Even Divorced, a Childish Ex Can Make Your Life Difficult If You Have Kids Together

Elle Silver

Childish men are on the rise in our society. I married one, and even after divorcing him, he still makes my life hard.

I recently wrote about my difficult experience being married to a man-child. What's a "man-child"? A man-child describes an adult male with the emotional age of a teenager.

A man-child refuses to grow up. Maybe he’s unable to. He may never have been encouraged to.

My ex-husband certainly never was.

He comes from a wealthy family. His father paid for everything — all his schooling, his cars, his expensive trips around the world. His mom always took care of him. He never had to learn to do housework or use an appliance like the washer or the iron. Mom picked up after him.

Once he moved out of his parents’ estate, a maid took over, washing his dishes and clothes on top of cleaning his place. Once he got married, whose job did that become?

Mine, his wife.

You probably think this is my fault. Didn’t I know he was a man-child when we met? That’s the thing: I was young and stupid when I met and fell in love with my ex-husband. I couldn’t see straight, what with all the dopamine coursing through my veins.

He swept me off my feet. He was a spontaneous guy who did all sorts of fun things. But the spontaneity ended up revealing itself for what it actually is  —  just lack of responsibility.

As you can imagine, I ultimately grew tired of cooking and cleaning for my husband, managing the totality of his daily activities, especially since he did nothing but sit around the house, still receiving financial gifts from his parents.

He was working when we met but as an aspiring real estate investor, he was ruined during the financial crisis. He never looked for new work.

He didn’t have to. His folks are wealthy. The situation only worsened because now we had children.

It should surprise no one that we finally divorced. I was sick of not only being my children’s mom, but my husband’s mom, too.

Many people might think this meant I was finally free of my man-child EX-husband.

This is not the case.

I may have divorced my childish husband, but I’m still connected to him because of our kids. I might no longer have to cook, clean and manage him anymore. However, he is still quite capable of making my life hell.

My ex-husband doesn’t clean his apartment so our kids don’t want to go to his place.

As I mentioned, the man-child doesn’t know how to clean up after himself. It’s not like once ex moved into his own place after our divorce, he instantly learned how to keep house and wash his dishes.

He didn’t. But only now he had less money to spend on a maid because he wasn’t working. His apartment soon became a pigsty.

To this day, food typically cakes the dishes that stay piled his kitchen sink for weeks at a time. Dirty clothes clump all over his floor. The trash rarely gets taken out. The sheets rarely get washed. The bathroom is disgusting.

Our kids don’t want to go to his place to visit. They complain about the state of his apartment, the rank smell, the slovenliness. There aren’t clean glasses to drink from or a tidy place to sit — or sleep.

My ex has a one-bedroom apartment and there’s nowhere for our kids to sleep. Therefore, he stays at my place on his nights with the kids.

Since our kids have nowhere to sleep in my ex’s one-bedroom apartment and because his slovenly apartment is unsuitable for our children, he comes to see our kids at my place during the week. He makes himself comfortable, laying on my couch to read the news on his phone and watch videos, while I still take care of our children.

This is what he calls “joint custody.”

It gets worse. Because he can’t host the kids at his place on his nights with our children, he actually stays over at my apartment. I sleep at my boyfriend’s house while my ex sleeps at my place with our kids.

For many, this sounds crazy. However, this is the only solution I’ve found to efficiently share custody. But as you can imagine, this has made things very uncomfortable for me.

For a while, my ex-husband was even sleeping in my bed while I was away. Finally, I demanded he sleep on the couch.

But even still, he makes my place a mess — just like he does his own apartment. A man-child doesn’t know how to clean up after himself, so my ex converts my place into the same state.

I come home late on Sunday night after a great weekend with my boyfriend only to have to scrub someone else's mess in my house.

See, even divorced, my man-child ex still makes my life hell.

My ex doesn’t help out with the discipline of the children or with their schoolwork.

Because my ex-husband is so childish, I’m really the one in charge of the discipline of our kids. When my ex is with our children, the three of them lie around, gazing in dazed states at their respective screens.

They don’t go outside. They order takeout and eat hamburgers and pizza. My kids act just like their father when they’re with him.

I come home and there’s food thrown on the carpeting in their bedrooms along with takeout containers and dirty clothes. My ex-husband has no idea how to teach our children to have self-discipline because he’s not self-disciplined himself.

If I want the kids to learn self-discipline, I have to teach this to them myself. The same goes with their schoolwork. If I want the kids to get halfway decent marks, I have to do the work to make that happen.

The kids’ homework will not get done unless I’m there to direct them to do it. Our kids have learning disabilities. I’m in charge of arranging all the meetings with the teachers, the tutoring, the keeping track of the grades.

My ex-husband, because he’s so childish, is incapable of handling any of this. It's my job alone.

My ex doesn’t have much money.

Another big problem with being divorced from a childish man is that he doesn’t have much money. He’s not regularly employed and so getting money out of him is very difficult.

Sure, his parents give him money, but it’s just enough for him. It’s not that I’m a money-hungry person, but bringing up children is quite expensive.

My ex gives me very little in child support. Here, I do most of the work to bring up our kids and I have to pay for almost everything.

If being married to a man-child was hell, being divorce from him is still hell.

My advice to women.

My advice to women is to learn from my mistakes. Choose your husbands very carefully.

Look at their job history. Have they had jobs that have lasted for a while? If they haven't, don’t marry them.

This is especially true if they're unemployed.

Also look at the way their mother treats them. Does she clean up after them, et cetera? If she does, know you’ll take on her role if you marry that man. Once those initial honeymoon feelings wear off, you’ll be stuck with a guy who expects that you do everything for him because that's what he's used to.

You have to forgive yourself if you marry a man-child.

Okay, so maybe I am partly to blame. I knew my ex-husband had some challenges when I married him. So sue me that I thought I could change him.

Maybe I was also a lot less responsible before we had children. Once we did, I had to grow up. I assumed that my husband would, too.

When I finally accepted he never would, our marriage ended. I've just had to forgive myself for making a bad choice in a spouse — and especially in the father of my children.

I’ve had to forgive myself every day for marrying my childish ex. All I can do is look at the positives. I’ve got great kids and a great new partner. I just have to keep looking ahead.

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I write about dating, marriage, divorce, family, society, and the city I live in: Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA

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