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On the other side

Started by oklahoma, Mar 07, 2007, 09:35:49 AM

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oklahoma

I have been visiting SPARC for about 5 years now, as the wife of NCP and stepmom to two girls.  Now I am divorced, and pretty traumatized by it.  My children and I currently live in one bedroom in my sister's house, we have no car (ex took both, since they were both financed in his name), just barely found a job as a substitute, no child support ordered (since my ex is full-time student and not working.)  My ex has standard every other weekend and alternating holidays--he agreed to it, signed the papers, took them to the judge even though I asked him to just wait a little longer.  I know it sounds crazy, but when we signed the divorce papers, we were hoping to still work things out--he thought we needed a fresh start to our relationship in order to overcome some things he had done.  He remarried exactly 4 weeks after the divorce was final, and spent what would have been our 7th anniversary on his honeymoon.

As I said, I am a bit traumatized by the whole thing--came down very fast.  I am seeing a counselor.  Here is my dilemma, after 5 years of researching and venting and working to see SDs more, I have been advised by my counselor to not allow more visits than what is in the parenting plan.  Everybody, including my ex, says they want me to be "healthy."  And my counselor says that communicating with the ex, setting up extra parenting time, etc. just prolongs the healing process, plus he is just continuing to exercise the control over me that he had while we were married, that I need to be a "tiger" and be strong, and the law is on my side (which I know quite well.)  AAAAggggghhhhhh!!!!  Everyone says that my being "healthy" is the best thing for the kids.

I have more empathy now for the 1st ex, although I would never pull the same trash she did.  I just don't know how to balance the whole getting healthy thing with promoting my children's relationship with their father.  **I** am also losing time with my children--not just when they are with their dad--I told my ex before we were married that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and we have managed that for most of our marriage.  Now I am forced to leave them to go to work.

At their dad's house, they have one big happy family--6 children with 3 BM's, 2 BF's, 3 SM's and 2 SF's, and of course all the half-siblings and step-siblings, and more to come I am sure.  I would never not allow the ordered parenting time, but it just seems like such an unstable situation right now.  Good grief--the day my husband called and told me the divorce was signed and we could move on together, he started dating someone else.

I allow the kids to talk to their dad whenever they want; I don't talk bad about him (just slipped up once--said some stuff about his then girlfriend--they were seeing each other while we were still married--took the kids to see a counselor shortly after.)  The kids seem to be dealing with things very well.  I just don't know what to do about "extra" time.  Is that so horrible?  Can't we just all take time to heal?  


mistoffolees

Tough situation. You have my sympathy.

If I understand your question correctly, you're asking for our thoughts on letting your ex have greater visitation than what's in the parenting plan.

What I don't see is what your ex is asking for. Is it something that hasn't been an issue and you're just trying to clarify things in your own mind or has he been pushing for more time? If the former, I wouldn't push it - focus on getting your own sef-esteem back.

If he's pushing for more time, and being very aggressive about it, I'd stick to my guns and say that the parenting plan needs to be enforced.

If he's asking for more parenting time, but being nice about it, I'd talk with him and say that you're still working through the issues and for everyone's sake you need to reach a new equilibrium and the parenting plan is the best way to do that. You might consider being more flexible later, but right now the kids (and you!) need some stability.

Of course, if it's just the occasional thing (like he wants to take the kids to a family event even outside of his parenting time and it's only a day or so here and there), I'd probably go along with it. It probably won't be that disruptive to stability or anyone's schedule. But if it becomes a regular thing, I'd probably say "I'd like to help, but I don't think we should vary from the stable parenting plan until everyone reaches a new equilibrium. THEN we can talk about exceptions".

However, take that all with a huge grain of salt. I don't know you or him or your circumstances. If you have a very amicable relationship, it's in everyone's interest to maintain it - and that might justify more flexibility on your part. This is where I sometimes disagree with counselors - their role is to focus 100% on your well-being, even if it makes everyone else's life worse. If you had a counselor for the kids, he/she might recommend much greater flexibility, even though it might extend your healing process slightly. Ultimately, you're going to have to balance all of that out.

Genie

it will get better I promise.  And you are doing what you need to do to work in that direction.  My Gosh you have been through alot and most people wouldn't be able to back easily either. Don't beat yourself up about it.

Right now I think you are doing a good job. You aren't denying talking or visiting and are trying to facilitate a relationship between the kids and their Father.  That is all you are expected to do.  Congrats for being the better person and not bitter as many in your situation would do.  You are doing just fine.

Now for the extra time.  Is he asking for it?  It is occasional for special things or a constant request.  If occasional and you think it is something the kids should be there for or would enjoy, then I say let them go.  If it is constant, I would probably have to put my foot down for your own sanity.  Constantly having to deal with issues can wear a person down and you don't need that.

And wow he moved on fast.  Since it sounds like this was a couple month courtship, the likelihood of it lasting is slim.  You need to protect the children from being hurt if they do break up.  They will lose another family in the process.  

oklahoma

Thanks for your supportive responses.  I just think that we all need some time to settle, but my ex-husband has never been the type to wait or settle down for anything--in May he will have completed his entire undergrad education plus law school in 5 1/2 years total.  (And, yeah, it hurts a bit that I stood by him for 5 of those years, and all I will see for it is the child support check.)  I like your thought of reaching a new equilibrium.  I can definitely see myself letting the kids more often--probably a lot more--down the road a year or two, but this is all so new and upsetting right now.  I will have to continue to think about things and figure out what is best for the family.

mistoffolees

If he's just getting ready to finish law school and you were with him while he did it, you may be entitled to spousal support. Did you discuss it with your attorney?