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October 26, 2018 9:00 pm  #1

Thirteen years, two kids - a divorce, 14 years later.

Met my ex while I was selling and racing motorcycles.  I was 28, and she was 31, neither ever been married or really had any long term relationships, we'd both been very career oriented, I had my Master's Degree and she was a Doctor.    We really clicked, we dated for a few months and started living together.   We had amazing sex, even marathon episodes that lasted for hours.    After four years together we decided to buy a house, get a dog, and have kids.  She got pregnant, we got married when she was 5 months along.      She had a great job, I had disability benefits, so I played stay home parent, which was a great fit, she's not naturally nurturing by nature, and I was a caboose with a lot of older siblings and had dealt nieces and nephews as babies.  I really enjoyed raising my boys.  

Our second boy came along 21 months later, and things changed.    She had terrible post part-em issues, and really did not cope or deal with them well, the depression lasted for months.   Our relationship suffered, she became more distant.   We got counseling, it improved a bit, but wasn't what it was before.    She really seemed to change after child #2, like a change in brain chemistry, just very different in her perspectives and attitudes.   She went from being pretty Conservative minded person to being far more Liberal.    

As the years moved on I began to feel very alone, realizing she wasn't paying much attention to me, I spent most of my time with my kids and raising them, while she worked and pursued her career and tried to make working peer friends, mostly female.  Being a woman and a doctor she saw a lot of workplace disparity among her male peers, made worse by the fact that she was a better doctor than most of them.      She'd be "super mom" on weekends, the fun parent, doing all the over the top stuff with the kids, while I got to be "daily dad" and handling all the mundane stuff.      We were still intimate, but not more than once every couple of weeks.   I began to feel I was unattractive or had let myself go (stay at home parent issues, weight gain, etc.)   But things definitely changed, and she was, in general, just not as nice to me as she used to be, and we eventually started sleeping in different rooms.

During this period she started doing some "mentoring" for new doctors just finishing their education, I noticed she seemed to prefer the female ones, and in one case even seemed to have a sort of girl crush on one.    Pretty girl, very smart and talented,  honestly didn't blame her, the young lady was pretty awesome.   I thought, at first, it was a bit of nostalgia for days gone by, but began to wonder if she was actually attracted to the girl.   I asked her about it once, and got a very knee jerk "oh that's gross" response from her.

She got really big into the 3 Day breast cancer stuff and doing all the walks, her mother was a breast cancer survivor.  She made a new batch of lady friends doing that, all married women with kids.   A couple of them became family friends.   Cell phones became a new thing for us during that period, and her friends would joke that I had to call them and have them tell my wife to turn her phone on, because she never used it.   

I began to make more friends, and take my kids to more social stuff, martial arts, play groups, etc.   I was feeling the "stay at home parent blues" and feeling not handsome and out of shape, so I started doing Karate with my boys, attending the dojo, and joined a gym and started exercising again.  

After a couple of years into our new routines, I was feeling much better about myself, and healthy again, although I noticed my wife almost seemed angry that I was taking time to take care of myself.  One Sunday she had a couple of her  lady friends over to bake holiday cookies and things, and I overheard her friends commenting on how good I looked, and teasing my wife about her hot stay at home boy toy, I was really surprised when she got really angry with them about it.

When our youngest got to be about four we started seeing a lot of discipline issues, mostly not listening to his mother when she'd try to "parent."   She was the "fun parent" after all.  She actually sort of lost it with him one night when trying to get him into the bath, and accidentally knocked him down, he hit his head on the toilet  and cut his eyebrow.  I was livid, but avoided placing any blame, and took care of the situation, my son needed stitches.   Amazingly CPS didn't jump on our shit, but in retrospect I almost wish they had.    We took him to play therapy and counseling, and while doing that the Play Therapist suggested that we get marriage counseling, she also warned me that I should be concerned about my wife, and that we might just be getting a divorce.    It turned out that our sons "anger issues" were coming from him not liking the way my wife treated me, apparently I wasn't the only one noticing that she wasn't being very nice to me.  

We never really fought, we were always civil with each other and respectful in our disagreements, but they were coming more frequently, mostly relating to our boys.   She tried to make people think that I was too "strict" with them, and that I was somehow abusive.  This came out when the play therapist "worked with me" several times, and finally sat down with me and told me "your wife indicated that she thought you were abusive with your boys, but I'm seeing that is completely untrue, and if anything you're the loving and nurturing parent, and the one they trust."   That conversation lead to her suggestion that my wife might be angling for a divorce, and at the least we needed counseling.    The reality is, my boys listened to me and did what Daddy said, and had a tendency to ignore my wife when she tried to parent, and that really ticked her off, so it must be my fault.       I began to feel like the therapist was right and my wife was trying to make me unhappy.  

We started counseling, we went to seven sessions, at the last session the counselor said to my wife "I don't get the feeling you're really making any effort here, your husband wants things to work, but I sense resistance from you."  My wife's response was, "I just want a divorce."    No explanation, no reasons, just wanted a divorce.  

We started out doing mediation, but she quickly became belligerent.   Divorcing wasn't enough, she wanted me to suffer.   She didn't want me to have anything, she wanted the kids, she wanted to keep everything, and she wanted me gone.   When it finally became apparent to her that wasn't going to happen, and if anything I was going to get primary custody of the boys, she started "negotiating," but she was still being very belligerent, and demanded that I move out.   We came to a tentative agreement for a settlement, and arranged a time for me to move out, and a dispersal of our assets so that I could afford to buy a home.    I actually had perfect credit, and my score was higher than hers, which also made her really mad.      About two weeks before I was to move out, I finally looked at her one night and said "I have no idea why you hate me so much, or why you even want a divorce, but I want you to know that everything you're doing to me, you're doing to the boys, and I hope you'll stop, because it's tearing them apart."   Amazingly, she stopped.    I don't think she even realized what she was doing.     I moved out, I took the boys, we had a somewhat shared custody arrangement, she paid child support, but didn't have to pay alimony because we had a prenup (which my attorney said was full of red flags.)    Things improved for me and the boys immediately, we were much happier.   I sensed that my now ex-wife was not happy, she actually seemed more depressed, but, I was done, and angry, and focused on myself and the boys.

Nine months after our divorce was finalized, she asked if we could talk, sort of update what all we were doing.   We met in private, boys had a sitter.   First thing she did was apologize for being such a jerk in the divorce, and told me that she accepted that I was a really amazing dad, and a great parent, and that she was angry because she was having issues of her own.   That whole thing surprised me, she was never big on apologizing for anything.   Then the big one dropped, she wanted me to know she was dating again.   I was a little surprised, but I'd already started dating, so I thought, well, that's only fair.    But then she said "and it's a woman."      Honestly, that was a huge relief, and I wasn't terribly surprised.    

It took me a while to process that.   At first relief, it wasn't my fault.   Then I was angry, she'd wasted thirteen years of my life on a lie.   But, I got my boys out of it, and they're everything to me.      

She's done her part since, in that she supports the boys financially, she pays for school, medical, etc.  But I still feel betrayed at times, I even accept that on some level I still love her, I'm not a person that loves someone and just stops.     But I always wonder if she knew she was gay, and just wanted kids and used me for that end, or if she just changed.

    The boys both, at age 12, decided to live with me all the time, and only visit their mother or have dinner with her once in a while.    They both felt I provided them with a stable and constant home, and was the "parent" they needed.    Both were honors students and well rounded, both are in college now and doing really well.     

In retrospect, I think the biggest problem was a lack of communication.   She was confused, and ashamed, and depressed, but she refused to talk to me, or anyone, for a long time.   She took the boys to a family counselor after the divorce.  After they'd been seeing the counselor for almost about six months, the counselor asked if I could please meet with her.  I told her I was happy to.  We met, and a forty five minute planned session turned into two hours.    At the end of it, she said "I have to say, I'm really glad the boys have one parent who is grounded and focused on what's best for them, and isn't terribly confused."  Apparently my ex had lead her to believe I was something other than what I was, a residual of our divorce drama I'm sure.   But I believe that counseling is also what lead her to realize it wasn't anything to do with me, it was her internal struggle.   

The sad part really is, that in working through her own confusion she had tried to destroy me, to blame me, to make it all my fault.    She tried to make me be the one to ask for a divorce so it could be all my fault, so her parents could believe it wasn't "their perfect daughters fault."       None of that needed to happen, but it did.     Unfortunately, they byproduct ended up jading how my boys view their mother, they love her, but they don't trust her.   They know they can depend on her financially, but most of the time they don't even like to ask.

Now I'm 53, and alone, boys are gone in school and my job raising them is done.  I've dated, but I always focused  on my boys.   Now I'm just tired of it all, and I accept that I have huge trust issues.    I started working again, law enforcement as a reserve officer, and counseling and therapy as a paid job, of all things, working with people with addiction issues.    The ex cut off all support, as expected, and we rarely interact now that the boys don't live with me full time.    She's on her sixth girlfriend, and all of them have been major drama.     They boys talk to her less than I do.             

Lessons learned:    Communicate, don't suffer in silence.     Do not sign a prenup, ever.    If a person wants to place conditions on a marriage arrangement, they're hiding something.         If you have kids, remember they're going through a lot, and they need stability from somewhere.      


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