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Loc: Boulder, Colorado USA
1)No matter what, don't spend too much time alone! Especially in the beginning, because without distractions, your mind will fixate on the pain. Keep yourself busy! Get involved with something that you always wanted to try, but never got around to it when you two were together, try to make it something that she would find surprising (I volunteer/tutor at the School). 2) The more they dislike us, the easier we are to forget about. So be prepared for a woman that has programmed her memory to ERASE ALL GOOD MEMORIES! My wife told me how she would get really uncomfortable around me sometimes because she would actually catch herself staring at me, or laughing at my jokes, or enjoying my cologne. They don’t want us to be the good guy in their eyes. Very annoying!!!
3) Try your best to refrain from initiating any conversation that puts her out when you bring it up. Suggest that the two of you meet every Sunday night for at least an hour, so you guys can discuss legal matters, financial arrangements, visitation schedules, and any other serious issue that needs attention. NOTHING EMOTIONAL, or MARITAL, at least not for a while (this means no more venting your feelings). All questions and issues that deal with your failing marriage or your broken heart must be put on hold until she wants to talk about them, which can take a long time (it took my wife 4 months, and that is fast compared to others on this board). I know how hard this one was for me. I felt like she was constantly blowing me off, so I started forcing the issues every single time we talked. Big mistake, b/c she stopped returning my calls, until we agreed to meet weekly. Eventually, she was actually happy to hear from you. Of course, issues concerning children should not wait until your meeting, they are priority over EVERYTHING!
I don’t know about you, but I only got to briefly see my wife 2 or 3 times a week as we exchanged visitation, which usually involved a hi, or hello. I wanted her to hang out for a bit or just act like she could stand me. So, I started being more polite and relaxed every time I saw her. After a couple of weeks of this, these one syllable conversations started getting longer and more enjoyable, because she was no longer worried that I would ruin the day by complaining about some legal crap. THIS IS NOT EASY, but this was where I first noticed that my wife started warming up to me.
4)Her guilt is a time bomb, be careful. I think most women, especially my wife, can NOT handle the guilt of breaking up their family, so they avoid anything that may remind them. Sometimes they’ll start crying if you tell her how much you love her, or how miserable you’ve been since she left. But BE CAREFUL, these tears most often come from guilt, not true love. A good example: my wife and I were talking about all the bills that I needed to remove her name from (gas, credit card, etc.). Talking about the mortgage loan, she calmly stated that she wanted her name removed from that too, but that meant I’d have to re-finance, which we both knew I couldn’t qualify alone. So, that left only option…..sell the house. She began crying, and I thought it was because she knew she would never be able to come home. WRONG! She felt guilty b/c I bought the damn house for her, and now I was screwed. Her crying spells during our divorce talks, created false hope that she might not divorce me.
5)NEVER LOSE YOUR COOL!! Always smile and be polite. I had to always remind myself that my estranged wife and I were “casual neighbors” (it works).NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let her drag you into a ‘fight’, if you have to excuse yourself from the conversation, stating that you’ll return when you can talk, not yell. Remain stern and honest, but show her how cooperative you can be. Throw her off once or twice by giving in to her, without a struggle.
6)Don’t ever expect an apology or an admission of guilt for leaving you. I know how hard this was for me, but I quickly realized that waiting for her to say “sorry” only made it harder for me to think of anything else. The more you want her to apologize, the more disappointed you’ll be every day that she didn’t. She might surprise you. An example: One random evening, we were at the park with our daughter laughing away, when all of a sudden she broke down in tears. I gently asked “What’s wrong?”……(more tears)……”Do you want to talk about it, or do you need to be alone?”. She said that she had been wanting to talk, but what she wanted to say was obviously hard for her. After telling her that I wanted to listen, she hugged me and talked for hours. She was crying because she didn’t think I would forgive her. My wife says that she wanted to apologize to me, long before she actually did, but she didn’t think I would be able to accept it.
7)SEEK COUNSELING FOR FAMILIES GOING THROUGH DIVORCE! As loving parents you both will learn a lot about what your both doing right now to your kids if your being careless in your conflicts, it will also help you two strengthen your general concern for getting along. Without a doubt, this allowed my wife to remember how committed I am to being a wonderful father and husband. It being my idea, she saw that no matter how much pain I had to endure, I was not going to let this divorce hurt us any more.
When you choose a new therapist make sure they are both Licensed Family Therapist AND Licensed Marriage Therapist. Make sure she is involved in the selection process, so she won’t suspect hidden agendas. When we went to our first parent counseling session, he asked what each of us wanted to achieve through therapy. We answered the same on all goals (anger management, communication, etc) but I added that if I was allowed to, in later sessions I would like to discuss what went so wrong with our marriage, and if it could ever be fixed. It was never brought up again. Two months later, as we sat down to start, she just blurted out that she was ready to talk about us and our marriage. The counselor and I both sh#t our pants!
8)If she ever hints that there is a small chance that you could work things out, treat the situation with extreme care. Show genuine gratitude for their bravery in telling you this, comfort them by letting them know that your scared too. DON’T TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN, but certainly pay soft attention to it. Never say or do anything that makes them embarrassed or ashamed for wanting to change their mind.
9)DO NOT EVER ARGUE ABOUT HOW SHE FEELS, because it will only make her feelings stronger. I know, they change every 5 minutes later, and are as unpredictable as the weather, but you have to let them know that you respect their feelings, even if you have a problem with them. A great example of how I changed is this: my wife used to complain that I was never affectionate towards, which made her feel unattractive. I used to say “well that’s silly to feel that way. I tell you all the time how beautiful I think you are. You just need to pay more attention and give me some credit”. WRONG! Now I say: “Tell me what I need to do more of, because I think you’re extremely attractive.”
10)No gifts, I love you’s, special occasions, or anything other than a very helpful father and kind friend.
11)Read every book you can get your hands on, on improving communication between a male and a female. The more I read about the differences in a man and a woman the more amazed I become at how easy it is for me to approach my wife, without ruffling a single feather. As a matter of fact, I have gotten so good at being cooperative and fair in all disagreements, that I think she has started to ask how I changed so fast. (I also found two of my books in her bag). Remember that communication is only half talking, the other half is listening.
Books: Divorce Busting Love Must Be Tough Between Love & Hate Light Her Fire His Needs Her Needs
««1. For walkaways you must understand theactions and behaviors that created the climate for the flight.
2.You have not only to change those behaviors but actually live them.
3. you can only control your actions
4. You cannot control the situation you are in but you can control how you react in it.
5 Anything you do or say through the process is remembered . NEVER SPEAK IN ANGER!!!
6. Become the man or woman your spouse would never think of leaving. The man or woman that all their freinds and support group would in times of crisis drive him/her back to you.
7. Listen and observe to every last detail from your H or W.
8. IF you are ever unsure how to act DONT.
9. When things dont seem to be going well redefine your short term goals.
10. Live in positive times, keep positive filters on.
11. Accept that it takes time.
12. Accept that no matter what the outcome YOU are a good person and you have done your best. at the end of the day we must live with ourselves.
-Be patient, time is an asset even when it seems to be killing you.
-Listen carefully to what your spouse is REALLY saying to you.
-Learn quickly that anger is your enemy.
-Learn quickly to BACKOFF, shut up walk away when you want to speak out.
-Take care of yourself, Exercise, sleep laugh, and focus on all the other chances in your life that are not in turmoil.
-Be cool,strong confident and speak softly
-Know that if you can do a 180, your smallest actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.
-Do not be openly desperate or needy when you are hurting more than ever, and youare desperate and needy.
-Do not focus on your self when communicating with your spouse.
-Do not believe any of what you hear and only half of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.
-Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.
-Do not backslide from your hard earned changes.
Dont initiate any our realtionship (OR) talk, stop being so available, give them lots of time and space, stop expressing your interest so dramatically,establish independence again with style not in an angry or dramatic way, dont try to get in their head,if confronted with rejection dont take it personally, take the body blows smiling,
Workout,diet, get new clothes, haircut, and be happy when they see you.....»»
For each and every action you do ask yourself the following two questions:
What is my goal here? Is what I am about to do going to bring me closer or move me farther away from my goal? You should internalize these two little questions and keep these effective gems with you always -live them...