Dealing with Divorce Catch-All

Oooh. Updates. I should share too.

Despite the plan being that once my job is paying me full-time wages that I'd move out and get an apartment, the ex decided she couldn't wait any longer. Borrowed some money from a friend, and has moved into an apartment with the kids.

Writing it down makes it sound angry or aggressive, but it really wasn't. It's just time for us to start over, and she couldn't keep herself in a holding pattern half-living our old lifestyle anymore. Truly, it's for the better, all told, as we are way better as friends and a couple.

In other news, the timing of this was actually fairly fortuitous. My best friend has lived in California for the last couple decades. He wants to buy a house someday, and knows he won't find an affordable place in SoCal. His solution is to move to where his company HQ is in Milwaukee.

Before he does THAT however, he wanted to spend a couple months "working from home" and visiting family and friends out this way. As a result - he's living with me for a couple months while I prep the house to be sold. Feels good.

Lastly - work is (sorta?) picking up. On paper, in the course of about an hour my job just went from barely 50 hours a month to "We probably need to hire someone part-time before the end of the year....".

My boss was having a face-to-face meeting with me, then as he was on a 45-minute drive, he got an e-mail from our 2nd largest (potential) client. They were greenlit to work with us. A couple hundred hours over the next 8-10 weeks.

WHILE WE ARE ON THE PHONE our largest (potential) client sends an e-mail, approving work for them as well. A week later a mid-size client we hadn't heard from in a while called us shocked - SHOCKED that after we'd tried to contact them a half-dozen times and heard nothing back that we hadn't been in touch more. They're signed up. A small client is as well.

In short, work is about to get CRAZY, I'm living the bachelor life in a pretty big way, and things in general. . . . sort of had hit that point where there wasn't much option BUT to go up. Now they're poised to do so in a big way.


Nice place to be, Wolfstar! Glad things are picking up for you.


Always good to hear about things looking better.

That's awesome, wolfstar! Always great to hear some really positive news

Arise, O sad, painful, but sometimes happy divorce thread!

What a summer it has been. There has been way too much to write all the gory details from the last few months, so this is just kind of about the last few days. I have a conundrum that I thought I'd ask about too.

A couple nights ago my ex called me at 10:30 pm to express her anger that our son was still awake and on technology. I didn't answer of course, I just listened to the message afterward. This means that she was stalking him online while he was in my house late at night, and assuming that I didn't know what he was doing. Her problem was that he was not following the rules she decided upon for bedtime and tech usage. I tentatively agreed to set the same times at my place last year, but our son has just started high school, and really, he's old enough at this point to figure out when to go to bed on his own.

I barely slept that night because I was so angry at her for both calling me late at night to yell at me and for inserting herself into my house like that. My wife unfortunately also had a bad night due to this call. I also hear about bedtimes and tech usage from my ex at least once a month, and I'm just sick of hearing about it. So, in the morning, yesterday, I wrote an email unequivocally stating to never call me again late at night unless it's an emergency, I will not be setting a bedtime for a high schooler, and I can handle things myself regarding technology usage in my own house. I told her I would not be replying to any more messages or phone calls about bedtimes or tech usage ever again. I was polite, no swears, no attacks towards her, but absolutely firm. It was the most concrete and stand-up-for-myself I've probably ever been in a message to my ex. It felt good. Most people do not stand up to her sh*t because she is incredibly petty, toxic, and narcissistic, and will definitely use it against you in the future. You cannot reason with her because she is not a reasonable person - she can only see things as they affect her, and nobody else. It's just easier to tell her what she wants to hear. I was done with that, though.

Her reply was short and essentially what you would think, basically saying I'm out of line, being a terrible person, and I'm destroying my son's life by doing this. So, the conundrum is that tonight is the open house at the high school. Usually I go to it, but really, I don't want to go at all this time, and it's only because I don't want to be around my ex. I don't want to walk around with her to my son's classes. My son won't care whether I'm there or not. If I don't go, I'm sure I'll get some kind of guilt-inducing message from the ex. If I do go, I'm sure I'll get some kind of comment about my email to her, but in person this time, and possibly some kind of confrontation about it. I'm probably not going to go.

Don't go.

Your son doesn't care if you're there. So don't go.

The only thing you'll achieve is pissing off yourself AND your ex.

Don't go.

Kudos for asserting yourself with your ex and setting appropriate boundaries for communication.

I agree with Jonman. Sounds like there isn't an upside to going. Preserve your sanity.

I also support the decision to not go to the open house. D4m0, it sounds like your ex and mine are cut from the same cloth. I also commend you for taking a stand with your ex. Making the choice to limit contact and set boundaries is essential to your own mental health.

d4m0 wrote:

I wrote an email unequivocally stating to never call me again late at night unless it's an emergency, I will not be setting a bedtime for a high schooler, and I can handle things myself regarding technology usage in my own house. I told her I would not be replying to any more messages or phone calls about bedtimes or tech usage ever again. I was polite, no swears, no attacks towards her, but absolutely firm.

Good for you man. And yeah I wouldn't sweat open house, my son also just started high school, he sure wouldn't care if I go or not, his is in a week or two.

d4m0 wrote:

she can only see things as they affect her, and nobody else.

That sure sounds familiar. Thankfully my ex respects boundaries.

Thank you all so much! This really helps. My wife also agrees that I shouldn't go to the open house tonight. So, I'm not gonna go. If the ex has a problem with that, too bad.

Solidarity with having hellspawn exes oldmanscene24 and AcidCat! Unfortunately, mine does not respect boundaries at all, for literally anyone. You step over her own boundaries though? The world has to come to a stop and you get a page-long email about anything and everything from neo-nazis to hurricanes.

I'm sorry to say that sounds all too familiar.

I'm lucky. My ex is reasonable, caring, and occasionally bails me out financially if needed.

On the down side, she's dating an absolute abusive narcissistic cad who is terrified of me, so we can't even have a friendship.

That hurts.. she threw me over to get with a total loser and keeps going back to him, despite telling me he's crazy and insecure etc etc.

I wish we could just be friends, and she could be with someone she deserves.

I know, my problems are.. very, very manageable, comparatively

hah Dakuna, that still really sucks your ex ended up with someone like that! You don't want anyone to end up with a terrible person, and it makes sense that it would hurt. Hopefully she figures out soon that it's better to be with nobody than with that kind of person.

I didn't go to the open house last night, and everything turned out fine. The ex sent a text wondering where I was and I just wrote back that I got stuck doing stuff at work. No problems at all. Glad I did that, and thanks again for the advice.

d4m0 wrote:

I didn't go to the open house last night, and everything turned out fine. The ex sent a text wondering where I was and I just wrote back that I got stuck doing stuff at work. No problems at all. Glad I did that, and thanks again for the advice.

The best possible outcome!

Dakuna wrote:
d4m0 wrote:

I didn't go to the open house last night, and everything turned out fine. The ex sent a text wondering where I was and I just wrote back that I got stuck doing stuff at work. No problems at all. Glad I did that, and thanks again for the advice.

The best possible outcome!

That was the right call, you headed off a potential sh!t show, thus putting your son's interests first.

Arise thread!
I'm now a member of this crew. My wife and I separated about a month ago. It's been a very complex and trying time. The worst part of all of it is that we still love each other, but we just don't work as a couple. Great friends, great parents, great lovers, terrible as partners. We were together 8 years, married for 6. We have a lovely daughter (my step-daughter), who turns 10 next week. She still sees her bio-dad every other weekend. I could not love her more if she were my own flesh and blood, and she feels the same. She has no memories of a life without me. Right now our plan is to split custody 45/45/10 (a week with me, one with her, weekend with dad, rinse repeat), but if that becomes to much for her, I will obviously step back. I'm staying in my friend's basement, but take possession of my new apartment November 1st, and then we can actually do the shared custody thing. We worked out a tentative support agreement, but haven't actually signed anything.
I'm just a confused mess right now. I wake up every day anxious, and have to take Lorazepam to even think about sleep. I'm seeing a councilor weekly right now to help me sort through my emotions. We have piles of animals (2 dogs and 7 cats), and we decided I would take 4 of the cats, with occasional doggie hangouts.
Currently, I go over there to visit my daughter and see our pets, but it is HARD.
I know that this is for the best. The past year (maybe even two) have been hell. I checked out and hid away playing games, refusing to engage except for our (daily) fighting. She drank the pain away. Has for the past ~5 years. She struggles with depression and anxiety, and has been hospitalized several times. She still does. I'm so worried about her, and the company she is choosing to keep, and the destruction she is wreaking on her relationship with our child. I know I have to let her hit rock bottom on her own, but it is so hard to watch.
I know I am only half responsible for the death of our relationship, but I can't help but feel guilty as if I could have done so much more. I'm examining every action I took and take and using that as a guide to being a better person going forwards.

I miss her, every day. I know that we need this. I know that we can't be what we were, but for some stupid reason I hold out hope that we can both grow and find each other again.

That was a lot.

Welcome Pi? Seems odd to say here. The split custody breakdown seems reasonable and I understand your instinct to step back if the 3 way arrangement becomes too much for her, but generally speaking kids are pretty resilient. As an outsider who doesn't know the dynamics as well as you do, I'd say avoid stepping away from her life if at all possible. You're her dad.

Living with a spouse with mental illness became a nightmare for me too. Your ability to offer stability to your daughter will greatly benefit her, especially after you get settled in an apartment. As for the guilt of wondering what else you could have done, yeah I hear you. Sticking it out with an unbalanced spouse for the sake of the kids felt like the noble option for me too, but getting dragged down by it is ultimately worse for the child.

Looking at your situation of still being in love with the ex, I suppose I was lucky in that I knew there was no chance of reconciliation, and could thus move on. I wish you the best, Old Man.

Feels, Pi. Sorry for the pain you're coping with. Watching someone choose to go down a path you can't understand entirely or accept is rough. I'm glad you're getting counselling, and I'm glad it sounds like you're quite rational about the situation. I don't have any advice really, except to agree with Running Man - don't step away from your daughter if you can help it. If anything, your soon to be ex might be the one that needs to do that, if she can't handle you being overly present, from the sounds of things.

In my own situation.. my divorce (which isn't even finalized yet) process started in December of 2014. Hard to understand that it's been almost four years since the day my wife told me she was done with me. Every week I'm coming better to understand how and why we failed, and why we can never be what we were. Some of it is realizing we were never what I thought we were, and that makes it a lot easier to accept that it's gone and never coming back.

My little sister and her boyfriend were living with me for a while, they moved out this weekend. Being entirely alone is going to be interesting. I'm looking forward to it, honestly, I was feeling decidedly cramped and craving the control of being the only person in my living space. I will definitely have loneliness issues, and maybe struggle with some depressive periods, but we'll see. Here's hoping it's more light than dark!

Sorry, Pi. I have little to add to what RM or Dakuna said.

I'm glad you're going to counseling. It's helped my wife and me a great deal, both together and separately. I agree with the others that time with your daughter is worth fighting for, so stay strong on that front.

Good that you have friends that are there for you while you transition to a new place. Best wishes.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I will definitely take it to heart. The last thing I want to do is step away at all, and it's nice to have some support in that sense.
My ex and I spent a lot of time talking this weekend. We are going to see a couples counselor in the coming weeks, and maybe going to see if we can slowly date again. Maybe try to find the magic between us again, while still maintaining space to grow and flourish apart as we have a LOT of individual growing to do. We aren't sharing that with anyone in our life as we don't want pressure or any judgement of any kind. If it doesn't go anywhere so be it.
I'm cautiously optimistic, but will accept any outcome. At least this way I can go out knowing we literally both gave it our all.

Sorry to hear it, Pi. I can't add too much to what the others have said, as they were right on. It sounds like you're doing all the right things so far, including the counseling. I agree with them about making sure you continue to have the time with your daughter. My ex is suffering very much from mental illness, and so the stability my son gets when he's with me and my wife is incredibly important. He has actually said that to me, too.

Good luck with working things out! Maybe it can happen. Sounds like you're going in with the right kind of open attitude. This here thread is here if you need anything from those of us that have gone through it all.

Thanks again everyone. I am having a down day today. Woke up in the middle of the night for a work emergency, and since I couldn't sleep I ended up going down the Facebook rabbit hole of "memories". It was masochistic to say the least.

It's different for everyone, but you'll find that there are some similarities that we all kinda go through. It's hard. It's going to be hard for a while. Probably longer than you expect. But, as cliched as it is, it gets better and easier. For me it was a massive thing to go through and it's changed me quite considerably. My biggest piece of advice is to just let yourself feel it. If you run from it, hide, bury your feelings and all that, it's not going to help you. You need to deal with it. If that means going through memories, then get comfy, get your tissues and go through it. You'll have those moments punctuated with every other kinda feeling you can possibly imagine, both good and bad. But eventually, you kinda just come to terms with it and try and work out what's next.

Other big piece of advice I'd give you is to reconnect with friends and family. I've got a couple of really good friends who saved me from imploding. You'll also discover through this, who those friends really are. They might not be the ones you think they are. In my case, 2 of the best friends I have now I only really discovered through this whole process. The third, for about 7 years. Whoever they are, talk to them. Go for walks, socialise, whatever, just do stuff with them.

Exercise is good, alcohol is bad. Learned that one the hard way... even though multiple people told me about it before, kinda had to experience it for myself. Regular exercise is really awesome. Even if it's simply going for a 30-60 min walk every couple of days. Gets the blood pumping and allows you to clear your head. I'd suggest some days letting yourself think about sh*t and other days setting out from the beginning with the intent to not let yourself think about that.

So I'm now approaching 2 years since the beginning of my separation. Officially April 2017, but sh*t started in January 2017. House is finally on the market. We've got 3 kids with a 50/50 split. 3 day rotation. Still not divorced yet. House is the last piece, then it's hopefully just a formality.

I've had it fairly lucky compared to a lot. We still get along. There are times when it's hard, but at the end of the day she's the mother of my kids and I still care for her and want to see her do well. In some ways I've learned to appreciate my family more. The days when I have the kids are amazing. I'm a single dad and I do it all. Full time job, come home and look after them. Get dinner ready, cleaning, uniforms and lunches ready for school. Then on my days off, I have some downtime. I go for my long walks. I play heaps of games. I catch up with friends and just plan out what's next. It's balance, but it takes a long time to get there. Even now I feel like I've got miles to go. Even now I still don't quite know where I'm going. Do I want to just go on my own and be the best dad I can be and then enjoy the other times to myself. Do I want to try another relationship? Honestly don't quite know yet. Will work it out later.

Also, I forgot how cathartic it is to just write all this sh*t down. If it helps you, awesome. If you've got questions on random stuff, fire away. We're all still learning it all as it goes and more than happy to help out.

Thanks BlackSabre. Its good to see and hear from someone else.
I'm just confused at this stage. I get hot and cold, one minute it's "I love you and want to be with you", the next it's "I need space and time to heal". Her drinking is even worse. I always swoop in to save her.
I'm a mess, and I just obsess over all the details, would've, could've, should've myself to death. I guess when I said " 'till death do us part" I truly believed no matter what we'd work it out.
She says she needs to feel wanted by someone other than me, stating I'm the one who made her feel unwanted, and has started going on dating apps. This is her own insecurities manifesting and seeking external validation to push her demons under.
I know the healthiest thing to do is cut contact except about the child. I just can't. I feel like a junkie waiting for my next hit.

Maybe try Al Anon mate.

I get that feeling. It doesn't completely go away, but it becomes easier to manage.

Every situation is different. Don't have any crystal ball for you to tell you what you should be doing. This is one of those choices in life where really, it's up to you. Just accept yourself and the choice you make.

The other thing I can suggest is perhaps see a counsellor. I had access to one through a work employee assistance program and it helped to just verbal brain dump. I'm a big fan of it. Talking will get you through this.

Old Man, studies here suggest that co-parenting gives optimal results for children. Judges habitually give sermons on this issue because it's constantly in the child psychology reports they have to consider in parenting cases.

Your girl is 10, it's not the time to give up, she should have both parents around to help her grow into adolescence. Presumably she will need you less and less as she grows into a young adult, and that's fine, but you'll do both her and yourself a disservice if you step back now, particularly where the child's mother is in the midst of a destructive cycle.

Also, there's a good reason why custody usually happens away from the co-parent; it's so the child feels safe expressing their views to each parent without fear of non-approval (it's not uncommon a parent will denigrate and demonise the other parent to make themselves more important in the child's eyes). Until you start the home stays at your place, when you see her, try to get out of the house so that you can create that safe environment for her. Perhaps tie it into an exercise thing, like blacksabre suggests for your own wellbeing.

Appreciate the feedback. I am going to an Al-Anon meeting tonight. I didn't realize it was a support system for loved ones.

Addicts are extremely difficult to be with. My advice to you is too make sure if you are trying to mend the relationship you establish boundaries around active recovery. You won't get far trying to repair a relationship with someone who is active in their addiction.

Addicts absolutely can and do benefit from support groups but you have to protect yourself at the same time. Good first steps are maybe attending NA meetings together.