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New member intro, seeking coping suggestions

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ninon posted 3/5/2018 11:05 AM

I found out Thanksgiving Weekend via an unknown emailer (turns out it was the OW's ex; she had done this to him, too) and when I confronted my husband--I screamed and sobbed and raged at him for hours--he said he wanted to end the marriage. There was some discussion about this with the existing couples' therapist (who had previously been reliable, but was absolutely awful/one-sided in her support of him after the affair surfaced), but it quickly became apparent that he felt no remorse and was not interested in me or in trying to repair the relationship. He is high on his affair, which is ongoing, and has been observed with a real "jump in his step" by mutual friends, many of whom have ended all meaningful contact with him (I have also lost two friends along the way who won't acknowledge the cruelty of what he's done). We have an almost-9-year-old son who, unfortunately, was present at the moment of revelation, though whisked away quickly, and who has been in terrible distress, including making frequent suicidal statements (I have him in a support group and am trying to find the right child psychologist for individual therapy); his distress surfaces consistently when it is time to go to his father, who is trying to dictate an immediate 50/50 schedule (the norm, ultimately, in my state) without mediation or a parenting plan. I filed in early February, which he feels was somehow "aggressive." All his communications to me are hostile, as though he is the aggrieved party.

I moved last month into a wonderful rental house in a great neighborhood with a backyard, and adopted the dearest, most loyal rescue dog for me and my son; it is a true family home. My ex rented an all-glass penthouse-style apartment with no bedroom for our child; I'm sure his mother is paying the bulk of his rent. He remains on the market for jobs in other states (and possibly overseas), and I worry that, at some point, he could try to take our son away, though my lawyer says the chances he could succeed are remote.

Emotionally, I am really struggling. The marriage was in trouble over the last three years due to his under-employment/refusal to consider positions "beneath him" (and my resentment of this and of being forced to be the primary breadwinner on just a moderate salary in a HCOL area), and the return of some chronic health issues of mine for which he offered no support. That said, the previous 10 years had been absolutely magical, and I still hoped we would find our way back to each other; indeed, I was still tying to address his hurts and mend things the very morning I found out.

I wake up everyday feeling like I'm drowning, still shocked that he could "throw me away" (for me, this experience feels like abandonment; my therapist says it is a form of emotional domestic violence, especially given his absence of remorse, the vast power differentials between us, and the ways he has dehumanized me since and really before the split). I have a community here, but no family, and I feel like I need contact with someone everyday my son is not with me to keep from spiraling into despair. I know I need to seed various forms of support (yoga, a divorce support group, etc.; I'm already in IC) into my week, but without a predictable or agreed-upon parenting schedule, I have found that hard to do. I have a wonderful, rewarding job with incredibly supportive colleagues, but I feel like I am just barely showing up and am going to need to be more present in the coming months.

Any advice on how to survive just 3 months out from d-day? The hardest part for me is that some physical symptoms, which were getting under control, have kicked up again, which supports his narrative, I fear, of my being unlovable.

Sorry so long--thanks for reading/listening.

[This message edited by ninon at 4:48 PM, March 5th (Monday)]

justbreathe74 posted 3/5/2018 11:43 AM

Hi there,

I am so sorry you are going through this. It is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person. It is great that you are reaching our for support. This site was a great place for me to start connection and sharing in a safe was what I was going through.

Keep reaching out! You will find a lot of support here.

Things that helped me early on was plugging in my headphones a walking at whatever speed feels rights listening to music that feels right for your mood but ending with happy.

Pick one things you've always wanted to do.. (I picked something my ex was against me doing) and start working towards that goal.

At work, try to focus on completing one key task at a time.

It's been said to me many times, and unfortunately it is true.. in time it will get better and easier.

You are worthy of love, and nothing you did, said or didn't do or say justifies an affair. Don't let his dysfunction affect your self worth.

Take care of you first, self care can make a huge difference.

Please take gentle care.

Gablestitch posted 3/5/2018 12:04 PM

First, welcome. As to how do you survive? One day at a time. You put your DS and yourself first. WH opinion of you does not matter at this point. I know it's tough to detach from that idea. If you haven't yet, read in the healing library. It will help.

Has your lawyer filed for custody yet? Once that is underway and signed, you'll have a more consistent schedule. Meanwhile, try to keep all communication through text or email. Just because things are one way now does not mean it needs to remain that way. Document everything.

And post here when you need to. We completely understand where you are coming from. I am at this exact moment ignoring texts from my WH about what a terrible mother I am. You will get through this.

ohforanewme posted 3/5/2018 12:05 PM

Hi ninon

Truly sorry that you have had to find yourself here, but I can say from very personal experience, these are good folk all.

We each have our own speciality as it were, so you get all the care you need.

The family home, the yard, the Dog. All spot on.

Lawyer, yes, that is the most important firts step.

Then, what got me through were my 2 precious people. Allow your lad to be a support to you. I needed mine as support for me (I also have no family here). At first I worried that I was putting even more on those poor little shoulders, but in the end we became a more tightly knit dream, and they felt as if they were contributing.

Be kind to yourself.

We are here for you


Simplicity posted 3/5/2018 12:24 PM

I made a list of goals. And I worked on them. I got the help of some great medicine for a few months. Really helped me sleep and just get through the day. I ate whatever I could keep down, mostly ice cream at one point. I watched a lot of television, and avoided triggery shows. I met up with every friend that could make time for me. I tried a lot of new things, pole dancing, painting, aerial silks, cardio kick boxing, etc. I reached out to my family. I found time to cry. I posted here. I traveled, a lot! I wrote my STBX letters everyday telling how I felt (but didn't send them, I no longer do this). I tried my best at no contact (and failed many times). I also did some mean things (that I had the lucky? Opportunity to do) that made me feel a little better (not a lot), and I don't regret it. I hugged my sister's dog. I went shopping! I went to the salon! I went to the spa! Nails were done more frequently than ever before!

I don't know what on the list of things I did you can do, or what is good for you, but that really helped me. Now is the time to draw on support system. Now is the time, more than ever, to pay attention to your health. Now is the time to make plans for your own future, to protect yourself. The focus is you. You will start to feel better, then there will be moments you feel you've been thrusted backwards, then you will work your way out if that, too.

As I was told many times, you do you!

WhoTheBleep posted 3/5/2018 12:25 PM

(((ninon)))

Huge hugs to you. You just joined the best club no one wants to be in. The people here are amazing, and we've all got your back. Keep posting. The veterans here will get you through this. I'm struggling like you, with 3 little ones. I'll be following your story. Chin up, dig deep, bitch boots on. You'll survive and thrive!

ninon posted 3/5/2018 12:28 PM

Thank you all so much--I can't tell you how much I appreciate your replies.

Justbreathe, in particular, pursuing something which my husband didn't support--a creative project, in my case--will be important healing work for me. Thank you for affirming that.

Gablestitch, we have not filed for custody yet. It appears that 50/50 is the only option, though I would prefer something with slightly more time with my son, both because that is what he is asking for--and what I believe he needs, for the moment at least--and because it would set a precedent that would bar my husband from taking him out of state. We need mediation towards a parenting plan first and foremost; I am hoping to speak with a psychologist who can help perform this function later today.

Ohforanewme, can I ask how old your son was when you were in the midst of this? My son is emotionally closer to me, but I worry about how much grief and anger he has already seen me display, and i know I need to be better at concealing how I feel about his father. That is separate, maybe, from the ways he might be a support in our new life together, but it's on my mind.

Edited to add replies to Simplicity and Whothebleep:

Simplicity, thank you for sharing that vivid, inspiring list. I have tried to do something similar, but my goals are too practical at the moment. I was supposed to travel out of the country just days after I learned of the affair, but I canceled the trip to remain with my son. I'm planning to reschedule for September. 10 days or two weeks in Europe, including a few solo days in Paris, sounds about right, provided I can do this without jeopardizing anything in terms of custody. I might even be able to bring my son.

Whothebleep, thank you for responding! I'm sorry you are going through this too, and with three little ones. I can already feel what an awesome community this is...as I grow stronger I hope to provide that support and knowledge to others too.

Again, thank you all. I'm so grateful to have discovered this place.

[This message edited by ninon at 12:41 PM, March 5th (Monday)]

NiceGuySF posted 3/5/2018 13:48 PM

ninon,

Welcome. I'm glad you found us, even under these terrible circumstances.

I can see that you are healing and coping as best as you can, and are making the right moves (got yourself out of infidelity, filed, got a place for you and your son to make a home).

Seems like right now most of the anxiety is around how this is affecting your son, which I think is spot on (though I want to help you make plans to get rid of the anxiety):

a) Parenting schedule: First off, decide what sort of custody you want, and then propose it. Go through the lawyers if it's clear he isn't going to negotiate this. Keep things in email and be very reasonable and stress your concern for making a stable, consistent, supportive plan for your son. I think the schedule now will set a precedent for later. Start keeping track of the schedule of overnights your son is having. My guess is that he may push for 50/50, but may not actually be able to make it work. So if in the end he's only doing 70/30, that would set a precedent too. But if he's willing/able to make 50/50 work, then you may want to work with that.

b) Out of state issue: start laying the groundwork with you attorney for pushing for full custody if your stbx plans to move out of state. My understanding is that, generally, judges don't allow a parent to move a child without agreement of the other parent. He's free to move away, but not free to move away his child. I think more information here from you attorney can start alleviating that anxiety. Don't discuss this with stbx... it seems like right now he is not in the frame of mind to be reasonable, and may lash out at you (as a way of projecting his own anger/shame, etc.).

c) child therapist. I'm glad you are getting support for your son. Just keep on supporting him.

It's a tough road to travel, but you'll get out on the other side!

ohforanewme posted 3/5/2018 14:19 PM

My DS was 9 on D Day, but we thought that we hid it all through our disastrous year of attempted R. He was 10 when we finally told the kids. They both knew.

That year was the worst thing I ever did to my kids. It was like me being a wayward, lying to the ones I loved the most to "protect" them.

Just denied them the ability to deal with what their reality was.

You could see the stress lift when we all started living honestly.

The idea of an interest is a good one. My little ones and I tackled a sleeper car project. Great fun. Therapeutic and gave them something to be proud of

ninon posted 3/5/2018 16:29 PM

Nice Guy,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and affirming reply.

Unfortunately, my STBX is capable of 50/50 because of the nature of our field and because he doesn't really work FT (he does, formally, according to the requirements of the institution; mind you, he only has his job because my employer did me a favor in hiring him. Given what has happened, he is likely to no longer be hired to do the same amount of work, so he may soon find himself scrambling). At minimum, I want to advocate for 60/40 while our son is adjusting to the situation and still showing signs of distress; I'm hoping the psychologist will be able to work with all three of us individually (longer term with our son) and make some recommendations re. approaching the parenting plan.

I have asked my lawyer about the risk of STBX trying to take our son out of state a number of times and she consistently has said it's possible but unlikely given that our community and all the continuity in his life are here with me. I also do not believe my son would agree to move with his father. Nonetheless, I wanted to get something in writing about my getting full/primary custody if STBX chooses to leave, but my lawyer said any lawyer of his would advise him not to agree (to my knowledge, he still hasn't hired a lawyer, which is complicating and stalling the whole process. His father, who practiced a different kind of law in another state, is whispering all kinds of paranoid misinformation in his ear, which is making matters even worse).

ninon posted 3/5/2018 16:38 PM

Ohforanewme,

Thanks so much for your reply--I'm sorry you are going through this, too.

What you have shared supports my decision to respond to my son's questions in a way that is honest while still protecting him and being developmentally appropriate (his father, of course, wanted to continue lying about the whole thing). Since he already understood a lot on his own (he asked both me and his father repeatedly if his dad was leaving to start a new family, etc.), I told him his father left me to be with another woman, that the separation and divorce were his decisions, and that when a couple is married they are not supposed to have relationships with other people. I believe he deserves to know the truth about the sudden destruction of his family, and that perpetuating his father's lies would harm him more in the long run. Someday he'll be able to describe his own experience of all this, of course; I can only hope that I've done the right thing.

harrybrown posted 3/5/2018 21:04 PM

Glad that you are there for your son.

He does need one parent that really cares about him.

Sorry for your pain. You will be better off without him. Let the other person have him.

do something that you like to do.

exercise helps me.

but your fun maybe shopping or time with your son.

hope you have better days ahead.

ninon posted 3/6/2018 01:46 AM

Thanks, Harry Brown--I really appreciate it.

I reread the replies above and I should have said that I have actually had my son with me the majority of the time since STBX walked out, so the precedent that I am the primary parent has been set and he is working to undo it.

I sent him an angry email tonight and bcc'd my lawyer (perhaps I shouldn't have, but since he doesn't have a lawyer yet and ignores my lawyer's emails, it it is difficult to simply rely on "official channels") re. how I will not allow him to dictate the schedule. He emailed me tonight saying he had purchased plane tickets for our son's spring break without waiting to hear if those dates were congruent with my plans for him, and I just lost it, telling him that I had thrown out the marked up calendar he sent me as it was not a mutual or binding document, and that we need mediation and a parenting plan! He has ignored every adjustment I have tried to implement to make the schedule more comfortable for our son (and to get him to agree to stay with his father in the first place); he also continues to schedule elective travel (a Bruce Springsteen concert in NY with his mom!) and expects to be compensated for those missed days upon his return. He has another trip coming up and had written some sort of accommodation into his "master schedule," but I said arrangements needed to me made in consultation with me and, hopefully, with the therapist who has offered to help mediate.

I feel like I'm losing my mind. You cheat on me while I'm financially supporting you, abandon me for your mistress, and now you're going to tell me unilaterally when and how I can see our son? Of course he didn't want me to hire a lawyer and file--he wants to be in control.

[This message edited by ninon at 9:41 AM, March 6th (Tuesday)]

ninon posted 3/6/2018 01:47 AM

[This message edited by ninon at 9:21 AM, March 6th (Tuesday)]

ninon posted 3/6/2018 01:47 AM

Sorry for the duplicate post--I'm not sure what happened.

ohforanewme posted 3/6/2018 03:43 AM

Hi ninon

Thought I might just share a little on my kids and the approaches that they and I took to the D.

My DD is 16, old enough to make her own choices in terms of our law, and from the outset, wanted to have nothing to do with her mom. I battled with that at first but then was given some useful insights and support by folk on my original JFO thread and in time have realised that her relationship with her mom is not my responsibility. All I try to show by example is that, while I can hate what XWW did to us, and that it is okay for me to never want to have her as part of my life again, I can still show respect and even some compassion to her.

In terms of my DS, he hates what his mom did to me, but he still loves her and now sees himself as the man in her life and her protector. I am quite fine with that. Actually love seeing that in him. It is giving me a glimpse of the man he will grow up to be, and I can see that one day, when he makes his own choice of life partner, he will be loving, protective and caring towards her. What more can a dad ask of his son? I would imagine that your lad will feel towards you, exactly what my man feels for his mom, but maybe even a little more, as you were not the perpetrator of the crime. I show, both through my words and actions, that I support the way he feels and acts towards his mom, and that I actually love him more because of it. I dont want him feeling any quilt towards me because of what he feels and does.

What I do try and do with DS, is constantly nourish him and our relationship. We have the car project, which is a source of great pride for both the kids, and we take it for a drive on most weekends and seek out spots where their friends might be so that we can park it conspicuously and let the low burble than emanates from the modified engine and custom exhaust, compete with the sound from the top of the range sound system, as they bounce off the walls all around us. I even let them play some of the most awful sounding music, well, at least to my ears, just so that the depth of that base can be shown at its best. Who cares if all my acquaintances think that good old Ohfor is having a midlife crisis, my kids friends think that 2PP have the coolest dad in town.

XWW would never allow pets. They now have pets. 8 Bunnies in fact, but this was not just me being a soft parent, trying to use a bribe to earn affection. I am teaching them responsibility and lessons in love through this. DS has found that he loves bunnies so much that he has joined as a volunteer at a bunny rescue park in the area. I let him know that it is not easy and requires commitment so, if it was something he wanted to do he would need to sign up for at least a year, which he did. He is loving it so much, I dont need to pester him to go on his committed days. He is up early, waking me to make sure we get there on time. Something along these lines might be good for your lad.

Also, we make special just "Dad and Lad" experiences. Things like me picking him up early from his mom's on boxing day and the 2 of us going to the first showing of "Star Wars" on the day. It was great. It was just us and 2 other folk in the largest cinema in the country. We imagined that we were rulers of a country and a special showing was put on just for us. We got to have a burger breakfast, and, I can imagine all the moms yelling out at me, "how can you let a kid have a burger for breakfast?". That is precisely what XWW would have said, and why this was a first for us men. Well, we did, it was fun, and neither of us died, or put on any weight. But I got to have a fun experience with my lad.

I hope that sharing this might be of some help to you.

ohforanewme posted 3/6/2018 03:58 AM

Oh, and on the duplicate post. Don't worry, we all do it.

I usually then just go in and edit the 2nd one, delete everything and just post;

"Sorry, Duplicate post"

I learnt that from some of the wise elders who, as SI legends, still manage to get the odd duplicate in.

Chrysalis123 posted 3/6/2018 06:03 AM

Welcome...getting ready to leave for work but wanted to say your initial posts had many indicators that you are dealing with a man with a personality problem such as sociopath/ narcissist. Read up on those issues-

The lack of working (using other people to get his needs met) gas lighting, lying, smear campaign (counselor-lost friends), his victim stance, an apartment without a room for his son, grandiosity -jobs are beneath him, the magical 10 years indicates the mask slipped, and finally his brutal discard of you and your son.

Welcome and I am sorry you are here.

ninon posted 3/6/2018 09:33 AM

Ohforanewme,

Thank you very much for the beautiful description of your connection with your children and the way you make your time together meaningful. I want this too, though I am admittedly so under-resourced at the moment that I don't always succeed in cultivating those kinds of moments. I also don't want my son to feel any responsibility for me or my feelings about the D., and I want him and his father to have a strong relationship. That, in part, is why I have been so worried that his father has been willing to take him "under duress," i.e., instructing me to physically deliver him even when screaming in protest. This has happened very quickly for me and our son--I simply ask for a gentler ramp-up to the ultimate schedule, that the terms of the schedule be mutually agreed upon, and that the schedule take our son's feelings and wishes into account (I wouldn't say this if we were simply dealing with "adjustment" issues; screaming about wanting to die for hours is another thing entirely that I think requires a different response). It is clear that we need a child development specialist to help us do this skillfully. I'm hopeful that the psychologist I scheduled with yesterday will be that person.

ninon posted 3/6/2018 09:40 AM

Chrysallis,

I appreciate your mentioning possible NPD, et al. My therapist has suggested the same at certain moments. STBX's actions/attitudes are also products of his immense privilege socially/culturally, and his resulting sense of entitlement. I have always known this about him, but I only became a resented sign of his thwarted ambition when we moved to a new state for my job, and he felt unseen and unrewarded professionally. Now that he has left me, his professional situation might be changing (not the karmic result I was hoping for...), which is part of his "triumph."

[This message edited by ninon at 9:49 AM, March 6th (Tuesday)]

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