Dealing with Divorce Catch-All

Amoebic, sorry you're going through a difficult time. It's going to suck for a while, and honestly it's a wound that won't fully heal for even longer. But you'll get through it. Keep pushing, keep fighting, and be a little selfish going forward, because you need to take care of yourself first and worry about anything else second.

Let us know if you need anything.

Merry Christmas to my fellow Goodjers! Wherever you find yourself I wish you happiness and joy, and hope for a bright new year.

My wife and I spent Xmas eve discussing separating. Then we tabled it for a few days so our three kids could enjoy the holiday.

Toddland wrote:

My wife and I spent Xmas eve discussing separating. Then we tabled it for a few days so our three kids could enjoy the holiday.

Sorry Toddland. Welcome to party, I guess.

Toddland wrote:

My wife and I spent Xmas eve discussing separating. Then we tabled it for a few days so our three kids could enjoy the holiday.

I'm so sorry, friend. It's so rough right now. Hope you can find a satisfying resolution.

Sorry, Toddland. I hope things go alright for you. The fact that you and your wife are at least discussing things is already a good sign. We're all here if you need any help at all.

We've moved past the stages of grief into acceptance. We're going to see a counselor to see if there's anything we can do, or if we will transition into divorce counseling. It's especially tough with three kids, but we're doing what we can. It's also compounded by the fact that she hasn't worked in over 10 years, and my job shut down at the end of the year. Thankfully, we have savings and I've got interviews.

Post New Years and we've separated. My wife stays in our house with the kids, and I've moved about 30 miles away to my Mother's place. She's by herself since my dad passed, so I get to help out. I currently help out 3 or 4 times a week with the kids, and they'll come to stay with me every other weekend or so. It's not hit that as hard as I had feared, as this is somewhat amicable, and I'm still here with them every other day or so. Now that school has started up, it will be a little different.

She has started therapy to address some things she has avoided her entire life now that I've left. Already the change is noticeable. She's more on top of things, the communication is better, the kids have more structure, and I'm not constantly fighting for all of those things. All it took was for me to leave. o_o

As it is, I think we will both be better, more present parents now that we've separated. She still wants to try and save the relationship, but I have zero interest in that. She could have tried every time I asked for changes in the last 18 years. I finally had enough and have moved on.

Sounds like you've got a fairly good situation there Toddland! Being a better and more present parent is one of those benefits of separation and divorce from a bad relationship that people don't talk enough about. It took my own therapist saying it to me before I realized it myself. From what I've seen and read, kids fare much better with separated and happier parents than with parents who are together and unhappy. I hope your situation continues to be amicable, and good for you for saying enough is enough and moving on.

My own situation is less good I'll say. The fight with my ex continues. The court dates have finally been set, with one at the end of this month and the other in mid-February. I didn't know there would be two, but apparently one is specifically about getting the alternating weekend schedule back (along with other updates that need to be put in the agreement), and the second one is just about the contempt charge I filed for all the days my ex took from me during the Christmas/New Year's break. During that entire week and a half I only had my son for two nights. It was barely 48 hours.

And as of this morning she's emailing and berating me for not responding to her demands, along with essentially calling me a bad father for sending my son to Florida to have fun with my parents (Disney World! The beach!) during his February break and not going along with him. She also wants me to change the flights so that he's back four days earlier because he absolutely has to be with her for Friday night and Saturday. I said I'll only change that if a judge tells me to.

I'm just so sick of the bullsh*t. So unbelievably done with it. It never ends.

The dreams are the worst. They set back so much hard work.

Amoebic wrote:

The dreams are the worst. They set back so much hard work.

This plus waking up to an empty bed.

D4m0, that sounds pretty rough. Don't let her words get through. You know you're a good dad so keep doing what you're doing. You're right in the fact that separation actually does make you a much more involved parent. Focus on the positives that you've got your court dates. That's progress!

Hope everyone else is going ok. Keep up the exercise as it helps with the thinking!

I'm going to start therapy soon. I kind of resisted the idea, as I felt justified in my decision making, but the panic attacks, and history of being an abuse sponge have me thinking (with some not so gentle prodding from my mother, brother and friends) that I might benefit from it. I've got a lot to unpack and I'm hoping I'll be a better communicator as a result. Last night I took my daughters to a "Star Party" at one of their schools, and on the walk up, my older daughter told the younger "Remember to pretend to be human!"

I think that's pretty good advice.

This is hard to write as I've been a wreck for the last week, and continuing to be a wreck. Sorry, this will probably be long. I'm just going to try and blurt everything out. I'll put most of it in a spoiler tag to keep the page length down. My ex decided to file some motions to move the set court dates back by a few weeks each, to the end of February and March. She also filed a motion for me to pay lawyer fees for her so she could have a lawyer in the first place. My lawyer and I definitely disagreed to those things, so there was a hearing on Wednesday, the day before yesterday, so a judge could decide on them.


Wednesday was a Very Hard Day. I was stressed and tense and at many points just literally staring at the walls of the courthouse unable to really do anything. I had my lawyer with me, which helped, but my ex had nobody (she was just representing herself), and decided to literally follow me and my lawyer everywhere we went. If we sat at a table, she sat with us. If we sat on a bench, she sat next to us. My lawyer asked her leave us so we could speak multiple times, and she refused. She literally said to us in the most contentious way possible, "You, by having a lawyer here, when I don't have one, are being very contentious, and it does not help this process at all. We are supposed to work together." At one point we finally did get away, and my lawyer actually called over a bailiff and said we were being stalked, and to keep an eye on my ex. He said he would.

Eventually we made it into the pre-courtroom step, to talk to a clerk and make sure everything was all set. The ex started complaining right away. The clerk asked about seeing us separately, and everyone agreed. Once me and my lawyer got in to talk to the clerk, we found out that my ex lied egregiously on her financial disclosure form. My ex apparently was also just all over the place, talking about past traumas and even things that just plain didn't happen going back like 20 years. The clerk said she actually got to the point of asking my ex if she was seeing a therapist.

After all that we waited and waited to go into the courtroom to get in front of the judge. It was torture. They had a very busy day and were behind and we kept getting pushed back. They told us to actually leave and come back in the afternoon, which we did. When we finally got in front of the judge, my ex went first since these were her motions, and just went rambling for 10-15 minutes. Every time the judge asked her a specific question, she had no real answer. She said I had done things that I had never actually done, going all the way back to near the time we had met. Once she was done, my lawyer stated my side. It was so good she was there, because she said all the things I would have said, only much better and more clearly, without getting into the insanity of trying to argue against what my ex had just said. At one point my ex was so angry about what my lawyer was saying (and it was the real truth about what my ex had done, taking my son during the Christmas and New Year's break) that she actually pulled her chair back a little and turned and literally just stared directly at me. I mean a god damned death stare right at me. I didn't turn to meet it, I just could see it out of the corner of my eye. After a minute or two a bailiff actually got up and told her to look forward, which she did.

In the end everything actually worked out in my favor. The ex really tried to argue with the judge about the pickup times on Saturdays, because it happens before sundown, which is when her all-important religious shabbat time ends. The judge had to tell her five or six times, like look, this parental custody agreement is more important than your interpretation of your religion. You agreed to it yourself back in 2011. She told my ex what she could do through the court system to try and get those times for custody if she really wanted them. The judge also assigned my son his own counsel, which is really great. And the two coming court dates are going to be combined, although moved to the end of February. So it was good for me. And then we left. On the way out my lawyer said to me that the judge could definitely see through everything my ex was trying to do.

That evening the ex called me and said she was actually willing to change the custody schedule right now to what I was asking for. I declined, because I said we need to stick to what the judge said, and because she has done that in the past. After agreeing to it, she will get me to agree on other things, then eventually she'll get me to agree to just figure this out on our own and skip court altogether. That exact thing happened a year ago, and I am not about to let it happen again. My lawyer agrees.

Last night I had a therapy appointment, and it was just me conveying this story. My therapist was appalled at what happened. But he was more concerned about my own reactions to this whole thing. Clearly I was in the right and there was no way my ex would get what she wanted. So why was I so uncontrollably nervous and so tense while at the courthouse? I have another appointment before the next court date, and I hope he can help me.

Just this morning the ex sends an email asking me to come later than the appointed custody time tomorrow for pickup, in direct violation of what the judge told her multiple times, to get to her place at sundown so she can finish her religious observance with my son. I replied and said no, I'll be coming at the time the judge and the agreement state. Her reply was just more attacks. She even implied my lawyer was antisemitic based on something my lawyer said in court ("we need to clean up these holidays in this agreement"). I've already told my lawyer about it. So now I'm really nervous about that pickup tomorrow. I don't know if she's going to do something.

Sorry this is so long. It's still barely half of all that happened. I still know rationally that when we get to court again at the end of February to try and make the changes I want to the agreement that it will probably go my way. There is a much greater chance of things ending up in my favor than with my ex, especially once we hear from the lawyer my son is going to get, but this is all still really getting to me. Here I am at work, unable to concentrate on anything and writing this long post. Ugh I hate this so much.


You likely are already doing all this already, but ensure all those emails get copied to your lawyer. I know when I was in a similar situation with my ex, it helped to never respond to those sort of emails immediately, but to wait until the next day, and in so doing avoiding getting into a rapid back and forth bickering match over email. Stick to your guns, and keep doing what you're doing; you're doing nothing wrong, you are sticking to the agreement that she agreed to with the judge. Sounds like you hate confrontation, and she knows that, and so she's trying to abuse that knowledge to get her own way; it may take a while, but the only way she's going to stop is when she understands she can't manipulate you that way anymore, or you end up having to get to court to help you enforce things again. Hold tight, deep breaths and just stick with, using whatever strategy it takes to help get through it. It will get easier ... but likely not straight away.

d4m0: I am sorry that you are going through this. I am glad to hear that you are seeing a therapist. In my divorce, I went through some similar situations that you have in your case. My therapist helped me validate my feelings and positions, helping me to strengthen my resolve against the irrational actions and requests of my ex. I'm hoping yours will do the same for you.

You are doing the right things in the right ways. You made the right call in insisting upon sticking to the judge's orders. It will serve you well in the long run, especially if your ex violates them. I also suggest that you provide her email correspondence to your attorney as it helps to strengthen your case. Hang in there, and know that you're not alone.

Thank you to you both. I'm feeling a little better now, just really trying my hardest to keep calm and tell myself that things are going to be okay and that I'm doing everything I should be doing.

I am indeed sending the emails straight to my lawyer, so she sees all of them. My lawyer happens to have her daughter as her secretary, and when I sent that email this morning from my ex implying she was antisemitic her daughter replied in a "just between us and off the record" message saying that she was incredibly offended and pissed off that my ex would write such a thing about her mother.

ShynDarkly you're definitely right about my hatred of confrontation. I have such a hard time dealing with it. My ex is quite literally the worst kind of person I could have been involved with. She feeds on confrontation, almost needs it in her life. It's incredible, really.

Cripes, this sounds awful. I'm super sympathetic d4m0, and I hope everything works out better than you fear.

Very glad the judge seems to have the right perspective though!

d4m0, I'm really really sorry. But I really really want to say that doing the rational and right thing while under the emotional turmoil you're experiencing... that's pretty kickass, dude. You rock and/or roll, seriously.

d4mo: stick to what your lawyer says and just keep a record. If you go to pick up at the stated time and you have to wait a long period of time. Note it and have your son do the same for your lawyer the next time court comes around. Keep meticulous records and don't force 1 on 1 with her on anything even if she is not adhering. Just make a record and let the lawyer and court deal with it since it is just next month.

Stay on track d4mo and continue to utilize transparency when dealing with this individual. You are handling difficult moments with calm and resolve. Keep it up. Your mental and emotional health will benefit in tandem with your case.

Do not allow this individual, a toxic amoral manipulator, the chance to drag you down and into a closed off scenario where they can either exert pressure, or attempt to elicit a response that could be contorted. No one to one. No private messages. These are the ground rules to forever be in play.

As others have said, show up when you're supposed to, keep a record, advise your son to do the same.

You're proper strong to be coming through this. Way to go.

Wow, thank you everyone, this thread is so helpful. While I think I've been handling this with resolve, I wish I could say the same about being calm. It's been really tough. Right now I'm feeling okay, so that's good. The next court date is still three weeks away, so my brain has managed to relax a bit.

The pickup on Saturday actually went without a hitch at all. I got there at the appointed time, my son came out on his own, and I drove away. I was nervous, but it turned out fine. Hopefully the next few weeks go the same. I got another email from the ex over the weekend, but I just forwarded it straight to my lawyer and didn't reply. It was just more of the usual accusations and threats.

I did find out from my son that the ex's thoughts on trying to get the schedule changed right away were in order to try and eventually get me to cancel the court date in February. She is apparently extremely nervous about court, had a terrible experience last week, and is trying to get out of it any way she can. Not this time!

Forgive me, I am far from sober and in a really terrible place emotionally. I am going to spoiler tag the rest so anyone who doesn't want to find out "too much" about me and my situation can avoid that.



I dunno man you gotta either establish boundaries here or get the divorce which formally establishes boundaries

boogle wrote:

I dunno man you gotta either establish boundaries here or get the divorce which formally establishes boundaries

You're not wrong. Probably if I had anything else working, it would be the only right option. Thanks for commenting.

Don't feel like you have to comment. Probably my situation is just too unusual for any simple solution. Venting helps.

Outside of getting rid of the drinking and drugs which you admit you need to do, maybe try setting some goals. It seems like you're just drifting along (and yes, you're grieving so it's reasonable that it would be part of the process) and something that's always helped me has been having something more concrete, even something very small, to work towards. It doesn't have to have anything to do with relationships, or even anything super-serious or productive, but just something that will start baby-stepping you back towards the person you want yourself to be.


I have no idea what was initially said but going off your past posts you really just need to move fwd. I know that is easy for me to say but it is pretty much what you need to do if you are ever going to break out of this cycle.

I will do my best to move forward. The cycle seems to come from repeated failures, so I just need to keep getting back up one more time than I get knocked down, I guess.