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It’s like the Bay of Pigs, without the palm trees

March 17, 2011

If you’ve noticed that posting here at WTFGU has been rather light lately, it’s not for nothing. For the past several weeks, Moxie and I have been negotiating a substantial life change. We’re mediating now, and even though passions on both sides have been high, we’re both aware of the potential mutually-assured destruction if our talks somehow don’t work out.

I have to admit I had no idea how deeply this negotiation would affect me. I feel like the enormous rec room that is my soul has been taken down to the studs. I’ve had to examine just about everything, including 1) what I want and why I want it; 1) how my wants compare to my needs; and 3) to what extent I can value my wants with what I want for the boys.

All this has been a bit more difficult because lately my therapist has uncharacteristically not returned my calls. I fear she may be trapped beneath something heavy.

One thing I have decided, however, is that I want to write about this experience as much as I can, within whatever bounds of confidentiality and propriety that present themselves. I don’t know if anyone has tried this before, or if it worked out very well. But I do know that I’ve learned a lot about Moxie from this blog that I never knew when we were married, and that, just as in any diplomatic matter, an open dialogue is our best chance for all of us to get through this in one piece.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. askmoxie permalink*
    March 17, 2011 11:31 am

    I bet this would be easier if the mediation sessions included mojitos.

    • MoxieMom in NY permalink
      March 17, 2011 11:56 am

      EVERYTHING is easier with mojitos. Except driving. But definately everything else.

    • mom2boy permalink
      March 17, 2011 1:03 pm

      I have never had a mojito… Talking is better than not talking, sort of like breathing is preferable to not breathing even when every breath is excruciatingly painful.

    • March 18, 2011 8:09 pm

      Why does it not?

  2. Dave permalink
    March 17, 2011 12:03 pm

    WHAT’S THE CHANGE?! I’m so bad at not knowing secrets.

  3. March 17, 2011 12:05 pm

    I so hope for all of your sakes this can be worked out. I really believe great things are ahead for all of you if it does. Really and truly.

  4. March 17, 2011 1:56 pm

    Did somebody say Mojitos? Yes please.

  5. March 17, 2011 2:11 pm

    LOD, this column is so well put, and it really seems to come from a good and right place in your heart. I wish you both the best in negotiating this life change. And that, when it’s all said and done, you two will both feel like raising a mojito and saying, “Whew–think this is all gonna be okay.”

  6. March 17, 2011 5:24 pm

    Does mediating mean an official third-party mediator in the room or is it just a euphemism for getting together to work things out?

    If the mediator thing doesn’t pan out, just put the life change up on the blog without telling us who is on which side and let us argue out the pros and cons and then vote. Kind of like groupsourcing your life or “Life, Survivor-Style”. Ha ha, I kid. Sort of.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      March 17, 2011 5:27 pm

      Carrie, ha! This was the second draft of LOD’s post. The first revealed a little too much and we were afraid of everyone trying to Judge Judy us!

      And yes, third party mediator. But we also talk about it in between when we both feel safe enough to.

  7. March 17, 2011 9:46 pm

    A good percentage of my professional background is with separated/divorcing families. Mediation isn’t easy. These negotiations can be very hard. Stay as close as you can to the decisions and the outcomes, as no one will ever know your children as well as you do. At these points, it is not always about what you want, but what you can live with.

    Good luck.

    • March 17, 2011 11:29 pm

      Thank you. And with all due respect: Duh.

      • March 18, 2011 10:53 am

        Ahem. And by Duh, I mean: I’ve been stressed and insomniated over this for a while now, and my brain is exhausted from analyzing every side of every side of this situation.

        Also: The good news is that my therapist called to say she can fit me into her schedule in about four weeks. Seems these times are good for her business.

  8. Kathleen999 permalink
    March 19, 2011 4:34 pm

    So who wants to move where? 🙂

    It was the only thing I could think of that you would have to mediate, but what do I know?

  9. March 20, 2011 10:36 pm

    Might I suggest, LOD, that your NEXT life change be to get a new therapist… that actually WANTS to help you! Yikes!

    • LOD permalink*
      March 20, 2011 10:50 pm

      No worries, Kari. She’s great, and she’s backed up with patients because she just got back from a vacation. After all I’ve been through with her, the last thing I want is to start over from scratch.

      As for you detail-seekers, we’re still working out what if any details we’re prepared to divulge. As far as I’m concerned, the story is the dispute itself, and our attempts to solve it. Telling who wants what invites people to editorialize and take sides, which doesn’t help anybody.

  10. Jen permalink
    March 22, 2011 10:08 am

    Did you mediate the original divorce settlement? How did it go? WHat did you learn, wish you had known beforehand, etc? If you don’t mind saying?

    We’re headed there, and I’m nervous, uncertain, etc… if you have any helpful tips from having been there, done that?

  11. Jen permalink
    March 22, 2011 10:11 am

    not sure if my other comment actually posted. I am new to commenting.

    Could you guys offer some insight into what you learned, wish you had known beforehand, etc with the original divorce mediation? I’m headed there and unsure of what to expect, and feeling anxious a bit.

    Thanks. I really appreciate your effort to share your story with those of us who are navigating the same waters.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      March 22, 2011 10:20 am

      Jen, we have it set up so anyone who hasn’t commented her has to be approved. Now that you’ve commented, your comments will post instantly.

      Anyway, we did mediation because we didn’t want to rip ourselves apart by injecting at least three other people into the negotiation (a lawyer for each, plus a judge). Also, putting my kids’ fate in the hands of a judge we knew nothing about seemed completely insane and terrifying to me.

      I hated mediation. I hated having to sit in a room with LOD and hash out every single little detail. I hated the things we said to and about each other. After every session I would cry in the cab on the way back to the job I wasn’t supposed to have left to do the session. But it was still far better than letting someone else decide for us.

      One thing to bear in mind is that nothing you say in mediation is final. Nothing. It’s only final when your mediator writes it up, each of your lawyers reviews it, any changes are made, and then finally you each sign. So while you may be hurt emotionally and spiritually during the actual sessions, you won’t be hurt materially/logistically during a session, because even if you agree to it in theory in a session, it’s not real until you sign.

      I have recommended mediation and our mediator to at least three people. It was a grueling experience, but I don’t think there’s a way to get divorced that isn’t like chewing off your own foot to get out of a trap, you know?

      • oneday@atime permalink
        March 22, 2011 9:11 pm

        Moxie,
        Have been following WTFGU for a while now, and just read your comment from 3/22 detailing your mediation experience. I am in the thick of mediation now, and I so related to your words. It is excruciating, but yes, certainly the lesser of two evils between that and going to court. It is a humbling, devastating experience, though I hope one that will ultimately end up in (as the theme seems to be recently) “an arrangement we can both live with.” (whatever that means in this new world of separation/divorce). Your posts (both yours and LOD’s) give me strength, as I live one day at a time…please know that although you both struggle, your honesty, experience, and willingness to share is helping others…especially me! Thank you.

      • Jen permalink
        March 24, 2011 1:21 am

        Thanks, Moxie. We’ve got our mediation with me, my lawyer, him, his lawyer and the 3rd party. I wish that we didn’t need the lawyers at the session, but I know where our relationship is and how he can play me, and how I always fall for it, so this is the best way to protect me, the kids – to make sure we’re both fair – and keep it out of court. But you’re right. There’s no painless, easy way to do it.

  12. Jen permalink
    May 11, 2011 8:04 am

    in case you were wondering (but more because I feel the need to share somewhere) we made it through mediation. EXHAUSTING. 13 hours – the hardest hours of my life. Far exceeds the exhaustion of labor & delivery. At least at the end of that, you have a bundle of joy. At the end of mediation, you have a bundle of papers. Thankfully they are signed, so I was hoping that would bring some closure, and an ability for us to talk like civilized humans now. Not so much. The finances are sorted. The custody / visitation is agreed upon. Yet still he picks at me about EVERYTHING. So now I am looking for constructive ways to tell him to back off and shut up.

    But, I am glad at least we made it through that milestone, so I am no longer wondering where the rest of the mortgage is coming from.

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