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Are You Staying For The Kids? Some Thoughts From Someone Who Left.

One of the most common refrains here seems to be the line "I love my kids" or "I love my family", or "I don't want to destroy my family".

There are plenty of reasons to not get divorced. If your sexless period was just a bump in the road, only 6 months, a year, right after your first child, you should probably try to make things work. It may not be too late. Divorce is inconvenient and expensive. Your ex will definitely hate you, and you will need to live with that. And you must have liked something about them before, perhaps you can get the magic back.

But if this has been going on for years, if it was a unilateral decision by the other party, if the lack of sex is combined with a lack of intimacy and a general lack of support for YOU by your spouse, a lack of fun, a regular barrage of criticism, the millions of small details you read about here that go well beyond the lack of sex, you might want to face the fact that your marriage sucks. You may have a good (or a bad) system in place for the raising of kids, but you do not have a partner.

And that is a shame, because a good relationship does wonders for you. It makes you feel better about yourself. You are not alone in the world. You have someone to talk with, rely on, feel good with, have fun with, snuggle with, spoon with and, (if you can remember this far back,) have sex with.

But you think maybe you should suffer for the sake of your family. Or because you can't stand the thought of having your kids part-time. Because you don't want to "destroy" your family.

I want to share my experience with my kids in separating, as for me, things have been stunningly great. This might not be the norm, and your situation might be worse. But so far, for me, I couldn't be happier.

I separated about 10 months ago. Details are posted elsewhere, but this is a different story. My ex definitely hates me, to the point that she can't even stand to be in the same room as me without getting shaking mad and needing to leave. Despite that, I have been firm, and I get just about half of the time with my kids, and thinks are working out.

We are alternating nights with the kids, we are alternating weekends with the kids. We are alternating vacations with the kids. It took a month or two to settle in, but the kids have adjusted. We have a regular schedule, and they know where they will be, who they will be sleeping with, where they will be waking up and where they will be spending the weekend. There is a calendar, the kids can see it, and they have certainty in their lives.

On the nights that I am not with the kids, I call them at my ex's place before bedtime. Spend 5 minutes on the phone with each, tell them I love them and will see them tomorrow. My ex does the same.

Both of us have been good about being supportive of the other in front of the kids. If the kids don't want to talk to Mom when she calls, I tell them that it isn't a choice. If they are watching TV when she calls, I shut it off so they pay attention to her. She does the same.

When my ex took the kids on vacation, I skyped each night with the kids. When I took them, she did the same.

We both go to the parent teacher conferences. We are splitting up the sporting events, recitals, school presentations, etc, so that we don't need to see each other (she hates me, remember?), but so that at least one of us is at anything important.

We email regularly about the kids (and nothing else), and if there was any issue the night before (illness, sleeplessness, etc..) we text. We send each other pictures of the kids so that we can both be proud of them.

Occasionally, the 5 y.o. tries some version of "but mommy said.." or "I hate being with mommy, I want to be with you", or "I hate being with you, I want to be with mommy". But neither of us is letting her get away with that. I calmly say "now is your time with me, this is a daddy night. So why don't we snuggle for a bit, read a book, and maybe you will feel tired after that". Or "I love you dearly, but tomorrow is a mommy night. She loves you, and you will have a good time." I have heard my ex do similar things.

I have found that I am capable of taking care of 3 kids on a weekend by myself. I can schedule play dates and take care of 3 kids + their 3 friends by myself. I now laugh at the parents who seem to have trouble with both of them managing their one child. I have had 7 in the house by myself.

I have found that being fully responsible for bedtimes, being fully responsible for making plans for the weekend, is a level of parenting that I didn't do before. There is no one to bounce ideas off of, it is now my responsibility to make sure the kids see friends and get out of the house, and have a good time.

Occasionally, we split them up, and get one on one time with one of the kids. The kids love that also. I took my daughter skiing last week. She loved getting out with just me.

I have adjusted my head - my "family" is now me and the kids. I sometimes feel like a papa duck, with the little ones in toe, and I love it. I'm starting to build memories for me and for them of my new family - just me and the kids. They will have other memories, of my ex and their times with her, and I want them to have that. It doesn't lessen in any way what I have with them, which is so wonderful that at times I want to cry when I think about it.

I find that I am eager to get to my kids for "my nights", and that I'm far more focused on them than I was in the past when both of us were tired at the end of the day. Getting a few nights a week for myself is recharging my batteries. I love the nights out with my girlfriend, I love my nights in with my kids. Pretty much every day is awesome, and I sometimes find it hard to believe that life is this good.

There are stresses. We have lawyers. I have no idea how much I will owe my ex for how long (or how much I will owe the lawyers). The final custody may look different than this. Occasionally, we don't see eye to eye, and have a fight (over email) about who gets which holiday, or what time the kids will be back to me or her after a weekend with the other. Or who gets to go to a specific game. And that kind of sucks. She may get married some day (or I may also) and new kids and new parents may come into the mix and things may get complicated. But that is for the future.

For now, it is great.

If I have any advice, it would be along the lines of "make an exit plan". Particularly if you are a man who is worried about this, you should step up your game now. Start putting your kids on the bus on a regular schedule (Mondays? Mondays and Fridays?) even if previously you left for work early. If you work late, start coming home early to eat dinner with the kids one or two nights a week, on a regular schedule. Make sure you are at the parent teacher conferences. Do all of this even if it affects your income - she will be getting half of it anyway, and what is that money worth if you are working to support a family you don't get to see? Get onto a regular schedule, get more involved, document it, and it will help you in the long run. Talk with a lawyer to find out what you can do to increase the chances of getting a custody arrangement you will be happy with.

Getting divorced doesn't mean that you are "leaving your family". You are booting your useless spouse out the door. Your life will continue, your family will continue. It will be a different configuration, with a different schedule, but it doesn't have to be worse. Your kids love you, they will continue to love you. YOU will have to put in a bit more effort, YOU won't be able to rely on your ex to do things, but in stepping up to the plate, YOU will be a better and more involved parent.
icancounttopotato icancounttopotato 36-40, M 60 Responses Jan 6, 2013

Your Response


You're totally right about the excuses we often make for not taking necessary decisive action. The odds of salvaging a sexless marriage are extremely low... A bad situation affects the whole family, not just the husband or wife. Therefore, living with a bad situation for the sake of others ultimately is a very myopic in the long-run.

I was married for 9 years and near the end I agonized over how a divorce would affect my two children who were 2 and 5 years old. Finally, I woke up one morning with the determination that I would be able to handle being a single dad and I committed myself to the hard work that would come with it. So, I left her. I fought for 50/50 custody and it was granted.

That was 12 years ago. Today, I have been married to a wonderful woman for 6 years now. My children love their stepmother. They know that she cares deeply for them and their needs. My ex-wife and she communicate directly to coordinate all of the children's activities, vacations, etc. I rarely even have the need to speak directly to my ex. I am truly a lucky man and I tell my wife that I know it.

The children appear to have not suffered due to my difficult decision of leaving their mother. (I realize that the children having to travel between two homes is not ideal, but then again, living in the home of an unhappy marriage is not a healthy atmosphere either.)

Today life is good and I feel very fortunate. I am sure others can have a similar success story. It doesn't just happen, though---You have to make it happen. Good luck...

Yes - just because you are a parent does not mean you should be a martyr. You need some things for YOU - like freedom from a soul-destroying selfish refuser who won't love you in bed, but still insists on monogamy.

While I knew in reality being in a home environment with two parents who just did not get along and brought stress to every moment they were in the same room was not 'better' for my children I still worried. My fear was completely alleviated when one of my twins less than a month after we separated said 'Daddy you laugh and smile so much more it makes me happy'. I have to admit I almost cried with joy at that. The younger a child past toddler is the more they pick up on body language and emotional state more than verbal communication. They get it. They know when you are really happy and relaxed and when you aren't. They know when being around someone (even if it is Mommy) makes you unhappy and hurt. Best bet in the scenario you painted (and boy does that sound familiar) is to just accept you cannot be a husband and wife any longer and work on being Mommy and Daddy as best you can. Your solution was my solution as well. I focus entirely on myself and the kids. My relationship with my ex-wife as a spouse is over and in the past. Any painful/resentful feelings from her refusing me for years on end is also in the past. Dragging it around like an anchor does neither myself nor my children any good. I don't forgive my ex-wife for the way she treated me for her benefit. I forgive it for mine and the twins because now we can move on in peace. Cheers!

It is great that even though your wife hates you she is still willing to be civil in front of the children. That isn't going to be the case for everyone.

I have firsthand experience from the child's side of this, and I can tell you that I wish my parents had split up sooner. The damage done to children under the guise of saving them, is often underestimated. Thank you for taking the time to share this. All the best,

How do you know your kids are ok with it? How do you they are scarred or have trust/abandonment issues? I wish I could leave but I would loose custody bc I could never provide enough for them. A dearfriend of mine lost custody of her teenagers bc she couldn't not make enough money

I just found this again and decided to BUMP it up. Should be required reading for everyone with kids IMO.

What can I say!! Im speechless and in tears... Reading this helped me so much...ive been struggling, not knowing what to do to get out of a similar situation..and have stayed 4 years longer than I should have because I didnt wanna hurt anyone or end up with my kids hating me...thankyou thankyou thankyou..x

thank you for your kind words, and good luck to you with your situation.

Good write. I admire what you both have tried to do. In fact, we also tried doing exactly what you have articulated beautifully, except that our playing field has never been equal. Our property has still not been sold and she lives in it while I had to rent a seperate place. I moved to live in her country after we got married, now I get to bear the harder brunt of the stick in divorce. She has the family support (even when she needs to go dancing and leaves our son with her parents) and I don't and can't afford nanny services even when I need it even to attend a job interview. I am a man and she is a woman and that implies that she gets more sympathy socially. My job situation hasn't improved and hers is stable. So I am finally leaning on leaving her country and going back to mine (after 4 years of sharing the child and providing him with a stable life). He never liked the back and forth movement from house to house but accepted it anyway. He is aware of my poverty yet shows incredible happiness both privately and publicly around me. He adores the fact that his father is around, but knows we all shared the house his mother lives in now, during his firt 3 years of life (photos). We try to convince ourselves that sharing our child's life this way is good for them. Well, it's the better of two evils. I am wondering when I move to my country, how all three of us would cope. As things stand now I am disadvantaged greatly. I need to strengthen myself so that his long term future would be much better as he grows older because his needs will change. Slowly he is accepting the fact that in the long term I couldn't sustain a decent life with him and that I may have to move and see him less at least until he is 13, which is the legal age in Spain for a child to decide freely who he/she wants to live with.

None of us should underestimate the smartness of our children. They know when we are unhappy no matter how well we try to act differently. We have a responsibility to model maturity, love, and good relationships to them amongst other things. It is our job as parents to set a good example.

My partner left a sexless marriage, his children are slowly seeing how different their parents are and how they are both happier as a result of the split. They see their father happy and loved and as a result, more patient and loving in return. They are finally seeing how a real adult relationship works. They see genuine affection, rows and reconciliations, laughter, acceptance, and growth.

No one deserves to be deprived of sex, the ultimate demonstration of love. make that exit plan and find a real life if you are in a sexless marriage. The world has people in it who are prepared to love fully and selflessly.

Tell you what: this is very very similar to my story. Thank you for writing this. I had a choice: raise children and set precedents and examples in a home in which there was no more affection and a dysfunctional sexual relationship. Or raise them in a home where I'm allowed to be me ... happy, free, full of interests and laughter ... and now, with my new partner, able to set them the example of a wonderful, communicative, loving relationship where affection is frequent and support of one another's interests — and *liking* one another as well as loving — is visibly to everyone the bedrock of our lives together.

Divorce is hard. So is stepping out into the unknown. But I made the right choice. And I haven't looked back. My children will have to cope ... I don't deny that they will have to live with a great disruption in their lives, just as I lived with the early death of my father when I was their age and younger. I get that. This is a choice between two hard things. But, all the same, my children are getting the right example now, where they weren't before ... and they are thriving for it. Staying together "for the family" doesn't really do anyone any favours.

Wow! Is all I can say. You have hit the bullseye.:) I am so happy to hear there are people out there whom actually so far don't use the kids as leverage or get them involved in "your" issues. My parents marriage was something I started seeing as a kid that I didn't want. They didn't fight or even allow a hint that it was not the best for us to see. But you can tell by the way 2 people interact. Many years later they seperated and still to this day neither one ever said or tried to tarnish the fact of having a great mom or dad. Always reassuring that their indifference was between them as partners and nothing to do with family. Now of course I got older, married, and wiser now know what happened. And there are things that they did to each other that are completely unacceptable and I give them kudos to not being negative around us. But they instilled the fact that "your" kids have nothing to do with the "marriage" aspect of parents. That's a 2 human being only courtship. We all see it everyday kids being caught up in a battle they had nothing to do with . "First comes love then the baby in the carriage". So I wish you and your family the best and hope there is little damage that comes with divorce. Last thing to some one else who is going threw this nothing good will come of "punishing" your kids for something that is your problem. Whether its divorce or "staying together for kids" unhappy parents bleeds over to the kids and it is a form of abuse to provide an unpleasant hostile environment. So either work on fixing your marriage for you both and kids or separate for both of you and kids.

Thanks for sharing the insight that so many just don't seem to comprehend: After divorce, the family still exists, if only in a different form. Kudos to you for having the wisdom to realize and accept the inevitable, and the courage to embrace change & to reclaim you life and your happiness . . It's so refreshing to hear of a positive result for your children, too. Sounds like you have grown as a father and a person, it's all good !!

I was married for 20 years, the last 10 were a living hell. My kids suffered for this and I regret every day not leaving earlier. I was one of those people who believed only those who don't really try or don't really know how to love get divorced. I was wrong. I almost destroyed my children trying to hang on to a very destructive marriage. My ex husband has only seen his children 3 times in 6 years so that tells you what a wonderful father he is...NOT! Now my children and I are so happy, healthy, and full of joy. It took counseling, praying, and the help of my extended family to get us there. Life is good now. I still believe in love and marriage. I did NOT let my ex change my carrying, loving heart! You are doing a great job with your children. Be proud of what you have accomplished!

Great advise thanks.

Thank you for all of your stories. I just read them all and you make it all quite clear. I read the book you did too, found parts that resonated, and I wish we could all see the signs that it's time to take a different path.

I'm so glad your life is healthier, and I'm glad you pointed out that having quality, independent time with the kids is often overlooked as a possible outcome. And I believe that you have shown your children that it is possible to be brave and truly fix your life rather than just bear it.

Thank you for your story.

thank you! I am trying to make the best of a situation I didn't choose.

Check in with your kids a few years down the road and ask how did they feel during all the planning, weekends, and times you and your spouse were separated . That much effort think of what you could have accomplished if you both stayed. . Wonders!

you're a. cheerful one. Imagine how much better of a parent I woul have been if I didn't waste years of time and energy on trying to make my marriage work.

and I see from your profile that you are a lesbian staying in your marriage. clearly you have decided that sexual satisfaction from yourspouse just doesn't matter, which makes you the odd woman out on this board.

Lol no. Bisexual. Not married and I'm with a man. I used to be in a sexless marriage and left and haven't regretted it since. I spent 6-7 years on my marriage before deciding it wouldn't change.

Before using the word "useless spouse", she at one time was useful. The thought that you imply her no longer being of use to you stems to reason why divorce was not suppose to be. Men call the shots, this one is useful, this one can't have kids, this one is too heavy after having twins, this one is not handy in the bedroom as the kitchen, this one has too much to say, this one has an yelling problem, this one has an issue with my size.So if one is not useful then make sure they know it. Tell seniors, people with disabilities, people who are sick, people who are mentally challenged, you know a few years guess what the edge wears off...the flair, flavor, the hype, wanes and you will wonder are you still useful...I love women....useful ones and the ones you guys throw away.

A lesbian who is not in a sexless marriage - Wow! That sure makes you the "expert" in these matters. And nowhere is the term "useless spouse" used. Your posts make NO sense.

Getting divorced doesn't mean that you are "leaving your family". You are booting your useless spouse out the door. I think that people in sexless relationships are still in them for many reasons...Especially those who are disabled or away in prison, or not able to perform. Just be aware that they are people who have feelings and to be referred to as a "useless spouse" hurts.

Getting divorced doesn't mean that you are "leaving your family". You are booting your useless spouse out the door. Your life will continue, your family will continue. It will be a different configuration, with a different schedule, but it doesn't have to be worse. Your kids love you, they will continue to love you. YOU will have to put in a bit more effort, YOU won't be able to rely on your ex to do things, but in stepping up to the plate, YOU will be a better and more involved parent.

@letstalkaboutit, I'm not sure what your issue is. Can you truly fail to comprehend that most of the people driven to this board are here because their spouse is NOT "disabled, away in prison, unable to perform" or "a senior, people with disabilities"?

There is some percentage of marriages where one spouse unilaterally decides to cut off sex for the other. Either because of a lack of interest, a desire to control, they fell out of love, or other reasons that are entirely in their control. Rather than communicate, seek counseling, trying to work it out, these sex deniers make a choice on their own. That choice is devastating for the partner getting rejected. It also typically expands beyond sex to limiting intimacy and other controling behaviors. At some point, the rejected can no longer live without human affection. If they have the strength, they boot their useless spouse out the door. That is hard to do because of all sorts of reasons, including fear of what they are doing to their families, and the judgmentalism of people like you.

For you to read this as somehow being about old people and the disabled means you have no idea what people on this board are living through.

You guys are being a little harsh. I think she was simply offering another perspective which I found refreshing in this thread. I was in a terrible marriage myself and often thought of leaving. Ironically it was my wife who left and gave many of the same reasons that people on this thread have given. The funny thing is she was never able to see that she was a big part of why things were so troubled in our marriage. It's been a year and a half and it seems she is starting to realize the damage that divorce has done and continues to do to our kids and to our finances. She has also learned that I'm a pretty good guy when she makes an effort to get along with me and not act like a spoiled child. I have remained distant and tried to withhold my anger, although not always successfully. I have also tried to remain supportive even though she was having an affair and left me to be with the new guy. Well the new guy moved 500 miles away. I think the reality of the wreck and damage that this has caused is sinking in. I too have learned much about myself in our time separated. The point I'm trying to make is I think we should consider both sides. The original poster of this article has been separated only 10 months. He is already dating and pretty much ruined any chance of fixing things. I will tell you that after a year of separation my wife and I get along great and our family is still together in many ways. It has only proven the point that with a little perspective magical things can happen. I am still not sure if we will get back together or not. But I will say that my wife is more beautiful than ever and to see her having matured and grown is reassuring. I think her choice was a terrible one. However, I think it is really important to consider that a break up or separation can be great therapy although terribly difficult. But if you decide to move on and date others you ruin the wonderful opportunity that is there. I think if my wife had simply wanted separation instead of cheating then we could have actually worked out and been best friends. All that is needed is to look inward, face your own flaws and see how you contribute to the problem. Divorce is really terrible.

@icancount..thanks for your share.

Divorce can also be a blessing in many ways . .

7 More Responses

Its nice to see situations where people choose to be mature and realize that for the sake of the children, sometimes being apart is better than being together. You are a very awesome father to your children. I hope all goes as planned in the long term for you and your family.

Thank you so much for this kind comment.

The children feel the chill, the bitterness, the emptiness whether there is open conflict or not. They are learning what a relationship should NOT be and for that reason, "for the sake of the children" allow them a respite from the stress. My children have adapted, I believe they are far happier and confident since the separation. They understand and we must give our children the trust that they can understand because they can. Talk, share, be as open as their age allows. They will feel your sincerity, your love. Our children are human beings that can appreciate and understand what the people who are closest to them have experienced.

Jeez, You must be living on a different planet. My wife hates me too, but I can only see the kids for 12 hours every 3 months supervised and only Skype them once a week for half an hour. What country are you living in? I am in England.

You've either been convicted of some heinous crime, not living close to each other, been such a rotten and irresponsible parent in the past that it is beyond nerve-wracking to leave them with you, or...she hates you more than she loves the kids.

I would have said the same thing as you 2 years ago. But when your wife wants to get you the family courts will back her. There is no compassion or kindness and they dont care about the children

I guess option #4 applies then. I' m very sorry for you and your kids having such a strained and imposed upon relationship. I only have your account of the situation to go on, so based on that, your wife should be ashamed. Perfect example of complete self-centerdness.

I think you 100% did the right thing by leaving. My friend's parents stayed together "for the sake of the kids" and it has messed her up big time. We are both now in our mid 30's and she still has massive issue from it, I think. Not that I can tell her. In high school she didn't realise her parents relationship had gone sour. Her parents were very careful to remain civil to each other in front of her & her brother. She did realise her parents rarely spoke direcly to each other. Once her & her brother went to Uni they divorced. She can't handle any conflict what so ever. She get anxiety attacks because her manager yells at other people. She can't handle boyfriends or friends saying they disagree with her. She likes to pretend everything is perfect all the time. She had a long term boyfriend but never wanted to get married and broke up with him when he asked for a commitment. She keeps everyone at arms length. She come accross to most as a very cold person apart from when she's "on" and being the fake life of the party. She binge drinks at social functions still while the rest of us sip a couple of glass of wine. I think she'd be a much healthier person today if her parents had divorced even if it turned a bit nasty and they yelled at each other and showed some emotion.

I had never really thought of the results of stoicism. Thanks for pointing out that the fear of conflict can be caused by never seeing conflict properly resolved.

if u would have put tat much effort before a divorce than may b ur spouse wont be tat useless

You clearly have no idea what he has been through. Do not let your husband shape your opinion of all men.

I think that in your relationship with your children, you need to be mostly selfless. in your relationship with your spouse, there are obligations on both side, and neither of you get to be a "free rider".

From the perspective of "what did my spouse deserve", I feel the answer, after years of neglect and denial is "not much". She drove me away.

The question of "what do my children deserve" is harder, and the one I'm attempting to help others with through my post. If you believe that a two parent, biological parent household (even one suffused with tension) is by far the best for the kids, you have a dilemma in choosing to leave. Particularly if you believe that any divorce, no matter how civil, will scar them. In my case, so far, the divorce is being handled well by both of us, and I think that the kids will end up more than alright. This may, of course, be self interested wishful thinking, and you can choose to believe that, if you want. But I thnk that with a lot of hard work and selflessness, life after divorce can work out for the kids as well as staying together would have done.

Also wanted to add "you are a wonderful father" not sure about the husband part (since you mention that is discussed else where) but definitely an excellent father!

Congrats to you & ex wife in handling things the "civil" way. I have two boys from my previous marriage and the divorce did not go smooth at all, however I am proud of myself for NEVER saying anything negative to my boys about their father, not even when he decided to stop seeing them for 16 months (no calls, no visits, no nothing). Now 8 & 6, their father is back in the picture. To make long story short, after being mad to eachother for a long time, today we finally have a "civil" divorced parent relationship. It was not easy to get where we are today but I am happy about it since we now communicate in s respectful & effective manner.

After reading your post, I can say that I have a new respect for husbands. Your clarity in this situation is awesome. I would like to share my story with you for your insight. I have not had the input from anyone about my current marriage. Please read my story and offer some insight if you can.

Hoping you can help.

I moved out when my son was a junior in high school. I made sure that I lived nearby. He opted to spend very little time staying at my place, because he had a life of his own centered on his friends and "his house." I made sure that I spent time with him at least weekly, and spoke to him on the phone 3 or 4 times a week. We took several golf vacation together. He loves golf, and I'm proud to say that we started playing together when he was a little guy. His Mom and I remain close, thankfully. We took him on college visits together. When he graduated, I moved about an hour away. But he decided to attend college very close to home. He's in his second year now. I feel SO guilty about all of this. We still speak on the phone several times a week, and do our "vacations" together. But I've missed so many little things. This young man is the greatest thing in my life.

Sometimes, I think about the fact that I wouldn't really see him appreciably more now than I would if I lived closer. I also reflect on the fact that he is a well adjusted, bright, sociable young man. But I also think about the fact that he saw me at my most depressed many times. What does he really think of his old man? We say, "I love you," every time we chat. But I still feel like I let him down.

I'm just sharing, and don't expect you to answer my question!

Hello, I don't mean to intrude in any way yet just wanted to say you sound like a wonderful father! I am sure your son loves you and appreciates the fact that you have been involved in his life! Again, I do not mean to intrude here, but perhaps just perhaps one day you could open up to him & ask him about what his thoughts about the whole situation. (you could have easily walked out on him, but because you loved him & cared for him you decided to be there for him, regardless of the fact that you moved away etc..) & I congratulate you for that!

Thank you. I guess I'm not sure if it would be fair to him to foist such a "heavy" conversation on him. I've tip toed around the subject a few times, and he always brushes it off with, "There is no problem, Dad!" I guess I need to accept that. It isn't really his problem, I suppose. It's mine. Thank you again.

I am in agreement with you and am one of those who separated with a child. The reason I made the decision was because I thought "How can I raise a happy child when her mom isn't even happy". Our emotions totally project on to our children, not to mention, me being the mom with a daughter, I would "traditionally" be the parent she models after.

She's 12 now - We split when she was one...I raised her to age 3, then she moved in with her dad and has been there ever since (he started a new family at that time, I hadn't). It was tough getting over the stereotypical thoughts of "I'm the mom, I should not only have her, but WANT her full-time". I find not having her full time makes the time we DO spend together SO much better.

It's about quality not quantity. It's about being there when they need you in whatever capacity you are able to give. I have taken on the role of shaping her emotional intelligence, her self-acceptance.....basically anything psychologically related.

Times they are a changing...and children are not mini-extensions of us, they are individuals. They will handle new situations the way they are going to. All we have to do as parents is be there for comfort support and security. Children are new at this LIFE thing and they will adjust to each and every situation thrown at them. It's the adults that have to stop being so emotionally immature and take an honest look at themselves.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Sometimes it is because of the kids parents should split; if not for their physical safety, then for their emotional safety. We under estimate our children sometimes, they sense when something is wrong between parents more than the parents want to admit. If the parents don't get along like they once did the children see this. If there is new tension between parents the kids feel it as well. It sounds like splitting up with you spouse was best for the three children as well as for you and I love the way you handle the visitations, fights only threw e-mail, and not bad mouthing your ex in front of the children, this will help you and your ex in the long run as the children grow.

thank you for sharing, your story made me smile....wishing you all the best!

When I read your post, it makes me grieve even harder for how things could have/should have been, instead of how they are for me right now. If only my spouse wasn't driven by rage at the expense of his kids. But he's not a healthy man and that's not likely to change anytime soon.

Its comforting to know that there are people who can get through this with a semblance of reasonableness, who actually do put their kids first but it hurts to know that my kids have experienced the exact opposite and I feel helpless to do anything to stop it.

Kudos to you.

I wish my parents had handled this situation more like you have. Growing up has been an intresting process of seperations and almost divorces on & off, with the final seperation after I turned 18,and my sister was 11.

Thanks for d sharing, I wish I hv enough courage to take d 1st step..

My relationship with my children has improved enormously since I moved out but they would both have liked my to have stayed and they miss me when I'm not there. We don't do the phone calls. We have found that it doesn't work for us. Longer term, I think we will face money issues. I'm currently spending every penny I get supporting two households...

Mate, awesome read. And a really positive story to a difficult but not so negative situation. I had a very similar experience with my separation and eventual divorce 4 years ago. In was married for 19 years. It was slightly different because my kids were older, 18, 13 and 11. But where we are the same is how we men thought and how our exwives thought. I read alot about some of the trouble people have with their ex's and there always is. But you were lucky with your ex as was I. Eventually beyond all the spite and emotion, you get to the practical person who puts the kids first. Sometimes the lucky ones, like us, get to do it the latter without much of the former. My 18 year old came to live with me when I moved out and my 2 other kids came and stayed 2 days a week, one weekend night and one week day. I never argued about the money side of things, and she never asked for more then what was fair. We had one lawyer for our property settlement. he represented me but she willingly signed a split that gave her 65%. I willingly agreed because I knew that money was going to my kids one way or another. I trusted my ex when she was my wife. Nothing changed when she wasn't. And like you, after some time, I made some new friends. Its much easier for both you and your ex to have friends stay over if you are sharing custody. And its normal in this world. I never let my kids meet a woman I am seeing until I have seen her for at least 3 months. They have met 2 women I have dated in 4 years . My ex met a man a year after we split and they have been together one and off for 3 years. Hes a nice bloke. Some days I like him more then I like her (hahaha)

And you are right about stepping up. When I got my new house, I purposely fit it out for my kids. Xboxes and big TVs, laptops and bean bags. a big fridge and I always made sure it was full. Thats because I wanted them to want to come and stay, to want to bring their friends. And they did. A 15 yr old boy with a 13 yr old sister...that means at least 3 friends each staying over...and me staying up until 3am to make sure they stay apart !!!. My kids live a great life. And I get to watch them laugh and smile. But they live it in 2 happy houses. The point is, you don't have to love your ex, and you don't have to give in to her. But you do have to be fair. And courteous. And kind. When you do these things, that great life you dreamed of when you were lying next to someone who didnt love you...where your kids are happy and you are comes. You can live in one broken home, or two happy ones. Good luck. R

Everyone lies

sounds good... but still not acceptable...............

Not acceptable to YOU.

YES may be......

I'd rather my kids come from a broken home than live in one. So glad I left 20+ years ago.

Wow!! I have just had numerous conversations very similar to this over the last week with a man who wants to leave his family, but is too scared of 'losing' the kids and scared of them hating him forever.

On the flipside, I have stayed 'for the kids'. And only a few weeks ago became truly aware of how much their father has missed out on by us staying together. The kids won't go to their father with any sort of problem...."Dad doesn't do issues". They don't feel comfortable sharing details with him about their lives. Everything is "don't tell Dad" or "I'd have friends over...if Dad wasn't here".

He's a good man, who has done his best. He's worked hard, he's played with his kids when he wasn't too tired or busy. He has tried. But I do now find myself wondering what sort of relationship he would have with them if I had of made the tough call all those years ago when I honestly knew it was over. He would have been forced to do what you have done....forge new connections with them, make a place in his life to learn to deal with the issues, he could enjoy the excitement of new teenage loves, the devastating heartbreak of first love gone wrong.

Instead of that, he has chosen to be an outsider within the family. I encourage the kids to involve him, talk to him and include him....but there's only so many "not now, ask your mother, I'm busy"s that kids can take. After a certain age they just stop asking.

Good on you for what you are doing for your children.

You will all benefit in the long run, that's for certain.

Very valid point in your post wifey.
A spouse who exhibits disengagement from their partner is just as likely (though not always) going to exhibit disengagement in other aspects of their life too.

True. And in the end, it's the kids that miss out.

Interesting that in my marriage it was my ex-wife that was the 'stranger in the house'. I used to refer to her sometimes as the 'one day a week parent'. After I picked the kids up from childcare in the evenings I was the one who usually prepared their dinner and they would play in the kitchen or family room near me rather than go sit with her in the living room a half-flight of stairs away. Even while cooking I would engage them in word games, pay attention to their questions and games, etc. She just would focus on her computer and smart phone or the TV and not really pay them much attention. After dinner I would try to get us all together in the living room with her, but near the end before we separated it had gotten to the point she would get up and take the dog down into the family room away from us while the twins would cuddle up with me on the couch and we would play games, tickle, or watch TV or a movie> I repeatedly asked her why she would do this and her "reason" was that we weren't willing to watch what she wanted to watch on TV or my favorite 'well I wanted to give Buddy (the dog for God's sake) more attention since he gets lonely'. I kid you not. Saturdays my ex-wife would take the boys to her mother's, sister's, her best friend's, etc. to 'give me a day of rest'. Except, of course, since I had to handle the other six days a week with the kids and work it was my only day to do the grocery shopping for the family, yard work, other work on the house, etc. so never really a 'day of rest'. *shrug* It was what it was, but I must admit that I think her relationship with them has strengthened now that the 50% of time she has them she has no choice but to be 'the parent'. The kids still say 'Mommy never really wants to do anything but sit around the house and watch TV', but I think that is still better than the comments they used to make "Daddy why doesn't Mommy like you/us?"

Wow, excellent advice and model. I don't have kids, but sure can identify with the "useless spouse" bit after nearly 40 years of no intimacy, significant conversation about anything personal inside her, and virtually no sex. Thanks for sharing your story it should encourage others who DO have kids. I admire you -- and to a certain extend -- your ex as well in terms of putting the kids first. Good job and good luck!

I dont have any children, am not married, but your story proves the point I have tried to make with friends who think staying involved in a failing relationship and suffering for the sake of a 'family' Is not the way to go if you really are not happy.

Wonderful icancount! Wonderful story. Yours details a lot of the nitty gritty day to day required to be a divorced dad. I wrote a story "Leaving for the Kids" about this time last year when I watched my (grown) kids do some amazing things that I realized they had learned by watching me walk away from a marriage that was lacking in love and respect. When I left I set an example for them and what they did blew my mind. Expect some similar revelations as time goes by. Enjoy your daddy nights and your girlfriend nights. Both are so valuable and it sounds like you've really made it work.

My ex and i went our separate ways when our kids were just 2 months and 2 yrs old. The kids were raised in my home all their lives. My ex and I do exactly what you do. I text him pixs of the kids so he can be proud as well. We attend all school events together (we hate each other but put aside our hatred). We even go to some outside activities like birthday parties and such.
My ex is the one that will be there all through out the children lives whether I like it or not.

I am so pleased to hear a story that gives a more positive outlook on the outcomes of divorce. I have thought about it for years. My husband and I both love our children who are both teenagers now but my husband and I rarely get on. Christmas was ruined for me this year by his behaviour. He got drunk and kicked the cat a few times, I shouted at him and he then decided to destroy some of my christmas cooking I had prepared that day. This was Christmas Eve. I had to put on a happy act all over Christmas for the relatives but underneath I was so upset with him. I told him he could keep acting this way and think everything can carry on as normal. I was brave enough to say it was his last chance!. I am not sure how much it sunk in. Financially I dont know how I would cope on my own because I was made redundant recently. I know our children would be so upset about it and I just dont know where that would lead. We are not intimate at all and dont have sex, I feel as if those things should be happening and feel guilty they dont but confused because I feel repelled by him.

Thank you for sharing this. I found it very helpful. I am happy that things are working out for you.

I can truly relate to all you have written.
I know I and my spouse are past the limit of any possible recovery in our relationship. I want out, but she doesn't (maybe for the sake of the kids). But, sadly, there is nothing between us. And I know she doesn't like children, generally.
Thanks for this encouraging post.
All the best.

I do feel sorry for my son growing up in a broken home but if we stayed married it would have caused him more harm than good today he is a well adjusted kid he came through the divorce emotionally unscared also we made the divorce between us and we left him out of it we never say bad things about each other in front of him and we dont ask him questions about each other.

I stayed married until my daughter finished college. By then I was 55 years old. Ten years later, I am still alone, but I find I am much happier than when I was married. My advice is DON'T WAIT SO LONG". I waited too long. I wonder how many couples are married who no longer have sex. When one partner refuses to have sex any more, the marriage if over. It took me too long to realize that.

So would you agree that being single is better then being unhappily married?

If every man thought this way.. maybe there would be less divorce. I'm considering divorcing my husband, but have no assets or support to do so right now. We have two small children together.. I've brought this up with him before and he's adamant about not letting me go. Which makes me more susceptible to want to leave. No one likes to be controlled... we all deserve our choice. .. thanks for sharing your story!

Continue to pray.

I will. Btw, I see that you are in the group "I am happily married." I pray you never need to go through what we here have had to deal with.

I wanted to stay for my kid, but she didn't want to... he's destroyed... it's been 8 months and he stills cries to bed 50% of the time. It breaks my heart having to see him going through this. I think people are too impatient nowadays and don't have the willingness to work through marital problems.... granted if the relationship is violent, no one should put up with that, but I think no one should just leave a marriage because they feel like they "don't want to be married anymore".

I think that you may be in the minority here if you truly believe that violence is that only reason to end a marriage.

Kids need love and nurturing. They don't need a 50s style two parent, one dog suburban family. Kids have been raised in all sorts of family units throughout history, and there is no reason to think that this is the only good way to do it.

Very sorry to hear about your child. Is he getting enough time with both if you ? Are you or your spouse using him as a dumping groundfor your feelings about the other ? Are you both providing him with repeated assurances that you both will be there always, if not at the same time? Do you have clear communication with him about who is taking care of him on any given day?

I do think marriage is a serious commitment... it's not a one day extravagent... it's a life long commitment to each other.... what happens to "till death do us part"??? It should just be "till divorce do us part".

As for getting a divorce, I think it shouldn't be taken lightly, there are many issues to take into consideration.

Anyway, my case is probably in the minority because, we have always been cordial to each other... in fact I think I've done everything she asked of me.... I even dialed down my libido because she "doesn't need to have sex frequently"...

Well, I definately reaffirm my son that I love him no matter what.... which makes him even sadder, he's quite "clingy" definately have seperation anxiety issues. We're definately working with a psychologist on that.

I don't really know what does his mum wants... I don't really care anymore. I think if I don't ask her to come visit him, she'd probably won't bother calling in at all.

BTW, I'm the sole care provider.

I'm Jewish, and there is no line "to death do us part" in our 2000 year old traditional ritual. In fact, the marriage contact you traditionally sign, the "ketuba" is effectively a pre nup, detailing the husband obligations upon divorce.

I agree that divorce should not be taken lightly. But a marriage entails obligations on both parties beyond just childcare. If the marriage is broken, it should be fixed or ended, not simply endured.

I'm clearly not in your life, but it sounds like the problem isn't your divorce, it is your ex abandoning your kid. Plenty of people get divorced without leaving the children behind, but it sounds like your ex is not doing that.

I like what you wrote. but I must say that in alot of cases of divorce people are too quick to end their marriages instead of figuring out what is the problem together. Each side should listen to each other about the feelings and thoughts of what is going on inside their hearts. If there is no way to solve the problem and one is a blankety blank then at least you have given it your best shot. You just made a bad decision about the person you married. At least you been responsible enough to care about those children you had together. I see all the time what divorce does to the kids and it isnt pretty. I am a child of divorce and my first child was the child of divorce. By my third marriage I found the right guy to have children with and have been married over 37 years now. It was well worth the ups and downs but we loved each other very much and wanted it to work and it has. Our children that we had together are very well adjusted and happy. The child of divorce had many many problems even though she was 11 when I remarried again. If only I had known what I know now I would not have made so many mistakes about marriage from before. Of course, hopefully we all learn what we should and should not do.

I promise you, no one here is quick to end their marriage. Anyone who says people are quick to end a marriage seems pretty ignorant to me. Most people wait too long in abusive (emotional or physical are equally scarring), dishonest, unloving or otherwise dysfunctional relationships that are not getting any better. People who say that " in alot of cases of divorce people are too quick to end their marriages instead of figuring out what is the problem together." are assuming that there is a "we", a team, a "together" that can figure out the problem. Most of these marriages are not teams. They are me and you with no intimacy or unity in sight.

I guess there is the situation you described, and there are many other different situation. Eg. For mine, she didn't even want to go to counciling to work things out. It's pretty much like she walk out and left me with a big huge mess to clean up.

icancountpotato raised very good points: they said: Very sorry to hear about your child. Is he getting enough time with both if you ? Are you or your spouse using him as a dumping ground for your feelings about the other ? Are you both providing him with repeated assurances that you both will be there always, if not at the same time? Do you have clear communication with him about who is taking care of him on any given day?

These are the questions that should be explored, Zeepink.

Also there are other factors.. does your child "hear" you and your ex fighting on the phone, in person, and all that?

We may think children don't see those things but they do.

I'm deaf and my ex is not. We communicate in sign language so that is very visual and our kids knows sign language. We had to resort to emails only and not text or sign language because the kids reads texts and knows sign language.

My son is definately getting enough attention from me... I care for him, I listen to him, I give him as much emotional support as I can... but he still craves for more attention from his mom, which is not going to happen.

I do not have any ill feeling towards my ex, we co-exist. We just don't live together, and based on last 8 months, she walking out on me is perhaps a good thing for me. Unfortunately, it's not the same for my son.

I don't use my son as a emotional garbage bag, I've got a psychiatrist for that.

For most people in the age bracket of 35-50 who are married & struggling, it goes far beyond "I don't want to be married anymore" . . Most people in that age group have been married at least 10 years or more and have unsuccessfully tried to hold it together, or repair damage. This shouldn't translate to a mandatory self-imposed sentence of misery. There are several scenarios that can lead to the complete breakdown of marriage. What it comes down to is . . why subject your children (or yourself) to any level of dysfunction, for years at a time, be it emotional, mental, or otherwise ? Shouldn't we as parents be setting an example to our children of what a healthy & happy relationship is ? Aren't we responsible for their overall well-being ? Are we better people, and parents being unmarried . . from my perspective, the answer is obvious . . We will forever be their moms & dads, married or not, for better or worse. Doesn't mean we should be condemned for wanting, needing, and striving for a level of contentment and happiness for ourselves too.

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Thanks for that... I actually have a good handle on parenting, so a lot of the newness for you isn't bound to be a factor for me. But knowing and seeing your success is helping me today. I'm giving The Talk on Wednesday. My objective is going to be making sure the little girl gets plenty of nurturing and as smooth a transition as possible, and my wife has the best possible chance of keeping the house with my financial contributions gone.
I'm hoping at best for her cooperation having realised the gravity of the situation, or fearing at worst a disaster leading to my immediate departure. I'm expecting she's going to be shocked by the idea, because no matter how much I try to explain how serious I am about our relationship being totally unacceptable and unfulfilling for me... she never validates my feelings or takes me seriously. I told her in mid-November I'd had enough... and she talked me into letting her try to put things right over the holidays. She failed, and it cane to a head during a massive fight that started with her cussing me out right in front of our daughter over something stupid. I wound up walking out the door and she talked me back in, but I was firm in saying it's done. The next morning she apologized sweetly, and I did the same in return but still said it's clear we no longer belong together... That was just before New Year's Eve... I suspect she thinks I've dropped it. She's going to find out how wrong she was in a couple of days... *sigh*

Seen a lawyer yet ?

Nope. She's going to do what she can to force me to stay. My objective is a no-fault, simply filed with the court. California can be nice like that. Neither of us is in any position to lay siege on each other financially so I'm not expecting a huge fight in court. Also, her family isn't likely to side with her... and that's going to be a big motivator to cooperate, since that's one way to keep the house... getting their support.

you both are great..................and doing good...........but the question sex imp to this extent to leave our loved ones...............i think this is not fair and reasonable..........

The point I was trying to make is that I am NOT leaving my loved ones.

gajub have you actually lived in a sexless relationship for years (in some cases decades) and experienced the emotional and psychic trauma from living that way long term? perhaps you ought to rethink posting on this subject. you will find that your opinion is offensive to many here who've been suffering this abuse from our spouses for a very long time.

dear, i do not want to heart anyone's sentiment.........i just giving my opinion.......... i feel love is more important than sex....... that is my can buy sex but you can not buy love....i mean both person should talk to each other and both should take in consideration their need and create a way for it......... that's all. husband and wife ....this relationship should be survive for children's sake....both should understand and admire each others need... whatever it............

it's quite obvious you just don't comprehend the enormity of problems in a sexless marriage. it is so much more than the absence of sex. in most cases here on this forum we who decide to leave our sexless marriages have had countless discussions with our spouses. and there are many, MANY problems that permeate the marriage. so your comment while well intentioned cannot truly apply to these situations.

So, you're giving your opinion, yet expect it to be taken at all seriously when you know nothing about the reality of what people face here? Judging what's fair and reasonable?

Gajub, I agree with your "should". Many of us are here after we tried all of that, but our spouses didn't. I doubt that anyone here just woke up and, carefree, decided to end their marriage.

all of you.......are you really happy after separation? if yes than no problem...... but i have some terrible views about separation. as i am leaving in a very different society..... if mother and father separated and the reason is sex than their children`s suffer tremendous. those who participated in this discussion all of you are from a open culture and there are lot of understanding in society...but in my society there is a lot of any brilliant person from my area will never go for separation not he or his spouse. they whole life suffer pain..... husband as cheating by wife and wife in a she more thing if the husband is cheater..........wife neglect it......this the fact of our area. do not take as i am support it.... what i am saying is related to my world...... so do not take it very personally........... i admire your views.......but i have different views that`s all.

I think what you are missing gajub is that sex is one of the most basic human needs. It is also the act that separates the married relationship from that of siblings or friends. How can you think that a person who would deny that to their partner loves them? Like many people here, I held on for years saying 'it's only sex'. Well, sex is a symptom. What was missing was love and respect.

Its one thing to be married having sex and having children and being married for 30-40 years and then that person cannot because of physical problems. But when you are young still and your spouse does not want to be intimate with the person he/she supposedly loves more than anything in the world thats the conundrum here. Sex for men in marriage means so much more than just sex. it defines how much that person loves you. Sex deepens the relationship, its the glue that holds the whole thing together. that is just part of the equation but you get the drift.

Gajub, Yes we are happy after separation. Intimacy and love begets sex which begets more intimacy and more love, then more sex. It's a cycle. If one breaks down, they all grind to a halt. You can have love without sex, but not spousal love. That is the ONE thing that makes my relationship with a lover/spouse different from my relationship with, say, my best female friend who I do not have sex with. We have friend intimacy and friend love, but not sexual expression of romantic and soulful intimacy. That is reserved for spouse/lover. Without sex, it's not the same love. I love my ex-husband, but not as my lover, more as a brother type.

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beautiful. just beautiful. kudos & congrats to you. and bless you for working so hard to give your kids these precious memories, solid love & support. my bet is they'll look back, remember these times with fondness, love,& gratitude. kudos also to your ex, sounds like she's working just as hard to make the adjustment & new reality as conflict free, loving & supportive for the kids as possible. speaking for most of us here i can only pray my h will be half as positive in the upcoming process. thanks for this glimpse of what is possible.

That is THE best advise story I have ever read. I am in that transition period before the break up and this clarifies alot. My 9 year old loves me very much and I adore him. I do get involved in all his activities but the time management after seperation that you have laid out gives me a path to work with.
Thank you

A great post and it's so wonderful to see it all working out so well - and that's a tribute to the parenting skills of both you and your ex. I sometimes think I stayed way too long in such a weird and dysfunctional relationship (well, obviously I did!). But now my kids are grown up and having relationships of their own I feel some responsibility perhaps for the fact that two of them have got involved in weird dysfunctional relationships themselves - so perhaps this was their role model? It doesn't wash with me that kids don't know what goes on in the bedroom - they know more than you think and will always see what they grew up with as 'normal'. xx

"It doesn't wash with me that kids don't know what goes on in the bedroom - they know more than you think and will always see what they grew up with as 'normal'"

so spot on. kids are so much more intuitive than we give them credit for. they KNOW more than we think they do, and then they react accordingly. i see it every day first hand. and it breaks my heart. :(

<p>ICCTP, I am very pleased your decision is working out so well. And I feel sure that you and your wife will continue to make this work as you are both committed to co-parenting and working together to ensure a positive outcome for your kids.</p><p>For the doubters, please consider that "staying together for the kids" is NOTa healthy option in many (most?) cases. It is often a falsely held belief by those who have not truly considered the REAL outcomes for the child/ren - especially for those children once they become adults. </p><p>I understand that some people carefully examine their own situation and decide to stay together. Where this is done with thoughtfulness, awareness and careful consideration of specific circumstances, that is VERY different to the unthinking "you must stay together for the kids" opinion that some sprout.</p>

this helps so much to hear that positive outcomes can come from separating or divorcing couples with kids. that has been a main concern of mine, on how to create an amicable situation with shared custody. we have 2 boys under 5 and they really need their mom right now, even though they love their dad. however, H is making this out to be a nasty custody issue it seems, and is refusing to leave the house even though he filed. i'm hoping that we can come to some kind of agreement during our mediation sessions this month and be able to move forward with our separate lives but together with our kids. thx.

Tx, try to be patient. Most divorce lawyers are counseling men not to leave the house until an access / visitation agreement has been reached. I'm certain he got the same advice Idid. Try to keep in mind that you will want his help with the kids for the long haul, and even though every protective and possessive mothering instinct is kicking in, you are stuck cooperating with this guy for a long time to come.

If you are in danger, that is a different story, of course, and do what you need to to protect yourself and the kids.

But it will be over soon. Remind yourself that he will be mostly out of your life.

I find that the less I speak with my ex, the better. Have you tried setting up a calendar? Maybe dividing up dinnertimes so you don't need to sit down together? Agreeing to taking turns getting out of the house for bedtime?

hi ICCTP (fun name btw, hehe.)

i have set up a calendar, but we have not broken it down to splitting up weekday nights or mornings, except to designate who does drop offs and pickups. during the weekend, we try to plan events with the kids that we can do separately with them. so far, that's all we've done. it's hard to try to split up evenings and mornings, bc our kids are really hands on, and are too young to do everything on their own yet. so we do breakfast and getting them ready for school together, getting them fed at night, eating together for dinner, and getting them ready for bed each night. one takes one boy, one takes another. when they are asleep, we go our separate ways.

we cannot speak right now, it gets too nasty. we communicate via email, text, skype or a simple phone call. that helps to keep emotions out of the equation. but, having him there 24/7 makes the stress and tension so high it's nearly unbearable.

last night he sent me an article about how fighting in front of the kids leaves long lasting affects. i was going to reply via email, but decided to approach him directly. not speaking to him is just so weird. i reminded him that he was the one that wanted this to amicable "for the sake of the kids' best interest" and that since he'd filed, he'd done nothing to make it amicable, he'd actually made it worse. he's made it a battle. i also mentioned that one way to reduce stress and tension and potential fights would be for him to leave. but, like you said, he's been advised not to leave. his father is a retired attorney, plus he has his own family lawyer for our divorce. so, it's a bit unfair that he is getting 30+ years of legal advise for free, plus another attorney. but whatever. it is what it is.

i am not in danger, but our kids are reacting to our tension, and it is not healthy for anyone. i am ready to have this parasite out of my life. he didn't even want kids to begin with. so for him to try to pull one out of his A$$ that i'm a bad mother, and to try to paint me in a bad light so he gets full custody or whatever, just makes me so angry. trying to let it go. :(

thanks again for the advice.

Good luck to you ! It does sound like he isn't leaving, so you are kind of stuck. Maybe, via email, suggest the next step, and start splitting up some nights? Time together with him is clearly toxic for you.

thank you!! i need all the luck i can get! :)

yeah, i'm totally stuck. that's a great idea to start splitting up nights. that would be a good first step, and one i could totally use so i could get a break from day to day stuff morning to night. every day is the same. wake up, kids. work. kids, dinner, bed. separate. rinse and repeat.

mama needs a break. ;)

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This story gives me so much hope. I have been a SAHM and my STBX has never taken much responsibility for the kids. I keep reminding myself that he is not an idiot and will be able to care for them. The kids love him so much, I hope he steps up and becomes the type of father they deserve. That is one of the main reasons I have to leave. Neither of us are being the parents we should right now.

What I am reading is an uplifting story where the two "adults" actually behave like adults.

Some-one (I think Sister ChangeWillDoYouGood) made a point a while back that divorce is not a problem in and of itself. It is the spouses involved that can turn it into a needless **** fight.

It's a great post. Rated up.

Tread your own path.