“I just don’t trust you now, baby.”
Let’s get real here. It was never “our” divorce. The decision to exit our relationship was 100% my then-wife’s call. I was still 100% committed and working on it. We were in couples therapy to work on our communication effectiveness. And the ONE ITEM she forgot to bring into the session was “I’M CONSIDERING ASKING FOR A DIVORCE.” She never said it. Never opened our counseling up for the healing that might’ve happened had she been honest about what was going on for her.
My ex-wife was not honest with me quite a few times. But there were two extreme examples of where her honesty was nowhere to be found. I learned about these slips later in our conjoined lives, and their impact has continued to haunt me. I am still cautious when taking a woman’s word about serious relationship issues, or trusting them to “just tell the fking truth.” My ex did not tell the truth.
The Three Core Lies of My Marriage
- FIRST CORE LIE: When we started dating, this lovely woman and high school sweetheart did not disclose that she was in a relationship and actually living with the poor bastard. As she was going to lunches with me, she was going home at night to him.
- SECOND CORE LIE: During a low-point in our marriage, ever the difficult birth of our second child, my then-wife began an emotional affair with a young coworker. You might want to write that off as “not as bad as cheating” but in our marriage with my emotional DNA, her “lunches” and explicit emails with a young-man-of-potential might have been more devastating than a sexual affair. In our case, I confronted her, she agreed that it was a foul and agreed not to see him or email him anymore. However, she never apologized. We simply moved on. Had she slept with this young man, I might have had the courage and strength to end the marriage on the spot. As it happened, we suffered along for several years, with this huge gaping wound in our trust.
- THIRD CORE LIE: How do you go to couples/marriage counseling and not tell the therapist and your partner that you are considering seeking legal advice about a divorce? Answer: You don’t. My then-wife was not in couples therapy to save our marriage, she was in therapy with me to figure out how to divorce me. When it came out, in one of our couple’s sessions that she had been to see an attorney to understand her options, I was devastated. The therapist was surprised, but not alarmed. We ended couple’s therapy at our next session. And at that point, I had agreed to grant her the divorce. It takes two willing partners to make a marriage work.
Okay, so why would I imagine that my ex-wife and co-parent would ever be 100% honest with me? She has never been truthful about a lot of things. And the lie of our divorce is only one of many integrity issues that still plague us. And, here on this blog I have strived to be 100% positive, even when things were really f-ed up. Today, I’m not so sure that a positive attitude is enough. I might have to take other actions.
So, now that our kids are older (16 and 18) my ex-wife has very little incentive or motivation to co-parent or even communicate with me. Sure, she does all the motions, with my son’s graduation coming up, she made sure I was able to get invitations. But over the years, she never even made sure I had the opportunity to get my kid’s school photos each year. Why? Because she could care less about me or my relationship with my kids. And now that she’s remarried, she’s even less responsive. But this is not about me.
My daughter tells me her mom NEVER PICKS UP HER PHONE. And it’s becoming a problem. For things like school approvals, or which soy milk to pick up at the grocery store, my ex-wife is simply not available. Even when things are “for her” she only answers when it suits her needs at that moment. My daughter was asking for ways to argue with her, since getting pissed and making rational requests was not having any effect on her ability to get her mom to answer her phone. And texts, she says, are even more pathetic.
In the same way, my then-wife took the entire marriage and future family into her hands without consideration or even discussing it with me and our marriage therapist, she is just doing whatever she wants, without much consideration how her actions, on in my daughter’s case, her inaction, affects those around her. She’s on her own time, her own private Idaho, and doesn’t give too many fks about anyone else. If she doesn’t’ respond to my daughter, why would I think she’s going to respond or even be friendly to me? I don’t think about it much, anymore. It’s so much more obvious as we now enter the 10th year of our co-parenting journey, that she really is a bit self-centered.
Is my ex-wife a narcissist?
Someone who only considers their feelings and needs in any given situation… Hmmm. You tell me.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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- The Emotional Cost of Divorce is High for Everyone
- Single Dad Writes to his 16-year-old Daughter About the Divorce
- Experience, Strength, and Hope After a Divorce with Kids
- What Do You Tell Your Kids About Divorce As They Grow Older?
- The Odyssey of the Single Father: Kids Change Everything
See the rest of my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End