Re: Separated wife only wants to be friends
I have been a follower of you since the beginning. We joined TAM same day, in same professional, and both were addicted to women we cannot have. I won't insult you by comparing my story to yours, but I do somewhat understand what you are doing through.
The other posters are right. You will be able to move on once you find another woman. (For me it helped to go no contact or greatly reduced contact since we still work in same place.) You cannot go no contact because of the girls. But you can move on. One day at a time.
Now that you KNOW, KNOW, KNOW she is playing a game with you, that has got to help, at least logically. You can choose to play, or not. You are not a dog that needs a "good boy" from your ex. Unlike many of the others, I think you need a date or two. Someone over 35 yo.
You never did tell us your weight and height. We know you lost 4 stone a while back and got slimmer. Are you very fit? Why not? Get fit for YOU. She will notice, but that is not your motive.
I might be wrong here, so I apologize in advance if I am, since I have no kids, but are you using the kids as an excuse to text your ex? Asking if they are "settled ok for the night"? What kind of reply did you expect? Asking if the kids had a good weekend is ok, as you are asking if they are any problems. Asking if they are in bed is a stretch, unless there is some issue (insomnia, nightmares, etc) that would warrant this question.
Texting is torture when trying to forget someone. Every text, even from the ***** of an ex wife that you have, gives you a rush. Text ONLY WHEN NECESSARY. Can you do that?
Trying listing what is good about you. This is what I see:
1) Prime age - sought after by woman
2) Physically fit (maybe can do a little better by hitting the gym more)
3) Great profession/career
4) Financially stable
5) Very caring, loving father
6) Great friend
Update and change your hair style and appearance. Ditch the same old cut, ask your barber for something more modern. It boosts confidence. Get some better clothes. Dress sharp, at work, at home, when you pick up the girls. (But don't do it for ex). It made a big difference to how I felt and helped me through my issue.
And your question isn't "Why can I not just stop thinking about her?" It is "Why WON'T I just stop thinking about her?"
I think you know the answer so your friends here will ask the ultimate question:
"Do you want to get back with her or do you hope to get back with her?" If the answer to either of those is Yes or maybe, that is why you won't or can't stop thinking about her.