Dude–You’re Divorced!


Michelle Togut

Michelle Togut resides in North Carolina with her husband and pets. She has worked as an adjunct professor of history, contributor and writer, and small-firm attorney, among other things. These days, she's trying to sell real estate. For fun, she reads political blogs of all persuasions, practices yoga, drinks wine, hikes, reads, and volunteers for a local animal rescue.

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79 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I rather hope Stewart leaves it alone now; I feel pretty bad for the whole family at this point.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      …And I hadn’t even read the explanation yet:

      Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday he visited his wife’s home while she was out of town because he didn’t want his 14-year-old son to watch the Super Bowl alone — a visit that she says violated their divorce settlement.

      As someone who grew up in a divorced family that remained fairly close (which doesn’t imply particularly amicable between the parents), I can’t tell you how thoroughly this resonates with me. Especially in a situation where the separation is a new thing that no one is used to yet.Report

    • I agree. I’m pretty pissed at Sanford for running for office again. I sorta wished him well after the dust had settled, but kind of implicit in that is that he would stop being a public figure.Report

  2. Avatar Michelle Togut says:

    My husband’s ex-wife would have caused fire and brimstone to rain down upon him had he ever dared to do what Sanford did. And vice versa if the ex had made herself at home in our house, except I’d more likely be the one delivering the brimstone.

    Once you’re divorced, you become a guest in the other person’s home, entering only with permission. If Sanford wanted to watch the Superbowl with his son so badly, he could have made the appropriate arrangements well beforehand.Report

    • He may have been wrong to do this (I mean, it was against the agreement, so, yeah, he was wrong), but he claims to have tried to contact his wife before he went over. I’m willing to cut the guy a little slack (like, enough to not publically harangue him, but not enough to excuse him) if his reason for being there was to hang out with his son.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        Nope. Totally in the wrong. Custody agreements spell out the rules for children, and nobody has even HINTED she was playing games with it.

        And “tried to contact his wife before he went over” is generally code for “I called while I was driving there” butt-covering, not “I called and left a few messages earlier in the week and basically tried to plan this out”.

        You don’t cut crap like this “a little slack”. I’ve seen divorces, custody agreements, and “cutting slack like this” leads to — at best — silly dominance games that screw over kids and prevent one party from rebuilding a life. Far too often, they’re just the start of a path that leads to something far worse than an ex-husband or wife who won’t grasp they’re no longer married to you and don’t live there anymore.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Morat20 says:

          You don’t cut crap like this “a little slack”.

          Well, either you don’t… or maybe you do.Report

        • Well, I’m just saying this doesn’t need to be endlessly ridiculed by Stewart, Colbert, SNL and the like. That’s the amount slack I’m willing to cut. That’ll keep all legal arrangements in place.Report

          • Avatar Michelle Togut in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

            I don’t know that it will be ridiculed by Stewart but, given Sanford’s previous tall tales about hiking on the Appalachian Trail, he pretty much feeding grist to the mill. This is the guy who asked his ex, after publicly humiliating her, to run his most recent campaign. I’d say Mr. Sanford has bigger balls than most, not to mention piss poor judgment.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michelle Togut says:

              It’s possible that the public doesn’t have full insight into the vicissitudes of their relationship…Report

              • Avatar Michelle Togut in reply to Michael Drew says:

                No doubt. But, as a woman, I can tell you that if my husband were a public official, cheated on me, and then explained that it was because he’d met the love of his life–implying that I was just the woman he married–I don’t think I’d be charitably inclined toward him.

                I’m a bit of a bitch that way.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michelle Togut says:

                I wouldn’t think so either, but then it just becomes a mystery as to why in the world he would even think to ask her to run his campaign. His having big balls (in addition to catastrophically bad judgement, which we certainly already knew he did) could explain that strange behavior, or alternatively, some concrete fact in the universe of things we don’t know about them might explain it better than that guess does. Is what I’m saying.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Michelle Togut says:

                Space awesome.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Drew says:

                It appears she only resorted to the police after he’d done something like this multiple times.

                So, you know, apparently one of the manifestations of their relationship is a great deal of restraint on her part and a stubborn inability to learn basic parts of being an adult on his.

                (You know “You don’t go into other people’s houses without permission”. Isn’t property rights kinda important?)Report

              • This is an important point, thanks for digging it up.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

                Her lawyer noted that they’ve had issues with him trespassing for some time.

                Leaked documents (apparently not from her) from their divorce have issues with this going back to 2/2011.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Morat20 says:

                This disturbs me. We’re talking about the importance of journalism getting the facts straight on one thread, and taking sides in a domestic disturbance (based on leaks, no less) on another thread.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Morat20 says:

                reporting a dispute is reporting facts. I’m not taking on faith anything except what both sides admit to.Report

            • Avatar Qub in reply to Michelle Togut says:

              This is the guy who asked his ex, after publicly humiliating her, to run his most recent campaign. I’d say Mr. Sanford has bigger balls than most

              Sounds like narcissistic personality disorder. Seriously.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michelle Togut says:

      This isn’t placed as a reply to me so I guess it’s formally presumptuous of me to treat it like one but I’ll go ahead and treat it like one anyway…

      I’m not remotely saying that what he did was okay or that there shouldn’t be any brimstone; I’m just saying I personally understand and have no desire to laugh at or about the reason he gave for doing what he did. I know where it’s coming from. Doesn’t mean he dealt with the situation correctly.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Yeah, someone out of the situation needs to sit him down and explain what a violation of privacy/agency/personal domain he just did.

        And he needs to come out in public and say, “holy shit, that was STUPID. And careless, and even if I didn’t mean to behave like a monster, I did, at least a little bit. This is the LAST time.”Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kimmi says:

          He’s certainly behaved like a monster in aggregate, by all means. I think I’d personally want to reserve that description for behavior slightly worse than what it sounds he did on Super Bowl Sunday taken in isolation, however. But by all means if it hasn’t been explained to him that he broke the law in a serious way and did a Bad Thing on that day, it should be. By all means. And clearly, there should be repercussions for his political future.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Michael Drew says:

            It’s not that he broke the law that bothers me. It’s that he broke a real presumption of control on his exwife’s part.
            Now, I’m not saying he’s been the wifebeating type, the emotionally manipulative type….

            But, man, people flip their shit about folks wandering into their homes without their permission. It fucks with (at least some) people’s heads.

            And to be violated like that (note: yes of course this is less of a violation than sexual abuse, despite similar terminology) is worthy of upset.Report

      • Avatar Michelle Togut in reply to Michael Drew says:

        It wasn’t really in reply to you–more my thinking about what would have happened in our situation and probably most. To me, there are some major privacy issues involved with entering the ex’s house without permission, even if your kid invites you in.Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I think it is pretty clear the guy was in the wrong. If there was a real emergency going on, I’d give him a pass… if the kid cut himself on a broken jar of jelly and couldn’t find mom and called dad, go for it and I’ll back you. But this wasn’t that.

    And what I really, really, REALLY hope doesn’t happen is he tries to spin this as an emergency justifying intervention… “She left him home alone!” Fourteen-year-olds home alone are not emergencies. But if he manipulates this into that through his political connections… ugh…Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kazzy says:

      It’s 100% clear he was in the wrong. No one’s saying otherwise.Report

      • Yeah, I wasn’t particularly clear above. He’s wrong. I just feel for the kid.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

          That’s fair. Divorces are tricky. I’m the product of one myself. But I struggle to sympathize with the guy. If it was really important for him to watch the game with his son, he had ample time to make plans to do so.

          Also, the report was a bit unclear… was the kid even home? Him going in and out with a “flashlight” and exiting through the back door makes me think that whole thing might be a lie.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:


          As I thought more about it, I realized that if you do feel for the kid (and I don’t doubt that you do), that should likely encourage you to be even MORE critical of this clown.

          Let me explain…

          Kids of divorce are put in very difficult positions, because they often don’t know or understand the rules/laws governing the divorce. So they are ripe for being manipulated into breaking them or breaking them of their own volition. But what happens when these rules/laws are broken often enough is that you get more rules and more laws that are more stringently enforced and are ultimately more restrictive.

          A likely outcome of this would be less contact for the kid with his father or otherwise more hoops to jump through to have it. So whatever the dad’s motivation was, he did a disservice to his son.Report

          • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

            No, I don’t need to be more critical of this clown, even if his actions warrant more criticism. I’ll go back to my original, narrow comment: “…this isn’t the type of thing I think needs to get batted around in the media for sport.”

            The degree to which he was wrong or potentially harming his kid doesn’t dissuade me from not wanting this to become fodder for the likes of Jon Stewart.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’m personally a little sympathetic, and would prefer this be left a domestic matter, but this kind of thing can’t be allowed and the legal system should take whatever course it usually does in a case like this.Report

  4. Avatar Michelle Togut says:

    The other thing that annoys me about this incident is that Sanford is running for office and should know by now that any kind of misstep he makes is going to be publicized, given his past. He should be smart enough to realize that violating his divorce decree is the kind of thing that’s going to get him in hot water. If I recall, he got himself in trouble for misuse of state funds by using state money for improper purposes when he was governor. Stuff like this makes it look like he sees himself as not being constrained by the same laws as the rest of us.Report

  5. Avatar Rod says:

    Sanford’s antics have this weird sort of entitlement-based dumbassery about them. It reminds me of Mr Bean or I Love Lucy.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Rod says:

      I sort of think of it as “This is a guy who thinks with his emotions and doesn’t appreciate the consequences of his actions.”Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        Which seems like a *great* reason not to vote for him…

        He might prefer we chalk it up to Rod’s suggestion.Report

      • Avatar Rod Engelsman in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah, sorta the same thing. There’s a part of our brain, the executive center, that inhibits inappropriate behavior. So like there’s a part of you that says, “Hey! It would be cool to do X.” and this other part says, “Hold on a minute. That would be a really bad idea.” It’s the part of our brain that tries to keep us out of trouble and it’s one of the last to fully develop, which explains a lot of adolescent behavior. His doesn’t seem to work right, like he never totally grew up.

        A lot of comedy is built on the foundation of a malfunctioning executive center. Like the aforementioned Mr. Bean and Lucy. Also Michael on The Office is another good example. Half the characters on Arrested Development.Report

      • Avatar Michelle Togut in reply to Will Truman says:

        I sort of think of it as “This is a guy who thinks with his emotions and doesn’t appreciate the consequences of his actions.”

        I, on the other hand, suspect that he thinks with another part of his anatomy, not his brain.Report

  6. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    Good think she doesn’t live in Florida and own a gun, or the kid might have gunned down his father on the back porch accidentally.Report

  7. Avatar Morat20 says:

    It appears that Sanford has trespassed multiple times, had it explained to him multiple times that he can’t do this, and this went public because she finally gave up trying to get him to stop quietly.

    You know, without involving the police.

    Now, I’m gonna say — if that’s true, then I’m doubling down on “not cutting any slack”. His statement about Super Bowl Sunday was an excuse to other people, designed solely to garner sympathy, not an actual reason.

    You don’t violate the terms of your agreement over and over on accident or due to an excess of fatherly love. Or, as he apparently did, lurk around her house at night using your cell-phone as a flashlight.

    Focusing on Super Bowl Sunday is pure and absolute spin. Apparently this guy just keeps coming over to his ex-wife’s house like he lives there. Sometimes in the middle of the night. Just drops by whenever he wants.

    That’s not…comforting..behavior in an ex. That’s pretty much the stalker prelude to assaults and mental breakdowns.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Morat20 says:

      Agreed 100%. If these are the facts, the situation is completely different, and in my view would be most rightly regarded as potentially an ongoing danger to her and her children.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I did get part of it wrong. The flashlight was a real flashlight, from awhile back. She caught him leaving her house as she was coming in.

        The cellphone flashlight was him just hanging around, after watching the Superbowl at her place with her kid.

        Because there’s nothing creepy about hanging around so you can personally inform your ex that you were in her house with the kid, illegally.

        Nothing creepy AT ALL.Report

    • Avatar Michelle Togut in reply to Morat20 says:

      Wow, that’s even worse than I thought it was.Report

  8. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    All I see here is a broken man. Have you ever had grief dreams, where you encounter the object of your loss? Ever woken up from those dreams?

    Yeah. Okay. Mark Sanford got a few minutes with his son. He did a stupid thing, this not the first. He’s fallen a long way and may have farther to fall.

    You do me wrong to take me out o’ the grave:
    Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
    Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
    Do scald like moulten lead.

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Man needs a talking to, to get his head back on straight.
      Then he needs to apologize, and not pull this crap ever again.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I see a guy who can’t stay out of his ex-wife’s house, doesn’t feel the law applies to him, and who is now using his son to garner sympathy in a weird bid to keep his hand in his ex’s life.

      It’s not like this is an isolated incident.

      Incidents of trespassing go back to 2011. Early 2011.

      He had about a thousand more chances than most people would give their ex to stop breaking the law.

      Strangely enough, millions of ex-husbands and ex-wives managed to get through the day without trespassing in their ex’s homes. They manage to spend time with their children without breaking into their ex’s home. Heck, they manage to arrange custody times and everything.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Morat20 says:

        This guy’s in serious trouble. Something is busted in this guy. He has this torrid affair, tells preposterous lies, destroys his marriage, destroys his career — that he trespasses to see his son, this is par for the course with this guy. Mark Sanford can’t operate enough of his forebrain to get out of the rain — just how much King Lear do I have to quote here? Mark Sanford is a broken man. I think it’s reached the point where he needs psychiatric intervention.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Mark Sanford can’t operate enough of his forebrain to get out of the rain

          Yeah, that seems to be the case.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Oh, I agree. He’s certainly missing…something.

          Which is one reason not to cut the man any slack. In my — admittedly very limited — experience, guys who have real issues with understanding appropriate behavior actually need people to give them firm lines in the sand.

          Giving him the benefit of the doubt — assuming he’s not a control-freak stalker basically harassing his ex — not calling the cops on him the first time was a mistake. If she had, he’d probably have internalized the “No entering the house unless she’s at the door and says ‘Come in'”. Instead he got “It’s okay, she just complained but it’s not like I’m in trouble.”Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Morat20 says:

            not calling the cops on him the first time was a mistake

            I agree, or not at least in some other way making a very big deal of it so that he’d get the message.

            The slack that has been talked about here has, explicitly always been in about how *some observers might choose for themselves* to regard his acts. It hasn’t been any kind of opinion that he should be dealt with any less firmly than would be best for the kinds of reasons you’re giving, nor about how the former Mrs. Sanford should regard him. And your position has not just been that, for your part, you do not share in whatever very limited inclination some people have to cut that kind of slack, it’s been that everyone else should not. Which is fine; that’s a legitimate position. I just want to make clear that no one’s been advocating for the kind of slack that would result in lax official treatment that would fail to send him the messages he should have received. And you point that Mrs. Sanford likely made a great mistake in trying to be “reasonable” and cut him some slack is right on the money AFAIAC.

            Also, for my part, I’ve not said I do or don’t cut him slack. All I’ve said is that I related to the reason he gave for the incident in question – when I thought it was a one-off. (I would probably have some sympathy for him if it were just a one-off, at least an understanding of what they all were going thru that would lead him to think it would be justifiable to do what he did. I don’t know where that falls on the slack-meter, but in any case I would never have thought he should get lax official treatment, for just the reason you talk about – because he wouldn’t be sent the right message if he had been, or in the event, he in fact wasn’t sent that message because he was treated too laxly (laxly? — it actually seems to pass spellcheck muster).Report

    • Avatar ktward in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Broken man. Yes. Divorce has the potential to break a lot things: parents, kids, families, relationships. While I’m compelled to cut Sanford plenty of slack when it comes to his family life, I do find it difficult to cut him any slack with the living, breathing hypocrisy that his political aims represent.

      In truth, I haven’t been following what SC-1 thinks about this special election. I mean. does this election ultimately effect any legislation the House churns out for the foreseeable gerrymandered future? Not a whit.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to ktward says:

        Oh I’m not cutting him any slack. He’s reached a horrifying place. This is long past any point where sympathy or commiseration is of any value or effect. This is right where law enforcement meets forensic psychiatry. He needs to check himself in, or someone’s gonna have to do it for him.Report

  9. Avatar ktward says:

    Me, I’m going on […sorta counting] 15+ years post divorce. Crikey, almost 20 yrs. My kids are now on their own, have undergrad and post-grad degrees (more education to come, I suspect, but irrelevant to the convo).

    There was a lot of drama during and after my divorce.
    My kids were so young. Lots of drama I tried so very hard to circumvent or mitigate (omg, I felt a lot of guilt), but for whatever reasons I wasn’t all that good at circumventing and mitigating said drama so it all happened anyway. It’s impossible to know what crazy shit might have happened without my efforts, I only know that a lot of crazy shit happened despite my efforts.

    Anyhoo. At the end of the day, I am so grateful for the close relationship I share with both of my kids. They’re now adults, long come to grips with reality: that their dad and I turned out to be as incompatible as married folks could possibly be, that both their parents are hugely flawed souls, and that both their parents loved them as best they were able.

    I wanted a lot of things for my kids, as parents do.
    But bottom line, what I wanted for them to know above all else, innately even, is that they were loved by both mom and dad, and to never ever see themselves as “victims” of divorce.

    My 22yo daughter and I recently had a talk. She asked me how I would feel about being in the same room, sharing the same space, with her dad. (Did I mention there was a lot of drama?) It was easy for me to tell her the truth: it’s all water under the bridge, and I find it even hard now to recollect the pains that I know existed way back when. Kinda like childbirth.

    Having said all that, post-divorce I felt some bittersweet vindication at various points because my kids were forced to experience some of the same messed-up stuff with their dad that I had. My kids hold no illusions about their dad or why I divorced him. (They also hold no illusions about me, but … different set of illusions.)

    But in the end, despite the human flaws that plague their divorced parents, my kids ended up being remarkably balanced, centered, and highly self-aware adults. I like to think I had some kind of hand in that, and actually I’m pretty sure I did, but I’m equally as sure that my ex played a hand in it, and good fortune played just as much a hand in it as anything.

    Yikes, I’m sure I had a relevant point to make, I just can’t remember what it was.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to ktward says:

      In the last couple of years I had the experience of for the first time since the separation (meaning, like, 25-30 years) being in what was supposed to be a relaxed moment where my mom, dad, and my sister were together in a situation where there wasn’t some institutional reason for us to be (a brief moment after a graduation where everyone happened to occupy the same space, etc.). It was just us, (maybe my stepdad was hanging out down the bar), hanging out for a few minutes. The three of them (sis, mom, dad) all seemed really relaxed about it – my mom and dad talked more or less like it was old times (I guess – i.e., pre-me, and as if there hadn’t been literally decades where they could barely speak to each other about logistical matters or whatever), and my sister seemed relaxed, though I know she was fully aware of the significance of the moment. I, meanwhile, was frozen like the proverbial deer in the headlights. Twilight Zone time. It was really intense (internally)… and then it was over. That was kind of the moment when, in my thirties, I stopped being “a child of [this] divorce” and started just being “a person who grew up in a divorced family.” It all happened… and now I’m the person that I am, and their relationship is what it is (which still doesn’t remain constant). It had become the background and history of four fully-formed people (however incomplete or limited) rather than some ongoing, current reality that formed their lives (for all I know that transformation happened years ago for others of us four). Now that history was in the approximate place it needed to be for it to be history for me.

      I, too, thought I had some relevant thing to say relating to your reflection, but… maybe not. Everyone will be all right, as long you and he just keep caring for them come what may, is I guess as relevant as I can make it… I know they both desperately tried to do everything for us the best they could, and it’s very likely your kids will know that about you, too.Report

      • Avatar ktward in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Michael, I don’t know how to express this adequately, so I fail. Period. Your experience breaks my heart. I don’t pray to any god, but if I did, I’d pray that neither of my kids ever feel what you felt, in the moments that you described.

        Fwiw, I take heart that my daughter felt comfortable enough to broach this subject with me so bluntly. And trust me, she was blunt about it. Let’s call it forthrightness. Sounds better.

        But the truth is. I really do not hold any ill will towards their dad, but perhaps more importantly, I never did. My kids understand now, as adults, why I did some of the things I did. Or didn’t do some of things I didn’t do. They get it. The stuff I mishandled, yeah, they recognize it. But they focus more on the reasons behind it, and the stuff that they thought as kids that I seriously screwed up on, they came to understand wasn’t a screw-up on my part at all.

        Like I said, vindication. A beautiful thing.

        But in terms of importance, and way beyond my own petty feelings of vindication, are what my kids think of me, and their dad, as human beings. It was never a competition. I’ve never wanted anything more than my kids to feel equally as loved, equally as supported, equally as championed, by their dad as by me. There were bumps in our road, no question, but their dad stepped up when he needed to. No matter what issues or challenges I ever had with him, I simply find it hard, nigh impossible, to dwell on the crappy shit. I mean, how could I? My kids are awesome, and their dad, who never missed a single visitation day, surely has as much to do with that as I like to think I do.

        Back on topic …

        So yeah. I find it hard to hang Daddy Sanford on the cross he’s apparently built for himself. I mean, I can indeed understand, and forgive, why any non-custodial dad would do such a stupid thing.

        If we’re gonna talk politics, we can more easily point to Sanford’s shortcomings. From a political standpoint, I can’t think of an easier way for a discredited pol to stage a comeback than the way Sanford’s doing it: can’t get your whole state behind you? No need. Just get a single district to vote you in and you’re back in the game.

        I’m not remotely offended by Sanford’s perhaps ill-advised attempt to spend time with his kids, but I’m totally offended by a corrupt election system that affords him an easy and otherwise unaccountable foothold in Congress. Yuck.Report

        • Avatar ktward in reply to ktward says:

          Oops. Screwed up the i tag. Sorry.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to ktward says:

          I tend to overdramatize when I write about it because I do so very infrequently, so don’t take this too much to heart. My parents are both very loving; I never doubted their love and it sounds to me like your kids never could either. It was a sucky situation at times, but I think one where the things that happened were things that had to happen. I came through it as well as possible, I think, just like your kids -and that’s because my parents did everything they could to make an imperfect situation as good as it could be. There’s a reckoning, but I think it comes later, because you’re not really able to process it as it’s happening. It’s not a bad thing – everyone has to come to terms with their childhood once it’s really behind them (i.e. way after one’s early twenties). I guess what I’m saying is that your kids are extremely likely not to have some kind of great damage or horrible loss from their experience, but there will be a period of time when they’ll be dealing with it as adults, and they’ll need you then, too (as well as their friends and spouses – and especially siblings. Only a sibling really knows.)Report

          • Avatar ktward in reply to Michael Drew says:

            I hear you. Especially the sibling part. Boy do I have stories. My own, and my kids.

            Make no mistake, on a 1-10 scale of Inflicted Childhood Damage, my kids rank somewhere well under 5. Probably a 2 or a 3. Like I said, despite all the divorce drama it was my aim that my kids should never see themselves as victims. Because they damn well aren’t. We’ve had many age-appropriate discussions on this.

            When life happens, shit happens. As a parent, I feel enormously blessed that a whole lot of shit that might very well have happened to my kids, didn’t happen to my kids. Will likely never happen to my kids. I’ve never been shy about reminding them how fortunate they are — nevermind the divorce drama — that they’ve lived what can only be described as truly blessed childhoods. Imo, perspective is surely as important a value to imbue in one’s kids as anything else.

            But you’re right. At some point, many points, whatever emotional detritus my kids feel left to deal with in their adult years will be something we’ll need to talk about.

            I think that’s already happening, now that I think about it.
            Recently, my daughter, Alli, had a late-night convo with one of her long-time friends and current college roommates, Karly. I don’t actually know the details of the conversation (it’s hard to yank that stuff out, especially when I’m largely comatose) but my daughter called me up in the middle of the gd night to tell me how much she loved me and how heartbroken she felt over the state of the relationship Karly had with her own parents. Not divorced, btw.

            I dunno. I think it’s every parent’s aim to be a role model for their children, and whenever we fall down on that job on whatever level, we feel diminished and crappy.

            On occasion, I’ve joked that if I had ever actually known what I was in for as a parent — all the worry, all the guilt, omg, the sleep deprivation! — I would never have had kids. I’ve since decided that worry and guilt probably follow a parent to their grave. I thought I was long done with the sleep deprivation thing, but as I mentioned above, I’m getting calls in the middle of the night, so … evidently not. Damn kids. The most precious and beloved pain in the ass ever to exist. In so many ways, I’m so very blessed. I totally don’t deserve any of it, so whenever karma decides to catch up with me, I am seriously f**ked.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to ktward says:

              I wish you and your whole family the best, K.

              I’m increasingly coming to feel that no kids might be the best choice for me. We’ll see, but that’s where my head’s at at the moment. I’m also increasingly thinking over time that there’s nothing quite as central to a happy life as good sleep. And I think those things are related.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to ktward says:

              Your kids are in college, and they sound like fine people. You can stop feeling guilty now! 😉

              Seriously, every parent fucks up in their own unique ways.
              (It’s probably good that kids don’t get perfect parents).
              If your kids can still love you after all that, then you did good.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kimmi says:

                It’s rare I agree with (or even pay attention to) Kimmi, but I must concur here.

                I harbor some ill will towards both my parents for a number of reasons; their divorce is not one of them.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Michael Drew says:

        And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back.
        You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
        That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.
        When the train starts, and the passengers are settled
        To fruit, periodicals and business letters
        (And those who saw them off have left the platform)
        Their faces relax from grief into relief,
        To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours.
        Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
        Into different lives, or into any future;
        You are not the same people who left that station
        Or who will arrive at any terminus,
        While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
        Watching the furrow that widens behind you,
        You shall not think “the past is finished”
        Or “the future is before us”.Report

  10. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I’m seriously embarrassed at this point that I ever thought this man might have made a good President. Holy crap, what if that had actually happened?

    …Other than the free trade agreement with Argentina, which maybe goes without saying.Report

  11. Michelle,

    When I read this post, I was all set to take the mildly apologist tone for Sanford, in part because I didn’t fully realize the further implications of defending his actions and in part because I hate Jon Stewart’s show and schtick with a passion.

    But your further comments, along with those of some of the other commenters, have demonstrated to me how serious Sandford’s violation was (even absent the other details of what he has, apparently, done).Report