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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The next phase

I find myself a little sad and depressed because we are in the next ramp-up phase of Brad’s visits with the kids.  He is getting eight hours both days on ‘his’ weekends.  This weekend is the first time he’ll have them eight hours both days in a row and I feel like I won’t see them at all this weekend, and it makes me sad. 

I’m also a little worried about him spending so much time with the kids.  I think he’ll get tired of them, or they won’t do exactly what wants, and he’ll lose his patience.  He's very controlling with them when I am around, so he obviously doesn't see anything wrong with it.  When you try to maintain such a high level of control, it invariably leads to anger because no one can live up to your expectations.   That’s when the yelling and threats will start, but I’ll never know how bad it is.   I really hope the kids will tell me if anything really bad happens, but I can’t count on it.   I’ve often wondered whether Brad is so angry because he’s controlling, or if he’s so controlling because he’s angry.  Or maybe it’s just chicken/egg thing and it’s all wound up together, and he’s fundamentally both.     Regardless, it's no fun to deal with, which I why I had to get out. 
I chose to be a single mother, and it's not as hard as I expected, once I got a routine going.  What is harder than I expected is feeling like I don’t have the money to do what I want;  and being divorced from Brad much more irritating than I thought.   I assumed based on his bad behavior that I would be able to keep his visitation much more restricted.  I did not think I’d have to give him almost standard visitation. I didn't think he’d want to come to every extracurricular activity.  

One the one hand, it has been very helpful to have him shuttle kids to soccer and gymnastics when I can’t be in two places at the same time.  On the other hand, each interaction with him has the potential for him saying something insulting, invasive or idiotic.   Like yesterday when he asked “Are you going to sleep with him?” when he found out I had a second date with a guy I’d met.   He obviously had no idea how inappropriate that question was.   I was stunned and really did not know how to respond.   I have since told him I thought that was inappropriate, and he said he said it because he wants me to be careful and not get hurt.  Huh?

To a certain extent, it’s nice to have time to myself.  I can go grocery shopping, exercise, take a nap.  It’s like it was before I was married, but there is always an undercurrent of worry and guilt.   I feel guilty that I cannot spend all of my time with the kids.  I absolutely know I made the right decision in leaving Brad, and we are all much better off, but I still feel just a little bit like I ‘took’ them from their father and created this situation.   Intellectually I know I didn't, he created this with his atrocious behavior, but I somehow feel responsible for the situation we're in. 
It’s really hard to give up on an intact family.  That’s one of the reasons I stayed as long as I did, and I still struggle from time to time with the ‘what if?’  Being divorced with kids is awful, and I hate that they have two houses and two beds,  and we are constantly sending soccer cleats, backpacks, and whatnot back and forth.   Trying to remember everything and keep up with the schedule is very challenging.    I truly wish it did not have to be this way, but I know in my heart of hearts that it does, which is why I get sad periodically.    I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow.  I'll talk with my sister or my mom and they'll make me laugh, the kids will be ok, and life will go on.

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