Thanks. I don't feel restricted in a legal sense, because I know I could go to a lawyer today and demand 50/50 and get into a court battle and get it. .
If this is true, why are you accepting a situation that has you not seeing your kids for 10 days at a time?
Thanks for the 2x4. I needed that.
Re: 10 day stretches, I do want to break up those stretches. I'd like to propose at least 1 weeknight stay over at my place in the middle of those stretches. I'm sure this will go over like a lead balloon, but I have been thinking about this a lot now that I am settled in my new place. I'm sure my W would counter. So rather than 4-10 doing something like 3-5-1-5.
Re: 50/50, I stick by my belief that it would be overly disruptive to my kids today. In 2 years it is what I want if we are D'd. The reasons are complicated but that would be my ideal scenario.
Personally, I don't think 50-50 is always the right call. I feel the arrangement should be what is best for the kids. If it is less than 50% then that's ok. But going 10 days a stretch without seeing their father is likely not good for you or the kids. If I were in your shoes this would be my biggest concern and not reconciliation, standing etc.
I went off script yesterday and got into it over text with my W. As usual, when I have the kids for a few days, she inevitably finds something to get upset about.
Brief background: At the beginning of separation, my W asked that I send her regular updates (photos/texts) of the kids when they are with me. We also agreed this was a short-term deal, and she would let me know when she was more trusting and would back off. This happened in MC. She also bought S7 a phone watch with a GPS tracker, under the guise that it was for "both of us" but I saw through it. I didn't raise a fuss at the time because, well, I wasn't concerned anyhow.
One day last weekend I took the kids to see a mutual friend, and we didn't communicate with W for several hours. She let me know 2 days ago she was upset... first about not communicating for several hours, and second for not telling her we were going to see the mutual friend (implying we had some hidden agenda). She also implied I told S7 not to wear his watch, which apparently he told her was the case. Not sure why.
I texted something like, "Next time we will send updates more regularly. I'm sorry as this was part of our agreement. I never told S7 not to wear his watch, maybe there was some confusion. There was no hidden meaning about us going to see the mutual friend."
Last night she started up again.
I got triggered and decided to respond.
1. I told her she has seen mutual friends without telling me. And that I'm not arguing she set a precedent, but that I don't care if she sees friends without telling me. So it seems like she's not following her own rules.
2. I told her I would never have S7 not wear his watch, provided it is not disruptive. And it hasn't been.
3. I told her she was right I didn't communicate for several hours. She also could have pinged me and I would have responded.
4. I told her as part of our agreement, at some point, she agreed to back off and let me know she trusted me. It's been two months and I have zero feedback on this.
5. Finally, I said it was upsetting to find out S7 burned his hand last week at her house by talking to him the next day. But... that I also assume W has good intentions. And I prefer to assume she was trying to be a good parent, rather than get upset about it.
She responded "I'm not trying to make you upset." I said, "I need a break tonight, we can talk another time."
I know all of the above goes completely against validation advice. But I don't feel particularly bad about it. I feel like I needed to stand up and set some boundaries, including how far I will let her trample on me emotionally.
I would have never agreed to the bs she is making you go through. By agreeing to her unrealistic terms you are setting yourself up for this nonsense. Donít validate disrespectful behavior.
Youíre in a bad spot right now because it is financially better for you to wait for her to go to work before you file. Iíve been on this board almost five years and I have never seen a WW not trust a lbs with the kids like your w. You could be in this mess for a really long time.
U, I am sorry for the 2x4s but you are really frustrating me here. From what I see, you are letting her walk over you. She is making accusations and you are defending why you are not following "her rules". I can understand if her accusations were true but if what you say is true and she is at the least stretching the truth, I don't know why you won't just tell her to stop doing that. I also feel you are trying to be nice to win her back whether you admit it to yourself or not. You are the father of the kids and have rights - talk to a lawyer, understand what your rights are and ask for them in a manner that is least disruptive to the kids.
Originally Posted by unchien
I know all of the above goes completely against validation advice. But I don't feel particularly bad about it.
Personally, I feel you validated her authority to set the rules and defended why you did not follow 'her rules'. That is probably something to feel bad about - sorry.
Originally Posted by unchien
I feel like I needed to stand up and set some boundaries, including how far I will let her trample on me emotionally.
LH - You are right about her going back to work - there is also a point where money doesn't matter and maybe I should get on with it.
MLC - I really appreciate you airing out your frustration.
I don't know how to get my W to ramp down the safety concerns. I can't control her actions or words. I can obviously stop playing into the narrative and do things like refuse further MC unless it is MR-focused. I feel like I am going to have no option other than to file for D in order to protect my rights, based on her actions. I would prefer to file for D with a clear conscience, and not at a time where I feel compelled to do so.
I'd really like to hear feedback on what I can do here that doesn't involve taking a legal approach. (If there is one).
What I really want is to continue with the 4-10 but add some time alone with the kids in the middle of the 10. Perhaps an overnight, perhaps even a "pick them up after school, take them to dinner, get them ready for bed, drop them at mom's house".
I did make a lot of "agreements" early on in our separation as my W was threatening to withhold the kids and I wanted to avoid a court battle. That was NGS clearly. I know it, and I feel bad for it. Our MC continues to hold me to the agreements which is part of the problem. It also makes me wary about making any agreements with my W, even for little inconsequential things, because I never know when she is going to harp on them.
There are 2 incidents with my children that my W calls abuse. One was the incident I have described before, where I grabbed my son's leg in the back of the car to stop punching his sister. I left no marks - but it was overly aggressive and I was angry and scared him. The second incident was about 4 years ago, when he was a toddler misbehaving, and I picked him up and shook him. I did not brain-rattle shake him. He was not injured. I deeply regret what I did. In both cases, I agree I lost my cool. I wish I had made different decisions. Neither of these were reported incidents. But I do feel bad about them. I wrote about them in my April letters, which has scared me into caving into some of her demands.
I don't think I am trying to nice her back. But I am definitely trying to nice my way through the situation. Which is just as bad. I'd like us all to just get along and make this easy -- and that is the problem.
I feel like if my W would back off (and yes, I know that this is largely up to me, not her), I would be able to tolerate the separation much longer. As it is, the implicit threats around child safety make me worried to the point I think filing for D is the best option to protect my rights. But I don't want to make that decision out of fear.
We go to MC next week (first time in a month). I am fully expecting my W to turn this into "child safety class" or "UC failed on his commitment by one day not texting me for several hours with the kids". I am intending to focus on 3 points:
1. No further MC appointments unless we work on the MR. 2. Adding in some time during the 4-10. 3. Somehow addressing the constant pestering about safety?
Sorry to hear you're having a rough time. I would have responded sooner but I was away for the weekend. Plus I needed some time away from discussing my sit. I was getting into overload territory.
I read some of your recent posts - I wont quote them here for brevity's sake - but here are a few things that stuck out -
1. Getting worn out. This has been my status quo for the past year. There is no way around it, I have found, it has to happen. The best thing I have done to alleviate this is to force myself to get mentally tougher, physically tougher, and emotionally tougher. If I find myself thinking "I can't", I say "Stop. Of course you can. Take a minute, breathe, then get on with it."
Also, vitamins and natural supplements/foods for fatigue. And lots of water.
2. Getting triggered. It seems to me from here that your emotions are still being influenced by W's interactions. I have found that this is one of the hardest things about S - detachment. I would explore what causes you to get angry with W, and why you let this anger sit with you for longer than it takes a normal emotion to pass. Usually anger is very intense, but it is also fleeting. If it is staying with you - try to see if it is because you really are still angry, or if it is you wanting to be angry because of a story/narrative your W is telling herself.
3. Seeing your kids more. As long as there is no imminent L danger or courtroom drama incoming, just ask. Kindly. I would pick your moment, though, and this could be the trickiest part of it.
4. Standing. You don't have to stand. It is your choice. But remember that a decision to cut the rope entirely will not make your situation any better or worse in the near or even middle future. Unfortunately you will still have to deal with this situation and its consequences, and for quite some time afterwards. Make sure it's what you really want and it's what is best for you and your kids.
I hope you're feeling a bit better today, U. Try to keep a PMA and stay as strong as you can.