The Psycho Ex Wife: It's Really About Letting Go

Two blogs, two responses to the aftermath of divorce: one is entitled The Psycho Ex Wife, the other is named Divorced at Fifty. Guess which blogger has been able to largely move on? Me.

I learned about The Psycho Ex Wife, a blog begun in 2007 by Anthony Morelli (right) and his new partner, a woman named Misty Weaver Ostinato, only after it was shut down. The blog's tagline was: "The true account of a marriage, divorce, and subsequent (child) custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who we suspect suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (at least from our armchair psychologist diagnosis), and the husband's new partner."

Unsurprisingly, a judge ordered the blog to be shut down for outright cruelty. Some of Morelli's descriptions of his ex-wife (right), the mother of his two children, include such choice terms as ‘Jabba the Hut’ and a 'black-out drunk'.

Morelli's blog, which also featured discussion groups, was so popular that it attracted 200,000 followers per month. One person who wasn't a fan was his former wife. Apparently Anthony's (and his partner's) continuing and ongoing anger centered around child custody issues. Both natural parents shared joint custody, which in a sensible and sane world seems to be a logical arrangement. But Anthony was not only unhappy, he needed a place to vent, and thus he started his blog. He tried to hide his identity and that of his ex-wife, but unfortunately his kids discovered what their father was doing and asked him to stop.

At the judgment, Judge Diane Gibbons said: "Your children are being hurt because you are bad mouthing the woman they love in public," she said. "Should I put them with the man who is publicly browbeating their mother?" (New York Daily News) Good question. The former Mrs. Morelli heaved a sigh of relief after the hearing, saying ‘What the judge said in court made perfect sense to me. Stop doing what you're doing, and do the right thing for your children’ (Daily Mail)

Anthony's response was to fight the decision on the basis of first amendment rights. Here is the link to the blog today, which has changed its focus to freedom of speech (He is soliciting donations for his court battle.)

I hate to say this, Anthony, but the issue really isn't about First Amendment Rights, it's about letting go of your anger and being a good parent. As a blogger, I understand the need for self expression and that we have the constitutional right to do so. How you go about this is another thing. While Anthony's blog feeds his dissatisfaction and stokes his anger, my blog serves to heal me.

I began my blog a year before Anthony, and found to my delight and amazement that as I wrote about my feelings about divorce, loneliness, and separation, that I was able to let go of much of my sadness, anger, fear, and grief. Oh, there were times when I was tempted to write a truly nasty post about my ex, who I felt was playing games with me, but what would have been the point? How would such posts have helped me to let go and move on?

Anthony needs to answer this question: What's more important - his right to say what he wants when he wants to, or his role as a parent? If his need to express his anger is truly more important than his children's well-being and their desire that he stop hurting their mother in public, then the judge made a good point: why should she place the children with a man who is willing to browbeat their mother in public?

As for his claim that he was giving others with custody issues a forum for discussion, I say that he had a choice to take the high road, one that his children could have been proud of. The biggest gift my divorced mother gave me, a child who always hungered for her father, was not to say one negative thing about him as I was growing up. (As an adult I found out for myself what sort of a man he was, but my mother did nothing to influence those conclusions until I approached her at 19 and began to ask questions, for his behavior confused me. Thank you, Mom.)

Divorce is tough enough on kids without the parents making things worse and using them as pawns or as an excuse to keep their fight going. It seems that Anthony's post-divorce battle with his ex has lasted almost as long as the marriage itself. It's time that he concentrate his immense energies somewhere else - on his children, for instance, and making their happiness his number one priority.

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Loss of Status After Divorce: Or the New Invisibles

Ladies in Lavender Image@Having a Solid Gold Life
A book club friend and I met recently and discussed her recent divorce. (She's my age and was married for 25 years to my 26.)

Sherry (not her name) mentioned that the transition went smoothly. She and her husband knew that they would be divorcing for a number of years, about 4 or 5, but they stayed together for the sake of the children, who were about to graduate from high school and enter college.

He made more than a comfortable living. In fact, their 2-story house was more 6,000 sq ft.and a bargain compared to their digs in New England.

He earned most of the money.

But she was a computer programmer, or coder, and could find a job whenever she needed one. Still, her salary was worth a quarter of his.

Flash forward...

He found a new love and a new life, and she moved out of the house after his insistence that they sell it for its equity. Most of their fabulous furniture would have to go (I bought a beautiful Sheraton sideboard).

He continued living a lavish lifestyle with his Tootsie. She moved into a 2-bedroom, 925 sq foot apartment - alone and happy as a clam.

My opinion of her rose when she entertained us in her much reduced circumstances, uncomplaining and making the most of her new life. She seemed to blossom, losing weight and laughing more than I had ever seen her laugh.

We met several weeks ago over dinner and drinks. After a long, honest conversation,  the one thing that Sherry regretted was her loss of social status. I agreed with her assessment. We were the new invisibles. No one, not our old couples friends or the men our age that we encountered, noticed us much any more.

Here we were, two women of a certain age cast upon the job market in our fifties, having to fend for ourselves, yet rising to the top of our respective professions. We had made it despite the odds! We were paying our bills, our mortgages, adding our own money to our pensions, and pursuing our passions as far as our jobs and personal preferences were concerned.


We both agreed that one of the hardest changes we faced was our loss of social status as wives who had entertained a large cadre of married and professional friends.

We had become invisible to society at large - rarely invited to couples parties or weekends away at a lake house with a group, and no longer noticed by men our age. At best, for me, I was invited to womens' luncheon during the week when I worked, which meant that I had to leave the gathering early.We were regarded as non-entities when we did receive the rare invitation to social events with both men and women, finding ourselves seated with other single ladies.

As married hostesses we both had invited single women and single men to our homes to fill in the odd chair at the dining table or attend our barbecues and picnics and mingle, mingle, MINGLE! I took it as a point of pride to make no distinction between couples or singles when I made up my guest lists. After my divorce, I discovered that my married friends were not equally inclined. As one coolly honest "friend" said to me, "It isn't personal, really, but you are a reminder of how fragile marriages can be. Besides, you've made new friends, haven't you?" Color her clueless.

During our most recent outing on a Friday night after work, Sherry and I again commiserated on our loss of social status and largely female lives, but since we were enjoying ourselves and each others' company, we exclaimed, "What the hell!" We clinked our glasses and confirmed our love for each others' company and independent lives, determined not  to dwell too much on the loss of our old couples' friends and our once active social lives.

When I hear music wafting into my yard from a young neighbor's couples party, I still feel an occasional twinge. But not as often as I used to.

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