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

Archive for May, 2010

Stealing Home – “walking out of my house for the last time”

recovering the love in my life - holding my daughter

The Off Parent - Divorce and Recovery

When it finally went down, when I was walking out of MY house for the last time, I felt a bit I was acting out the exit scene in The Jerk. “Just one more thing.” And with the closing of that door behind me, everything changed. Suddenly anything I wanted I had to ask for. I left with a bag of clothes a few books and little else.

The exit had been requested months earlier, mid-March. But I refused to throw my entire family (mainly the kids who were 2 months from the finish of the school year) into chaos because my ex had built up the anger and resentment to finally ask for a divorce. I said no a number of times that week and a few times the next week. We had been living as roommates for months, we could do it for a few more months to deflect the trauma until the summer when we all had more time to heal.

For this solidity I give thanks. I believe the experience for the kids was tempered as their mom and I worked through the details of custody and schedules.

When the moment came for me to actually acquiesce it was a Friday morning. My sleep had been getting more and more ragged. And I was losing my objectivity. So I agreed to leave it all behind and give her the dominion of the house. I didn’t really believe I was walking out for the last time, but I knew things would fundamentally be different from that moment on.

So now, months later, from the outside I have given the house to my ex-wife and kids. I realized at some point during the negotiations that I did not want to be in the “family home” alone. And I would be alone a lot more of the time than she was. And that was the DEAL. I could’ve gone for 50/50 time. I could’ve forced the sale of the house. But I gave the rights to the home and the 70/30 split of time to her.

And perhaps it is better for them to be with their mom more. Either way, that’s pretty much what I would’ve gotten had I gone before the courts and asked the judge. And what I got for the consolation was a chunk of retirement money that was going to be taxed at 30% the minute I needed to touch it for a down payment. But what I really got was a happier ex. I’m pretty sure neither of us would qualify for the house at this moment. I could have some bitterness that we got a cash-out or a refi less than a month before she asked for a divorce. But perhaps this too was a gift. Without it, economic times would’ve come much harder for my entire family.


The Off Parent


image: The Homecoming used via cc terms

Wisdom from the trenches – “responsible separation”

divorce politics“What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

He kept saying, “I don’t love you anymore.” And “I don’t like what you’ve become.”

She kept saying, “I don’t buy it.”

I think the roles are reversed for me in this situation, but these words were those of Laura A. Munson writing in the New York Times about her husbands request for a divorce.


So she committed to her happiness regardless of what external circumstances brought her, and she said “No,” to her husband’s request. And she offers some interesting wisdom that I know I need to grok more fully.

So I had become the keystone in my ex-y’s anger. And my questions regarding her rage, and did she think she was going to turn into a happy person, simply by me walking out the door? I don’t think she really ever responded to my question. But perhaps I wasn’t asking. I was telling. And I was NOT agreeing to walk out the door.

And that’s what I was striving for, but perhaps I turned it into a marital fight without meaning to. Yes I pressed, but I was exhausted about being held at arms length from the love of my life, and trapped in the box of indecision. It wasn’t the sex, it was the simple expressions of caring that were difficult for her. And a warmth that I had come to crave was being withheld.

My connection to this story continues here: Strengthening Your Core Happiness


The Off Parent

< back to The Hard Stuff pages