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An example of the daily test - I am paraphrasing a little bit for anonymity.

Yesterday W asked (via text) if she could stop by an after-school thing my kids have (I had the kids all weekend through tomorrow). She has a friend in town, and wanted her friend to say goodbye one more time.

I said okay, but also told her that I was planning to leave work early to pick up the kids from the activity (Normally our babysitter would take them to my house for another hour until I get home from work). I said I don't mind if she and her friend stop by, but wanted her to know in case she wants to avoid any awkwardness with her friend there. I assumed she wanted to avoid us running into each other.

She told me that they would stop by, but leave before I got there, and I should still plan to come pick up the kids. So... plan confirmed, I am going to pick the kids up from the activity.

Today, as I'm driving over to pick them up within 20 minutes, she texted the following:

1. Confirmed I was coming to pick them up.
2. She didn't realize I leave work early on my Mondays to pick them up.
3. If I wasn't coming, she would stay with her friend to say goodbye to the kids.

Then I responded with: "Yes I was planning to pick them up at time xyz. But if you and your friend want to watch them to the end, I can go to my house. Please arrange to have them dropped off afterwards and pay the babysitter for her extra time if she is dropping them off."

She responds: "No problem, we will just leave early and you can pick them up. You did not make it clear last night your plan."

I texted her a screenshot of my confirmation the night before of my precise plan and said: "Sorry for the confusion. This is what I sent last night and I thought it was clear."

Her: "You did text that. Thanks for the limited time with them."

Me: "Ok"

My thoughts:

1. I tried really hard not to respond emotionally.
2. I did feel guilty.
3. I could tell my W was stirred up.

I'm not sure how I could have handled this differently. It seems like she just wanted to be upset.

These types of situations come up ALL the time. It is a minefield to navigate. I have to stand up for myself, or she will never respect me, but I also need to avoid falling into emotional traps.

Anyways, any advice whether I could have handled this differently is much appreciated.

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Hey U,

Sorry you're going through this man. It seems like you're dealing with a pretty toxic situation.

I have similar things pop up. I posted a week or so ago about an email I sent to my XW where I responded about a point she raised. She said she never received the email. I said no worries, I'll resend it. She then checked her emails in front of me, and acknowledged she had, but she couldn't see the specific reply because the paragraph was too big. I lightheartedly agreed it was hard to see and said I'd break future emails up - issue resolved.

I think you sending a screenshot of what you sent probably triggered her. I'd avoid that, and just resend the original sms/email. Keep it lighthearted too. I wouldnt have replied with the 'ok' at the end.

I suppose too you could end sms's arranging stuff with 'please confirm', thus short circuting future attempts to pretend she didnt understand.

Good luck buddy, and keep taking the high road like you always do.


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Originally Posted by unchien
Yesterday W asked (via text) if she could stop by an after-school thing my kids have

Check. I rarely to never prevent my ex-wife from seeing the kids during extra-curricular activities.

Originally Posted by unchien
I said okay, but also told her that I was planning to leave work early to pick up the kids from the activity (Normally our babysitter would take them to my house for another hour until I get home from work). I said I don't mind if she and her friend stop by, but wanted her to know in case she wants to avoid any awkwardness with her friend there. I assumed she wanted to avoid us running into each other.

Was your message as simple as:
"You and <friend> are welcome to stop by. I'm picking the kids up at <time>."?

Originally Posted by unchien
Then I responded with: "Yes I was planning to pick them up at time xyz. But if you and your friend want to watch them to the end, I can go to my house. Please arrange to have them dropped off afterwards and pay the babysitter for her extra time if she is dropping them off."

Seems complicated. During my custody, my ex-wife is a passenger. "You and <friend> are welcome to stop by. I'm picking the kids up at <time> pm." I do not offer to modify my custody.

My last message to my ex-wife: "If you're asking me to take the weekend of Dec 6 - Dec 8, please confirm. Yes, I can!" No feelings, alternate proposals, etc. I initially considered telling her how much trouble I went to, to modify my schedule to take over her custody period, and how close I came to saying no. But, why? I accept or I don't. I usually accept time (no trades) because I like time with my kids. My choice.

Originally Posted by unchien
I texted her a screenshot of my confirmation the night before of my precise plan and said: "Sorry for the confusion. This is what I sent last night and I thought it was clear."

I'm confused. Wasn't that the last text you sent, or you sent so many texts you need to refer back?

Originally Posted by unchien
Her: "You did text that. Thanks for the limited time with them."
2. I did feel guilty.
3. I could tell my W was stirred up.

She does sound annoyed. Why do you feel guilty? You were more accommodating than I would be, and most single parents I talk to are surprised how well my ex-wife and I get along.

She asked to share your time due to a special circumstance and you granted her request.

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Originally Posted by unchien

I said I don't mind if she and her friend stop by, but wanted her to know in case she wants to avoid any awkwardness with her friend there. I assumed she wanted to avoid us running into each other.

I wouldn't make any assumptions - it's not really worth worrying why she wanted to do it. I actually think there's a small positive side to this - despite the awkwardness she still chose to let you know what she was doing.

Quote

Then I responded with: "Yes I was planning to pick them up at time xyz. But if you and your friend want to watch them to the end, I can go to my house. Please arrange to have them dropped off afterwards and pay the babysitter for her extra time if she is dropping them off."

"Yes, I pick them up at (time)." Eliminate the rest, it simplifies things. She can figure out the rest.

Originally Posted by Unchien

She responds: "No problem, we will just leave early and you can pick them up. You did not make it clear last night your plan."

I texted her a screenshot of my confirmation the night before of my precise plan and said: "Sorry for the confusion. This is what I sent last night and I thought it was clear."

Her: "You did text that. Thanks for the limited time with them."

Me: "Ok"

Yeah she is definitely testing you and your newfound strength. Don't take the bait. But at least she is trying to communicate with you and not doing things without your knowledge, so that's a tiny little bit of positivity in all this.

I might not have sent the screenshot, but its not the end of the world. When my W was in the anger phase and sent a text, I mentally crossed out the passive aggressive parts of the text and responded only to the questions or the parts that needed my attention. I made sure to read and reread my responses a dozen times before I hit send. I call it the "seven second delay".

Originally Posted by Unchien

1. I tried really hard not to respond emotionally.
2. I did feel guilty.
3. I could tell my W was stirred up.

I think you did pretty good, U. But I don't understand why you felt guilty..? You have your routine established, it's not you that is changing things up. And as far as what your W was feeling, that's her issue, not yours.

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Originally Posted by unchien
Anyways, any advice whether I could have handled this differently is much appreciated.


I think you handled it well enough, the one change I would make in the future is quit bending over backwards to try and avoid her (or allow her to avoid you). See the crossed out sections below:

Quote
Yesterday W asked (via text) if she could stop by an after-school thing my kids have (I had the kids all weekend through tomorrow). She has a friend in town, and wanted her friend to say goodbye one more time.

I said okay, but also told her that I was planning to leave work early to pick up the kids from the activity (Normally our babysitter would take them to my house for another hour until I get home from work). I said I don't mind if she and her friend stop by, but wanted her to know in case she wants to avoid any awkwardness with her friend there. I assumed she wanted to avoid us running into each other.

She told me that they would stop by, but leave before I got there, and I should still plan to come pick up the kids. So... plan confirmed, I am going to pick the kids up from the activity.

Today, as I'm driving over to pick them up within 20 minutes, she texted the following:

1. Confirmed I was coming to pick them up.
2. She didn't realize I leave work early on my Mondays to pick them up.
3. If I wasn't coming, she would stay with her friend to say goodbye to the kids.

Then I responded with: "Yes I was planning to pick them up at time xyz. But if you and your friend want to watch them to the end, I can go to my house. Please arrange to have them dropped off afterwards and pay the babysitter for her extra time if she is dropping them off."

She responds: "No problem, we will just leave early and you can pick them up. You did not make it clear last night your plan."

I texted her a screenshot of my confirmation the night before of my precise plan and said: "Sorry for the confusion. This is what I sent last night and I thought it was clear."

Her: "You did text that. Thanks for the limited time with them."


U: Yes I will be there at time xyz.


Just live your life. If she doesn't want to see you then that's her problem, you need to still come and go as you please and let her figure out how to avoid you. If you're walking into a room and she's there and that makes her uncomfortable, well then SHE can leave. In the above case just tell her "I am picking up the kids at XX time" and that's it. No explaining, no working out what do to if she's still there, none of that. If she's there when you arrive then so be it.


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that was awfully confusing to me.

However, you can avoid that confusion by doing exactly what AS said in that last paragraph. You let her decide whatís uncomfortable for her. Be clear and concise always.

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U,

You handled that exactly how I would have. I can see that your intentions are pure in wanting to please or appeal to your W. I do agree with the above in that a shorter, more straightforward path would have accomplished two things. 1) It would still show your strength (kudos!) 2) It would have effectively dodged her testing and pushing back

Good job handling what I'm sure was a stressful issue and keep your head up!

Kristin


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I echo what AS said. The one main thing I would underscore again is this - 'Stop apologizing'... stop saying 'sorry'.. we have a tendency to do that but it is not necessary or required. You didn't do anything wrong, and if you had, then it makes sense to apologize.


No one is coming to save you!

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Thanks everyone for so much feedback! I know the story was confusing. It was confusing to me as it was happening =)

I agree I should focus on being more concise.

This morning W pinged me over text. She said she didn't read our entire text thread the other night hence her confusion. And then she was upset I didn't allow her and her friend to spend more time with the kids. I pointed out that I did offer that over text. It was defensive of me to respond, but I felt like setting the record straight.

This morning W pinged me over text about 3 items.

1. She wants to reach out to child psychologists because S7 is having some behavioral issues.
2. She asked about the plan for starting mediation.
3. She complained about the issue yesterday, and said in the future she hoped we would each make accommodations for each other when friend care in town.

We have a scheduled talk tomorrow night. So I replied, "Can we talk about all 3 items tomorrow night? Text and e-mail are not working well for us."

I could have left out the 2nd sentence...

For item #1... she went ahead and already started reaching out. Last week in MC she implied S7's issues were my fault. I do think he needs some help, but I have a somewhat irrational fear about W's motives. Perhaps she wants to hand-select the psychologist. It's just one of those fears I have to face that she's going to drag us into court eventually.

For item #2... I will wait until we talk tomorrow. I don't have to, I am choosing to because I think it's the right thing for me to do.

For item #3, I'll hear out what she has to say, but these accommodations she refers to are going to be very one-sided. It seems clear we are going to need a very detailed settlement agreement to make things crystal clear.

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Once D'd or legally separated I'm of the opinion that my time with my son is our time together, not my W's or her friends. I suppose it depends on what the agreement is (50/50, more or less?). Especially if I was to only see my son 1-2x/week I'd want that to be our time.

For item #1 - you can tell her you'd like to be part of the process of finding a psychologist. To me it's one of those things that are a bit of trial and error (finding a good therapist).

Item #2 - yes you can let her bring it up tomorrow night if she chooses. You aren't stopping her from discussing it.

Item #3 - making accommodations is fine if it's going both ways. It'll make it easier in the future. However, this is part of divorce. Personally, I wouldn't want to see my Ex on my time with my son (if it comes to that). It's hard when you are still trying to DB but it you can't be afraid to stand up for what you think is right...maybe it's part of setting boundaries.

Nothing you do will matter while your W's heart is cold. Take the high road but stand up for yourself. Detach and focus on your own growth. If she comes out of her fog she'll see things differently down the road...way down the road.


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U, stop analyzing and start acting.

Originally Posted by unchien

For item #1... she went ahead and already started reaching out. Last week in MC she implied S7's issues were my fault. I do think he needs some help, but I have a somewhat irrational fear about W's motives. Perhaps she wants to hand-select the psychologist. It's just one of those fears I have to face that she's going to drag us into court eventually.


Stop complaining and be a part of the process in finding a psychologist. If you are not comfortable with who she picks, let her know why and stand firm on choosing someone else.

Originally Posted by unchien

For item #2... I will wait until we talk tomorrow. I don't have to, I am choosing to because I think it's the right thing for me to do.


Given your sitch appears to be worse than worst case D scenario, I would have expected you to be happy she wants to push for mediation faster. This is a gift

Originally Posted by unchien

For item #3, I'll hear out what she has to say, but these accommodations she refers to are going to be very one-sided. It seems clear we are going to need a very detailed settlement agreement to make things crystal clear.

If mediation happens, then these informal discussions and tension between you and W will reduce

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Originally Posted by unchien
For item #1... she went ahead and already started reaching out. Last week in MC she implied S7's issues were my fault. I do think he needs some help, but I have a somewhat irrational fear about W's motives. Perhaps she wants to hand-select the psychologist. It's just one of those fears I have to face that she's going to drag us into court eventually.


I can't imagine she would find a C that would be complicit in coercing your S into making false accusations against you. It seems unlikely, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. If anything the C may be able to help your W understand it's not your fault he's struggling.

Quote
For item #2... I will wait until we talk tomorrow. I don't have to, I am choosing to because I think it's the right thing for me to do.


For mediation, I assume you're leaving that up to her? If she starts telling you that you need to do XYZ then just state "this isn't what I want, but I understand it is what you want and I will not stand in your way. But don't ask me to do the work for you. I will give you whatever information you need from me as you need it." Leave that ball in her court.

Quote
For item #3, I'll hear out what she has to say, but these accommodations she refers to are going to be very one-sided. It seems clear we are going to need a very detailed settlement agreement to make things crystal clear.


The settlement agreement will be pretty simple. There are templates for this. You get S on ABC days and she gets him on XYZ. On odd years you have him for Thanksgiving and she has him for Christmas, then it switches on even years. Each of you needs to inform the other in writing before taking him out of state. Any visitation outside of this agreement needs to be discussed beforehand and is approved SOLELY at the discretion of the parent that has custody at that time. So in other words, if she has a friend visiting and wants to see S during your days then she needs to ask you beforehand and you can say yes or no. Will she like that? Probably not, but that's how S and D work, you no longer have 100% access to your children. It's part of the sacrifice you make for breaking up a marriage.

How well or poorly this works out is completely dependent upon the former spouses. My XW and I have been extremely accommodating to each other. I never hesitated to take the kids if she had to travel for work or planned a vacation or whatever, and she has done the same for me every time I asked. And if she wanted the kids during my time then I allowed it, and vice versa. We both would give each other at least a week's notice for any changes. We also found ways for both of us to see the kids on holidays. There's been zero animosity surrounding the kids, it has all gone very smoothly. The girls are grown and on their own now and S is getting there, so it doesn't happen much anymore. It's not something you have to deal with the rest of your life.

Unfortunately some WAS's are so mean and vindictive that it's really hard to work with them. They want to take take take and never give. I've seen situations like that, and if that's the case then you can always rely on the formal S/D agreement to dictate what happens.


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W and I spoke on the phone last night. It was predictably awkward. I could tell she was trying very hard to be amicable.

First, we talked about S7 and his behavioral issues. We are both going to work to find some possible therapists who can help him. The discussion steered clear of blame, which was good. I discussed with my IC earlier yesterday my fears about my W trying to steer S7 in a certain direction, as possibly some plan to get something on record before we start mediation. It is a fear of mine, and he said even if she doesn't do it explicitly, she could be sending implicit messages to him. Regardless, I feel like my concern for S7's health outweighs any of my fears about what W may or may not do. He needs some help.

We also talked about some parenting strategies with S7 that we might implement together. I said I was okay with one of the ideas, and the other I felt was not going to be effective with him. I was trying to figure out if W was trying to extend an olive branch by focusing on the kids (and not who to blame), or if this was another way for her to exercise control.

Second, we agreed to use phone calls for anything that was not clear in text. Text can be used for When/Where ("I will pick up the kids at 6:30pm at your house.") The confusing situation with her friend a few days ago precipitated this. I said "Absolutely -- text does not work well for us in those situations. I'd like to have clearer communication."

Then things got weird.

My W seemed to want to get 2 messages across:

1. She is not going to retain a L now. She would tell me before retaining a L. She *really* wanted me to know that. She seemed to be fishing for whether or not I retained one.

2. She said "You're an awesome person" at one point and some other kind things. I said, more or less, "Thank you, I appreciate that." I didn't know what to say, I just wanted to make sure I did not respond with any emotion. She started talking about how hard this adjustment would be for her (and both of us). I didn't resort to my old people-pleasing ways and reciprocate. I tried to validate and said "Yeah, it will be a tough adjustment, I'm sure that it is scary to think about."

She also wanted (again) for me to help her understand how to analyze whether or not she would be able to stay in the house (either assume the mortgage or refi). She seems to think it's weird that I would not advise her. She's worried about getting a lease with no proven income if she has to move out. She is focused on strange details (like whether or not the kids will be able to continue after-school activities). I said maybe she can talk to the bank about the mortgage/refinancing. She emphasized she thought it was weird I wasn't providing more advice, but said "Thank you for what you have said." It seemed like she was exercising restraint, I could tell it took some effort. I was very flat and unemotional in general, other than inserting validation at times.

The talk went too long, and it screwed with my head. I don't believe what she says. When she says, "you are an awesome person" I don't believe it. It doesn't square. She has also chosen divorce, chosen to accuse me of abuse, chosen to tear our family apart. I carry anger and resentment over her choices. She can say these nice things and hold it together on the phone if she wants, but I am not going along with her "emotion of the day." Maybe she wants to absolve herself of guilt. Maybe she is treading lightly worried that I will react angrily in mediation. I really don't know. I can't figure out this alien person.

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Emotional control Unchien...whether she says good or bad things they are just words and try not to read too much into anything.

Maybe she's not so sure she's making the right choice...the more you work on yourself and give space the better the odds are that YOU will have a choice in the future. I mean, we always have a choice, but you know what I mean.

Remember, feelings change. She CAN believe you're an awesome person based on what she's feeling in that moment and at other times she'll BELIEVE that you aren't. That's her world so don't read too much into it. She's acting and talking based on her emotions...

Great job at staying neutral.

Maybe R2C can chime in on what to say to her when she asks about the house advice.


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Originally Posted by jac12
Maybe she's not so sure she's making the right choice...the more you work on yourself and give space the better the odds are that YOU will have a choice in the future. I mean, we always have a choice, but you know what I mean.

Remember, feelings change. She CAN believe you're an awesome person based on what she's feeling in that moment and at other times she'll BELIEVE that you aren't. That's her world so don't read too much into it. She's acting and talking based on her emotions...

Although I hate to admit it, it frustrates me that moving forward with mediation will cement in her mind that I wanted this D. But we have to move forward.

During my pre-BD days, I snooped twice on my W's phone. Once, she had a text message to a close friend describing a conversation with her father:

"He told me maybe I need a second husband. I told him I'm not even sure I want one husband."

Speculation about her thoughts is wasted energy. I've learned that here. But this text has always stuck with me. This was during a period of 3 months of almost no meaningful conversation between us, where I would reach out and she would lash out. I couldn't get her to speak with me. So I pulled over the car in March to try to talk and here we are.

I struggle to let go of the frustration I have. That she just didn't TRY. We went to MC1 and I worked hard to address her concerns. But I know now that those were not the real problems. Why she chose not to be open and honest I will never understand.

In the meantime I think she had already checked out of the MR. But rather than just tell me openly, she selected an abuse narrative. And now, she thinks she is being compassionate by telling me I'm an "awesome person."

Her "truth" appears to be that she wants to be a single mom. She hasn't faced the reality of that life, but she prefers it over one being married to me.

I have a lot of anger and resentment... I am able to keep it within and not act passive-aggressively, but it's there, and I need to acknowledge that. I hope I can work through it eventually.

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Unchien,

I was/still am in the same boat as you. If my W decides to D I know it'll frustrate me that she never even tried (together) to work on our relationship and keep our family together. It's heartbreaking.

My W recently told me that the person she was post BD wasn't her - she didn't recognize herself and she is sorry for how she acted. This "sorry" took 11 months. Even then I wasn't expecting it as we had Mediation with our L's booked for Nov 28th. She has since told me her feelings are changing and doesn't think it's wise to meet with the L's at this point...so we are holding off and giving some time to let the feelings sort out. In the meantime, I'm still planning on life without her as I don't know where this will end up.

My point is that these situations CAN turn around and her "truth" can change b/c it's based on emotions.

Let her face the reality of life will be like without you...drop the rope as best you can and only talk when warranted. Do NOT be the person to reach out. Get out and do things and let her wonder about you.

I hope you can work through it too.


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Thanks jac -

When my W told me I was an "awesome person" on the phone, my thoughts were:

- Believe none of what they say.
- This could be a strategy to butter me up.
- She is confused. People are not both "awesome" and "violent and abusive."

The one thought I did not have was: "My W believes I am an awesome person."

I reached out to mediators this week. I can see I am going to need to drive this train, as I have every incentive to get mediation started and my W has every incentive to drag her feet. My W has plenty of schedule excuses as these sessions will need to be at a time where childcare is available for D4.

You and I have different situations, but I do identify with yours as far as you having the need to press for mediation to protect yourself financially and with your son. It is hard to strike that proper balance between standing up for your needs without being coldly aggressive. I'm trying to be respectful because I want us to have the best co-parenting relationship that we can for the kids' sake. If her mind changes down the road and she wants to pursue R, I guess that's fine. I'm indifferent. Even if her mind did change, I have no clue if I would be willing to try to work it out. I have some deep scars. I have some anger and resentment. I'm not sure it will go away, and that's okay. Better to acknowledge it than try to act like it's not there.

On the GAL front, things are pretty good. I'm going to a concert tomorrow night with a friend, lifting weights 3x/week, and hoping to hit the surf next week (although the water is frrrrrrigid). I'd like to get more involved in social activities and meet some new people, but work has gotten busy and I've been spending a lot of free time researching the upcoming process.

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I've been feeling completely worn out and exhausted this week. Last night I came home and binge-watched 5 hours of TV. This is not like me.

I'm not sure what's going on exactly, but I need to practice better self-care, starting with sleep. I have a lot going on. In the last 2 months, I ramped from zero projects at work to four. I have mediation and the situation on my mind. The holidays are here and I need to prepare. I've been working out a lot in my garage which is great, but maybe also wearing me out physically. I've been isolating myself a little bit socially. My one close friend in this new area has a very busy life as well.

I'm not really wallowing, but I need to just kick myself in the butt and get out and start doing stuff and living life. I know this. Tonight I'm going to a concert with a friend. I hope I can let things go for a few hours and enjoy it.

On another front, my sister has offered to come visit me soon. She is 3 years older, and since the estrangement from my parents we have not kept in touch much. Things were awkward, and she and my W always had a dicey relationship. My sister also lost a child at childbirth, and went through some struggles where she isolated herself. My W always thinks my sister is going to play matchmaker and try to get my parents and me to talk again.

Now that I look towards the future, I want to see my sister more. Her daughter is 4 months older than my son, and we haven't seen her in 3 years. I want to repair that relationship. I want the cousins to all know each there. I want to know my niece. We live on opposite coasts, but perhaps we can arrange a yearly visit. I'm excited for it. My W has so many friends and family, and they became my friends and family. I need to start over now. I don't need the quantity of friends she has, but I also can't just sit back and wait for these connections to fall into my lap. I need to work at it. It's not natural for me.

I'm expecting W to react poorly if my sister comes out on a weekend I have the kids (which is the plan). The NG part of me wants to avoid the conflict, especially heading into mediation. But I can offer no reasonable argument why she should not come out and see the kids.

I don't feel like I need to give her advance notice, although I think it would be a courtesy in this situation.

Me: "W, my sister will be visiting the weekend of XYZ."

All along I've been viewing the settlement agreement as an endpoint, after which I can act as I please. For instance, I will not be regularly updating my W when the kids are with me. In the meantime, I've been thinking I do not want to rock the boat and tilt us towards a nasty court battle where she hurls accusations at me.

But sometimes I think I just need to make changes now. There are countless reasons she may make it nasty. Why do I keep giving her updates about the kids? Why do I feel like I need to notify her that one of my family members is visiting?

I called a good friend of mine yesterday (actually my old boss). I've mentioned him here before. He went through an amicable D with 3 small kids, and took the weekends with the kids. When alimony ran out 3 years later and he wanted 50/50 now that the kids were school-age, his XW forced it into court. She would call protective services on him while the kids were at his house. She tried to turn his oldest son against him. The whole process lasted 2 years. He got 50/50 in the end and things died down. It sounded like a complete nightmare, but he didn't speak of it that way. He sounded nonplussed and just handled what came his way. I'm sure it wasn't that easy in the moment. But he has moved on and seems incredibly happy. He is a role model for me.

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Quote
I don't need the quantity of friends she has, but I also can't just sit back and wait for these connections to fall into my lap. I need to work at it. It's not natural for me.


I completely understand this. My family was my life and now that it has completely gone and a new one is being built starting with my daughter and myself. What are you doing to work at it?

Quote
Why do I keep giving her updates about the kids? Why do I feel like I need to notify her that one of my family members is visiting?


I believe you want to still be attached with her in any small way. I was wanting to do the same thing at the beginning but realized it was just causing more problems. My feeling is you need to detach on this and start living your life without including your W. That means when you are having visitors or spending time with the children not only do you not need to give her updates but it shouldn't even cross your mind. Just enjoy the time with the people you love and leave it at that. If she reaches out and asks then you can make the decision whether you want to give her the update.


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Originally Posted by rooskers
Quote
I don't need the quantity of friends she has, but I also can't just sit back and wait for these connections to fall into my lap. I need to work at it. It's not natural for me.


I completely understand this. My family was my life and now that it has completely gone and a new one is being built starting with my daughter and myself. What are you doing to work at it?

Good question.

The future is really unknown for me. For now, I am focusing on my job, exercising 3x/week, and keeping in touch with friends (although most of them do not live locally).

Long-term I think I need to consciously work at building this new life and meeting new friends. My instinct is to spend time by myself because I'm good at that... playing guitar, reading, working out at home. It's probably a matter of just putting myself out there, trying Meetups, etc.

I can see how easy it would be to jump to a serious relationship in these situations.

Originally Posted by rooskers
Quote
Why do I keep giving her updates about the kids? Why do I feel like I need to notify her that one of my family members is visiting?


I believe you want to still be attached with her in any small way. I was wanting to do the same thing at the beginning but realized it was just causing more problems. My feeling is you need to detach on this and start living your life without including your W. That means when you are having visitors or spending time with the children not only do you not need to give her updates but it shouldn't even cross your mind. Just enjoy the time with the people you love and leave it at that. If she reaches out and asks then you can make the decision whether you want to give her the update.


I didn't paint the whole picture here. When we S'd in June, W was very high-strung and asked for these updates when the kids were with me. She hasn't relented much -- when I do reduce the updates, she points it out (in our co-parenting counseling).

At the time, I thought this was a way for us to build trust and possibly work on the MR. It never happened, so I no longer see this as useful.

In fact, I am only playing into my W's irrational fears by giving these updates. She will never get over the fear until she has to deal with it head-on. Just as I have had to confront my fears about my W trying to withhold the kids from me.

More recently, I have thought I should continue these updates until at least we begin mediation. But in the last 2-3 days I have been thinking I should stop them now altogether. My sister wants to visit next month, and I started to worry about W's reaction to this visit, and I realized how my worry was completely unhealthy.

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Journal ~

W took the kids to see family over the weekend. We have been allowing each other daily video chats with the kids, but I missed yesterday. It is hard not to talk with the kids, but in ways I feel it will be healthier long-term if we are not intruding in each other's parenting time.

I've been struggling a lot lately worrying about upcoming mediation. Fear and worry dominate. How will W react when she gets a better sense of her financial situation post-D? Will I end up in a court battle for custody? How contentious will things get? Will I be able to handle the stress assertively, or will I agree to things that I later regret just to keep the peace?

I recognize I need to let go of the fear and worry as much as possible.

Beyond the logistics of what's coming up, I am struggling to sort through the wreckage of what's happened. I am okay accepting the grieving process with the loss of the MR. Those feelings come up sometimes, but I can understand them, they make sense. They are not as intense as they used to be.

I don't know if this is the right word choice, but I feel traumatized by the things my W has said about me (and to me) in the last year. I know it is just her own truth and her own reality. But she still said them. I'm trying to work through this in IC.

I feel I'm going to come out of this a much healthier person. Whether or not I can trust somebody again down the road in a relationship will remain to be seen. It's probably something I shouldn't worry about right now. But I hope it doesn't hold me back from embracing the next phase of my life.

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Hey U - checking in from on the road. Sorry to hear your anxiety is mounting - are you still meditating? Try to live in the present moment and if things get too complicated, realize that you don't HAVE to do anything. Sometimes doing nothing is also doing something.

Originally Posted by unchien

I recognize I need to let go of the fear and worry as much as possible.

Beyond the logistics of what's coming up, I am struggling to sort through the wreckage of what's happened. I am okay accepting the grieving process with the loss of the MR. Those feelings come up sometimes, but I can understand them, they make sense. They are not as intense as they used to be.

I don't know if this is the right word choice, but I feel traumatized by the things my W has said about me (and to me) in the last year. I know it is just her own truth and her own reality. But she still said them. I'm trying to work through this in IC.

I feel I'm going to come out of this a much healthier person. Whether or not I can trust somebody again down the road in a relationship will remain to be seen. It's probably something I shouldn't worry about right now. But I hope it doesn't hold me back from embracing the next phase of my life.


As you once told me, face your fears. Imagine your worst case scenario.

It never ends up precisely the way you picture it, the scenario is always different. There are too many variables. It's ok to think about things critically and even let your mind go to the worst possible case scenario. But try not to spend too much time dwelling on a scenario that will not play out exactly as you are thinking it might.

Nothing will hold you back if you don't want it to. smile

Take care, man - stay strong and keep yourself grounded smile

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Originally Posted by IronWill
Hey U - checking in from on the road. Sorry to hear your anxiety is mounting - are you still meditating? Try to live in the present moment and if things get too complicated, realize that you don't HAVE to do anything. Sometimes doing nothing is also doing something.

I have not been regularly meditating, just sporadically.

I have the week off work and went surfing today with a friend. It has been a few months. I am terrible at it, but absolutely love being out in the water, getting exercise, and most importantly, being present in the moment. I wasn't looking forward to the cold water, but every time I go out there, I feel refreshed physically, spiritually and emotionally.

The drive home is about 45 minutes. I decided to try out a new podcast on anxiety and was surprised how much of it clicked for me. The speaker even mentioned that meditation can be incredibly difficult for anxiety sufferers, because our brains want to break free and run wild and not stand still.

There was tons of useful information, but my big takeaway was, whether through meditation or other means, I need to take better care of myself with respect to the anxiety. Some of the tips seemed very useful and natural to implement without much effort.

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Originally Posted by unchien

I have not been regularly meditating, just sporadically.

Same here. And my anxiety has been mounting. When I was meditating twice a day for 5-10 minutes, it was less.

I started taking a supplement called 5HTP. It is supposed to help boost serotonin levels. I've been doing it for a week and I feel more "even." I figured it was worth a shot - it might help you also.

Originally Posted by unchien

I have the week off work and went surfing today with a friend. It has been a few months. I am terrible at it, but absolutely love being out in the water, getting exercise, and most importantly, being present in the moment. I wasn't looking forward to the cold water, but every time I go out there, I feel refreshed physically, spiritually and emotionally.

I agree - love surfing even though I'm horrible at it lol. Being outdoors is very helpful. I took an outdoors job 15 years ago to combat sky-high anxiety from working in human-crammed indoor spaces (and to combat my military PTSD). It has helped me a lot. The pay is much less, but quality of life is much better and I can get away from the crowd as needed.

Quote

The drive home is about 45 minutes. I decided to try out a new podcast on anxiety and was surprised how much of it clicked for me. The speaker even mentioned that meditation can be incredibly difficult for anxiety sufferers, because our brains want to break free and run wild and not stand still.

There was tons of useful information, but my big takeaway was, whether through meditation or other means, I need to take better care of myself with respect to the anxiety. Some of the tips seemed very useful and natural to implement without much effort.


I'm glad you've found an outlet for some of your anxiety. 45 minutes is a good long period to be focused on something else. Sometimes that works better for people - distractions for the mind, keep it occupied thinking about anything else.

Yes, it is very excruciating when you first start meditating. I also have/have had very high anxiety. The first two sessions were brutal. After the third I began to like it, then after two weeks it started to become a habit and my body got used to the "calming down". I don't know why I stopped - I have to start back up again. That insight Timer app is awesome.

I've let my brain run amok with thoughts sometimes, but I make it a point to observe it like an outsider - just to see how ridiculous some of the thoughts can be and where they can spiral off. When it gets too out of hand I imagine a giant red stop sign. This has become a habit too - my mind seems to respect the stop sign, most of the time anyway.

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Originally Posted by unchien
[quote=IronWill]meditation can be incredibly difficult for anxiety sufferers, because our brains want to break free and run wild and not stand still.



Yep! That's me.

Do yourself a favour and get onto Davidji or David Gandelman on Insight Timer.

Sorry the c#$p keeps getting flung at you mate.

All the best, DS

Originally Posted by IronWill

That insight Timer app is awesome.



Isn't it. Have you got any favourite meditation teachers on there?


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When I do meditate regularly, I use one of the paid apps which I get free through work.

I do see the benefits when I am consistent with it. I have never been consistent on days I have the kids. I am never awake before them (opportunity #1) and at night, well, there is no excuse other than I am not prioritizing it.

Sometimes I will take a 10 minute break at work, pop in some headphones, and go find a quiet place to meditate. That works great on slow days, sometimes it's not possible.

I find it hard to commit to daily meditation. Some days it feels amazing, other days it feels frustrating and useless. I know where I want to be (in command of my anxiety, rather than the other way around). There are a billion strategies and techniques out there to investigate. Anxiety is not going to help me in my current situation, and it also won't help me in my life.

One piece of advice from yesterday that really stuck with me was to take the few minutes at the beginning and end of your day, and focus on taking care of your self. Rather than immediately jumping to tasks, or your phone, or the TV. I find I often have strange dreams/nightmares that stick with me long after I wake up, so maybe taking a few minutes to process things and get back to reality will help.

IW - I'll check out 5HTP. Thanks for the tip.

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I took 5HTP as a netraceutical when I first got married for my anxiety and ADD. It does help. Its like tryptophan (gobble gobble) but it made my stomach feel a little funny. So I stopped taking it. Try it though, or St Johns Wort, or Melatonin. It may calm you down.

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I take 5HTP and like it as well.

I also started taking L-Theanine supplements (an amino acid found in green tea) recently for anxiety and I want to shout from the rooftops about it. It has made an enormous difference for me, in terms of acute anxiety, as well as general calm/even feeling and even improved sleep. I donít know why people arenít talking about it more, because itís a miracle as far as Iím concerned.

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Whoa... freaky... I just bought green tea today.

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Originally Posted by unchien
When I do meditate regularly, I use one of the paid apps which I get free through work.

I do see the benefits when I am consistent with it. I have never been consistent on days I have the kids. I am never awake before them (opportunity #1) and at night, well, there is no excuse other than I am not prioritizing it.

Sometimes I will take a 10 minute break at work, pop in some headphones, and go find a quiet place to meditate. That works great on slow days, sometimes it's not possible.

I find it hard to commit to daily meditation. Some days it feels amazing, other days it feels frustrating and useless. I know where I want to be (in command of my anxiety, rather than the other way around). There are a billion strategies and techniques out there to investigate. Anxiety is not going to help me in my current situation, and it also won't help me in my life.

One piece of advice from yesterday that really stuck with me was to take the few minutes at the beginning and end of your day, and focus on taking care of your self. Rather than immediately jumping to tasks, or your phone, or the TV. I find I often have strange dreams/nightmares that stick with me long after I wake up, so maybe taking a few minutes to process things and get back to reality will help.

IW - I'll check out 5HTP. Thanks for the tip.


Hey U - yeah it's hard to break in a new habit, especially something that forces you to slow down. Our lives are so busy these days, focusing on yourself and taking time for yourself during a packed work day seems like a daunting task.

That 4 breaths "break" helps a ton. I do that all the time when the spiralling thoughts start. it is a version of what you are talking about - taking time at the beginning and end of the day for yourself. If it works for you and calms you down, great!

I paid for the meditation app - it was not expensive at all for access to a ton of content. (My favorite meditation teacher so far on Insight Timer is Sara Blondin. I haven't gone a lot of the app yet, but so far her guided meditations have proven very effective.)

Green tea is really good. I have taken St John's Wort too, but I am finding 5HTP to be more effective. I've also been taking B supplements to boost my energy. That helps a lot - especially on days where I am flat out emotionally and physically burnt. I got the chewable gummies though - so it's more an enjoyable experience. smile

Interesting to see what works for different people smile

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Thanks IW. I do make sure to take little mini-breaks every day as needed - a few deep breaths, go for a walk. There was a period where I was dedicating 10 minutes per day to seated meditation. I think meditation works great provided my anxiety is not running up at an 8 or 9 level.

The lead-up to Thanksgiving (and Christmas to follow), plus mediation coming up, had me really stirred up. I have this full week off work and I think the time off is helping me get back to equilibrium.

One insight about my anxiety in particular has struck me the last couple days. I spend ALOT of time thinking about things that are not actually in the present. I've been consciously trying to bring myself back to the present moment, focusing on just that moment and the "next thing." Now that I have been paying more attention to my mind wandering, I realize how often I have been spending worrying about mediation, my future, the kids, Christmas, family, work, where I'm going to live, friends, vacations, retirement, the list goes on and on. Even though sometimes those thoughts don't feel particularly stressful, they are completely distracting me from living my life.

I also think it's easy for my phone to become an escape. Stressed out? Check IG for a few minutes... It's okay in small doses, but if I'm going to overcome some of these patterns I need to make a conscious effort to change.

So during this break I'm trying to keep reminding myself to come back to the moment and focus on the next thing. The real test will be going back to work and getting back into daily routines, whether I slip back into "auto-pilot" mode.

I was talking to a friend about surfing the other night. I am terrible at surfing, but for some reason it gives me an endorphin rush and makes me feel balanced out. He suggested it was that surfing forces me into the present moment. The cold water, the sound of the waves, being out in nature, seeing the wildlife. I think he's right. It's a lesson in how to just enjoy the present moment.

On the situation front, not much to report. W will be joining us at a mutual friends' party for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. We've done a few things like this since the separation, and they've always gone just fine, so I'm not concerned. When my W dropped off the kids yesterday she looked really tired and worn down. She continues to seem pleasant when we do interact on text, but she hasn't responded yet on her availability for mediation appointments. I find myself annoyed at her lack of communication -- for instance she often does not follow through on basic things about the parenting schedule. She hasn't responded yet about her availability for mediation appointments. I can understand she is dragging her feet, but after this weekend if I've heard no response I think I should press.

It's hard to find the right balance. I have some anger and resentment about what has happened (in addition to grief), yet I also have compassion for my W and what she is feeling and going through. Sometimes I feel like I have found that perfect balance point, teetering on a knife edge... fall over on one side and I'm angry and butthurt and wanting to press to close this D as fast as possible... fall over on the other side and I'm ignoring my own needs and my own happiness.

And finally... Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I am incredibly thankful for that night in early May when I was desperately searching for ways to fix my MR, and I saw the term "walk away wife syndrome" and somehow got directed to DB and this forum. I am a better, happier, healthier man because of this place -- thank you all for sharing your stories and your advice and for, of course, your validation =)

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Happy Thanksgiving Unchien

I think you've got the equilibrium pretty well sorted. Keep going. Like you said, just "do the next thing"

Originally Posted by Unchien
She continues to seem pleasant when we do interact on text, but she hasn't responded yet on her availability for mediation appointments. I find myself annoyed at her lack of communication -- for instance she often does not follow through on basic things about the parenting schedule. She hasn't responded yet about her availability for mediation appointments.


This is me (and my H). I will be pleasant about the little things but avoid the big things. I'd press her on it but keep the chaser light. These are the things that quickly get people's backs up and can snowball into stupid arguments or sulking.


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The kids and I went to our friends' house for Thanksgiving dinner today. W stopped by for the meal (these are mutual friends and we had arranged this since the summer).

Everything was okay at a surface level. W and I exchanged some stuff between our cars when she arrived, and otherwise no real interactions of any significance between us. I overheard her telling somebody that her uncle may stay in the guest area at her (our) house while he works on a job. I felt a mild reaction inside me, mostly annoyance as it is also technically my home as well, and I thought I should know, but then... what does it really matter? So I let it go. We will be sorting all of this out soon.

I noticed a couple glances from W, no idea what they meant. Probably just the awkwardness between us. Otherwise it felt just like any get-together, even before BD, when we would go socialize with our different groups and help each other out with the kids.

I'm excited for the rest of the weekend with the kids. This will be 6 straight nights with them, the most I've had since moving out. Tomorrow we're going to decorate the tree and maybe check out a local Christmas festival.

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Originally Posted by unchien
I'm excited for the rest of the weekend with the kids. This will be 6 straight nights with them, the most I've had since moving out. Tomorrow we're going to decorate the tree and maybe check out a local Christmas festival.

Sounds fantastic, unchien! Glad karma is giving back to you this week. 6-night streaks are rare for me, too, and I also happen to be on an unusual 7-day streak. Happy Turkey Day, and enjoy it!

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Hope you and the kids enjoy getting ready for Christmas Uni. I know I will. That's great you are in a streak with them since W was somewhat holding them from you early on. I know what you mean/feel about the uncle moving in. I feel like my XW did something similar by refinancing, removing my name from mortgage, and moving BIL in to help with her cost, and help him to work locally and be closer to folks with health ailments. It kind of feels like you are being replaced by another occupant in you re own home, and are disregarded and disrespected as the king of you re castle. Althogh they will probably never see it from you re side that way, or care. It does feel wrong to you as you watch your former bedroom become occupied, or turned into a office or work out room. But maybe they are just thinking practically and just moving forward too without ill intentional intent. People can easily justify reasons in their own minds why they do things take action against you to hurt you but it's not intentional most of the time at least with good people It a not. Try not to let it bother you as you focus on your kids and your new life and your progress it will subside because what you're thinking about is part of your old life. But don't forget it either don't ever forget actions or behaviors that people take against you. remember them and the actions that they once took for you or other people in the future will take for you. You have to keep a constant check and balance with this. Like a pros-and-cons list of someone's Behavior at all times and how it weighs out and what your feelings on them are in the present moment, whether it works for you in the present and whether any of them violate your boundaries or principles.

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It is normal for the LBS to feel completely at a loss why things unfolded the way they did?

My WAW has never really given more than disjointed bits and pieces to explain why she wants out. She never even said ďI want a D.Ē I have my theories that this stems primarily from out move 2.5 years ago, and maybe she was unhappy before then but didnít realize it.

Hereís what I have:
- The abuse allegations.
- The ďcaretaker burnoutĒ theory during our first round of MC last year.
- Her completely distancing herself, and then accusing me of being distant.
- Me getting increasingly desperate to reach out at times, then having my desperation pointed out as emotional abuse (this was incredibly weak behavior on my part but mostly me questioning her commitment)
- Finding a D book before the BD (when she went quiet for months).
- she seemed to want me to agree D was the only option... only after we went to 8 MC sessions where she made no effort to work on the MR and instead repeatedly labeled me.

I know Iím still attached. Iím still upset that she ditched this MR without an honest effort. I still donít get it. We have 3 amazing beautiful children together. Iím angry and resentful and I wonít post here acting like Iím over it. I have good days and bad but I think the good days involve me denying reality somewhat.

I know I need to tell myself she is done. I need to completely let go. I donít want HER anymore, but I want the idea that people work together on their problems especially with so much at stake with the kids. It drives me bonkers sometimes. I canít believe people do this to each other. Iím not unique here. Itís mind blowing.

There is no explanation. She is checked out. We havenít even started mediation but this has been years in the making. I need to prepare for my next phase of life. I need to make friends. I need to tackle my anxiety and enjoy the moment. I need to make plans for what I want my life to look like 2 years down the road.

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U,

Yes itís the million dollar question around here and itís called closure. Itís completely normal. Itís probably all those things you mentioned depending on what day of the week.

I have heard different reasons from three different people why my ex wanted a D and guess what none of them are anything I would want to tell my kids someday.

Yes youíre still attached and thatís normal. You have 3 amazing kids, you have history and you love your W. I thought I was detached until I found out my ex is dating someone way below me and it set me back on detachment.

You just have to trust the process. Pursuit does not work. Placating does not work. Strength does not work but it gets you respect.

Hereís the 100% bottom line. Sheís either going to change her mind or she wonít but how you choose to live your life is up to you. One way or another if you choose to you will be happy again.

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Good points on closure.

It reminds me of breaking up with a GF half a life ago. It was hard for me to explain my reasons. I thought she was controlling (hmmm sense a pattern?) and didnít bother to try to understand me. I couldnít explain that all to her. But even I did at least give her ILYBINILWY. Here I have bits and pieces but nothing that makes sense.

it makes me feel stronger that we canít work through our MR issues. My W needs to feel like I want the D. She canít just up and say she wants it. It has to be my fault. It is sometimes infuriating, most of the time I feel a little sad that she canít just own it, even though it hurts me. So the distancing, the abuse allegations... yep by now I do want it. She seems unable to have a normal adult romantic relationship now.

LH Iíve been following your recent thread too. I donít have much to offer other than Iím glad you are sorting out what bothers you most. I also really liked your 3 must-haveís to accept your W back (when you moved out). Brings me back to reality.

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LH19 and Uni. You guys have no idea how much all of us here resonate with everything the both of you just said in those last two posts. It all really is mind blowing. I would put those last two posts in the quotes section.

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Time for a little red pill. Uni they won't own it and never will because they are women. They will vilify, justify, and make you the enemy in their minds, etc until the cows come home. Its because they have no accountability or agency, and are subjected to their feelings that they can't even figure out. They just know that something feels off in the R. Whether it be due to them changing, you changing, life stresses, perceived social value and worth, self esteem, whatever, take you're pick as to why things failed, there are so many moving parts and facets, they just know they want to feel a certain way. If there was a guy that any XW perceive as high market value. Social, looks, financial, status, etc. She would bed them in a heartbeat, toxic or not. They vilify you with their emotions to justify what they are doing to you. Taking away the kids, crying emotional abuse, splitting assets, being difficult and dramatic. You re kids are being used as pawns to finance her new lifestyle she desires. She's bored. She also wants to save her reputation amongst her peers and family that she is the victim, you are the bad guy, its all you're fault. And she comes out smelling like roses in the divorce. Why do you think she is pushing you so far to end it? And to tell you the truth? If they ever do choose to change their minds? If they can do it once. They can do it again. It would take a very serious amount of remorse, conditions, trust rebuilding, communication, and respect to EVEN CONSIDER TAKING THEM BACK. LH is right about pursuit, placating, and even strength does not get them back. Its just a wishy washy decision, or they couldn't find a better option out there that brings them back. IMO. Otherwise they're gone!!! Even when they are married they are single, and when they are single, they are never really single. You re lifestyle has to benefit hers and compliment hers or she's out and onto the next adventure, person, etc. She's looking for validation for her existence and current state of emotions. Ever wonder why women move on so fast and the guys are blindsided? Care to test that theory? What external and internal lifestyle changes did any of our XW's make after BD? What are the real reasons why? WHY IS SHE NOT HAPPY? What does it have to do with you? Why do I keep reading about these cases of divorce and these same exact circumstances, scripts and words occuring around the 38 to 40 yr old mark with women? Or just around the 8 to 10 year mark within a M? (10 year alimony mark in some states.) That's not to say the guy didn't bring his share of problems to the M. I know I definately did.

When you also add the cocktail of complacency, bordeom, FOMO, repetition, childhood trauma. They are (and even we are to an extent) seeking something to heal us, fill us, make our lives right, our interactions and dynamics right and our worth correctly assessed. We start looking for new experiences outside ourselves to fill the bucket. New car, new nails, new clothes, new partner, new hobbies, new travel, new experiences. It is all part of the growth process, but its important to recognize where our experiences, worth and happiness come from. From outside of us and our exoeriences, materialism, socialism, hobbies, acquirement objects, or from within? This place taught me that. I'm sitting here on my couch on a Sat night. Haven't been out in a month, and contemplating whether I should be focusing on my priorities or going out to have a new experience even if it is alone. I feel like I want to go out and meet people and have a new experience because life is passing me by. Money is tight though. Maybe I will maybe I won't. Just tired of being a hermit and choosing between feeling accomplished, and being social. I've been enjoying the solitude for the last month but its time to branch out, make some plans, make some changes, make some new friends, and have some new experiences.

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This is my truth IHCALS
Read this like 3 times since you posted. What are we left to do. Become the person they want? That's my instinct 3 months in. Become the person I want to be, lose my wife and run the fear of being alone, or worse this happening again.

I'm forcing myself to go out faking to the extreme, at some point I want peace, comfort and satisfaction


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I hear ya Jedevast. Peace, quiet, freedom, and satisfaction. I think a lot of this has to do with withdrawal pangs on our side of the life we were accustomed to. To the life we have to reestablish, monetarily, organizational, socially, spiritually, etc. We lose a lot in all of this. The money, the kids, the companionship, the house, the friends, the family members. I really miss that social aspect of it. Ever notice with guys when you start dating someone new, your friends and your family rendezvous slowly over time become virtually nill. You used to hang with them once every couple of weeks, then it got reduced to twice a year because of work, wife, kids, social functions, cousins, in-laws, dinners, vacations. Etc. The irony of all relationships is you are slowly isolated as you make your SO, their friends and their family you're everything and you don't even realize its happening. If you do keep your own independent social network in a R or M and in their perception you spend too much time with them, and not enough with her or her family. You can't win. Danes if you do dambed if you don't. Its solipsistic. And they are never happy. Either way they will use it as an excuse to leave and discard. Its a double standard. I noticed now in hindsight how many times I had my family over or did something with my family, I wouldnt be shamed for it, but resentment would crop up every now and again. I realized that every time I would invite my family over I would have to take it to the yard because someone wanted their DT. TV time. But her friends and her family. Didn't matter if I just came home from work. I would have to and want to entertain.
We thought these people had our backs for life, only to find out we didnt really know them at all, or they changed, or we changed. I find it amazing that so many years ago, im sure they held us in such high regard. "He does this this and that for me." "He makes me feel this this and that." He is my lover, my best friend, he is perfect." Its the old adage of. "I love you, you're perfect, now change, or I will replace you." Then turns into. " IANILWYA, I need space.." What they are really saying is "Im bored, Im tired. I want a new experience, a new life, and I want some new D*ck!"

As far as becoming the person they want you to be. Screw that $hit! I think it's good to work on your tactfulness, people skills, and interactions as a skill set. But if you are going to change for someone else, there better be a dann good reason for it that is beneficial to all. Otherwise change for you. Nobody needs resentment or idealism of a person that is not. Changing for other people rarely sticks because of individuality and free will, People are who they are. If they want to they will change IF THEY want it bad enough. Habits are different from personality characteristics. Don't become the person they want you to be. That's a chameleon, not authentic and not genuine, you lose your identity that way. Just ask my XW... Lol..As far as meeting their unreasonable and never ending expectations. You can't satisfy her. She changes her shoes, her nails, her clothes, her music, and sometimes her mates and her friends by the season. We are on different timetables growth wise, peak, and decline. Its what benefits her. Ask Eve. Paradise of Eden wasn't enough... Lol..So what do they do? They vilify you to justify what they are doing to you. So they can okay the victim with their peers and come our smelling like roses. THEY WILL GIVE YOU SO MUCH $HIT THAT YOU WILL WANT TO DIVORCE THEM. Don't be mad at it, its just nature. Just recognize it for what it is in this day and age. In their minds, you weren't the right one, and they expect you to believe that too. Or you married the wrong one. When the truth is THE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE LIKE THAT TO ONE DEGREE OR ANOTHER. Its the ones like KAS99 and Scout and a few others here that understand commitment over passion, and I hope they're situation works out for them.

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Originally Posted by IHCLACS
Time for a little red pill. Uni they won't own it and never will because they are women.

IHC - So much of what you say resonates with me. However, I hesitate to generalize this to gender roles.

My mother was extremely controlling, and probably has BPD or some sort of similar PD.
My XGF before my W was controlling.
My W... the story is laid out on my thread.

Does this mean all women are controlling and will ultimately emotionally abandon me? What does it say about me? Do I somehow influence these outcomes to happen? Am I (gasp) somehow attracted to this sort of woman, due to emotional neglect from my childhood?

It is a mind-screw for sure. It feels like I am a statistic. It happens to some people. Bad luck? Or bad choices?

Originally Posted by IHCLACS
They will vilify, justify, and make you the enemy in their minds, etc until the cows come home. Its because they have no accountability or agency, and are subjected to their feelings that they can't even figure out. They just know that something feels off in the R. Whether it be due to them changing, you changing, life stresses, perceived social value and worth, self esteem, whatever, take you're pick as to why things failed, there are so many moving parts and facets, they just know they want to feel a certain way.

Completely agree with the above. I don't think my W is looking for a new man to replace me, I think she decided she would be happier without me. New man will come along one day, and I will spin and spiral and all that, but I don't think that was the motivator.

Originally Posted by IHCLACS
They vilify you with their emotions to justify what they are doing to you. Taking away the kids, crying emotional abuse, splitting assets, being difficult and dramatic. You re kids are being used as pawns to finance her new lifestyle she desires. She's bored. She also wants to save her reputation amongst her peers and family that she is the victim, you are the bad guy, its all you're fault. And she comes out smelling like roses in the divorce. Why do you think she is pushing you so far to end it? And to tell you the truth? If they ever do choose to change their minds? If they can do it once. They can do it again. It would take a very serious amount of remorse, conditions, trust rebuilding, communication, and respect to EVEN CONSIDER TAKING THEM BACK. LH is right about pursuit, placating, and even strength does not get them back.

Agreed. I don't particularly care what her family and friends think. It is harsh, but eh... I didn't marry them, I married my W. Good people, and I can understand how they may get caught up taking sides. My W reminded me a month ago that her family thinks very highly of me and she "hadn't told them much." All I could think was "OK". It's out of my control, and also doesn't affect me.

I don't think much about R because it would require my W seeing me as a person of high value. That's just not going to happen right now, or probably ever. The more distance I have, the more time apart, the more I am moving on with life. Maybe one day she comes back wanting to work on things, willing to accept her role and responsibility. I have zero faith that will ever happen.

Originally Posted by IHCLACS
You re lifestyle has to benefit hers and compliment hers or she's out and onto the next adventure, person, etc. She's looking for validation for her existence and current state of emotions. Ever wonder why women move on so fast and the guys are blindsided? Care to test that theory? What external and internal lifestyle changes did any of our XW's make after BD? What are the real reasons why? WHY IS SHE NOT HAPPY? What does it have to do with you? Why do I keep reading about these cases of divorce and these same exact circumstances, scripts and words occuring around the 38 to 40 yr old mark with women? Or just around the 8 to 10 year mark within a M? (10 year alimony mark in some states.) That's not to say the guy didn't bring his share of problems to the M. I know I definately did.

I do think emotional reasoning plays a huge role. I also think everyone is an emotional reasoner. I tend to think I am a "logical thinker" but research has shown that usually emotions drive the decision-making and then our brains go to work coming up with logic and reasons to support that line of thinking.

As far as her happiness, I do hope she finds it. Maybe this will ultimately make her happy.

Strangely, being S'd for 5 months now, I can say I am happier in a lot of ways. So maybe she is too.

Originally Posted by IHCLACS
The irony of all relationships is you are slowly isolated as you make your SO, their friends and their family you're everything and you don't even realize its happening. If you do keep your own independent social network in a R or M and in their perception you spend too much time with them, and not enough with her or her family. You can't win. Danes if you do dambed if you don't. Its solipsistic. And they are never happy. Either way they will use it as an excuse to leave and discard. Its a double standard. I noticed now in hindsight how many times I had my family over or did something with my family, I wouldnt be shamed for it, but resentment would crop up every now and again. I realized that every time I would invite my family over I would have to take it to the yard because someone wanted their DT. TV time. But her friends and her family. Didn't matter if I just came home from work. I would have to and want to entertain.
We thought these people had our backs for life, only to find out we didnt really know them at all, or they changed, or we changed. I find it amazing that so many years ago, im sure they held us in such high regard. "He does this this and that for me." "He makes me feel this this and that." He is my lover, my best friend, he is perfect." Its the old adage of. "I love you, you're perfect, now change, or I will replace you." Then turns into. " IANILWYA, I need space.." What they are really saying is "Im bored, Im tired. I want a new experience, a new life"

This is how my MR played out. It also didn't help that my mother has issues and so we ended up estranged from my parents.

If I had addressed my NGS, I would have made sure to carve out a stronger role in the MR. I would have kept in touch with my friends and family more, and made sure to have my own life, rather than working full-time then rushing home to give my W a break from the kids every single day. It's partly my fault, partly hers.

If I end up dating again and starting new relationships, I will not let the same script play out. Am I ready for that today? Absolutely not (haha). I know as soon as something turns serious, I will be tested.

Originally Posted by IHCLACS
As far as becoming the person they want you to be. Screw that $hit! I think it's good to work on your tactfulness, people skills, and interactions as a skill set. But if you are going to change for someone else, there better be a dann good reason for it that is beneficial to all. Otherwise change for you. Nobody needs resentment or idealism of a person that is not. Changing for other people rarely sticks because of individuality and free will, People are who they are. If they want to they will change IF THEY want it bad enough. Habits are different from personality characteristics. Don't become the person they want you to be. That's a chameleon, not authentic and not genuine, you lose your identity that way. Just ask my XW... Lol..As far as meeting their unreasonable and never ending expectations. You can't satisfy her. She changes her shoes, her nails, her clothes, her music, and sometimes her mates and her friends by the season. We are on different timetables growth wise, peak, and decline. Its what benefits her. Ask Eve. Paradise of Eden wasn't enough... Lol..So what do they do? They vilify you to justify what they are doing to you. So they can okay the victim with their peers and come our smelling like roses. THEY WILL GIVE YOU SO MUCH $HIT THAT YOU WILL WANT TO DIVORCE THEM. Don't be mad at it, its just nature. Just recognize it for what it is in this day and age. In their minds, you weren't the right one, and they expect you to believe that too. Or you married the wrong one. When the truth is THE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE LIKE THAT TO ONE DEGREE OR ANOTHER. Its the ones like KAS99 and Scout and a few others here that understand commitment over passion, and I hope they're situation works out for them.

I cringe reading this, but also... I do feel like my W decided to keep vilifying me until I begrudgingly accepted we had to D. I don't believe the majority of women are like this (or I certainly hope not!)

One of the dangers for me is that, while self-improvement and change are good, they can become elusive goals that are ever out of reach. They can distract you from enjoying your day to day life. I'm starting to realize that my anxiety about my flaws really disrupts my ability to enjoy day-to-day life sometimes, which is exactly the problem! Married, divorced, 30% custody, 50% custody, broke, rich... gotta be able to be happy no matter what life throws at you. That's my goal.

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IHCLACSóplease be careful with tossing around gender stereotypes this way. I feel alienated reading what you wrote, and I donít want to feel that way here.

A lot of what you say resonates as it pertains to WAS in general, and I think itís best to leave it at that.
Not trying to highjack and DEFINITELY donít want to start a debate. This is just a friendly request smile

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IMO -
Talking about characteristics of particular genders can lead to dangerous generalizations. I think it is best to try to understand that all of this is not about us, it is not something that the LBS are going through, regardless of gender.

Here is something I tell myself every single day. It may be useful or it may not be:

At the heart of it, it is the WAS in crisis. Not us. You can call it what you like (MLC, WAS, etc), but the LBS has all of the control here. That is something many of us forget. We choose how we proceed. We can let our emotions take us over, we can tell ourselves stories about how we were mistreated, how we were hurt, how we were wronged, etc.

Or, we can choose to empathize with what our WAS's are going through, and let them sort through their own problems. Give them time, give them space, leave them alone. That's what they want after all, right?

Trying to figure them out is a waste of our time and our resources. It won't change the past, it doesn't do any of us any good to worry about what will happen in the future.

All we have is now. And all we have to do with "now" is work on ourselves.

So what are we going to do with "now"?

My 2 cents smile

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Well said Iron.


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I guess the point of a lot of my recent posts is that I feel betrayed and resentful.

I try my best to empathize with her struggle and let her go. IW, you summarized exactly what I aspire to do. She says so little (and has said so little during the BD other than accusing me of abuse) that it's hard to tell what exactly she is struggling with.

I still feel betrayed. She distanced herself for 2+ years, withdrew into a shell, then when I showed any sort of emotion about it, she freaked out. I would have done anything to try to fix this, had she shown any interest whatsoever. But instead she said I didn't "try to win her back."

I see my W as someone completely lacking in basic relationship skills. And worse... as someone completely uninterested in working on her relationship skills, or accepting her role in the erosion of our MR.

We are not at this place out of blind innocence, as if she just didn't know what she wanted but she was unhappy and now here we are. She wanted the D, but she didn't want the guilt involved with asking for it. It does make me angry.

This post will read more emotionally strong than I really feel. My IC suggested I tap into some of the anger and resentment, rather than try to minimize them. They are there, simmering on low heat.

I know.. it's a sign I am still attached... sigh...

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Originally Posted by unchien
I guess the point of a lot of my recent posts is that I feel betrayed and resentful.


Completely normal. Everyone is different. My anger and resentment reared it's head very briefly. It makes an occasional reappearance every once in a while. How we all process this is unique to each one of us.

Originally Posted by Unchien
She says so little (and has said so little during the BD other than accusing me of abuse) that it's hard to tell what exactly she is struggling with.

My W is the same. I also did the same things you did in trying to understand her, get her to talk, etc. I hit critical mass in Jan/Feb, then I decided to just leave her completely alone in March. I had to figure it out on my own without her communicating, but it turned out that it is exactly what she wanted/needed.

I would suggest that your W (if she is like mine) cannot communicate her thoughts clearly to you right now. Probably because she doesn't know what she is thinking herself or why she is thinking those things.

She told you what she believed *at that moment*. That does not make those things ironclad or "forever". Rather, that was HER truth in those moments. That's the nature of the crisis - and maybe saying those things were safe ways she could distance herself from exploring the true feelings she was having.

It is much easier to justify yourself or project hurt onto someone else than it is to discover your own feelings are so out of whack. From everything I've read, the crisis seems to be like a siren blaring in your head. That must be incredibly difficult to have to go through.

Quote
But instead she said I didn't "try to win her back."

If she said this once, it was what she was feeling at that particular moment. Due to the crisis, her perspective is different than yours right now, and it is possible she may not even remember saying it.

It is for you to choose how much significance or emphasis you give this statement. It can become a focal point for all the MR issues. Or you can let it pass as something your W said in the heat of the moment when she was suffering greatly. It is all up to you.

Originally Posted by Unchien

I see my W as someone completely lacking in basic relationship skills. And worse... as someone completely uninterested in working on her relationship skills, or accepting her role in the erosion of our MR.

We are not at this place out of blind innocence, as if she just didn't know what she wanted but she was unhappy and now here we are. She wanted the D, but she didn't want the guilt involved with asking for it. It does make me angry.

Textbook WAS behavior. My W was the same. She wanted S, D, selling the house, without anything else changing. It took a rude awakening from me - kindly but firmly setting boundaries and stating that I would not be paying for half of non-joint bills, that I had no money for (or interest in) renovating a house that would be sold, and that the amount the house would sell for would not be nearly as much as she was thinking - for her to pause and reflect. She is still at that stage now.

A few suggestions:
I might perhaps recommend re-reading this post and see how much you are still talking about W and how she is feeling. That is an area you can work on. smile

I might also recommend that you take care in assigning any of your W's past actions/feelings/emotions/words to any particular cause for MR troubles. While analyzing what happened may help you to understand how you got where you are today, I am fairly certain your W is not thinking those same things right now.
Quote

I know.. it's a sign I am still attached... sigh...

Nobody is perfect, U. I screw up a lot too. I stumble, I fall, I let my thoughts overwhelm me. It's human nature. The trick is to realize you're doing it and to reassess.

Don't beat yourself up too much. You're doing great - you're growing stronger every day and you're doing the hard work.

Take care man smile

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Looking for some urgent advice here...

My W asked to work on our parenting schedule through June (our current one runs out end of this month). We are currently doing a 4-10 schedule which I do not think is enough time with the kids (plus a dinner mixed in there).

Note we are intending to start mediation soon. I am starting to get frustrated at the pace, and may consider filing for D if we don't get the ball rolling.

Options:

1. Stick with our existing schedule for now, and say I want to negotiate a new temporary schedule during mediation (the final D will take >12 months in my state).

2. Tell her I want to talk about this only in front of a mediator.

3. Tell her I want to talk about this only in front of a mediator or MC2 (MC2 has heated her abuse allegations for the past 6 months).

4. Try to negotiate with her directly.

I have a lot swimming in my head. I'd like to do something close to a 2-2-5-5, but perhaps make it more like a 2-2-6-4 for now (I get 6/14 days). I don't know my W's intended work schedule. She has already questioned how I would handle child care during the weekdays I have the kids (especially D3 who does not currently go to day care). I feel like these little logistical arguments will make it really difficult for us to work it out 1:1.

She also asked to pull D5 and S7 from school for a week (on independent study) to take them on a trip. She offered the other week to me, and if I don't use it, she wants that also (the kids can do 2 weeks per year of independent study). I don't have any particular objections at their current ages, as they both do incredibly well in school and have taken time off before, but I'm not sure I should be agreeing to these type of things.

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U,

In regards to the independent study week - as long as you see no ill effects to learning I would say that would be fine. I wouldn't give up your week with them unless that is something you feel you won't be able to do with your work schedule. I'm sure a family trip with mom or dad is enriching to their growth and learning.

As far as working out a new schedule for the rotation, I would wait for some type of mediator. If you feel MC2 would be fair and help to come to an agreement then go for it! If not, I would wait for mediation. I definitely would NOT try to broach that subject directly. I feel like you would be setting yourself up for failure or at least an emotional response to some pretty heavy stuff.

I can tell this is on your mind and eating at you. Don't make a decision today. Let the feelings calm down and think it through. At the end of the day it's whatever is best for your kids and for you.

Hugs! You'll get through this.

KG


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U, I agree with Kristin, if you plan on starting mediation soon then that should be discussed as part of it. You haven't had a lot of luck reasoning with her in the past so having an impartial 3rd party present should help.


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You will do what is best for you but in my opinion with your current sitch I would pick:

2. Tell her I want to talk about this only in front of a mediator.

This is really the only safe option you have since she is bent on making you out to be a horribly abusive person.

Quote
She offered the other week to me, and if I don't use it, she wants that also

Take the week with your children and use that time to form healthy attachments and new memories. If you don't she may use that against you later on. I hope she wouldn't but it is better to be cautious. Journal what you are doing with your children and all the positive interactions. It will be a great way to look back at the positive during a difficult time and can be used in a custody hearing if you divorce.


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Originally Posted by unchien
She has already questioned how I would handle child care during the weekdays I have the kids (especially D3 who does not currently go to day care).


In my opinion this shows she does not intend to negotiate in good faith. You can guess how the conversation will go if you negotiate with her directly.

I would also consider spending some money and getting legal advice from an attorney.

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Thanks everyone.

She's been active on text all day.

She repeated that she thought moving up here would fix my unhappiness (?) and she doesn't even want to live here. She has accepted it now, but wants to live the life we agreed to (?!). Blame game. Hard to hear, but I see what's going on.

She is really pressing because she is worried I want 50/50 immediately and thinks I will pull the kids from all their activities.

I think I'll tell her I'm happy to discuss our schedule until we work something out in mediation. And that I want a timeline to start mediation. Otherwise, she doesn't have much incentive to go to mediation (other than we are spending down our assets).

I think I'm going to ask for 2 more weeknights in the meantime, nights which she can't argue against for logistical reasons because childcare is set up and I have flexibility at work to pick the kids up.

- I prefer to ask her directly rather than go back to MC2.
- In the worst case, she will balk and we continue with our current arrangement.

Interesting to see her mindset -- she is giving me a lot of guilt trips, saying I'm not being kind to her by not telling her what I want. My thoughts are: "I wanted to work on the MR!" and "I moved up here because I thought it would make YOU happy because we couldn't have the lifestyle you wanted in <original town>!" But I refrained. I know better now =)

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Originally Posted by IronWill
A few suggestions:
I might perhaps recommend re-reading this post and see how much you are still talking about W and how she is feeling. That is an area you can work on. smile

I might also recommend that you take care in assigning any of your W's past actions/feelings/emotions/words to any particular cause for MR troubles. While analyzing what happened may help you to understand how you got where you are today, I am fairly certain your W is not thinking those same things right now.

Thanks IW. This post was more of a vent post, frustrated at myself for not being as detached as I'd like. I felt like I needed to make a confession =) Or maybe I just needed an outlet for the balled-up energy after working hard not to engage in the moment.

There is a lot of emotional bait floating around my sitch. Just today I was accused of "playing games" and not displaying kindness (by asking to talk about parenting schedules in mediation). My W told me the only reason she moved here was to hopefully fix my unhappiness (rewriting history).

It's soooo hard to avoid the temptation to defend, to explain, to spell out my point of view.

It's a test of my validation skills. Instead of hearing:

W: "Son's behavioral issues may be due to you."

-or-

W: "I want XYZ to be the same as they were before D."

-or-

W: "You are not being reasonable."

-or-

W: "Mediation would be a colossal waste of money."

-or-

W: "I can't go back to work while things are uncertain."

I feel like I should hear:

W: "Feelings feelings feelings."

I will keep working at it. I need to stop taking it personally, stop focusing on how traumatizing it feels, and instead just let it be. I'm a good person and a good dad. I have a right to a happy life. I didn't ruin my W's life. I need to let her take her own journey. But not at my expense.

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Originally Posted by Unchien
There is a lot of emotional bait floating around my sitch. Just today I was accused of "playing games" and not displaying kindness (by asking to talk about parenting schedules in mediation).

I am confused, did she agree to D and/or mediation? Or have you made a decision to push forward with it? (It's possible I missed something in your sit)
One thing I've noticed - I find it interesting she is dragging her feet on mediation.

Quote
My W told me the only reason she moved here was to hopefully fix my unhappiness (rewriting history).

Yeah - my W rewrote history too when I was still trying to understand what was going on (before I found DB). When I finally understood those were her feelings at that moment, I was better able to validate. When I started validating, nothing changed for three months or so, but then I noticed W started calming down a little.

Quote

It's soooo hard to avoid the temptation to defend, to explain, to spell out my point of view.

Thats great - you've found something for you to work on! smile



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Originally Posted by IronWill
I am confused, did she agree to D and/or mediation? Or have you made a decision to push forward with it? (It's possible I missed something in your sit)
One thing I've noticed - I find it interesting she is dragging her feet on mediation.

We agreed 2 months ago on D, and agreed to try mediation.

The process has been slow because we agreed to go to MC2 for recommendations. But MC2 appointments were happening on a roughly monthly cadence.

MC2 provided us some mediator recommendations, one each for custody and financial items. I followed up on his recommendations, got their schedule availability, and she was slow to reply. When she did reply, she said she thought this would be too expensive, so wanted to go to a single mediator (this is news within the last week).

Exercise in mind-reading: She is dragging her feet in mediation.

- Perhaps she doesn't want a D
- Perhaps she prefers her current situation (living off my income, in an unaffordably nice home, with >70% custody and in control of the situation).
- Perhaps I shouldn't bother reading into it, and do what's best for me.

No MC2 appointments scheduled at the moment, which is okay by me.

If I had 50/50-ish time with the kids, and financially I was not supporting her lifestyle, I would be willing to stand. I'm working on the kid timeshare, but the financial reality is grim and I need to protect myself.

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Originally Posted by unchien
- Perhaps she prefers her current situation (living off my income, in an unaffordably nice home, with >70% custody and in control of the situation).


Think about it - if you were in her shoes would you want the current situation to change?

Originally Posted by unchien
Perhaps I shouldn't bother reading into it, and do what's best for me.


Is letting the current situation drag on what's best for you?

Originally Posted by unchien

If I had 50/50-ish time with the kids, and financially I was not supporting her lifestyle


But reality is you are supporting her lifestyle and don't have the time you want with the kids.

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There is an old saying. "There's no such thing as a free lunch." When someone wants out and continues to keep progressively moving towards that out, little by little, step by step. All bets are off the table. Favors are no longer free. There must always be an equal exchange of reciprocation for yourselves, the only people you do favors for is your family and kids. The children are half yours. You made them too. You deserve half your time with them. Doesn't matter if a presiding family court judge or attorney FEELS what's best for the children (Usually financially what is in the best interest of the child, typically XW gets more custody, stays home, gets more $ from CS and Alimony to finance kids and her new lifestyle in most cases without any accountability to where you're $ goes.. Its standard playbook unless both parties agree otherwise. Its not CS. Its "How much do you make" support.) Don't ever let anyone, any family court, attorney, or otherwise tell you otherwise. IMO. ALL CUSTODY CASES should be 50/50 unless there is neglect involved. Some states like mine don't even have 50/50. Its just primary, secondary, and joint. What no one talks about is TITLE IVD how the courts are incentivized to place custody with the mother, and indirectly receives federal grant monies for doing so for every case. Attornies know this. But that's another story for another time and place. Put together your custody schedule for the mediator for WHAT YOU WANT and what best benefits the children that is fair to everyone and negotiate it based on logic and reason what's best for you.. Just my two cents. Ill let everyone know how I fair and what I learn when I actually cross that bridge in the very near future.

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MLC - I completely agree. This is why I'm pushing for changes. It has been confusing, because sometimes I feel like I'm not DB'ing or standing appropriately and question why I'm posting on a DB forum. But even if R is to happen, I think a D has to happen first (or at least the beginning of the process).

The reality is, this situation is not good or healthy for me. I'm pressing for D because there are no other workable options. The only other possibility is to have a legal separation, but I see the difference between legal separation and D as semantic. Perhaps I'm wrong.

I think I can still do this in a way that uses DB principles... validate, but assert my needs. It's a tricky balance but I'd like to try.

After she kept pressing me for a parenting schedule next month, I asked for 2 more days every 2 weeks. No response yet.

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U, I don't fault you for pushing for D given your current agreement is weighted against you. DB does not mean you roll over and agree with everything without asserting your needs.

The concern I see is that while you say you are pushing for changes, there seems to be no action to back that up. What is your timeline for changing the current status quo? Do you have dates scheduled for mediation? What is your plan if W does not agree to a reasonable agreement and mediation breaks down?

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Originally Posted by MLCxH
What is your timeline for changing the current status quo? Do you have dates scheduled for mediation? What is your plan if W does not agree to a reasonable agreement and mediation breaks down?

I've been pushing for mediation but no, nothing is scheduled. We are supposed to talk tomorrow evening about this.

My plan if my W does not agree or mediation breaks down is really the only option I have, which is to file and let that process take its course. I consulted a L several months ago who I would retain in this scenario.

I imagine the advice here would be to set a boundary? (Advice needed here):

"I would like us to select a mediator and start mediation by date XYZ. Otherwise I intend to file for D."

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IMHO, identify a list of mediators acceptable to you first.
Originally Posted by unchien



"I would like us to select a mediator Here is a shortlist of mediators, if you prefer someone else let me know. and If we cannot come to an agreement and start mediation by date XYZ, I intend to file for D."


Note that stating you intend to file for D means that you should be ready and willing to do it if it comes down to it. I would say that only if you are firm and convinced about taking that step. If not, change the wording

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If she turns down mediation or delays, I donít know what other option I have?

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Originally Posted by unchien
If she turns down mediation or delays, I donít know what other option I have?


Perhaps that is true. All I am saying is be sure that you are willing to follow through on filing for D if it becomes necessary. If you say you intend to file and later decide that is not the right course of action, it will probably change the tone for future negotiations and discussion.

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I absolutely agree. It reminds me of the movie Network: "I'm mad as he** and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Idle threats if I don't follow through.

I don't necessarily need a D. My needs are:

- More time with our kids
- A financial separation

I have other "nice to have's" such as less intrusiveness from my W while I parent, but those are things I can affect now without needing to upset the apple cart. The financial piece is important to me. We are out-spending my income by several K per month, and I am effectively supporting her (by paying the bills and the mortgage) by several K above what a max support payment would be. I am enabling an unhealthy situation for all parties, me, her, our kids. So I need to change it. It's clear to me this will persist for awhile if I do not take some action. And I am not okay persisting as is.

The most recent update is W has chosen to reach out to MC2 for another session. This is likely in response to the long text exchange on Monday. She kept asking me for a 6 month parenting plan, and I said that was a good thing to discuss in mediation. When she pressed for what I want in January, I said 2 extra weeknights. So I imagine her goal of scheduling MC2 is that she wants to press for her needs for the next 6 months.

Some journaling ~

I've spent some time recently trying to understand her mindset, but not dwell on it. I am looking for information I can use for my own self-improvement. Even before the BD, for a couple years, I increasingly felt like I couldn't share my feelings with my W. Sometimes she complained I was distant, although from my perspective when I did share my feelings she either didn't care, or I felt she attacked my reasons for feeling a certain way. And when she would periodically express herself (in the form of an hour-long vent on several things she was frustrated about), I felt like there was no space for me to do anything other than validate and listen. There was no space for my feelings in the marriage for a couple years. I wanted to spend more time together as a couple, and she immediately would say she felt "blamed and shamed." I felt really shut out. If I raised a concern about our finances, she would get stressed out and shut down the conversation, and then accused me later of being financially controlling. I realize a lot of my unhappiness was about our lack of emotional connection.

This is something I think I will carry for awhile. It cuts deep for me. I am pretty comfortable sharing my feelings with internet strangers, or with friends, but I can't imagine ever allowing myself to be vulnerable again in a romantic relationship. It's an issue I will need to work through for awhile. It's been a work in progress (as a NG) to grow confidence in understanding my own feelings, and understand they are just as valid as anyone else's. Secondly, I have this general sense that other people don't care, that I will get burned, that I need to defend how I feel. If I feel angry, do I have an anger problem? If I feel anxious, do I have an anxiety disorder? If I feel sad, am I medically depressed? If I am resentful, am I a negative cynical pessimist? Do I have the capacity to forgive? Did I drive my W away with my NGS? Am I capable of being in a warm, loving relationship, or am I too stuck in my own head? There is a lot to sort out and I'm planning to continue in IC long-term.

Yesterday I looked at some of the text from the apology letters I wrote in April (for the first time in probably 6 months) and I was pretty appalled by how weak and submissive and histrionic and over-the-top I was. I took all the blame. I couldn't read them all the way through. What I did feel is that I am a stronger person today and would *never* write letters like that again, to anybody, ever. I completely devalued myself. I do feel remorseful for my role in the erosion of our MR, I wish I had done some things differently. I don't know if that would have saved us anyways.

These are just thoughts that I have lately. I'm much better about putting them aside as needed, but I like working them out by posting here. My sister is visiting next week and I'm really excited. I switched to a new 4-day weight lifting program and feel rejuvenated physically - not as tired as before. Work has picked up and I feel much more productive. I had an awesome 5-day weekend with the kids. I found a new podcast that I'm really connecting with. I went to a live concert last week and had a great time. I'm going to brave the cold waters and surf this weekend with a good friend. Life is a place of abundance.

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U,

You should be very proud of yourself! When you can to the board you were a weak mess. After all you didnít send 1 letter, you didnít send 2 letters, you sent 3 lol. Makes you sick when you think about it now doesnít it? I donít know if you realize it but youíre getting stronger. You have come a long way my friend.

Hereís the thing. You were broken and your doing everything in your power to improve yourself. Your W is broken and will remain broken. She is going to struggle badly being single with 3 young kids. You on the other hand will figure things out. I know your anxiety keeps you stuck sometimes but you will muscle through it. You are definitely on the right track. Try to forgive yourself and move forward.

Whatís your latest Podcast I really enjoy Marcus Aubrey you turned me on to in the past. Fascinated with his journey in an open relationship and how he enjoys bring pain into his life.

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LH19 - Thanks for the kind words. I owe you and many of the other posters here many thanks.

The podcast was specifically for anxiety so not sure you would enjoy or find it applicable. I've listened to plenty of these in the past, but this one in particular resonates with me (once you get through some of the new-agey spa retreat music and some of the lingo). It's hard to explain. One nugget I wrote down is "the more you talk about your anxiety, the more anxiety you're gonna have" so maybe I should leave it at that! =)

I enjoy some but not all of MA's podcasts. I credit Maika for pointing me to that one.

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I had a call with W tonight.

She's okay with my proposal to take 2 more nights every 2 weeks for the time being (i.e. until we possibly change it through mediation).

This puts us on a 4-5-2-3 schedule (4,9,11,14... yep math works out). It's basically 2-2-5-5 (for those who know about this stuff) with one day flipped. It works great for our kids' schedules for the time being.

I got off the phone and started crying. I am ecstatic. I've shed a lot of tears this year but never before out of happiness. Five months ago I thought I was going to need to go to court for my W to agree to overnights with the kids.

We talked about some other stuff too but I need to decompress and enjoy the evening and celebrate a little. I'll post more the next couple days. It's one small step, and I shouldn't make too much out of it, but given events of the past year I'm going to enjoy this tonight.

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Good deal U! I suspect she was agreeable because of your comment that you wanted to wait until mediation to resolve it, so giving her some pushback and standing up for your parental rights is paying off for you. Well done!


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U, Great to hear you will be getting more time with the kids. This is yet another instance where you spoke up and asked for what you felt was fair without overthinking her reaction and it paid off for you again.

Happy for you and more importantly it's great that the kids will get reasonable time with both the parents.

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Thanks AS, MLCxH.

The overall phone conversation was strange. After Monday's text thread, plus our interactions in general - mostly strained, periodically calm - I was expecting a difficult call. W had sent me a list of topics to discuss ahead of time, a heavy list, so I was prepared for the worst.

Other things discussed:

* She had a free L consult, and shared the L's advice which was to try mediation as it would be best for all parties (duh!) I mostly listened and then said, "Yes I hope we can work this out in mediation also, I think that would be best for all of us." It sounds like the consult gave her some peace of mind. This consult happened before Monday, so I'm not sure what happened between Monday and yesterday to change her attitude.

* She wants to discuss the house next week after the MC2 session in person. Apparently she has been considering some options she considers feasible. I have told her I am open to discussing - I think she was worried that I would refuse to do anything except sell the house. She seems bothered that I won't be more open about advising her, but I feel like any advice I give would possibly cause more problems down the road. What if I tell her she can't afford this? She will feel like I am controlling her. So I'll listen to her proposals and probably suggest we discuss more in mediation.

* I also told her my sister is visiting next week. I thought she would flinch as they have had issues in the past. She had no issue.

Overall just a bizarrely neutral conversation.

If I had to guess, my W was afraid I was going to L up, demand 50/50, leave her destitute financially, and disallow her from taking the kids back to her hometown on trips (or just in general be a difficult person). Maybe when I asked for my 2 nights, but made it clear why I was picking those 2 nights so it would accommodate all of our schedules, she started to realize I was a reasonable person. Maybe I allayed her fears somewhat. I don't know. Just another day in the Twilight Zone.

I'm a tad more hopeful we can get things done amicably. I don't see this as any sort of R sign.

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Journal ~

Looking for a little advice down below:

Last night I asked to call and talk to the kids and my W was out and the babysitter was watching the kids. Today she texted me to say she would be out again.

My frustration and anxiety have spiked. I know I need to chill out and let it go. The two parts of it that bother me are:

- Paying for the babysitter. She already does several hours per week, why the extra hours? Why should I pay for this? Shouldn't this be taken out of W's personal account?
- If I had a babysitter watch the kids on an evening my W would be very upset, and possibly want me to use my personal spending account.

~~~~~~

Question: It's another one of those NGS situations -- do I stand up for myself and address this? Or just let it go, because it's just money and this will be sorted out soon?

Maybe I should wait until our MC session on Monday and suggest we work out what comes out of personal spending on what doesn't. And part of that is understanding the childcare costs.

Thoughts?

~~~~~~

Things that are not frustrating me are worrying about what she is doing. Xmas shopping, dinner with a friend, OM, I really don't care. I just think I shouldn't be paying for the sitter hours while she GALs. (or if she GALs... maybe she has a doctor appointment for all I know).

I should also nod towards one 3rd frustration I guess - we used to barely go out to dinner once a month, even though I tried. She could "never" line up the babysitter, and wouldn't let me try. Now, she is apparently available consecutive evenings for outings. I know... it just tells me that our MR was more broken than I thought long before it escalated towards the BD. It tells me she didn't want to work on it. She would say we weren't emotionally connected but not be willing to go to MC and put in an effort, or go on dates. Reminds me a lot of ScottB's recent posts. I wish she had just said ILYBINILWY and I would have understood more than just being blamed for it all. I guess I just need to nod towards the feelings and let it be, don't get too consumed.

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I agree with you - if it's her time with the kids, she should be paying for sitters if she wants to go out.

I'm not sure why you would pay for this.


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I donít know what she does with the time.

Iím also trying to avoid rocking the boat. Monday we are going to talk about the house. I feel like we are starting to move forward on things.

Hard to balance when I am people-pleasing (NGS) vs. making a wise decision. Sometimes I canít tell. I feel like I should wait until Monday. Big things will be discussed.

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Hey U -

First off, congrats on the extra time with the kids! I know you've been struggling with that for months - take a moment and celebrate that smile

I would suggest trying to prioritize things - a sort of triage if you will. FYI - in my sit, separating individual bills versus joint bills freaked my W out. I think it was a rude awakening. She did get very angry but I kept even and neutral during the conversation. It became too real for her - things had been the same for 15 years and she woke up to the fact that she was spending much more than I was.

If you're seeing movement on the house, and you need to solve that issue first, I'd let the babysitter issue go. For now. Either that or group it together as part of a generic "personal expenses" vs "joint expenses" topic. I wouldn't specifically itemize things - that could trigger an argument or potentially be seen as "controlling".

Take care, man smile

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Just about every divorce agreement out there says that first the parent whoís parenting time it is must off the time to the parent that doesnít have the parenting time before asking a 3 rd party such as a babysitter. So make sure you get that in the agreement. If you have plans, and canít, that babysitting time should absolutely come out of her own bank account .

Childcare for work is a different expense than childcare for going out on personal time.

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U,
Just wanted to say good luck on Monday. From what I see here, you're fighting through this difficult time with your head held up high. Continuing to push on whatever the outcome. Kudos to you.


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Did not get time to read through the entire thread but quick comment on the babysitting expense. In my opinion (and I am not a lawyer, so take it for what it is worth) unless you have a prenup or some sort of legal separation order the money you have is likely to be community property which means it makes no sense to talk about "my money" and "her money". It is joint property and she has a right to spend it on babysitting as long as it is reasonable. There is a difference between what you think is ethically right and what is considered legally right.

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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Ginger I will absolutely get the right of first refusal in our official agreement. From what I know, there's typically some time period specified (like, if you need a sitter for more than X hours, the other parent gets the right).

MLC you are right we have no legal agreement. For the last 3 months, we have agreed to create separate "personal spending" accounts which we fund each month. Each of us can spend that money as we please, and we have a set amount of money each month for it.

It's a messy arrangement because it is not clearly spelled out what is personal. If she takes a trip to see her family, should the gas money come out of her personal account? If I buy myself a candy bar at the gas station, should that be personal spending? It gets ridiculous quickly.

I think I should wait for the house discussion before addressing any of these concerns. We do need to figure out this house issue. The mortgage alone is larger than the max child+spousal support payment I would have to pay.

So the fact I am paying the mortgage plus her other living expenses, etc.... well had we been working on the MR I would have considered it worthwhile. Six months separated, and no movement... I need to protect myself and unfortunately start pushing things forward. She has a huge emotional attachment to the house, so I am expecting some drama.

IW good points. Isn't it crazy how sometimes we feel like we have to "let go" of so many things, and the WAS can do as they please? I know my W is also struggling, and I'm sure she feels like she is sacrificing too. With NGS it's hard to tell if I am letting go because it is prudent, or because I am trying not to rock the boat.

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Co-parenting coaching (plus talking with W afterwards about the house) is postponed until later this week due to family sickness.

W told me last week she was going to start reaching out to mediators. I asked for an update this morning, and said I would start looking as well.

Son didn't wear his tracker watch all weekend at W's house. I think I'm going to bring this issue up at the next counseling appointment. I don't like the message it sends to the kids. We have been separated 6 months, and I feel like it is detrimental to our family dynamic to continue to cater to my W's trust issues.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with counseling, mediation, and the upcoming talk about property with my W. Add Xmas into the mix too. Anxiety is running high, which is a signal to breathe, relax, and just focus on what I can do today. So I'm going to spend a little time today after work sorting out a brief plan. Making little reminder lists on my phone has been a huge help for me... I know the list is there, so I can stop thinking about everything I have to do.

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Is your son's tracking necessary when he is in the care of your W? U, ask yourself....is this just an indirect way of keeping tabs on her?


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Originally Posted by Steve85
Is your son's tracking necessary when he is in the care of your W? U, ask yourself....is this just an indirect way of keeping tabs on her?

I could care less about tracking her. I'd prefer we throw the watch in the trash.

What I don't like is the current system where she wants me to make sure he's wearing the watch when he's with me.

My preference is he can wear the watch as he likes. But I do not want to be saying "S, please put the watch on" when he's with me. Kids are smart - I think it sends the wrong message.

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Originally Posted by unchien
Originally Posted by Steve85
Is your son's tracking necessary when he is in the care of your W? U, ask yourself....is this just an indirect way of keeping tabs on her?

I could care less about tracking her. I'd prefer we throw the watch in the trash.

What I don't like is the current system where she wants me to make sure he's wearing the watch when he's with me.

My preference is he can wear the watch as he likes. But I do not want to be saying "S, please put the watch on" when he's with me. Kids are smart - I think it sends the wrong message.


I'd tell her: "When he is with me he will not be wearing the watch."


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Some random thoughts ~

I've been dancing this tightrope for 6 months, trying to earn my W's trust as a father through our "MC" sessions so that she feels safe with me watching the kids. I've been labeled "violent," "abusive,' and "emotionally labile." She almost withheld the kids until I wrote a "parenting plan" at the last minute which had me consulting lawyers and worried about going to court.

Then she turns and at times calls me an "awesome person."

I've been reading a lot of may22 and KristinG's threads today. Blu had some great 2x4 comments. We all deserve better than this. Love shouldn't be this hard. I have 3 kids with my W. They are amazing, beautiful children. I hate that they have to experience their parents' D. That is the only thread left that I sometimes hang onto. But even worse would be them dealing with an anxious, depressed father who couldn't move on from a lousy MR. I can't recreate the magic we once had. It takes two. It takes a willing partner to have an open mind. And to be honest I don't know if I can ever get over what I've been through this year. Forgiveness will take me time.

I'm glad I came to DB. I'm glad I'm working on my issues. I'm already happier than I have ever been in my adult life. Maybe not day to day with some of the things that arise, but my life outlook is so much healthier and happier than ever before.

If DB is going to save my MR, it is going to be far in the future. When I first found this forum, I clipped out a quote from one of the vets. It described conditions for R. She needs to see me as someone of high value. She needs to be willing to fight for me. She needs to see a relationship with me as something more valuable than being alone, or a relationship with someone else. She's willing to work at it.

None of those conditions have been met. Not during our separation. Not during the pre-BD days for the 1-2 years before. It is an awful way to live.

I shouldn't mind-read. But I can't help thinking that this whole thing has been drawn out because my W doesn't want to feel guilty. She wanted me on board with the D. That's fine. I can't control how she thinks.

Life is a place of abundance. It is an adventure. I deserve more. I'm a little angry, a little bitter, a little sad. I'm also excited. It is completely overwhelming thinking about being a single dad for 3 kids 7 and under. Rebuilding a support network. Getting my feet set financially. Seeking love again, when the time comes.

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U,
My heart goes out to you. I'd give you a bro hug if I could. The labels she's giving you are hurtful, and I'm sure completely untrue. You know these boards well and I'm sure you recall, "believe half of what they say". No person willing to fight that hard for their family is any of those things. Not you, not most of us on these boards. We've all wronged, and everyone has by definition abused their S in one way or another but thats why we forgive. Technically I've been physically, verbally, emotionally abused by my S at one point but its all minor stuff up until the flame coming out after BD. With NGS, you probably weren't as stable as you are now, I imagine you were still easy to be around and were worth fighting for. Worth forgiving rather than resenting. What she is doing with the mixed messages is confusing and is a form of abuse. I can see why you would find R a challenge. Our S's have a lot to condone for.

I too hate that your kids have to experience their parents D. Three kids under 7 is not easy. Guiding them through life and through this is something I can tell you will do successfully based on your posts here and the efforts you've made.

Glad to hear you are happier than ever before in your adult life! You make a good point about your W perhaps feeling guilty and trying to get you on board with the D. I bet in one form or another, that's true. I think thats why WW/WAS label us, push us, hurt us, rewrite the past. Breaking up a family, they need to convince themselves they are doing the right thing and they want more ammo from you to validate their decision. You being an even better person than before BD makes it harder for her. She can keep those feelings to herself, dont let NGS absorb them. You fought for marriage in its darkest hour, for her, for you and for your kids. You are a devoted and honorable husband and father.

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Hey U - I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Take it easy on yourself the next few days till these feelings subside a bit. Don't forget to breathe, and remember these feelings will pass.

Originally Posted by Unchien
I've been labeled "violent," "abusive,' and "emotionally labile." She almost withheld the kids until I wrote a "parenting plan" at the last minute which had me consulting lawyers and worried about going to court.

Then she turns and at times calls me an "awesome person."

Honestly, U - I think your W is doing the same thing mine did months ago. Everything was my fault. In hindsight, I see that she was projecting everything on to me because she could not accept what she was feeling.

She actually told me that "you do not want to be in my head right now". She wasn't kidding - this was not drama for nothing, she was telling me the truth. She was and still is in emotional turmoil and crisis.

Knowing all of this - there is still nothing I can do or could have done. That's why detachment is recommended. That's why asking them questions about the future is so fraught with peril. Because they don't know - they are all over the map. And that's why you get an answer that can vary so wildly - because it is based on what they are feeling at that moment.

There is nothing you can do. Trying to figure out why she said those things will do you no good, buddy.

Originally Posted by Unchien
We all deserve better than this. Love shouldn't be this hard.


I'm going to kindly push back on this. None of us humans "deserve" anything in life.

I understand what I think the gist of the comment is - that we should establish boundaries in order to protect ourselves and ensure we are not allowing ourselves to be abused. Standing up for ourselves and not wilting in the face of pressure. Yes, that I agree with.

But we don't deserve anything. That's our egos talking. And IMO, love is hard. It is supposed to be hard. When you can control only yourself and there are two people in a relationship, that is practically the definition of "hard". You can only be certain of 50 percent of what the married unit is thinking. You have to trust the other 50 percent is still "in it" with you.

I think we should be careful, otherwise we do ourselves a disservice by thinking that love would be easier with the right person. IMO it borders on the line of thinking similar to what WASes are going through - the "fantasy" of an ideal match.

To me, you make a decision to be with someone because you love them, and then - you gotta work at it. Hard. That's where I failed in the 1-2 years before BD1 in my sit, and so did my W.

Of course I realize others have differing opinions from mine - but that's how I view it.

Originally Posted by Unchien
And to be honest I don't know if I can ever get over what I've been through this year. Forgiveness will take me time.

This. I feel the same way, man. That's the difference between feel-good forgiveness and true forgiveness. I'm not sure I ever recommended the book Manly Marriage Revival to you or to someone else, but there's a whole chapter in that book solely on that topic. Definitely worth a read if you get the chance, a great companion read to DB and DR.

Quote
I'm glad I came to DB. I'm glad I'm working on my issues.


Considering all you've been through, you're doing great, U. Keep focusing on yourself and your kids. Let whatever happens tomorrow, happen tomorrow.

Take care, man - stay strong. smile

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Originally Posted by IronWill

Originally Posted by Unchien
We all deserve better than this. Love shouldn't be this hard.


I'm going to kindly push back on this. None of us humans "deserve" anything in life.

I understand what I think the gist of the comment is - that we should establish boundaries in order to protect ourselves and ensure we are not allowing ourselves to be abused. Standing up for ourselves and not wilting in the face of pressure. Yes, that I agree with.

But we don't deserve anything. That's our egos talking. And IMO, love is hard. It is supposed to be hard. When you can control only yourself and there are two people in a relationship, that is practically the definition of "hard". You can only be certain of 50 percent of what the married unit is thinking. You have to trust the other 50 percent is still "in it" with you.

I think we should be careful, otherwise we do ourselves a disservice by thinking that love would be easier with the right person. IMO it borders on the line of thinking similar to what WASes are going through - the "fantasy" of an ideal match.

To me, you make a decision to be with someone because you love them, and then - you gotta work at it. Hard. That's where I failed in the 1-2 years before BD1 in my sit, and so did my W.

Of course I realize others have differing opinions from mine - but that's how I view it.

IW - Thanks for the feedback, and hope you enjoyed your vacation!

That post on your thread from AmyC really resonated with me this morning. I guess I've never bothered to decide if my W was in MLC or not, and I don't really care, but what Amy described sounds so true.

On this point about deserving better, I could have chosen my words more carefully. Part of overcoming NGS is boosting my self-worth and self-respect. Part of doing that is reminding myself that I am a valuable person and I deserve to go out and conquer the world, rather than be a passive participant. I was a whimpering, blubbering mess writing 3 apology letters 8 months ago. I completely minimized my self-worth. It was self-flagellation to the extreme.

If love involves false abuse allegations, having your kids withheld, and having the one person you committed your life to trample all over you... I don't think it is supposed to be that hard.

But I get it... none of us DESERVE anything. DB is all about realizing you need to go out and OWN your happiness. There is a mistaken conception that you go out and find some ideal partner and then your life is just magically easy. It doesn't work that way, I get that.

I had a mistaken conception about love until the last year. I really thought love was about supporting your partner through thick and thin. I thought love cures all. I would have sacrificed everything for that. What a NG way to live (and keep in mind the NG partner doesn't enjoy the experience either). I do love my W. But that love does not trump everything else in my life anymore. Part of this process is redefining what love means to me. Love is not somebody else filling in your emotional voids. I know what love ISN'T now. I'm not sure what it IS.

Some of us choose to stand and be patient for years, and keep working on ourselves, because we see the inherent value. Some people never even find DB because they exit quickly. Maybe they work on themselves, maybe not. Maybe they repeat old patterns, I don't know.

Maybe I'm just trying to come to terms with what's around the corner. It's not what I want, but it is what it is. Maybe I'm trying to convince myself (and you anonymous forum peeps) that I'm doing the right thing, for myself and for my kids. But there is no right thing. It is elusive, and slippery, and just when you feel you have a hold of it, it's gone.

Maybe one day I will have the capacity to forgive. Maybe my W will come knocking on my door one day. I highly doubt it, but I won't erase the possibility. Stranger things have happened. I'm just not sure I'll be receptive. I probably won't.

OK, enough Buddha Lite from me today =)

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Heading back to "MC" (co-parenting coaching) this Friday.

I know it's the same old tune, but I am thinking about making this the last session I attend for awhile. Go ahead and 2x4 me because I say it all the time =D

On the one hand, over the last 6 months, I have gone from "W is going to withhold the kids if you don't write a legally questionable document implying you are unsafe" to "near-50/50 schedule". I am happy that I have proven to be a stable father and person, and these sessions have helped calm my W's nerves at a point where I think she was liable to do some crazy things like move the kids away (which she did investigate with a L).

On the other hand, these sessions have never involved working on the MR. They usually involve one of my W's concerns, then we discuss, etc. They are not particularly useful for me. Sometimes I get gut-punched. Sometimes not. I rarely share my feelings, as I can tell she is not receptive. I validate and listen actively.

I'm just super-frustrated in general with my sitch. I feel like I have to press forward the D to protect myself financially and with the kids. But I feel that goes against DB principles. I am out of options. I know D is an arbitrary threshold in this process, and people R post-D. I just don't want to be the one pushing D forward, but my sitch almost requires it. I am subsidizing my W's lifestyle right now and she hasn't gone back to work.

It is interesting that she gave me the extra custody time I wanted. I would say with that updated plan, I would be open to continuing in limbo as-is (as far as custody goes). But financially... money is money but I am spending 2-3K more per month than I would in a worst-case D settlement. It is not sustainable.

Anyways, curious if anyone has thoughts on alternatives. A financial separation would likely trigger selling the house anyways, so I don't see it much differently than a D.

I wish I wasn't in a situation where I felt like I needed to be the one driving the D. But here we are.

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I totally understand not wanting to be the one to push D forward. I don't have any sage advice for you, but maybe look into a legal/financial separation? I'm sure the vets will chime in with some great thoughts. One thing I'll mention that I have noticed throughout the last couple of months is that although w is not receptive to your opinions, your ability to listen and have good communication has greatly improved. Maybe the counseling is beneficial? I get being frustrated though.

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U,

There is no unwritten rule that says you canít push D forward if it benefits you. AS did it. Others have too. I actually applaud people who do iron their own terms.

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Originally Posted by LH19
There is no unwritten rule that says you canít push D forward if it benefits you. AS did it. Others have too. I actually applaud people who do iron their own terms.


Yes I agree with LH. None of us comes here wanting D, that's for sure. But the thing is, we are hanging onto who our wives -used- to be, not who they are now. The woman I fell in love with and married was someone I would never have divorced in a million years. But something happened to that woman, she changed into someone else. What I was clinging to was the hope that it was temporary and she would "get well" and we could go back to normal. At some point you'll realize she's probably not ever going to be that person again though. So then the question is this- do you want to be married to the person she is NOW? The answer for me was a definite "no".

So now it's been 9 years since my BD. My old W never has come back. She is more like her old self, but not her old self. I enjoy spending time with her and the kids, but she's not who I loved for so long, and she's not someone I would want to be married to. I love her like you love a relative- an aunt or cousin maybe.

So give that some thought. Are you clinging to a marriage to someone who doesn't exist anymore? And may never exist again? Do you even want to be married to who she is now?


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Hey U -

Probably best to try and simplify everything as much as possible, if possible.

Face your fears (as you once said to me) smile

Do you want to sell the house?
Do you want to continue going to counseling?
Will pushing D forward help you or hurt you?
Do you even want to push D forward?

There are always options, but you have to decide what you want first -

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KG ~ You are right that counseling has improved our communication. Most of what we cover is obvious... only text about logistics, set an agenda before a call, etc. My W tends to slip a lot on some of the simple guidelines, so the sessions help bring her back. I don't find myself learning much though. I listen and validate while my W periodically BD's me (calling me a "violent person" for instance). There is at least one mini-BD per session.

If I have an item to discuss at C, we usually pay it lip service. My W will roll her eyes, or huff and puff as if I'm complaining. So I rarely go into C with an agenda at this point. Her issues receive full attention. I'm not sure if this is the C recognizing that the more attention she receives, the smoother things go between us. I feel like these sessions are not give-and-take... they are mostly me validating, listening.

I don't know why my W wants to keep going. I think she feels safe in C to raise her concerns: for instance, our son's behavioral issues (and her speculation that I was to blame!). Sometimes I think we need to take the training wheels off and learn to navigate this process on our own. Maybe I am enabling my W by continuing to go to C.

LH, AS ~ I would not want to be M'ed to my W as she is right now. She is not the person I thought she was. And I don't think this is a matter of her getting well. I wouldn't want her to be her old self -- she would need to be a new self, someone capable of having difficult conversations (for one) with an open mind and an open heart. Even her old self was not capable. It just turned out as long as I went along with her needs, things were fairly smooth.

But then I think about people like IronWill here. He is incredibly resolute and patient. What prevents me from continuing on?

Am I wearing gray-colored glasses, or am I seeing clearly now?

Something I need to think about...

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Hi U,

A suggestion-- can you let the financial stuff go until after the holidays? I feel like Christmas etc is ALWAYS stressful no matter what with so much stuff to do, and then throw in all the anxiety of being S and the impact of that on the children during this time that is supposed to be so magical and fun... I wonder if that is adding to your frustration and anxiety and pushes you towards wanting some movement.

I also ask if bringing up selling the house is more about how she might react than about the actual $$ (not that it isn't a serious issue)-- since she seems to be OK in the current situation, pushing on the financial front would be a dose of reality for her? Not that reality isn't a bad thing, but I wonder if you're subconsciously wanting her to feel more of the hurt of what is happening. And, with her history of painting you as an unfit dad, I wouldn't want to necessarily add something major to her plate during this already super stressful time since she's liable to respond more poorly than she would otherwise-- and that could potentially impact her attitude towards your time with the kids. (As well as how well she's able to parent them.)

Anyway, just wondering if you can figure out how to put this all to the side until after the holidays. A few weeks won't really matter in the long term and it takes some of the pressure off. Freaking your W out and/or filing at Christmas just doesn't seem like a good idea in the long term. I'm thinking about this myself-- focusing 100% on giving my kids the best Christmas and holiday I possibly can. They're only this age once.

(Funny how advice is so much easier to give to other people than to implement oneself!) wink You're doing great.


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Originally Posted by IronWill


Face your fears (as you once said to me) smile

Do you want to sell the house?
Do you want to continue going to counseling?
Will pushing D forward help you or hurt you?
Do you even want to push D forward?

There are always options, but you have to decide what you want first -


Do you want to sell the house?

I want a fair financial situation. I am indifferent about the house. I talk about selling the house b/c I think my W will not be able to afford the mortgage once we have a fair financial situation.

Do you want to continue going to counseling?

Hmmm... No. I want to go to mediation. However I worry my W may regress if we stop counseling.

Will pushing D forward help you or hurt you?

It will help me be on more stable footing financially. And I will feel more secure having a legal parenting plan in place.

It will hurt me in the sense my W will feel I wanted it. It will feel final. It's not ultimately what I want, although I feel I need to face reality here.

Do you even want to push D forward?

I still wish we could work on the MR. But given my current circumstances, waiting in limbo is not healthy for me or my kids. I guess that's my point here... I'd like to change the circumstances so that I could wait. As it stands, we are living this pseudo-D'd lifestyle which is not really a D because I am financially supporting the whole thing (and having less parenting time with my kids than I want).

~~~

What I really want to do is communicate to my W that:

- I don't want a D. I want to work on the MR.
- She has shown zero willingness to work on the MR throughout our 6 month separation, going to C, etc.
- In the meantime, I need to protect myself financially and as a parent. I see no option other than D (or legal S, although I consider that equivalent).

I know DB would suggest I pare that down. And ultimately I don't think it matters if I communicate any of the above. It's just how I feel.

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Originally Posted by may22
Hi U,

A suggestion-- can you let the financial stuff go until after the holidays? I feel like Christmas etc is ALWAYS stressful no matter what with so much stuff to do, and then throw in all the anxiety of being S and the impact of that on the children during this time that is supposed to be so magical and fun... I wonder if that is adding to your frustration and anxiety and pushes you towards wanting some movement.

I also ask if bringing up selling the house is more about how she might react than about the actual $$ (not that it isn't a serious issue)-- since she seems to be OK in the current situation, pushing on the financial front would be a dose of reality for her? Not that reality isn't a bad thing, but I wonder if you're subconsciously wanting her to feel more of the hurt of what is happening. And, with her history of painting you as an unfit dad, I wouldn't want to necessarily add something major to her plate during this already super stressful time since she's liable to respond more poorly than she would otherwise-- and that could potentially impact her attitude towards your time with the kids. (As well as how well she's able to parent them.)

Anyway, just wondering if you can figure out how to put this all to the side until after the holidays. A few weeks won't really matter in the long term and it takes some of the pressure off. Freaking your W out and/or filing at Christmas just doesn't seem like a good idea in the long term. I'm thinking about this myself-- focusing 100% on giving my kids the best Christmas and holiday I possibly can. They're only this age once.

(Funny how advice is so much easier to give to other people than to implement oneself!) wink You're doing great.

Hi may ~

I TOTALLY give other people better advice than I follow myself wink I think we all are guilty of that.

I'm okay pushing out the financial stuff until after Christmas. Technically we agreed to move forward over 2 months ago, so what's another few weeks.

I also worry about how she will react to the financial issues. But I've tried not to let fear control me, as part of my DB self-improvement plan.

I hope she CAN keep the house. I just don't see how she will be able to do it while satisfying her goal of working 1 day per week. My empathy for her situation should not override my own needs for a fair financial situation.

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Do you think it is possible that she was partially pushing the custody issue in order to get enough $$ in child support to keep the house/lifestyle? I would worry that it might flare up again once she sees the full picture. Not sure what the situation is like in your state though.


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People here told me that when it was time to D I'd know it. There'd be no hesitation, I'd be calm and I'd be confident in my decision. They were right. I filed 3 weeks ago and I have no regrets. I don't want a D either but it was time to protect myself financially. He and your wife have a lot to lose when the D happens. Your wife will have to get a full time job, she will have to move, and you will get the kids 50% of the time. My WAH will have to pay me a lot more.

They still want a D yes but I believe many delay it for their own selfish reasons. Don't want to be the bad guy, it's too much trouble, it's expensive, don't want to get a job, don't want to move, so they put it off....meanwhile the LBS clings to every word, every action, hopeful that the M can be saved. This explains so much why many LBS's have to file even though we're not the ones who want this.

I got angry and I think you are almost there. How fair is it that our WAS's get to keep their lives unchanged after they leave or kick us out? Why would they D? Read one sitch here and the guy waited 4 years to file. He told her he wanted a D which put him in control. She DB'd her heart out, he threw her some crumbs but as I followed the story it became clear he'd been planning this for a while. It was awful the things he did that she didn't know about during those 4 years. He didn't get away with it (I now think WAS's aren't as clever as they think they are) but still. This would have been my story had I not filed I guarantee it. Oh and that guy? Got hit with total karma. lol

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Ok, U - I am going to play devil's advocate here.

Please don't take this advice as anything you should do, because you are a great father with 3 kids who is more than capable of making his own decisions. But I want to show you the options you do have - or at least the ones I see here from behind a keyboard, looking at words on a screen.

Originally Posted by unchien


Do you want to sell the house?

I want a fair financial situation. I am indifferent about the house. I talk about selling the house b/c I think my W will not be able to afford the mortgage once we have a fair financial situation.


Option 1 - move back into the house. Inform W that you can no longer afford the finances of living separately.
Option 2 - use MC to inform W that finances will not continue to support the current living arrangement/situation.
Option 3 - engage W in a civil discussion about finances and finances only. Leave out all emotions and do not discuss the future or engage in any R, S, or D talks - keep it strictly business.
Option 4 - search for an alternative home that is more affordable and inform W that finances will not allow you to keep the current arrangement. Consult with W on the best possible alternative for living arrangements with regards to the kids, their schools, schedules etc. Let W be involved in helping to make the decision.

(Again - I dont know your sit in real life, just throwing ideas out there.) smile
Originally Posted by Unchien

Do you want to continue going to counseling?

Hmmm... No. I want to go to mediation. However I worry my W may regress if we stop counseling.


Hmm...Regress to what? Has there been improvement? If things have calmed, would it be better to back off and wait for a while? Again - I dont know your financial sit and I don't want to know. Just something to think about if it is possible.

Quote

Will pushing D forward help you or hurt you?

It will help me be on more stable footing financially. And I will feel more secure having a legal parenting plan in place.

It will hurt me in the sense my W will feel I wanted it. It will feel final. It's not ultimately what I want, although I feel I need to face reality here.

It will feel that way because it will be that way, unfortunately. I don't know what reality you have to face - that's totally your business and you should keep that to yourself anyway. But I would suggest a couple other options

Option 1 - finding another solution for rearranging finances, including selling the house. Including W in this would be recommended.
Option 2 - talking to an accountant who specializes in separated couples who have not D yet.
Option 3 - talking to a financial advisor to see if there are areas you can cut expenses now.

Originally Posted by Unchien


I guess that's my point here... I'd like to change the circumstances so that I could wait....

...I don't want a D. I want to work on the MR...


This is what you want, at the core of it. It sounds like "standing" to me, but again, I could be wrong.

So why would you file for D if you don't want to?

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