Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “staying positive

Happy Mom Chat About How I Got Here: What I Figured Out

Exes Into Plusses - The Off ParentI took lunch to my mom’s house today, just to stop by and say hi. We talked about this blog for a bit.

See my ex-y left some sort of message about something I was doing that was damaging my family. My mom wanted to know what it was. I showed her The Off Parent and explained how it was anonymous.

“But it’s on Facebook,” she said.

“Yes, but it’s not connected to me in any way. I don’t even LIKE my own page.”

She was happy with my explanation. And she said something next that brought the conversation to a different place.

“I’m glad to see you taking a different path than your father.”

She went on to tell me about how he once told her that she was the reason he drank. “So, I told him I wouldn’t be that reason any more.”

We talked about my dad and how he went on to marry another drinker and eventually drank himself and her to death. And I told her, that her survival after the divorce had colored a lot of my childhood, and probably formed a good portion of my personality. She was always quoted as saying, “I’m turning X’s into plusses.” And that’s kind of a maxim that I have learned to live by.

Even as things got hard for us, back in my elementary through high school years, she would keep us pointed at the good side of the situation. A lot of the time I thought it was bullshit. Just a way of escaping some of the pain of the moment. But eventually I heard myself using the exact same phrase when talking to myself about bad situations.

I told my mom about how this blog had given me a voice, a place to process the anger and frustration at the divorce. And how eventually those parts of the blog began to subside and a new part of the story began to emerge. As I transitioned out of anger, depression, and divorce mechanics, I started moving into how to turn this major X into a major WIN.

The divorce is the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my life, and I’m 50 years old. What ripped through my safety and joy has now become the fire that has burned away the bullshit and brought me down to WHAT’S IMPORTANT.

Here’s what I figured out about the positive side of this blog, and the positive part of the divorce, for me.

1. Self-care. Physical and mental health are a full-time process for me. While I’ve never had a substance problem, I have used the 12-step program for various parts of my recovery. What I am working on is EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY.

2. Kids First. There is nothing in my life more important than the love and support of my children. Keeping them safe from the bitterness and anger that could’ve erupted in my divorce was always part of my agreement with their mom.

3. 100% Positive. While there are plenty of times I’m angry with their mom, there is NEVER any reason to voice those complaints to my kids. I remember how horrible my dad was at speaking about my mom. And of course, she was doing only a little better at voicing the victim side of the horror. And it was pretty bad. Eventually, in high school my dad began taking it out on me, saying that the divorce was my fault and saying that I didn’t love him. These will never be words that my kids hear from me. And I believe the ex-y has the same intention.

4. Lead With Love. I may not be in love with their mother, but I will never stop loving her. It’s often that love that turns to bitterness and hate when it’s flipped around. But I won’t ever go there. She is gone. She is someone else’s. And I can do better each day remembering the relationship of the divorce is about my kids. And if she’s happier, they will benefit.

I don’t always get it right, but I keep trying to return to these principles. And as my ex-y has now turned me over to the Attorney General’s office I guess we will see what it’s like trying to abide by these principles while she is suing me. I imagine that she is doing the best she knows how. At least, I suppose, she will know with the bankruptcy that I’m filing, that I’m not secretly stashing money away, or trying to keep her from child support payments.

Even in cutting off most of the conversation between us, I think she must be doing that for some personal, self-preservational reasons, rather than hate at me. We’ve got these great kids. And we do everything we can to support and encourage them. If she no longer wants to sit face-to-face to map out some plans with me, that’s okay. I guess we go back to emailing each other. That worked some while we were married.

And I’ll keep mapping my own path along this journey here. Turning my ex into a plus.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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The Trick Is Not to Become Bitter – Signing the Papers

not to become bitter about divorceSigning the final documents of my divorce today I had a couple reflections on the process of moving on and maintaining a positive attitude.

First, the money that was transferred to me via SEP IRA accounts as an equalizer, since I gave her (the kids) the house, will be taxed at 20% which I knew, but I will also be hit with a 10% penalty. So, damn I just lost another 10% of my cash that I can use for buying another place to live. Not her fault.

loving everything about herSecond, as I was walking through Target to buy some new undershirts I was painfully aware of how much I miss the connection to a woman. I want to buy neat clothes, I want to look at the bras and imagine my woman in them, but at the moment there is no woman. Ouch!

Third, as Match.com and eHarmony continue to bring me less than exciting “matches” I have to be realistic with what I want. I won’t settle for just another woman. I won’t date for the sake of having sex. (Never have.) And I have to get myself in better shape to attract the type and style of woman I would like to spend time with. Again, not her fault.

So here I am, late 40′s pressing towards 50, and there are a lot of things fairly consistent about me. One of the things is my positive outlook. If I were holding on to the anger, or continuing to direct it at the ex-woman of my desires, I would only be doing myself a disservice. I do want her to be happy. Not that happy, but happy enough.

Today I am happy. I am missing my connection to the sexual energy of being around a woman. But I will have that again. And I can start with my own happiness first. And as I signed the order today “withholding” child support from my paycheck, I could only imagine how much easier it would be for me to have the money withheld rather than having to write the check every month. Yes, it’s a positive.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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