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I’m on my way, I’m on my waaaaaayyy home sweet home…. December 30, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, depression, divorce, Episcopal, family, lyrics, ministry, moving.
3 comments

texasflag_fullquilt.jpg  So, I’m back.

Boy-o and I have officially taken up residence in adjacent second floor bedrooms of my parents’ house just north of Fort Worth.  This is not my childhood home…that was sold while I was in college, so I have never actually lived here before, only visited on school breaks, and for holidays and occasional weekends while I was married.

We’ve been here for almost a month now, sleeping on air mattresses, but my furniture was only moved from Oklahoma into a local storage unit last weekend.  About 5 minutes ago, I finished getting my computer set up and the wireless card installed so I can use the home network – yay for the Internets!

I’ve got a job already, working in medical records, or as it’s called now, “health information services”, at a local hospital.  This fits in well with my goal to go back to school in the near future for a degree in health information technology so I can be a medical records coder and you know, support myself and move out of this house. 🙂  I’ve got a post simmering away somewhere in the stew that is my brain about why what I perceived to be a vocation to the priesthood has been put way, way on a back burner.  Like on a stove in someone else’s house.  Suffice it to say that I have come to realize in the last few months that my search for God’s plan for me may not lie in ordained ministry after all, and that I latched on to it because it is the most highly VISIBLE way to serve, and I was in a marriage, indeed in a LIFE, in which I felt utterly INVISIBLE.  And of course, there is also the fact that I now reside in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, a diocese with leadership that does not and has never supported women’s ordination, and which is in fact on its way out of the national church over this issue, among others.  All I can say to that is, ABOUT FRICKIN’ TIME.  No, I’m not even going to make a plea for reconciliation and understanding at this point.  I’d rather it all just be done with so we can get on with whatever comes next.

I haven’t filed for divorce yet.   The paperwork is all completed, but he won’t sign because he thinks there needs to be some language in there about how if I win the lottery or marry a rich guy, he gets to stop paying child support.  And now that I’m back home, frankly, I’ve kind of lost my sense of urgency about the whole thing.  I mean sure, I wish we could fast track this divorce and be done already, but I have what I wanted most: I’m HERE.  He had initially said he would not let me move until we filed.  I told him we weren’t filing until he got his head out of his ass about child support.  Then I told him when moving day was, and he didn’t do anything to stop it, so here we are. I’m not in any rush to get involved with anyone again, and I’m certainly never getting married again, so there’s no pressure on me.  It’ll happen when it happens.

I feel sad and hopeless a lot, and I cry myself to sleep most nights.  But it will get better.  I know it will.  It has to.

So now for a little Motley Crue…

“You know that I’ve seen too many romantic dreams
Up in lights, fallin’ off the silver screen

My heart’s like an open book for the whole world to read
Sometimes nothing keeps me together at the seams

I’m on my way, I’m on my way home sweet home
Tonight tonight
I’m on my way, just set me free
Home sweet home…”

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November 29, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, divorce.
5 comments

Moving day is upon me very, very soon. I thought I would be ecstatic, but I am having a lot of irrational mood swings about it, and last night I think I was finally able to pinpoint why.

It’s not like I have lived here for a long time or have extensive memories associated with these four walls and this roof. I moved in here a mere 6 months ago when I separated from my husband. My dad, sister, and brother-in-law brought their pickup truck and a borrowed trailer and helped me make my escape one Saturday morning right after my husband left for work. The whole time I was throwing stuff madly into my car and the two other vehicles I was crying. I could barely see. I attempted to help move furniture but was so dizzy with fear at what I was doing that I kept dropping my end of stuff, and finally my dad and brother-in-law gave up and did it themselves.

This is the letter I left:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 7, 2007

Dear W,

I’ve decided, and you probably won’t disagree, that we need to separate for the time being.

I have taken only clothing and the furniture items I brought into our marriage. With the exception of a few kitchen appliances and the desktop computer, I have left everything that we acquired together.

I have signed a 6 month lease on a place in town. I have taken my cell phone, but left what I believe is fair payment for this month’s bill. I do not feel it necessary to pay for any of your long distance charges, since you incurred them while violating your marriage vows and being unfaithful to me.

I do not intend to file for divorce at this time. It is my genuine prayer that you will address your unfaithfulness to me and realize this is not an appropriate way for a 33 year old married man and father to behave. I also pray that you will stop blaming everyone else for the way you choose to behave. I love you very much and want to reconcile with you, but I can no longer continue to stand by and watch you inflict harm on yourself. It is too painful for me, when I want to do everything I know how to do to stop it, to save you, and I can’t…because ultimately your behavior has nothing to do with me. Regardless of the excuses you make to yourself, you have not cheated because I worked nights and you were lonely, or because I lost my temper and smacked you, or because I went out and spent $20 on dinner with a friend. You cheat because you have a deep seated character defect that causes you to think you are above things like honesty with and fidelity to your wife, a flaw that allows your to rationalize everything you do, no matter who you hurt in the process.

I would like to come to an agreement with you about Boy-o. I have no desire to keep your son from you, and it would be my preference that we can work out a joint custody agreement that allows him to spend equal time with both of us.

Call me when you’re ready.

I love you.

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I am happy to be returning to my home state, but I am crying because, when I wrote that letter, I only intended to move out of this house to reunite my family. Instead of me, and our life, and our dreams, and our hopes, he chose…friends. Friends that he sees a few times a year at gaming conventions, and he chose these friends because they do not, in his words, “judge him”. They do not challenge him to live up to the promises he made to God and to me, and they do not ask him to be the best person he can be.

And it is so. fucking. sad. Because instead of moving out of here to reunite my family, I am filing for divorce. I am moving back in with my parents. I am being forced to acknowledge that I have wasted the last 6 years of my life and that the only good thing to come out of it at all was Boy-o. As a friend told me recently, I got a lovely parting gift.

gabelovesmama.jpg

My initial plans once I get home (aside from getting a job) are to get signed up for a yoga class at the gym down the street, and I’m thinking of trying my hand at knitting as well. I’ve been looking at this yarn shop, and they offer beginner classes. It’s a thought, anyway.

week 3 November 18, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce, food.
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Accountability demands I be honest even when progress takes a week off, so…this week I was UP 3.2 lbs.  It was an emotional week, and my food choices reflected it.  We’re mostly girls here, so I can say that ovulation and water retention probably didn’t help either!

We completed the divorce negotiations this week, and the papers should be ready to file by the middle of next week.

This brings the total to  7.6 lbs. lost after 3 weeks.  Back to it, I suppose.

November 6, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, divorce, reading.
3 comments

Bad scene tonight. Bad. As in fought-in-front-of-Boy-o-bad.

*sigh*

My ex and I had our first little snark-fest in quite a while when I went over to his house tonight to drop off Boy-o. It was the first time I have been on his turf since he moved in back in August (he always comes to get Boy-o from my house), so I probably should have seen it coming. When he picks Boy-o up, I don’t really let him inside my house, or if I do, I stand there at the door to make sure he doesn’t feel welcome to sit down and make himself at home. When we first separated, he actually did the “knock on the door and let himself in” thing, and I had to draw boundaries pretty damn quick and let him know that was NOT acceptable and that he could wait for me to answer the door. Anyways, I took Boy-o to him tonight because I needed to return the power-of-attorney I had to have notarized so he can refinance the truck in his name, and also because he had the two boxes of Christmas decorations and I needed to get my Advent wreath and a few other things. So he stood and watched me as I picked through the boxes and asked if I could have this ornament or that knick knack. It went okay up to that point…I just wanted to get it done and get OUT of there. I was on the way out the door with my box when I noticed my Harp Lager sign hanging on the wall, and while I don’t consider myself to be materialistic, this was a sign that I hunted down on eBay and really, really wanted back. I also noticed a bunch of his VHS tapes were mine from before we married, so I said, “I’ll trade you those tapes for the Harp sign.” He flew into a snit and said, “I was the one who had to spend 3 weeks cleaning out our house and getting moved because I couldn’t afford it after YOU left, so I don’t think so, I think I’m just going to be keeping it.” I fired back with, “I moved out because YOU cheated. I could clean you out of your material possessions if I took the time to walk through this house and point out the things that were mine before we married, the things that were gifts from my parents, and the things I bought for us with my money, but I don’t have any desire to be petty. I just want my sign.” He returned the serve with, “Oh, as usual it’s all MY fault?” And I said, “In this case, yes, it is.” He then screamed, “Take it, then!”, which set Boy-o to crying and PISSED. ME. OFF, because we had been talking in a regular tone of voice up to that point. Pissed me off so much that on the way out the door I took not only my sign, but the food processor, the garden statues, and some books, too. Boy-o has gotten very used to being handed off now and hasn’t blinked an eye about it in months, but tonight, he wouldn’t stop crying when I kissed him and said I had to go and I’d see him tomorrow. Made me feel like a VERY BAD MOMMY.
JACK ASS. That’s all I can say. Why the hell did I ever marry him?

Oh, right. Lonely. Shit, remind me never to do THAT again. Better to be alone for the right reasons than with someone for the wrong ones. Sheesh.

I should get my check from the State for my measly contribution to my pension during the 8 months I was employed by them sometimes in the next two weeks, and then, since the truck is no longer a joint possession, I am ordering the do-it-yourself divorce papers from the online legal service. Goal is to have them completed and filed before the end of the month, and then I can fulfill the mandatory 90 day waiting period after I move back to Texas. We may possibly be in the home stretch here, guys. Possibly.

I just finished Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor. I have a lot of pondering to do over this book, and it will definitely bear repeated readings. Some of you may remember that when I first started blogging, I was exploring the idea that my vocation was to the priesthood. These last few months have left me feeling so thoroughly flattened, so completely unworthy…no, UNABLE, to sing psalms or do any more intense praying than Boy-o’s “Now I lay me down to sleep” at bedtime that I have practically forgotten what it felt like to have a sense of my place in creation and a feeling that I was traveling towards what was always meant for me. I derailed…jumped the track I don’t go to church. I haven’t opened my prayer book in months. I have felt at odds with and abandoned by my former congregation and rector since the separation. So this book was a bit of a balm on all the open wounds, the wounds that come from my sense of failure at my inability to make my marriage work, my hopelessness that the pain will never end, and my fear that I will never discover what I am supposed to be doing for God. I’m a little more aware that I need to be conscious of this pain and conscious of this fear, and somewhere in this mess I will find God’s way for me – as long as I keep looking.

happy non-iversary October 12, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce, marriage.
2 comments

Today was my 5th wedding anniversary. I made it through the day…that’s about all I can say.

in the “holy shit, he did it!” department… September 26, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce.
5 comments

Every time I sit down to write a post about one thing, I instead find myself banging out a post about the latest drama in the end of the marriage. So, I apologize to you, my few, dear readers. I know it has become tedious. For instance, I sat down tonight with the intention of really writing about church, or more accurately, the lack of church in my life lately, but do you think those are the words that came out of my fingertips? Nooooo, of course not. Another time, perhaps.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When he came to pick Boy-o up last night, he told me he would have my check on Friday.

“For what?” I said.

I’m not playing dumb, but I have decided that the time has come to start making him vocalize what we are about to do here, because so far in his fantasy world, I have been cast in the role of the evil wife who left him, and he has cast himself in the role of “Well, this is what she said she wants, I guess I better go along”, AKA the MARTYR. Yes, I mentioned divorce first. I did it AFTER asking if he was willing to stop engaging in behaviors that are harmful to himself and our marriage. He declined. Since then, I have simply wanted to get it over with, and he has been playing the wounded party, saying I don’t love him for who he really is.

I posted earlier that, while it may be true I did not love him unconditionally, and that this was my primary failing as his wife, I was still willing to work it out. I was respectful of my vows, and even though I was hasty in entering into the marriage, I did indeed fall more in love with him as the years went by, and I had every reason to believe that the “falling deeper” process would continue as we shared our lives and raised our son. It murders me that he doesn’t value this enough to fight for it. So I refused to let him play this game. I decided if he wants to end this, then I can’t be the only one speaking “The D WORD.”

“For the LegalZoom stuff.”

“What LegalZoom stuff? I was under the impression that was off the table.”

*sigh* “To get the divorce papers done, okay?”

“Oh, you still want to do it that way?”

“It’s going to be cheapest.”

“Well, all right then.”

We negotiated the amount of the check, because he owes me some money, and I owe him some money, and we’re splitting the divorce, so in the end he will write me a check and take what I owe him and his half of the divorce off what he owes me. He says I’ll have it Friday or Saturday.

We’ve worked out custody and visitation. The court has ordered child support. There are no arguments over possessions. We have one joint credit account, and that is his truck. He loves his truck. He is not going to take it well when I tell him that according to the law, if he wants to keep it, he is going to have to buy me out to get my name off there, or I can buy him out and keep it myself. Nor will he take kindly to the suggestion that he sell it and buy something smaller and cheaper in his name only. So, I’m considering the idea of trying to locate an impartial mediator for us to sit down with, someone who will explain these are the options for the truck, someone who has no stake in the outcome and someone he can not get mad at when the options are on the table and he has to choose one. And once this little issue is resolved, I’m completely comfortable going ahead and filing the papers ourselves without attorneys. But I’m not planning on getting screwed and having my credit made any worse than it is over a lousy vehicle, of all things.

What do you think? Money well spent on a get-it-all-out-on-the-table mediation session, and then get the paperwork done? I got the feeling that he really wants out, too. Personally, I’ve felt lately it’s because he’s got a piece on the back burner…and I’ve rarely been wrong about this before.

September 23, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce.
7 comments

Had a child support hearing on Thursday. It was short and unpleasant. My ex was ordered to begin making child support payments effective October 1st, but seeing as how I am currently receiving assistance for day care and medical insurance, any child support collected is intercepted by the State to reimburse them for their costs. And the shitty thing is, the ex PREFERS it this way. I discussed with him the option of just adding Boy-o to his health insurance and sending me the rest, which I would then turn around and use for CHILD CARE (same exact expenses being paid for by the same exact individual – him), but he stated he feels better knowing his money is going to the State, so he knows it’s not being spent on anything else. Jerk. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter, because he doesn’t REALLY get a say, no matter what he thinks. When I’m ready to move, I’ll walk into the human services office, close my child care and medical cases, and then the support checks will begin coming to me anyway. He can’t seem to wrap his mind around the idea that he owes child support regardless of whether or not Boy-o and I need it. When we move in to my parents’ house, that is going to help me save a lot of money and we honestly won’t need it as much as we do now…and he said something about how maybe the amount can be cut when that happens. I was floored…FLOORED, I tell you. But that part was nothing less than what I expected. What I did NOT expect was the snarky comment made in front of Da Judge.

Human services rep to State’s attorney: “They’re married, but separated.”

State’s attorney to me: “Please let us know as soon as possible if you file for divorce so we can roll the cases together.”

Judge: “You two are still married?”

Ex: “Unfortunately, Your Honor.”

OUCH.

A comment like that leaves me mighty confused. He was supposed to cough up his half of the fee for the divorce document preparation last week, as well his half of the cost of fixing my car…but here it is Sunday and I’ve got nothing. So, it looks like I may be hiring an actual attorney and attempting a payment plan after all. None of the ones that I’ve talked to here will work with me, so it appears as though I may have to return to my home state and wait 6 months to re-establish my residency before filing. My sister, who works for child protective services, has already referred me to a few lawyers who will work on payment plans…it just sucks that I’m going to have to wait SO LONG. I don’t function well in transitory states. It’s why I got engaged and married so quickly, ’cause I have a hard time just “dating”…and it’s now why I just want OUT.

The truth September 9, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in addiction, blogging, divorce, friends, life, marriage, thoughtful.
9 comments

My ex and I met online through Yahoo! Personals, back when it was still free. Though we only lived 45 minutes apart at the time, we talked for close to 6 months before we finally met each other. I had many occasions throughout our courtship and engagement, at all the gatherings of our friends and family, to tell the story of how me met, and being the romantic that I am, I always put a romantic spin on it. After all, we were going to be married! And I wanted a great love story to tell! My dad has a fantastic one about how he fell in love with my mom, and , at the age of 25, having been disappointed in love before, I admit that I sort of felt the universe OWED me a story of my own.

So, I made up a story.

Telling people that we talked for almost 6 months prior to meeting made it appear as though we were being cautious. Truth was, I would attempt to talk to him via instant messenger, and he wouldn’t answer back. Then when he did, he would make a completely random statement that had nothing to do with what I had asked. This irritated me. I think I’m a good conversationalist, and good conversations flow. Ours never did. We hit the basics of upbringing and education, and really had nothing in common and nowhere to go from there. We had extremely stilted conversations maybe once a week, and I always stood up from the computer shaking my head and thinking, “What a strange guy.” The pictures he sent me of himself appealed to my sense of alienation from everyone, though. We met for a picnic at a park, during which he didn’t say ANYTHING, so I went to go play on the playground equipment. Then we met again for a supposedly REAL date at a Goth club. We had both been there before. I went regularly, but didn’t talk to anyone and danced by myself, as I’m a real introvert. He went occasionally, but seemed to know EVERYONE. Confused, I followed him around the club all night and listened as he talked in a language I didn’t understand about role playing games. We were supposed to be on a date, but he didn’t introduce me to anyone. A few times, I stepped back into the shadows to watch him, and he didn’t notice I was gone. Most people started leaving around 2 AM, and it was at that point that I finally managed to get him to the upper level of the club to sit at a table and try and talk. We watched the few people who were left on the dance floor below spin around in circles like stoned ballerinas, and I tried to talk again, but he just really wasn’t interested. It was at this point that I probably should have cashed in my chips and left, but I was pretty desperate for a relationship. I wanted to be with someone in the worst way. I was lonely as hell. I had just walked away from someone that I believe to this day that I was really in love with, and my ex met all of my relationship criteria. His parents were married, to each other. He didn’t live with them. He had a job. He believed in God, and he wasn’t a fundamentalist. He didn’t judge me for the strange relationship I had with my parents and The Princess.

The club closed down, and we wandered out to the parking lot to stand by our cars. He wasn’t making an active effort to get away from me, but he didn’t have anything to say, either. I asked him if he was going to kiss me, and he looked startled. In retrospect, I should have stopped right there, but I didn’t. I leaned in and kissed him. And boy, was it awful.

When I told the story later, of course, I didn’t say that. I made it out as though he was shy, and I was a brash and cheeky girl who simply knew what I wanted. But oh…I was so disappointed by that kiss. It was really terrible. From the way he grabbed for me afterwards, I could tell right off the bat that he didn’t enjoy kissing at all and preferred to get on with what comes next. And so we did. We went back to my house, and the true part of the story is that we rarely spent a night apart after that. He got my number, and if he had never called, I might have been able to exit the situation gracefully. But he did call, and he kept coming back over, and I believe now that we just slid into being a couple because I was too afraid to be alone. A month later, I told him we were getting married, and he said okay. The confusing and enigmatic guy I was really in love with, the one I had walked away from because he wouldn’t say he wanted to be with me, was still calling me, and I told him to stop. Two months later, I moved 45 minutes closer to my soon to be husband. Two months after that, I picked out my engagement ring and we made the announcement to our families. And then, it was simply too late to get out. And this was all before I knew of his sexual addiction. I knew something was wrong with our relationship and his ability to be intimate, I knew he didn’t enjoy kissing me, I knew from discovering his porn collection that it went a bit above and beyond what most guys store on their computers, but I never thought it was something I couldn’t fix, given enough time. I could become sexier, I could dye my hair the right shade of red, I could submerge my entire personality, as long as I had someone THERE. I confused the physical presence of another person with true intimacy. And the worst part is, I knew I was doing it at the start. Eventually, I came to believe my own lies. And this is my cross to bear in our breakup. While I may never have violated my vows or been unfaithful with my body, I did not love my husband unconditionally.

I told my story over and over and over again. I wanted to believe that we had it all…we were cautious in our courtship, we waited an appropriate amount of time (a year and a half) to get married, we were college educated and we had jobs, and we both felt a little weird and alienated from the rest of the world, which would make us great partners for each other. And after all, is love really *that* important? I mean, I knew very well that love wasn’t even an ingredient in marriage until about a century ago. It was all about alliance, and I thought we would make a good one.

4 months before the wedding, I discovered the depth of his sexual addiction when he went missing for a day and I logged into his email looking for clues. Instead I found graphic pornography addressed to him personally and featuring one of his female coworkers. I also discovered pornographic webcam pictures of one of the girls from his gaming group, and an accompanying message thanking him for the pictures he had sent of himself. Suffice it to say, I went off the deep end. I had a slight mental break, and began destroying everything of his I could find. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why, when I had been so loyal and so understanding and such a perfect girlfriend (in my mind), I deserved this. I actually had to be carted off to the mental hospital for the night, where I was given a lovely sedative and told to sleep it off. When my ex picked me up the next day, I begged him to take me back. And that is where the whole dynamic of the rest of our relationship was set. He had cheated, but I had broken things and lost my temper and threatened harm. In his mind, he was doing me a favor by being willing to deal with me.

It never got any better after that moment, only worse. The morning of the wedding, my dad took me aside for a talk. He and my mom were, of course, raising The Princess. And he looked at me very seriously and said, “This time is forever, you know.” Up to that very minute, I had been having secret thoughts of running out the door of the church. I was acting up a storm that this was the happiest day of my life, but really, I was just ready to be done with it and move into whatever came next, and I assumed it included security and never another lonely moment for the rest of my life. We might not be lovers, but we would be partners. I would stake my life on it. And so I did. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live. The ceremony itself was a holy and sacred thing. I meant every word I spoke. I shared the Eucharist with my husband. I kissed him at the end with complete enthusiasm. As we exited the sanctuary, the wedding coordinator ushered us off into a little side room for a few minutes of privacy before we had to come out and face our guests. I looked at him, and knew there was no going back now. On with the rest of our lives.

And for the next four years, we repeated that pattern over and over again. I would find evidence of his infidelity on the computer – not just looking at pictures, but actual communication with real people in real life that I knew. I would threaten divorce. He’d tell me to go ahead. I’d lose it and throw things. He’d threaten divorce. I’d beg him not to. We’d walk away, breathe, come back together, he’d go back to SAA meetings, I’d seek counseling for my anger, he’d quit, I’d quit, it would happen all over again. In the midst of this was job loss and an arrest, constant blame, endless instability, lots of moves. We had our son. I tried to be the best mother I could, knowing full well that I wasn’t succeeding because I was constantly focused on what my ex might be doing behind my back. But we were married. We had made vows, in front of God and our families, and there was no going back in my mind. Marriage was forever. But in November of ’05, when it happened for the 5th time, I promised him I was not going to put myself through this again. This was it. Our son was a year and a half old, and I would be damned if I was going to raise him in a house where he would learn that THIS is what husbands and fathers do, because their wives let them get away with it. He went back to meetings, acquired yet another sponsor, and stayed sober for over a year. I thought he did, anyway, although I have my doubts now. He was always a big collector of the SAA group’s monthly chips that recognized another month of sobriety, but when it came time for him to go to an anniversary meeting to collect his one year chip, he kept putting it off. So, I suspect I just didn’t catch on as quickly that time. It wasn’t until I opened the cell phone bill two months ago and found the international charges from his phone sex with his ex who had been part of that same gaming group that I had incontrovertible proof that I was being played once again.

But I’m not blameless, and I hope I’ve written this saga in such a way that shows that. I manipulated this relationship from day 1. In my desperation for a partner, I brought this upon myself.

All the stability I sought through others has flown out the window, and I am now having to try to attempt to rebuild my very self. I loved being married. I did. I just didn’t love the man I was married to. I liked him a whole lot, when he was being the best he could be. And I thought he could somehow complete me, as if I wasn’t good enough or worthy enough to stand on my own two feet and take care of myself. But I am.

My head knows it, and soon enough, my heart will follow.

You’ve gotta know when to hold ’em… September 6, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, divorce, moving.
3 comments

So, I folded. As I knew I would have to in the end.

When I first mentioned the idea of moving to City on the Coast to my ex, I had the vague idea of leaving Boy-o with him for a little while. I knew he could take care of him…he may have been a shitty husband to me, but nobody who knows us can deny the depth of his love for our son. At this time, his cheating behavior does not place Boy-o at risk, as it all took place on the telephone and on the Internet. For the time being, he has resumed attending 12 step meetings and discussions with his sponsor. This divorce is going forward for the simple reason that I don’t intend to put myself through the wringer when he falls off the wagon again, as addicts always do. Additionally, he is not willing to commit to ceasing all contact with the members of a certain gaming group who exacerbate and encourage him in his sexual addiction. I will never be able to trust him with my heart again, and I’m simply not brave enough (or dumb enough) to try. But after I told him that was what I was thinking, I spent the next week sobbing myself to sleep every night, and I realized I simply cannot leave Boy-o. So I informed my ex I was still moving to City on the Coast, but I was taking Boy-o with me, which led to the current predicament.

But, I have to think logically here. As a caseworker, I stood in front of the judge often enough to become somewhat familiar with the basis of a judicial decision in a custody case. Morals, unfortunately, do not typically enter into the equation. Safety and stability are primary. And I know that my ex can provide both those things to our son. Should his sexual acting out behaviors escalate to a new level at some point in the future (as addictive behaviors typically do), say, he begins to go through a string of promiscuous relationships and our son is being exposed to this, or he is being taken to unsafe places, then I would have to rethink what I’m saying here, but for now, my ex goes to work, goes to class, goes to meetings, and does not have Internet access at home. When my ex and Boy-o are together, they stay at home, or go grocery shopping, or rent movies, or do yard work. Normal, safe, stuff. And in front of a judge, I wouldn’t have a prayer of being able to argue for sole custody or for the right to move almost 600 miles away when my ex is obviously an interested parent. Nor do I want to deprive our son of his father’s presence, as long as he is being safe. I WANT Boy-o to know that his dad loves him and that his mom loves him and that for his good, we worked it out.

Compromise involves both parties getting something, and both parties giving something. My ex wants us to stay here in this small town where I have no feasible opportunities to go to school or improve my ability to earn a living in a reasonable amount of time, i.e. two years. He wans to continue to have daily or near daily contact with our son. I want to move 9 hours away to City on the Coast in my home state, where I can be near my beloved ocean, and I am willing to provide visitation twice a month. There’s a wide gap there, but I think we’ve managed to breach it.

Instead, I am going to move back to City I Grew Up In. That place is only 2 and a half hours from here, not 9, like City on the Coast. My ex does not get to force me to stay in this place where I am miserable, and I don’t get to go exactly where I want. I will attend a similar health information management program at the local community college there, and I should graduate and earn my medical coding certifications right around the time that my ex finishes his master’s degree here…about two years from this coming January. If we’re still managing to be as decent and civil with each other at that point as we are being now (and I hope we are, because everyone who has been through this tells me it gets better with time, not worse, and I think we’re doing pretty good right now), then we will both move south – me to City on the Coast, him to larger Capital City about 3 hours away. We figure 3 hours is a manageable distance to continue joint custody and cooperative efforts in our parenting of Boy-o, especially as we have both told each other we are always willing to drive halfway to meet each other for the necessary handoffs.

So, that’s the tentative plan. Yes, I know it can change. Yes, I know the whole truce could melt down at any point if we don’t work to actively maintain it. What can I do but deal with that when and if it happens?

The truly scary part to me is this: I’m going to move into my parents’ house, in an effort to save money. They’re gonna charge me rent, but not as much as an apartment. Now granted, they are not there very much – my dad lives and works in another state (his job was transferred, and they didn’t want to sell their house, since he’s retiring in just a few years), and my mom visits him frequently. The Princess either goes with her, or may be going somewhere else soon (that’s another story). I’d have two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor, plus the upstairs living area, and access to the kitchen and the pool. But it’s still MY PARENT’S HOUSE. And I am 32 YEARS OLD. YIKES. I like doing things my way. My mom likes doing them hers. I know for a fact it won’t be anything like when the ex and Boy-o and I stayed with his folks when we first moved to this state…no expectations to eat dinner together every night, no feeling of being under constant surveillance…in theory, I know all I have to do is pay my rent, be considerate, and keep stuff cleaned up, and we’ll be good. But it’s still weird and scary.

The custody negotiations begin in earnest. August 27, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, divorce.
9 comments

Tonight I called husband over to begin talking about custody of Boy-o.

I want to move to Somewhat Large City on the Coast in my home state. I’ve blogged many times about my love affair with the ocean…my life is in turmoil, so why not? Aforementioned city has a community college with an accredited medical coding program (the field I wish to pursue until such time as my life calms down enough to begin discernment again), several call centers where I can get a job, two large hospital systems where I could also potentially pursue a job, and cheaper housing than a lot of other places in my home state. It has incredible scenery, wonderful people, lots to do, and you can get anywhere you need to go in less than 20 minutes, which is more than I can say for the bumper to bumper traffic in the city I grew up in. And naturally, I want to take Boy-o with me. We visited this city for a few days after Easter, and he has not stopped asking to go back to the beach since.

Husband has a problem with this, as I would if he came to me and informed me he wanted to move hundreds of miles away with our son. So, I don’t have a problem understanding his point of view. In fact, he has offered to keep Boy-o while I go to this city and get myself set up with a job and school and a place to live. All well and good, except for the fact that I abandoned one child already – The Princess, who is now 14. I abandoned her to the care of my parents when I was 19, and have lived to regret that decision every day since. I’m not about to do that with my second child. It doesn’t matter that this situation is completely different or that I have grown up. I don’t have it in me to voluntarily leave another child, even to pursue better opportunities for myself.

It was my hope that husband would accept my argument that I will be better able to meet Boy-o’s daily needs by virtue of having a far less stressful non-professional job and a less stressful undergraduate course load than he does, with his position of responsibility with a prison and his graduate level classes. I also think I’m the better parent because I always put my family first when husband and I were together, and he obviously did not, but saying things like that are not productive to negotiations. The city where I want to move is 9 hours away from husband, and I have offered two weekend visits a month, plus every summer, when husband does not take classes, and I do. We have both vocalized the desire to keep attorneys out of this, primarily because neither of us can afford one, but secondarily because we want to be able to tell Boy-o that we always worked together for his benefit.

Unfortunately, he did not accept my argument, nor was he able to offer an alternative plan other than, “No, if you want to move, I think I’ll be keeping him.”

Which makes my options the following:

1) Stay in this town in this state that is not my home, where I am miserable and have no opportunities to become financially self-sufficient in a reasonable amount of time (2 years or less).

2) Sneak out of town with Boy-o in the middle of the night, move to City on the Coast, and begin to pursue divorce and custody when I have re-established residency in my home state.

3) Arrange housing, college admission, and job in City on the Coast, advise husband I am taking Boy-o, and if he doesn’t agree, leave him here. Re-establish residency in my home state, and begin to pursue divorce and custody from there, if husband doesn’t file first in this state.

See, it seems to me (but what do I know, I’m not a judge) that if we can’t reach an agreement about Boy-o on our own, when the day comes that we stand before a judge to make everything legal, the parent who is perceived as having done the “taking away” of Boy-o from the other parent is not going to fare as well. So, from a strategical perspective, that leaves #2 out. Either I get husband to agree without argument to let me take Boy-o with me, or I go and begin to get my life on track and work towards financial self-sufficiency, so that I can at some point make the argument that husband took Boy-o away from ME.

It would be so different if I actually had the capacity to earn a living here without reliance on state assistance. No matter how much I hate this town, for Boy-o’s benefit I would stay. But I don’t have that ability. At my current job at the call center, I make less money per hour than I ever have, exclusive of the fast food jobs I worked in high school, 15 years ago. I require public assistance to buy groceries, pay for day care, and cover Boy-o’s medical insurance. A year and a half at a community college followed by credentialing exams in a new field would dramatically improve my earning ability, since I already have a bachelor’s degree and all the basic classes. Husband thinks my wanting to move is all about me, and while I can’t deny that I do want to move to the beach, I think it is important to acknowledge that I can’t take care of Boy-o if I don’t take care of myself, too.