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.