Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

I am going through a terrible family situation right now including a separation and probable divorce. I really don't know how to cope and what actions to take myself. The background is that I have been married for 20 years, with three children. The last seven or eight years have been very rough for us financially and also with arguing about parenting, but things have really come to a head the last two years. There have also been some great times, so I'm very torn up about this. We were previously separated for a few months two years ago with my wife taking the children to my in-laws, earlier last year for a couple of months, when I lived in an apartment short term, and now again for a few months, but this time with more serious legal proceedings.

A core issue is that my children have been completely out of control with no discipline. The two oldest have refused to go to school and physically attached me when I tried to force the issue. (The oldest when in high school and the second in middle school). My wife has never let me discipline them, yelling at me anytime I've tried to. We've tried therapy of many sorts, but she has never engaged in it openly, always blaming me for every problem, and insisting that I do more and more things to allow me to cope with the situation. I have done everything possible including talk therapy, psychiatric medication, and meditation, all at her insistence, and without reciprocal efforts. She eventually escalated to calling the police every time there was an argument in the house and getting a protective order to initiate the most recent separation. I have never laid a finger on anyone in the house. My lawyer said it would be impossible to fight the PFA given that no judge wants to take the responsibility to deny one. We wound up with a plea that the temporary order would be extended a whole year and could be expunged from my record eventually.

Despite the issues with the children, I have remained close to them and had visited them daily in the previous separations. My wife is now trying to keep them from me in a very controlling way. She included them on the PFA (except the oldest who is now 18). She is trying to insist on not allowing me to see them unless it is with my mother, who is 70 years old, works full time, and lives hours away. I am now actually living with my parents for the most part and working remotely, otherwise staying at hotels when I need to come back to town. I filed a custody case and the judge recognized my right to visits, but in court my wife is still trying to fight against each and every hour I get to spend with them with every maneuver possible. At the same time she has no shame in asking my mother to take the kids for all of their school breaks for several days at a time, when she knows I'll be with them. It's all about control and winning right now for her.

Despite all of this swirling around and her expressed desire for a divorce, she has not filed one. I suspect she won't for awhile because she only has a very low paying part time job and would never be able to afford her lifestyle without nearly 100% of my salary and my health insurance coverage, both of which she currently has. My salary is fairly modest and she was already overspending our means significantly, ringing up substantial debt. Child support and modest alimony wouldn't be nearly as good of a deal as she has now under the PFA. She has a college degree and held a good job right at the beginning of our marriage, but after losing that she never returned to working, even well after the youngest started school.

I am not sure what to do at this point about filing for divorce myself. Everything about this is so exhausting. Her behavior and posturing in court with the PFA and custody case give every indication that a divorce will be contentious and protracted with all sorts of drama. This all has become very expensive with respect to the lawyers, especially with the PFA in place forbidding any mediation. Part of me wants to wait her out and let some things unfold before I file. There are already indications that her poor parenting is being exposed (county agencies are involved). I also secretly hope that if she bottoms out she will come to her senses and seek a reconciliation with a truly open heart. However, maybe the divorce filing is a better way to force these issues, while also protecting myself from the financial train wreck she has become, and sooner rather than later.

I guess I'll try to take this one step at a time. I also have to deal with a job change that will put me in another state, slightly farther from my family compared to where I am now with my parents. I work in a very specialized field that makes such relocations necessary. I will be doing a lot of driving just to see my kids for a few hours every other weekend, but it will be worth it.

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post #2 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 03:51 PM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Since you have the income that would allow it, I would file right away and stop her gravy train.

"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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post #3 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 03:59 PM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Sounds to me like it's time for a reality check. File for divorce and begin to document EVERYTHING in regards to your children. Has she ever been contacted by the truancy courts for the school district? I would stay on top of their school attendance records and grades, which you have every right to. Prove she's unfit and take your children. Then bring them back to reality as well.

As far as your wife, shut her out. File for divorce and move on from her. She sounds like a train wreck.
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post #4 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Thanks. Doing everything you mentioned for the kids is my top priority. I didn't include many of the details of the insanity in the family in the post for the sake of the privacy of the kids, but things are going from bad to worse. The PFA action really sets me back on my heals a bit, but I recently met another guy in the same circumstance who was just given full custody of his daughter after things finally broke down for the mother. In time I think the tide will turn, but watching all this dysfunction right now is heartbreaking. I really need to embrace patience as much as I can.

My biggest regret now is not having taken a firmer stand two years ago when all this crap started. I allowed myself to be emotionally beaten down and blamed for all these problems for too long. To anyone else out there: If you are not violent, but your wife starts calling the police on you to shut you up and win arguments, don't stand for it. My story is where it will lead.
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post #5 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

My first couple of posts were about how messed up my situation is, but now I have a more concrete question. What do all of you think about dating in my situation? Being shut off completely from my wife with the PFA, I have a strong desire for female companionship, and not just sexually. As I mentioned before I still have a deep desire for reconciliation, but that would only happen if my wife were to actually become apologetic, which she has never shown herself capable of being. Besides, even if we did reconcile, I'd feel like an affair would hold a fraction of the weight of the crap she's pulled on me. She has had me removed from my home in front of my children by men with guns, and has since been playing power and control games with my access to my kids.

Be that as it may, this divorce is probably going to take forever and I'm doubting I want to wait that long. So my question is really what sort of situation should I look for in my next relationship given these realities. I'm 44 and still look and feel relatively young. I'm usually not interested in women more than 7 or 8 years younger than me, could also go a few years older. Should I find someone interested in a low level of commitment, or should I embrace an emotional connection? Should I avoid women with kids, or at least those with kids in the house? Should I embrace or avoid other divorced people? I feel like I can't take any more drama in my life, but I also want to find someone I can relate to.
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post #6 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 11:00 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

I think you should just put yourself out there and see who you meet and don't over think it.

While it might be beneficial to avoid a woman with kids if you do that you're not going to have much of a base to work from.
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post #7 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Thanks for the supportive message. Probably isn't much I can do for the next couple of months, which is why I'm overthinking it. I'm living with my parents most of the time in one city, staying in hotels to see my kids in another, and about to move to another city in a couple of months. Probably can't really get going with anything until after I move and get settled a bit. I'm not the type have one night stands or really short-term flings.
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post #8 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 02:15 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

It is ok to put yourself out there, but to be honest it would be better if you focused on getting yourself out of the current mess you are in, work on yourself, work on getting the divorce, recording all that your wife does, getting the lawyer to help you get all ducks in a row. Bringing a girlfriend into all of this is not very good timing.
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post #9 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 06:15 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

You have things to deal with.
Any woman you date is going to know that your baggage is going to be a priority, for a while at least.
Date if you want, but be crystal clear about your situation. Date for fun, not for a serious relationship, because you're not ready for that level yet. Oh, and some women absolutely will not date a man unless he is completely divorced.
Many women would not want the drama your children would obviously create. I know two women who are in love men that have seriously broken and cr@ppy young adult children. They are both depressed and thinking of moving on. You talked about medications, so what exactly are they diagnosed with? I am very much in support of boot camp. I've seen unruly kids literally transform into respectful young people once they learn the world doesn't revolve around them. The bad behavior stems from their own fear and uncertainty, and intimidating you redirects it so they don't have to face it.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

~ Abraham Maslow
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post #10 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Satya. Thanks for your perspective on this. All three girls take melatonin to fall asleep. The oldest daughter has so many medicines she needs a pill sorter. She's on antidepressants, migraine medication, something to lengthen her cycle, and something for gut motility (might be more I can't think of). The middle one is on Guanfacine for ADHD and Lithium carbonate for mood stabilization. The youngest isn't on anything other than the melatonin, but there is talk of ADHD. I was also on antidepressents when I lived in that house, and they didn't do a damn thing for me but make me sleepy and gain weight. I'm off them now and doing much better. Just need an occasional lorazipam to deal with the anxiety triggered by all this crap.
Anyway, I think I'm in a bit of a conundrum because I'm a serious guy and really would want at least somewhat of a serious relationship, but I have all this baggage. I probably just need to start making new friends of both sexes and see what happens with any of the women. As these problems in the family progressed, I withdrew from all of my friendships and don't have a lot left. I'm isolated, alone, and worried all the time. I do have the closeness of my parents and sister, but I want more social interactions.

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post #11 of 90 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

There is no limit to the crap going on in my family. Just found out that my wife opened a county protective case on one of my daughters. My daughter had already been receiving support from a county agency with in home therapists, but without a formal case. That agency informed me of this new case during my weekly check in with them. They claimed that my wife just wanted a higher level of service, which would be 24/7 with the case opened. The new service would be through another agency, and I have a feeling my wife is getting tired of the current one because they are starting to hold her accountable for her BS.

Anyway, the new agency called me today, and I figured out that it was about more than all that. They told me that they would be looking forward to seeing me and checking in on us during my weekend custodial visits with my children. So my wife just used a dirty trick to get my visits supervised, despite the judge denying that request of hers. It's unbelievable! First she fought against every hour of visitation when the judge directed our lawyers to help us come up with a visitation schedule, and now she pulls this. I also don't know what justification she used to get this case opened. The worker got a little defensive when I asked that question and said "all I can say is that it is about your daughter's behavioral issues". When people start sentences with that phrase, something is being hidden.

Meanwhile, the household seems to be falling apart every time I check in with my scheduled calls. The kids play video games all day, including age-inappropriate ones, which they don't even stop for a few minutes as they talk to me. I have checked in with their teachers and there are severe problems at school. Scores of unexcused absences, disruptive behavior, falling performance. All stuff we were dealing with before I left (largely because my hands were always tied), but now much more frequent and completely over the top.

I am so worried about my children. I am having trouble sleeping and concentrating on my work. I feel like I need to get them out of that house, but it's an uphill battle between the false PFA and my need to move out of state to stay employed. Even still I hope the judge will listen to me and consider the information I will present at the next hearing. My oldest, who's in college, doesn't even want to go back to that house for her breaks anymore, but wants to spend some of them with me. The middle one is in dire need of help (the one with the county case). Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of therapeutic boarding schools or other ways to get her out of this mess? I don't have much money, so it would have to be something aided by insurance or assistance. I am worried that she is going to become a drug addict/runaway type if another couple of years of this goes on. I'm loosing my ability to cope with my fears.

Last edited by mjsquatch; 02-04-2017 at 12:06 AM.
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post #12 of 90 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 12:18 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjsquatch View Post
My first couple of posts were about how messed up my situation is, but now I have a more concrete question. What do all of you think about dating in my situation? Being shut off completely from my wife with the PFA, I have a strong desire for female companionship, and not just sexually. As I mentioned before I still have a deep desire for reconciliation, but that would only happen if my wife were to actually become apologetic, which she has never shown herself capable of being. Besides, even if we did reconcile, I'd feel like an affair would hold a fraction of the weight of the crap she's pulled on me. She has had me removed from my home in front of my children by men with guns, and has since been playing power and control games with my access to my kids.

Be that as it may, this divorce is probably going to take forever and I'm doubting I want to wait that long. So my question is really what sort of situation should I look for in my next relationship given these realities. I'm 44 and still look and feel relatively young. I'm usually not interested in women more than 7 or 8 years younger than me, could also go a few years older. Should I find someone interested in a low level of commitment, or should I embrace an emotional connection? Should I avoid women with kids, or at least those with kids in the house? Should I embrace or avoid other divorced people? I feel like I can't take any more drama in my life, but I also want to find someone I can relate to.
With the mess you life is in right now I would completely avoid dating, at least until you decide to divorce, and the divorce is well under way. If you want company, get out there are do things, sports, hobbies, clubs etc.

As for should you avoid other divorced people, well most of your sort of age group will probably be divorced anyway, or will have had long relationships that ended. We were both divorced after long first marriages, and he is a great man.
If you date now you are expecting a lady to take on your drama.

I would concentrate on your children who you wife seems to have messed up, be the best dad you can, get the legal stuff done and then think about dating is my advise.
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post #13 of 90 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Thanks Diana. I am realizing that the dating is way too premature. It was an impulse to want to do that to fill the void of loneliness I'm experiencing, but I realize it would actually be quite selfish at this point. Thanks for the tips for when I am ready. Also, I did start going to the gym again a couple of weeks ago and that is helping a little.

The legal stuff with the kids is so much worse than I ever imagined, and I just need to work really hard on that. My wife's outrageous behavior and horrible parenting will catch up with her. It's just a matter of time, if not at the next hearing, probably at another one in the future. I'm just really scared about the damage that continues to build in the meantime. I also fear this will go on for years before it starts to get better.

After the custody issues are resolved I will have to see what kind of relationship I can have with her or any one else. At this point I don't know if I'll never speak to her again, become cordial, become friends, or reconcile. I am also really worried that she is becoming mentally ill and will eventually need help herself (there's more than the bad parenting and behavior toward me that makes me think that). Anyway, all of that's not important now. I feel like the very lives of my children are at stake. I'm just sickened and heartbroken.
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post #14 of 90 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 01:36 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

OP, I'm sorry but you have no business dating at the moment - you're not even legally separated! Very unfair to any woman you would meet. Please get this sorted and THEN date.

Why on earth would you consider reconciliation with a woman who takes out unnecessary protection orders against you and then actively withholds your children from you? Wtf??? That I cannot work out. Women like her are disgusting human beings. The damage she is doing to those kids is long lasting and irreparable.

You need to file for legal separation, and get your finances completely separated from hers. She is no longer your responsibility nor your problem. Once that's all sorted, file for divorce.
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post #15 of 90 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Thanks frusdil,
Like I said in my last post, I realize now that the dating idea was not a good one. Also at the moment I really don't think I will reconcile or really want that. I still hope there is something in her that might change, but I doubt it will ever happen. That's all I mean by that, but I know the chances are slim to none.

Unfortunately my state has no legal separation. I will eventually file for a divorce given the trajectory of events. My lawyer advised me not to do it too quickly on the heels of the PFA and custody case, as it would look a bit angry and vengeful. The custody case will need to get cleared up in the divorce anyway, so he recommended just working on that for now. It's my priority anyway.

There is also a two year period to contest a divorce in my state. I won't be surprised if she actually uses that to string this out longer. She doesn't have a full time job, and is showing no movement towards getting one. She has terribly paying contract work that she does from home, and she teaches a few classes a week outside the home. Both activities cause more chaos and problems than they solve and are way past the point of diminishing returns.

At this point I don't even really care about the financial issues so much for my own comfort. I can live with my parents as I am now, or in a cheap rented room as I will when I start my new job. I just want to bring her to reality, both with the custody and the finances once the divorce goes forward. It's so overdue, but it will happen at least with the custody for sure. With the finances you never know, her parents might step in and continue the enabling, or perhaps she can latch on to another guy.
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