Interview With a Real Dad Starting Over – “David”

This is the third in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“David” is yet another man with a troubled past that has resulted in a need to rescue and “fix” the broken women he is so very attracted to. His baggage and subsequent life decisions very nearly cost him his life. Fortunately, David is one smart dude and has the gift of introspection and a good therapist. We can all learn a great deal from him.

DSO
Okay, so if you could… introduce yourself. Tell us your name, age, number of kids.

David
David J. 35 years old. Two boys –  9 years and 3months old.

DSO
Oh wow… a little feller. That has to make things interesting for you. So I assume you were married before? Both kids from the same woman?

David
No, two separate women. My 9 year old’s mother and I split amicably when he was 3. My youngest’s mother and I split before we knew she was pregnant. Last November.

DSO
Gotcha. So let’s start at the beginning. You…. good family life? Both mom and dad together?

David
My father passed when I was 14… Suicide. Mom and him divorced the year before. I’m the oldest of 4 boys. Mom is on her 4th marriage. I’m the only one of my brothers that has never married. Although, I’ve had longer relationshipships than any of them. I’m 8 years older than Steve, and 9 years older than the twins.

DSO
Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. That had to have quite the impact on you, especially at such an important time (your early teens). Your mom’s subsequent relationships with men… Were the men all bad news, you get along with them?

David
The one after my dad was bad news. The next 2 were great. She divorced the 3rd after 8 years. I was nearly 30 and an adult when they married, after all of my bothers were out of the house. Without kids, they were both unhappy, and kind of became roommates. So, they mutually decided to go their separate ways.

The most recent was my Dad’s best friend be for he died, so we all know him, and like him. They waited over 20 years, to get together,  so none of us boys have any hard feelings.

DSO
Do you know the particulars of your dad and mom’s breakup? Did dad suffer from depression? Infidelity?

David
Dad, was a career military man, he suffered from severe depression, and was a closet alcoholic. I recall an instance of accused infidelity on my father’s part, just before they split. Then the accusations went both ways. Mom married the next guy, the day the divorce was final, only 6 weeks after meeting him.

DSO
How did you meet the mother of your first child?

David
I was an insurance agent and she was my office’s “smokin’ hot secretary”. We went out once, and spent the next 5 years together, inseperable. Jason, our oldest, was conceived after nearly a year together. She was 21, and I was 25 when he was born. She had an amazing childhood, originally from Canada, intact family, but was the black sheep in her teens and early 20’s prior to our son. She liked to PARTY. I was in the legal system, on probation for a DUI (yes, I was a moron) nearly our entire relationship, so I wasn’t much of a partier. We had a relatively boring relationship and stayed together for so long, because we both dreamt of an intact family for our son. But, one day when he was 3, we looked at each other and knew we no longer had romantic feelings. We parted, on great terms, she is an amazing co-parent. She got married about a year later, to an awesome guy, who I am proud to call my sons “other Dad”, and they had a little girl a little over 3 years ago.

DSO
That’s all to that story… You eventually grew bored with each other, not a great match, and you amicably decided to split?

David
The short hand version, is we just kind of bored each other… We had a great friendship, and lots of laughs, but literally zero things in common aside from our son and our mutual obsession with soccer, playing and watching.

I’m a few years older, and she liked that, but I’m also 5’6″ and she’s 5’10″… I blame the fact that she wanted a man she could wear heels around… Plus, had I ever gotten into a fight, i would have expected her to defend my honor… Lol

DSO
Ha. Did you genuinely feel emasculated around her? Did she “wear the pants” in the relationship?

David
Oddly enough, I didn’t… She was very gracious. When we first got together, I thought it would end up that way, so it was a fear. But, she never even brought it up. I had all the jokes, so in hindsight, it may have bothered me a bit. But, I was still incredibly proud to be with her. Especially after our son came… She is an awesome Mom.

There was a little push and pull regarding our son- but that quickly ended in us compromising on parenting time- and me agreeing to keep him away from my “hussies” as she called any woman I would date, until they showed some staying power, and we decided that we were going to try for the long haul. And I listened to her. We’ve always had a great deal of respect for each other, and our individual relationships with our Jason.

DSO
Well that sounds very mature. How soon after splitting did you both start dating?

David
She starting dating her now husband seven days after we split. Not going to lie even a little- that was a huge gut shot to my ego. I felt easily replaced. I started dating about a month later. Once I started dating, I realized my feelings being hurt was just my ego and that it wasn’t a contest. I dated several women, a month or two here and there, including the one my who would have my 2nd son, nearly 5 years later.  When Jason’s mom and I split, I let her and Jason keep the apartment and everything.  I went and lived with my folks.

DSO
Tell us about woman #2. How did you two meet?

David
My best friend married her sister.. Introduced us, a couple of months after my son’s mom and I split, and a couple months after she ended an insanely toxic 10 year relationship with a DIAGNOSED sociopath.

She was a very damaged woman, but so insanely pretty. Plus, I loved the way she talked to me, and complimented everything about me. Im originally from California, and she loved that I wasn’t an Indiana country boy. Did I mention that she was an ABSOLUTE KNOCKOUT!?!? Like, gorgeous.

We dated for about a month, split up, and then got back together a few years later.

We had a whirlwind relationship. She broke up with another guy after 2 years with him, and was essentially living in my house immediately. We were sleeping together, living together, and planning our lives together within a week. This was break neck speed for me, and cause for concern. I justified it, because we had dated before, and she was insanely gorgeous. She always made me feel like a million bucks. She complimented me, was amazing in bed, and in my eyes was just the absolute perfect woman. Red flags be damned. She would ask me on a regular basis if she could perform oral sex on me. Never had headaches when I was in the mood, dressed so incredibly sexy, and all if my friends absolutely drooled over her. I felt like I was THE MAN when I was with her. But then of course, the cracks started showing

DSO
Are you the guy women tend to go to when shit hits the fan and they need help?

David
They refer to me as “the guy with the 6 bedroom house.”… So, unfortunately, yes. My less politically correct friends, have sometimes called me “captain save a ho”

DSO
Do you get a sense of purpose by “saving” the damsels in distress?

David
I do… Kayla was so needy, and so broken, she gave me purpose. Little by little she revealed that her life was in shambles, and for ever problem I had a solution. And she knew how to show her grattitude. I summed it up to her terribly abusive childhood. I saw this amazing woman so often in her. But, alcohol kept drowning her. Then triangulation with other men. Then she became physically violent with me. Then the lies. Yes, I took her back, at least minimally a dozen times over a nearly 3 year period. Even while she was pregnant with our son. Then cheated on me, with 2 other men, throughout her pregnancy. My self esteem was in the garbage.

DSO
Have you had much time for introspection during all this? Wondering why you’re so drawn to broken women?

David
This particular woman, is the ONLY broken woman I have ever had any sort of substantial relationship with. I sought therapy back in March, and still attend. The clear and obvious culprit is my mother, and my relationship with her. Fortunately, her and I have been able to frankly, and matter of factly discuss this, with the help of my therapist. I’ve been able to logically understand my need to save Kayla. I fight my feelings a lot. But, since identifying many destructive relationship habits, including trauma bonding, my own insecurities, and tendency to lose myself in romantic relationships, i.e. lack of outside interests, giving up hobbies, health, friends, and becoming completely absorbed in the idea of “us”… I’ve been rediscovering myself, establishing a strong sense of self, recognizing toxic traits in potential partners, and overall just taking time for myself. For instance, I don’t and won’t date at all currently. That is of my own decision… For now.

DSO
That is awesome. You should seriously be proud of yourself for that level of introspection and effort to improve. VERY VERY rare.

David
This one broke me… We all have that one that breaks us, I think.

DSO
I often say every dude should hit rock bottom at least once in their life. Usually men hit it via a relationship with a toxic woman.

David
Civilizations have fallen over a toxic woman. Lol. By being with them, we can become toxic ourselves. The whole “Show me the 3 closest people to you, and I will understand who you are” statement comes to mind.

DSO
Exactly.So you have two women you have fathered children with… and how would you categorize you relationships with them now? Has their brokenness affected your efforts to improve going forward?

David
It’s given me, at the moment, incredibly high standards, a desire to undergo a vasectomy, and 9 stab wounds from my 2nd sons’ mom’s ex-boyfriend. Yes, it has affected me. I can experience empathy, but it isn’t my responsibility to fix the things I feel bad for someone for. I can offer to help a person, but only if they aren’t kicking and screaming while i carry them uphill, and after a bit of help, they had better be outpacing my efforts. Most importantly, for my own stress levels, and mental well being, it is ok for me to say NO., even if I have the ability to help, or change a situation. I’m not obligated to anyone, even for something as little as an explanation,  and frankly, they aren’t obligated to me. Its not ok for anyone to make me feel guilty, for doing what I think is best for myself and my sons. Lastly, I don’t have to compromise my integrity, just to make someone else feel better, or so that they might like me. I may not be the greatest guy in the world, but I’m ok most of the time, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with just being ok sometimes.

DSO
Bravo. Very well put. For the readers… would you mind giving more detail about the whole “9 stab wounds” story?

David
Well, first off… I feel like a bad ass, compared to anyone who has been stabbed less than 10 times. Lol. This goes along with the damaged woman thought.

When my son was 6 weeks old, his mother was begging me back. I couldn’t do it. She was still drinking. Well, later that night, she got into a bit of trouble with CPS and the police. Drinking and driving with our baby. They didn’t arrest her, they had her mother come and get her, and take her to the 5th floor(like a mental hospital) and took our son while she was in there. Once she got out she immediately started dating another man. She said he was perfect and that they were getting married…blah blah blah. A few weeks go by, and she discovers he had given her a false name and was a registered sex offender, amongst other things. Violent, violent man. She breaks up with him…he didn’t like that much…once he supposedly leaves her apartment, she calls and asks me to come get our son because she’s stressed out, etc. I agree, and drive over. She asks me to sit and talk with her for a few, and tells me all about this guy. After a few minutes I asked her to pack his diaper bag, so we can get home. I step out to smoke while I’m waiting for her to get our son ready. It’s dark out, her neighbor is out, we start a conversation. After a couple of moments, I hear, “You want some mother fucker” from behind me, (he was hiding beside her apartment building) and a shirtless knife wielding man, is on my back, stabbing me. At the time, I didn’t realize I was being stabbed. I thought I was getting hit hard. I also didn’t know who he was. I get turned around to defend myself, and at some point realize he has a knife. I fought it away from him. And he suddenly stopped fighting, and just stands there. I look at him, and say, “You had a fucking knife!” At this point he runs away… I look at my son’s mother who had come to the door during the scuffle and say “I think I’ve been stabbed.” She goes into hysterics… Ambulance comes, she comes to the hospital with me, and just lays in bed with me for the hours in waiting on surgery. After all is said and done, she wants us again, I’m the man of her dreams, blah blah blah. Her ex is sitting in jail on attempted murder charges, 3 seperate cases for domestic battery, including one on a child, a DUI, and turns out has a different name than what he gave her, plus a worse background than the 2nd alias he gave her has. She was ready to marry this guy after 5 weeks. Had him around our son, and her 13 year old daughter, and expects me to just forgive her, and take her back with open arms.

I’m on temporary disability for the next 6 weeks at least, I have drain tubes coming out of my back, and over a hundred stitches. The knife took chunks of bone out of my spine and ribs, severed muscle, and she wants to talk about a relationship. My 9 year old has been devastated since he heard about it. When he was here, he literally hugged me, or sat on me the entire time. This is what happens when you entertain crazy for too long. They attract more crazy, and that crazy wants you dead.

DSO
Jesus H. Christ. Yes… crazy attracts crazy. So glad you made it out of that alive. Would you pursue taking away the child permanently from the mom?

David
This is why it’s so important for men to be so critical when choosing a partner… Especially if they already have kids. Yes, I will… Her ex-husband already got emergency custody of their 13 year old. My situation is a bit more complex. I’m waiting on paternity for Mason. I told her I will be his Dad, and not miss a beat unless a paternity test proves me otherwise. Paternity isn’t until January 10th.

DSO
I was going to suggest that. Sounds like you have everything as “under control” as possible.

David
She swears he’s mine. Even with all if her infidelity, says the time frames don’t add up for anyone else. Nobody else stepped up, so here I am. And I’ll be damned if I miss these baby months. If he were to turn out not to be mine, I just bought some diapers, and loved on a kid who didn’t have anyone else. No harm done… But, I think and hope he is mine.

DSO
Must be an extremely tough position to be in. So, fast forward seven years from now… Your oldest boy is 16. He’s getting way too interested in girls. What bit of advice do you give him?

David
Man, that’s tough… In today’s climate, I’d almost want to advise them not to date until after college.

The reality is I want them to be safe… Be respectful… And to not fall in love with saving anyone. I will tell them if they don’t bring anything other than baggage and a pussy to the table, just leave the damn table. You need a partner, a teammate and a best friend. Theres no such thing as THE ONE, but there is such thing as mutual respect and love.  After some time has passed respect is more about your own personal integrity, and love is more about being a man of your word. Eventually, it stops being a gushy feeling, and turns into a decision. But, it should never be at the cost of who you are.

DSO
Amen, brother. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. You’re a great example of a guy who has absolutely had a truckload of shit thrown at him, and you just keep on marching forward. Hope you heal up quickly and please let us all know how you’re doing.

David
It’s been a pleasure to share… I really hope some of the other dad’s can take this all to heart and not make the same mistakes. Thanks for the website, by the way!

Interview With A Real Dad Starting Over – “William”

This is the second in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“William” is the an example of a VERY common scenario:

  1. Little experience with women before or after his ex-wives.
  2. Comes from a broken home with an absent father figure and strong attachment to mom.
  3. Strongly attracted to women from broken families, histories of abuse and has an intense need to help them.
  4. His kind/pushover nature eventually backfires on him as he is taken advantage of the worst way by predatory women.

DSO
So, if you could, tell us your name, age, number of kids

William
William. Age 48. I have three biological children and then two who are bonus children.

DSO
Bonus children… step kids?

William
One former stepson who I am still close to and one who I discovered was not mine, but am also close to.

DSO
Oh wow. Sounds like you do have a story to tell. And what ages are the kids?

William
30, 28, 27, 24, 23. The 30, 27, and 23 year olds are mine. Yes, it’s quite a story. 23 year old is the only girl.

DSO
That poor girl! That’s a whole lot of testosterone. Married how many times?

William
Twice. Quite a story with both.

DSO
Well let’s go with ex #1, how did you two meet?

William
We met in high school. I was a basketball player and she was a track/basketball athlete. She asked me for a ride home from practice every day and one thing led to another. The 30 year old son was born my senior year.

DSO
Started early! And how about her family life? Broken family? Abuse?

William
Her parents divorced due to her father’s infidelity. There were rumors of abuse between her father and her sister, but it never went anywhere. None between my ex and her father that I’m aware of.

DSO
And your family life?

William
My dad was an abusive alcoholic to my mom. I witnessed a lot of it. They divorced when I was six. I was not abused, but I have heard rumors that my older sister was. We’ve never discussed it. We are very close though. My mom is a saint.

DSO
Looking back on the early “courtship”, did you feel a bond with your shared family “issues”?

William
Not on a conscience level I don’t think.

DSO
So senior year, your son is born. How do you cope with that? Family help?

William
Yes. I quit basketball and started sacking groceries full time. I stayed at my ex’s house and got up with the baby on weekends. My mom and my stepdad were upset at first, but extremely helpful financially and emotionally. I got a job out of high school working in the billing office at a hospital and things went okay for several years.

DSO
College?

William
I took night courses at the local Junior college. Got my Associates degree in four years. Started at the University level about the time the first marriage fell apart.

DSO
So, “went okay for several years”, when did the wheels start to fall off?

William
We were married for five years. I came home one night after running in to my childhood sweetheart at a convenience store. I came home and told my wife about it. Shortly after that she insisted that we move. We did. As it turned it we were living caddy corner from her boyfriend’s apartment. At the time, I had no suspicion that anything was going on.

DSO
Oh, so the prompting for the move, in your mind at that time, was your surprise meeting with the childhood sweetheart?

William
Yes and no. I feel she used that as a justification in her mind, but she was already planning to set herself up with Plan B (him) in case Plan A (me) didn’t work out.

DSO
She was already in the middle of an affair with Plan B by that time… and for how long at that point (the move)?

William
I feel that it had been going on for several months before the move, but I have no proof. The fact that we moved in so close to his place was not a coincidence in my mind.

DSO
Oh… so not only did she want to move, but she had the specific place already picked out… right across from Plan B. Gotcha.

William
Yes. Again, just a theory.

DSO
Well that was ballsy of her. So when did you discover the affair?

William
After the move, she insisted we should separate. I moved in with my mom with the idea that we would work it out. She would give me no reason for the separation, just needed “space”. I went back to our place and discovered a note to him on the door. I don’t remember what it said, but the implications were clear. I started moving my stuff out that night.

DSO
Sorry to hear that… and pretty textbook. So now you have a son and a cheating wife. Was divorce pretty soon after?

William
Oh that’s where it gets crazy. We had two sons at that time. She came to me a week after I moved out and told me she was pregnant. I told her I thought it wasn’t mine. The state of Oklahoma would not allow me to divorce her while she was pregnant. They also told me that I not only had to prove the baby was not mine, but I also had to prove whose the baby was or I would be held financially responsible for it. I was not allowed to divorce her because the baby had to remain a product of the marriage in case the true father was not found.

DSO
Oh, no way. Wow. Are the laws still the same to this day in OK?

William
It took a year and a half for all the prelim crap to get done and the divorce to be granted.
I don’t know. I live in Colorado now and haven’t been married for 16 years. Doubt I ever will again.

DSO
So eventually you prove the child is not yours AND you find the father?

William
Yes. It didn’t take too much detective work on my part.

DSO
I know I’m getting into specifics here… but this whole “state forcing the non-father to pay” thing always amazes me…. What was the process for proving the paternity? Did the suspected father have to go through testing? Or did he/they just confess?

William
I had to subpoena the blood from the baby as well as the suspected father. The fact that she was able to just keep the truth to herself and hope for the best has always stuck a burr in my saddle. She was not asked to testify or anything.

DSO
She knew she had the state on her side. Okay, so… two bio kids, one that is with her lover, and you are divorced. Does kid #3 have a relationship with bio dad?

William
Yes, but he always came over to my house with his brothers. Birthday parties, sleep overs, etc. He is currently getting his PhD and will be married in May. I’m invited to the wedding. He says his father is a 50/50 bet on whether he will show up.

DSO
Well, good for you and him both. Sticking with wife #1 for now. Looking back… any red flags through the short relationship?

William
Yes. She was my first, but she was known to have slept with a lot of boys in high school. I had some friends who warned me about her, but I didn’t listen.

DSO
You’re not the first and certainly not the last with that story. If you didn’t get her pregnant while in high school, would you have married her?

William
Her best friend got pregnant about the same time she did too. I think that was part of the plan.

Definitely not. I was trying to “do the right thing”. I wish I’d have been told by an older male role model that I didn’t have to marry her. Don’t know if it would have changed my mind, but it would have made the divorce decision come a lot faster.

DSO
And how soon after was kid #2?

William
Kid 1 was born 1987. We were married in 1988. Kid 2 was born 1991. We split up in 1993. Kid 3 (not mine) was born 1994.

DSO
Was #2 another “oops”?

William
No. He was planned. Maybe just a “trying to do the right thing” thing again. I am very close to my sons though. We have a lot of fun together.

DSO
That’s great. Did you have a fair co-parenting/custody sharing plan from the beginning?

William
Yes. But I was very busy working full time and going to college so I didn’t get to see them 50/50. That as used against me when it came time to calculate support, which makes no sense. I was doing my part when I had them.

DSO
And how has ex #1’s life gone since your split?

William
She married and divorced the guy she was sleeping with. She has just been released from the county jail and into a halfway house. Her and her new boyfriend were convicted on trafficking meth through the mail.

DSO
Wow. I’d say that’s a pretty low point in life. So how long after #1 did you meet #2?

William
I was sitting in a class in 1993 thinking about the aforementioned childhood sweetheart from before. All I knew of was where she worked, Wal-Mart. So I left class, drove to Wal-Mart and sure enough, there she was working the front. She took a break and I filled her in on my situation. She showed me evidence that her husband was physically abusing her. I told her that I didn’t want to wreck her marriage, but that if they broke up, I would like to give us a try. We began an affair, and she became pregnant with my daughter. There was and is no doubt that the child was/is mine.

So I guess it was only a matter of three months or so.

DSO
Wow. You weren’t wasting any time. Ran right into the arms of another broken one. Also not uncommon.

William
Haha. Oh ya.

DSO
So, the first red flag is obviously “I was abused” and “I am willing to have an affair and get pregnant”… what other red flags did gal #2 have? How about her family life?

William
Her mother was a mean bitch. I remembered it from my childhood. Nothing had changed in the years that followed. She was a tom boy and an athlete from the time we met, age 13, all the way through high school. She actually told me after she divorce her first husband that she never wanted to marry again. I was so happy we were together that I didn’t mind. We were living together and we had a daughter. My two sons, my bonus son, and her son were with us most of the time once I finished college. We were making the blended family work. She never initiated sex though. I thought she was submissive, but as it turned out she was hiding a deeper secret. Queue suspenseful music…

DSO
So… in hindsight do you feel she grasped onto you as a way out of marriage #1?

William
Yes. I also feel that she knew she could get away with what she had planned next because of what had happened in my previous marriage. I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t make me wrong.

DSO
So, she gets pregnant… how long after did you marry?

William
She approached me two years later in 1997 and asked, “Why haven’t you asked me to marry you?” and I said, “Because you said you didn’t want to get married.” and she said, “Well, we might as well. I mean, look at all these kids in our house.” and I said, “Okay”. Shortly after, I called the kids into the living room and I proposed to her. We eloped to Colorado and were married on Christmas Eve, 1997 in Aspen.

DSO
And after marriage… how long until the big bomb drop?

William
June, 2003 she told me she was leaving me. She didn’t say why at the time. We had just made our first payment on a new house.

DSO
Wow. What was the process after that? Did you start investigating?

William
I take that back. She told me she was leaving in April and the truth about why came out in June.

I helped her move into her own apartment. I told the landlord I needed a key since I was on the lease. When she took her son to the movies one night, I went to her apartment and found a journal. In it, she confessed her love to her new girlfriend who lived two states away and she revealed her plan to move there as soon as she could.

DSO
Wow.

William
It was shortly after that she admitted she was gay. She never told me of her intention to move. She intended to abandon us.

DSO
You were helping her move into an apartment that she planned on leaving soon?

William
Yes.

DSO
And her plan was to leave you and the kid?

William
Yes. and my stepson with his father.

DSO
Oh wow. How did she meet the girlfriend?

William
Work. The GF had moved away in order to prevent wrecking our marriage, or so the story goes.

DSO
I see. Did the wife later admit she always KNEW she was gay, or this was something she discovered later in life?

William
She said that she had always known she was gay. She said no man was ever going to touch her again and that her whole life had been a lie. She was celebrated for now “living her truth”. The fact that she had discovered it at the expense of so many lives was swept under the rug.

Maybe not discovered it, but verified it. Found the courage to admit it to herself. However you look at it.

DSO
And she has remained in the new lifestyle since then?

William
Yes. She has a GF now that she met when she was 45 and the GF was 17. Also something for which she has never been held accountable.

DSO
WOW. Well, this is usually the case in these relationship dramas. The damsels in distress will get the adulation… You’ll just go crazy trying to understand it.
So, how soon after the bomb drop did you divorce?

William
It took four and a half years. When I would go to court, the judge would give her additional time to appear even though she had left the state. Once I got Oklahoma DHS to start garnishing her paycheck for child support did she finally show up and the divorce was granted. She also got custody arrangements changed and once she paid her back child support, I had to start paying her. I raised my daughter for five years without help from her and then she came in and got what she wanted.

She moved back to Oklahoma and started playing “supermom”

DSO
Wow. That seems to be the them for this story: “Wow” She moved back to OK… and the kids went to live with her?

William
Haha. I’m 16 years out and I still can’t believe it.

By the time she came back, my daughter was 13. She wanted to know her mom and asked if it was okay if she lived with her. I helped my daughter move. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. it is a fact that if not for her, I wouldn’t be alive. We are very close today. So part of what the gay ex got was what I allowed her to have for the sake of my daughter.

DSO
And she stayed with her for all of her teens?

William
Yes. But again, I would meet her for breakfast before school and I would have her and her friends over when she wanted. My gay ex knew I would do anything for my daughter too, which of course she used to her advantage.

DSO
And her relationship with your daughter today?

William
They are good. One year after I left OK for CO, my daughter followed me though. All of my biological children have left OK and moved closer to me, much to their mothers’ dismay I’m sure.

My daughter and her mother visit occasionally. I have no contact with her mother. We haven’t spoken in years.

DSO
So after the second divorce… have you had any relationships? Dating?

William
My first relationship after the gay ex (both wives were my first and second) I had an affair with the minister’s wife. She divorced her husband to marry me, but I told her I wasn’t going to marry again. That ended our relationship poorly. Had a GF for about three months in 2007 or so. She broke up with me because I told her I didn’t plan on marrying again. I don’t date at all now. I work hard and do my own thing.

DSO
There does appear to be a pattern here… not to play psychologist… and I don’t mean to overstep my bounds.
1. Being attracted to broken women
2. Ignoring red flags and jumping into serious relationships with broken women.
3. Pursuing relationships with women who are already attached to others.
Sounds like you nipped #2 in the bud and stopped the marriage train.

William
If I had to self-psychoanalyze, I’d say that I have a bit of a hero complex after seeing my mom take some hellacious beatings and not being big enough to stop it. I did not grow up to be an abuser. But instead I grew up allowing myself to be used. I didn’t stand up for myself. Now I do. I am fine on my own. I’d love to meet someone who would love me, but it is not a priority.

DSO
Did you have a close relationship with your mom? Almost a surrogate spouse to her?

William
Yes. She is a retired nurse and an absolute hero.

I’m about out of time. I wanted to plug the Straight Spouse Network. It is a support group among those who may have married homosexuals either knowingly or unknowingly. They are at www.Straightspouse.org. They have been very healing for me over the last couple of years.

DSO
Thank you for sharing your story!

William
You’re Welcome. Keep up the good work.

Getting Fit – Part 1: Diet

DSOThis is me. This is my typical weight of about 200 lbs at 6′ in height. Bodyfat percentage? I have no idea. Maybe around 15% or more (everyone always grossly underestimates body fat). I’m not a super-ripped glistening fitness model with six pack abs and visible veins everywhere. I’m a 40-something year old dude that is in pretty good muscular shape. I don’t live in the gym. I have a real life. I don’t care about how much weight I lift and I’m not entering a bodybuilding contest anytime soon. To get in this shape requires three things for me:

  1. A very basic diet.
  2. Gym time.
  3. Testosterone replacement therapy.

What I have learned is that with my genetics (I get fat easily) and my temperament (I tend to overthink and overanalyze) I need to keep things SIMPLE or I will fail. This applies mainly to my diet. I eat certain foods and only those foods. I stay away from everything else. That’s it. I don’t calorie count. I don’t track my exact macros (the amount of protein, carbs and fat). Instead, I put up limits to what I eat, eat certain things at certain times, and the rest tends to take care of itself. If I want to get leaner, I make adjustments. A GOOD DIET IS CRUCIAL. I’ll get into the training aspect of my lifestyle in a later post, but please remember: YOU CANNOT OUT-TRAIN A BAD DIET. Sure, you can put on muscle. Yes, you can increase strength. What you can’t do is LOOK GOOD on a horrible diet. They say “abs start in the kitchen”, and they’re absolutely right.  You gotta do the work of eating right and eating right consistently. There’s no way around it.

HERE ARE THE BASICS:

I stay away from crap like packaged snacks and meals. If it comes in a box and is “processed” in some way, it’s a no-no. This stuff is usually loaded with tons of calories along with lots of sugar and salt (which is why it all tastes so damn good). The only things I may eat that violate this rule are protein snacks for when I am traveling. I like the KNOW cookies, or jerky and meat sticks.
I keep booze to a minimum. RARELY do I drink beer. It bloats me instantly and it’s loaded with calories. It’s liquid… so it goes down a lot easier and faster than a big juicy steak or some chicken. You can drink a thousand calories of booze in no time. There’s a reason they call it a “beer belly”.
I rarely eat sweets. Maybe I will share a dessert with the wife around once a month when we go out to eat or if it’s a holiday like Thanksgiving, my birthday or Christmas.
No pasta. Very little bread. If I do eat bread, it’s usually a sprouted wheat bread or some other bread with very high fiber.
I drink a shit ton of water. I have a giant plastic cup that I am routinely filling up at the fridge water dispenser. I sometimes also drink Diet Pepsi. I like kombucha but it gives me really bad gas.
I take fiber powder (sugar-free psyllium husk). Two times a day, usually. Keeps things moving and it has supposed cardiac benefits. Helps me feel full, as well.
Most of my diet consists of meat and eggs. I eat beef, chicken, pork and sometimes fish. The protein keeps me satiated and is crucial for muscle-building and staying lean.  I don’t cut the fat from my steak nor do I buy the super lean ground beef. I like the fat.
I eat salad greens. Usually a spinach and kale mix I get at the grocery store. I add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sunflower seeds and chicken to it. That’s it. No thick dressings filled with sugar. No croutons or other crunchy goodies.
I love fruit. I eat apples, cantaloupe, pomegranates, bananas, peaches and berries.
It’s not always feasible to sit down cook/eat actual meat to get the protein I need. Sometimes I’m in a hurry, heading out the door or whatever… so instead I will whip together a fast protein shake with sugar-free almond milk and Optimum Nutrition whey protein. I like the double chocolate kind. 

That’s it as far as WHAT I eat. Nothing fancy. Basic.  Lots of protein and some fats and moderate to low carbs. It works for me. With this diet I can afford to do a “cheat” meal once a week if I feel like it. Pizza. Cookies. Pancakes. Just the one meal. Lately I’ve been losing interest with cheat meals simply because of how they make me feel afterward. The bloat, headaches and diarrhea aren’t worth it. With that being said, I absolutely love fried chicken and mashed potatoes and could have that as a cheat meal on a weekly basis. Now, let’s look at the HOW and WHEN I eat the foods I eat. I have a pretty basic rule:

On workout/weightlifting days… I eat around 100 – 200 grams of carbs. That’s when I eat wheat bread with my eggs, some rice with my chicken, some steel cut oats, or fruit.

On rest/light cardio days… I skip breakfast and don’t eat anything until around 12:00 – 2:00pm (just coffee and water). That’s a fast of about 16 – 18 hours for me. No, there’s nothing wrong with fasting. There are numerous health benefits, one being  increased fat burning. The rest of the day I eat protein and fat with little to no carbs. I make sure to drink a ton of water on these days… and I make sure to take my fiber. Amount of calories I eat? I’d say probably around 2,500 on workout days, and around 1,800 – 2,000 on rest days. Just an estimate.

What if I want to lose more body fat? Then I lower the amount of fat and carbs I eat and keep protein the same. My problem is that I CAN get to a leaner state and like the way I look, but STAYING in that super lean state is very difficult. I don’t feel as good (depleted and tired), and after eating juuuuust a little too much of something, my body says, “We need more body fat!” right away. My body always wants to stay in the “200 lbs and can see a little bit of abs” state.  I would need some kind of coach or physique expert to tell me how to break out of that state long-term and feel good in the process. I’ve never figured it out on my own. As far as supplements go, check out my page of “Stuff I like” to see a list of things I take. There’s really no such thing as a magic pill for getting in shape or staying healthy. Just things that can help you along and may be a piece of a larger puzzle that keeps you away from the doc and looking good with your shirt off. How about my health? Does all this meat and fat cause me any issues? No. My blood pressure is always around 120/70. Here are my latest blood test results: Blood test results All looks good.

 

Coming soon: My workout routine.

Interview With A Real Dad Starting Over – “Pete”

This is a first in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“Pete” is the perfect example of a guy who had very little self-worth combined with the all-consuming need to find “the one” to settle down and grow old with. When you combine the two, it can be a complete disaster.

DSO: Okay, so to start with… if you could, tell us who you are, how old, kids, etc..

Pete: I’m Pete. I’m 35 years old. Have 3 boys.

DSO: You gave me a little bit of you story before this interview… Are you technically still married as of right now?

Pete: Yes, technically still married at this point but have been separated since January 2017. Tried to reconcile this year, only lasted about 3 months and then I walked away for good. I had started over last year and I was in a really good place. All that went away during time period of trying to reconcile and that’s what made me realize it was time to let go and now for a second time I’m starting over again. 

DSO: Sorry to hear that. How did you and your wife first meet?

Pete: We met through her cousin that I was friends with. 

DSO: Did you have much experience with women prior to meeting her?

Pete: I had been in 3 or 4 relationships prior to her and had been casually dating a few other women but nothing real serious. 

DSO: And how about her family? Did she have a stable family life? Mom and dad in the picture?

Pete: Her parents had divorced when she was 12 and her dad remarried but her mom did not until this year. Her dad and grandmother raised her after the divorce 

DSO: Oh, interesting. Why was mom out of the picture?

Pete: She gave up rights because of a violent incident that occurred with her boyfriend and my wife and her brother. So, her dad got custody of them two. 

DSO: Did her mom cheat on dad with the bad guy?

Pete: It’s crazy because her mom had another daughter by the boyfriend after high school. It didn’t work out and then she met my wife’s dad and they had two kids together being my wife and her brother. Yes, she did cheat. 

DSO: Oh wow… Mom had some serious issues. So, looking back now on your relationship, were there warning signs/red flags with your wife and her behavior?

Pete: Yes. There were the violent outbursts towards me and the kids. There was a lot of secretive stuff on her cell phone. All this started happening in 2016 after our third son was born. Before that there was one or two instances where she would just pack up the kids and leave for 3 weeks the first time then 3 months the second time taking our boys with her. After she had come back both times there was messages on her phone from a guy she knew talking about what they had done and that he better not have told anyone about it. I confronted her about it each time and she just blamed me for it. 

DSO: Wow… your wife just took off with the kids for long periods of time? Sounds like kidnapping.

Pete: No, she would use a PFA each time making up stuff then dropping the PFA when we would go to court because I could prove the statements to be false that were made against me. Second time she left I didn’t see my two older boys for 3 weeks then got a visitation schedule through court with help from my attorney. 

DSO: PFA?

Pete: Yeah here they have a PFA or protection from abuse order that can be filed in family court. Don’t have to have any proof of anything they are easy to get. I have 3 that I have filed on her as well. With pictures and documents proving my statements. That’s why 95 percent of them don’t stick because there has to be proof beyond a reasonable suspicion to get one. 

To stick you have to go in front of a commissioner. 

DSO:  Oh, I see. So… if I understand the timeline correctly, she had claimed abuse and ran off with the kids (and to another man), returned, and this was before your third child came into the picture. After third child, she became more secretive and violent. Correct?

Pete: Yes. 

DSO: Well, this begs the question… Why stick around with her during all this?

Pete: Because I loved her, and I wanted our boys to have us together around them. Looking back at it now that should have been my turning point and that’s when I should have started over, but I wouldn’t have my youngest son if I had of left then and I wouldn’t change having him for the world. 

DSO: Understandable. Circling back…. How about YOUR family past? Any issues there? Mom and dad in the picture?

Pete: Yes, my mom and dad have been there the whole time for me and for her when we got married. They have seen all the ups and downs we had. They gave us a place to live for a few years because we couldn’t make it on our own with having our first two kids 12 months apart. 

DSO: Were they aware of all the issues you had, and did they ever suggest you leave?

Pete: They were witness to just about all of what happened. After a couple years we built an apartment and moved into that and out of their house. Thinking that it would make things better and it did for a couple years. 

DSO: Your thought was that the living arrangement brought about her behavior? Too close to parents?

Pete: She always blamed my parents for everything. Once they were out of the picture and it was just us then everything turned to being blamed on me then because no one was around, and she knew whatever she said happened couldn’t be refuted and it was just my word against hers with no witnesses like when we lived with Mom and Dad. Yes, that was her excuse that we were too close to my parents. They were the only ones that offered to help us out.

DSO: Was she ever formally diagnosed or under any kind of mental health care?

Pete: No, she would never get any kind of help and I offered that multiple times she would say ok then when I would schedule appointments she would cancel and say that I was the one that had all the problems. Nothing was wrong with her. It was all put on me. 

DSOHey, you tried. WAY more than most would do, I would say. So… back to after the birth of the third child. What was the tipping point that made you say “Enough”?

Pete: After finally being able to buy a house together and moving in with each other to work out the differences between us this year. The tipping point was the lies she would make up and then she would go and stay gone for 10-12 hours at a time saying she fell asleep along the side of the road or that she fell asleep at a parking lot when she was at other guys’ houses with them and meeting other guys out at different places. The last time she was caught at a guy’s house sleeping with him and when I asked her about it she told me 4 different stories and I told her I was done it’s over I know your lying about everything. I can’t do this anymore. 

DSO: Wow. Was there ever a “She’s behaving just like her mom” moment… either from you or from herself?

Pete: No. Her dad did make a suggestion of the behavior being the same. Only he didn’t understand why she was being with all the different guys. 

DSO: I was going to ask if her dad ever pulled you aside and warned you.  I have an article I wrote on my site called “Baggage” that I think fits your wife perfectly. If you don’t make constant corrections in life, you WILL end up acting out your baggage. You saw that firsthand, unfortunately.

Pete: The other tipping point for me was the physical abuse on the kids from her. Once I saw that started then everything just fell into place with what I needed to do. And yes, unfortunately I did see that. 

DSO: Have you begun the divorce process? Does she still have contact with the children?

Pete: I have the paperwork filled out and turned in to my attorney. Right now, she has minimal contact because she was evicted from the house we had bought for not paying. So, the kids live with me full time in the apartment that I had built. 

DSO: I’m glad to hear they are safe. So, you have a long road ahead of you with the whole divorce process still… This is all still very fresh

Pete: Yes, a long road for sure. It was June of this year when I walked away for good. 

I had moved on last year got saved gave my life to Christ and became more of the man that I always was supposed to be by living a life for god and my boys. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this whole process so far and I realize now it wasn’t worth the heartache and having to start over again. 

DSO: Good for you.  Before wrapping this up… the big question: What was it about you that REALLY kept you in the relationship. That’s not something you have to answer now, but it’s the big picture that every guy in your shoes needs to answer, or else you’ll do it all over again. And no… you can’t just say, “I am a good guy, and I loved her.” That’s a copout. 

Pete: I wanted to have that marriage that when we turned 80 we could sit in the front porch holding hands and say we made it. Everyone doubted our marriage from the start and I thought I had met the woman I would be with forever. And I never really knew my worth as a man and how I should really be treated but after going through the years of abuse and narcissistic actions towards me I now know that I stayed out of fear of not being with my boys, making sure they were safe and taken care of, and lastly because I was afraid of losing her to the point I lost myself and no woman is worth that unless they are willing to do the same for you. 

DSO: What was it about HER that made you so sure she was “the one”, in spite of everyone and everything tell you the opposite?

Pete: The first time I met her it was like we were the only two people that were around like everyone else just diminished into the background. We just clicked instantly. That was the only time so far I’ve ever had butterflies in my stomach.  I just knew she was the one. 

DSO: So, you had serious physical chemistry. 

Pete: Sparks flew definitely. 

DSO: Typically, men that are so drawn to broken women in such a way have broken moms themselves. Or, they have little experience with women… Which is why I ask.

Ok, so where do you see yourself five years from now?

Pete: In five years, I see myself living life to the fullest with my boys. Buying a nice house for them and I. And to not be looking for anything or anyone. I know that in due time God has an ultimate plan for my life and for my boys and as long as I stay true and honor him, my blessings will come when least expected. 

DSO: Thank you so much for taking the time to share, and LAST bit of advice… Don’t you DARE take that woman back, Pete. 🙂

Pete: Definitely not doing that again. 

DSO: Good. All my best to you and the boys. Thanks again!