Nobody is going to hold your dream for you. I could tell my then-wife that the next high-paying gig was right around the corner, and I could believe it. But…
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.
In my marriage, perhaps we hid too much of the anger. My kids don't have many healthy examples of anger negotiation. And thus, even as young middle-schoolers, their response to anger is often to shut down completely, and even cry, depending on the severity of the anger.
We all learn about anger at a very young age. Before we can understand the language we are being given verbal and physical clues about what is a right thing to do and what is a wrong thing to do. For most of us lucky ones, this guidance is done without the injection of anger or physical abuse.
I don't want to return to an intimate relationship with my ex-wife, but the intimacy we share in raising our kids is more important and deeper than any of our feelings of loss or anger. We have to get OVER our emotional divorce in order to get INTO healthy divorced parenting roles.
If I had it to do all over again, I'd probably argue with the counselor and my ex-wife and negotiate something a bit more even. You will be advised not to do this. "It's easier for everyone if you just accept this plan, it's been working for families for years."
Even though it can be difficult at times, continuing my role as a supportive and cooperative partner is in the best interest of my kids. It's really in the best interest for me as well. A happy ex-wife is much better than an angry one.
My dad died when I was 21 years old. He was afraid to die. And he was angry at God and the world for allowing his death to happen. He was no longer angry at me. He was no longer capable of being a scary figure in my life. He was small, curled up, and very angry. But like today's man, he was no longer capable of hurting me with his anger.