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#2754091 07/30/17 04:57 PM
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Wow. Another thread! I checked the date and my last thread started in October last year. I guess I'm not spamming the forums all that badly, so let's fire up another one.

http://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2747233&page=11

Well, when I step back and think about changes in the last 10 months it's all pretty positive. My divorce is final and my finances are settled. I have 20 months left of front loaded maintenance support after which I will be able to start rebuilding for my financial future. My job is still stressful but it's livable again compared to a horrible situation last year. The kids are doing great overall. And I am doing great overall as well. This is the short version. Turn back now if you have a plane to catch smile Little more detail on the above below:

Work: I just realized I hadn't posted this yet. I got a quasi promotion at work. I am a territory sales rep and a territory opened up that was a bit of a step up from one I had previously covered. I talked to my boss and explained why I thought it would be best for everyone if I took it on, and he agreed. At worst I'll make the same income with a little less stress, but realistically I think it has the potential to be a significant raise. Broomstick! (My friend used to text me 'boomstick' as a celebration but it always auto-corrected to broomstick, so now we just go with that)

Housing: Haha! I secured a rental! Only a year longer than I expected. But it doesn't matter anymore. It's done. I get the keys tomorrow. It has bedrooms for all of my kids and my mom, and also room for my 9 foot pool table. It's not on the bus route but my mom is still living with me and can help with that. The rent is very reasonable. No pets allowed, but I wasn't quite ready for that anyway. So while I'm not looking forward to the move physically, by 8/12 I'll be shooting pool and listening to "No Quarter" by Led Zepplin until the wee hours of the morning.

Games: I still love pool. Won a little weekly tournament yesterday. But am also playing a lot of poker. I've been working hard on my poker game. I don't believe I'll be able to play professionally while I have three kids at home, but I fully expect that when my kids are grown I can downsize substantially and probably live on poker and pool income. No kids this weekend so I just wake up, study a bit, play some chess, then play some poker, then some pool, then some more poker, then study some more. That is the world I enjoy, and God willing someday I'll just go off into my own little universe and shut the door behind me.

Family: Kids are doing well. I took the kids on a 5 day trip last weekend up to Northern Minnesota. My dad and his long term girlfriend came along. We went on a trip last year, this is starting to be an annual trip which is good because he's a snowbird that only is in MN 4-5 months a year. This trip is 95% of their time with my dad, and he won't be around forever. Anyway, we did some hikes, got out on a lake, roasted a few marshmallows, and played some games in there as well. Fun trip for sure.

S13 is having trouble with XW and XW's serious boyfriend. I don't know the whole story, but I know that my son has thrown angry fits over there for years now. He breaks stuff, kicks at her, threatens to kill himself, stuff like this. Happens a couple of times a year. Oddly my son has never had any issues at my place. I don't know if he's mad at XW for the divorce and hates the new guy for this reason as well, or if it's just because he has a bad relationship with his mom in general. I can't attribute it to him being 13 because we get along really well. Well, the other day he punched his mom in the stomach and ran away and wasn't seen for several hours. This is XW's version. His version includes the new boyfriend screaming nasty things at him like "please do kill yourself" and how "if you were my kid I'd..." with various threats.

I will pause just briefly and say how awful I think divorce is, how destructive, how unnecessary, how hurtful, and how difficult it is to be a parent and see this needless cross your child is having to bear and being powerless to prevent them from the pain that was inflicted on them. I won't say another word otherwise I will end up with a book on our hands and I don't have a publisher lined up or a snazzy title picked out so let's not go there.

Back to S13. OK, so I'm going to have to take a hard stance on something. The physical outbursts have to stop. Today. Listen, I'm ALLLLLLLLL about finding out what he's dealing with, giving him support, giving him guidance, giving him tools to cope, and so on and so on...but the minute he starts punching a female (sorry to be sexist here, but there is a big difference in my world between him getting into a scuffle with a bully at school versus getting angry and punching his mother in the stomach) he has cross a big, thick line that he cannot cross again. So here's my plan:

Tomorrow I am going to take him 1:1. I am going to get his version of the story. I am going to empathize for a moment. Then I'm going to explain that what has to happen is out of love, the same way that when we were hiking I would get very loud in warning if one of my kids was near a cliff edge, not because I like yelling at them, but because I love them. Well, tomorrow will be a day he needs to remember forever so he doesn't go off his own cliff. Because here's the thing: You DO NOT get to hit people.

I'm going to explain how when you have a dog (we've had a few), dogs are good. There are no bad dogs. There are dogs that haven't been trained, dogs that are being neglected, dogs that were abused...but there are no bad dogs. If a dog isn't behaving, we need to figure out why, and try to fix what we're doing wrong for the animal. That is, until, the dog attacks a baby in the house. The minute the dog becomes a threat to a human child, guess what happens? The dog gets taken to the pound and put to sleep. The dog is no longer under 'family protection', because now it is the threat and that threat must be eliminated. I'm going to make it very clear that I love him and I want to help him, but the minute he makes the decision to curl his fingers into a fist and strike someone else, he is putting himself in a very bad situation. I am going to take him to a mirror and explain that he isn't 6 anymore, that he looks more like me than a 6 year old, and that he is capable of causing real damage and needs to realize that.

There's a bit more of my lecture regarding accountability (not blaming his mom for his actions), but then the punishment starts. I am not going to ground him or take away a toy, punching his mom is not a 'grounding' offense, it is much more serious. Instead I have written up a homework assignment for him and I am going to give him a pen and paper, a bottle of water, and put him in an empty room, and he needs to write out answers to my questions. Some of those questions include things like "Describe ten ways in which your life might be changed forever if you had knocked your mother down and she ended up paralyzed from the waste down and in a wheelchair for life". There are a number of questions, I'd expect that this will take him 2-4 hours to write out. And at the end we'll review and discuss the answers together.

My goal is to give him a night that he'll NEVER forget. And believe me...while I won't be screaming, yelling, escalated, or threatening...I have an intensity which I can easily summon up that will be by itself enough to make our conversation memorable for him.

Once we get through that, then we can come back to what he is dealing with, and talk about getting him more tools. But he needs to know the hitting stops yesterday.

Someday he may end up living with me full time. I personally think that would be best for him now, but it's too early to bring that up, especially when XW is still angry I have 50% time. She thinks he likes me better because I'm the play dad and she's the one that has to do the real parenting, etc. I'd send her a copy of the essay questions my son writes out tomorrow to show how laughable that is except that I don't care.


Well, that's about it for the update. Just another person living life. If there's one thing I'm grateful for about this whole divorce ordeal it is to be appreciative for every little thing, because nothing is ours for long and it doesn't get any better. Excluding of course pool lessons with DB friends.


Me:38 XW:38
T:11 years M:8 years
Kids: S14, D11, D7
BD/Move out day: 6/17/14, D final Dec 15
Zues126 #2754107 07/30/17 10:22 PM
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Hey, Zues, nice to hear from you.

FWIW, my D14 was acting out physically with me after tantrums and raging that escalated over years. It got to the point where I was dialing 911 just to get her to leave the room. I finally found the right therapist for her and it's like having a different child. She started therapy about 8-10 months ago and I noticed a difference straight away. Over the course of her treatment she has really settled down enormously. Also FWIW, her outbursts were limited to me, not her dad. She had her own reasons for that, but the point is, just because your child responds differently to one parent than another doesn't mean that he's just fine when he's with you. He's just learned what works or doesn't work with each of you. My daughter would scream at me that I was weak, that I had let things happen to cause the divorce, that I didn't stand up to my ex, that I was a victim -- that was her way of responding to the divorce.

I think your consequence is an appropriate response, but even with a loving conversation about what's happening there, it might be time to bring in additional help for him. Your son loves his mother, even if he's that angry with her; being that angry with someone you love is confusing for a kid that age. As you know, there's something going on with the relationship over there and he doesn't have the ability to cope with whatever it is. I suggest you get him in to therapy asap -- if he's threatening to kill himself, she's made an attempt before, and he's with her 50% of the time, it's possible the problem has moved beyond your ability to give him tools to deal with it and he needs at least a neutral third party to help him through this time. It's the suicide threats AND her previous attempt that worry me. She set a scary example for him.

I'm glad other things have evened out for you and I hope your S13 finds peace. Good to hear from you!


Me42, H40
D12, S8, S7
A revealed: 7/13
Sep 4/14; Agreed to D 1/15

She believed she could, so she did.
Maybell #2754288 07/31/17 12:37 PM
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Hey Zues! Glad you checked in. I am really sorry with what's going on with your son. Parenting is really tough. Parenting kids going through puberty, even tougher. Parenting kids of divorce going through puberty.... YOWZA! I am sorry he is acting out in a physical manner, and as we all know, it's because there is a need for an outlet of emotions. I know you are a great father and will teach him physical violence is not ok and you will give him alternative outlets for his feelings.

Congrats on the house! Sounds nice and roomy! ANd you will be able to fit YOUR outlet in there, your pool table!

Zues126 #2754996 08/04/17 03:13 PM
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Hi Zues - happy to hear you are in a bigger space, but very sorry to hear about your son's anger.

I would caution you about taking your ex-wife's version for the truth. You already know how she's able to make herself out to be the victim - didn't she accuse you of abuse? Listen carefully to your son and make sure he has a safe space where he's not feeling run over or punished.

Also, he needs to be protected against mental or verbal abuse from the boyfriend. Don't get so lost in being a responsible father that you don't see that he might just be the victim here. Threatening to kill himself is a very serious signal that something is wrong.

He's probably old enough to be heard in court about custody arrangements, if you think he would be better off with you. But getting him to a good counselor would be step #1 in my mind.

Best of luck and I hope your son gets through this!


M 16 yrs, WH62, P54
3 adult blended kids
EA 11/13, BD1 6/14
PA fall 14, BD2 2/15
Piecing 2015, BD3 12/15
Separated 4/16
WH moved OW in 5/16
Divorced 6/15/17
Painter #2754997 08/04/17 03:15 PM
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And I got to say - maybe you should rethink comparing him to a dog? It could be taken the wrong way. Kids can remember what their parents said to them for the rest of their lives.


M 16 yrs, WH62, P54
3 adult blended kids
EA 11/13, BD1 6/14
PA fall 14, BD2 2/15
Piecing 2015, BD3 12/15
Separated 4/16
WH moved OW in 5/16
Divorced 6/15/17
Painter #2755135 08/05/17 07:04 PM
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Zues126 Offline OP
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Thanks gang. I appreciate your concern for my son and the support for the family.

Haha, too late, I definitely used the dog analogy the other day. But overall I executed the plan very well. After we spoke I had him write for a while, then we looked over his answers. The part about how his life would change if he permanently injured his mother was really well thought out and I could tell it made an impact. Frankly, just as importantly, he knows that if he crosses this line again he'll answer to me. If next time he gets angry the thought of me tips the scales just a hair towards finding an alternative method of handling things rather than violence then I'm good with that.

Now...assuming that's handled or at least addressed for today...yes, the next focus is on getting him the support he needs.

He is seeing a counselor. He had a visit Thursday morning and will continue to see her. Probably once a week once school starts up again.

Tonight I spoke with him a bit, no longer about the physical part (I made it clear I'll never bring that up again if he never crosses that line again), but rather to try to help him out a bit. Since this last incident there were two minor things that came up that lead me to believe that he is picking fights with his mom every opportunity he gets. My personal take on it is that he's angry with his mom over the divorce and he feels like letting go of his anger is betraying me or himself somehow, like he's saying he's ok with it. No one asked him, he's not ok with it, and he might feel like if he lets the anger go then somehow his mom can get her way, namely that everyone cooperates happily with her choices. So he wants to stay angry at her, and he wants to show her he's angry, and he does things that lead to conflict and finds ways to make himself the victim so he can reinforce his belief that she's the bad guy.

This seems pretty arm chair psychologist, but I've seen a lot that leads me to these conclusions. For example he sent my mom a text. XW had told me that he was grounded and wasn't supposed to have electronics so I messaged her that "Not sure if S13 is supposed to be able to use the cell phone, but just in case wanted to let you know that he just sent a text". Note, I didn't say he sent ME a text, just that he sent a text. I wanted to leave my mom out of this based on prior experiences. Anyway, she must've gotten into a fight with him and asked S13 if he sent me a text, and he must've said no. Because she then followed up asking me for a screenshot and S13 sent my mom another text saying that his mom was now "accusing him of being a liar". All of this was clearly escalatory. Had he just told her "No, but I sent my grandma a text" this would've all been avoided. Instead he caught her in a technicality and was able to say "I never sent dad a text" and then start a big fight so he could be the noble truth telling son that is getting picked on by his unfair mean mom.

This is only one example. If we were hanging out I could tell a much, much better picture. But I've seen enough to get a pretty strong read.

So I told him that's how it looked to me. I also acknowledged that I might be off a bit, so he could either do the same thing and dismiss everything I was saying because I didn't have it 100% right, or he could take anything that I said that was relative and use it to help himself. Because at the end of the day he's the one that has to live his life, I'm just here to help teach him some ways he can not shoot himself in the foot, but he's the one that has to live with the life he creates for himself. We talked about this a bit and I explained that while it is very reasonable to feel this way and natural to do what he's doing, in the end it's not working all that well for him since he's living with a ton of poison in his heart and dealing with perpetual consequences of these conflicts 50% of the time (and growing now that it's including me).

Then I said that since we'd now talked about what didn't work so well (carrying a grudge and picking fights whenever possible to keep it going). This gets a little longer so let's go with the cliff notes. I asked him if he knew much about the lives of slaves in the 17-1800s. He talked a bit about it. He understands that they were bought and sold as property, that families were broken up, that they were beaten and treated horrendously at times. I asked him to think about how they could live their lives in the midst of that injustice.

The point I made was that there were THREE paths they could choose from. The first was to live with anger all day every day, the second was to choose to accept slavery and not let it anger them anymore. Clearly living with anger every day all day didn't seem appealing and what we were on this earth to do. But to shrug and say 'meh, slavery, whatev, no big deal, I'm good with it...', well, that's pretty messed up as well. I talked about the middle path, the third option. That is to be passionately angry about slavery and all of it's works, and to use that anger productively should they ever have opportunity to make an impact...but then, when there was nothing more that could be done with it, at some point to let it cool down so they could still appreciate the moments in their lives that were good.

I explained how I got through the last three years with my mantra of appreciation. How if I looked at the sky and told God that everything I had been given, my life, family, health, shelter, food, job, friends, hobbies, passions, gifts, everything...if I look at God and say that's not enough, if I can't keep the marriage I wanted together then the rest of this is all garbage and I hate it...if I was really THAT ungrateful...well, in that case I'm just being a whiny brat and I will never be happy, marriage or not. IMHO. So I use that to remind myself to turn my focus daily on appreciating what I do have.

Basically I told him that I don't like divorce, that I think he has every reason to feel any amount of anger that he feels, that I'm even glad he doesn't like it. I told him in 100 years I think people will look back at this era and think that what we did to each other, breaking up families and such, will look as horrible to them then as slavery looks to us now. And he's going to suffer the consequences of this world and that stinks, there is nothing he can do about it. Both now and when he's trying to find a partner in a world where nearly everyone has this same crazy view that this is all somehow ok and normal. But that at the end of the day he has a life he's been given, and he has choices to make. And that I would recommend that given the choice to either pick fights with his mom and be a victim so he could live in constant anger and conflict so he could make sure some other person knew that he didn't like something they did, or the choice to voice and act on your beliefs when you have the chance and then to turn the focus on appreciating what you have left to celebrate...I would recommend the second path.

I know his mom is a challenging person to live with. And there is no doubt that her boyfriend has done some things completely out of line, because even if he was absolutely provoked some of these things are unacceptable. But I also know that my son has been provoking and escalating as well. I just wanted to help him understand that there are different choices he can make that would reduce the conflict without betraying himself. And he knows that I love him and don't want to see him living in pain, it's not betraying me to appreciate the life he has.

I did most of the talking. I gave him chances to respond but he was pretty quiet and I was ok with that. I just wanted to give him some food for thought and show him that he wasn't alone.

The fact is that he is a very smart kid and I believe that he understood everything I said. I'm not pretending to proclaim him 'cured' because I gave him a lecture. This was just what I felt was appropriate today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

I'm keeping a close eye on what goes on at his mom's of course. His mom and her boyfriend. If things don't change there may come a time when I make a move for him to live with me. It's great to try to work things out, but there comes a point where if it's better for him to live with me then we have to do what's best for him. But right now I believe it's best for him that he learns to find that middle road and live with his mom and manage himself to avoid these conflicts more often. Part of life is managing through these situations. Now if I get the sense that he's doing everything a reasonable 13 year old can and it's just an unreasonable situation, then so help me I'll make a move to get him living with me.

Shoot, long, long post as always. I'm not pretending this was perfect, just me, the play dad, doing what I can to make it through another battle.

In the end we had a good day. We went out to celebrate my birthday (last week), I went to a mexican restaurant where they made me wear the sombrero (I took S13 there on his birthday and they made him wear the sombrero, he wanted his payback), then we came home and played a little 500, read together, and listened to some music. We watched the video for Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues which is pretty epic. D10 gave me a gift that she sewed, it was a heart pillow with "My dad is smart" and "my dad is funny" and "I love my dad" and things like that dangling from the heart. It was really sweet. She'll turn on me soon enough, but right now she just glows around me. I don't know. Just rambling now. Life over here is very warm and fun and exciting. No complaints gang. No complaints.

I'll let you know if anything further comes to light with S13. Thanks again guys.


Me:38 XW:38
T:11 years M:8 years
Kids: S14, D11, D7
BD/Move out day: 6/17/14, D final Dec 15
Zues126 #2759381 09/02/17 05:29 PM
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Hey Zues, just stopping by to day hello! Hope all is well. JellyBxxx

JellyB #2761252 09/12/17 06:23 PM
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Wow, a Jelly sighting!!! Thank you for dropping by and bumping my thread. If you're anything like me it takes ever increasing bursts of energy to overcome the inertia to post but should you feel the urge know that we will listen.

Hmm, what's new with me. Well, I've been doing pretty well while being aware of the low at the same time. It's kinda weird.

In general, moment to moment, I feel great. Things have never been better. There's no part of my life I don't look forward to, and the time I share with my family is profoundly fulfilling. Just hearing about some of the hardships around the world, be it hurricanes or the loss of a family member, and I realize how precious my time with my family is to me. I know the world will go on when me and my children are gone, but what we have right now is unlike anything I've known before. I don't journal much so if something were to happen to me please someone on the forum track my kids down and let them know that every hardship I've faced in my life was worth it many times over for each meal we got to share together, each page we read together, each joke we made, each trail we explored, each pool ball that plunked over the pocket edge. I finally know what it means to be content.

The bittersweet comes from the loss I have learned to live with but still feel. My wife is gone forever and as deeply as I love my children, I once loved her. Do I love her today? No, she was dead to me a long time ago and the person she is today is a total stranger. I have no feelings for her in particular.

No, the loss comes from the love that I had planned on giving to her that is now going to waste. When I married her I didn't agree to give her my love on our wedding day and then see how I felt the next day. I agreed to give her all of it, forever. Well, my heart goes on beating, and I have this love inside of me that I had pledged to her. And instead of sharing it, I put it in a nice heart shaped box, put a ribbon on it, and then throw it in the trash. The person that had wanted this love from me is long gone and my hearts ongoing generation of love is now just an aching reminder of what was lost.

I'm not interested in rehashing debates about looking for other partners, or why I'm not. I only write these words because it is the only natural progression of my post. I'm not doing that. I am the alien. It seems everyone else is talking about deal breakers, compatibility, red flags, what they want and need in a partner, and writing their books and blogs on how they thing relationships and the world and everyone in it should work. I can't begin to relate to any of it because it all seems so incomprehensible that we would let these trivial things get in the way of what is possible to share with each other.

I feel like a ghost. Like I died three years ago and am just haunting the planet for a bit longer before it's time to go. The rest of the world is bustling around and I don't connect with them. No one can see me, and if they could they wouldn't understand me, and if they tried to reach out our arms would pass through each other's anyway because we simply live in different worlds.

My kids know who I am. They have seen the ghost of their dad. They know what it means to share some time with them. And they know how special that time is. They will always cherish the love that I gave them. And even when they move out, marry off, live their own lives...even when our relationships fade or end...nothing can take away the time we've shared or diminish the wonder that it ever was.

I know we don't have forever, so I just say thank you every day. My job is tough but it continues. It's nice to have a pool table again. I finally paid my entry fee for the US Open last night and felt a jolt of enthusiasm that I haven't felt for years, all the childhood dreams of playing along side of the greats came rushing back. I practice with me kids and they get to spend some time with me in that special trance like world of just feeling the hit of a shot until it becomes your friend.

What else? Not much else to tell. I read a bit. Play a few local and regional pool tournaments. Solve some chess puzzles. Tell bad puns at the dinner table (my mom had bought a plane ticket, and she wanted to get a second for her other son who's name is jason, so I told her if she wanted to add Jason's seat, make sure it was 'adjacent' to hers...this is how ghosts have fun I guess).

Oh, and my best friend. I'm lucky to have him. We play poker together, we're going to a pool tournament in WI in two weekends and the best part is the 5 hour drive. When I have a funny story to share he is the one I tell. Like when I was at the pool tournament on Sunday night and this one match took 2 1/2 hours which is WAY long, so me and another guy made a side bet on when the match would be over, and I drew the line and he picked the 'over', and I thought I was stealing because there was no way it could take that much longer, and then somehow it got closer and closer to the deadline, and finally it was down to three balls but if the minute digit ticked over I would lose, it was down to seconds and the players didn't know we'd made this side bet, it was excruciating, and finally the guy shot in the winning 9 ball and I won the bet and looked at the clock and knew it was so close I started counting out loud, and sure enough I got to seven and the minute changed. I was SEVEN SECONDS away from losing that bet. What a nail biter. The guy I bet with beat me in the finals but that made the whole trip worth it.

I hope no one is worried about me guys, I promise I've never been better. The pain in my heart is a dull constant ache partly from loss and partly from the intensity of the joy in my life. Compared to the stabbing throbbing pain I went through at the end of my marriage this feels like a gentle massage.

My views may differ in some ways but I care for all of you as well and hope you each find some of what you're searching for, and some peace and joy with what you already have. Good night gang!


Me:38 XW:38
T:11 years M:8 years
Kids: S14, D11, D7
BD/Move out day: 6/17/14, D final Dec 15
Zues126 #2761322 09/13/17 05:18 AM
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Hi Zues,

Glad you are doing well. I don't have much time to post right now, but upon reading your post my first thought was:

"He considers himself the ghost?"... Yet many view the walkaway as one. I know that's how I view my ex. And every encounter with him leaves me feeling like I have come across one. What prevents you from feeling alive and passionate?


M: 42
H: 43
Twins age 5
WAH in summer
JujuB #2762740 09/22/17 12:49 AM
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Hi J! Thanks for the note.

I think I used a poor example with ghost. I didn't mean that I am a shell of myself, that I'm dragging around the earth, anything like that. Quite the opposite. I am alive and passionate.

What I meant was that I have given up trying to connect with other people in this world. Maybe I should have said a turtle.
It's like we all need a little personal space and a little time on our own. When we need this space and time we find ourselves withdrawing from others a little until we catch up on our deficit. Well, with me I've been withdrawing and withdrawing and withdrawing, like there is no distance I can achieve from the world that is enough.

Oh, I can still walk and talk and interact. I get fired up every day, pour my heart into my work and serve my customers with enthusiasm, work hard on my pool game, and I DO have real connections with my children and cherish the time I have with them. But I need my forcefields on to leave the house, and I don't lower them until I'm back home.

I don't have any problems with this. It may seem a little unhealthy, but I have seen how the rest of the world plays with each other, and it's rougher than I want to play. Things don't work the way it seems like they should for me and I know when I'm in a bad game. I don't want to be healed because I'd prefer my distance. At least at this time.

Had a weird dream just now. Not sure why it matters, but I felt like sharing with my DB crew. I dreamed that me and XW were living together. NOT remairried or together, but just living together. Like somehow the courts ordered us to move in together for the kids or financial reasons. In my dream it was so strange. On the one hand I felt like I wanted her to see me in a positive light, to maybe one day love me again. And it felt impossible that she couldn't, because I am her man, and I am a good man, and I am an awesome man, and this whole divorce thing still seems like a stupid angry lash out that got out of control because she was overwhelmed with resentment and didn't know how to avoid that buildup over the years. It seemed like any day she'd realize how stupid it all was and that she had overreacted and come back to me. But on the other hand, I didn't want her love. I mean, I did, more than anything, kind of. But I wanted a love from her that I didn't have to doubt. That I didn't have to fear being short lived and subject to change with her moods. That I didn't have to live with as broken, in a shadow of a memory of a bunch of other men in her life. So while we lived together I was still trying to be my best self and I longed for her acceptance, all while I would never have been able to get close to her again.

Then I woke up and as I type this I guess this is probably true for many of us. And actually, maybe that's also the best way I can explain how I feel about the world I live in as a whole and why I am withdrawn.

Anyway, quick update. I am heading to Beloit, WI, to the Carom Room for a pool tournament. When I say this it probably sounds pretty straight forward. "Oh, he likes to play pool, he's going to play pool, he's having fun doing his hobby."

Well, it's not that easy. I go through more emotional stages with a pool tournament than I can count. See, this tournament isn't just a local event. Quite a few of the world's best will be there. This even has grown to be quite savage, an unofficial bar table 10 ball championship.

So I start off by being excited. I get to play the best in the world!

Then I get alarmed. I better get practicing! Time to make sure my game is all set!

Then I get more excited. I'm hitting the balls really well!

Then I get discouraged. I realize that my best case scenario would probably be to scalp a couple of world champions and make a deep run (last year I took 4th and beat the #1 seed 8-2 but if felt like lightning in a bottle). But that even if I win it nothing will really change. That whatever I thought I'd accomplish through pool won't happen, that I'll always work for a living, that I am who I am and a pool title won't make anything any different.

Then I get frustrated. I am too tired to practice because I am working my rear off the last week. This is totally not fair. I am already the underdog. These guys are a murderer's row. Alex Pagulayan?!? He's been a hero to me for 15 years since I saw him in the finals of the US Open. These guys play every day, hours a day, they travel and play in championship events weekly. They are all better than me by leaps and bounds. And that's not enough, I have to spot them the handicap that my only preparation will be a 15 minute session where I zombie walk around the table, clawing at the balls for a few minutes before I collapse back into my bed and fall asleep watching a chess video? Seriously, this is stupid. I have zero chance.

Then I get depressed. How did I let my dreams escape me. How did it come to this? I traded my pursuit to be the best in for a normal life, and then was chewed up and spit out. Now I'm stuck with the remains. I'll never be the player I want to be. It's too late for me. I can improve a little, but I've fought for 20 years to improve and it's taken SOOOOOOOOOOO much work, truly water from a rock. There's no way I can close the gap between me and these 23 year old gun slingers that play every day and have zero fear. And even if there was a chance, some small chance I could, well...I have to go to work to take care of my kids, and I have to read to them, and I have to spend my energy there. I'll struggle for a few more years until my eye sight fades and my arms develop the trembles and then I'll just be a memory in the pool scene. A foot note on a few magazine pages.

Now I have to start a 5 hour drive. I'm still feeling pretty down about it all. I'll have some caffeine, it will be good to have the weekend off if nothing else and to hang out with my best friend in the car. Once I get there then I'll become nervous, or even terrified. Then we'll see how it goes. Maybe I smooth out and play well, maybe I fall apart and spew off opportunities. It is what it is. I've seen it all before. I guess my point was just to share that these events put me through the emotional ringer. Ha, and I registered for the US Open next month. Talk about an exercise in futility. I feel so out of place all over these days.

Thanks for having a small place for me here guys.


Me:38 XW:38
T:11 years M:8 years
Kids: S14, D11, D7
BD/Move out day: 6/17/14, D final Dec 15
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