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Good Morning BL

You are receiving some truly excellent advice. As one who lives and believes in the middle ground - all sides of an issue as valid - it is quite freeing and peaceful. Far too many people are extremely polarized and quite unable or unwilling to see or consider the other view. Strive for better not bitter.

Originally Posted by BL42
I know I'm not supposed to care at all about what my now ExW is doing…

This is not quite correct. Of course you are going to care. What you’re supposed to do is focus on yourself and your kids.

We cannot directly control our feelings - only influence them. Feelings are actually quite fleeting when not reinforced. You control your thoughts and actions and reactions. That’s it. Those three things are all that is in the realm of your direct control. Your feelings and beliefs are then influenced from those controlled thoughts and actions. Of course, external factors influence your feelings as well; we are discussing that which you can control and therefore alter.

That is how one alters their path. Finds their middle ground and peace. Mental assertiveness - sword and shield (if you’ve read my posts smile ) - influences your beliefs and values and feelings. Controlling what you can leads to detachment, letting go, and such.

A word on indifference:

The “not supposed to care” is a heading one is temporarily on. We learn detachment; the ending of being dragged around by our spouse’s behaviour, actions, and words. We regain “control” (lol, influence remember) of our feelings and emotions. We then find indifference and the peace it brings.

Indifference is a temporary state. It is the absence or muting of your feelings towards your spouse. This is a weird landscape. That void causes other feelings to loom larger than they really are. Nature abhors a vacuum and your feelings will grow to fill it. Many different emotions will seem and feel very strong and therefore real. Infatuation and temptation is one of the cautions this is specifically direct towards. Our feelings are real; and temporary.

Do not make life altering decisions based upon feelings. Indifference does fade and our feelings do return. Something to consider.

While the noise and commotion of one’s spouse is muted and pretty much absent, use that time wisely. Seek your internal self. Discover your beliefs, values, and convictions. Strengthen those beliefs that serve you. Craft values that you aspire to. Alter or discard those that do not serve the life you want. Discovering our beliefs and altering them is a key step to peace and contentment.

Beliefs are not directly controllable either. Like feelings they are influenced. However, beliefs are slow to change. It is the slow change which make them excellent headings for one’s life. Once you have organized and sorted our your convictions - live them. Feeling are fleeting. Thoughts come and go. Follow your beliefs.

Back to your quote. It is alright to care. It is alright to not care. And then it is alright to care again.

Not caring is different than uncaring.

From a guy a bit further down the path. I still care for my XW. Heck, I still love her. And I’ve forgiven her.

It takes a certain amount of understanding to let go. With understanding comes compassion. Compassion leads to empathy. With understanding, compassion, empathy, and a life of kindness and gentleness comes acceptance and eventually forgiveness. Although I do at times think maybe forgiveness needs to come before true acceptance.

At any rate, forgiving requires one to not be indifferent. Oh, the counter-intuitiveness of this path.

One cannot forgive when one doesn’t feel anything towards the other. Without feelings there is no need to forgive. No actually ability to forgive. I think this to be the biggest huddle for most folks - their working to remain indifferent and not caring.

I get it. The peace from feeling nothing is so welcomed after that ceaseless horrible pain. There is a valid concern of reentering that world again. Thing is, indifference is a skill. One can lessen it and one can strengthen it. We control ourselves. And we influence ourselves. Indifferent is a feeling (lack of feeling) which is affected and influenced by us. It can be turned on and off rather quickly as it turns out.

As indifference melts away and our feelings return, those beliefs will kick in. Hopefully one has organized them well. Some of the common societal values I believe need to be altered - vengeance, punishment, justice, restitution, and such.

We all feel and believe in the justified punishment of the bad guy. Heck, I too cheer when in the movie the bad guy finally gets his comeuppance. I also enjoy watching videos of bad guys getting caught as much as the next person. Our values need altering. And our focus.

It is not our place to dish out justice in our situations. If/when you stand in the middle ground, you will see and understand the other side. Nothing is as straightforward as it appears. No one know all ends, so serving justice is best left to God or fate or karma.

Likewise our belief or need for vengeance or restitution or punishment. These are ego driven. Our need to be right. Another belief we need to alter somewhat. There is definitely a place and time for our ego in our lives; although here it is rather bruised and hurt, and we therefore want to lash out. Let go and seek better.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday

D


Now: Me54 XW50 S24 S23 S21 D19

Oct 8/17-BD, Moves in w/OM, Leaves Kids
Me49 W46 S20 S19 S16 D15
M26 T29
Dec 9/17-Legal Separation
Oct 3/18-W Files
Apr 6/19-Divorced

Love the Sinner, Forgive the Sin.
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I'm so frustrated tonight because once again the kids came back unbathed. I don't mean for a day or two...for the entire week they hadn't had a bath or shower. They were clearly sweaty and unclean, and when I asked S6 about it he smiled and kind of bragged they hadn't had a bath all week. Again I'm torn between emailing Ex-W to stand up for the kids' care or keeping quiet because the message coming from me won't be well received.

The other major area of concern is last week we were having a family dinner with me, the kids, and my parents (who they're very attached to), and D2 mentions her great grandma (my W's grandmother) is getting a new house. My parents and I wonder about it but S6 brushes it off several times as if D2 is being silly and making things up. However, my mom knows my son and believes he was lying or covering up for D2. It's not even something he really needs to cover up, but S6 doesn't understand that; the fact he's either being told to lie or even just feels the need to is concerning. Well, turns up great-grandma's house pops up on Zillow so D2 was right and S6 was likely trying to cover it up and flat out lied to us. We weren't digging - D2 just mentioned it - but S6 jumped in trying to play it off as if it wasn't true.

Turns out both my Ex's great-grandma's house (in town) and her mom & step-dad's house (in other state) is up for sale and her mom and step dad are now moving into town. Ex-W's mom had an affair and divorced her dad and the more I'm learning used emotion and psychology to push the kids away from their dad which eventually led to him not even being invited to our wedding (red flag in hindsight I should've dug into at the time), and she spread lies about him all over town. So...I'm concerned about S6's lies and concerned Ex-W's mom moving into town is going to spell more trouble.


Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
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Hi BL42,

The American Academy of Dermatology has this to say about bathing for ages 6-12:

"If your child is in this age group, taking a daily bath is fine. However, children in this age group may not need a daily bath. Children aged 6 to 11 need a bath:"

  • At least once or twice a week
  • When they get dirty, such as playing in the mud
  • After being in a pool, lake, ocean, or other body of water
  • When they get sweaty or have body odor
  • As often as directed by a dermatologist if getting treated for a skin disease"

Medical professionals say daily or weekly baths are fine for 6 years-olds. As long as her parenting choices fall within guidelines, I wouldn't raise a stink about this stinky issue. Now, you do say they arrived "sweaty". That falls outside guidelines. If this happened twice in a row, it's worth raising. I'd probably try casually at the next handoff when you've cooled down. "I noticed Johnny arrived all sweaty. Is he refusing to bathe over there? Oh yeah? I agree, it's hard to get him in there sometimes. I had to bribe him with bath toys." You catch more flies with honey, but if that doesn't work, you can always escalate to more formal communication.



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It's been a week of rollercoaster emotions...

Found out Ex-MIL is moving back into town (was living primarily 8hrs away). That has my Ex-FIL all worked up, because she had an affair and divorced him and according to him dragged his name through the mud all over town and bought away his relationship with his children. I'm admittedly worked up about it as well as I know Ex-MIL actively encouraged and supported the D, and was hanging out together and having parties with OM2 and his family before Ex-W even moved out.

I did see the woman again from my first post-D date, but not sure we're clicking. Also reached out to what I thought were a few potential good dating options but one "didn't have time to date" and the other in particular thought might be a good match (very cute, wonderful mother, persevered through a tough time herself, strong parental marriage...etc.) had "just started seeing someone". So, I was a feeling a bit lonely and sorry for myself Friday night.

Then over the weekend had a fantastic time with the kids! Took them fishing and with the rod I bought S6 for his birthday and he caught his first fish! It really was big (no fisherman's tale). S6 was super excited; I was an extremely proud father. He also lost his 2nd tooth that day, and we went to a local minor league baseball game that night and saw everything: a grand slams, 25 runs, a pickel...you name it, and the kids had a blast. We did church, mini-golf, and pool on Sunday. Saturday in particular made me feel great, like "it's all good".

Then Sunday night I returned the kids to Ex-W's house with OM2 and Ex-MIL all hanging out like one big happy pre-fabricated family just waiting for the kids to arrive, and I felt the anger turning on again while driving away. Dropping off the kids off and and seeing OM2's truck still boils my blood a bit - it's a source of anger I need to process.

Today I went to a funeral for my uncle who passed away unexpectedly. I was holding back tears talking to my aunt and cousins. I really feel for them. Their family didn't live in my town, so I didn't see my uncle all the time (holidays, reunions...etc.), but he in particular stood up for me and said some strong words in support of me when my parents told their family about the D saying how wonderful of a man I am, and compared to what he sees in his job it's ridiculous anyone would D me. I didn't even hear his "speech", but apparently he went on and on and on and was really riled up and thought very highly of me. So besides feeling for my aunt and cousins, being at the funeral home and seeing him laying there also really got to me reflecting on my own sitch.

Anyway, that's where I am. Need to process more emotions and make the most of my free time this week when I don't have the kids...


Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
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I can relate to the ex-MIL scenario.

Although I wasn’t married to my ex, her mother was a constant thorn in our relationship and constantly competed with me for my ex’s time and attention.

I think you are doing well, BL. You are a great father to your kids and you’re processing things in a healthy way. Eventually, you will burn through your anger and resentment and reach indifference.

You’re going to be just fine, my friend. You have a bright future ahead of you.

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Originally Posted by BL42


Then Sunday night I returned the kids to Ex-W's house with OM2 and Ex-MIL all hanging out like one big happy pre-fabricated family just waiting for the kids to arrive, and I felt the anger turning on again while driving away. Dropping off the kids off and and seeing OM2's truck still boils my blood a bit - it's a source of anger I need to process.


This is your mind playing tricks on you. Specifically the "one big happy pre-fabricated family" part. You simply have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

Also, if this is a trigger for you, why do you have to do drop offs? Why can't she come pick them up? Why not decide on a public place to do the exchanges?


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Originally Posted by Thornton
I think you are doing well, BL. You are a great father to your kids and you’re processing things in a healthy way. Eventually, you will burn through your anger and resentment and reach indifference.

You’re going to be just fine, my friend. You have a bright future ahead of you.

Thanks Thornton! Appreciate the encouragement.

Originally Posted by SteveLW
This is your mind playing tricks on you. Specifically the "one big happy pre-fabricated family" part. You simply have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

Could be. My mind certainly makes it seem that way. Thinking objectively (though without evidence) my guess is they are all happy for the time being and in that honeymoon / blissful stage, but who knows - just seems like they're my kids, and it should've been my family, and it doesn't seem fair or right to see them all together. I suppose the anger will dissipate over time...it's gotten better since last Summer but still pops up.

Originally Posted by SteveLW
Also, if this is a trigger for you, why do you have to do drop offs? Why can't she come pick them up? Why not decide on a public place to do the exchanges?

Our current arrangement is the parent who has the kids drops off to the parent who is getting the kids (so it alternates every week). Don't think it would be reasonable to have ExW do all drop-offs (even if her actions caused all this).

I'm not too excited about the public drop-off. My kids are young so it means two car seat exchanges and seems less convenient and "colder" for them to have to go to a public parking lot. As their father I should be the one taking the hit on my feelings to protect them.

With the new school year approaching, I've considered asking ExW to switch from Sunday evening exchanges to Mondays before/after school. First, it'd be fewer transitions for the kids...they currently go over to her house every other Sunday night and then come back to mine for before school Monday morning, as I care for them before/after school even on her weeks. Second, it may be less disruptive for them on Sunday evenings...no hurrying up to finish playing with friends, or quick finish dinner, or having to take a baths or do homework before bed at the next house...etc. Third, and this one's for me, it would result in less interaction with ExW and trigger points of seeing OM2's truck. However, I want to think that out fully before floating the idea because it'd also mean seeing the kids on fewer days (even if the total time is the same).


Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
Divorced: May '21
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Originally Posted by BL42
I'm not too excited about the public drop-off. My kids are young so it means two car seat exchanges and seems less convenient and "colder" for them to have to go to a public parking lot. As their father I should be the one taking the hit on my feelings to protect them.

Sounds like a bunch of excuses. The kids will be fine with public place exchanges. It happens all of the time. Personally, I would NEVER have agreed to go to her place with the OM there. It would have been one of my non-negotiables. But to each their own.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
Sounds like a bunch of excuses. The kids will be fine with public place exchanges. It happens all of the time. Personally, I would NEVER have agreed to go to her place with the OM there. It would have been one of my non-negotiables. But to each their own.
Maybe it is an excuse. Looking back, maybe I should've made a hard line. I probably would have done things differently through the lens of now, but at the time and in the moment I was unsure on how to handle it.

Also seemed to happen incrementally. Like first I was aware OM2 was in the picture but didn't realize it was staying over with the kids (assumed she'd hold off), then his truck was there once or twice around drop off time and I drove around the block and until he left, then he was just there. Now I know she was with him before she even moved out and suspect we had the kids around him before she moved out. I guess even though it riles me up it also seems silly to ignore reality and all of a sudden go to a public parking lot. I'll work through it over time.


Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
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I've been vacillating lately between "life is good" and anger moments...

Great GAL last weekend went out of town to visit a good friend and went to a great restaurant we like in his city and to a professional baseball game of our rival teams. Downloaded a few self-help audio books recommended here (Richard Cooper's Unplugged Alpha & Corey Wayne's 3% Man) to listen to on the long drive. Also did a golf tournament / dinner with a whole bunch of buddies this week.

Continue to crush it with the kids and like ScottB feeling great during my time with them. S6 loves fishing lately and we've been out twice, caught another fish and also unexpectedly a pet frog. Have taken them to a pool and a lake with a beach front. Had a "this is wonderful" moment pitching baseball to him in the backyard before dinner the other night and another when we all swimming together in the lake.

However, I'm also feeling anger at times directed towards my ExW, OM2, and Ex-MIL. Reminds me of the discussion on ScottB's thread recently. Wishing at times karma would come to them and I wouldn't have to deal with them anymore in terms of the kids. I have some work to do processing those negative feelings. We've been going back and forth over email on logistics over vacations, which doesn't help. Hopefully those feelings dissipate over more time...


Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
Divorced: May '21
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