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There Is No Conquering This Divide

It’s been less than a week since my husband and I broke the news to the kids that we will be divorcing. The day after the awful news was sprayed across the house, like a bad graffiti job, I was surprised at how well the kids seemd to be handling things. They knew they had some time to consider their options. This morning, my daughters said a few things in the car on our way to school. And now it begins. Those few days where I felt like I could start breathing easier….those days where the house seemed calm….the kids actually laughed and joked and had family dinners and meaningful conversations……those days abruptly ended today. Today my oldest daughter let me know she would be staying here with her father. It stung to hear that. But I had to be true to my word. I told the kids I would not make them feel bad if they chose to stay with him, and he would not make them feel bad if they chose to stay with me. I took a moment to catch my breath and reminded myself of my promise. I could do this. And after all, there was still plenty of time. I mean, my husband and I have not even sat down with the attorney yet. We had time to explain and fully investigate the kids’ options. But then my youngest chimed in. She declared she was going with me, regardless. My oldest daughter was instantly pissed off. “What?!” she exclaimed. “You can’t leave me!” And then we were at the school. Discussion over. 

I picked them up this afternoon and it instantly started again. My oldest daughter declared she was mad at her sister and would explain at home after the other carpool kids were no longer in the car. And she kept her word. As soon as the last kid exited the vehicle, it was on. She let her younger sister have it. And then when I tried to explain we still had time to make choices.  That there were better schools where I was going and that she could find another part time job when we moved, if she came along, she exploded. “You don’t get it mom! Everything is ruined! I don’t like change. I like my routine. Thinking of change gives me anxiety. New places and new people are not what I want!” I tried to ease her mind. Tell her nothing needed decided yet. Tell her she sees her therapist in just a few days. She can talk to him about her fears. She said I should just forget about it and that my choice to move was stupid. I was stupid. It was all stupid. I resisted the urge to ask her what she expected me to do. She is a child. I am an adult. I can not and I will not ever ask my kids what they expect me to do. HOW can I ask them to come up with solutions for a problem they had no hand in creating? 

You know? I am actually at a place where I am contemplating staying. Not filing for divorce. Faking this for the next few years. How do I get through this part? How do I not let my children become divided over adult issues? How do I let go of the mounting anger I am feeling right now, towards my husband? It’s him. It’s always him who causes this crap, and it’s me, it’s always me who is left here with the kids. Explaining. Consoling. Soothing. And more and more these days, being the human punching bag for their misplaced emotions. He will come home from work tonight and the kids will smile and greet him. HE will have no idea what I went thru this afternoon. Until I tell him. And then? Then he will say it’s me who wants the divorce so what do I expect him to do about it. And I will have to walk away because I simply can not go through another pointless conversation where I try to explain to him what he did and how he has made no efforts to repair this marriage or this family. 

Days like these are the days I fail and pour a drink. And I shut down. I close out the world. I feel like no one has ever had this same experience so all advice only makes me more angry. God DOES give people more than they can handle. I give it to God and he gives me another layer to this nightmare. I go to therapy. He goes with me so we can focus on the kids’ needs. He agrees. The therapist nods in approval that he is so compliant and respectful. We get home and he says he doesn’t understand a thing she says. And he disagrees with her advice.  He feels it is not necessary. My daughter who mentions suicide sees a therapist and tells me she is mad at her father, that this is all his fault. But when he is around her, she laughs and talks and jokes with him. SHE TELLS HIM none of this. So I pour another drink. And when he comes home from work in just a few hours, I. Will. Just. Say. Nothing. That’s better than feeling like I am screaming but no one hears me.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, today was also the day I met with my ex -sister-in-law. I have custody of her son. She let me know there is a chance she might want to go to court to reverse the custody arrangement. My nephew has already stated he wants no part of her in his life. If she proceeds with this possible plan, there will be many more obstacles in my way. Many more battles to fight. It was very difficult to share my failed marriage with her and to then discuss how her son feels about her. I’m always trying to make others feel better. WHAT ABOUT ME? 

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6 thoughts on “There Is No Conquering This Divide

  1. I hear you. I can’t fix it, I don’t have the “right” answer, but I hear you, and you can keep on screaming until you figure things out. I do believe the kids will adjust, and you need to take care of your own needs too. You can’t stay another few years and keep your health and sanity. They need more time, and they need to know that it’s really going to happen but that you’ll still love them, still be there for him. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MEliz says:

    I wonder if she doesn’t share her pain with him because she knows, like you do, he won’t absorb it and won’t take it seriously. They’re opening up to you, the one they know will listen and care about what they’re saying.

    This is still so new and fresh. Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time if that’s what you need. Sometimes you just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other even when you think there’s no way through. I’ve been there, plodding through the darkness with almost no hope of there ever being light again. As long as you keep going ahead instead of freezing in place or turning back, you’re winning. It likely won’t feel like it, but you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heidi says:

    Just my thoughts, but as an outsider, I feel you went through what could be the hardest part: the announcement. It’s out there. Things will be so raw for a while in this big step. People say things they don’t mean when they are feeling hurt. I know. Oldest daughter is still a teenager (and well heck even as adults) feelings and wants can change like Ohio weather. Everyone is confused, hurt, and thoughts going through their heads constantly.
    Stick with your basic plan. You thought about it for a very long time and you know what is right for you and your children. Even if oldest stays up here, she may turn a 180 soon afterwards. Just wait and see!
    Change is SO HARD, especially big ones! It’s scary because of the unknown.
    I still remember when my parents split up for a while- the arguing, and a parent leaving. I cried and was so scared when they fought. But you know, I remember visiting Dad at an apartment and it was so weird. I didn’t know how I felt about it, just that it was weird. But it was okay. Things settled down. A routine formed.
    My parents got back together, so that’s where my experience is different. But you are not alone. Many many huge hugs for you.
    It will be okay. You can and will get through this.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Just as Heidi pointed out, emotions are raw. And everyone is going to be hurt by everyone else. Teenagers are as emotional as a woman on permanent PMS. And they are fickle, too. Each may change their minds, maybe even several times. Remember, if they were in elementary school, they wouldn’t be making choices. As parents, you’d be doing it for them. So realize this choice may still be a big burden on them. They not only have to imagine living with only one of you, but also moving with you means new school, new friends, etc. (Really, I’m not trying to add to your guilt & pain…just pointing out a few things…). So realize the choice to stay with him is the easiest by a long shot. Something else: do they know about his infidelity? My guess is No. So while they think you both want the divorce, the natural thing to do is want to assign blame on one of you. While i don’t think it’s a good idea at all to tell them this, you should realize they may want to blame you. Firstly, because you are the one moving out of the home. Secondly, they may sense it’d be a whole lot easier to blame you. You’d accept responsibility for it, while he might not. While they may never voice this blame thing, it probably will go through their minds.
    It is human nature to assign blame –even wrongly– when something emotionally painful is happening. I know this full well. For instance, when my husband got cancer and later died, his family (all grown adults!) blamed me. I have more examples, but that one will do nicely to illustrate. I just want you to be ready.
    Teenagers can be selfish, ungrateful, shallow, and often angry creatures that sometimes don’t resemble the darlings we once knew so well. I still think going for a long walk with each of them separately is a good idea. Walking, you don’t have to meet each other’s eyes. You are away from the home base. You can talk more freely. If it gets out of bounds, change the subject. It’s one thing my son n i used to do. A lot of positive things came from those walks.
    Also, remember, it’s only been a week. The dust hasn’t even settled yet.
    Remember, as with almost all things, Time is the ultimate healer. While you’re going through this, Time can be an ally. Back off when it’s too hot to handle. Take a time-out. Take the entire family to a movie or something. Plan a weekend together., a mini-vacation. Show them you’re still a family & always will be. The kids need assurances. While they know the world’s not ending, they’re still feeling like lost little kids.
    Oh, one more idea, maybe sit down with each, help them list the pros & cons of moving or staying….(always helped me to make decisions).
    I’ll leave you with a quote about problem solving:
    “When Solving a problem, imagine you’re solving it for someone else–literally, it’s not your problem. This helps with the bigger picture and opens your mind to other approaches you might have missed. You feel more in command, more in control.”
    In all this chaos, that might be a welcome thing.

    Hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MEliz says:

    This has been weighing on my mind and something kept nagging at me, your comment of how you will say nothing. I think that might be actually something to think more about. Cut off the vampire’s blood supply. *Don’t* tell him what the kids tell you. *Don’t* tell him about the fights. *Don’t* tell him what you’re feeling or thinking. Go ahead and close down to him, as long as you can open up to your kids and your therapist. If he says “so how are the kids coping?”, say something like “We’re talking through things. I’m sure they’ll tell you anything they want you to know. Pass the butter, please?” This is not to change or punish him, it’s to protect you. I can tell you from my experience, when you can drop the rope of the tug-of-war and refuse to play the game, things get a lot better. The other person might flail the rope around and complain that you aren’t playing anymore, but you can get to a point where you ignore them and happily go on your way.

    Liked by 1 person

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