It's now 3 years since my ex left and I'm doing OK, though I accept that I will always have some sadness and anger about the way my ex left the marriage and his ongoing reluctance to spend one on one time with his own children. But he does see them and support them, so it could be a lot worse. Initially I was annoyed that I even remembered the date this year, but it came to a head around my birthday, so I don't think I'll ever forget it. I've read it's very common for spouses to make these announcements on or close to a birthday or Christmas...so thoughtful! Instead I've decided to treat it like an inevitable unpleasant memory but privately call it "freedom day" and do something fun. This year my boys and I went to a Lego show where AFOLs displayed their incredible creations, then spent the unusually warm afternoon at the beach catching waves on our bodyboards, finishing with the new Jungle Book movie in the evening. They expected it to be lame but really enjoyed it which is a small victory with adolescent boys. The main divorce recovery work now is something that's familiar to many of us - the ongoing effort to maintain boundaries with the ex, yet try to have a civil relationship with him for the children's sake. It's only been in the last month that I have managed to drive them to his house in daylight hours, drop them off, talk civilly with him for a few minutes and cheerfully wave them off, knowing OW is looking through the windows while the stepsisters linger in the front garden. I still get the urge to raise my middle finger as I drive off, but manage to restrain myself. The "fake it till you make it" advice seems to work though, I feel more neutral towards him, apart from when he lets the boys down. Time is a huge healing factor too... now when we go away, there might be a few distant memories of a trip with dad years ago, but they are fading, and it doesn't feel odd to be going away with just the 3 of us, or to have dinner with my sister-in-law's family. We don't even mention him anymore. The main thing I miss is just another adult to talk about things like work issues, politics or how the kids are going. And someone to share the load of parenting when the sibling squabbling or the stink and mess of the stuffy man-caves leads to psycho mum shouting and ranting and hiding the playstation controls. But these are such minor issues - my boys and I are all healthy, live in a safe country and have a home. And a beautiful blue hermaphrodite fish as our state marine emblem. When I talk with my friends who are married to workaholics who neither support nor respect them, but don't want to divorce because of the kids, I feel like maybe we are the lucky ones with our hard-won wisdom about human nature and our spouse-less freedom.
We are on a similar time line, it's 3 years since my ex said he wanted us to split, my tale has a very different ending, he is now gravely ill, with only a short time to live, I wish he was living a happy and healthy life , it would be easier then not to think about him x
You are at the same point as me Vastra... maybe a tad further on as I cant exchange pleasantries with her. I think that will have to come soon if only to appease my daughter... she is 21 this year and refusing a party. Why... because she will not want to see her parents obviously ignoring and hating each other. We shall see how it goes.
great to hear how well you are doing. lots still to resolve re feelings and loss. Will that ever change though really? I wonder sometimes. I think it wont go, we just manage it a little better.
A heart-warming blog Vastra. It's good to know how you are doing three years along which is about the same time as me. I agree with how your circle can feel normal after a while with one parent. The girls and I felt someone was missing for a while but have evolved into feeling natural as a three now. I have this theory that jus as nature provided us with two of the same body part (kidneys, limbs etc) just in case...we can function with one in dire need..that's how it is with parenting. My therapist used to say to me that the children would be OK as long as they had one good enough parent. You seem to be doing a good job despite channelling the frustration, difficulties and I get why you miss the other parent during peak stress times. One thought though is that the family is not channelling all your ex's workplace stress, We used to carry all my ex's which due to his narcissism was daily and intense. It can be tough also not to share progress with the other parent - I miss that too. The other day one of my daghter's read me her essay which showed such mental development - quite a moment and I missed him then. You have come a long way with how you manage to drop the boys off at the ex's house despite the irritations, perhaps he has, as Marshy suggests happens, become someone you used to know.
I came across this quote yesterday, 'There are two great days in a person's life, the day we are born and the day we discover why.' William Barclay.
I immediately thought that was the day my daughter was born when I suddenly took on a new life. That was my 'why day'. In order for us to have the children we love so deeply, we loved another deeply. You've had a struggle to disentangle yourself from those ties, but now here you are celebrating your freedom with your precious boys! It's lovely to read about your special days with them.
I'm sure we never dreamed we'd be spouseless (love that word)or ever wanted to be, but we have the children from that love and you're right, now the pain of rejection has dissipated, we are free to be who we want to be.
Perhaps we've had a third birth; a rebirth each time we realise how good freedom feels once we've become accustomed to it.
I raise a glass of something chilled and sparkling to your new found freedom! Cheers! :)
Lovely little read.
I hope that your life continues along these lines,you sound as though your doing fine,it does finally all click into place at some point for us.
Stupid idiots as they are,they will never have we what we have. :) ;)
Please please send us some sun,we are desperate ;D
You sound in a good place at the moment. I have just past 2 years separation and I look back to where I was then and realise how much better things are, even though I still have my ups and downs. Hopefully the end is approaching, that light at the end of the tunnel seems a lot brighter,as it seems to be for you too.
Glad you seem to be working things through for yourself, it is a long process. I know I still have my moments 6 years down the line, not sure if it ever really goes away when you have the blood connection of children!
(That unusually warm day, can you send some our way, it's April and I am looking out the window at snow!! )
Nice blog, Vastra. You sound so wise and rational. But the bit about the finger made me laugh!
I know what you mean about the 'missing' adult. I get moments of that, but hardly ever. I have friends, and I bend their ears. My kids are older, which has its pros and cons compared to your situation. Big pro: I don't have to have any contact with BH. Big con: one of my children has very little contact with me.
I know that you have friends and family for support too, so I guess it is just the odd explosive moment when you could appreciate some back up on hand. Or to prevent you from being outnumbered by the boys!
I have the first anniversary of the absolute not far away. I was thinking of having a party, but it'll probably just pass unnoticed. I don't set much store by these milestones, but sometimes they do just give an opportunity to reflect on progress, and you have made a lot.