Can a guy get a break?

Tell me, people, how long does a guy have to pay before he’s given a break? According to my ex-wife, a guy can never pay enough for a break, but she’s exactly the last person I’d ask for that exact reason.

I can admit that six years ago when we got divorced, I was definitely the bad guy in the relationship. I wasn’t abusive or anything, but I was a pretty bad guy. I ran around, I didn’t come home some nights, I gave stupid excuses, I spent our money. I drank too much. I drove when I was drunk. I gambled. I lost. I did a lot of bad stuff.

I wasn’t surprised when my wife was given sole custody of the kids, and I wasn’t surprised when the child support demanded was an astronomical amount.

I was fine with it, really, because I knew by then how badly I’d screwed up and how much I needed to clean myself up.

I did clean up, though. I haven’t had a drink in three years. I cut out the bad habits—or most of them. I still allow myself a few bucks on NFL on Sundays, but it’s under control.

I improved so much, my wife and I renegotiated custody, and I now get the little guys on the weekends most weekends. I’m a new man is what I’m telling you. It seems like a new man deserves a break.

Despite my ex- being more than willing, encouraging even, to let me have the kids on weekends, she doesn’t want to hear about the child support. I pointed out to her, I think fairly, that if I have the kids on weekends, I shouldn’t have to pay the same amount now as I did when I didn’t have them at all. I should, by my simple calculations, only have to pay 5/7s. But I’d be willing just to get a little taken off the top, any token gesture to show the amount can go down at some point over time.

The thing is, part of cleaning myself up was getting out of a job that paid well, but that encouraged my bad habits. I have a job I really like now, but I make quite a bit less. So those payments are a larger cut of my salary than they used to be.

I’m talking to a lawyer about all this, but I really don’t want it to get legal. I’d hate to spoil the positive steps I’ve made with the kids and with my ex. We have full conversations now and even crack jokes. I’d hate to spoil it, but I do need the money, you know? I need to be able to live too.

Hopefully, the ex- will come around and give me a break sooner or later. Maybe if I hint it could get ugly, she’ll see it’s better to be generous than to cause more problems for our family, especially the kids.

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