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.
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.
My role is to help you identify what's stressing you out, work on lessening that stress, and begin to focus on what's good for you. And as important, what's good for your kids. And here is a simple list of things we're going to work on together.
Also, as the man in the divorce, you have an opportunity to lead the process with grace and empathy. You cannot control how your ex behaves, the only thing you can control is your own response to the challenges ahead.
I suppose a pound of flesh is tasty when it is grilled over a flame of resentment and anger. She is acting out of spite and vitriol at this point. Again, she got what she wanted and she still came after me with the AG's office.