I agree w/Kind18 about the emotionally-driven post and the cooling down period for contact.
Well done coming here to vent as opposed to firing off an email or text to him while you were charged up. That's the good news...you're funneling those emotions into a healthy channel instead of directing them at H.
Me:39 Ex-W:37 M:7 T: 9 S:6 D:3 BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20 OM1 affair ends: May '20 W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20 W files for D: Jul20 OM2 confirmed: 9/2020 Divorced: May '21
Thanks so much for all the support. It's such a relief to be able to share my frustrations with people who get it.
Absolutely. I'll vent here, I'll vent to my friends, I'll push hard during my workouts. Alien H is not allowed access into my inner life. Don't worry, I take my time whenever I communicate with him. I always let things sit and think things over (maybe too much) before sending him anything.
Funny how I posted about my mindset re: communication with H, and the same day, he texts me.
Less than two weeks ago, he said he understood that I need time to sort out my living situation before I can think about legal stuff. Yesterday, he said he "needs to know how to proceed," as it's been several months already [since he asked for a divorce]. I noticed he sent this text somewhat late at night.
I know the advice here is to err on the side of responding with the bare minimum of information, but boundaries are important, too, right? I think he's crossing a boundary here by pressuring and wanting everything to happen according to his wishes. Can I calmly explain the complicated and stressful situation he's put me in? Should I ask him what he means (to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what he means by "proceed")?
It’s a good idea to implement a 24-48 hour rule. Give yourself 24-48 hour before responding to H. That way you will respond instead of react. This buffer will also allow time to clarify your logical reasoned position and consult others if need be. Remember his wants and wishes are not an emergency on your part.
Next. Realize you are on two paths. Divorce - the proceeding, the negotiating, etc. - treat it as a business deal gone sideways. It’s business. Keep emotions out of it.
I know you don’t want a divorce. Yet, stonewalling one’s spouse is usually not a great idea. Currently, H seems eager to proceed. Therefore, he may offer a better settlement than if forced to wait. The flip side, more time yields possible change of heart with H.
My opinion, is any dragging things out will not be beneficial. H is in a crisis and highly unlikely to awaken any time soon. He seems calm and wanting to proceed. Delay will likely bring ire from H and a lot of irrational behaviour along with much less favourable settlement. I’d see what he is offering. Don’t push for a divorce, yet do not block it either. (You don’t have to sign or anything. Just seeing where he is.)
Maybe a text like:
My living situation is still not sorted out, and I haven’t been able to really look into things. However, I am willing to listen. What are you proposing for a settlement?
See what he comes back with. You’ve spoken to a lawyer. You know what your entitled to. If he is offering better, probably should seriously consider it. Always run everything by a lawyer before agreeing or signing anything.
Also make a few lists. One of things you must have. One of things you really don’t need. And one of things that are negotiable.
The first list are those hills you’d die on. The second are things you’d not even fight about. The third list and second list are items that you can use during negotiations to get what is on your list #1.
Partners that are leaving, especially a MLCer, have different items on their lists than the LBS. For example: They’ll give up kids for cash. Or give up spousal support for lump sum cash or speedy divorce. It really is amazing what is suddenly most important to these folks.
A tip for negotiating with a MLCer. Come at things sideways. Their usual default is to go against whatever you propose. Even if it is in their favour, they will go against it because the LBS suggested it. Remember, the MLCer is blaming the LBS. That irrational position and belief taints their entire world view.
If they feel like they came up with the idea, they will usually run with it. So it best to have them blurt out their wants and massage things from there. They usually are quite gleeful when getting their way, and feeling they are winning and in control. And like a kid, they just can’t keep a secret. My XW would call me after meeting with her lawyer and tell me her strategy. Tell me about her arguing with her own lawyer. Tell me about her having OM present at these meetings too.
I drank plenty of the STFU smoothie and let her chatter away. This loquaciousness of her’s did not last very long. However while it did, she was pleased as punch to be lording her new wonderful life over me and offering me advice on how to be a better partner. No where close to as good as her, but I could maybe get to average. She’d tell me I’d never have a great relationship like her’s, but she’d be willing to tell me all my faults. And she’d tell me what she wanted.
I kept mostly quiet, didn’t explode, and in the end - XW got what she asked for. A quick settlement where she grabbed quick cash and tossed everything else away.
It’s just a business deal gone sideways. Treat it as such.
The emotional healing path is where you invest yourself.
Feelings are fleeting. Be better, not bitter. Love the person, forgive the sin.
marching, I admittedly only skimmed your OP, I will go back and read it in depth at some point.
But here is my initial response:
You guys have been through a lot. Maybe it is an MLC, maybe it isn't. I know we LBS like to get to a diagnosis because then we can find a fix. At least that is our thinking. The problem is that there is no "fix". Especially if it is an MLC. MLCs can last decades. They can last the rest of a person's life.
But you found the forum and that is good, because now you can focus on yourself. The best advice I received in my own situation was to remove my focus form her and what she was saying and doing, and focus on me. And DBing gave me things to focus on: getting a life, going out and recapturing who I was and who I wanted to be. 180ing and self-improvements, becoming the best version of myself that I could be. Becoming a person only a fool would leave! And finally emotionally detaching, learning to detach my emotions and responses from her words and actions.
Those are difficult at first, but the beauty of them even when you aren't good at them, is it gives you something to focus on! Rather than focusing on him and what he is doing and whether it is a MLC or not, focus on those three DBing efforts.
All the other advice you've been getting is good too. And falls into one of those three broad categories. For instance, exercising is both GAL and self-improving.
Use this as an opportunity to move your life forward. He'll either come around and want to be part of that, or he won't.
M(53), W(54),D(19) M-23, T-25 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017 Ring and Piecing since March 2018
DnJ, thanks so much for the advice on how to respond, and R2C, thanks so much for stopping by my thread and thinking about my situation!
My response borrowed from DnJ's suggestion. It didn't follow the principle of less-is-more; I also explained myself a bit (contrary to what BL42 advised earlier). But I think it worked.
Paraphrase of the convo:
M: I hear what you are saying about wanting to proceed. I'm sorry, I cannot give you a response right now. [A few sentences giving a high-level description of the complex uncertainties of my life since BD and saying that resolving them will take time. Said I could give more details if he wants. And I am willing to listen if he has thoughts.]
H: I understand. And I am sorry about it too. [Said he'll wait until I let him know and that he won't bring it up again.]
M: Thank you.
Funny how this very brief text exchange brought up so many emotions. Relief because I truly don't have the bandwidth right now to begin an international divorce process. Anger because 1) H said that he already understood 10 days ago and 2) his apology is crap. He didn't even spell out what he's sorry for. And if he truly felt sorry, he would have for example, um, not KICKED ME OUT OF OUR APARTMENT and left me to fend for myself in a foreign country. He would have offered help for my current issues. (Actions, not words!) Hope because...hey, I slowed things down, changed the tone of our interaction, and maybe got him to wake up a little? (Before you come at me with the 2x4...I know, having expectations and mind-reading are BAD).
Then I cried out of frustration for having worried about this for so many hours. For things being so strained with the person who, just days before BD, was telling me that he loved me, was so happy about setting up our new home. I felt the pain that hits me every so often: the pain of feeling that don't have a home.
And now the divorce ball is in my court (unless H changes his mind, again). Now what? What is my plan going forward? (Apart from the usual GAL and DB stuff).
SteveLW, thanks so much for checking my thread and for the encouraging words.
I totally get what you're saying about the LBS's tendency to want to label or diagnose their spouse to make sense of a crazy situation. Just last night, I indulged in even more armchair diagnosing of my H, ha! However, I'm aware that I'm not a mental health professional and there's debate as to whether MLC is even a helpful concept. Plus, we can never really know what's going on in another person's head. Whatever is going on with my H, it has brought his lizard brain to the fore, and I know that there's nothing I can do to fix him. And it might take years for him to sort things out, if he ever does...the best way forward is to simply live my life.
-I ran into an old classmate I haven't seen in many years. She was walking with her husband, pushing a stroller. She introduced me to her baby. It made me sad. H and I were making concrete plans about having children just before BD.
-I am still young, there's plenty of time for me to have children. Right? Do I even really want children.
-I never thought I wanted children until I fell in love with H.
-Was I really prepared to have a family and settle down in Country B? Would I have been okay with narrowing down my career possibilities to that one place?
-Actually, Country B is a good place to be for someone with my specialization. Ironically, I might end up there in the near future for professional reasons.
-I feel lost. I don't feel like I have a home.
I'm going through a bit of an identity crisis myself.
On a lighter note, this experience had strengthened my friendships. My friends are awesome. I am so grateful for them.