I am lovable just as I am. I am lovable with brown hair or grey hair. I am loved at my current weight and even when I'm heavier. I am loved just as I am. I am not sure I believe all of what I just wrote, but I'm on my own journey to get there.
My ex-wife knows I am paying and will continue to pay my child support until my daughter turns 18. She wants to keep me under the thumb of the "enforcement" of Title IV-D because hurting me gives her pleasure.
I loved the family routine. I loved being their dad. I knew I was going to crash when I was no longer welcome in my own home. I knew depression was weeks away. I knew there was very little I could do to stop the sadness freight train that is divorce.
When I get in a tough place I try and picture my kid's faces. In the moment I am feeling upset, I can send them a "How's it going, I love you" text. I can SnapChat a silly face.
What is a young family to do? How can we learn to turn INTO the relationship rather than AWAY from it? In the nine years since my divorce, I've been writing and examining what went wrong. I've been trying to understand what kind of relationship I might be able to build that would sustain my idea of a lifetime partnership. And I've continued to examine how I could've done better as a partner.
I am responsible for my actions alone. And my actions as a divorced dad have been 100% honest, 100% open, and 100% mom/kid-friendly. Her actions... Not so much.
And as we ask for and receive the love we need we are also going to have disappointments. My response in life, now, is "No worries, just desires." If my desires start getting squelched or compromised due to continual misses, then it is up to me to speak up.
I wish I could've had more time with my kids. I wish my then-wife had agreed to 50/50 shared parenting. I wish my ex-wife would be a more collaborative parent. But even as I wish about these things, even as I can feel regret about the lost time, I am HAPPIER NOW THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN IN MY LIFE.