Moving On ...November 3 2007 at 6:50 PM
|Kara (Login KJR2)|
Some of you may know my story ... I really haven't posted much over the past couple of years.
D-day was 3 and a half years ago. After MC, IC, lots of reading, dates, talks etc ... I am done. I had been stuck in anger for (at least) the first couple of years after d-day. After the anger subsided, I became a shell. I put on a good face for everyone around us ... but inside I was dying a million deaths every day. We functioned. He is a remorseful spouse ... that much I do know. If there is some type of checklist of the things that a FWS 'should' do ... he did many of those things. The problem became that in situations that required him to communicate his feelings to me ... when we had to come together and form a united front ... he expected me to read between the lines (or read his mind) to know what he felt. I got half answers and partial honesty. We're not talking about life altering situations ... but when we were required to come together and discuss something - the outcome was always the same. I listened, we spoke about our feelings, I was left feeling as though we were on the same page ... only to find out months later that I was wrong.
Although it's not about the affair ... his way of handling these situations are so reminiscent of him before, during and after his affair. I can't do it any more. The last time this happened, I felt as though I had been punched in the gut ... it is a sick and familiar feeling of sadness and disappointment. I find it even more disappointing now because we tackled these things in MC...came to an understanding on how we need to better communicate with each other.
Anyway, I need to sit down with him and tell him this. He knows though (no...I'm not reading his mind). He asked me outright last weekend if it was over and why I wasn't saying it. Honestly, the only reason I haven't said anything is that I need to be armed with more information on what to expect going forward (the legalities). What were the first steps you took in pursuing a divorce? What was the converstation like between you and your spouse when the decision was finally made? Any advice?
Re: Moving On ...
|November 3 2007, 8:57 PM |
Your story sounds familiar (sigh): it's not about the affair anymore. The affair was a symptom of a perpetual issue, one that the WS just doesn't recognize and the BS can no longer live with.
Welcome to the second club no one wanted to join.
And the advice is the same as the first time: focus on you.
First: assure your access to money and credit. At minimum, open your own checking account and get a credit card in your own name only. Figure out how much money you need to stay in your home (or move to a new one) while the divorce is pending. If you will need to get a job or change jobs, start looking now.
If you are at all worried about theft or destruction of personal mementos, remove those things from the house and put them somewhere safe.
If you are worried about potential physical violence, contact a women's shelter for advice.
Get a referral to a lawyer; if you have divorced friends, ask them if they were satisfied. Call and ask about retainers and fees, and find out if the first consultation is free. Some lawyers, bar associations, and legal aid societies have online help.
Meet with the lawyer you pick and get your first batch of questions answered.
Make an agreement on what and when to tell the kids. If they're old enough (13 in some jurisdictions), prepare them to make the decision on which parent to live with if you don't agree on where they should be.
Try to settle as much "stuff" as you can amicably. If you can't, keep all that stuff between your lawyers. Angry outbursts only make divorce worse for everyone.
Above all, whatever differences you have, set them aside when it comes to allowing time for each parent with each child. Unless a parent is an addict or abuser or mentally unstable, kids need BOTH parents in their lives as frequently as possible. Try not to be over-reactive on timing and schedules (i.e. no angry phone messages when the other parent is a few minutes late bringing a kid home). Time with parents is for the kids, not for the parents; don't take out your grievances with the kids in the middle.
Whew. How's that for a start?
Re: Moving On ...
|November 3 2007, 9:41 PM |
Thanks Chris. I already have a bank account in my name...I set it up as a sort of 'insurance policy' after d-day. I do have to get a credit card in my name (thanks for the reminder). FWS and I separated a few months after d-day, and I had consulted a lawyer at that point. Unfortunately, much of what we talked about I have forgotten (I was emotionally charged at the time). I felt comfortable with him ... and need to make an appointment to see him.
I guess you never know how someone is going to take it ... but FWS is not a violent man (thankfully) ... so I would be very surprised if he went nuts. I do think he's going to get into some sort of power struggle with me ... and frankly he can try all he wants - it's not going to work. He is a great father, and I would like to believe that both of us will have their best interests as our first priority. I hope that he can behave like an adult and not start mud-slinging ... but I guess if he can't get a rise out of me - then he can give it his all...it ain't going to work. We had an amazing MC...but she wouldn't see us individually if we continued to see her as a couple. She specializes in family/children's issues. I am making an appointment to see her as well, just to keep myself in check and make sure that I have someone to guide me through whatever kids issues I may face.
Feel free to give me any other advice ... while I don't feel particularly fearful of the unknown, there is still comfort in knowing that you're not alone.
Re: Moving On ...
|November 3 2007, 10:51 PM |
Kara, I found the time after separating and before divorce to be very disorienting. I forget how long you've been married...but learning to think and say "I" and "my" instead of "we" and "our" was an everyday jolt for me for quite a while.
For me, it all became about letting go. Letting go of hopes and dreams for a future together. Letting go of the power struggles. Letting go of the need to respond, and being comfortable in silence instead.
And it meant discovering who I really am and what I really want to do when I grow up. Or more accurately, when my kids grow up.
I don't have to be the person someone needs me to be anymore. I can be the person someone chooses and accepts...and I can offer the same in return.
|November 4 2007, 7:53 AM |
I'm really sorry it has come to this for you, I well know how difficult it is to make this decision. Chris is right, letting go of the hopes and dreams you have for your life and family is one of the hardest things.
I had detached from my marriage for a long time and was used to going places and doing things on my own, but it still depresses me at times. One thing that was very hard - at my old job when I got separated I didn't tell anyone, so it was like I could "pretend" when I was at work that my life wasn't changing. I started a new job recently and had to "admit" I was separated, not that I confide in coworkers but people do ask are you married, have children etc, just to get to know you. It was as if I finally had to face that I would be a divorced person, I was not going to have the family and marriage I had wanted and fought for so long. It was a difficult transition but I am getting past it now.
From a practical standpoint, definitely get legal advice. Depending on your state there may be specific things that can help or hurt you in the process. For example, in my state if I moved out of my home I would risk losing my half of the equity and even worse, temporary custody and perhaps permanent custody. Like you, I didn't think my H would fight dirty but you never really know what someone is going to do and you have to protect yourself and your kids.
You also really need to take a hard look at your financial situation and be realistic about what you will get in a settlement. Your lawyer can tell you what you can reasonably expect to get in terms of child support and assets etc. In my state I am entitled to spousal support, but our area is so expensive there is really no way to have two households on one income. Plus, I really didn't want to depend on my H after the divorce, it just felt like a way he would still have control over my life. So going back to work full time was a necessary downside.
Be ready for what might be a long process. For me, since I could not move out and my H refused to, we have been in the same home living separate and apart for more than a year. He has refused to supply documents and so forth that are needed for the financial settlement. He has not hired a lawyer, won't talk to me, and has told no one about our separation. I got laid off six months into it and that made me doubt my ability to support myself and my kids, so it has been stressful but now it is about to be over. I felt like it took forever for me to decide, then I just wanted it to be over, but it hasn't worked out that way.
IC was very helpful to me in coming to the decision. Throughout all of this remembering what I had learned from IC has helped to keep me grounded. Having a supportive mom and a few friends who have been there for me has really helped as well. Believing that you will be okay and can get through it is essential.
Re: Moving On ...
|November 4 2007, 9:04 AM |
Kara, since you live in Canada there is a set payment amount of child support per child. I'm not sure if the lawyer you saw showed you the chart.
You will likely need to iron out a seperation agreement and then there is a mandatory 1 year waiting period before you can apply for a divorce. The divorce takes a few months after that.
Some things I remember:
- open your own bank account and start taking your name off any "joint" credit cards
- you will still be responsible for any joint loans, mortages and lines of credit etc (regardless of splitting up they won't take your name off) so they may have to be refinanced by one or the other.
- you have your own account so that is good!
- don't lock him out of the house, its his and in Canada judges frown on that.
I've seen some couples handle the conversation with the kids successfully through meeting with a counsellor as a family.
As a rough estimate....my seperation and divorce cost around $5,000 (my share only) and that is with absolutely no arguements and no child issues. My lawyer took $500 up front and then payments each month..her fee was $175/hour.
I'm sorry it has come to this Kara, but I think you have been debating this for a long time. My thoughts are with you and if you need anything at all, you have my email.
Re: Moving On ...
|November 4 2007, 3:50 PM |
Thanks again gang. I told him last night that I can't do this anymore. We talked about it last week (on our way to a wedding - go figure) that neither one of us was happy and couldn't live like this anymore. Anyway, despite our conversation last week...he was very upset. Not angry...sad.
Funny ... as difficult as this is going to be, am I crazy for thinking that the worst is already behind me? I feel as though I could never get as low as I did after d-day ... almost as though much of the emotional mess is already behind me. Maybe I'm being naive. I think I knew ... somewhere inside I knew that this wasn't going to work out. Not that I wished that upon us. I remember our MC looking across the room at me (after I unleashed a highly emotional speech) and saying to me that not every marriage can survive infidelity and that it was okay if ours could not be saved. That was almost 2 years ago. As Chris is famous for saying, "Everyone's mileage varies."
I have no intention of kicking him out/changing locks etc. I suggested that we wait until after Christmas to get any plans in motion. Our kids are 9 and 6 ... and (if possible) I would prefer that their Christmas not be ruined. Until then, we will live under the same roof. I'm not sure that he isn't going to unravel in the meantime ... I can only hope that we can get on and remain on the same page.
I hated what I became after his affair. I hated the anger most of all. I hated the shell that I became. I have an opportunity to really become 'me'. I haven't worked for 9 years...I can evaluate my future and what I 'will be when I grow up'. For the first time in a long time I feel empowered ... scared and uncertain ... but hopeful.
Re: Moving On ...
|November 4 2007, 8:23 PM |
Kara, the process of resolving a separation and divorce, with all the financial and kid issues that must be settled, can be very trying. Supportive family goes only so far if no one else in your family has been through it. The people who I found most helpful and encouraging were people who had been divorced themselves.
not painting a pretty picture
|November 4 2007, 8:24 PM |
I would say, from experience, that the worst is probably not behind you, but it may not be ahead of you either. 'The worst' can last several years as post d-day phases pass. You may encounter new forms of 'worst', along with remedies to other things.
The age of your children, your lack of grinding it out in the job market for the last nine years, and just the overall tragedy of divorce...it's so sad. Your standard of living will drop if you're in the divorcee norm. It is worse for women in many cases. However, another type of standard of living drops post affair. It's all loss, and often very difficult to pull up from.
The divorce impact affects generations.
It struck me about waiting until after Christmas not wanting to ruin it. I understand. Been there, done that. It's all about the big decision, and the following 10, 20, 30 Christmas's down the line that you can't see yet.
Every situation is different.
For me there has also been some experience with step-parenting that has left me very concerned about that in general - proceed with extreme caution. I also had a promising long-term relationship post affair/post divorce fall through too. These were all sorts of different unforeseen ups and downs.
Perhaps my point is mainly that divorce changes everything. It doesn't necessarily fix everything. No, it doesn't fix everything.
|This message has been edited by Red--Wolf on Nov 4, 2007 8:27 PM|
Re: Moving On ...
|November 4 2007, 11:23 PM |
I couldn't agree more with RW about divorce changing everything. I'm even with a new partner, my children are doing extremely well and my BF and I have discussed marriage, yet we both realize that there will be all sorts of ups and downs and we've spoken about them, even tonight as a matter of fact. His daughter has been going through something that my son did several years ago. She's only 8 and is bound and determined to break us up. Neither of us intends on letting that happen but while I try to figure out how to get her to like me more, her dad is struggling with the possibility of losing her later on because of her problems with our relationship. I've read several books on this and it says (and is correct I might add) that girls have a more difficult time than boys and also a more difficult time with girlfriends or step-mothers than boyfriends or stepfathers. After dating several people with girls and boys, I would say boys are MUCH easier.
Anyway, we decided tonight that we will get all kids and us together and discuss this in depth. I will get my son to tell her about how he felt back when I first started dating and how he feels now. My son really likes BF. His oldest daughter the 8-year-old also liked me a lot at first until she figured out we weren't just friends. LOL Kids are smart. His 5-year-old was the opposite. She was really shy of me at first but now likes me.
I guess the reason I told you this is that I wanted to let you know that my boys were close to your kids ages at 6 and 8 when we separated. My youngest had the hardest time with it although both kids really wanted us to get back together. I think one of the things that is the most important at this point is to talk to them and be as honest as possible without too many gory details i.e. "dad had a girlfriend" because that wouldn't be completely honest anyway. As Chris said, it sounds like there were other issues going on before his A. At first before my son asked too many questions, I just told them that we could not get along which was the truth minus a few details. If you and your spouse can get together and tell them together without any uglyness, it may benefit them to realize you will still be a united front when it comes to them and that they are not to blame. They do blame themselves when you go through this. You probably already know this, but let them express how they are feeling - often. I had to get a counselor for my youngest at the time because I started to see huge changes in his personality. If I walked around a corner, he would scream and cry because he thought he would lose me too. I also got the school counselors to talk to him a lot and got him into a divorce group in school that was great for him. I'm happy to say he's still in a gifted class and getting mostly A's and honor roll. While my other son has a disability and has many challenges, he's doing great too. They are both really happy and I believe their dad and I are usually doing a good job co-parenting them. Tonight my son told me that it would get easier for my BF's daughter as time goes by. His maturity is wonderful and I need to get him to tell her that.
I'm sad to hear your marriage is ending. You know we're here to help if we can.
|This message has been edited by charlie288 on Nov 4, 2007 11:26 PM|