Posted By: raliced Raliced- Joining the band - 01/21/16 09:11 PM
Hello All,

My final thread in Newcomers has been limping along for 6 months with me doggedly updating it every few weeks or so – but now that most of the members of my “DB Class” have migrated here – I suppose it is time to join them.
In a nutshell, my XH left me abruptly for an OW in July of 2014 and moved in directly with her. Shortly afterwards, it came out that he had more than one affair. We had moved here to be closer to my family (which had been a longstanding plan) a year and a half earlier. He had stayed behind for 4 months to get our house sold and after he rejoined us it was clear that he was not happy. I’m not sure if it was because of the move or if he missed his first lover (he claims it started after I had already left with our daughters). Sort of a chicken and egg thing, I guess.

Anyway – I know that I am more fortunate that a lot of folks here. I get my girls the majority of the time (although my heart aches during the brief periods they are with their father), I’m able to support myself and them, I have family around me, and the divorce itself was relatively amicable in a material sense. I did go out and develop some pretty good GAL activities and new friendships. And I would say a pretty good percentage of the time my spirits are relatively high.

That being said, I also lost my father very suddenly last summer, and between his death and the sudden dismantling of my family, I confess there are times that I feel adrift. I have a hard time articulating this, but despite being out in the world more, I do feel this distance growing between myself and other people. I know a lot of people who have experienced this have a hard time trusting new romantic partners, but it goes farther than that with me – I feel a need to be reserved in my feelings towards everyone except my children, family and few longtime friends. I’ve always been a pretty easy going person and I have always performed well in stressful situations (which has come in handy career-wise), but I definitely feel stress more now. And truthfully - lately I feel a lot of dismay that I will be tethered to XH for the res of my life.

Which brings me to an update on XH – His relationship with OW is over and he now has a 1bd apt much closer to us. After that happened he seemed to be a little more open and relatively cordial for a couple of months, but now he has withdrawn again in a major way. Since BD we’ve primarily communicated via email, text and the shared calendar that I maintain, and last week he informed me that he had changed phone plans, would no longer have data and now does not have access to email except the portion of the shift he is at the office (he’s a cop) four days a week. At child exchanges he makes no eye contact and cannot get away fast enough. Recently, after years of working unpredictable shifts that changed quarterly - his department changed and he will now have the same schedule for a year, including Saturdays off. I try not to have expectations, but even I was a little surprised now that he has the time off, that he hasn’t been able to make it to any of D7’s basketball games. When he got his new schedule he only asked to have them for a single Saturday a month. Actually he didn’t ask for “them” – just for D7 and I had to nudge him about D4 too. What is he spending his time doing? Apparently he has joined a political fringe party that wants to secede from the state. This Saturday is “his”, but he has to drop the girls off early instead of at D7’s basketball game because he has a “speaking engagement” (although he did say he would try to make it to 1 or 2 of her games). I have no idea if he’s dating someone else. D7 mentioned that a female friend with a son D4’s age spent the night once (in separate bedrooms) when the weather got bad. When I heard it, I felt absolutely nothing, except a fervent hope that if he is getting entangled with someone else that he keeps the girls out of it this time.

I feel absolutely no inclination to date. It’s not fear; there is just a complete absence of interest there. I enjoy being a mom immensely and right now I’m okay focusing on them and me, myself and I.
Anyway – I have more to post – mostly kid stuff – but I think that’s enough for one day.
Posted By: kml Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 01/21/16 09:56 PM
He sounds, frankly, like a mental health mess. He can't afford a data plan with his phone? Joining a fringe group and becoming a featured speaker for them? Spending almost no time with his kids?

Sounds like you need to minimize contact with him and just focus on making your life fabulous.

I can understand you not wanting to date; single parenting two kids is tough. Dating takes energy that you may not have right now. But if you feel yourself retiring in general from people, you may be suffering from depression or PTSD. Make sure to take care of yourself.

Life can be unpredictable; an older friend of mine was in a difficult divorce. His wife left him for another man. The last four years he has pined for her and been stuck in the drama of their protracted divorce negotiations. He was in a lot of pain and couldn't really move on.
This week he died in an accident. I can't help but think of all the wasted energy over the last four years, of all the joy he missed because he wouldn't let go.

Make sure you let go so you can LIVE.
Posted By: Sotto Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 01/22/16 12:27 AM
Hi Raliced - weird stuff about him....who knows?? He doesn't sound to be in a great place.

As for you, it sounds as though you are doing pretty well, but like many of us - more healing to come. Going through a marital breakdown and losing your Dad suddenly in the midst of that is a lot to process. (((Big hugs)))

Brene Brown popped into my mind as I was reading this. Have you looked at her two TED talks or read any of her books? Her thoughts on vulnerability might be of interest for you.

Take care, be well and enjoy what life has to offer xx
Posted By: Maybell Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 01/22/16 07:23 AM
Raliced, welcome to the hood. I'll post more later today but I'm processing a few things and I think I need to work through those before I have anything to offer.

I echo the sentment of gratitude that you don't have to be part of his mess. You have always struck me as tremendously level and strong but please be sure you're taking care of yourself.
Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 01/22/16 07:44 AM
Thanks All-

I do want to make sure I'm not painting too black of a picture of XH. Our settlement specifies that he has the kids 6-8 nights a month and he does always do that. However because of his schedule, that has always meant having them on school nights (and they still have extracurricular stuff) - so he has ended up only having them for about 8 waking hours a week. I will give him full props- it sounds like he gives them his full attention during that time. And that is why I was a little surprised, now that Saturday is available, that he doesn't exercise the option of seeing them at games, etc.

I think that is actually the cause of my current malaise. When things ended with OW and he moved back to our town - I didn't ever really think reconciliation was in the wind, but I did think a better parenting relationship was possible, and I guess I'm a little disappointed that doesn't appear to be the case (and it's not like I do any pushing).

One of the things he does is tell the kids he misses them in such a way as to engender pity for himself. D7 would say things like "poor daddy...all alone...sad because he misses us...etc." I finally had to have a conversation with her, in as age appropriate language as I could muster, that it was fine to feel sad that she doesn't get to see him as much as she would probably want, but his guilt/sadness is not her burden to bear. And I guess as I see him becoming more and more distant, I foresee a lot more of these kinds of problems.

Anyway- in good news - my job is going to begin to send me to Santa Cruz once a month (on a night when XH has kids), shich means I can spend one evening without kids enjoying the beach scenery. That will be nice.
Posted By: SunnyB Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 01/22/16 05:28 PM
Raliced, happy you are here. smile
Posted By: claire7 Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 01/22/16 06:35 PM
Raliced, you have handled yourself with such strength and grace. You've been a real inspiration to me. I agree-- it's hard to understand how they willingly give up so much time with their kids. My friend is dating someone who splits his kids 50/50 with his ex. I have a lot of respect for that kind of dad.

As for distancing yourself from others. .. I can understand how it can be hard to put yourself in a position of vulnerability again. There is great risk in that. I would second the recommendation for Brene brown. Something to work through, in time. All in good time. My shrink told me today it could take 4-5 years to fully heal from this. Hang in there.
Posted By: Georgiabelle Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 01/25/16 12:20 PM

I'm so happy to hear you are doing well. I love Santa Cruz...I was there back in early September and the weather was fantabulous.

Your h sounds like he is on his own trajectory. I'll leave it at that. And I totally relate to the no interest in dating. I figure everything is fluid and maybe one day my feelings change or they don't.

You do have a way of handling things with grace and dignity. Sending you an Almond Joy:)
Posted By: Mozza Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 02/01/16 11:39 AM
What a pleasure to find an update from you, raliced. Yes, it seems that our cohort belongs more here at the moment. Personally, I felt that my acceptance of the D is just not fitting for the newcomers section.

I'm intrigued and somewhat worried about this partial withdrawal from the world, this lack of connection. I can't really comment on it as it's not something I've experienced, nor read about.

I know a poem that says, translated "love is not for cowards". I think a lot about it these days, as I am dating. What I realized is that love is a game and that everyone is on the field, even those who try to avoid it. Relating to other people is a deep human need, and establishing intimate and exclusive relationships with certain people is part of that. Whether we chose to remain single, to sleep around, to have polygamous relationships or monogamous lifelong marriages, we are playing the game and all of the players' positions have challenges. Most people here had chosen the lifelong monogamous marriage and it brought us joy and then bottomless pain for a while. Some people choose to remain single and end up feeling the loneliness of it. Sleeping around and short term relationships have their own kinds of risks and challenges. What I mean is that by deciding not to date (very legitimate choice), you don't exit the game of relationships, you switch position. You chose a different set of risks and challenges.

My relationships are getting more serious and I might be looking at someone to whom I want to commit. I've decided that I cannot be guarded all my life IN CASE I might get hurt down the road. There's no way I can avoid pain entirely, and withholding will bring its own kind of hurt. I've no choice but to jump in, with as much innocence as I can muster, and enjoy every moment. The difference is that I'm now aware that it might not last forever. Whether than enhances or deprecates the experience remains to be seen.

I'm surprised you're interested in the parenting choices of your XH. I mean, it's normal that you'd be interested in the impact it has on your kids (kudos for making him take D4 with D7), but you seem more puzzled about the impact it has on him, like the little time he spends with them. Maybe you still want to think he's an idiot? You want to be reassured that he's making bad choices, so that would explain the D? In any case, it tells me that you may have a few more steps towards indifference towards him.

Anyway, I'm glad you're here!
Posted By: Georgiabelle Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 02/01/16 12:08 PM
Raliced-if this is a highjack, I am terribly sorry. However, I am apologizing in some really cool wedge knee high boots.


I love reading your posts. I am a thinker by nature and your post came across as I was having a spirited text exchange with a male friend. I think many of us hear the phrase, "You have to put yourself out there" (whatever that means....I always envision someone hanging over a balcony over a group of peeps:)And all of this is strictly my opinion......

I think people should date when they are ready..not force themselves to do something because society thinks we are "less than" because we were left or single. I'm not saying that is what you are implying, however, I always feel people think you have to be looking for love. I was in a 6.5 live in R with xb before I met xh. I loved being in a committed relationship. Loved it. Loved being married. Even when the house was crazy. However, I have exactly zero desire to be in a R right now. No one is more shocked at that than me. Of course, everything is fluid and what is today may not be next Thursday. I can very honestly tell you it isn't fear. I'm not afraid to be hurt. I have hurt others and that possibility still exists. It's just that right now, I feel it is important to live a little, hang out with friends, and focus on my kids. I have no idea what Raliced feels, however, I think that is a legit feeling. Maybe I am an anomaly:)

I guess my rambling point is that I don't think Raliced is trying to avoid love. I think she is finding her way in her new life. You are correct in that nothing lasts forever (except death and several have different religious views on that)and I agree that we should live life to the fullest. I guess I just don't think because someone isn't actively seeking love doesn't make them not living life to the fullest.

And I apologize ahead of time if this comes across as argumentative. As I stated, your posts are always very thoughtful. Just sharing another side of the thoughts.
Posted By: Mozza Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 02/01/16 01:16 PM
Thanks Georgiabelle. You're right that my post does not imply that people in general, or raliced in particular, should date. I seem to be getting a reputation here as a dating cheerleader mostly because I've made the choice to date, so it may tint the perception of what I say.

My point was that, whatever you choose, you're always playing the game. Even by choosing not to date, you will have emotions, positive and negative, that relate to relationships. You might be thinking about time that passes you by, of missed opportunities, of the enjoyment of running your own home, of the lack of drama in the single life, etc. I'm just saying it's not a way to 'sit out'. So I'm not saying that single people don't live life to the fullest, quite the opposite: they are, even for those who try not to!

This being said, have a look at "The Good Life", a TEDx talk by Robert Waldinger, on the importance of relationships. It shows perhaps better why I'm concerned about raliced's sense of distance with the people around her.
Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 02/07/16 09:59 AM
Hey Mozza and Georgiabelle,

Great to hear from you both. GB - you're always welcome - never a hijack! I apologize for not responding sooner. D4 brought home norovirus from school last week, and a few days later D7 got it and then finally me. Blech. Frankly - I've felt too wiped to string a sentence together. I'm so glad D4 is starting Kindergarten next year -as I recall that was when D7 stopped bringing home these toxic stomach viruses.

Anyway - Let's see here ...

Originally Posted By: Mozza

I'm intrigued and somewhat worried about this partial withdrawal from the world, this lack of connection. I can't really comment on it as it's not something I've experienced, nor read about.

Mozza- believe me when I say that my rational mind knows it's not good to withdraw from the world in general. I really think it's just sort of emotional fatigue. If it continues for an extended period, I will seek help - but it actually seems pretty normal to me after the year I've had.

Originally Posted By: Georgiabelle

I loved being in a committed relationship. Loved it. Loved being married. Even when the house was crazy. However, I have exactly zero desire to be in a R right now. No one is more shocked at that than me. Of course, everything is fluid and what is today may not be next Thursday. I can very honestly tell you it isn't fear. I'm not afraid to be hurt. I have hurt others and that possibility still exists. It's just that right now, I feel it is important to live a little, hang out with friends, and focus on my kids. I have no idea what Raliced feels, however, I think that is a legit feeling. Maybe I am an anomaly:)

No - You're not an anomaly. That's pretty close to how I feel. I too loved being married, but have zero interest in exploring relationships. Sure, I miss sex. And I still occasionally wonder how I could ever trust anyone again, but mostly it just doesn't feel like it would fit in my life right now. There was a time in my early twenties when life was about exploring the world, then later there was a focus on career, then I met XH and it was time to establish my own family, and now it just feels like time to begin focusing on career again, taking care of my mother, becoming a part of my community and continuing to build a life and home for my children. Maybe someday I will feel differently.

I mostly mention the lack of interest in dating in my updates - because for so many on these boards, it seems like a normal and natural step towards moving on, and I guess, like Georgiabelle, that makes me feel like an anomaly sometimes.

Originally Posted By: Mozza

I'm surprised you're interested in the parenting choices of your XH. I mean, it's normal that you'd be interested in the impact it has on your kids (kudos for making him take D4 with D7), but you seem more puzzled about the impact it has on him, like the little time he spends with them. Maybe you still want to think he's an idiot? You want to be reassured that he's making bad choices, so that would explain the D? In any case, it tells me that you may have a few more steps towards indifference towards him.

Mozza - I would never claim complete indifference. He's the father of my children and his choices affect them. I've always felt fairly fortunate because I've read so many stories on this site about people who long for their WAS. I can honestly say that when the extent of his cheating was revealed - something snapped in me and my attempts at DBing have always been more about trying to preserve my family rather than some sort of lingering attraction to XH. I comment on his parenting choices, because for better or worse, I like to know what I am up against. That's the planner in me. I know that's basically wanting to have expectations. I should say that IRL, most of the people I know, predict that he will gradually fade from the girls lives. I don't know why everyone seems so certain of that - but it's a pretty constant theme. That would be terrible for them, and I'm pretty alert to signs of it happening. I'll spare you the details, but he spends a lot of time trying to convince them what a great guy he is. He seems to want their good opinion so badly - and that seems like it will lead to a rocky road at some point.

Anyway - I always have to pepper my updates with home maintenance updates! The pop up drains in both bathrooms are broken. Sigh. Looks like a visit to Home Depot and a good time watching some "how to" videos while the Super Bowl is on.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 02/07/16 11:48 AM
For the record I have no interest in dating right now either, even though I miss a lot of what comes along with it. Hugs and physically affection and company, mostly.

More thoughts, maybe I'll update my thread later...
Posted By: zew Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 02/08/16 10:14 AM
Oh sure - taunt us with the home maintenance again. grin
Long haired D14 recently complained her sink wasn't draining well. I pulled a foot long sludge monster out of the drain to much eeeeewww-ing.
Posted By: Underdog Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 02/08/16 12:24 PM

I don't think you're an anomaly. Maybe collectively, as a group, we're all an anomaly? That would just make us folks who take a less traveled path, no?

I'm not here to judge anyone for what choices they make in regards to dating. It's a very personal choice, and I think, done the right way, can work out.

That being said, I chose the path you're on. I have trust issues galore anyway, and I decided to put myself in therapy last year for 5-6 months. It was helpful. I *thought* that my trust issues were getting in the way of my happiness. Well, they certainly were influencing how I chose to engage with people, but they weren't the cause of how I felt.

What's the saying... "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you don't have a reason to be"???? Well. For me, the trust issues were valid. And I discovered through this counseling that my expectations were probably not in line with those I choose to trust. This doesn't mean others are untrustworthy. It just meant that our expectations were different, and the communications needed to be shored up. Oh, and I had to give myself the blessing to see others the way I saw them and not as others wanted me to perceive them.

If that makes sense.

I allowed others around me to tell me that I was isolating myself from others, and that my trust issues were getting in the way of me dating. Although I really didn't think that was the problem, I let them get into my head a little, and it took time and effort to sort through those things. TED talks helped.

I CHOSE not to date when my kids were younger. Again, this is not a judgment against those who do. But I knew myself well enough to say that I would have regrets for not enjoying their childhood, adolescence and teen years as much if I was focused on myself. I knew that I would have regrets if I missed something special because I was involved with someone else.

It doesn't make it wrong. But being off the bike for as long as I was, my relationship skills with prospective dates got rusty. I just got used to not dating and not putting myself out there because I was living the life I chose to live. It was a choice and not an accident. I deliberately acted on what I felt was the right thing to do, and I have zero regrets about making that choice. My oldest turns 22 in 2 weeks, and I am so very glad I stayed involved with her (and her sister) every step of the way. My role with them is different now, but I'm really proud of the woman she's become and even my XH is happy to tell me that it's because of my efforts and sacrifices that it worked out this way.

I'm definitely not saying I had a say in the final outcome - because my D21 is a very determined person, and she takes responsibility for her own choices, but therein was the ground work I had to construct. It took a lot of effort on my part - the words were only scratches on the surface - because in order for her to trust me, I had to walk that talk. EVERY.STEP.OF.THE.WAY. She constantly observed me, and if I had made a misstep, she'd have called me out and all would have been lost.

I prefer to think that I had some sort of divine guidance in how this played out. Fortunately for me, when she and I went to loggerheads, her dad was there to be the person she could talk to... since I was clearly the bad cop in her life. Because I was a complete a*hole to my mom as a teen, I knew it would die out at some point. I just had to put in my time until our issues resolved themselves. And yes, I found out that I was not perfect, I make mistakes, I needed to grow as much as she did, and I had to own my mistakes verbally.

I couldn't have done that if I had been focused on dating or even a more serious relationship. I'm just wired that way. It's why I gave up applying to med school back when. I knew I couldn't do it all, and I also knew which path would make me happier. A career is important to me, but a family is more important to me. Again, a conscious decision.

BTW, if it makes you feel better, my D18 got the norovirus on a plane back east for Thanksgiving that landed her in the hospital. It started a violent chain reaction in my entire family. It was awful. Apparently, it's airborne and extremely contagious. I had a horrible time with it myself. Awful. Glad you're feeling better.

I'll spare you the details, but he spends a lot of time trying to convince them what a great guy he is. He seems to want their good opinion so badly - and that seems like it will lead to a rocky road at some point.

As someone who has lived through this experience, yes. Yes, it will. Those little brains are cataloging the disparate nature of the truth vs what he tells them is the truth. And you don't have to worry about pointing this out. Just keep your course and they will undoubtedly call him out on things. My D21 didn't call her dad out on lots of stuff, but the stuff that really bugged her? You bet she did. And there were times when I knew her truth hurt him badly. There really are natural consequences for this path they chose. I hope that doesn't mean total alienation. So do what you can to bridge that outcome?

Hope your drains went well yesterday....

Zew, I just moved into a townhouse that was previously inhabited by hoarding, filthy pigs. (That's the nicest thing I could say about them.) When I moved in, it was obvious which master sink the woman used... and needless to say, there was a bad odor and it didn't drain, and it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why. I was just avoiding it until I couldn't avoid it anymore. I was loathe to pull the hair out myself, and fortunately for me, the procrastination worked out. There is this industrial strength drain remover sold at Walmart in a half gallon red bottle in the home maintenance section (not the grocery section with the other drain cleaners). It's called Instant Power Hair Clog Remover. Follow the instructions and you'll get results. Follow up note: let the hot water run for at least 3 minutes after letting it work overnight. The smell is gone and so is the clog. Happy times for me!

Love those youtube how to videos. I fixed my carpet shampooer that way. I was totally proud of myself for that.

Anyhoo, hope this offers some level of comfort. While I miss companionship, I have a life that I like. My goal for 2016 is to make more friends here. I want a good friend network before I endeavor other relationships.

Have a healthy week!

Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 03/03/16 09:22 PM
Betsey - thank you so much for the thoughtful response. Most days I feel pretty good about my decision to fly solo , but there are an awful lot of people in my world that seem to think it's unnatural. And after listening to them for a long time - I start to question if I'm out of line - so it's nice to have some validation on that choice.

My divorce was final this week. I thought it would be a difficult, emotional day, but as it turned out, I didn't feel very much - it seemed pretty anticlimactic. I guess it was fairly fortunate that it fell on Feb 29th - I'll only have a divorce anniversary once every four years!

Here is where I really struggle. I keep as much distance from XH as possible. We communicate almost exclusively about the girl's schedule, and that is done mostly through text and the shared calendar I maintain. This works well for me. I'm more positive and in a better mood when I have as little contact with him as possible.

But - we're parents...... and there is more to parenting these two girls than just figuring out who can take what day off during Spring Break week. I look at some of the other situations on this board - which seem far more high conflict than mine - but the parents are still able to both make appearances at the kids birthday parties - and I have to say there is no sign of that happening here (either on my side or his). I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation for my daughters, and in many respects I have been successful, but I can't ignore the fact that a more congenial relationship with their father would be in their best interest. XH avoids me like the plague. I'm pretty sure that his absence from all of D7s sporting events is related to my presence there. And at D7's school play last week, he took off at the precise moment the last note was sung. So - not much warmth coming from his side either. We're in our own personal Cold War. Clearly there needs to be some sort of detente.

For example.... D7 has had the first whiffs of being on the receiving end of some mean girl behavior. Her closest friend at the moment is the little girl who lives downstairs from XH. She seems sweet enough and is a good student, but she's two grades ahead of D7 and that age gap is pretty significant. She behaves like a wanna be tween and passes along a lot of those opinions to D7. At one point she told D7 that boys would like her more if she said "OMG!" all the time. (My response began with "Wow - there are so many problems with that statement - I'm not sure where to start". We talked it through. Good talk.) Then they had some sort of spat and the message that this girl left on D7's phone was pretty fierce. I was able to talk D7 through the whole episode and it sounded like she got good advice from her Dad, as well. However, I was acutely aware that he and I should have talked it over and compared notes about what we were seeing. And....I just didn't do it. This particular situation has gotten a lot better - I invited the friend over for a sleepover, where I got to know her better, which allayed a lot of my concerns.

Anyway- yes XH freezes me out. But I know that I have agency in this and could suck it up, pipe up and say, "I'd really like us to have both better and more frequent communication about the girls. What do you think we should do". And I just can't do it. And I don't know why. Is it because I'm angry? I don't feel angry very often, usually just for awhile after one of the girls says something particularly poignant, such as D4 wishing all the way to school yesterday that "Daddy could pleeeeaaaase come live with us". And then I. want. to. shank. him. But that soon passes. I feel so selfish that I can't be the bigger person and do what needs to be done and instead am choosing my own peace of mind.
Posted By: Maybell Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 03/04/16 07:18 AM
Raliced, I struggle with this too. I know I *should* be a bigger person... and Mr. Fantastic is certainly giving me space to... but I just can't. I don't want to. It feels too much like letting his narrative win if I did and I just don't have the grace to go that far.

In my case, it's also true that the parenting was never truly joint. My girl went through the mean girl drama for all of 2nd grade and Mr. Fantastic gave neither her or me input. With all the struggles I had with her behavior before the marriage died I went to him often to try to talk about how to deal with it and he would just throw up his hands and say he didn't know.

Your desire to co-parent with your X is natural and commendable. But do you think it's feasible? Even if he weren't being so avoidant right now would he be a trusted resource for you? Or do you wish he were the ideal version of himself who could engage as the sort of partner we all need? And if you know in your heart that he isn't really going to engage as a parenting partner, could that be the reason you're reluctant to thaw (in addition to all the harm he did to you)?

I'm glad your daughter's friend situation has gotten better -- kudos to you for being properly engaged and creative in helping her navigate that.

But I know that I have agency in this and could suck it up, pipe up and say, "I'd really like us to have both better and more frequent communication about the girls. What do you think we should do". And I just can't do it. And I don't know why.

To me, it's 100% reasonable that you would put up a strong protective barrier against your X. You've been through a LOT and you've navigated it with way more calm and grace than I ever managed. Cut yourself some slack. Maybe someday, when your life has evolved and all this is less raw, you'll find that you've drifted into a more peaceful relationship with him.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 03/04/16 08:18 AM
I think we are in a similar place, Raliced and Maybell. I keep telling myself that my feelings are sure to evolve over the many years of co-parenting I have in front of me. My life has had such major changes in the last 10 years... who knows what the next 5 or 10 will bring...

Take one day at a time and trust that how you feel today is not necessarily how you will feel tomorrow or next year.
Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 03/23/16 07:47 AM
It's been a fairly eventful few weeks.

We had a fairly major scare with D4. She's been having some problems with her eyes and while we were waiting for the specialist appt. she started to have other, scarier symptoms that made it seem like there might be something wrong with her brain. After two weeks that included visits to the ER, pediatrician, and three separate ophthalmologists, we finally got a diagnosis and a treatment plan. It's actually a very minor case of previously undetected farsightedness, but her brain is overcompensating for it in an unusual way. Long story short - she will wear glasses and if they don't help she will have surgery. Either way - very treatable and something that should be resolved within a few years.

However, in the middle of all of this, there was a tortured conversation with ex, where he was trying to explain how to get a hold of him if there was a sudden emergency with D4 - and it became clear that he is back with OW (I guess she's not really the "OW" anymore since we are divorced) and spends a few nights a week with her. There is a long story about this in some of my previous threads - but she lives in an isolated rural spot where there is no cell service or texting (this was an issue because he move in with her right after BD and it was very hard to communicate with him at times, and he finally had to cough up the landline number).

Anyway- was I upset by this news? Not at all, surprisingly. I still dread the thought that she will be in my kid's lives forever (and consequently in mine). However, I have to say that this explains so much about what I was complaining about in my previous posts - the lack of time that he spends with the kids and his frosty and distant behavior with me. I don't understand why being with her equates to being a distant and grumpy jacka** with me, but it does. And there is a surprising amount of peace in understanding that is what is going on. I actually feel much more relaxed now that I know that is what I am dealing with.

It's spring break. D8 has been begging for some one on one time with me - so I took the day off from work, we are going to take D4 to preschool and then go for a long bike ride with a picnic lunch.
Posted By: Underdog Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 03/23/16 08:21 AM
Yikes! I'm sorry to hear about your ride with D4, but am so relieved for you that it's treatable. My D19 is severely farsighted, but I guess her other problems make me think that's wimpy? Sheesh, I might have to reevaluate that. Anyway, I'm so happy for you that it's not life threatening.

I don't understand why being with her equates to being a distant and grumpy jacka** with me, but it does.

Raliced, in my experience here on the BB, this is fairly normal for one undoubtedly common reason: now that you're divorced, there is a good chance OW is putting pressure on him to make things more permanent. It's a lot easier to take this out on you (especially if he blames you for the demise in your R, as stupid as that is) than it is to take it up with her. Rosalinda has a lot of experience with this dynamic, so hopefully she'll weigh in here.

I'll go ahead and tell you how things work for me, nearly 11 years later: when Mr. Wonderful is dating someone, he's crappy with me. When he's not dating someone, he's agreeable. I can always tell when things have cooled off with others. What's totally stupid is that his GF's have issues with his R with me. Even though he's usually kind of surly and not wanting to grant me favors when that's the case? I guess I'm grateful that his stance has been through the years that our R works for us and for our girls, and that if they don't like it, they can hit the road. Actually, I've had to say the same thing to guys I've dated. They tend to believe that being cooperative and cordial means we want to get back together. It's insane.

Anyway, I'm not surprised your XH is crappier than usual. You can do what one of my old friends here used to do when she came up against stuff that didn't make sense: she'd say, "Isn't that interesting?" grin Face it, so much they do or say doesn't make sense...

Hugs from another farsighted person.
Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 03/25/16 06:23 AM
Betsey - Thank you for the kind words about D4. I learned something new about myself during that week of doctor's appointments and that is that in my post-divorce life, I find that when something bad happens, I'm a lot more likely to entertain the worst case scenario.

Originally Posted By: Underdog
now that you're divorced, there is a good chance OW is putting pressure on him to make things more permanent. It's a lot easier to take this out on you (especially if he blames you for the demise in your R, as stupid as that is) than it is to take it up with her.

I'm sure you're right - although their relationship seems pretty weird to me. First they live together, now they don't - and after seeing the kids on a weekly basis for a year - now she doesn't see them at all? Also his mom was just out here for D8's birthday and still no introduction. When he and I dated he could not wait to introduce me to his mom. Well, whatever, that's OW's headache to deal with. And not only does XH probably blame me for everything in the marriage, I have to say, it sure feels like he is doing his best to view me as a mean-spirited, vindictive b**** sometimes. He's forgotten to give me the CS check once or twice when we normally do it at child exchange the last week of the month, and then I get flooded with texts about how he didn't mean to do it - and he can make a special trip to drop it off, FedEx it etc. And I just reaffirm what I have told him in the past - that it isn't a big deal as long as I get it by the 15th. And if he ever has a cash flow problem one month - he just needs to let me know ahead of time and we can work something out. When the girls were sick last month and we agreed that he needed to take a day off from work to watch them after I had taken off several days, he copied me on the e-mail to his bosses to prove to me he had asked for the time off (something I would have never questioned).

You know - I never even hired a lawyer to represent me in court (I did have one look over what I had negotiated and what XH's lawyers wrote up to make sure everything looked good - but XH doesn't know that). I've accommodated every schedule request without issue(he has 10X the number that I do). I say nice things about him to the girls - I don't get how he finds the space to paint me as the bad guy - but I sure think he does.

I guess I will just take your advice, try to shrug my shoulders and say "Isn't that interesting?". wink
Posted By: Maybell Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 03/28/16 06:48 PM
I wish he could see you the way I do -- you're THE BOMB. People who try to manipulate reality are pretty obvious and only fooling themselves. It must be exhausting to try to deal with him.
Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 04/27/16 05:52 AM
I guess it's time for a quick update or my thread will drop off the forum.

It's a busy time right now. I'd like to refinance the house, rather than assume the mortgage, before rates start to go up, so for a variety of reasons - I'm trying to get some more major work done around the house so that a refinance appraisal would have the best chance at coming in at a good price. Most of these are sort of hybrid projects - i.e.- the deck needs to be replaced - and I can't handle the carpentry, but I can do the painting etc. Our divorce agreement actually says I should get him off the mortgage "at the earliest time I am able" and doesn't specify a date - but it would be nice to get it done, and get it done in a way that brings me some benefit as well.

And then some stuff has been going on at work. Some co-workers have left, their positions are hard to fill, and so I'm "covering" a lot of extra work. I know the reality is, that if I step up to the plate in a major way, I can probably leverage this into a promotion (which would make my financial situation a lot more comfortable), and I'm trying to pysch myself up to substantially overachieve for a while - but I'm finding it a little difficult to find enough energy - I must be getting older wink. Coffee can only do so much...

As usual there is still some weirdness with XH. I opened this thread by explaining that he had informed me that he had shut off the internet at his house (thus limiting my possible communication time - even though I rarely write - and it's always strictly kid logistics). It's become clear since then that he had it turned back on - but didn't bother to tell me (so that I could send these kinds of messages in a more timely fashion).

I was reflecting the other day, that he has a weirdly segmented life. He has days that he works (and does nothing at all with the kids), days that he spends with the kids and days that he spends with his girlfriend, and none of the worlds seem to really touch each other. I think that probably works for him - it wouldn't for me.

I had to write him the other day - because D8's swim season is about to start and I need him to help me with the volunteer commitment. Last year I handled it on my own - but I just can't do that again. So - I sent him an explanation of what the volunteer hours are, why they are important (D8 might not get a spot on the team next year if we don't do them) and a proposal that would split the time between us as painlessly as possible and without the need to actually spend any time together. Crickets. I would really like to get to a point when I can just dash off a quick note about these kinds of things - but he seems to take offense at the littlest things - and I feel like I have to wordsmith everything just right - in this case tell him I need help without him being able to point at anything that might be interpreted as my insinuating that he doesn't help enough.

My former FIL was out last week to bring him MIL's old car. She upgrades after three years and decided to give him this one. I confess his good fortune irked me for a day or two - but that car will be much more comfortable and reliable for the girls than his truck - so I got over it. It was nice to see FIL - he came by to inspect my house (he's never seen it), gave me some helpful tips and a pat on the back for doing a good job with it.
Posted By: Mozza Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 05/13/16 07:34 PM
Dear raliced,

There's something I need to tell you and I don't want you to take it the wrong way. I want to make sure I phrase things properly, but please don't take offense if I fail; it's just a slip and I mean no harm. Please bear with me here as I look for a way to open up about something very minor and with no intention of hurting or upsetting you.

See what I did there? wink It was just a joke to suggest that maybe your "wordsmitting" is not really helping to smooth things out. Shorter, more direct emails are harder to interpret and easier to respond to. In fact, I don't think you're asking your XH for "help": you're just informing him of something you both have to do, as parents. So maybe a simple: "Hey, there are X hours of volunteering to do at the pool so that D8 remains in the team next year. Let's split it in half in a way that fits our schedules. I can take June and July, you can take August. Is that ok?"

I don't even know what your emails really look like (probably not like my intro!), so this is just an idea and you see if it resonates.

Another idea is that you can ignore his emotional reaction and respond with "Sorry" and move on. It's kind of how things go with STBX and it keeps the emotional involvement at a minimum. If I make a bigger deal of something, her short reaction makes me feel kind of silly (and vice versa, I'd say).

Finally, I'd suggest that we humans have a tendency to interpret other people's reaction as "offensive" when they are simply defensive. How many times have I seen shy people be perceived as aloof? So his silence might not be that he's upset, but that he's just unsure about how to deal with it, what kind of availability to offer. In any case, giving people the benefit of the doubt is most likely to benefit us.

By the way, my STBX and I have an agreement that we'll respond to emails within 72 hours. She asked and I agreed. It works well.
Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 05/13/16 08:52 PM
Hah - Mozza - I assure you my emails sound nothing like that. grin

However - yes I do wordsmith and I definitely overthink things. In this case - I got hung up on feeling I needed to explain why he needed to help this year and not last, without suggesting he hadn't been pulling his weight last year.

Partially this is because you and several other male posters on this board have pointed out that guys can be sensitive to critiques of their parenting (see it's really your fault, Mozza wink ). While I don't think I've ever been overly critical - I guess I am now extra cognizant that could be a land mine - so I try to avoid it.

The other reason is that at kid drop off he sometimes is sort of normal and sometimes is unaccountably hostile (we exchanged the girls at swim practice today and he instantly turned on his heel and stalked off without a word). I can't help but think sometimes I have inadvertently annoyed or upset him - so I guess I try to be cautious about anything I might be saying or writing that might be contributing to this moodiness. Why do I care about his moods? I dunno, it just seems like life would be easier if we could exchange a few token pleasantries in front of the kids, you know? And by the way - I know too, that what I am interpreting as hostility may be nothing of the sort - maybe he's just upset at saying good bye to the girls.

So all that being said - I will keep in mind your advice of keeping things brief. He did eventually respond, claiming internet difficulties and he accepted my proposal with no difficulty.
Posted By: Mozza Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 07/17/18 04:17 AM
Hello Raliced - I see that you haven't posted in years on your thread, but I saw updates in the last year on other people's threads and on the off-chance that you might see this, I simply wanted to say hello and thanks for the update. I truly enjoyed our exchanges at the time and I stayed with an interest in what happens with you.

I saw that XH married his OW and the same happened to my XW and her OM a couple of months ago. I can't say that I would have predicted this at S, but like you I took it peacefully. It was a bit rough for a couple of days, but then I got over it. It was a tad annoying to hear the kids anticipate it, but I tried not to show them. I suspect the (civil) ceremony was a bit of a letdown because they barely mentioned it the week after. Anyway, I hope it brings stability to your XH and by extension to you and your kids.

I'm in an R for almost 2 years now but I relate to what you said to GeorgiaBelle about the "fragility of romantic relationships". Even in a peaceful relationship (much more peaceful than with XW, even in our beginnings), I feel like I'm handling a powder keg when in love. I use to be way too confident that love lasts forever, and now it's the opposite and I'm hyper aware of the hurt it can cause me and others. Still, I have the call and cannot be at peace alone like you are, so I choose to handle said keg carefully.

Safe travels!
Posted By: raliced Re: Raliced- Joining the band - 07/18/18 03:16 AM

What a treat to find a message from you here! I think of you and others from our DB "class" regularly and it's so nice to hear that you are healthy and happy. I swing by the forum often but don't generally post. Many of the posters here are dealing with the travails of dating and that still is not a path I am interested in, so I have little of value to add.

Yes. My XH married his OW about a year ago. Of course nothing he does is normal. He first mentioned it to the kids about 3 months after it happened, told them not to tell me because "your mom wouldn't like it" and I only found out because my sister saw a stray Facebook post from his now wife to his mother (his Mom is still friends with me and all my family, and while I apparently have been proactively blocked, they forgot to block the rest of my family). Anyway - I was mostly relieved because it makes things feel more settled and she doesn't seem to have much interest in butting into the kid's lives. He still lives apart from her for the two days a week he has the kids. I try not to expend much mental energy on it anymore. His parenting style is generally to keep them entertained nonstop- but things could be worse. I can only control what goes on in my house, and I try to focus on keeping that as stable and loving as possible.

I finally got a long desired promotion earlier this summer. The good news is some of my financial pressures have therefore been relieved, but I inherited a team that is an HR nightmare, so it has been a draining couple of months. Blue skies ahead though, I'm sure. Also, my elderly mother needed to move in with me, so life has become a juggling act of home health aides, Senior Day Care, cardiology appointments, in addition to the usual swirl of kid sport practices and music lessons. I've decided this is just my decade to toil :-) .

I'm happy to hear your romantic relationship has resumed and is moving forward. I'm very proud of you and the others I know from my darkest days here who have moved on. Romance is just not in the cards for me right now. My heart feels full yet irretrievably damaged most days. Someday that may change. I was in a meeting with one of the doctors I work with and he was explaining a technical/clinical issue they are having with our new electronic health record. One constant in my romantic life has always been an attraction to dark haired men, but when I listened to him make this rather dry subject matter sound compelling and interesting I did look at him and think "Huh, maybe I should give blondes a chance one of these days :-).

So happy to hear from you , Mozza. Stay well.
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