Happy 2013 Long Suffering Readers!
Right off the bat I should come clean and say: over the holidays I started dating someone I met on an online dating site. We’ve had about 5 dates since late December and things seem to be heading in nice direction. I’m certain my “year long” dry spell will soon be over (in fact probably would be if certain logistical problems were not in the way….)
But that is not what this post is about; that topic will require a unique post of it’s own. This is about Catherine and I.
Mary, my oldest daughter, has always been emotionally sensitive. She is prone to going through stress and that stress manifesting itself in unique ways. It is one of the reasons we started taking her to counseling 2 years ago. This divorce has obviously caused a tremendous amount of angst for both of my daughters and over the last couple of weeks Mary has been showing renewed signs of this stress.
So, Sunday night Catherine (my Ex) calls me. She’d just spent the weekend with the girls and was telling me about some of the things the girls were telling her. They’re feeling stressed out at he moving back and forth between our houses during the week. They’re feeling confusion and guilt. They feel like they don’t have enough toys to play with when they stay at my house. (All of which I agree with and obviously i’ve been trying to minimize.) It’s sad for me to hear but Catherine suggests that perhaps we go back to the “old schedule” for a few weeks where the girls see my during “my weeknights” but they’re not actually spending the night at my house. (This was our late summer schedule where I’d go to her place and hang out with the girls until their bedtime, but not take them home with me.)
The conversation eventually get’s to a point where she says, “If you’d like me to help you make their room more comfortable for them at your place, I’d be happy to to do that.”
“No thank you,” I tell her. “The time for you to ‘be helpful’ is long passed.”
She is trying to be cordial but I’m obviously upset at this news that a) Mary is having a hard time adjusting and is grieving and b) the result of this is going to be me seeing even less of my daughters. I tell her this is her fault.
“No!” she adamantly says, “This is NOT my fault! People get divorced! Kids go through this all the time.”
“You made a commitment to me: You lied. You left. If you had stayed true, we would’ve made it work.”
This devolved even further into arguments we’d had many times during the summer, but haven’t had in a while. Points on a theme that i’ve put out here time and time again in the blog, and here they are yet again…
- I’m wired that you don’t quit when things get hard. She’s not, and that’s why she left. I loathe her cowardice.
- She argues that she was unhappy for many years and fell out of love. That justifies her leaving. I was unhappy as well, but instead of leaving I tried to make it better. I disdain her for not doing the same.
- She left because she was so unhappy she felt she wasn’t available for the girls. Now my life has been profoundly impacted, the girls’ lives have obviously been horribly impacted, and through her actions I see my children less than half the time I used to (as does she, to be honest.) Her selfishness disgusts me.
The other day (before this big argument when things were cordial) we were talking about the girl I have started dating. I asked her how she felt about it. “I feel happy for you,” she said.
“OK” I replied.
“How do you want me to feel?”
I thought about it a moment and then replied, “I’m not sure. Given your actions, you will never be remorseful enough for me.”
Ah, well, my friends. Just a small bump on an otherwise upward trend. I closed the conversation with Catherine re-iterating that I would do whatever I could to minimize the impact to the girls even if that meant I’d be seeing them a bit less over the next couple of weeks, because that’s what I’ve been doing since this whole fucked up thing began. That’s how I’m wired.