Beth was in shock when her husband, Ron, told her out of the blue that he wanted a divorce after 24 years of marriage and two children; 16-year-old Cindy and 18-year-old Rickie. She had given up her career to follow Ron in his military career as she homeschooled the children.
Beth surprised Ron when she hired an attorney to see that her financial interests were protected in the divorce. Although Ron attempted to intimidate Beth into dropping legal representation, she persisted. She knew that her welfare would otherwise be in jeopardy, due to Ron’s sense of entitlement and a long history of control.
Following the divorce settlement, Ron refused to abide by most of the decisions outlined in the decree. Beth received little of the monetary support awarded her, so she moved forward with legal action despite Ron’s continued effort to intimidate and control her. He also increased his effort to involve and manipulate the children, despite legal advice not to do so.
During this time, Cindy resided with her mom and Rickie with his father. Cindy continued to have regular interaction with her father, accepting invitations and initiating time together whenever convenient for him. However, Beth’s relationship with Rickie continued to deteriorate. The occasional lunch or dinner meetings stopped. All responses to phone, text, or email stopped as well. Beth had virtually no contact with Rickie for a year.
It was after eighteen months of court hearings in which the judge finally settled most of the motions in her favor that Beth knew she was in for more trouble. On her way out of the hearing, Beth received an ominous text from Ron:
You just put the nail in the coffin of ever having a chance to have a relationship with Rickie.
He was true to his word.
Today Beth’s son Rickie lives with his father. Beth has no relationship with him, and he shows her no respect. During the limited contact they have had since the threat, Rickie has been blatantly disrespectful and condescending to Beth. He also maintains that attitude in conversation with Cindy when they have time together. Beth attributes Rickie’s perspective and behavior to his father’s attitude toward her.
Cindy now lives with Beth but has a relationship with both her parents, with Beth’s encouragement. Cindy does struggle, however.
I’ll always love him because he’s my father, but I don’t like him. I don’t like what he has done or what he continues to do.
Despite her disappointment with the circumstances, Cindy treats Ron with appropriate respect and kindness. She sincerely tries to honor her father and appease him as much as possible.
Recently, Ron sent a scathing letter filled with untruths to Beth and to several of her family members, putting in writing to them that, ‘You (Beth) have likely forever destroyed your relationship with Rickie.’
Although some issues have been resolved, Ron continues to ignore court-ordered financial responsibilities, which require ongoing legal pursuit by Beth. She continues reaching out regularly to Rickie through texts and emails as she tries to show an interest in his life, although there is no response from Rickie. She sends gifts on holidays as well but receives no acknowledgment. Rickie is now 22, so she sees little recourse except to hope and pray, wait and see.
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