We are happier

the three of us are

closer than we were before.

we are happier


8:00am

It is so good to have the boys back with me again. I always miss them when they are with their mother but it is brought into sharper focus when I have them…how much more fulfilled my life feels. I enjoy the time I get to spend with them. Our relationship has gotten better (and we have always been really close) since I have quit drinking. We laugh and have fun more. I still have that stern, “I’m your father and I have expectations!” thing because you know…I am and I do. It just seems easier, more relaxed…I don’t know what word fits best…not organic… somewhere between relaxed and natural. Whatever word best embodies that emotion.

I have to admit to a sense of pride in myself. I can look back on how I was doing, day to day before Michelle left me to where I am now and see a happier person. Don’t get me wrong, I am still sad about Michelle and I. The happiness is just a general, underlying state of being. The background noise is happy. It’s my first position (if I can use a dancing term).

Drinking has recently been difficult. The cravings have been more frequent. I went to dinner with some friends at a place that makes great cocktails and someone ordered their “Perfect Old Fashion”. I could feel the desire to have one in my chest. It was uncomfortable.

 

It is okay to be selfish (sometimes)

9:00am

I had an interesting conversation with a friend at Brad’s soccer game. She is friens with Michelle and sees her from time to time. She is glad Michelle and I broke up. More accurately, she said she hopes we don’t get back together. I asked why. She said it wouldn’t be good for Michelle, me, or the boys. She said Michelle has so many ideas and plans for her future and she is obviously so very happy about having freedom. She doesn’t think Michelle regrets us breaking up…in fact she knows Michelle is truly grateful she isn’t limited by having a partner/spouse and children. She told me she imagines 10-15 years into the future with Michelle and I married. She can see Michelle wishing her life had been different than having a family and being bitter at me for that. I agree with Cindy. At the end of the day, Michelle liked being with me and the boys, she just doesn’t want the responsibility and obligation(s) that come with it. I’ve been thinking and saying this for months now. She validated it.

Michelle wanted to want to be a wife and (step)mother…but faced with the obligations and responsibilities, she hated it. We made her feel trapped. What I am about to say is a statement of fact, not judgement. Michelle is being a selfish person. It is normal for a person who does not have children to think and behave this way. She is not interested in suborning her needs for the needs of a/our family. My friend is right. If Michelle had stayed with me and the boys, she would have eventually been unhappy.

I wish Michelle could be okay being selfish. Instead she feels guilt. For her that manifests itself in anger and denial. It explains why she has been so hateful and cruel.

I feel sad. Last night I cried as I was processing this. This is cathartic. The catharsis comes when I think about dating. There is no chance Michelle and I will work our way back to each other so I don’t feel guilty as I imagine being with other women.

Chicago is calling

8:45am

I am getting excited about Chicago.

I should throw and asterix on that statement. I wish Michelle was coming with me and she could enjoy the Hamilton ticket I got her for her 30th birthday. I was thinking about her this morning. The way I have approached sobriety is the same way I quit smoking. One day at a time, putting more time between the last day I drank till today. Create new habits, new muscle memory that is how I’ve been able to not smoke for 8 years, how I’ve been able to not drink for 14 weeks, and how I‘ll get over Michelle. The more distance I put between her leaving me and now, the better I am going to be.

I am getting excited about Chicago.* Hamilton is going to be amazing. There was an interview with the actor who played King George in the original cast production on Fresh Air the other night. It made me more excited to see the show. I wish the boys could come with me. They are with their mother.

I have decided for Christmas we are staying in Omaha. I had thought about going to Manhattan. I have to be honest with myself. The only reason I was going to Manhattan is I know Michelle will be in Brooklyn at the same time and I’d want her to see us on Facebook and feel bad. The boys and I are going to look at going over their spring break. That is the right reason to go. Not some lame/stalking attempt to ensure Michelle feels shitty.

Son being bullied

8:15am

Brad is being bullied at school. It’s by a girl he doesn’t know. She asked him to come over by her desk and then promptly kicked him in the groin. She got into trouble. The dean told him if she said anything to him in any way to let him know. He assured me they took the incident seriously and would not tolerate any kind of bullying. This morning I asked Brad if she has said anything to him? His teacher asked him to pass out a completed test. When he handed the girl’s to her she told him, “don’t touch my paper.” This is a continuation of her bullying. She is testing the waters to see what she can continue to get away with. What is most frustrating about this is Brad was physically assaulted and because it is a girl he is unable to respond in kind. We’ll see what comes of this. I’m pretty angry right now.

What kind of home life does this kid have? Her lashing out is just her way of venting frustrations she doesn’t understand or know how to deal with. Knowing that tugs at the strings of empathy…until it’s your kid she is “venting” at…so fuck her, that little asshole!!!!!!

The ex-wife (cue the eye roll)

she is selfish. my

continued surprise is the

only shocking thing


8:30am

I have a much better attitude today. I got a really hard work out in and read my book for a few hours last night. It was super relaxing. I had a dream about my brother last night. It was short…a flash really. I was at the family business in Arizona picking up Dennis and Brad. I was walking past Patrick’s office and just said “hey” as I walked by. That was it. I woke up, turned over in bed, and fell right back to sleep.

Collette (my ex-wife) really pissed me off the past 2 weekends. She scheduled her annual girls’ trip the weekend she had the boys. Aside from her selfishness, that part didn’t piss me off. I got to have the boys for the weekend. What did was she asked me if she could start her week the following week early so she could “make up” the time she lost with the boys. I thought that was great. She has never asked that before and I figured she was placing a value on time spent with the boys…which she typically doesn’t. They went up to her girlfriend Maija’s cabin. She spent all of Saturday at a chili cook-off event and the boys spent that time at the cabin with Inta and Tom (Maija’s parents). I know because Brad called me to chat because he was bored. Dennis went to bed early for the same reason. So much for quality time, right? I was going to call Collette and chew her ass out but thought better of it. In the future I just won’t let her have the kids on my time. If she wants to schedule vacations when she is supposed to be a mother that is her problem not mine.

 

Strength

clarity is (comes

when it wants. rushed…you dilute

its poignancy) strength


7:30am

Wednesday…what to write about? I’m taking Friday off to spend some quality time with Dennis (he doesn’t have school). I’m excited about hanging out with just the two of us. He is at the age where he generally isn’t interested in doing that as much.

I feel great today. I keep doing the things that work when I get upset or sad about Michelle: exercise, read, take a bath, etc, etc. It helps with sleeping. I don’t have any repetitive, obsessive thoughts. This morning, Brad asked me about sleeping and if I am getting enough. I asked why he was asking. He said, “I don’t know…you don’t seem as tired in the mornings.” We talked about drinking and how some people use alcohol to help them get to sleep. I explained it actually makes for a very restless sleep. He asked me what people who can’t sleep should do. I told him use the techniques we’ve both learned to quiet our minds and eliminate the swirling, obsessive thoughts. He liked that.

The three of us had an interesting end to the night last night. We watched the “Nosedive” episode of Black Mirror. In it a character has an epic, public meltdown. When the show was over I asked the kids if they understood why she had her meltdown. They did…they could see her stress building and building to an explosion. I told them that is what happened to Michelle when she lost it in Arizona. I explained the way their Aunt Rae and Uncle Patrick (mostly Rae) had treated her and her efforts to ignore it caused so much stress those weeks she finally cracked under the strain. She didn’t have any control once she cracked. I think they finally understand what happened that evening back in July.

 

What works

I am Regret. I

force questions that do not have

answers. I loathe sleep.


9:00am

Monday morning I sent Michelle a photo of Brad and his soccer team after they won their tournament with a brief description of the weekend both boys had. I sent her the picture because I thought she loves my boys and would like to hear about them. On my drive home from work I received the following text from her:

Michelle: I don’t see the need for us to have any more contact. I will not be responding to any more messages.

I was so upset. I have been feeling so good about things. Thursday I get all weird and freaked out about going on a date with a different woman then this. What the fuck? I did what works. I had a brutal workout, spent quality time with my boys, cried a little bit, talked to my dog, took a long hot bath, and read my book. By the time I was in bed I felt better.

I had some choice things to say back to her immediately after she sent me the text.

Me: Yeah, I can see that from your perspective. Why keep in contact with people you really never cared for to begin with. You are a cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive person. You kept that hidden for over three years. I don’t know if that is admirable or terrifying. You always said the song “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations was our song as a couple. Talk about foreshadowing huh?

About 5 minutes after I sent that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have. Now, I don’t have any regrets. Fuck Michelle and the space she keeps taking up in my head and my heart!! She IS cruel, unforgiving and vindictive. I am sending her the following text and then I am blocking her number from my cell phone as well.

Me: Yesterday, for about 30 minutes, I felt bad I sent that text. That was it. I stand by it. You ARE cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive. I should have included selfish, naïve, and immature as well. You’ve allowed one moment to define everything. You can’t allow I am capable of change because you are NOT capable of change. You have told me to “go fuck yourself” and that “you ruined my life and I fucking hate you.” I wish I had it in me to respond in kind…I don’t.

I’ll leave you with this: your actions the last 13 weeks and 2 days has as much to do with us being apart as anything I have done. One day, you will look back on our life together (our family) and you will regret leaving. You will miss us.

I sent this as a text and as an email. I have blocked her on my phone and email.

 

Not ready

8:00am

What a weekend!! I was so busy. Dennis had a swim meet in Lincoln both Saturday and Sunday. Warm-ups started at 7am so that had us on the road at 6am. Brad had a soccer tournament as well. I was up and moving from 5am till 10pm both days. I’m still exhausted. As far as sporting success goes, both boys had huge weekends. Dennis dropped a remarkable amount of time. Brad’s team won their tournament. I missed Brad’s Sunday morning game they won to make the championship. I had 7 parents come up to me and tell me the only reason we won that morning was because of Brad and his outstanding goal keeping. The championship went to shoot outs and Brad saved the day again. He was so happy. Dennis was to. He has been working so hard at practice. I’m proud of both of them.

I had a date scheduled this past Thursday evening. It was with a woman I met at a coffee shop. She chatted me up and we ended up exchanging phone numbers. We texted for a few days and agreed to go to dinner. I couldn’t do it. I cancelled Thursday afternoon. It felt wrong. It felt like I was cheating on Michelle. The interest she had in me was flattering but I’m SO not ready to be romantic with anyone.

Love is a behavior

8:00am

Real love is a behavior not an emotion. It doesn’t matter how we “feel” if we have no action or “works”. An abusive spouse may feel they love their partner but the abuse says otherwise. A cheating wife may feel she loves her husband but the infidelity says otherwise…and so on and so on. Since our break up, I have tried so hard to make myself a better person. I can look back on the last 12 weeks and really say this has been a demonstration of my love for my children and Michelle.

Michelle doesn’t love me. It’s that simple. It is so clear looking at it through the prism of “love is a behavior not an emotion”. In fact, reflecting on our relationship, it makes me question if she ever did. I think she loved the idea I represented and the comfort my money provided. I say this because when we came to our first, real crisis she ran like a prisoner who sees freedom for the first time in 3 1/2 years. She has never looked back. Since then she has: misrepresented my actions, twisted my words, insulted my integrity, maligned me as a father, consistently said horribly cruel things (with the sole intention of hurting me), tried to manipulate my emotions for her financial benefit (health care), lied/went behind my back to try and maintain a relationship with my kids, and who knows what else. I guess the last one would be an example (all be it a misguided one) of her loving the boys. Her actions speak volumes about how she feels. She doesn’t love me. The only regrets she has with our relationship failing is losing Dennis and Brad and the material benefits that come with being with me. My “demonstrations of love” since our breakup have been a spectacular waste of time. I need to focus on loving just my boys.

Sliding Doors

8:00am

I have been writing in my journal less lately, just once a day. It hasn’t been intentional. I just have less on my mind to get out on paper. I talked with my therapist about this. She thinks it’s good sign. It means the inner turmoil, depression, and conflict are subsiding. I feel it. I feel like I’m on “this” side of my depression. I still feel sad sometimes. I miss Michelle and how we were together. I miss thinking about our future together. Putting that down on paper makes me sad, the past tense of the verb. It’s the way things are. Even now it feels so wrong and surreal. It’s like I’m in Sliding Doors. I wish there was a version of me that still had Michelle in my life to love. I miss hearing her voice. I miss telling her about my day. I miss reading while she does her homework. She used to do this stupid thing Saturday mornings while she was getting ready for work. She would turn on the ceiling fan light (which is super bright) and right before she did it would yell out, “PREPARE, PREPARE!!!” so I could cover my eyes with a pillow. I miss it…the day-to-day minutia of our relationship. I like the idea of there being a Sliding Doors (alternate) universe where Michelle and I figured things out and were back together living life towards our future. I wish there was an “our future”. There isn’t. She wants something else. I don’t even know what she wants because we don’t talk anymore. The last time we communicated was almost 2 weeks ago and she was screaming and hysterical about not being able to see the boys.

So I’m alone. I used to like being alone. Unfortunately, these days alone means being without Michelle. I don’t like that at all. Maybe, someday, I will.