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Breathe in, two, three, four…

August 23, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, LOD and I were in my parents’ living room after the kids went to bed, and he said something. I replied. And then he said something else, and I said something else. And then HE SAID SOMETHING ELSE. AND THEN I SAID SOMETHING FUCKING ELSE!! And we both glared at each other with that I-wish-you’d-die-a-quick-and-noble-death-so-the-kids-could-be-really-proud-of-you-but-I’d-never-have-to-put-up-with-your-brand-of-crazy-ever-again look.

And as I walked away slowly, doing my calming breathing that I learned in prenatal yoga class 10 years ago, I thought, “We haven’t fought like this since we were married, when we were living in the same– Oh.”

Wow. Being in the same living space, even though we tried to not be there at the same time as much as possible, was just trigger city. At least for me. I was constantly on edge and had no emotional reserves whatsoever.

The morning after that fight, LOD found a house to rent. And then he went back to NYC to pack. And, God willing, we will never have to live in the same space again, because it’s a stressful place to be.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. goodyr2012 permalink
    August 24, 2011 1:40 pm

    I hear you and feel your pain. I had to spend three days in a hotel suite with my ex and our son over a year ago as our son was having some surgery in another jurisdiction, during the height of our proceedings. It wasn’t fun but being there with DS was critical. So I am reminded of this when XH asked me to join him and DS on a vacation to CA during this upcoming Christmas break (he’s going through a denial period). As much as I will miss my son (who I will have the week before and including Christmas day), I can’t do it and I wish XH would realize how poisonous we are when we’re together for any longer than a one hour period of time (birthday dinners, concerts, etc.)

    • askmoxie permalink*
      August 24, 2011 1:41 pm

      He wanted you to go on vacation with him?? I’m baffled…

      • goodyr2012 permalink
        August 26, 2011 9:54 am

        Me too. He has asked me several times now since we’ve been separated/divorced. He has a higher income than me so sometimes I feel it’s a bit of “Look what you’re missing out on”. Other than telling him that I have zero interest to vacation with him (which I do tell him), I also tell him that it’s inappropriate in our situation and it would be confusing to our DS. Doesn’t get it. And this is from someone who still owes me the remaining half of our divorce equalization payment.

  2. Kathy B permalink
    August 24, 2011 1:49 pm

    2 hours is my limit with ex. In the last 18 years I have seen him 6 times – at our Daughter’s:

    First Communion
    Confirmation
    Jr High Graduation
    High School Graduation
    Black-Belt ceremony
    College Graduation

    That’s plenty. If she decides to get married, I will have to endure more than 2 hours, but am sure I will be able to keep my distance!

  3. P&P permalink
    August 25, 2011 8:48 am

    I think this is a universal truth; not one just limited to exes. There are several family members I can see for a couple of hours at a time before I lose it. I can handle a few hours at the major family gatherings (Christmas, Easter, etc.) but a week at a cabin? NFW.

    I do care about these people on some fundamental level, but I can’t figure out how to get along with them past dessert and coffe on Thanksgivng.

  4. Kristina permalink
    August 26, 2011 2:34 pm

    I am still living with my ex, for financial reasons. I think that we are going to get along much better when we have two homes – oh dear God I hope so anyway! In some ways it has gotten harder to live together since making the divorce decision, and I am counting down the months, weeks, days, and hours. I think he probably is, too.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      August 26, 2011 2:46 pm

      Kristina, LOD and I were in the same small apartment for 22 months after we decided to split. It was grueling, but at one point I realized there wasn’t anything I could do about it, so I tried to figure out what being in that space together could teach me about myself, about him, and about how we were together and had been together that I wouldn’t have been able to understand if we’d been able to be in our own space right away. I think that time short-cutted my emotionally recovery by about ten years, probably. Stuff I would have wondered about and second-guessed was so stark and undeniable that by the time he moved out it was like being able to push off from the side of the pool instead of just treading water, if that makes sense. I hope you can get some clarity or some other benefit from the enforced time together, too.

      • Kristina permalink
        August 26, 2011 10:21 pm

        22 months? Wow. You deserve a medal of some kind, both of you. I actually am getting some clarity I wouldn’t have had otherwise, now that you mention it. I see how we use our time differently, and how we value different things, and how important it is that we end our marriage in order to save ourselves. I hope to make it a year, but we will see how things go. In the meantime, thanks for offering up the idea that I can benefit from this time, because this is the first I’ve thought of it that way.

      • August 28, 2011 2:09 pm

        It was actually 18 months. But I can see how it might have seemed like 22 to her.

        It was an entirely different experience for me, because I knew I ultimately would have to move out from under the same roof as my two sons, who were 4 and 18 months old, respectively. I spent most of the time paralyzed by sadness and fear of the inevitable day when I told my kids I was moving out. My chest still seizes when I think about it.

  5. Kristina permalink
    August 28, 2011 5:37 pm

    LOD, I ache for you. (For Moxie. For myself. For all of us. But right now, for what you just wrote.) Thank you for sharing that, because what I have viewed as my soon-to-be-ex’s lethargy might actually come from his own chest seizing, because we have agreed that he is the one to move out of the home we have shared, and I will have primary custody. Perhaps he is paralyzed, as you shared, because of his own sadness and fear, instead of from character flaws. This should be obvious, but caught up in it as I am, thank you for reminding me. I want to be compassionate, but this is hard work. So much easier to be compassionate to total strangers than to this man with whom I have shared so much, and I hope that I can change that. (I think I’m generally nice enough. But I sure don’t *feel* compassionate, as much as I’m trying.) Thank you for sharing that painful part of your journey so that I could learn from it. I hope you’re breathing easier now.

  6. Nellie permalink
    August 31, 2011 3:34 am

    I am in the last week of living together with my soon to be ex, 19 months of living together after we decided to split. It wasn’t easy (to put it mildly) but I too learned from it. Mostly, it confirmed the decision to end our marriage. Since we didn’t have to compromise anymore to make our marriage work it became even more clear how much we had actually grown apart. There is no more second guessing our decision, however sad it is, both for us and for our kids. By the time he will move out this weekend I will only feel relief that this part is over, and so ready to move on.
    By the way – I’ve been enjoying your blog and all your advice (and humor) about coparenting!

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