I didn’t really believe I was walking out for the last time, but I knew things would be fundamentally different from that moment on.
THE OFF PARENT: I’m anonymous to shield my ex-wife and children from the anger and pain that are all part of this process. You cannot avoid the hurt. But you can avoid hurting others. The goal is not to be bitter or vindictive. If I can provide some ideas that will help others with their pain, or perhaps point them in the direction of self-recovery, that is great, but that is not my goal. Let me be clear about this: This is not a self-help blog. I am not a daddy blogger. I am the *off* parent and I blog the song of myself from both dark and light rooms.
These posts are being republished by The Good Men Project in a sequence to reflect the three-year process of divorce recovery. The story continues…
MAY 30, 2010 – Stealing Home
When it finally went down, when I was walking out of MY house for the last time, I felt a bit I was acting out the exit scene in The Jerk. “Just one more thing.” And with the closing of that door behind me everything changed. Suddenly anything I wanted I had to ask for. I left with a bag of clothes a few books and little else.
The exit had been requested months earlier, mid-March. But I refused to throw my entire family (mainly the kids who were 2 months from the finish of the school year) into chaos because my ex-y had built up the anger and resentment to finally ask for a divorce. I said no a number of times that week and a few times the next week. We had been living as roommates for months, we could do it for a few more months to deflect the trauma until the summer, when we all had more time to heal.
For this solidity I give thanks. I believe the experience for the kids was tempered as their mom and I worked through the details of custody and schedules.
When the moment came for me to actually acquiesce it was a Friday morning. My sleep had been getting more and more ragged. And I was losing my objectivity. So I agreed to leave it all behind and give her the dominion of the house. I didn’t really believe I was walking out for the last time, but I knew things would be fundamentally different from that moment on.
So now, months later, from the outside I have given the house to my ex-wife and kids. I realized at some point during the negotiations that I did not want to be in the “family home” alone. And I would be alone a lot more of the time than she was. And that was the DEAL. I could’ve gone for 50/50 time. I could’ve forced the sale of the house. But I gave the rights to the home and the 70/30 split of time to her.
And perhaps it is better for them to be with their mom more. Either way, that’s pretty much what I would’ve gotten had I gone before the courts and asked the judge. And what I got for the consolation was a chunk of retirement money that was going to be taxed at 30% the minute I needed to touch it for a down payment. But what I really got was a happier ex-y. I’m pretty sure neither of us would qualify for the house at this moment. I could have some bitterness that we got a cash out of a refi less than a month before she asked for a divorce. But perhaps this too was a gift. Without it economic times would’ve come much harder for my entire family.
The Off Parent
August 25, 2010 – The Trick Is Not to Become Bitter – Signing the Papers
First, the money that was transferred to me via SEP IRA accounts as an equalizer, since I gave her (the kids) the house, will be taxed at 20% which I knew, but I will also be hit with a 10% penalty. So, damn I just lost another 10% of my cash that I can use for buying another place to live. Not her fault.
Second, as I was walking through Target to buy some new undershirts I was painfully aware of how much I miss the connection to a woman. I want to buy neat clothes, I want to look at the bras and imagine my woman in them, but at the moment there is no woman. Ouch!
Third, as Match.com and eHarmony continue to bring me less than exciting “matches” I have to be realistic with what I want. I won’t settle for just another woman. I won’t date for the sake of having sex. (Never have.) And I have to get myself in better shape to attract the type and style of woman I would like to spend time with. Again, not her fault.
So here I am, late 40′s pressing towards 50, and there are a lot of things fairly consistent about me. One of the things is my positive outlook. If I were holding on to the anger, or continuing to direct it at the ex-woman of my desires, I would only be doing myself a disservice. I do want her to be happy. Not that happy, but happy enough.
Today I am happy. I am missing my connection to the sexual energy of being around a woman. But I will have that again. And I can start with my own happiness first. And as I signed the order today “withholding” child support from my paycheck, I could only imagine how much easier it would be for me to have the money withheld rather than having to write the check every month. Yes, it’s a positive.
The Off Parent
the story continues…
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welcome mat image: The Homecoming used under creative commons license