My life came crumbling apart. My hopes and dreams were being destroyed forever. I was being faced with a life that I never wanted for me or my children. This was a life that I had clung to far beyond its reality. The reasons and much of the process are recorded in the blog. If you are interested read them. Much of my writing come out of my tears and anger, and the process of clearing myself of these emotions to move forward to the next steps in my life. These are processes that most men have to do on their own when they face the same problems in life.
My first reaction was to cling too hard. I thought a lot of “if only” thoughts. I fought to get her to stay. This was a purely emotional response. Men need to understand that by the time she has told you she wants a divorce, she has at the very least had fantasies of the moment. She is firmly planted on the idea. She more than likely has a plan and she may go along with you for some of these things, but she will execute the plan. Mine had not planned much beyond getting out of the house with me. She went to counseling and all the other things I asked, but she still moved out on her original schedule. The right thing to do when she says she wants a divorce is not to panic. It is simply to ask what her plan is, and remain as disinterested as possible. It is unlikely anything that you do at this point fixes your marriage, but if there is any hope of re-capturing her heart, it is in showing that you are going to be just fine without her. Marriage counseling is generally for chumps. It isn’t effective, and the advice you will usually get comes down to you aren’t doing enough things she wants you to do, but if you look at your lifestyle, she determines what you do most of the time. Man up and do what you want to do. Set boundaries while you are still in the house, and take charge of how your family is going to split. If she is truly determined to leave, then you will have some control of the process. If she is not determined to leave, then you are showing the masculine traits she needs to see to be attracted to you.
We lived twenty miles outside the nearest suburb. She wanted to move into the suburbs when she left. She changed the kids schools and moved. I probably could have stopped her, and maybe I should have. That doesn’t matter so much as I didn’t even evaluate what was best for me and the kids. I could have made a lot of choices here. Changing schools is a joint decision. I could have immediately gone to court for temporary orders to require them to stay in their current schools. Maybe I should have. I won’t know the answer to that, but I didn’t even think about it. I was responding to her plan and actions. I saw some value in the move. All the kids activities were too far away from home. We had talked about moving before we talked about divorce, so it was reasonable. Boy what a trap that can be. Try arguing with a reasonable suggestion. Its tough. Its hard to argue that because of this change, I don’t want to do the other thing that we already agreed might be good.
I tried parenting from this town, but it was hard. I was scattered, and she spent the mortgage to move without telling me. I could have negotiated a new deal with the bank, and maybe I should have. I would have a house that is large enough for me and my girlfriend and all of our kids. They could all have their own room, which is an amazing thing. I loved the house. It fit my personality. If I had known she would move again a year later, I probably would have. I should have guessed that she would, but I wasn’t thinking much about things. I was just reacting. The bank would have offered me a new loan that is cheaper than anything I can rent now.
I tell you this, not so much because I regret the decision, but because I want men to think before the act. Stop reacting, and start making decisions based on the new circumstance. Don’t get railroaded by a woman who has been plotting for six months or more for this moment. She has the edge because of this, so slow down and really think about it. It is too late to save your marriage, so don’t run down that path, because it wastes precious time. If there is a chance to save the marriage, it will happen by you being assertive and direct in handling this circumstance. She says she wants a divorce, so go get a lawyer. File temporary orders that grant you equal time, the house, reasonable child support payments or none if you think you can make that work with her. Take charge and get the ball rolling. Don’t play softball, be a man. The divorce ball doesn’t need to run any faster after that, but now you have sure footing guaranteed by the courts. None of this prevents her from false abuse allegations, and if she is of that low of a character, then good luck. You can only hope that she is terribly inconsistent and you will prevail in court.
Once you have the first pieces in place, then take your time and do as much as you can without lawyers. This will save a fortune. I didn’t get those things in place, and when she filed, she tried to extract a large amount of child support. Thankfully the courts don’t respond quickly, so even though the orders were in place we negotiated a different deal that will hold from here on out. In the final orders any arrears can be cleared with a court order.
She had the first choice of stuff as she moved out. She didn’t take the newer furniture, and is pissed she made that decision, but we each got enough stuff. I don’t care if it was fair or not. There was no making both of totally happy. When I moved there was a ton of things left at the house. We took our time and took things as we saw the need. Ultimately she took more than me, but on the first move, I got what I cared about. Our stuff is thus divided with no real arguments. A few complaints, but no arguments. We will codify that in the divorce decree and its done.
I have written this over a course of a few days. It may not be totally congruent, but I am going to end it here. Slow down fellas, and make sure you are acting not reacting through the end of your marriage.