....

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