Down has become the new up, and I have become a new single dad, still committed to his kids, and in many ways, to his ex-wife as well. We are still a family, still connected, even when we're not together.
Allow the hurricane to arrive and blow away the old aspects of your lives. Reset your expectations and parenting lives around the love and support of your children. Then, even if things don't work out with the marriage, the closeness and love that you've established with your kids, becomes the strength and bond that guides your relationship even after divorce.
It's not uncommon for the dad to be the big "player" in the house. I continued to wrestle and chase and hug-hold-squeeze my kids with abandon and intensity. Perhaps at some point, I was using that affection to replace what I felt was lost between me and their mom. Still, we sailed along as a family, doing the best we could.
And I'd go back to the filters each morning, as some sort of symbol of the countdown of my divorce. Some weeks I would be a total butt. Some how, I imagined, that she would be sorry that she had angered me. That didn't work at all.
As I walked away from my house and into my single dad life, I took up the responsibility for my own happiness in a new way. Even with the grief and growth that was necessary to recover from the divorce, I knew that at some point I would be happy again.
I have no way of knowing what would've happened had she not asked for a divorce. I was certainly not happy with our relationship, but I was committed and confident that we would find our stride again. I was certain that the financial issues and struggles, for both of us, around work and money and shared efforts could be worked out. Nothing was as important as my marriage. Nothing.
If either of you decides not to do the work of keeping the love alive, then you're in for some tough times. And when negotiations and discussions break down, sometimes over sex, the fractures may end up becoming breaks. The loss of the love may end up signaling the loss of your marriage.
The first time when we were making love during this period, that I noticed things were off, I caught her looking out the window, seemingly bored. "Are you okay?" I asked.