My wife and I have been separated in the same house for 7 years. Married 19.
We have a 13 year old son.
The 7 years has never been a good environment but it is what it is.
I tried to leave 7 years ago but couldn't because I couldn't stand the thought of only seeing my son at best 50% of the time. Parents love their children, but my son and I have a bond like no other that I'm aware of. And please take my word for it, it's a healthy bond that is what I think would be ideal (not perfect) between a father and son in what you would want that relationship to be.
7 years ago, I was at a low that I felt I had no alternative but to separate. Since then, we have lived in our very small house together. My wife has the bedroom, my son has his room, and I have the sleeper in the living room. We don't talk. Almost never. There is a barrier there between us that is my doing as what I felt I had to do to protect myself from the mental control and abuse that I was feeling. I'm certainly not helping anything with that, but for me, it's the only way. While this is a Ďbadí situation and a difficult one, the separation gave me strength to cope and Iíve had some of my best adult years health & happiness wise.
The exceptions to the no talking are issues relating to our son. Anything parenting related it is my belief to do all we can to work together to do what is necessary to be good parents. Iíve not been perfect but I try hard to uphold this commitment but I donít really feel it goes both ways with my wife.
It has been and continues to be my strong belief that the more that our son loves his mom and the more he is loved by her the better off he will be. I'm committed to this and support this fully and actively.
My wife and I have not been intimate for 8 years without exception. I've flirted even hoped/tried for outside relationships during this time but nothing has ever happened. Ever.
I don't like the environment that we've created for our son, but it has been the lesser of the two evils for me. Not a good situation but better than the alternative. I know it's ultimately selfish, but living without my son half of the time is almost incomprehensible to me.
But here I am, feeling like the scales in balance are finally tipping. I've considered what is the best answer in this situation many times over the years but have always come back to the same conclusion. That as bad as this is arrangement is, it's still the best answer.
By now, you might be asking why isn't fixing our marriage one of the options. It's over. I hope the best for her, but in truth, I felt this likely to be the case 6 3/4 years ago that there was little hope. However, I didn't close the door because sometimes time and water under the bridge can help things but it hasn't in our situation. No I wasn't waiting for a magic solution. Just letting all hope fade I guess. It has.
For the last 4 months, things have changed. I've been depressed (and drinking) and wandering at the bottom of the well. I have fortunately not done real damage to my career or livlihood yet, but one can't live that way.
Why has it changed? Iím not entirely sure. But I think the environment and challenges faced in my home have worn me down and I add in to that that things are different now for my son as a 13 year old than back to when he was 5. Heís a teenager now and that of course presents parents challenges. I donít think our situation supports those challenges very well and have always been concerned at how my wife would handle those challenges given her own insecurities. Iíve already seen signs that are reinforcing my concerns.
I've been wearing my wedding ring all these years out of respect for the situation. About 2 months ago, I broke my ring finger and had to have it (the ring) cut off. I do not have the strength or inclination to have it repaired and begin wearing it again.
About 3 months ago, I began making a friendship through an online game with a woman in another state. Either I'm crazy and in a state of delusion or I have truly been blessed by meeting the right person at the right time. We've never met in person and there are many things we have yet to learn about the other. But her life too is following a path that makes me believe there is a reason why we met.
Sometime before the holidays, I decided to express my feelings for her. I had been thinking of her in this way but finally decided that I couldn't miss this opportunity. I had to tell her that I was falling for her.
If you've never played an online multiplayer game, you probably think this is crazy. But Ive spent a lot of time together with her, and getting to know her in ways that would be difficult to do in another setting. This woman is special and she sings to my heart.
But she spurned me. Graciously, but she made it completely clear that I was barking up the wrong tree and while she hoped to be friends, I needed to let this go. She was not looking for a new relationship and I should not wait for her to start.
About 2 weeks ago, I saw a light at the end of my tunnel. Divorce. The idea of a path out of the bottom of despair is what I needed. Or more specifically, to start down a path rather than wallowing in place. I have energy again. I'm now sad, not depressed. I don't need to drink. I have hope.
Now as of this week, my online friend has opened her heart to me. How can I begin to tell you how happy this made me?
I don't know what the path is from here. But I've been able to visualize my goal for where I would like things to be and I've come up with an idea for the first couple of steps for how I might get there. For everything else in between I haven't got a clue.
I've decided to separate these situations from each other. The divorce has to happen in and of itself first. Then, if things work out between us, my new friend and I can explore our potential. Thankfully she has made it clear she has no interest in getting involved with a married man so that will not so that ended that temptation for me. But I know that for me, the reason for my divorcing now has to be on it's own merit. That's the only real way I can be at peace with myself on how I might even begin accepting the idea of only being with my son half time.
Step 1 for me includes starting to prepare my son for this. He's old enough now and I feel like I need to help ease him in to this. There's no rush. I think that I can use time to our advantage and begin to talk with him about this. I think he will have a much easier time with handling it if he's given the opportunity to digest it and even perhaps by taking this in stages. If he deals with this well, it will help me incredibly. If he doesn't, I don't know if I can.
Step 2 will be to do the same for my wife. I can't reverse the two as it should be and talk to my wife first. The short answer is that I would do it this way to avoid difficult repercussions for our son. She is emotional and insecure. I do not believe it would be possible to talk with her first without a rapid deterioration in the home environment for our son and I feel he is my first priority.
So there I am. Or here I am. Sounds like I've got a good plan But I'm now looking down this new path and I'm completely and utterly overwhelmed. I don't know how I will do it. I really don't.
I can start step 1. Depending on how that goes, I think I can then start step 2. I believe now that the end goal of my new home at least being a happy and stable one will mean that my time with my son, even though reduced, will be much better for him and for me. He will see a healthy happy environment and there will no longer be the weight of the atmosphere that has been in our home all these years hanging over our relationship and proving an obstacle to our time and activities together.
After all that, I believe my new friend will still be there and we can then look at beginning a new chapter.
But I start thinking of the things between here and there and I just don't know. I've found a tremendous resource in an online article Divorce Helpline attorneys that keep you out of court
but I start reading that and start feeling overwhelmed again.
I'm not dealing with a rational healthy wife. I have almost 20 years of marriage to have an idea of what this process is likely to be and I don't know how I'll find the strength or resources to navigate. There's a chance that I could be wrong, she isn't predictable enough for me to be certain, but as I've said. She's very insecure, very emotional, and has issues with paranoia.
Facing the necessary path for a divorce and trying to find how I will cope with half time with my son is hard enough. But the truth is the situation is likely to quickly become completely unpredictable and I fear the worst though. I don't believe the worst includes the risk of any physical harm to anyone, but I do have to actually consider and watch for this. But thankfully, there's never been a hint that physical harm from her for me or my son. But the emotional harm has been significant and I am worried about how bad that could get.
I'm sorry to make such a long post. I've got friends and family but either am not comfortable with sharing with them or don't want to burden them. Just getting this out is really helpful to me. If you actually make it through all that, Iíd appreciate hearing your thoughts.
I think I would benefit from counseling through this as would my wife and son. But Iím in that income range that means I donít really have enough to pay for it (particularly under the circumstances) but I make too much for financial assistance.