Today was the most amazing day. I had an enormous epiphany that was the final puzzle piece on processing the end of my relationship with D and that gave me so much perspective about what has been going on with F. I’m in such an amazing place and it’s really impossible to explain how happy this epiphany has truly made me.
First, I’m going to share a conversation that happened between F and I today. The time has come to tell our kids about our separation. We’ve been waiting until school is done because our oldest has a lot of separation anxiety when big changes occur. I really didn’t want to tell her that her entire world was changing and then send her off to school. This Thursday being the last day of school means that it’s time. So I messaged F to try to set up a time for us to break the news to them together. This is how it went (I’m pink; F’s blue):
This is the last week of school. I would like to tell #1 (and the other kids) about us separating. This is something I think we should do together. How would you feel about doing it after school on Thursday before you go to your first night shift?
Tell me how you see this looking? I was planning on spending some time packing for camping. How much time do you think we need? Do you think you’d be able to come back at 4pm, and we could do it then? Any thoughts on how to present it to them?
I can definitely come back at 4. I think we should sit the kids down and just tell them that mommy and daddy still love each other, but we aren’t going to be married to each other anymore, and that we are going to live in separate houses. We should tell them that we were fighting all the time as they know, and we get along better when we don’t live together. I think we should tell them that we still both love them and we are all still family even though mommy and daddy aren’t a couple and that mommy and daddy are still working as a team to be their parents. We should tell them that they will still see both of us lots and that it’s OK to love us both and it’s OK to miss one of us and miss when we all lived together. I expect #1 will react very badly, and have a lot of questions.
To add to that, #1 was asking me last night if I like W, and asking me if I think you love her or me more, etc. She knows something is up. I told her that my feelings about W don’t matter because you chose her and it’s not my decision. She tried to argue that you chose me first and that means I’m more important and I basically deflected the situation. Be prepared that she’s going to need your reassurance that this decision was both of ours, not that you left for W. I absolutely will not ever tell the kids that you chose her over me. I promise you that.
Just to clarify there, I did not choose W over you. She actually has nothing to do with this. You asked for a separation. But I agree that this is not something they need to know.
Are you sure you want to do this when you’re going to have them by yourself for several days?
I think #1 already understands. She’s a smart kid. Of course they’re going to react against new partner(s), and want us back together, that’s natural. I think we need to try and minimise the conflict between us that occurs in front of them.
Me asking for a separation is mutually exclusive from you choosing W over me. It doesn’t matter though, you made your choice and that influenced my choice. It’s OK, I’m not blaming her, I blame us.
I do absolutely want to do this when I’m going to have them alone for several days. #1 will need the extra time with me to talk to me and be close to me so I can help her process. I do not want to wait until just before you take them for the weekend or just before she goes on her trip. And honestly, I don’t like having to avoid answering #1’s questions.
I tried a few times to write a response to your comments about, “choosing W over [you]”. This isn’t what happened — but I can understand how you may feel this way, given we haven’t had any real conversation about the causes of the separation. On one hand, I feel like the time we spent together means I owe you explanations of what happened, and that you deserve to hear my perspective. But on the other, I think you’re not ready to listen, and it will only cause more anger and conflict. So I’m going to leave it there.
I think telling them on Thursday puts me in a difficult situation, in that they (especially #1), will have a lot of questions that I won’t be able to answer until Saturday, when we’re off camping. But I’m not seeing a lot of great alternatives. Telling her just before going on her trip would be a nightmare, and I agree that doing it on almost no sleep before going camping is also a bad idea.
I also don’t like avoiding answering questions, I’m glad it will be out in the open, although I suspect they have worked much out themselves in their clever little heads. I am worried about how this is going to affect them, but remain far more worried about how us remaining together would have affected them. At least we know how we’re going to screw them up now. Everyone screws up their kids somehow, this will be our way.
I want to say that I’m not angry at you for this. We are not a good combination together, and became (or maybe always have been?) toxic. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, any more than it makes me a bad person. It just means the combination of us doesn’t work. I wish you happiness in the future, and hope that you can find someone who meets your needs better than I could. I hope that you’re doing ok.
No matter what, your perspective and my perspective are going to be different. You have a dialogue, I have mine. Somewhere in the middle is the truth. If you want to tell me what you think happened, I will be happy to hear it. But as you said, it’s not necessary. I hope to one day be friends again, because it will be good for the kids, and honestly, most of the time, I like you. I think that you choosing to have W in your life will complicate our friendship, but that is the choice you have made. For what it’s worth, I’m glad you are happy with her, even if I don’t like her and I’m concerned about the influence she will have over our kids in the future.
Honestly, I may have been the one to ask for the official separation, but you left our marriage a long time before I did. I was just the one to pull the trigger, but we were both done. I dislike that you keep saying “You asked for this”. I didn’t ask for this, but I did choose it, because it was the right decision, and I suspect you wouldn’t have chosen yourself. I think that when I look back at our relationship, there is a theme that presents itself. I don’t like to say toxic, because it wasn’t all bad. There were some really great times. The last six months were awful. I thought at one point that that awful was new, but realized that it wasn’t new, it was just more frequent. When I thought back through our 14 years together, I realized that the dysfunction had always been there, it just took the addition of 3 new people in our lives to expose those cracks in our foundation. When we didn’t acknowledge those cracks or even try to repair them, it crumbled. It crumbled in a horrible awful way because we were both too stubborn to acknowledge our roles and work together or pull the plug sooner. Stepping off that roller coaster was the best thing I could do for myself, for you, and for our kids. It was the best thing for our marriage to end it. You and I both know that. There are times when you and I chat now that I remember why I married you. I’m glad I have that back, because it had been nearly a year since I felt that way. It helps remind me that I do want to parent with you because you are a good dad. I think as things settle down, we will get better. There will be challenges that we haven’t faced before, but in the end, I believe we will do what is best for the kids always.
As for me, there will never be some”one” for me. I am polyamorous – acknowledging that and embracing it was life changing in the most amazing way. What it means for my future, I don’t know, but I’m really really really happy knowing who I am and living the life I was meant to. It doesn’t make it easy, lord knows I’ve suffered a lot in the last six months, but it is worth it to me.
As for the conversation with the kids, the reality is that we are not going to both be with the kids for them to ask us questions together. That’s the very basic fact of what we are telling them. It will take them time to process. If #1 needs to talk to you, I can call you and you can talk to her. It will be OK. But this isn’t screwing up the kids. Screwing up the kids was what we did from November to March.
I wouldn’t focus so much on W. It will be a minor miracle if that relationship survives our separation. Also, you really don’t know the first thing about her — you never got to know her.
I think we will be able to be friends and make this work amicably. We’re obviously going to have disagreements, but I think it’s important to both of us to maintain a strong parenting relationship moving forwards for the sake of the kids.
I think sometimes that the children helped keep us together. Suddenly we had these amazing little people that we were in love with, and we saw that love reflected in each other. I also feel I have some responsibility for not having the self esteem to leave the relationship earlier – but, at the same time, I’m glad we had the four amazing kids that we had.
I’m glad that finding polyamory has made you happy. I also think that kids are very resilient, and will deal with this.
I’m not focused on W at all, apart from the instigation, rumours, and general defamation of my character that she likes to partake in, both to my face and to others who will listen, I couldn’t actually care less about her. I just don’t want her to hurt the kids. My separation is with you, and I work very hard to focus on what you and I need to do to work together, but it’s also obvious that a third person is influencing things. I’m fortunate to have partners who don’t get involved.
I, too, am glad that we have the kids we did, the frequent pregnancies and crazy changes we experienced certainly inhibited us from really seeing what our relationship was. We looked at events instead of happiness as a whole. I, too, acknowledge my responsibility for not leaving you earlier. I think that the fact that I wasn’t living authentically meant that I settled for something that didn’t make me happy for a long time. I truly thought we were good when I proposed polyamory last August. I didn’t doubt my love for you. I’m sorry that I hurt you along the way and that it took me until now to know myself. But how amazing is it that we both know that we weren’t happy and can pursue what we really want in life? With the best kids in the world to join the adventure?
Thursday at 4 it is.
“But how amazing is it that we both know that we weren’t happy and can pursue what we really want in life? With the best kids in the world to join the adventure?”
I like that sentiment.
The journey we take together is apart. That’s OK!
I have no idea what that means, but good luck!
Hahaha. I got too philosophical!
I meant that we have had a life’s journey together that brought us to this point, and now we are on parallel journeys to create the life we want, still together because of our wonderful kids, but apart.
It made sense in my head.
I like this conversation. Thank you.
Me too. You’re welcome.
There is so much awesome in this conversation. From both of us presenting our feelings and listening and accepting the other’s perspective, to the acknowledgement from both of us that we are doing the right thing by separating, to the discussion of how to have a difficult conversation with the four people we love most in the world, to the support and encouragement from each of us to the other with regards to creating the lives we want.
The second thing I want to write about is a conversation I had with a coworker today. He has chosen to leave his wife in the last few weeks. On paper, they have a great marriage. There really isn’t an obvious reason he’s not happy that an outside observer could identify, but he’s not happy. He doesn’t find his relationship fulfilling and wants something different. He’s been trying to explain this to his wife and she doesn’t understand it. Of course, she is trying to understand and is making her own conclusions about why he’s doing what he’s doing. She’s concluded that he’s depressed and that is the reason he blames their relationship for his unhappiness. It’s such a natural thing for a person to do – to try to understand something because it’s hard to accept without understanding, and to make up a reason that makes sense to them. In fact, I did that exact thing, actively, as part of my process of mourning the loss of my relationship with D and less consciously as part of my processing the dysfunction in my relationship with F. I sat in my office, listened to his story, and said: “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, as long as you are making the decisions that make you happy.”
As those words came out of my mouth, I had my epiphany. I realized that what I was saying applied to D too. It doesn’t matter what I think or feel or even why he did it. It doesn’t matter that the decision he made for himself hurt me deeply. He made a decision for himself because he decided it was what he needed to do to be happy. While I was more heartbroken than I’ve ever been before, the love I had for him allows me to be very happy for him now that I understand that he knows himself well enough to make decisions for his own happiness.
As I sat thinking about this revelation, I realized that it also applies to F. We have walked a path together and at the fork in the road, we chose different paths. Those paths are now parallel, because we always need to be near to our children, but they are our own individual paths to walk that we each get to choose for ourselves. We get to make our own decisions about what makes us happy, who we bring along on our journeys, and how we get there.
This epiphany meant that I suddenly felt very happy for D. I suddenly felt very happy for F. Even more, I felt very happy for myself. We are all making decisions that make us happy and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.