As with most things, a little time makes a big difference. I'm letting things settle in my mind while I enjoy the weekend with the kids

Somehow the four responses to my post yesterday, as different as they are, have really helped me clarify some things.
Sometimes my response to these posts goes off in a completely different direction. It is part of the magic of this forum and I thank everyone who reads and posts.

Originally Posted by Jdevast

Focusing on the parenting is the right thing to do even with all the turmoil we feel about our MR bubbling underneath

Absolutely. As soon as I picked up my kids yesterday, I felt so much better. Things are going to be okay.

Originally Posted by LH19

The majority of the success stories are about people who come here lost and broken and leave here with new and improved relationship skills, health and purpose. You've come a long way in 8 months and I can tell with you the self improvement will never stop.

If you can ever get your anxiety in check there is no doubt you will lead an amazing life.

LH - Good to hear from you! I always appreciate the wisdom you provide. You have an amazing ability to distill your thoughts into a few well-chosen words.

You hit the nail on the head with anxiety.

Originally Posted by IHCLACS
Why take the bait, and play into the blame shame game with S7 behavior that XW's narrative is leading and controlling with counciling.

IHC - More thoughts on this below...

Originally Posted by IronWill
If I had one piece of advice, it would be to keep posting here. It is obviously helping you very much, even through the really down days.

Much like all of these situations, life is not lived on an even keel. It is all about peaks and troughs.

One other thing - when I am presented with challenging situations that I don't seem to have an answer to, I stop, breathe, re-focus, and then I ask myself this question:

"What am I supposed to be learning from this?"

I find it helps.

Stay strong, man smile

Thanks IW.

So... what am I supposed to be learning from this?

One problem is all along I've been hoping that during the 5 months of co-parenting sessions, things would calm down, we would start to work together, and at least make this separation more tolerable to give the time and space necessary for things to possibly trend towards R. That was a false path to pursue. I thought these sessions might eventually trend towards MC. That has not happened.

In the meantime, I have a custody and financial situation that is worse than a worst-case divorce settlement.

The only sensible path forward is to proceed with D. The remote chance of R is one several years down the road. I am not holding my breath, but it's the only way forward.

We've agreed to mediation. We also continue to go to the co-parenting coach, although I am going to stop pressing for that.

My thoughts:

1. Mediation is where I need to stand up for myself. Co-parenting sessions are an opportunity to validate. They are not the same thing. I need to differentiate that in my head.

2. I am undecided on whether to continue with the co-parenting sessions. On the one hand, it may be the best path forward towards us co-parenting in a more peaceful way. On the other hand, trying to accomplish that during a D process may be extremely challenging, especially with my W bringing up allegations every session. Perhaps it would be more effective after we reach a settlement agreement.

3. I do *not* need to let the co-parenting session discussions trigger my fears about how the D process will go. I am choosing to take the bait.

4. I am choosing to worry about a D process when, no matter what happens, I cannot end up with a worse situation than I have now. I may not get what I think is fair or what I want, but I will be happier.

I have to get a little GAL update in... I hit 2 personal bests lifting in my garage last week. I'm in the best shape of my life, feeling great physically, feeling exhausted at night when I'm done.