Our future

resentment requires

living in the past. I look

towards our future


Michelle and I had dinner last night. We ended up talking about our relationship…again. I had hoped we were just going to hang out and have fun together. In retrospect it was good. We didn’t have much fun but we worked on a few things. Michelle has a lot of resentment. I don’t say that in an accusatory way. That’s where she is. She kept talking about things that had happened in the past about my drinking, control issues, etc, etc. I told her that was the past. She is stuck on what I did instead of focusing on what I’m doing.

It makes me think about the movie “Land Lines”. The parallels Michelle and I have with this film are palpable. Jenny Slate’s character cheats on her fiancé, she comes to deeply regret it, and through it learns to truly value her fiancé and their love. Ultimately he takes her back but he is tortured by her infidelity and he torments her. She finally breaks down and tells him that she can’t help what she did. She did it. It happened. All she can do is love him and be the person he deserves now and into the future. He wants to be with her. He needed to learn how to let go of his resentment of how she hurt him. I hope Michelle wants us to be together enough to get past the resentment.

Michelle told me, on the phone, she wishes she had been stronger. She wishes she had MADE me stop drinking. I don’t know how to explain to her the only way I was ever going to stop drinking was if I hit rock bottom. Ruining our family and not having her to love is my rock bottom. Maybe there is a compliment in there…losing her was my rock bottom. That’s a pretty fucked up compliment.

my problem ruined

our lives once. did it teach me

how to be better?


I’ve been struggling with the “higher power” part of a 12 step program. Talking with Michelle last night made me realize what that is for me. It is the three of them. I truly hope we are going to be together. Michelle wants us to be together, pair that with her anger/resentment and it’s confusing…I get it. At the end of the day, if she loves me and she wants to be with me, she’ll sort out the resentment. We’ll find our way back to each other and be a family again.

If I ever went back to drinking I would lose Michelle and the boys. I will NEVER lose my family again. That is the higher power I have given myself up to, our family. It sounds like I’m making them responsible for my drinking. That’s not what I mean at all. I am responsible for my drinking. If I can’t stay sober for myself, I can stay sober for them. The ultimate motivation for sobriety: Dennis, Brad, and Michelle.


What is best for me

when faced with hurting

others, I struggle to do

what is best for me


I’ve been staring at the letter I wrote Michelle the last two days. I’ve read it over and over again. I feel worse about this than when I sent that email to my brother. It’s the finality of it. If I send this letter, I will never see Michelle again. It closes the door on us. No matter how much I try to explain that I need this, she will never forgive me.

She spoke with a co-worker and scheduled an appointment with a therapist. I guess that’s good. She is going to need it. This is going to hurt her and make her angry.

She’s made her position clear as it relates to us. I can’t think about what’s best for Michelle or what’s best for us. I need to start thinking about what’s best for me and my children. I need to try and piece my life together now that she is gone: taking care of my children, sobriety, exercise, reading, and writing.

I guess the hesitancy is the finality. I want us to be together so badly. She told me she didn’t want me to hold out hope for us to get back together. Pathetically…that’s what I’m doing. That’s my reluctance to send this. I’m still so desperate for us to reconcile. I should listen to her. I can’t control others. I can’t influence others. I can only control myself. I need to look at things objectively. Objectively Michelle has told me, from the beginning, we are not going to be together. She has told me I should not hold out any hope. I can’t influence that outcome. I will not have hope.

I need to be the best person I can be for my boys. I need to move on with my life and find happiness again. I need to do what I think is best for Dennis and Brad. They are confused and upset. Seeing Michelle and continuing their relationship with her is fostering that confusion. This is what’s best.

I won’t give up hope. It’s not who I am. I am a glass is half full kind of a person. What I will do is behave as if I have no hope. With my grief…I’m trying to take care of body and mind in the hopes my heart will heal itself. With my hope…if I behave as if I no longer have any maybe it will finally atrophy and die.




I feel like I have so much anger about Michelle building up inside me. Look at my post from yesterday fuck’s sake!! I know anger is part of the grieving process but Jesus. It isn’t feeling cathartic anymore. It’s starting to feel toxic.

I’m still on this rollercoaster of emotion. Elation and joy when we talk or text (yes we’re texting even though we said we wouldn’t communicate for 4 weeks…we made it 2 weeks) to despair and anger when we don’t. I keep thinking about the quote, “the only way out is through”. I think the only way through is cut off communication with Michelle entirely. That means on social media, her visiting with the boys, on the cell phone, texting, email…a clean break. I need to move on.

She is done with us as a couple. I need to quit holding onto the notion she will change her mind. That she will take me back. That she misses our family enough to work on our relationship. I need to not be angry about that. So that’s where we are then.



I love you. You are the great love of my life. I have never felt the happiness, ease, and contentedness in a relationship I feel with you. You are everything I want in a woman: smart, complicated, strong, ambitious, tender, loving, interesting, maternal, beautiful, sexy, and gentle. We are so happy together. I miss being home with you. I miss how much we have in common. I miss talking to you. I miss the way you are with the boys. I miss laughing with you. I miss the way people talked about us as a couple. I miss making love to you. I miss our life together. I miss you!

It’s hard to accept the person you planned your life with, the first and last person you want to see every day, doesn’t want you anymore. I know you aren’t trying to hurt me but it hurts you won’t work or fight for our life together.

It’s been interesting reading my journal from the last month. I’m a cliché of grief. I’ve hit all of the stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and (only very recently) acceptance. I know exactly how I contributed to where our relationship is today. My anxiety and insecurity drove my drinking and my need for control. It’s too early to say I’ve fixed those things. I will say, I can see myself from today and into the future…it’s the man you fell in love with.

Do you know how you contributed to where our relationship ship is today?

In order to grow, as a person, you must be open to the possibility you are wrong. Personal growth requires you are uncomfortable. It isn’t easy and demands courage and objective, self-deprecation. You’ll never be able to grow using your family as your therapist. They lack objectivity. You know this, and your sister knows this.

I have been harboring some resentment (which manifests itself as anger) towards you. It feels like you’ve been treating the life we built together as a kind of buffet. It feels like you are picking and choosing what you want and leaving out the things you don’t want. In fact, I’m the only thing you don’t want from our life together.

Like I said before…I know how I contributed to our breaking up. I told you to leave. I will regret that for the rest of my life. I wounded us. You decided the finality …you killed us. From the outset, you have told me not to have any hope of us getting back together. Now, you want things that take you away from Omaha and preclude us being a family. When you decided you didn’t want us to be a couple any more, you didn’t leave me. You left the family we built.

I need to move forward with my life and accept we are no longer a couple.  I need a clean break.

To that end, you have to get your own cell phone plan by the 18th of this month. After that date, I am having your line taken off my plan. You will no longer have a relationship with my children. This is all very confusing and hurtful for them and your continued presence in their life is making that worse. You’re not their (step) mother. You decided that when you decided you didn’t want us to be a family anymore. I will be blocking your ability to communicate with all three of us via phone, text, and email. The only way to communicate with me after the 18th is via letter. I will carry you on my health insurance plan until January 31, 2018 (roughly 6 months from our breakup).

I’ve read this letter over and over. I know how harsh it sounds. I’m not trying to punish you. I’m trying to move on with my life. Nothing about our break up is fair.  We are un-equal partners (but partners none the less) in where our relationship is. I will never get over losing you. I will always hope against hope that you will change your mind about us and take me back. In the face of that unlikely event, I will never bring another woman into Dennis and Brad’s world. In hind sight, where you and I are at and the hurt the boys have in their hearts, it was a mistake bringing you into their lives.

I wish I had asked you to marry me. I love you.

To hell with Robert Frost

for her, it’s the path

most travelled. fuck R. Frost! what

the hell does he know?


When Michelle left, she took only what she wanted and left the rest for me to clean up. She left things all over the house. Is the way she moved out a metaphor for her approach to our relationship?

Sometimes it feels like instead of taking our life as a whole, she is treating it like a buffet. Working at a relationship is hard…I don’t want that. Working on my panic attacks is hard…I don’t want that. Working on my anger issues is hard…I don’t want that. Being a (step) mother is hard…I don’t want that. I’ll touch base with the boys every other week for an hour or so, that’ easy…I want that. I definitely want health care and Joseph’s is the best I’ve ever seen…I want that.

I am responsible for the mess (literal and figurative) she left behind. She can continue on with her lovely, easy, selfish, “relationships-are-hard-and-require-work” life while I clean up.


So I’m feeling like I should write something positive this afternoon.

We always talk about the “greatest love(s) of our lives” in poems, movies, books etc. It’s always implied the great love of our life is romantic. Michelle is the great, romantic, love of my life. The greatest love of my life is Dennis and Brad. No one will ever mean more to me. Like I said before, “as long as I have my boys, I’m okay”.

It can’t be rage

hear its pulse in my

ears? it can’t be rage. it’s the

hurt of losing her


The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I guess it’s not normal to follow them in sequential order. It’s normal to bounce around between them. I haven’t gotten to acceptance yet. Up until this week I haven’t felt anger. Now I’m feeling (I don’t want to say rage because that feels like it implies violence) whatever is just short of rage. I want to vent all of it on Michelle. So here it goes…I’m not communicating this to her…but it sure is going to feel good getting it off my chest and onto “paper” (so to speak):

Do you remember with some of my friends how long it took me to face facts with them being awful and wanting them out of our life?

By our life I mean our family, you, me, and the boys…do you remember when you thought about us as a family? Do you remember laying in bed holding each other; I would ask if you were happy, and you would nuzzle in close and tell me how happy you were…how our life together was all you wanted? I do. What a fantastic lie!! We faced the first significant crisis of our relationship and you split. You have told me on several occasions how happy you were to be free of me – whether you admit it or not – that also means to be free of my boys. Not our boys, not your boys, you don’t want them…they’re my boys. You don’t want us as a family. You never did. We wouldn’t be almost 6 weeks into a break up. We’d be trying to recover from what I did in Arizona. I know exactly how damaging Arizona was. I know down to the smallest detail. It didn’t take me long to realize how wrong I was. How Arizona was a symptom of a larger problem I had created for my loved ones. How my drinking was hurting all four of us. I’m making a gross assumption here. I hope I’m wrong. You haven’t gotten any help for your anger issues or your panic attacks. The reason is simple, you don’t care. You only want what’s easy and comfortable. It’s hilarious if you think about it. You’re a cliché. You’re every millennial: entitled, lazy –as it relates to working on our relationship, impatient – you want what you want right now, and spoiled. We could have stitched us back up and been so much better as a family: closer, stronger. I wounded us. I cut us deep. You killed us.

Well imagine having to come to term with those facts with one’s family. The people you spent your entire life with, the people who are supposed to love and accept you. The only way it could have come to this was something like what happened in Arizona. I wish you could have been more understanding and more patient with me.

Do you remember ever doing the same with your toxic friends who treated you, me, and my boys like shit? Nick was openly hostile from the beginning and made assumptions about me and where I come from (I’m successful and a piece of shit because I grew up rich and privileged…I didn’t. I worked for everything I have). Caroline refused to come to our home and spend time with us because I have kids. Both of them, how they treated you when you decided to move in with me and start being a family? How about Laura and how she treats me because I am a man. She hates me because of my gender. She’s a sexist pig!!! Think about those things when you lament how much you “sacrificed” to be in our relationship. You have all of your friends (the good ones and the bad). You have your family. Do you remember the pressure you put on me to lose my friends? I do.

Short of my children and my career, I sacrificed so much to be with you. You sacrificed nothing but your time. In fact, you did quite well: you got your student loans paid off, cut work to part time to concentrate on school – making the dean’s list, were able to put more money into savings than you ever have in your life, (if you take out the California trips) took some nice vacations, took advantage of one the best health insurance plans in the country, got to practice having a family of your own (a dry run for when you are actually serious about being in a relationship), and the sex was always great. On balance, 3 ½ years well spent! Now you can put all that behind you (and you did…in the first week) and look to a bright future unencumbered and free of me and my children.

Best wishes,

The man and children who’s hearts you broke

P.S. The person in your family you said will never forgive me is your mother. I know her history. I know how much love, patience, understanding, and forgiveness she needed from her family. I can see the irony, can you?


Driving to school this morning Brad and I made a joke. He was all mumbling and tired. I told him that he shouldn’t drink in the morning – ha ha – I told him to not be an asshole like his father when he drinks. We both laughed really hard…he said, “that was a good one Dad!!” I’m grateful to be sober. I’m more present with Dennis and Brad. It feels good!!

Path of least resistance

you quit just as life

was poised to make us stronger.

now we are alone.


Michelle and I had another one of our marathon (2 hour) conversations last night. I got more than a little frustrated with her. She talked about missing our family, being a mother, how not being at the “first day of school” on Thursday had her in tears all day. I asked her, if that was true why she has ruled out any chance of us getting back together? I posited she was not missing us at all and in fact prefers being free of obligations. She said she wasn’t. She had fun at a music festival Saturday night but she would rather have been at home with her family (the boys and I). She misses our family. I believe her when she says it.

So what’s holding her back then? It’s what happened in Arizona. She said she can’t go back because of the betrayal. She told me she loves me, she can see how much better I am now that I’m not drinking. She can see David, the loving man she fell in love with. She just won’t work on the relationship. It’s because she is too hurt.

Michelle has never been in a relationship longer than 6 months till now. I told her every, single couple she knows in a long-term, committed relationship has had a crisis of similar or varying magnitude. She didn’t believe me. I listed them off to her: her parents, my parents, Patrick/Rae, Thomas/Trinity, Rob/Pam, Tietdke’s, Gawecki’s, Derek/Cindy, etc, etc. Her response…yeah but they were all married. I pointed out those who weren’t when the crisis struck. I think this shocked her. I told her relationships require humility, patience, and forgiveness from each partner (and rarely at the same time or in equal measure). I told her it wasn’t easy. I told her if she didn’t want to work on things then she was lying about loving the boys and me or she was a coward. She didn’t disagree.

To date, she hasn’t worked on her anger issues or the panic attacks. She apologized and said she would make it a priority. I have to trust that she will. Based on her track record: she literally quit on our family when things got difficult, she talked about how difficult therapy is – how she doesn’t like it, I doubt it will happen. It feels like she is in a “path of least resistance” mode right now. Whatever is easiest. I get it. It IS easier to just quit on our relationship. It IS easier to not work on things. Unfortunately, there is also far less love when you operate that way.

I wish she could extrapolate to other relationships she has. I wish she could look at what her brother did after that horrible episode on Facebook where she publicly called him a racist. They talked, worked on it, and he had the capacity for forgiveness, and now they are better for it. Their love is better…she was forgiven and he forgave her. They both felt the joy and relief that comes with forgiveness.

For the third time, we both agree talking all the time wasn’t helping us heal and work on ourselves. We set a date 4 weeks out until we can speak again. We’ll see what happens then. She was clear she didn’t want to give me hope. As of last night, I have decided I won’t have any. She will never take me back. With what happened in Arizona, she doesn’t have the desire to work on our relationship or the capacity to forgive. She’d rather carry that hurt around inside. The hurt has become more important to her than the family we had.

So, we are finished: irrevocably and completely. I have to operate from that perspective. I hope when these 4 weeks are over I don’t have a desire to call or see her…wishful fucking thinking.