I said I still didn't want to get divorced. She began to cry. She said I caught her off guard. She said life is really hard for her right now and that the last week had been very hard.
WAS's have a lot going on in their heads. They may seem all calm, cool and collected on the outside but inside there's a storm raging. They are torn, confused, anxious. Sometimes it comes to the surface like you saw here, but almost as soon as it does they will bury it again and resume their facade.
Her dad continues to degrade because of his dementia, her mother has an unknown health ailment which she believes is cancer - she says the doctors don't know what it is - and her mom said that whatever it is she is not going to get treatment, she would just assume die. She said that my son is disrespecting her and she doesn't know what to do about it. She said her family is a mess, her marriage is ending, and she's overwhelmed. She also mentioned the deteriorating relationship with her sister. And so she just cried on the phone.
I tried to use the skills I've been working on. I tried to listen without providing any solutions and empathize.
Good. She was just venting, not asking to be "fixed". And if you were a fixer before, then this time you showed her something different. A single example (or even a dozen examples) won't impact her, but if you keep it up then eventually she'll start to believe you really have changed.
I feel bad, but knowing that she is doing a lot worse than I am, actually in a weird way made me feel better.
Do you know the roller coaster analogy? She's riding a roller coaster with a lot of highs and lows. If you tie yourself to her feelings then you ride it as well. When she's at the peak then you think things are improving and you get your hopes up. Then down her coaster goes crashing back to the reality that she's done and there's no hope and you with it. Your job is to stay off the coaster. You're on solid ground off to the side watching her go up and down and all around. A lot of her feelings, whether good or bad, are temporary. She might dangle the carrot of reconciliation one day and then reel it right back in the next. You want to avoid pinning your own feelings on her swings.
Also, hearing in her voice that their might be a place to reconcile really made me think about whether or not that would make sense for me and I'm not sure.
If she really does get to the point of wanting to reconcile, you won't have to read the tea leaves to figure it out. She'll tell you in no uncertain terms. I've seen it happen quite a few times over the years. A WAS that was done, done, done, telling the LBS to walk away because there is no hope, ever; suddenly doing a complete reversal practically overnight and telling the LBS they were wrong and they want to work on things. Anything short of that is just background noise and you should ignore it. If you want to hold out some hope then by all means do so, but in the meantime focus on you and the kids and don't sweat whether you would take her back or not, just keep pushing yourself forward.
When I have my kids I'm pretty happy. We have a lot of fun and we're building great memories. Its really low key and low stress. I hired an interior decorator and I'm redoing my house, which is kind of stressful and sad, but also a bit empowering and the kids seem to be kind of excited about it.
Fantastic, that's a great thing to do to make the place yours and help erase some of the memory triggers.
I was dating some but I'm pulling out of that scene. It just feels like more than I'd like to deal with.
Great. I started dating prematurely (about 9 months after BD) and looking back I'm convinced it slowed down my recovery rather than boosting it.
PS AS, I read your post a couple times over some dark days. It was good.
Glad it helped. A lot of 2x4's get doled out on these forums, sometimes it's easy to forget that most of the people here are hurting and trying to work their way through this very difficult time, and need hope as much as or more than correction. And there is every reason to hope, people who have mastered DBing went on to better things whether they reconciled or not. No matter how much you are hurting now I completely and fully believe a year or two from now you will be a BETTER, HAPPIER person! It WILL happen, I can't guarantee you will reconcile but I can guarantee you will be in a much better place!