What ended up happening when I pushed on the broken parts of the relationship is she began to exit emotionally and avoid any opportunities to be alone, where we might have time to discuss what was going on. She took to falling asleep in the kid's beds rather than returning to me.
I sat with my anger long enough, until she told me her real name grief. Underneath that rage at me, must be sadness. I feel it when I touch the anger inside myself about how I've been treated since the divorce. I'm sad because we were so close. I'm sad because we still share two wonderful children that are affected by such rage and unresolved anger.
The afternoon we told the kids, together, was one of the saddest moments in my life. But it was sad for my little boy, for the death of THAT dream. I had some hope that MY kids would be okay. I knew that I was not going to turn into an alcoholic or rage-filled bastard.
If you put your kids first you may need to fight to get what you want. And by putting your kids first, sometimes you may have to fight their mom. But to be the best dad you can be, you have to be there, you have to spend time with your kids. All of that time that was taken away is now water under the bridge, but today it's much more clear for me. I take every offer to have the kids an extra night or to support my ex when she has to work late.
When the other partner decides to ask for divorce there is very little the committed partner can do. The fracture has happened. The other person has declared they are considering divorce. Then that option is forever on the table and could be used as leverage.
We can hold on, we can fight/struggle/counsel to make things work. We can sacrifice so many aspects of our lives to try and keep the marriage together. And in this sublimation, we can become separated from our own inner truth, our own listening and responding heart, as we try and compromise and grow and hope for the eventual LOVE we believe will heal us.
As much as we wanted to remain in love and grow in love as parents, there were some fundamental shifts that happened in our lives and in our aspirations. What I learned from my first "touch" lover was that my needs for closeness are fundamental to my complete happiness.
Two smart people with good intentions entered into a contract and sprouted two beautiful kids. What would've gone wrong did. And the foundation which still seemed strong and intact to me, was no longer sustainable for her.