September 29

Physical Separation

Greatwall China [1907] Herbert G. Ponting [RESTORED]

The six plus months of time that we were living in the same house after she said she wanted a divorce were some of  the hardest of my life.  As covered in some of my other posts, she was all over the place in how she interacted with. She slept in the guest room, she slept in our bed. I refused to leave our bedroom.  She wanted this, so she could come or go, but I was staying.  She erected a pillow wall between us, and when challenged she took it down. She would flirt to get my attention, and then act offended if I responded. She would yell at me for not trying, or not knowing her, or some other thing, but also yell at me when I demonstrated I knew her, or tried too hard. One night she screamed at me “I am still leaving your ass, nothing has changed, and you can keep that little psychopath(the oldest boy).”  She would go out, and not come home until it was almost time to wake up. She would leave and not tell me where she was going or what she was doing, and then come home and wake me up angry that I hadn’t stayed up waiting for her.  It was exhausting. I am not sure what she was doing. The only thing, I can come up with is she was working up the courage to actually leave or to get me to leave or kick her out.

As things go, she told me in early June was moving out, and taking the kids. Justifying this action by saying we had talked about moving the kids back to the city.  I was a little shell shocked, and didn’t know what to say. The next day I made it clear that I was not going to be a weekend Dad, and that I would be on her lease and have a key. I would be able to spend time with my kids at the apartment without her until things changed.  She agreed. I later found out that she agreed, because she couldn’t get the lease without me. She didn’t make enough money, since we still have payments on our marital home. I helped her move out, mostly because I didn’t want strangers and her moving out stuff without my knowing what was being taken.

She spent the first night in her apartment “alone.” I don’t know who she spent it with, nor do I care anymore. I did then. The next night I left the kids with her.  When I left the apartment after saying my good  byes, I was walking down the stairs. My lips became numb, and I just started to shutter. I couldn’t cry yet, I just shook and my face ached.  I have never felt a pain like that before. It was the reality of the loss of my marriage, and the new relationships I would have to build with my kids just overwhelming me.  These waves would wash over me for the next few weeks. Sometimes they would last hours, and other times minutes. There were times, I would leave work and just walk for miles to distract myself.

I spent the last part of the summer alternating with her at the apartment. Initially it was not so bad. It was hard to be in a place, so intentionally devoid of me. It was uncomfortable. She then started going out while I was with the kids, and coming back to the apartment and sleeping on the couch. After a while, she made it clear she wasn’t going to sleep on the couch, and I wasn’t sleeping in the same bed as her.  I slept on the couch a few times.  I started to then bring the kids back to our home when I had them. Once school started, she played nicer about leaving the apartment, but I was quickly becoming exhausted with my drive after finishing with kids activities. I wasn’t getting anything done I needed to get done.

She had spent some money to prepare her apartment. It was my understanding that this was coming out of the fund we had set up for vacations. It wasn’t she was saving that for living on. She spent the money that I had set aside to pay the mortgage. After failing to pay the mortgage, I decided that I needed to find a place closer to my kids, and before my credit was smashed to the point no one would rent to me.  I wanted a place with a garage for their bikes, and a yard to play in. I also wanted a two story place, so when I was their alone, I wasn’t constantly faced with empty bed rooms that should have my kids in them.  I found a duplex that meets the requirements.  I got moved with the help of some old and new friends.

I had spent a week without my kids, and so was going to spend the next week with them. I really didn’t have the place ready for them. Partly because she had left the kids with me during the move, so she could take one of my sons to a soccer tournament that we had agreed to not  play in.  I was now shuttling my other son to his games for a tournament, while trying to get my place ready. My youngest daughter made the boys and girls rooms look ready to sleep, and wanted to stay the night. Of course I didn’t have mattresses yet, so that wasn’t an option.  She kept repeating how great it was that I had got them a house. It had a basement, a garage, and a yard.  I was glad that she was happy with my choice. I hadn’t been able to include them in the looking at places, because my wife had kept putting off talking about what was really going on between me and her with them.

The first week with the kids was a bit crazy. I didn’t have any dishes yet, or much food for that matter. I also didn’t have time to prep everything for them. I am still working on some of that. I had to get them to school, and pick them up. I live in the boundaries for different middle and elementary schools, so no bus when they are with me. Which is OK. I enjoy taking them and picking them up. Its a good chance to talk to them. They are a captive audience at least for a little while.  My wife was constantly making sure I knew where I was screwing things up.  I wasn’t getting the girls hair right. I needed to get my own hair products for her( I bought the ones she was using now ).  Well none of this mattered much, because I could hang up the phone, and it was over. No having to talk about it as we went to bed, no waking up to the same conversation, etc.

This process has started the road to establishing what life is like with Dad, and how it is different than life with Mom.  The kids are noticing that Mom dominated life when we were together. I am getting questions like why we never did this or that before. I have to answer sadly that I didn’t make it priority.  I don’t want to say that when I tried, I was blocked one way or another by their mom. I don’t want to start having negative messages about each other going to the kids, even if I know its true.  I have also began at this point to establish that my opinion may not be the same as it was when we were together, and that I expect my voice to be a bit stronger now in our new circumstances.  New boundaries are being established. This is good.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

September 22

The Ruiner

Ruiner

No that is not a new super villain, but at times it feels like it.   Over the months that led to our eventual separation, there were some obviously important dates to us. She managed to ruin a number of them with her timing.  Over the past few years, our anniversary has landed on weekends.  In that time we have not been able to go out for our anniversary, because she has been in charge of the school carnival. This past year was the first year she was not in charge of  the school carnival, and our anniversary fell on the Monday. So when it was on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday she was doing carnival things.  The fallout from the carnival generally took over the preceding and following weekends, so our anniversary really didn’t amount to much.  This frustrated me, but I chalked it up to life with 4 kids.  The kicker was she would complain about how I didn’t do anything for our anniversary. I felt like I was in a catch 22 situation. This has been the story of our marriage, and a habit that I am trying to break my oldest son of now when he is with me. He does the same thing to everyone in his life.  This by itself really wasn’t that big of deal, but as I look back there are many times where an important date would be coming up, and she would book something that would interfere with anything we might be planning. I was unable to schedule anything without going through her, because I would either have to cancel because she had other plans, or cancel because I was needed to take care of the kids.  This was one of the things that I accepted as being married to her. What I could never wrap my head around, was why did she get so angry with me when I didn’t plan anything anymore, since whenever I did I had to change it.

I am reminded of a time when she got angry with me about making a list of things to do around the house.  She told me I didn’t care what she thought, because I wouldn’t let her make a list. I looked at her, and told her she can’t make a list, because if she does, then it will be treated as a task list by her, and she will be angry when I haven’t checked off everything on the list.  This was one of the rare moments where she recognized the truth in what I said, and admitted it was true.

So as she prepared for our parting ways, she decided to tell me she wanted a divorce. This happened on my son’s birthday right before we were meeting her family for dinner.  It is going to be hard to shake the shame that is now attached to that day when I celebrate with him, but he is more important than her, so I can’t imagine too many birthdays where I will struggle with this.

During the time between when she told me she wanted a divorce and when she moved out, I did my best to make holidays and other things still meaningful. She generally did her best to do what she wanted to do without me, or to make me feel bad for it.  Valentine’s Day blew, but there is no surprise there. Mother’s day was a day when she made no plans, but got mad when all I did is offer her a card and gifts from the kids.  She went to my parents house with me, and was rude to my parents.  Easter was spent with her family, and my father in  law fumbling over how to talk to me.  It boiled down to him telling me about how his brother’s marriage sucks, and they live in different places, and his brother screws around with anything that will spread its legs for him.  Talk about an awkward conversation.

On the anniversary of the adoption of our 3 oldest kids, she chose to have a talk with me. She told me that she was looking at apartments, and planned to move to the city with kids.  I told her I had been thinking of the same thing. She then informed me that she planned on moving without me. I knew this. She beat me to the same conversation by about an hour, except I was going to suggest we all move.  Again another date ruined for me, and again I will have to make it temporary, because I can’t imagine life without those kids.

Father’s Day was a good day. I took the kids to my parents house, and we had a nice dinner. She was mad that she was not invited. She asked me if my Dad knew he was burning bridges by not inviting her. His response was the bridge was burned the day she told me that she wanted a divorce, and started to to force things down that path.

Independence Day was interesting. I had planned to go see my parents in the afternoon. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer around the same time she started tearing down our marriage.  She had invited her family over to go see fireworks.  She was mad that I was leaving when her family was coming over. Understand that she had already signed a lease on an apartment at this time, and was moving out.  I told her I would be back in time for dinner. I spent my time with my parents, and then went back to my house. The kids were running around with neighbor kids, the cousins were feeling left out. She was buried in her phone while her family milled around. It was the strangest scene I had experienced in a long time. I ran off the neighbor kids, so the cousins could play with my kids, and started acting like a host, because needless to say they were guests in my house.  My wife’s sister’s husband told me that their biggest concern in this whole thing was that I not let her run me over, and that I get to remain as close to a full time Dad as possible.  That was a nice surprise. We went to fireworks, and everyone went home.

I had expected something exciting like divorce papers on my birthday, but there was nothing. Maybe she is done planning things for days that matter. I won’t count on it.  It doesn’t matter much anymore. My life is shaping up into something I enjoy. If only I could get through a day without having to talk to her about anything.  Too many days I get a phone call from her before I talk to anyone else.  Since our separation, I have talked to her first thing in the morning because she called me more than I did when we slept in the same bed over the past year. It annoying that someone that doesn’t want to be married to me, still has so much of my time. I guess I will get used to it, and it will change over time.  She is losing her influence over me, so her ability to ruin special days is fading.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

September 19

The Story is Slowing Down

slow down

I have been posting things slower, mostly because we are getting closer to the time that I am living in now.  I haven’t completely decided how to take the blog from there. I also want to make sure that I have some perspective on the happenings related to her and the separation in my life.  The marriage was hard, and the six months leading up to the separation were even harder for me, but I have no idea what the future holds for me. Right now life is hectic, but it feels pretty good, and seems to be getting better.  As I decide what to write about, and as the story approaches today I will start to increase my writing. I enjoy the writing. It is therapeutic, and it really doesn’t matter if anyone is reading. At some point, some guy will stumble on this, and these will be the words that he needs to see to know that he is not alone.  That is the wonderful thing about the Internet. I know I found so many blogs that helped me realize that at the very least if I was a putz, I was in good company, and I very likely was not a putz. Thanks for reading, and please comment to let me know if I am a total tool or not.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

September 19

You Never Told Me That!

img-thing

Words I continually heard were “You never told me that,” or something similar. It even reached the point where I was told that I must have imagined the conversation in my head. This was strange, but I am fairly introverted, so not completely implausible.  I started to think I had entire conversations in my head, because she had no memory of them. This was the story of our marriage. She would respond to me angrily if I argued that we had talked about something that she didn’t remember. To some degree, I started to believe that I was a bit crazy. That I could imagine an entire conversation, and it never have happened.  I would give up plans, because she wasn’t prepared for them, because we never talked about them.

After the divorce talk, I was much more aware of the conversations we had.  I was more sensitive to slights I might offer or receive. I was trying to be a better husband, and was becoming increasingly aggravated with the lack of effort on her part to be a good wife.  Not just then, I didn’t expect much then, but in the past as I reviewed our life together on mine own. I noticed that I would be talking, and she would start the conversation with me, but after a while she would disappear into her own world.   I used to think she would change the subject abruptly on me, because there was some connection in her mind to what we were talking about.  I have a tendency to do that myself. I found though that she would get lost in her own thoughts, and would stop hearing me. She would then jump in conversation to whatever it was that she was thinking about.  As time went on after the divorce talk, she had less and less that she wanted to talk to me about, so she would just disappear and not come back. That is when I noticed what was really going on, and figured out that I was not nuts, but being ignored all these years.

I tested this a few times. I would say completely ridiculous things, and see if there was a reaction. There was none, and when I say none I mean not even a nod of the head like she was pretending to listen.  I would stop mid-sentence and just leave the room, and she wouldn’t even notice.  This was both eye opening and heart breaking for me. I realized that it had been a very long time since she cared what I said. The hard reality of this is I had started to believe that what I said was not important, that people didn’t care what I thought or said.  I had stopped sharing anything with so many of my friends. I have found that they all wondered what they did to make me not want to trust them anymore.  They too were victims of my marriage, and some of them will recover with me, and some of them have already left my life not understanding what happened.

It is amazing how the person you are closest too can affect everything in your life in ways that you never imagined. I can only imagine what that could have looked like if we were both in the marriage for the right reasons.  It could have been amazing.  Someone who can have such a strong effect on me and how I interact with others could have propelled me to such great heights with my friends and family, just as she pushed me down.  I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me here. I could have maintained those relationships on my own. I could have been more aware of what was going on, and limited the damage that was caused.  I could have believed that I was worth more than she thought I was, and never have tumbled down the path I have been on.  It hasn’t been good for either one of us.

Ten-Foured,

JeD