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#2860940 08/11/19 03:19 AM
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Starting a new thread

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Separate and sorting through the mess

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Whoops I botched the name, meant to be "sorting" and not "sorted".

Journal

So much going on right now that this post will only touch on a few topics.

On the GAL front, I went to a men's group this morning. I'm going to stick with it for awhile. I might post more later. For now I'll say they seem very aligned with DB and NGS principles, but obviously there are people going there for all different kinds of reasons. I made sure to speak up, and ended up with a weeklong commitment that the group is going to hold me accountable to (in this case, not getting baited into text message battles with my W). I was almost immediately tested later today and I have to say that extra little commitment helped me gain a little extra resolve. It's not unlike this forum, with the vets holding us relative noobs accountable with 2x4s.

Then I got a haircut, lunch, went to the gym, video-chatted my kids, cooked myself dinner (a rarity!), went for a walk out by the beautiful lake by my house, sat on a bench there and did a 10 minute silent meditation. My body is worn out, and I'm headed out at 6am to go surfing with a buddy.

On the emotional front, I've been posting a lot recently about my anger and frustration over the child safety issue. I recognize this is part of a process and will take some time. These are confusing emotions for me. Until a couple months ago I think I had the classic NG response to anger - I either suppressed it, or let it drive me to react. Is my anger over the child safety issue? Or is it anger over being jilted? Am I angry about the upheaval in my life? Am I angry on behalf of my kids?

I know that I'm not going to figure it out by using my brain. I've done that for 40 years and gotten nowhere. Thanks brain.

The emotions are unsettling, but they are there. I need to sit and let them settle. However long it takes. Just sit and be with them. Take advantage of IC, meditation, and my alone time when not with the kids.

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Originally Posted by unchien

Then I got a haircut, lunch, went to the gym, video-chatted my kids, cooked myself dinner (a rarity!), went for a walk out by the beautiful lake by my house, sat on a bench there and did a 10 minute silent meditation. My body is worn out, and I'm headed out at 6am to go surfing with a buddy.


Getting a life? think back to when you were happy. Are these the things that drove your passion or are they trivial tokens? If you reconnect with your core and restore your old beliefs and habits you will feel more in control. Best of luck.


Now divorced, boys grown up. Now in new failed relationship( never again, please )
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Thanks FM - To be honest I'm still testing out things to reconnect with my core. I haven't been in this situation since I was much younger, and I can tell the things I like to do have changed. Some old hobbies still excite me, some do not.

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Journal

MC and financial advisor appointment today.

W and I had our weekly 1:1 call last night and got in a fairly significant tiff. Next weekend is mine with the kids, she had asked to have one of the nights/days because her friend is visiting with her 3 daughters. I told her no.

I didn't want to swap one Fri-Sat for another weekend, because I felt like that chops up my time with the kids into 1 weekend day. I said I would do it in return for a Friday-Sun am time slot somewhere else, which really offended her because it wasn't equal timeshare. I guess I understand, but I don't see the harm in asking.

I violated a lot of DB principles during the conversation. I fell into some old NG habits. I want to be accommodating and likable. And I start to think, "Eh, one night, what does it hurt?"

She was upset. I got the full guilt trip: I get Labor Day. She has offered for me to join them on Halloween. I am being rigid. Weekends are her only time to enjoy the kids too. On and on...

But I stood my ground, something I wouldn't have done before. Yeah, it [censored] for the kids that they won't spend much time with these 3 kids. But also... I didn't plan their visit. My W planned it, before consulting me, and now thinks I'm too "rigid". It ticks me off that now it will "disappoint" our kids not to spend time with these other kids. Then my W went on and on about how difficult it is maintaining the house, and how she'll be running around with the kids now that school and activities are starting, and how she feels so overwhelmed with all the responsibility.

And I screwed up and stopped validating. I brought up that I don't exactly enjoy the situation either. That I'm working full time to support the family, going 10 day stretches without seeing the kids... it is not what I want either. That I feel like she has been quite rigid on issues. I know it was a mistake, but I'm not going to sugar-coat things on this forum. It happened.

We also discussed the remote house where she lives. Maintenance is becoming a headache, and I think the inconvenience of shuttling the kids around this year (now that 2 are in school) is going to make things worse. W seems really overwhelmed now that school is starting. I am frustrated she did not pull together her work schedule while kids were off school, seems like it will only get harder for her. Quite honestly forget the MR I think we will need to sell by next summer. This whole co-parenting thing would be a lot easier if we both had homes in convenient locations - and even if we R I don't think that house works for our family situation. I didn't say all that, it was just my impression after the call.

There's going to be a lot spinning in my head this week, and even more after our two appointments today.

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Originally Posted by unchien
Journal

MC and financial advisor appointment today.

W and I had our weekly 1:1 call last night and got in a fairly significant tiff. Next weekend is mine with the kids, she had asked to have one of the nights/days because her friend is visiting with her 3 daughters. I told her no.

I didn't want to swap one Fri-Sat for another weekend, because I felt like that chops up my time with the kids into 1 weekend day. I said I would do it in return for a Friday-Sun am time slot somewhere else, which really offended her because it wasn't equal timeshare. I guess I understand, but I don't see the harm in asking.

I violated a lot of DB principles during the conversation. I fell into some old NG habits. I want to be accommodating and likable. And I start to think, "Eh, one night, what does it hurt?"

She was upset. I got the full guilt trip: I get Labor Day. She has offered for me to join them on Halloween. I am being rigid. Weekends are her only time to enjoy the kids too. On and on...

But I stood my ground, something I wouldn't have done before. Yeah, it [censored] for the kids that they won't spend much time with these 3 kids. But also... I didn't plan their visit. My W planned it, before consulting me, and now thinks I'm too "rigid". It ticks me off that now it will "disappoint" our kids not to spend time with these other kids. Then my W went on and on about how difficult it is maintaining the house, and how she'll be running around with the kids now that school and activities are starting, and how she feels so overwhelmed with all the responsibility.

And I screwed up and stopped validating. I brought up that I don't exactly enjoy the situation either. That I'm working full time to support the family, going 10 day stretches without seeing the kids... it is not what I want either. That I feel like she has been quite rigid on issues. I know it was a mistake, but I'm not going to sugar-coat things on this forum. It happened.

We also discussed the remote house where she lives. Maintenance is becoming a headache, and I think the inconvenience of shuttling the kids around this year (now that 2 are in school) is going to make things worse. W seems really overwhelmed now that school is starting. I am frustrated she did not pull together her work schedule while kids were off school, seems like it will only get harder for her. Quite honestly forget the MR I think we will need to sell by next summer. This whole co-parenting thing would be a lot easier if we both had homes in convenient locations - and even if we R I don't think that house works for our family situation. I didn't say all that, it was just my impression after the call.

There's going to be a lot spinning in my head this week, and even more after our two appointments today.



Hey U -

I dont have much advice to give today. I am in a low place again and trying to pull out of it. The cycling [censored].

At any rate - don't be so hard on yourself. Human beings are not perfect. We will screw up, we will give up, we will do things that we will regret later. The thing is to realize it and learn from it - and figure out a way not to makethat mistake again in the future.

Forgive yourself.

You're in a tough spot - we all are.

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Thanks IW. Navigating this separation with loving or friendly detachment is almost impossible.

The NGS emotions are flooding back. Anxiety first and foremost. I'm more nervous about having said "No" than about all the other things I said. It signals to me I have work to do... I am grateful that I recognize the anxiety flooding back and that I need to just pause and let it sit. It may take an hour, a day, a week to resolve... I just need to let it be.

There is a tinge of R hope mixed in to these emotions. But more strongly than R hope, I feel nervous about my W potentially retaliating in the future. "You didn't let me have the kids that one weekend so blah blah blah." And again my old NGS comes back and wants to resolve the nervousness and anxiety by capitulating. Conflict avoidance. Fear. I feel like a coward. Crudely speaking I need to get my b@lls back.

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Originally Posted by unchien
Thanks IW. Navigating this separation with loving or friendly detachment is almost impossible.


I am in the same boat as you. I am also doing all that I can to be friendly/cordial. I have seen minimal results. She isn't as confused or all over the map as when I was pursuing - maybe that's a good thing. Or maybe their mind gets made up that they've made their decision and that's that. Getting into their heads is always a mistake.

Quote

The NGS emotions are flooding back. Anxiety first and foremost. I'm more nervous about having said "No" than about all the other things I said. It signals to me I have work to do... I am grateful that I recognize the anxiety flooding back and that I need to just pause and let it sit. It may take an hour, a day, a week to resolve... I just need to let it be.


Yes. I am right with you. I also have work to do.

Been cycling in and out of old pattern anxiety/panic mode for almost 5 days now. It cycles throughout the day. Breaking it is proving very difficult this time. I don't know why and it doesn't make sense - my sit is a year in. Why now? I ask myself that and then the spinning starts.

Quote

There is a tinge of R hope mixed in to these emotions. But more strongly than R hope, I feel nervous about my W potentially retaliating in the future. "You didn't let me have the kids that one weekend so blah blah blah." And again my old NGS comes back and wants to resolve the nervousness and anxiety by capitulating. Conflict avoidance. Fear. I feel like a coward. Crudely speaking I need to get my b@lls back.


Yeah the nerves suck. Meditation mostly helps. The rest is telling yourself you won't e like this forever. But, like me, I think you've got to accept that it's a part of who you are.

I was having a conversation with someone a while ago about childhood development issues and they agreed that these things can be managed and dealt with, but they never truly go completely away. We just learn how to handle them and recognize the patterns when they start to show themselves.

I am glad you have some R hope - i think thats ok and part of what standing is. Unfortunately I have zero R hope at the moment. If anything I am expecting a rapid worsening soon. Call it intuition or a gut feeling. I am preparing for a huge bomb again and am guarded like a MF right now.

I can see you struggling with NGS still. Keep going man, even if you stumble, its ok. This is coming from those of us who have very little chance right now.

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Big day today with both MC and then a financial consult.

I don't think I can pack everything into a single post.

MC highlights:

- The tiff last night seems to have resolved by me taking no further action. Old UC would have tried to smooth things over this morning. My W recognized she was triggered and it was reasonable for me to say "no" to her request. She still had a little resentment, thinking she deserved it because she had given me something in the past. I held my ground. Inside I thought "That's a covert contract!!"

- We talked about where to go next in MC. My W said she's not ready to dig deeper in MC to work through her feelings about the past several years. Her feelings are clearly authentic, she was not acting. At my turn I said I also have issues I would want to work on with her, but I felt until we work on her feelings first that we will not make any progress. My W said she needs to focus on IC and really dig into her feelings, as she apparently has spent most of her IC sessions dealing with the logistics of the S. I can't blame her, I've done a lot of the same in IC. Our MC pressed her, and pointed out maybe this suggested she needed to deal with individual issues that have nothing to do with me. She agreed. It was a little bit surreal sitting there.

- I decided to open up a little. That could be a whole other post. I felt really good about it, I felt authentic, I felt real, I felt calm, and I had no expectations. I just said I'm going to keep working on myself, for my own sake and for all my relationships in my life. I hoped one day my W would be willing to work on the MR, and for now I am here for her, but I'm looking forward to all the positive things I'm working on and feel like I'm making great progress. I was really positive about it -- it's really easy to be positive when you actually feel positive, so this was easy for me.

- My W remarked how calm I seem lately, and that she notices the changes. Again, I'm not making them for her, but it was validating to be noticed. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing.

Financial:

This is more boring. We are going to run a "what would temporary spousal support look like today?" (using the state calculator) just so we each have an idea. We are also going to establish separate bank and credit accounts for personal expenses. I am excited about this one... tired of having petty conflict about how much she spent on her hair or how much I spent on dinner with a friend. It was weird to be talking about all these scenarios without much emotion.

After the 2 sessions W and I were swapping car seats between our cars. She gave me a really tight goodbye hug. I don't know what it means, and don't really care, but I found it noteworthy and weird. That's all.

In short, we are stopping MC for a few weeks because we aren't working on the MR. We both see what's holding us up. All I can do is keep working on myself. Maybe my W will make some progress and be willing to work together again. Maybe not. Maybe she will want out. I have no idea. Just gotta keep plugging on.

Overall I'm completely exhausted, need a good night's sleep.

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Journal -

I'm spending some time trying to recalibrate after yesterday, and focus on what's important.

I appreciate the honesty my W brought to MC yesterday. She is not ready to work on the MR.

She admitted she has individual issues to work on in IC, and lately her IC sessions have focused on separation issues (child safety, etc.) rather than personal work. She wants to focus on herself again and processing what happened in our MR. She said she's not ready to share her feelings about what happened prior to our separation - in particular when I pulled the car over in March and she feared for her life.

I don't feel as blamed as I did 2 months ago. I did things I regret. Whether they should be called abuse I don't know, but I know I am changing into a person who would not make those same decisions (like pulling the car over).

I am slightly more accepting of limbo today. I feel less urgency. I feel like I got more from my W than "I need time and space." I have a healthy dose of skepticism mixed in, but I can accept that today she is not ready to dive deep.

Even if my W and I can get over this first hurdle, there are other issues that would need to be addressed. It's a long road ahead either way.

Financially it is easy to get triggered. But quite honestly I think it's best for everyone involved to have a clear picture of the financial implications either way. So I am okay with that piece.

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Originally Posted by unchien
Journal -

I'm spending some time trying to recalibrate after yesterday, and focus on what's important.

I appreciate the honesty my W brought to MC yesterday. She is not ready to work on the MR.

She admitted she has individual issues to work on in IC, and lately her IC sessions have focused on separation issues (child safety, etc.) rather than personal work. She wants to focus on herself again and processing what happened in our MR. She said she's not ready to share her feelings about what happened prior to our separation - in particular when I pulled the car over in March and she feared for her life.

I don't feel as blamed as I did 2 months ago. I did things I regret. Whether they should be called abuse I don't know, but I know I am changing into a person who would not make those same decisions (like pulling the car over).

I am slightly more accepting of limbo today. I feel less urgency. I feel like I got more from my W than "I need time and space." I have a healthy dose of skepticism mixed in, but I can accept that today she is not ready to dive deep.

Even if my W and I can get over this first hurdle, there are other issues that would need to be addressed. It's a long road ahead either way.

Financially it is easy to get triggered. But quite honestly I think it's best for everyone involved to have a clear picture of the financial implications either way. So I am okay with that piece.



I think it's a good thing you are taking a break from MC to work on yourself, U. W had the wherewithal to realize that it is pointless to continue if you aren't working on the R. It would be a completely new R at this point at any rate - so maybe this will help you to see if a new R is possible, or is even something that you want.

The limbo part - that comes and goes in waves. Enjoy the calm periods and work to make them last as long as possible. See if you can practice trying not to react if you have an interaction initiated by W. I had a lot of success with this for a good 4 or 5 months before falling off the wagon last week - but it definitely is possible.

Everyone makes mistakes, nobody is perfect. Dont forget to forgive yourself too. We are all trying to be the best humans we can. Sometimes we fall - I do, often - but it's what happens after we fall that matters.

Take care man

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Originally Posted by IronWill
Dont forget to forgive yourself too. We are all trying to be the best humans we can. Sometimes we fall - I do, often - but it's what happens after we fall that matters.

Self compassion is a huge component to this process, I agree.

Meditation and emotional awareness have helped guide me towards self-compassion. I haven't found books to be very successful in this area.

I do hope that we are finally reaching some equilibrium in the separation where the conflict over logistics dies down, and we can each focus on the next steps in our journey.

I definitely feel slightly more positive about the chances we might R. Perhaps we may be able to address my W's concerns with the MR. At the same time, I sense myself drifting away from the MR. Because I have doubts we would address my concerns about the MR effectively, whether my W would be receptive to change on her part. I wonder through this process if my personal growth will lead me to a place where we are not compatible. It feels that way much of the time.

One day at a time though.

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Originally Posted by unchien

Meditation and emotional awareness have helped guide me towards self-compassion. I haven't found books to be very successful in this area.


Yeah it is difficult to find a book that can teach you these things. The exception to this, at least for me, was E Tolle. It really changed the entire way I perceive reality.

I'm not kidding.

If you get the chance - I would highly recommend to read first The Power of Now, and then The New Earth. For me it was like a light switch moment where I suddenly "got it".

Take your time reading them, if you do. I have a tendency to speed read, so my second time around I am going back and re-reading paragraphs and parts I find insightful (there are a lot). Pages 35-40 in TPoN are screenshotted and saved on my phone. I have probably referred to them a hundred times when I feel myself spiraling.

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Thanks IW. I bought so many books the last 4 months that I've taken a break. I'm going to put TPoN at the top of my list.

I'm feeling kind of lousy lately. Because I've committed to PMA I didn't really notice it, but I realize I've been faking the PMA a bit. Melancholy is probably the right word.

Part of this is just missing the heck out of my kids.

I went to dinner with a friend who lives out of state last night. He is D'd with 3 kids and has rebuilt his personal life. He has really helped me dig out of the personal hole I was in back in April. We talked about my W wanting to focus on IC right now, that she is not ready to talk about the deeper emotional issues with me right now.

My friend pointed out that I can't be expected to wait around forever. His situation was not exactly the same as mine. His W was bored, said she didn't know what she wanted, and they lived in the same house. She refused MC. Eventually my friend said he couldn't do it anymore and they joint filed for D amicably. Later on they had a big custody battle where she accused him of abuse and called CPS on him several times (for no reason at all).

I mentioned that I worry there will never be a trigger event to push me along. If we had a big blow-up fight, or found out she had a PA, or she did something crazy with the kids like turning them against me -- it would be so much more clear-cut what to do (for me). But that's what happened with him. He gave her a few months, decided she was not willing to work on it, and moved on. They attempted a couple reconciliations down the road, but his XW wouldn't commit to trying.

He got me thinking that I have been lying to myself a little bit. I'm living on my own, kind of enjoying the bachelor lifestyle of having things in my house my way, not reporting to anybody. It's kind of nice. But it's still limbo. I'm not really building a life. I'm doing stuff with friends, going to work, working on myself, but I'm still in a holding pattern with my W. This is not my long-term life. I need a plan in place, I need to own my life. I need a timeline, if only in my head.

There has been some improvement with my W since the pre-BD days. We can actually discuss difficult subjects (kids, finances) without emotion taking over (especially on her side). It's a shame we can not hit rewind now and go back 3 years with out updated skill sets... but such is life.

I respect that my W shared in MC that she is not ready to do deeper couples work. Her identification with being abused is really really strong. I've talked about this at length on my posts. I don't believe I was an abusive monster at the time, and I certainly have changed now. But I will have an open conversation with her in MC if she is willing to share. I own my responsibility for things that have happened.

I just don't know if it is healthy for me to be waiting, or if this is even "fixable". The abuse narrative runs strong. If it is really true then for her own well-being (and mine as well) we honestly should split. Does she think of a path to R as she heals and I am completely penitent? Is that really healthy for me? It is not my narrative. But her narrative is so strong that I feel there is no room for my story. I mentioned this in MC in a roundabout way - I said I didn't think we could work on the MR issues that I saw until my W was prepared to be more vulnerable.

Maybe this is just a simple emotional recalibration, recognizing I was riding a little too high with the PMA and GAL and feeling good about things for awhile.

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Originally Posted by unchien

I'm feeling kind of lousy lately. Because I've committed to PMA I didn't really notice it, but I realize I've been faking the PMA a bit. Melancholy is probably the right word.

Part of this is just missing the heck out of my kids.


I'm sorry you are feeling lousy, U. This whole situation [censored] - theres no shortcuts around it. I remember feeling like you did about 3 months ago and then it all crashed down on me at once. It's part of the emotional rollercoaster. I still feel it, been in a rough state now for over a week and a half. This is the longest it's been since BD, and I'm trying like hell to cope with it best I can.

Originally Posted by Unchien

We talked about my W wanting to focus on IC right now, that she is not ready to talk about the deeper emotional issues with me right now.

My friend pointed out that I can't be expected to wait around forever. His situation was not exactly the same as mine.


As I always think to myself: "Consider the source."

I'm glad your friend helped you out, and you are lucky to have support like that. But... who is expecting you to not wait forever? You? Him? Society?

I have heard an LBS who stands waits about 12-18 months for their S. And someone in MLC takes about 2-2.5 years to start to come out of it, IF they come out of it. So that's the kind of timeline we are looking at - maybe.

You can wait (or not wait) as long as you want. It's your life, it's your situation, not your friends'. I wouldn't feel pressured to listen to anyone or society about expectations of what you should or shouldn't be doing.

It is nice that he said that and maybe he meant it in a good supportive way. But the choice is yours smile

Originally Posted by Unchien

I mentioned that I worry there will never be a trigger event to push me along. If we had a big blow-up fight, or found out she had a PA, or she did something crazy with the kids like turning them against me -- it would be so much more clear-cut what to do (for me). But that's what happened with him. He gave her a few months, decided she was not willing to work on it, and moved on. They attempted a couple reconciliations down the road, but his XW wouldn't commit to trying.

He got me thinking that I have been lying to myself a little bit. I'm living on my own, kind of enjoying the bachelor lifestyle of having things in my house my way, not reporting to anybody. It's kind of nice. But it's still limbo. I'm not really building a life. I'm doing stuff with friends, going to work, working on myself, but I'm still in a holding pattern with my W. This is not my long-term life. I need a plan in place, I need to own my life. I need a timeline, if only in my head.

There has been some improvement with my W since the pre-BD days. We can actually discuss difficult subjects (kids, finances) without emotion taking over (especially on her side). It's a shame we can not hit rewind now and go back 3 years with out updated skill sets... but such is life.


Everyone's situation is different. What works or didn't work for him has no bearing on your R. Its good to get other opinions, and it's good to vent to friends out of frustrationand anger or sadness, but as I said above, it's your sit, not his.

If theres been improvement with W, even if its modest - that's a good thing! Be glad for that smile

I know you need a plan in place - I got that about you the first time I read your sit smile but you cannot really plan out limbo, it just happens. So I think it's more doing things for yourself so you can see what happens or what you might do after this period of transition is complete.

Originally Posted by Unchien

I respect that my W shared in MC that she is not ready to do deeper couples work.


I agree that she isn't. My W is not either. That will take quite some time. Since I have decided to stand I'm willing to let that time pass for now. I'm not eager to get into any other R - it would just be a rebound thing at this point anyway and I'd bring the same problems into it, you know?

Quote

I just don't know if it is healthy for me to be waiting, or if this is even "fixable". The abuse narrative runs strong. If it is really true then for her own well-being (and mine as well) we honestly should split. Does she think of a path to R as she heals and I am completely penitent? Is that really healthy for me?


Since shes operating on emotional thinking and you are operating on logical thinking, I wouldn't expect these two lines of thought to converge until a later time. Unfortunately I can't give much help here as i am in a similar situation as far as it being "fixable". I also have to wait and see.

Originally Posted by Unchien

Maybe this is just a simple emotional recalibration, recognizing I was riding a little too high with the PMA and GAL and feeling good about things for awhile.


It's ok, this is normal. I'm going through it too. It will pass again, remember to breathe, and take care of yourself.

Stay strong, buddy

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Thanks IW.

What I could have said more clearly is I worry I am operating in an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality right now. It's really easy to ignore the elephant in the room, that this situation is not really sustainable, and perhaps I am not addressing things that I need to address.

It's almost as if I over-corrected from "I need to have clear expectations" all the way to "I have zero expectations and will just float along here." Zero expectations are okay, but floating along is not okay.

My friend is an engineer (just like me) and very logically oriented. I don't feel like I need to follow his advice, but he did help me consider that I may be operating on auto-pilot.

Compared to a few months ago, I don't have the same impulse to create a plan with a definite timeline. It's more that I just want to make sure I am not operating without any plan at all. I need to be fair to myself. Whether or not my W needs 12 months, 24 months, or 10 years, my needs are important too. Zero expectations on where she will be at any time, but also I need to be compassionate towards myself and what I need.

This spike in emotional awareness has really caused me to drop off my old patterns of logical thinking. I intentionally and deliberately try to make more emotionally-based decisions now. However, that requires constant awareness of my emotional state, so I am not in pure "reactive" mode. It's not that I avoid logical thinking, but so much of my logical thinking in the past was based on wanting to control outcomes rather than actually make good decisions.

One thing I can say is it feels absolutely incredible to more in tune with my emotions. Even the negative ones.

I think I discussed in a prior post how I was worried about the impulse to start a new relationship. One thing I have realized is what I really miss is connection. It's not about romantic relationships, it's just basic human connection. That is something I can work on right now.

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Hey U,

I know the out of sight out of mind feeling well. I actually enjoy it because it feels like I am detaching well if I donít have thoughts of W.

In regards to the timeline, I know we all logical think ďokay Iím going to hold the fort for x amount of time before moving onĒ. But it very well might be the case that before your logical timeline runs out, that you emotionally will have a feeling of being done. And I think thatís okay.

Iíve started dating and while I have no intention of having a serious relationship for now, if I were to feel very emotionally attached toward another woman and we get along really well, I donít think I would have trouble becoming more serious. Iím trying to not plan things out logistically and just go with the flow. Doing things and interacting with people who make me happy.


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It's an interesting discussion to have, U. It's different for everyone...

After the first session in a month with my IC yesterday, she determined accurately that I am still in significant shock from what happened over the past 12 months. We had been discussing plans and goals for me in the future, and I told her that I was not comfortable making any major life decisions while I am in this state. She then went on to say that of course i would feel this way, it had been over 21 years and for the R to end suddenly like that it would have that effect.

I likened it much to the PTSD i experienced in my upbringing, and then again in the military following a search and rescue mission we did that left severe emotional scars. IC said that these kinds of traumatic events can also leave emotional scarring - much like a real scar, and the people we seek afterwards can be an attempt to simply alleviate the suffering, rather than someone with whom we could make a real connection.

My melancholy feels much like what you describe, except everything has a dull, flat quality to it. There is life there, and it does peek out in moments of clarity, but the rest is shrouded in a numbness-inducing haze that obscures everything. I dont know if I can describe it more clearly than that.

The only way to deal with it is to go through it.

I wish I had better advice to give - but I'm still struggling. If it helps, know that you're not alone in this.

Stay strong man

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IW - Thanks for the reply. Sometimes I find myself riffing off your responses because you always kickstart interesting new thoughts for me.

I can't imagine what you have gone through with PTSD. You are tackling a lot all at once - your upbringing, your military experiences, your MR. I have incredible respect for how you are managing your struggle... it is not easy.

I think you are right about the impact of emotional scars affecting the connections we seek in our lives. In my case, and I say this with some shame, I'm pretty sure I "accepted" previous romantic relationships mostly on the basis that the girl liked me. That female acceptance mattered a lot. My W felt different when we met, we were very good friends for awhile, and the connection ran deeper. But I recognize I fell into the same pattern of feeling inferior, and going down that NG path which leads to emotional distance.

Anyways I've been thinking a lot lately about one thing that you mentioned: Connection.

Humans are tribal creatures. We want to connect. Combine the American nuclear family ideal with NGS and you have a lot of H's like myself closing off their lives. We lose connection. We center our entire lives around our family and house and our W and kids. We shut out our friendships, our outside world, our masculinity, our individuality. It's no wonder our own W's find us emotionally distant and dull, while at the same time we try harder and harder and harder to please.

I find myself craving connection. Not a partner necessarily (I was confused about this a couple weeks ago). I talk to strangers. I text friends more. I go out and do more things. I live more deliberately -- meaning I don't feel like every day is life or death, but I have turned off auto-pilot as much as I can. It's a more mindful way to live. Life feels like a place of abundance for the most part.

And then I think of my kids, and how I miss them, and how I worry we are already drifting apart. And I can't feel anything other than deep sorrow about it right now. I have them this weekend, and I am going to live it to the fullest with them. Adjusting to single fatherhood is going to take time, and it's really something I am struggling with. I feel shut out of their lives sometimes... but that's a very passive, victim-like role to take.

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Originally Posted by unchien
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And then I think of my kids, and how I miss them, and how I worry we are already drifting apart. And I can't feel anything other than deep sorrow about it right now. I have them this weekend, and I am going to live it to the fullest with them. Adjusting to single fatherhood is going to take time, and it's really something I am struggling with. I feel shut out of their lives sometimes... but that's a very passive, victim-like role to take.


How much time do you get with the kids? If it is less than 40% and you feel you are drifting apart from your kids, why are you not negotiating for more time with them?

Get as much personal work done when you don't have the kids and when you do have them dedicate a LOT more time to them without distractions. That way even if you have them for only 40% of the time, you can effectively still spend 60-70% of the time you used to spend with them when they lived with you 100% of the time

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Originally Posted by MLCxH

How much time do you get with the kids? If it is less than 40% and you feel you are drifting apart from your kids, why are you not negotiating for more time with them?

Get as much personal work done when you don't have the kids and when you do have them dedicate a LOT more time to them without distractions. That way even if you have them for only 40% of the time, you can effectively still spend 60-70% of the time you used to spend with them when they lived with you 100% of the time

Thanks for the response! I was just logging on for a long journal post (to follow):

Right now I am doing every other weekend Friday-Tuesday - so roughly 30%. And 50/50 for holidays and time off.

My situation was dicey just a month ago getting ANY time (without having to go to court).

I actually really love the time with my kids right now, it is higher quality time than I had before. No stress about having to give my W a break, do house chores, etc. Now, we have fun, and then when they leave I clean up the mess. The hardest part is not having 1:1 time with any one of the kids -- it's virtually impossible with the ages of my 3 to really spend time with any one of them individually. Even when the MR was better, this was a challenge.

It's mostly the long breaks between seeing them that hurts. It would be nice to have a weeknight during my off weeks, but that may be overly disruptive.

In the meantime, I think I should settle into this routine and see how well it is working, and consider if any changes would work better.

Kids are so amazingly resilient, moreso than their parents. D3 told me about two dreams she had this morning. The first dream was that she missed me and thought I was leaving her. She gave me a sad pouty face. I gave her a big hug and said "I would never do that, I love you!" and she smiled. I thought, man this is really a rough situation. Then I asked, "What was the second dream about?" And she yelled out happily "Pirates!!"

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Journal ~

The reality of limbo is becoming clearer, after MC last week in particular. My W identifies very strongly with emotional abuse, and is not ready to work on this in couples therapy. She has agreed she needs to work on this in IC.

For the past week plus I have been feeling very detached, almost to the point of indifference sometimes. I wonder what is the dividing line between loving detachment and indifference -- because indifference to me implies that I am completely done. I'm not there yet, but sometimes feel close.

Then I received one of MWD's emails this weekend. She mentioned that this is divorce BUSTING. Unless there is abuse involved, everything we do is about NOT GETTING D'd. I know that us folks on the forum are usually in dire circumstances, but it was definitely a small 2x4 reminder to me about why I am doing what I am doing.

And now I'm thrown for a loop. And I'm back trying to simplify things in my head, which helps me avoid ruminating.

I crossed the line sometimes in the past. I've talked about this at length in my threads. I've read several books about emotional and physical abuse (from both the abuser and abused perspective), talked in IC at length about it, even called a hotline at one point. Pre-BD I was in a very dark place, feeling labeled and like a terrible human being.

What happened with me is I could not deal with my emotions. I would get anxious about our relationship, and then seek affection, and feel spurned and rejected, get frustrated, and start acting passive aggressively. I wouldn't call my W names, I wouldn't physically approach her, but just that atmosphere of pressure was enough to set us down this path. I accept my role. Now I am at a place where I *can* deal with those emotions, I continue to learn and grow, and I feel really good about dealing with my issues.

But we both brought our issues into this, it is not all on me.

My W works in the mental health field. She is a smart cookie. If she truly felt abused and terrified, she would have filed an RO and filed for D. She *knows* she is bringing individual trust issues into this. Frankly, this is *exactly* what DB is all about. By following DB principles and focusing on my own well-being, I gave her the time and space and freedom to start to have some insight. I can't control it, but had I done anything else I'm sure things would have fallen apart quickly.

It feels like an incredibly difficult place though. Is it worth continuing? If the path to R involves me being contrite and repairing my abusive ways, well, that is not a healthy narrative. If the path to R involves me handling my emotional regulation issues, and my W becoming aware of her own issues and contributions to the erosion of our MR, then I can continue.

I guess it's pretty simple -- the continued use of terms like "abuse" make me feel like continuing this MR would be toxic on so many levels. There is an unhealthy power dynamic at play, for both of us.

Anyways, for now I'm okay with staying the course and letting my W work on sorting out what she wants to do next. Long-term I can't see how we can ever piece this thing together if the overarching storyline is abused/abuser.

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Originally Posted by unchien
[quote=MLCxH]
Right now I am doing every other weekend Friday-Tuesday - so roughly 30%. And 50/50 for holidays and time off.

My situation was dicey just a month ago getting ANY time (without having to go to court).


I can understand why you feel concerned with the long gap between possessions. Have you given any thought to making it Fri-Mon and then getting them on Mon of the next week? Or at the least getting time with them for a couple of hours for dinner on a weekday in the week that you don't have them?

Regarding the custody time, what does your attorney say about your chances if you do go to court? If you try to change their routine after several months it may actually be more disruptive for them than trying to establish a new routine now that works long term?

Originally Posted by unchien

My W works in the mental health field. She is a smart cookie. If she truly felt abused and terrified, she would have filed an RO and filed for D. She *knows* she is bringing individual trust issues into this.


This seems like a red flag to me. Is your attorney aware of this?

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Originally Posted by unchien
What happened with me is I could not deal with my emotions. I would get anxious about our relationship, and then seek affection, and feel spurned and rejected, get frustrated, and start acting passive aggressively. I wouldn't call my W names, I wouldn't physically approach her, but just that atmosphere of pressure was enough to set us down this path. I accept my role. Now I am at a place where I *can* deal with those emotions, I continue to learn and grow, and I feel really good about dealing with my issues.


As you might guess, this really resonates with me as well. WAW has mentioned a couple of times that she feels like I was gaslighting her, and was at times emotionally abusive - for basically the same reasons you laid out. Classic NGS stuff all the way down the line: anxious attachment, not being emotionally open, not communicating, not resolving issues..and on and on.

You're/we're doing the right things: we're accepting confronting our issues head-on, learning about them, doing what we need to do in order to not have them impact whatever comes next. It is true however that as much as we might beat ourselves up for not having these realizations earlier, it is not fully on us and so long as your sitch casts you as the abuser, I think you're right that those negative emotions and memories are going to overpower any thoughts of your positive contributions and qualities.

But it [censored], for sure. There's a great/brutal quote by Kierkegaard: "The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you can never have." One of the biggest hurdles mentally is to not go back and think "Geez, if only I had read NGS earlier, things would have been so much better". That's just not the reality we face, there is no time machine.

And believe me, I'm typing that reply to you like a reply to myself as well. One day at a time, brother.


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Originally Posted by MLCxH

I can understand why you feel concerned with the long gap between possessions. Have you given any thought to making it Fri-Mon and then getting them on Mon of the next week? Or at the least getting time with them for a couple of hours for dinner on a weekday in the week that you don't have them?

I like the dinner idea, need to see how we settle into the school year activities here.

Originally Posted by MLCxH
Regarding the custody time, what does your attorney say about your chances if you do go to court? If you try to change their routine after several months it may actually be more disruptive for them than trying to establish a new routine now that works long term?

I won't lie this is an emotional trigger for me. I have not retained an attorney but I did have a consult. As long as I establish a pattern of regular overnights, she was not concerned. I am aware I may end up in a costly custody court battle down the road.

I'm really happy I avoided a court battle just to get to this point.

Originally Posted by MLCxH
Originally Posted by unchien

My W works in the mental health field. She is a smart cookie. If she truly felt abused and terrified, she would have filed an RO and filed for D. She *knows* she is bringing individual trust issues into this.


This seems like a red flag to me. Is your attorney aware of this?

Aware of the abuse talk? Yes.

I now have a regular established patterns of overnights. There has never been an allegation filed (no police, no CPS, and this has been discussed in front of at least 3 mandatory reporters who have all not reported anything). It would be challenging for my W to argue I should not have access to the children. "But you left them with your scary H for 4 nights at a time, you let him take them on a road trip by himself, you never filed any reports or called the police, etc." In fact, it's only good that I continue with limbo for a little while, and my W gets ramping up work (which she is really dragging her feet on unfortunately).

I don't see my W as using this as a card to play btw. My point was that she is strong-willed and if she wanted to file a report she would have no qualms doing so. She didn't.

Honestly the only thing I worry about is having to battle for 50-50 later. The attorney did not seem concerned. My position is I would want 50-50 in 2 years when D3 enters school. It is a reasonable position. I know this may cost a lot of money. So be it.

So just to be clear... I am not legally concerned about the abuse talk. I'm more concerned that my situation is a hopeless one or even an unhealthy one for me, that I should not be trying to bust this divorce.

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Originally Posted by SteveS

As you might guess, this really resonates with me as well. WAW has mentioned a couple of times that she feels like I was gaslighting her, and was at times emotionally abusive - for basically the same reasons you laid out. Classic NGS stuff all the way down the line: anxious attachment, not being emotionally open, not communicating, not resolving issues..and on and on.

You're/we're doing the right things: we're accepting confronting our issues head-on, learning about them, doing what we need to do in order to not have them impact whatever comes next. It is true however that as much as we might beat ourselves up for not having these realizations earlier, it is not fully on us and so long as your sitch casts you as the abuser, I think you're right that those negative emotions and memories are going to overpower any thoughts of your positive contributions and qualities.

Thanks Steve - you always have very organized and thoughtful replies, it helps a lot.

My IC has a great saying: I don't believe there are abusers, there are only people who do abusive things. It helps me accept that my W and I can view things differently. And that we aren't locked into a label.

I am guessing you also feel that your W had some avoidant tendencies...

Originally Posted by SteveS
But it [censored], for sure. There's a great/brutal quote by Kierkegaard: "The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you can never have." One of the biggest hurdles mentally is to not go back and think "Geez, if only I had read NGS earlier, things would have been so much better". That's just not the reality we face, there is no time machine.

That is a great quote. I'm not really grieving the loss of my MR right now, I'm grieving the loss of the dreams of the future we would share. And also realizing we had strayed from that path a long time ago.

Originally Posted by SteveS
And believe me, I'm typing that reply to you like a reply to myself as well. One day at a time, brother.
I completely get it... it is therapeutic participating here.

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Journal ~

Tonight is our weekly call to discuss various items. We share an agenda ahead of time.

I'm feeling incredibly anxious, and I'm kind of disappointed that I feel this way. And I'm disappointed that I'm disappointed, because I shouldn't be judging my emotions as "good" or "bad". Ugh.

During our last call my W got very emotional about negotiating over swapping a single day in our schedule. Tonight we have a huge list of items to cover -- schedule, finances, kids, budget. It will almost certainly last over an hour. Some of the items are quite minor in my mind, but we agree that we can both add items to the list.

I recognize I need to work on this anxiety. I can tolerate it now, but it is no less enjoyable. I don't react to it in "fight or flight" mode even though my body seems to want that.

The anxiety also feeds an emotional exhaustion.

One of the issues is timeshare. Right now we have a 4-10 schedule (counting nights), so I have every other Friday pm through Tuesday am. In the fall, due to my W's schedule, we have a couple weekends where we have to swap to keep everything lined up. My proposal was when this happens we slice the weekend in half, then just alternate who gets which slice whenever that happens. My W's proposal is I get one night and she gets the other 3.

I will stick to my stance here, it's just exhausting. I feel like I am being completely fair and coming up with a reasonable solution that maintains the existing timeshare. It's so tiring to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate and also DB.

We are working on a financial arrangement where we each have a separate account that will get some fixed amount of money per month. Now my W wants to talk about who pays for which family/friend's birthday gifts. Literally $10 gifts. This level of detail is just exhausting. It's more detailed than a D settlement (I think).

I feel like all I can do is continue to interact and not engage emotionally. It's so hard to do. It seems crazy how many logistical things we are discussing every week.

I know I need to just be calm and not react to my W's emotions. That is part of my NGS kicking in, worrying about her reactions. And wanting to run away from my problems...

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Wow, That is a LOT of detail to discuss and it sounds unnecessarily stressful. Obviously logistics need to be discussed, but that level of detail about the money seems a bit much.
Iím a SAHM (add desperately looking for work after 4 years out of the job force to my current list of stressors) and H has just been transferring a set amount of money into my account each week. I used to go after him for little amounts here and there for things that came up, but I found the anxiety that surrounded those convos wasnít worth while. Is this perhaps a boundary to set with your W? To change the structure of the finances so that nobody is nit picking and less detail needs discussing?

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Mostly this is a reflection on how I've made some improvements but I can still see my old tendencies poking through.

My anxiety is largely due to the unpredictable nature of what is going to set off my W.

And I recognize this is not her problem, it is my problem.

I'm not afraid of how this impacts any chances of R. I am afraid of her on the timeshare issue given the way she talks sometimes about child safety, even though I feel her concerns are unfounded at this point. I am not afraid on the finance issue, other than that her nitpicking wears me down.

And part of my fear is just conflict avoidant behavior. I have to fight through it. Use these experiences as practice.

I'm thinking about going into the conversation with a simple mindset:

- Don't agree to anything unless I really agree. Otherwise, say "I'll consider it and get back to you"
- Don't get emotionally triggered.
- If W gets emotionally triggered, end the call and reschedule.
- Stay firm but friendly

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Well that conversation was terrible and I made mistakes all over the place =( No need to 2x4 me because I see them all, I just feel I need to "fess up" here.

So many validation mistakes. She gets triggered when I don't agree with what she wants. But I got sucked into pointless discussions.

Example triggers:
- She says she gave up her life in moving up here b/c I was unhappy with my job. I said we agreed together to make the move, that she did it all for me.
- She says she will be screwed financially in a divorce.
- She asked if things go south what I would want custody-wise long-term. I told her 50/50 (big mistake). She got really upset, said she would want to work part-time while the kids are in school. I wanted to tell her if we split I am not on the hook for her part-time working lifestyle (I didn't) -- but she sees this as "what's best for the kids" so obviously I'm a jerk for suggesting 50/50.
- She doubted my sincerity in wanting to work things out, because I "reacted strongly when one of her friends got on a video chat with our kids." I wanted to say "you are just interpreting things your own way" but I said nothing.
- She complained about about how hard it was not working, taking care of the kids, etc.
- She complained about needing to establish credit since she has no income.
- She said she's making all the sacrifices.

I responded to some of these things, which was stupid. I know better. I said this is really hard on everybody. I'm sure she felt like I was blaming her. All I can do is look ahead and try to do better, what's done is done.

It's so frustrating... she's complaining about M'd life, S'd life and D'd life all at once. And in her mind it's all my fault. "You don't act like someone who wants to reconcile." I bit my tongue... how exactly does someone who wants to reconcile act? I already tried the begging and pleading. I felt like she was saying "Someone who wants to reconcile does exactly what I want them to do" or something ridiculous.

She wants me to keep playing the supportive H role while she figures out if she wants to work on it.

It's so hard to validate and yet stand your ground. She mixes the emotions into it. So I have to balance standing my ground while also validating. And I stink at it, clearly.

Man I feel awful right now. Partly from all my missteps, and partly from hearing my W in this emotionally ruined state. It feels so hopeless. I know I'm being dramatic. I'm so tired of hearing her rants. I'm getting screwed here too.

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U,

Other then some missed opportunities to validate I donít think you did that bad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with standing your ground. Iím glad you told her you want 50/50 custody. When decisions are based on emotions there are sure to be consequences.

Try very hard to not become obsessed with her comment that YOU clearly donít want to work on the marriage. Sheís projecting. Youíre kinda in a tough spot because right now it seems remaining separated Is her best option right now and that is going to mean you remain in limbo.

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I agree with LH. You did well in the conversation.

You can't plan these phone calls out. You have to roll with them. Don't beat yourself up over what someone else is thinking.

Your W is like mine is/was - all over the map. It's a tornado inside her head right now. She has no idea what she wants and she is angry because of it. And of course it is all going to be projected onto you because you are the one she is closest to.

Try not to get Into her head. Nothing makes sense with emotional thinking - I've learned that the hard way.

I'm sorry you feel terrible, U. It does suck. But the feeling will pass - just like all the others have. (I too have to keep reminding myself that, especially now)

Take a moment and breathe. This marathon has a lot of ups and downs. Our goal is to keep an even keel as much as possible.

You can do this, man.

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Originally Posted by unchien
We are working on a financial arrangement where we each have a separate account that will get some fixed amount of money per month. Now my W wants to talk about who pays for which family/friend's birthday gifts. Literally $10 gifts. This level of detail is just exhausting. It's more detailed than a D settlement (I think).


Silly stuff like this just tell her when it comes up you will discuss it then. My XW was the same way, wanted to split every little expense 50-50 and work it out ahead of time. I just told her it was too much for me to think about and we would discuss it on a case-by-case basis as it came up. But we rarely have because we both contributed pretty equally after the D. I think once she saw it was working out that way that she backed off of it.

Quote
She gets triggered when I don't agree with what she wants.


How do you mean, does she start yelling or getting aggressive or what? Next time just put a stop to it. Tell her you're not going to talk to her unless she can treat you with respect and if her mistreatment continues you will hang up. If she keeps doing it then tell her the convo is over and hang up.

Quote
- She says she gave up her life in moving up here b/c I was unhappy with my job. I said we agreed together to make the move, that she did it all for me.
- She says she will be screwed financially in a divorce.


This is NOT what the talk was supposed to be about. If she strays like this then put her back on topic. "I am sorry you feel this way but this is not the subject of this conversation, now let's get back on topic, we were going to discuss XYZ." Every single time she strays then repeat that. Think of these convos as a business conversation. It needs to be detached and professional, the same as if you were at the office.

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- She asked if things go south what I would want custody-wise long-term. I told her 50/50 (big mistake). She got really upset, said she would want to work part-time while the kids are in school. I wanted to tell her if we split I am not on the hook for her part-time working lifestyle (I didn't) -- but she sees this as "what's best for the kids" so obviously I'm a jerk for suggesting 50/50.


Stand your ground. "Blah blah work part time blah blah best for the kids blah" "You asked me what I would pursue and 50-50 is what I will pursue. Now can we please finish this conversation, I have other things to do today."

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- She doubted my sincerity in wanting to work things out, because I "reacted strongly when one of her friends got on a video chat with our kids." I wanted to say "you are just interpreting things your own way" but I said nothing.
- She complained about about how hard it was not working, taking care of the kids, etc.
- She complained about needing to establish credit since she has no income.
- She said she's making all the sacrifices.


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It's so frustrating... she's complaining about M'd life, S'd life and D'd life all at once. And in her mind it's all my fault. "You don't act like someone who wants to reconcile."


"I am sorry you feel this way but this is not the subject of this conversation, now let's get back on topic, we were going to discuss XYZ." I am absolutely NOT exaggerating when I say REPEAT THIS OVER AND OVER if you have to. That is as much validating as you should do in a conversation that is supposed to be about kids and finances.


Me: 60 w/ S18, D24, D27

M: 21 years; BD: 06-14-12; S: 09-10-12; D final: 03-17-14; XW:57
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Thank you everyone for the support in particular on the 50-50 comment.

I didn't put all the dumb mistakes in my prior post. Here is probably the worst one, it is paraphrased because I tend not to remember word-for-word exchanges:

W: I sacrificed everything to move here for you. My career, my family, my friends. I am screwed financially.
Me: I can understand that is really hard for you.
W: Really?! Do you REALLY understand?

And the mistake:

Me: It's not easy for me either. You aren't the only one sacrificing. Sometimes I feel like all I do is provide a bag of money and in return I go 10 day stretches without seeing the kids.

I know it was a mistake and I need to do what AS suggested. I am going to think about proposing we try to handle these matters over e-mail and keep the phone calls to discussions about the kids.

There was a LOT discussed. Financially it seems my W is really worried about establishing credit because she has no income. She feels like things are frozen. I told her I didn't freeze anything, and she said, "Yeah I know" So she wanted in addition to a monthly spending account (which we each get, so it's fair) to transfer a fairly large sum of money into a savings account in her name. I said fine as long as I can do the same. It's a big of a red flag for me -- I don't think she will go spending it, but it happens to be suspiciously roughly the amount a L would ask for for a retainer. But this is me getting paranoid... even if that were true, great. I'm glad if she can feel more secure as long as it's fair.

She was also paranoid about my work retirement money, as the financial advisor told us last week once the money gets swept into my 401(k) it is separate property. I said OK, but I get this big company match which is basically free money. I agreed to write a document stating I am okay with this 401(k) being considered part of community property. I really don't care. Split it all down the middle if we go that route.

There was a lot of intense conversation about our timeshare schedule. Before the call, my W asked me to propose a schedule for the 2 week Xmas/NY holiday (yes, that far ahead). I gave her roughly a 50/50 time split with exchanges every 2 or 3 days. She fired back in e-mail that she wanted to take the kids to SD, they did that a lot last year, she didn't know we would be in this position this year, it was hard no. I responded (in email): "OK, what would work for you?" And she proposed something, and I said, "Great!" So I did well there (I think)

Right now I do every other Friday pm through Tuesday am with the kids. I'd like to squeeze in a family dinner during my 10 days without them, and maybe after awhile try to get an overnight in there. Three issues came up on the call:

1. My kids started school a week ago. My W is concerned that them staying at my house during the school week is disruptive. I did get a little triggered, and said "Of course I want what's best for the kids, they are adjusting to a lot, let's see how they do." She seemed to want me to instead do a "3 out of 4 weekends" Friday pm through Sunday pm kind of a deal. I didn't bite. One of my friends did that, and he said it was rough because he had 1 weekend a month. But regardless if the kids can adjust I want weeknights.

2. We have to switch up our alternating weekends a few times, mostly due to my W's plans (which I am being very accommodating about). If my W has consecutive weekends, that would be 18 days straight with the kids. She had proposed I take 1 weekend day. I had countered (this was weeks ago). That we should each take 2 days (out of my normal 4), and alternate who gets which 2 days and it will all balance out. Anyways, she is still "thinking about it." This one irritates me, because I think what I proposed is as fair as you can get to respect our existing timeshare schedule, but she acts like I'm being difficult.

3. She booked travel in October before our separation. Somehow it is my fault that this means she wouldn't see the kids for an extra couple days (she is going Wednesday night through Sunday). Obviously this is one of my weekends with the kids, and she didn't like going Wednesday night through Tuesday morning without the kids. I had thought she wanted to get them Sunday morning which I didn't like because I sacrifice a whole weekend day. I ended up saying, OK, How about I just do Wednesday night through Sunday night? and we agreed.

Oh there are more details... we are also going to try a budgeting app. Our financial advisor is going to run the state calculator to see what temporary spousal support would look like. My W thinks the budget is a factor, and I said I'm pretty sure it's based off income and custody alone. The budget is for our benefit so we can see the whole picture of this separation. I may be wrong.

Even more... one of my weekends, D5 has a dance competition. These things require getting all dolled up with makeup and hair, etc. My W wanted to do her makeup and hair, even though it's my weekend. I said ok. There is no way I can do dance hair. Right now I've only progressed to French braids with my girls, no makeup yet smile

So many details...

Overall what was disappointing to me was my W's mindset. She's really rewriting history on our move. I feel like writing some about that here as well. Sorry this is such a long post but I don't think I've ever really covered this aspect:

Three years ago we decided to sell our home in the town where my W's family lives. We had lived there about 8 years. My W didn't like the neighborhood, and I agreed, although we were locked into an amazing mortgage. My W was working part-time, and I had a job at a startup making low pay. This city did not have a lot of job opportunities for me in general. We decided to rent for a year, and by the end of that year, make a decision -- buy a new home, move, etc. I should also say we rarely saw her family while we lived there. But my W built up a decent circle of friends for herself, and we both had our reasons for loving the lifestyle.

That year of renting was stressful. It is the year my parents cut me off. Leading up to the end of the lease, we were looking at so many options. My W wanted to buy a house we couldn't afford. I went to my startup and got a 25% raise. It wasn't enough to make this work. Yes I was unhappy in the job, but if we bought a less expensive home I knew we could swing it for awhile.

In the meantime, I was investigating my other job options. One thing about startups is you only feel confident in your job security for the next 3 months anyways. They were promising bonuses and not paying them, etc.

We ended up with 3 choices. Stay at the startup, move to city #1 (less expensive, less desirable place to live, overall would have been an "easy" lifestyle financially), or move to city #2 (extremely expensive, tons of job opportunities, place where my W and I first met, and a job offer for me that would make it all work).

We chose move to city #2. I make about 2x what I made at the startup after the raise. I thought my W supported this, in fact my NGS was in over-gear at the time trying to make sure this was true. When we went to MC1 last year, she confirmed she was fully on board. So this shift is frustrating to me. It's as if she feels I emotionally coerced her to move.

So now the situation is that if we D, I have a nice-paying job and yes it would be fairly easy for me to adjust financially. I probably can't afford a home, but I will land on my feet. My W feels completely screwed financially. But it's not my fault, in my mind. We have been here now 2 full years and she has yet to start working. Also not my fault.

Sometimes I think staying at the startup would have been the right choice, but only if I also had somehow gone through the personal growth I have gone through now. We would have been financially in a bad spot, but maybe we could have made it work out. I would have been less worried about "the future."

The startup is still going, still not paying bonuses, and still has no payoff opportunities. It was job limbo, and still is for the people I stay in touch with. They hate it. I didn't want that for my family.

I think my W really struggled with adjusting to the move. She is a proud woman and has done some amazing things. She paid her way through school and got a PhD, all while her parents did not support her. Her siblings have a negative attitude about life and generally scratch by. So I think my W thought this was just another big change she could handle. And I think she really couldn't. I feel sad for her. I can see how she has crafted a narrative in her head so she doesn't have to directly deal with it. It's my fault, not hers. She's screwed, she's the victim. If only we could just move back to the home city. It's really interesting to see her negativity, now that I have learned to pull myself out of it. I don't feel superior, I empathize with her, I was there just a few months ago. I'm surprised how she has been in IC for 6 months and still feels this way. I'm surprised she doesn't realize she is in charge of her own happiness.

OK this is way too long, thanks for reading whoever got to this point!

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I was just told the same thing last week after mediation which was a waste of time and money because W doesn't have ducks in a row, or understands how the itemized process works. So many times I've tried to relate and validate what she has gone through/is going through. Her standard script response is "I come across as disingenuous" The gas lighting, blame shifting and communications issues continue. She even admitted we are on two different scripts. She will not tell me something related to logistics (Dr's appointsments, schedules, etc.) when I record every interaction and write down everything and then try to blame it on my memory. she's all over the place between the refinance her mother's cancer, therapy, running up her debt, traveling and spending with the kid, while living on nothing until next month (which I just floated her $4,000 to cover all of her expenses and she's asking for more) and all the other stuff she wants to do. I just gotten to a point where the only way I feel like is that I'm an ATM machine. she doesn't email me or talk to me unless it has to do with Logistics. So you know we're in the same house we don't talk at all, since she won't have a conversation with me and then blame me thinking that she told me something when she didn't I just told her specifically send all comms to email. I'm not doing this. So we don't talk, and I refuse to talk to her unless its in passing or about S1. I can't even tell you how many times a story in her mind changes. Responses and decisions change, what they said a month ago changes. Just leave them to their mess Uni. As composed, nice, and amicable as they are, They are going to throw throws fit every time they don't get their way, you say no to something, Work on you. You are doing great. Keep your sanity and your frame, validate, but don't get sucked into her issues anymore unless she wants to work on the M.

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Originally Posted by unchien
W: I sacrificed everything to move here for you. My career, my family, my friends. I am screwed financially.
Me: I can understand that is really hard for you.
W: Really?! Do you REALLY understand?


You DID NOT say you understand what it is like (which would be the wrong thing to say), you said you understand that it's hard for her which is the RIGHT thing to say. U, you did fine, that was good validation. That doesn't mean she'll rush into your arms and praise you for being such an awesome man, sometimes despite our best efforts they are still Queen B***** of B****land.

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Me: It's not easy for me either. You aren't the only one sacrificing. Sometimes I feel like all I do is provide a bag of money and in return I go 10 day stretches without seeing the kids.

I know it was a mistake and I need to do what AS suggested. I am going to think about proposing we try to handle these matters over e-mail and keep the phone calls to discussions about the kids.


Honestly I think that was fine. It probably didn't have any impact on her but now and then it doesn't hurt to remind them that they don't corner the market on hurting. Don't beat yourself up U, I think you did better than you're giving yourself credit for.

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She was also paranoid about my work retirement money, as the financial advisor told us last week once the money gets swept into my 401(k) it is separate property. I said OK, but I get this big company match which is basically free money. I agreed to write a document stating I am okay with this 401(k) being considered part of community property. I really don't care. Split it all down the middle if we go that route.


Don't be so anxious to give her everything. You need to protect yourself because D is sounding pretty inevitable at this point. Don't put ANYTHING in writing to her until consulting a L.

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When we went to MC1 last year, she confirmed she was fully on board. So this shift is frustrating to me. It's as if she feels I emotionally coerced her to move.


Brother, welcome to "rewriting of history". You know what you should do about it? Ignore it. It's your NGS kicking in that tells you it should bother you and you need to convince someone (us, her, family, strangers) that she really was on board and you are not the mean guy she's making you out to be. I get it, I was there too. You know what I finally told myself? The world f'ing loves a bad boy anyway, so if she wants to run around telling everyone what a bad boy I am, GO FOR IT. Yeah I discipline my kids (spank them, scold them), so what? Yeah I was controlling sometimes in the M, said what I wanted and expected others to be OK with that, SO WHAT? Yeah I didn't always treat my wife like some entitled brat, SOOOO WHATTTT???? What does that all make me? An alpha male. And I don't care what anyone thinks about that, it is who I am and I wear it proudly. Quit being so sensitive U.

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So now the situation is that if we D, I have a nice-paying job and yes it would be fairly easy for me to adjust financially. I probably can't afford a home, but I will land on my feet. My W feels completely screwed financially. But it's not my fault, in my mind. We have been here now 2 full years and she has yet to start working. Also not my fault.


Well let's see, who is here trying to save their M and who is trying to burn it to the ground? I say if there's blame to go around, it falls squarely on the one holding the match. Again if she wants to wallow in self-despair then let her, but that doesn't mean you have to sit and listen to it ad nauseam. "I'm sorry you feel that way but we need to wrap up our conversation as I have a busy evening ahead."


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As always great advise and relation AS.

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Hey U, on my lunch break so Iíll keep it short but,

Man isnít that crazy how sheís worried about the kids switching houses during the school year. I understand but it is a direct consequence of her separating. Great job keeping your cool though, I probably would have gotten really angry. Just bugs me when these WW and WAWs act all woe is me over something that they caused. Keep it up buddy!


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Originally Posted by LH19
U,

Other then some missed opportunities to validate I donít think you did that bad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with standing your ground. Iím glad you told her you want 50/50 custody. When decisions are based on emotions there are sure to be consequences.

Try very hard to not become obsessed with her comment that YOU clearly donít want to work on the marriage. Sheís projecting. Youíre kinda in a tough spot because right now it seems remaining separated Is her best option right now and that is going to mean you remain in limbo.

Thanks LH. I definitely could have recognized she was in an emotionally charged state and stepped back a bit. I felt at some point I have to make it clear I would want 50/50, I saw an opening last night, and I took it. I'm expecting some blowback from this. Oh well.

The custody and financial discussions, as painful as they are, are actually helping me deal with limbo. I figure if we end up D'ing, hashing out as much as we can upfront is better now. And in the process, we are having to have difficult conversations, so there are opportunities to validate, etc. I am gaining some clarity from how my W deals with these discussions as well.

It's clear to me the ball is completely in my W's court. She knows it, she resents it, she feels pressure, and with her current mindset, any realistic path to R would take years. I truly believe that. She's had 6 months of IC to date and I see no change.

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Originally Posted by IronWill
I agree with LH. You did well in the conversation.

You can't plan these phone calls out. You have to roll with them. Don't beat yourself up over what someone else is thinking.

Your W is like mine is/was - all over the map. It's a tornado inside her head right now. She has no idea what she wants and she is angry because of it. And of course it is all going to be projected onto you because you are the one she is closest to.

Try not to get Into her head. Nothing makes sense with emotional thinking - I've learned that the hard way.

I'm sorry you feel terrible, U. It does suck. But the feeling will pass - just like all the others have. (I too have to keep reminding myself that, especially now)

Take a moment and breathe. This marathon has a lot of ups and downs. Our goal is to keep an even keel as much as possible.

You can do this, man.


Thanks IW. It was an intense call, you are right about the emotional thinking.

I stayed up late last night with my mind spinning a little bit. But nowhere like it used to. I would have pulled an all-nighter before ruminating. I am much better at recognizing the boundary between my reality and her reality.

Maybe the most disappointing feeling was how far we are from even making any sort of progress. I knew she felt negatively, but it was even worse than I thought. Nothing I can control.

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Originally Posted by LH19
Youíre kinda in a tough spot because right now it seems remaining separated Is her best option right now and that is going to mean you remain in limbo.

Also... you are so right here. Separation is her best option right now, at least the way she sees things. There's not much I can do unless I want to file, which is not the case today.

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Originally Posted by AnotherStander
Originally Posted by unchien
We are working on a financial arrangement where we each have a separate account that will get some fixed amount of money per month. Now my W wants to talk about who pays for which family/friend's birthday gifts. Literally $10 gifts. This level of detail is just exhausting. It's more detailed than a D settlement (I think).


Silly stuff like this just tell her when it comes up you will discuss it then. My XW was the same way, wanted to split every little expense 50-50 and work it out ahead of time. I just told her it was too much for me to think about and we would discuss it on a case-by-case basis as it came up. But we rarely have because we both contributed pretty equally after the D. I think once she saw it was working out that way that she backed off of it.

I'm hopeful the same will happen with us. She has brought up little things before, and neither of us have the time or energy to go back and forth over it all, so those concerns drop off sometimes.

Originally Posted by AnotherStander
Originally Posted by unchien
She gets triggered when I don't agree with what she wants.


How do you mean, does she start yelling or getting aggressive or what? Next time just put a stop to it. Tell her you're not going to talk to her unless she can treat you with respect and if her mistreatment continues you will hang up. If she keeps doing it then tell her the convo is over and hang up.

I would say aggressive. Harsh tone of advice, lecturing, gets worked up, rants for awhile. Not really name-calling, just emotional thinking at its worst. I am much better with my NGS, but previously I would equate "strong emotions" with "truth". And also, it's easier to appease the emotional person rather than stand up for myself.

Many times just validating helps now. But she is getting worse with the stress of the situation.

Originally Posted by AnotherStander
Originally Posted by unchien
It's so frustrating... she's complaining about M'd life, S'd life and D'd life all at once. And in her mind it's all my fault. "You don't act like someone who wants to reconcile."


"I am sorry you feel this way but this is not the subject of this conversation, now let's get back on topic, we were going to discuss XYZ." I am absolutely NOT exaggerating when I say REPEAT THIS OVER AND OVER if you have to. That is as much validating as you should do in a conversation that is supposed to be about kids and finances.

I need to do stick to this, you are right. Thank you.

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Took me up until this very moment Uni to finally dispel my resentment, my attitude, my anger about my lines in the sand being crossed over house, over being ignored, chastized, blame shamed, gas lit, feeling like an ATM, discarded for only when they need something, being discarded, self differentiating, etc. Sometimes a f@$! em attitude is healthy, sometimes its hurtful. I just want to D just on principle alone at this point. There is no benefit to M the way things are. You are you, they are them, you are who your are now, they are them now. Just what it is. Took the kid out for ice cream, and got a few toys at Wal-Mart. Had a great time. I noticed when it's just me and him, the world melts away, even the STBXW. I feel like a big kid with him and I absolutely love it and the simple things. I'm still stuck until the the appraisal and buyout. But looking forward to new life and new freedom when it does finally happen.

I guess where I'm going with this is maybe its time to take a break. A break from MC and break from the W, a break from D busting, they want you to go just away for now. So just exit gracefully and bow out. We are all awesome individuals in our own right and our own worth. Flaws and all. I realized peace and detachment is achieved when we step back from what is ailing us. If they cannot recognize our worth. Then all we can do is focus on ourselves, our growth, and our kids.

What is detachment to each of you here? Im curious? I'm sure each if you have their own personal definition.
Mine is I am free to be myself without judgement from myself or from others. That I can improve, reflect, create, plan goals, and be myself, good, bad, and ugly, without having it bother me anymore what someone else, W family, friends, strangers, etc reflect on my self worth. That is how I let go with love, without resentment, with forgiveness, but still understanding what has been done, what cannot be undone, and what I am no longer willing to settle for. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to walk away from it. Thank you guys for helping me find my balance.

What is your meaning of detachment?

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Originally Posted by IHCLACS
Took me up until this very moment Uni to finally dispel my resentment, my attitude, my anger about my lines in the sand being crossed over house, over being ignored, chastized, blame shamed, gas lit, feeling like an ATM, discarded for only when they need something, being discarded, self differentiating, etc. Sometimes a f@$! em attitude is healthy, sometimes its hurtful. I just want to D just on principle alone at this point. There is no benefit to M the way things are. You are you, they are them, you are who your are now, they are them now. Just what it is. Took the kid out for ice cream, and got a few toys at Wal-Mart. Had a great time. I noticed when it's just me and him, the world melts away, even the STBXW. I feel like a big kid with him and I absolutely love it and the simple things. I'm still stuck until the the appraisal and buyout. But looking forward to new life and new freedom when it does finally happen.

I guess where I'm going with this is maybe its time to take a break. A break from MC and break from the W, a break from D busting, they want you to go just away for now. So just exit gracefully and bow out. We are all awesome individuals in our own right and our own worth. Flaws and all. I realized peace and detachment is achieved when we step back from what is ailing us. If they cannot recognize our worth. Then all we can do is focus on ourselves, our growth, and our kids.

What is detachment to each of you here? Im curious? I'm sure each if you have their own personal definition.
Mine is I am free to be myself without judgement from myself or from others. That I can improve, reflect, create, plan goals, and be myself, good, bad, and ugly, without having it bother me anymore what someone else, W family, friends, strangers, etc reflect on my self worth. That is how I let go with love, without resentment, with forgiveness, but still understanding what has been done, what cannot be undone, and what I am no longer willing to settle for. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to walk away from it. Thank you guys for helping me find my balance.

What is your meaning of detachment?


Detachment is a journey and not an end state. When I look back at my sitch over time, there were times I thought I had detached. Interestingly, over time I continued to detach more. Especially for those of us with kids you can never 100% detach but you eventually reach a place where you have no resentment or anger towards your WAS. You don't see them as someone who fired you as your spouse. You accept your new life and find happiness in the same. If you are still angry at your WAS or bitter about what they did, then you have have a long way to go in terms of detachment

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Originally Posted by IHCLACS
What is your meaning of detachment?


Great thread on detachment here:

http://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2538414#Post2538414

If I were to distill it down to one thought from that list it would be this one:

"Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life."

When you get to the point where nothing your WAS says or does affects you personally, then you are detached. I'm not saying you don't feel empathy for them, I'm saying that your feelings aren't driven by their feelings. This is how I used to put it (haven't said this in quite a while):

Attached:
Spouse angry = you angry
Spouse happy = you happy
Spouse sad = you sad

Detached:
Spouse angry = you happy
Spouse happy = you happy
Spouse sad = you happy


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Originally Posted by MLCxH
When I look back at my sitch over time, there were times I thought I had detached. Interestingly, over time I continued to detach more.


Yes, exactly. About 6 months after S I thought I was detached. Then a few months later I looked back and realized I wasn't, but had finally become detached. Then another 3 months I again looked back and AGAIN realized I had not been fully detached. This went on for a while, with me thinking I was done and detached and later realizing I wasn't as detached as I thought.

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you eventually reach a place where you have no resentment or anger towards your WAS.


Definitely a big sign you are reaching detachment when you get to here.

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You don't see them as someone who fired you as your spouse. You accept your new life and find happiness in the same. If you are still angry at your WAS or bitter about what they did, then you have have a long way to go in terms of detachment


Yup. Some people never do get there. My brother has been divorced for 10 years and is still very angry and bitter about it. I've tried telling him he needs to let go for his own peace of mind, but he just refuses to do it.


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Originally Posted by AnotherStander


Yup. Some people never do get there. My brother has been divorced for 10 years and is still very angry and bitter about it. I've tried telling him he needs to let go for his own peace of mind, but he just refuses to do it.


There is a saying "Holding onto anger and resentment is like holding on to burning coal". Letting go is a very important part of healing

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Originally Posted by MLCxH

There is a saying "Holding onto anger and resentment is like holding on to burning coal". Letting go is a very important part of healing

My favorite from St. Augustine:

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

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Originally Posted by unchien
Thank you everyone for the support in particular on the 50-50 comment.

I didn't put all the dumb mistakes in my prior post. Here is probably the worst one, it is paraphrased because I tend not to remember word-for-word exchanges:

W: I sacrificed everything to move here for you. My career, my family, my friends. I am screwed financially.
Me: I can understand that is really hard for you.
W: Really?! Do you REALLY understand?

And the mistake:

Me: It's not easy for me either. You aren't the only one sacrificing. Sometimes I feel like all I do is provide a bag of money and in return I go 10 day stretches without seeing the kids.

I know it was a mistake and I need to do what AS suggested. I am going to think about proposing we try to handle these matters over e-mail and keep the phone calls to discussions about the kids.

There was a LOT discussed. Financially it seems my W is really worried about establishing credit because she has no income. She feels like things are frozen. I told her I didn't freeze anything, and she said, "Yeah I know" So she wanted in addition to a monthly spending account (which we each get, so it's fair) to transfer a fairly large sum of money into a savings account in her name. I said fine as long as I can do the same. It's a big of a red flag for me -- I don't think she will go spending it, but it happens to be suspiciously roughly the amount a L would ask for for a retainer. But this is me getting paranoid... even if that were true, great. I'm glad if she can feel more secure as long as it's fair.

She was also paranoid about my work retirement money, as the financial advisor told us last week once the money gets swept into my 401(k) it is separate property. I said OK, but I get this big company match which is basically free money. I agreed to write a document stating I am okay with this 401(k) being considered part of community property. I really don't care. Split it all down the middle if we go that route.

There was a lot of intense conversation about our timeshare schedule. Before the call, my W asked me to propose a schedule for the 2 week Xmas/NY holiday (yes, that far ahead). I gave her roughly a 50/50 time split with exchanges every 2 or 3 days. She fired back in e-mail that she wanted to take the kids to SD, they did that a lot last year, she didn't know we would be in this position this year, it was hard no. I responded (in email): "OK, what would work for you?" And she proposed something, and I said, "Great!" So I did well there (I think)

Right now I do every other Friday pm through Tuesday am with the kids. I'd like to squeeze in a family dinner during my 10 days without them, and maybe after awhile try to get an overnight in there. Three issues came up on the call:

1. My kids started school a week ago. My W is concerned that them staying at my house during the school week is disruptive. I did get a little triggered, and said "Of course I want what's best for the kids, they are adjusting to a lot, let's see how they do." She seemed to want me to instead do a "3 out of 4 weekends" Friday pm through Sunday pm kind of a deal. I didn't bite. One of my friends did that, and he said it was rough because he had 1 weekend a month. But regardless if the kids can adjust I want weeknights.

2. We have to switch up our alternating weekends a few times, mostly due to my W's plans (which I am being very accommodating about). If my W has consecutive weekends, that would be 18 days straight with the kids. She had proposed I take 1 weekend day. I had countered (this was weeks ago). That we should each take 2 days (out of my normal 4), and alternate who gets which 2 days and it will all balance out. Anyways, she is still "thinking about it." This one irritates me, because I think what I proposed is as fair as you can get to respect our existing timeshare schedule, but she acts like I'm being difficult.

3. She booked travel in October before our separation. Somehow it is my fault that this means she wouldn't see the kids for an extra couple days (she is going Wednesday night through Sunday). Obviously this is one of my weekends with the kids, and she didn't like going Wednesday night through Tuesday morning without the kids. I had thought she wanted to get them Sunday morning which I didn't like because I sacrifice a whole weekend day. I ended up saying, OK, How about I just do Wednesday night through Sunday night? and we agreed.

Oh there are more details... we are also going to try a budgeting app. Our financial advisor is going to run the state calculator to see what temporary spousal support would look like. My W thinks the budget is a factor, and I said I'm pretty sure it's based off income and custody alone. The budget is for our benefit so we can see the whole picture of this separation. I may be wrong.

Even more... one of my weekends, D5 has a dance competition. These things require getting all dolled up with makeup and hair, etc. My W wanted to do her makeup and hair, even though it's my weekend. I said ok. There is no way I can do dance hair. Right now I've only progressed to French braids with my girls, no makeup yet smile

So many details...

Overall what was disappointing to me was my W's mindset. She's really rewriting history on our move. I feel like writing some about that here as well. Sorry this is such a long post but I don't think I've ever really covered this aspect:

Three years ago we decided to sell our home in the town where my W's family lives. We had lived there about 8 years. My W didn't like the neighborhood, and I agreed, although we were locked into an amazing mortgage. My W was working part-time, and I had a job at a startup making low pay. This city did not have a lot of job opportunities for me in general. We decided to rent for a year, and by the end of that year, make a decision -- buy a new home, move, etc. I should also say we rarely saw her family while we lived there. But my W built up a decent circle of friends for herself, and we both had our reasons for loving the lifestyle.

That year of renting was stressful. It is the year my parents cut me off. Leading up to the end of the lease, we were looking at so many options. My W wanted to buy a house we couldn't afford. I went to my startup and got a 25% raise. It wasn't enough to make this work. Yes I was unhappy in the job, but if we bought a less expensive home I knew we could swing it for awhile.

In the meantime, I was investigating my other job options. One thing about startups is you only feel confident in your job security for the next 3 months anyways. They were promising bonuses and not paying them, etc.

We ended up with 3 choices. Stay at the startup, move to city #1 (less expensive, less desirable place to live, overall would have been an "easy" lifestyle financially), or move to city #2 (extremely expensive, tons of job opportunities, place where my W and I first met, and a job offer for me that would make it all work).

We chose move to city #2. I make about 2x what I made at the startup after the raise. I thought my W supported this, in fact my NGS was in over-gear at the time trying to make sure this was true. When we went to MC1 last year, she confirmed she was fully on board. So this shift is frustrating to me. It's as if she feels I emotionally coerced her to move.

So now the situation is that if we D, I have a nice-paying job and yes it would be fairly easy for me to adjust financially. I probably can't afford a home, but I will land on my feet. My W feels completely screwed financially. But it's not my fault, in my mind. We have been here now 2 full years and she has yet to start working. Also not my fault.

Sometimes I think staying at the startup would have been the right choice, but only if I also had somehow gone through the personal growth I have gone through now. We would have been financially in a bad spot, but maybe we could have made it work out. I would have been less worried about "the future."

The startup is still going, still not paying bonuses, and still has no payoff opportunities. It was job limbo, and still is for the people I stay in touch with. They hate it. I didn't want that for my family.

I think my W really struggled with adjusting to the move. She is a proud woman and has done some amazing things. She paid her way through school and got a PhD, all while her parents did not support her. Her siblings have a negative attitude about life and generally scratch by. So I think my W thought this was just another big change she could handle. And I think she really couldn't. I feel sad for her. I can see how she has crafted a narrative in her head so she doesn't have to directly deal with it. It's my fault, not hers. She's screwed, she's the victim. If only we could just move back to the home city. It's really interesting to see her negativity, now that I have learned to pull myself out of it. I don't feel superior, I empathize with her, I was there just a few months ago. I'm surprised how she has been in IC for 6 months and still feels this way. I'm surprised she doesn't realize she is in charge of her own happiness.

OK this is way too long, thanks for reading whoever got to this point!


I just got a chance to catch up on your post. I don't have time right now to post a lot but wanted to talk about two things that caught my attention.

I am not sure about your specific sitch but I believe most states should have guidelines for possession of children by custodial and non-custodial parents. If I were you, I would start the negotiation starting with the amount of custody that are laid out by the guidelines non-custodial parent in your state. You can ask for more, but personally I don't know why you would ask for anything less than this. Getting another legal consultation is probably worth it at this point given where things are heading

401k usually is community property. Any amount in the 401k account prior to marriage can be considered separate property but money earned during the marriage including company match is usually community property. Is there a specific reason your financial consultant is saying it is separate property? Do a google search or get a second opinion just to be safe

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Thanks MLC - The custodial stuff is really tricky given what has been going on in my sitch (not going to repeat everything here). But I am definitely worried how it will all shake out, and exhausted trying to walk the tightrope during this separation. My understanding is that in my state (and most states today), they start with a 50-50 assumption unless there are compelling reasons to change.

The 401k contributions comprise such a minuscule amount of our total assets that it is a don't care for me. What is more troubling to me is the exhausting back-and-forth over these little financial items, which concern my W very much.

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Journal -

Last night my older 2 kids had a school dance show. My W and I sat together to watch the show. Nothing remarkable in the interactions.

I had this weird feeling of being completely unattracted to her, like I was not feeling any sort of pull. I know there is still some rope there I am hanging onto, but it felt noticeably slacker.

Enough about her...

Something incredibly weird happened to me recently, I am struggling to comprehend it. First I have to provide some backstory.

I find I am getting really philosophical lately. Where I used to spend a lot of time ruminating and problem-solving, now I spend that time and energy thinking about deeper things.

Meditation, mindfulness, and emotional awareness have started to really click for me. I feel cultish about it. I feel like I need to snap out of it honestly, it feels weird. Too many things are falling into place all at once. I am not a traditionally religious person, but I am also not an atheist, and things like this are what convinces me there is some higher power or spirituality involved. My rational logic brain tells me I am crazy.

I'm a little freaked out by all of it to be honest. It feels like a lot of seismic internal change all at once. And it all feels good. It doesn't seem right, I doubt my feelings.

I work at a company that provides a really nice meditation phone app for free. I've come to really enjoy some of the individual guiders, they balance humor and perspective in this way that works great for me. It's not all serious and "OM" and things like that. Without this app, I don't think I ever get into meditation...

I also happen to work at a beautiful office campus with an outdoor pond where I can go every day and just pop in my headphones, relax, and meditate for a few minutes. It's made it so EASY to get into.

Four months ago, my situation drives me to DB forums. I see men in the same position as me, men who would normally not feel drawn to mindfulness and meditation, and it's working for them. I've tried it before, several times in my life, with no luck, but what the heck, right?

I joined a men's support group a few weeks ago (still in trial). Some of the stories I hear are absolutely soul-crushing, it normalizes my experience. But what I notice most is these men struggling with the emotional awareness aspect. I can visibly SEE it. Six months ago I would have heard these stories and thought, "That person is really in an awful spot and I have nothing to offer."

But now the weird thing that happened... a random interaction with a stranger last week. Since physical separation, I tend to talk up people in public - Uber drivers, at the grocery store, men or women, whatever. It's good practice to overcome my social anxiety, plus it's just really enjoyable to hear other people's stories. It *normalizes* my life. Life feels like a place of abundance. Sometimes one of these interactions makes my day, sometimes people look at you like a nut. It's fun.

Anyways... I'm at the grocery store, picking out bell peppers next to a woman. She glances over, she's picking out Brussel sprouts. I say, "I used to hate those, but they are incredible with bacon." She says, "I know! Me too! But I'm off bacon now because I'm on this clean diet" and we are off in conversation... and I come to find out a few minutes later she works in the meditation and mindfulness world. And not only that, but she works directly with the people on the phone app and knows them personally. Her JOB is to work with these people. And then she reveals she's divorced with 3 kids. I asked if her background helped her cope with the split, she says it's a constant struggle, one would think she's some sort of an expert, but "We can't all be Buddha."

Which is basically what I say to my closest friend every day...

It freaked me out. It still freaks me out. The engineer side of me says these random events are much more likely than people choose to believe. It's like that math problem of "how many people need to be in a room before the odds are >50% that 2 people share the same birthday" -- the answer is much smaller than you expect.

I don't know what the universe is trying to tell me. But there's something there.

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and to think, all that came from an opener on brussel sprouts smile
Good job unchien. keep it up.
ps didnt know you were also an engineer.


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Originally Posted by "unchien"
It's like that math problem of "how many people need to be in a room before the odds are >50% that 2 people share the same birthday" -- the answer is much smaller than you expect.

In a typical classroom of 20-30 this doesn't happen, so intuitively I'd guess 60-90.

Let's see..
1 person = 0
2 people = 1/365
3 people = 1/365 + 2/365
4 people = 1/365 + 2/365 + 3/365..
N people = 1/365 + 2/365... N-1/365 = (n-1)(n)/2 > 182.5
(n-1)(n)/2 > 365/2 => (n^2 - n) / 2 > 365/2 => (n^2-n) > 365 => n=20

Wow! I oversimplified the math so this is an estimate, but it takes ~20 people. Interesting. wink






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My point was how unnerving the whole thing is. Iím confident I can meet a woman down the road. This felt like the universe deliberately messing with me.

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Originally Posted by unchien
My point was how unnerving the whole thing is. I’m confident I can meet a woman down the road.

Your story is very promising in that regard.

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I have been having similar experiences in various forms since BD. I dont necessarily think it is the universe messing with you - I think it's more that you (or I) am getting in tune with people who are going through similar circumstances.

It also may be - at least in part - our brains attempting to problem solve. There was a person in our lives for a long time, and now there is not. Therefore brain seeks to fill that void.

Or it may just be random circumstance.

I find life interesting (sometimes painfully so) in that regard - things only become clear after you have gone through them.

One thing I started doing that has helped me a lot has been to ask myself "What am I supposed to be learning from this?" whenever I encounter situations or conversations that strike me as interesting or unusual.

I dont get the answer right away many times, but sometimes a few days later I get that "aha" moment.

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IW - You nailed it. You get what I am driving at.

Originally Posted by IronWill
I have been having similar experiences in various forms since BD. I dont necessarily think it is the universe messing with you - I think it's more that you (or I) am getting in tune with people who are going through similar circumstances.


Maybe it's just the weird feeling of connecting with people. I had sort of shut myself off for awhile, playing the husband/father role and thinking it was pointless to connect because I would never have time or energy for other people.

Originally Posted by IronWill
It also may be - at least in part - our brains attempting to problem solve. There was a person in our lives for a long time, and now there is not. Therefore brain seeks to fill that void.


There is a darker side to this I didn't mention in the post. This woman was attractive, not a stunner, but attractive in ways that I like. It was blatantly obvious she wanted me to ask for her number. Had I been single or D'd it would have been a complete no-brainer.

The NGS alarm bells were clanging. Seeking a woman's approval. Believing another person will fill a hole in your life. Rose-colored classes. All of it.

I may end up D'd, but I absolutely can not, will not, repeat history. I'm going to have to get my mind straight.

Perhaps the universe (or God or whatever one believes in) is really really clever and threw this test my way to get me thinking...

Originally Posted by IronWill
Or it may just be random circumstance.

Objectively it has to be random.

It doesn't feel random.

Originally Posted by IronWill
One thing I started doing that has helped me a lot has been to ask myself "What am I supposed to be learning from this?" whenever I encounter situations or conversations that strike me as interesting or unusual.

I dont get the answer right away many times, but sometimes a few days later I get that "aha" moment.

I've been thinking about what you said here for almost an hour.

I feel the most detached I have ever felt from my W. Yesterday when I video chatted with my kids she got on the call and, details not important, upset S7 unnecessarily and was telling him "Mom and Dad are on the same page." I was sitting there thinking, "This is completely unnecessary, I really dislike how she handles these things, we could talk on the side, now S7 is hiding out in his room, I am absolutely not on the same page." She was all stirred up and then saying she had a lot to do to get ready for the week... and I was thinking, she makes it harder than it needs to be. She is high strung and controlling. I saw W on Friday and felt zero attraction to her. I just don't want to be around her. I don't want to interact with her. I don't want to talk about custody or financial issues or house repairs or anything. I'm tired of the negativity of every interaction.

And then this grocery store woman comes my way...

It raises SO MANY questions:

- How far detached am I?
- Am I still hoping for a woman to make me feel complete?
- Do I realize that I have value to other people?
- Am I doing right by my kids?
- Can I look past the negativity of the current situation today, and see a path where things improve in my MR?

I have some serious soul-searching to do.

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Originally Posted by unchien

Maybe it's just the weird feeling of connecting with people. I had sort of shut myself off for awhile, playing the husband/father role and thinking it was pointless to connect because I would never have time or energy for other people.


I think you're right. I went through something similar back in February or March. I decided to let myself connect with people - but only to the point of "friends", and only people I knew for a long time in real life. In large gatherings or at events with many people, I allow myself to be friendly with women that I've known as mutual friends with W - but that is all, and no talk about my MR. The new friends I have made or old friends I've rekindled friendships with have strictly been male.

I made a decision that I would do this as long as I am standing, as long as we are IHS, as long as we are not D. It is a single solitary decision that I made on my own after much internal debate, and it is what i am doing at this moment.

I would recommend thinking about making a deal with yourself that you can live with, if you decide to stand. Sort of setting your own self a boundary.

Originally Posted by IronWill

There is a darker side to this I didn't mention in the post. This woman was attractive, not a stunner, but attractive in ways that I like. It was blatantly obvious she wanted me to ask for her number. Had I been single or D'd it would have been a complete no-brainer.

The NGS alarm bells were clanging. Seeking a woman's approval. Believing another person will fill a hole in your life. Rose-colored classes. All of it.

I may end up D'd, but I absolutely can not, will not, repeat history. I'm going to have to get my mind straight.


I would not beat yourself up over a single interaction, U. You are aware enough to realize that it set off these alarm bells and it cause you enough concern to stop yourself and assess the situation.

It's never easy doing the hard work, checking yourself, when it seems like it would be so simple to go towards something new.

Again, I would think about what you want. And how long you are willing to wait.

My R was 21 yrs long. I am in no way shape.or form ready for something new - it would be a rebound and i would absolutely bring in the same issues. I do not want to go through this all over again. My plan (if you want to call it that) is tentatively to let myself breathe and be me for the next 4 or 5 yrs. That may change later, I dont know. But right now, it feels about right.

Originally Posted by Unchien

I feel the most detached I have ever felt from my W. Yesterday when I video chatted with my kids she got on the call and, details not important, upset S7 unnecessarily and was telling him "Mom and Dad are on the same page." I was sitting there thinking, "This is completely unnecessary, I really dislike how she handles these things, we could talk on the side, now S7 is hiding out in his room, I am absolutely not on the same page." She was all stirred up and then saying she had a lot to do to get ready for the week... and I was thinking, she makes it harder than it needs to be. She is high strung and controlling. I saw W on Friday and felt zero attraction to her. I just don't want to be around her. I don't want to interact with her. I don't want to talk about custody or financial issues or house repairs or anything. I'm tired of the negativity of every interaction.

And then this grocery store woman comes my way...

It raises SO MANY questions:

- How far detached am I?
- Am I still hoping for a woman to make me feel complete?
- Do I realize that I have value to other people?
- Am I doing right by my kids?
- Can I look past the negativity of the current situation today, and see a path where things improve in my MR?

I have some serious soul-searching to do.


A couple of things I noticed in your post here. Call it a 1x3 smile

1. Beware of falling into the trap of "the grass is greener on the other side."
2. Remember that your W is going through something, too, just like you are.
3. Everyone has bad days.
4. Empathy is the mot du jour.

I know you don't want to deal with all these bad things, U. Neither do I. I really don't. But unfortunately we have to.

I'm going to give you a quote here that I absolutely love. I heard it many times in the military and it has helped me a lot.in the past year:

Sometimes when life gives us lemons, we have to eat our [censored] lemons smile

I know it sounds brutal, U - it's a shitty deal you have here, even more.so because you have kids. But that's all part of this LBS journey we are on. Think about it, even if the woman gave you her number - how would you imagine that realistically playing out? Would it simplify your life right now? Would everything be alright with the world afterwards? What problems would that eliminate?

Its human nature to want to alleviate pain, but then what would we learn? Would we keep making the same mistakes if there were no pain?

Anyway I'm rambling again - sorry lol

Reeling it back in here...

I would look at it as a great ego-booster - nothing more. The universe let you have a break for a few moments - and you realized that you were worth something. You saw that you did have value. And you were able to recognize that.

If you decide you are standing, take the win - and keep on your journey smile

Stay strong buddy. smile

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IW - Thanks for the long response, I will have more thoughts tonight.

I question more and more why I am standing. Yes, I have kids, and I believe that carries a huge amount of weight. But there's nothing else there for me pulling me back.

My W has accused me of emotional and physical abuse. Not legally. But in front of mandatory reporters. Multiple times. She has not changed her position over a period of a year. She continues to go to IC to work on herself and maybe get to a point where we can talk about it. But nothing has changed.

This weekend S7 burned his hand at W's house. He touched an outdoor grill. Had this happened at my house, it would have triggered safety inspections, counseling, and possibly my W withholding the children. He was fine. He had a small blister on his hand.

EVERYTHING else about my situation is secondary. All my other doubts about our relationship don't matter.

Do I really want to reconcile with this person? No, I do not. And I don't know what to do about it.

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Originally Posted by IronWill

I decided to let myself connect with people - but only to the point of "friends", and only people I knew for a long time in real life. In large gatherings or at events with many people, I allow myself to be friendly with women that I've known as mutual friends with W - but that is all, and no talk about my MR. The new friends I have made or old friends I've rekindled friendships with have strictly been male.

I made a decision that I would do this as long as I am standing, as long as we are IHS, as long as we are not D. It is a single solitary decision that I made on my own after much internal debate, and it is what i am doing at this moment.

I would recommend thinking about making a deal with yourself that you can live with, if you decide to stand. Sort of setting your own self a boundary.

I am really struggling with these things.

I have 2 friends where we live (since we relocated just a couple years ago). One has been amazing, the other is a mutual friend that I have kept out of things. I have so much alone time now, I'm trying hard to occupy myself and do social things, work out, etc. But it does feel lonely.

I've joined a men's support group, but it almost feels like redoing DB 101. A lot of empathy when what I'm looking for is some 2x4's.

And the anger I feel lately towards my situation and my W is growing, not abating. I question how many more months I can make it, or whether there is any point when things feel so toxic right now.

Originally Posted by IronWill

I would not beat yourself up over a single interaction, U. You are aware enough to realize that it set off these alarm bells and it cause you enough concern to stop yourself and assess the situation.

It's never easy doing the hard work, checking yourself, when it seems like it would be so simple to go towards something new.

Again, I would think about what you want. And how long you are willing to wait.

I don't feel particularly guilty about the interaction. What bothers me was how easy it seemed, which is also dangerous.

Originally Posted by IronWill
My R was 21 yrs long. I am in no way shape.or form ready for something new - it would be a rebound and i would absolutely bring in the same issues. I do not want to go through this all over again. My plan (if you want to call it that) is tentatively to let myself breathe and be me for the next 4 or 5 yrs. That may change later, I dont know. But right now, it feels about right.

I am not in shape for anything new either. 4-5 years I don't know.

I have this crazy idea that if things don't work out with my W, I will approach life with zero outcome expectations. Friendships, romantic relationships, whatever. Expectations cause so many problems.

Originally Posted by IronWill

Sometimes when life gives us lemons, we have to eat our [censored] lemons smile

I love this, thank you!

Originally Posted by IronWill

I would look at it as a great ego-booster - nothing more. The universe let you have a break for a few moments - and you realized that you were worth something. You saw that you did have value. And you were able to recognize that.

Yep, that was it. I realized my W was considering D about 6 months ago, but in reality I have unloved and unvalued for roughly 2 years now. It was an ego boost to have some female attention. Maybe too much of a boost.

Originally Posted by IronWill

If you decide you are standing, take the win - and keep on your journey smile

I wrestle with this decision every day.

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Originally Posted by unchien

I am really struggling with these things.

I have 2 friends where we live (since we relocated just a couple years ago). One has been amazing, the other is a mutual friend that I have kept out of things. I have so much alone time now, I'm trying hard to occupy myself and do social things, work out, etc. But it does feel lonely.


Loneliness is a big part of S. Its something I keep fighting, though lately I've let myself be open to friendships more. I find it does help - another part of the reason I feel so tired all the time is that I have occupied every moment of the time I used to spend with W. You may want to consider joining more groups or finding more activities/hobbies that occur on a weekly basis.

Learning to be ok with being by yourself is difficult, but you can do it. I had forgotten that I lived alone for 8 years following high school. It's like a muscle - it will come back if you exercise it smile

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And the anger I feel lately towards my situation and my W is growing, not abating. I question how many more months I can make it, or whether there is any point when things feel so toxic right now.


It's ok to be angry. I would not show that to W, though.

I know you like to plan out your IC sessions, but maybe part of the anger you are feeling should be discussed with IC?

Eckhart Tolle goes into great lengths discussing what he calls "the pain-body". It is all the accumulated pain in your life balled up, so much so that it becomes like an entity in its own right. It needs more pain to sustain itself, so it goes looking for more pain.

It is very esoteric stuff, and some might think it's out there, but I has helped me enormously. I kind of think that parallels what you are dealing with here.

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What bothers me was how easy it seemed, which is also dangerous.


This seems to tell me you are leaning towards standing.

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I am not in shape for anything new either. 4-5 years I don't know.


It's an arbitrary figure. It helps me realize I have a long way to go. It helps me to put a number on it, something a little more concrete in times of fluidity and chaos.

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Yep, that was it. I realized my W was considering D about 6 months ago, but in reality I have unloved and unvalued for roughly 2 years now. It was an ego boost to have some female attention. Maybe too much of a boost.


I politely disagree. If you had acted on it, that would be another matter.
Also - IMO - the last sentence here also points toward you standing.

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I wrestle with this decision every day.


We all do. It's a part of the LBS journey. It's also a decision that we make not once, but every single day. How long we do that is up to us. smile

Take care, U - stay strong

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Originally Posted by IronWill
Originally Posted by unchien
What bothers me was how easy it seemed, which is also dangerous.


This seems to tell me you are leaning towards standing.

I had a very strong response to this. There is an enormous hidden NGS factor.

Am I standing because I am completely in touch with my values, and have very strong conviction that it is the right choice?

Or am I standing because I want to identify with the type of person who would stand? (NGS factor #1)

Or am I standing because I don't have the self-respect to walk away from a toxic situation? (NGS factor #2)

Or am I standing because I am repeating basic people-pleasing behavior? (NGS factor #3)

Or am I standing because I'm afraid of taking the next step on my journey of personal growth? (NGS factor #4)

#1 is the really bothersome one for me.

Why am I standing? Today... I have no idea. I guess I would say "for the kids" but I think that is not sufficient enough reason. Do I have hope that our MR can get back to a loving, caring relationship? Honestly, I don't think so. And if not, my kids will suffer, we will not be modeling a healthy partnership for them.

I just wonder if I'm lying to myself. I wonder if I'm hiding behind my kids so I don't have to make a decision. Today I really can't give any other reason for why I am standing. It's 100% "for the kids." That's the last pillar holding this up, and it's getting wobbly.

The encounter with the grocery store woman certainly spun me for a loop, but all the above thoughts have already been there.

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Journal -

Iím feeling extra anxious and worked up the last day or so. A little bit of depression mixed in there.

I canít pinpoint exactly why.

Iím about to have my kids for Labor Day Weekend and Iím really excited. I also havenít seen them in 10 days and I feel like we are drifting apart.

I have no family support due to the estrangement with my parents.

Work feels like something to fill the time.

Iíve put in about 5 pounds of muscle this month which feels both good and kind of empty.

The menís group Iíve tried doesnít seem very promising. A lot of empathy but not much else, and empathy Is not what Iím looking for. Iím looking for connection.

Havenít felt this way in about 6 weeks and Iím not enjoying the experience.

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Hi Unchien. I donít feel like I have anything super helpful or insightful to say, but I always feel supported when you chin in so I thought Iíd try to pay that forward. I relate very much to the increasedanxiety/depression part of all of this that seems to pop up from time to time.
Originally Posted by unchien
Iím feeling extra anxious and worked up the last day or so. A little bit of depression mixed in there.

I canít pinpoint exactly why.

Iím about to have my kids for Labor Day Weekend and.... I also havenít seen them in 10 days and I feel like we are drifting apart.

I have no family support due to the estrangement with my parents.


I think you may have pinpointed why wink
I have always tended to go inward in times of crisis, and since BD Iíve forced myself not to do that, for my mental health and that of D4.
It sounds like between lack of close friends due to being newer to your area and familial estrangement, your circle is feeling small right now. Good for you for going to a menís group to try to remedy that, I think thatís brave. Sounds like the universe may be telling you to focus on expanding your circle in new ways?

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Unchien, I'm having many of the same feelings as you, it's reassuring at least to know we're not alone. I'm experiencing some of the same anxiety and depression and I swing between "OMG what have I done, how do I fix this? I'll do anything to get her back!" and "you know what? I'm a decent person with friends and family who love me as I am and if she sees me as a demon then that's her loss, I should move on." I wish I could give you advice but all I can say is that it's a struggle.

I'd also say that I get what you were saying about how accidents at her place are not a big deal but if it happened with you it would be the end of the world. I worry that's going to happen in my case, too.

Originally Posted by IronWill

Loneliness is a big part of S. Its something I keep fighting, though lately I've let myself be open to friendships more. I find it does help - another part of the reason I feel so tired all the time is that I have occupied every moment of the time I used to spend with W. You may want to consider joining more groups or finding more activities/hobbies that occur on a weekly basis.

Good stuff here. I'm exhausted from doing so much and having so much stress (not just D but also work, D3, finding a house, and so on). Again, reassuring to know that this is not uncommon.

Stay strong!


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Originally Posted by unchien

A lot of empathy but not much else, and empathy Is not what Iím looking for. Iím looking for connection.


I think one of the problems is that you are doing things with certain expectations in mind. Find something that is interesting to do, go and interact with people and eventually you will find connection. If you have connection as an end goal in mind, then you decrease your chances - another thing that is counter intuitive.

Just a thought - have you tried volunteering? I find it gives an opportunity to connect with people. Even if you don't find connection, you have done something good for others which is a benefit in itself.

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Originally Posted by HopeCA

I think you may have pinpointed why wink
I have always tended to go inward in times of crisis, and since BD Iíve forced myself not to do that, for my mental health and that of D4.
It sounds like between lack of close friends due to being newer to your area and familial estrangement, your circle is feeling small right now. Good for you for going to a menís group to try to remedy that, I think thatís brave. Sounds like the universe may be telling you to focus on expanding your circle in new ways?

Thanks Hope.

I've just hit 2 months officially physically separated and the novelty of the situation has given way to the sobering reality of it all.

My circle does feel incredibly small. But I also recognize I need to create my own happiness and not rely on others. I have my kids this weekend - I need to have a PMA and really embrace it, even if we don't have tons of activities planned.

I'm sure this is all normal and part of the process. The men's group has been disappointing so far. I don't find myself really connecting with the other people. Primarily this group focuses on helping men become more vulnerable and open about their feelings. This is not really a problem for me, probably because I use this forum as an outlet, plus IC, plus a couple close friends... but I feel like I'm not finding the connection or community that I'm looking for. Most of the other men are in the midst of various life challenges, and they reflect back a lot of empathy towards my situation, but it just feels sort of... empty?

To the general point about growing my circle, I think I just need to keep trying different things. The grocery store incident a few days ago was alarming -- how easy it would be to seek support from another woman.

I think I will go back and try Meetup again, and expand the activities I'm willing to try out.

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Originally Posted by MLCxH
Originally Posted by unchien

A lot of empathy but not much else, and empathy Is not what Iím looking for. Iím looking for connection.


I think one of the problems is that you are doing things with certain expectations in mind. Find something that is interesting to do, go and interact with people and eventually you will find connection. If you have connection as an end goal in mind, then you decrease your chances - another thing that is counter intuitive.

Just a thought - have you tried volunteering? I find it gives an opportunity to connect with people. Even if you don't find connection, you have done something good for others which is a benefit in itself.

Thanks MLC. I think volunteering sounds like a great thing to try and I see there are opportunities in my area on Meetup.
Thank you for the idea.

Whatís becoming obvious to me is Iím slipping into a funk, depression, whatever you want to call it. Thereís no denying it. I was doing well there for several weeks. It will be good to be with my kids this weekend, but I need to work more on digging myself out. Iím wallowing.

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Originally Posted by crdcheck
Unchien, I'm having many of the same feelings as you, it's reassuring at least to know we're not alone. I'm experiencing some of the same anxiety and depression and I swing between "OMG what have I done, how do I fix this? I'll do anything to get her back!" and "you know what? I'm a decent person with friends and family who love me as I am and if she sees me as a demon then that's her loss, I should move on." I wish I could give you advice but all I can say is that it's a struggle.

crd - I think my anxiety and depression are not centered around my W.

I am just generally lonely and wanting to be more connected with people in general - friends, family, whatever. Yes I miss the connection with my W, but more the connection and not my W (if that makes sense). But also I recognize I was over-valuing that connection, and not building up a strong network for myself.

I'm sure this is normal... I've been GAL'ing and doing my best for 2 months, but periodic lapses are to be expected.

Originally Posted by crdcheck
I'd also say that I get what you were saying about how accidents at her place are not a big deal but if it happened with you it would be the end of the world. I worry that's going to happen in my case, too.

Yes, I may even raise this episode in our next MC session (we are on a 1 month break, so that will happen a couple weeks from now).

Originally Posted by crdcheck
Originally Posted by IronWill

Loneliness is a big part of S. Its something I keep fighting, though lately I've let myself be open to friendships more. I find it does help - another part of the reason I feel so tired all the time is that I have occupied every moment of the time I used to spend with W. You may want to consider joining more groups or finding more activities/hobbies that occur on a weekly basis.

Good stuff here. I'm exhausted from doing so much and having so much stress (not just D but also work, D3, finding a house, and so on). Again, reassuring to know that this is not uncommon.

Stay strong!

I also feel exhausted. And I'm wise enough about my body to know that exhaustion is a huge contributing factor to feeling down. If I had better sleep, I would probably feel better mentally as well.

Sleep is a major challenge right now. I am physically exhausted from lifting weights, going for long walks, and building up a sleep deficit. I've been trying sleep meditations - just letting them play on my phone while I fall asleep - with limited success. I just don't feel well-rested at all.

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Originally Posted by "unchien"
I've just hit 2 months officially physically separated and the novelty of the situation has given way to the sobering reality of it all.

Whatís becoming obvious to me is Iím slipping into a funk, depression, whatever you want to call it. Thereís no denying it. I was doing well there for several weeks.


These are profound life changes we're going through. "GAL" - It's relatively easy to distract ourselves and get into a temporary groove. It's much harder to find a meaningful permanent substitute for it all.

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Originally Posted by unchien

I also feel exhausted. And I'm wise enough about my body to know that exhaustion is a huge contributing factor to feeling down. If I had better sleep, I would probably feel better mentally as well.
Sleep is a major challenge right now. I am physically exhausted from lifting weights, going for long walks, and building up a sleep deficit. I've been trying sleep meditations - just letting them play on my phone while I fall asleep - with limited success. I just don't feel well-rested at all.


Yes I've found this. I keep waking up bolt upright around 6am each morning, even on Sundays. Sometimes I can go back to sleep. Other times I find my mind wandering, thinking about W and separation or D. I'm reading more. Also listening to lots of good stuff on Audible. Not just self-help stuff but books by comedians etc.. Laughter is as important as sleep.


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Originally Posted by CWarrior
These are profound life changes we're going through. "GAL" - It's relatively easy to distract ourselves and get into a temporary groove.

GAL and PMA are definitely FITYMI (fake it til you make it). It works some of the time.

Originally Posted by CWarrior
It's much harder to find a meaningful permanent substitute for it all.

Deep thoughts coming out of this one.

Meaningful permanent substitute - Do you think this search is why the rebound relationship is so common? When we feel completely adrift, it's natural to go search for an anchor.

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Journal ~

I continue to wallow, although being aware helps defuse it slightly. All day yesterday I felt like breaking out sobbing, which I haven't done in probably 6 weeks (after crying every day for maybe 3 months). I never did break out, not sure why, because it would have felt good.

I'm also feeling quite a bit of anger and frustration. Directed towards both my W and myself.

I feel like I've tried to walk this tightrope through the "abuse talk" to get to a place where I see my kids on a reasonable schedule - although the long gaps are really painful. Maybe I sold myself short on custody. I don't know. I narrowly avoided a court battle. Maybe just having 1 night during those 10 day gaps would help me. I know it would not be an easy negotiation with W. But I need to raise it.

Financially this is an awful situation but that wouldn't change much if we proceed with D. I have taken all pressure off my W from going to MC until she is ready.

I feel like I'm standing in place. I have my own place which is fine. But it feels temporary. It doesn't feel like a home.

Sometimes I wonder if my W actually did have a EA/PA at some point. Not sure why I think this, there's no evidence to suggest it. Maybe it's me trying to square the way she has talked about me and treated me, that maybe there is some hidden reason there I never caught onto. She has very strong morals and values - sometimes I think looking at me as a highly abusive person could be her way of justifying being wayward in some way.

Not having my own family to support me is really tough. I have a sister who I typically talk to 2-3 times a year, we live on opposite sides of the country. Our relationship is strained due to the estrangement with my parents, although my sister and I also were not ever super close. I haven't told her about the S, nor do I think it's a particularly good idea right now (my family had major problems with my W, I do not see them giving me solid, healthy support in this scenario). She has tried to get my parents and I to start talking again before. It would be more stressful than helpful. It would be nice to have family support, but it's not in the cards for me.

We are now 2+ months into the physical separation. Originally we talked about this running 6 months, but it morphed into a "who knows how long?" deal. I see no significant changes in our MR, and I feel more comfortable moving on than before. What holds me back right now is the kids - I feel them slipping away, and it really hurts. I feel so heartbroken for them. I know this is what everyone feels in D, even in 50/50 arrangements.

I wonder why I am standing for this MR. I wonder if the abuse talk is something that would completely cloud any future R. Is this situation completely unhealthy and toxic for me? I wrestle with this non-stop.

The two friends I have leaned on heavily for support throughout this process have been amazing at just listening and validating, not inserting their opinion. Lately I sense them both shifting. It's almost like they can't take it anymore and they just want to shake me and tell me I'm in a bad marriage and I need to move on.

There's not much keeping me holding onto the MR at this point. I know D would be a long logistical process (14-18 months in my state) and involve a lot of emotional turmoil. I have such NSO (negative sentiment override) when thinking about my W right now - the abuse allegations, her mind-reading, her controlling nature - and I wonder if I could ever overcome that in any scenario.

How do you know when to not just drop the rope, but cut it?

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Originally Posted by unchien
Journal ~

There's not much keeping me holding onto the MR at this point. I know D would be a long logistical process (14-18 months in my state) and involve a lot of emotional turmoil.


U, I feel your pain.

If D takes 14-18 months in your state have you thought about whether it makes sense to start the process and continue MC in parallel. If your R improves, you can always stop the D. If it gets worse, D gives you a path to move forward with your life. Again, this is just something for you to think about given the long time.

In my sitch the entire D only took a few months. I cannot even imagine the emotional toll going through 14 months of D would entail!

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Originally Posted by MLCxH
Originally Posted by unchien
Journal ~

There's not much keeping me holding onto the MR at this point. I know D would be a long logistical process (14-18 months in my state) and involve a lot of emotional turmoil.


U, I feel your pain.

If D takes 14-18 months in your state have you thought about whether it makes sense to start the process and continue MC in parallel. If your R improves, you can always stop the D. If it gets worse, D gives you a path to move forward with your life. Again, this is just something for you to think about given the long time.

In my sitch the entire D only took a few months. I cannot even imagine the emotional toll going through 14 months of D would entail!

MLCxH,

It is a question I am turning over in my head for sure.

Journal ~

This weekend I had the kids. My W had a mini-rant over text that I did not update her for several hours what we were doing, and also that I didn't tell her we went to hang out with a mutual friend (and she instead found out by talking to my kids).

It really triggered me.

In the past month, she has twice hung out with mutual friends of ours, one of him was my best man at our wedding, without telling me ahead of time. And I didn't care! So I'm frustrated she would turn around and get upset, when she doesn't follow her own rules.

The text/update thing was something we agreed to as a short-term plan to get my W comfortable with me having the kids overnight. I also felt like she could have just pinged me to ask what was up, and I would have gladly answered. It just didn't cross my mind, there was no passive-aggressive intention on my part. But she flips this into a "we had an agreement" rant. In the meantime, when our kids are with her, I have no clue what they are doing. Of course I want to know more, but I also respect that it is my W's time with the kids. We do try to have daily video chats if even for a few minutes.

I dropped my older two off at school today, and the younger one up at our marital home. I noticed our family pics are off the wall, replaced by kids' artwork. I was triggered but only slightly, less than I would have thought. I thought.. "makes sense." I don't have pics of my W up at my house either.

I'm getting extremely frustrated in general about my situation. I feel like my W's attitude puts me in this difficult position of having to worry about being bullied due to her abuse talk:

- Child safety: My son burned his hand on a grill at her house last week. Had that happened at my house, she would probably have refused overnights.

- Emotional abuse: She refuses to even talk about our marital problems. She has gone to IC for over 6 months now. For a refresher, what she calls emotional abuse is a regrettable incident where I pulled over the car to try to talk to her after months of silence (to be clear I do not justify this, I do think this was abusive, but I also would like to talk about it with her if she would ever open up). I never called her names, yelled at her, got physical with her, etc.

- Financial: I know if we D today, she would be in a tough spot, and I empathize for her. At the same time, she does not appear to be doing anything to help the situation out (like going back to work with urgency). She will probably consider it "abusive" if I file for D today, for instance.

- General interactions: Every interaction feels stressful and strained. I feel like (for lack of a better term) she is constantly busting my b@lls.

- Parenting: I feel like my W does not understand in a D that we will be co-parents, but also independent parents as well when it comes to certain decisions. I worry that she will not be able to let go of that control, and we will continue to have negative interactions with some distant threat that she may claim the kids are unsafe with me for some reason.

I've also noticed a general trend if one of our kids seems to be going through a difficult period, somehow it's a referendum on my parenting. Instead of perhaps accepting that these are little people adjusting to massive changes in their lives and it might be affecting them? My youngest sometimes doesn't sleep well at my house. Rather than accept she's going through changes, and adjusting to a new house, there are always these indirect accusations that it is my fault (my W is really good at making passive-aggressive digs).

To wrap it up... I feel like I know what I need to do. In no way does this feel to me like a relationship that could be reconciled. I feel like I have let go of the rope but I'm still grasping at it for some reason. Waiting is not going to help me. I could wait a day, a month, a year, and the toxic abuse talk will persist and cloud every negotiation and discussion. I'm just going to have to face it at some point, make sure I stand up for myself, and if L's need to get involved then so be it. Only then can I really piece together a life out of this mess... somehow build something new, for me and my kids, the way I want.

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One question I have for the forum:

We are going back to MC next week (first time in a month).

I am considering raising the fact that the discussions about child safety in MC are setting a tone where I don't feel like we have an equal co-parenting partnership. And that I can't continue to go to MC (which is really "co-parenting coaching") with this imbalance. I always feel on the defensive, under the microscope, and in general not getting much out of these sessions at this point. On the other hand, we haven't gone in a month, and I find our interactions are worsening gradually again.

Any thoughts?

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Originally Posted by "Unchien"
we had an agreement" rant. In the meantime, when our kids are with her, I have no clue what they are doing.

You're under more restrictions than my ex-wife was, and she had 1x physically abused the children. I've known people with supervised visitation and no overnights, but typically they had histories involving criminal behavior, or the child was still breast-feeding. I wonder if a discussion with an attorney would help clarify norms and your rights. Early on I knew my rights and had ready responses (I never used) to alleviate concerns about problem scenarios like, "What if she doesn't hand-over (or pick-up) the kids?"

Originally Posted by "Unchien"
On the other hand, we haven't gone in a month, and I find our interactions are worsening gradually again.

It sounds like you feel discussion would be helpful, but the format needs to change. I wonder what an improved format would look like for you--50/50 time for her/your issues?

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Originally Posted by unchien

This weekend I had the kids. My W had a mini-rant over text that I did not update her for several hours what we were doing, and also that I didn't tell her we went to hang out with a mutual friend (and she instead found out by talking to my kids).

It really triggered me.

In the past month, she has twice hung out with mutual friends of ours, one of him was my best man at our wedding, without telling me ahead of time. And I didn't care! So I'm frustrated she would turn around and get upset, when she doesn't follow her own rules.


U, I am sorry you're going through this. There is no question that it is not fair and equal. It isn't for any of us. If it was we'd probably all be working on our marriages! When we talk about being the lighthouse and the rock, this is exactly what we mean. Your W is a wild storm while you are a model of stability. Whenever she starts the crazy talk try to picture that image in your mind- of her lashing about like a wild storm and you as the solid lighthouse taking the battering like it's nothing. Believe me, it helps! Mental images can really help calm you when you feel anxious. Have you read the Happiness Trap? That's where I learned those techniques.


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Originally Posted by CWarrior
Originally Posted by "Unchien"
we had an agreement" rant. In the meantime, when our kids are with her, I have no clue what they are doing.

You're under more restrictions than my ex-wife was, and she had 1x physically abused the children. I've known people with supervised visitation and no overnights, but typically they had histories involving criminal behavior, or the child was still breast-feeding. I wonder if a discussion with an attorney would help clarify norms and your rights. Early on I knew my rights and had ready responses (I never used) to alleviate concerns about problem scenarios like, "What if she doesn't hand-over (or pick-up) the kids?"

Originally Posted by "Unchien"
On the other hand, we haven't gone in a month, and I find our interactions are worsening gradually again.

It sounds like you feel discussion would be helpful, but the format needs to change. I wonder what an improved format would look like for you--50/50 time for her/your issues?

CW -

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.

The IMPLICIT threat is what bothers me. If my son had burnt his hand at my house, I'm 100% positive she would make it a child safety issue. I feel constantly like she is scrutinizing my parenting.

She has not yet refused to hand over the kids since I provided the generic parenting plan about 6 weeks ago. But it's constant tug-of-war. I could be more assertive with my parenting rights, and things will get uglier, and maybe that's what I need to do and get over my NGS.

Regarding MC -- we ended the last session with my W asking for a month break, because she was not ready to discuss "the emotional and physical abuse." We are going to go back, and my entire stance has not changed... I'm only there at this point if we are working on the MR, otherwise, let's take another break from MC. The only thing I may mention is that I want to ramp down the safety concerns because they are becoming unreasonable.

I'm at no risk of supervised visitation, etc. I know my rights. My W has mentioned this stuff in front of FOUR mandatory reporters, none of whom reported it.

It all begs the question of why would I want to reconcile with this person...

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Originally Posted by AnotherStander
Originally Posted by unchien

This weekend I had the kids. My W had a mini-rant over text that I did not update her for several hours what we were doing, and also that I didn't tell her we went to hang out with a mutual friend (and she instead found out by talking to my kids).

It really triggered me.

In the past month, she has twice hung out with mutual friends of ours, one of him was my best man at our wedding, without telling me ahead of time. And I didn't care! So I'm frustrated she would turn around and get upset, when she doesn't follow her own rules.


U, I am sorry you're going through this. There is no question that it is not fair and equal. It isn't for any of us. If it was we'd probably all be working on our marriages! When we talk about being the lighthouse and the rock, this is exactly what we mean. Your W is a wild storm while you are a model of stability. Whenever she starts the crazy talk try to picture that image in your mind- of her lashing about like a wild storm and you as the solid lighthouse taking the battering like it's nothing. Believe me, it helps! Mental images can really help calm you when you feel anxious. Have you read the Happiness Trap? That's where I learned those techniques.



Thanks AS -

I own the Happiness Trap, but never read all the way through it. I bought it back in the pre-BD days when I thought we just had some basic communication problems and I wanted to do my part to work on things. That and about 20 other books! I'll go check it out again.

The image of weathering the storm helps me a lot. What troubles me about the lighthouse analogy is that it implies standing in place, which is something I cannot do.

One thing I've noticed is if I stand up for myself just a bit, and show her a little bit of frustration (but not much), that seems to help. This morning she was pestering me over text about the fact D3 keeps crawling into my bed in the middle of the night, implying that I was causing her to have sleep troubles. I said something like "I think D3 is really struggling with the separation. She keeps asking when I am going to move back home. I'm doing my best to make her feel safe and comfortable at my house." I know this was not good validation but it seemed to have the desired effect of backing off my W.

Sometimes I wonder if I take the lighthouse analogy too far and I need to show that I'm a human from time to time.

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Originally Posted by unchien

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?

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Originally Posted by MLCxH
Originally Posted by unchien

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.

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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.

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MLC - Yes this is my thinking, try to break up that 10 days so I get a little time with them.

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Journal ~

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.

Thoughts?

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U,

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.

Iím sorry you are going through this nonsense.

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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.

You need to stop waffling and start acting

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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?

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Also MLC - please do not apologize for 2x4's. 2x4 posts are the ones that snap me out of my old thinking patterns. Keep 'em coming when you have 'em.

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Hey U -

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.

Take care, man smile

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Hi Unchien,

One policy I made early in my divorce (but didnít announce), worth considering, is I talked to my ex about her concerns during her custody time. I didnít want to feel ďdownĒ or upset or be distracted during my time. It definitely cut down on the time spent discussing her complaints and she was in a better mood those days, maybe also had time to cool down.

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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".


Tonight is "dinner visit". D17 is coming over after work. Goes back to her mothers at 8:30. Been doing this for years. Next Wednesday, she will go to her mothers house until 8:30.


We have 50/50 split parenting. The exchange is every Friday. Been doing this since D5,S7,S9. Dinner visit was initially Tuesdays, but X claimed that conflicted with her job.


"What is best for my kids is best for me"
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Originally Posted by unchien

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?


Personally,

I would keep the MC focused on co-parenting issues. (As long as the therapist is impartial) It is nice to have a third party help negotiate parenting issues. Once every other week, or once a month.


"What is best for my kids is best for me"
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Originally Posted by Ready2Change

Personally,

I would keep the MC focused on co-parenting issues. (As long as the therapist is impartial) It is nice to have a third party help negotiate parenting issues. Once every other week, or once a month.


Thanks R2C. I agree except that my W tends to turn MC into a referendum on my parenting skills (i.e., complaints) rather than us working together to co-parent better. What we should be talking about is how our kids are adjusting to the changes, etc.

I can't decide if I think the therapist is impartial. Whenever my W raises safety concerns he takes them extremely seriously, no matter how small. I think he plays right into the narrative my W has. On the other hand, he has called out my W for being stuck on her own personal issues which prevent her from working on the MR. I respect that he has a hard edge to his approach, but constantly reinforces my W's safety concerns where I think there are none.

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Originally Posted by unchien


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".


Why not bring this up in MC and ask her about this? If she says no, ask why. Her response will tell you whether she is being reasonable or not.

Before actually filing for D, one option is to tell your wife that you will be forced to seek legal action if she does not agree to reasonable custody terms (and 4-10 is only 30% which is more than reasonable). If she does not budge, you have a clearer path forward

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Originally Posted by unchien
Whenever my W raises safety concerns he takes them extremely seriously, no matter how small.


Make your statements show you are concerned about the kids safety as well. Get yourself more educated than W.

Get some parenting books. Let them know you are learning new parenting skills. I really like parenting with love and logic:
https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2061094#Post2061094


"What is best for my kids is best for me"
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Originally Posted by Ready2Change
Originally Posted by unchien

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?


Personally,

I would keep the MC focused on co-parenting issues. (As long as the therapist is impartial) It is nice to have a third party help negotiate parenting issues. Once every other week, or once a month.



I couldnít disagree more. If you are there for MC, then you need to be working on your marriage. If youíre not working on your marriage then itís not MC, itís coparenting.

My wife uses our MC as coparenting only when sheís mad at me or wants to take a jab, but once I let both her and the MC know I wasnít interested in attending for coparenting because I was there for MC, it has calmed down a lot and she decided to start working on our marriage.

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