I Am Woman. Hear Me Roar.

The last couple of nights have been interesting.

Since STBX chooses not to speak to me, I sent him an email.  

After realizing that I have already spent my retainer with my attorney because of emergency issues surrounding my STBX calling the police, setting me up for documentation purposes, baiting me into anger, etc. I told STBX that WE are liable for all of these legal fees, not him, not me, but US.  

I told him to stop feeding into his parent's game of trying to bait me, ruin me, make me look bad, encouraging fighting, conflict, discord, etc.  I reminded him that whatever this divorce is going to cost, ultimately affects OUR bottom line, not theirs.  And I told him if he wanted to play his parent's game, then they will need to ante up to pay OUR legal fees.  

As if I really needed to say this to my 40 year old STBX, I did anyway:


I told him how hurt I was, how hard it is living with him here day in and out while we go through this process, how hard it is not being able to talk to him out of fear that he is going to try to "capture" me saying or doing something he could use to his advantage.  I reminded him that HE and his family chose to make this a battle, not me.  Their very immature and disrespectful ways have escalated an already tense and delicately emotional situation.

Night before last, Friday, he decided to take the boys to his parents house for the night.  They came back yesterday around 4ish.  It was nice to have the house to myself.

Last night, I stood up for myself and realized that I've been avoiding interaction with the boys whenever he's here because it becomes a damn competition.  He was trying to eat dinner that I made on the carpet with the boys instead of just sitting at the table.  I told him to just sit down and eat and let me play with the boys and stop trying to compete.  And he did.

Then, after the boys went to bed, I asked him why he hadn't left yet, since he asked if he could go out.  (I reminded him that if he didn't live here anymore, he wouldn't have to ask for 'permission' from mama, so sick...)  He said he wasn't sure if he was going anywhere.  

That's when I stood up again.  

I told him:  "I can't move forward or move on while you are here.  You are here 24/7 and it is forcing me to not engage with my boys in order for me to avoid conflict.  And I need to be engaged with them as much as I want to be.  But just your presence here creates hurt, sadness and anger every second.  I want you out.  I want you to leave tonight and not come back until tomorrow.  Oh, and by the way, if I hear about you doing ANYTHING to cheat on me, have an affair, etc. I will make sure you get absolutely NOTHING."

And with that, he left.  And texted me later saying he'd be back in the morning to get the boys for church.  And I didn't care.  I didn't care where he was, what he was doing, who he was with, etc.

I was alone with my boys and dog in my house without my PA competing STBX for the first time in forever.  And he didn't even fight me on leaving.

Now, why was that so easy for him to leave?  Why hasn't he left before?  

Because every time I tell him he needs to leave, he throws it back in my face saying "you should leave.  i have every right to be here.  this is my house.  you are the crazy one, and you should get out, not me."

And last night, I stood my ground as proud tiger mama and said: "No, I will not leave.  This house is more mine that it ever has been yours.  And these are my babies and I will not leave them.  Ever."

And for some reason he heard me.  And didn't fight.  

And I'm speechless.  And proud of myself.  :)

(i'm a leo.  hence the roar part.  :) )
txmusicgal txmusicgal
36-40, F
5 Responses Jan 13, 2013

Good for you for standing up for yourself. Your relationship with your boys is important and nobody should come between them and you. Bullies don't like people who stand up to them. You're doing a great job. :)

<p>&nbsp;<p>In your jurisdiction, is there any substance in the law to back up your desire to -</p><p>- Demand he vacate the house ? <br />
<br />
- To insist he leave tonight and not come back until tomorrow. <br />
<br />
- To make sure he gets absolutely nothing if he has an affair / cheats ? </p><p>You see, where-as you may well 'like' to be able to enforce these matters, it doesn't follow that the law enables you to do so.<br />
<br />
I know that in my case, my Missus made a number of outlandish statements (which I knew were bullshit, having already obtained my own legal advice) which only provoked a wry smile from me and one word - "really ?", and an entry into my memory banks that her credibility had just tumbled further.</p><p>Tread your own path.</p><p></p>

no. it does not back up with the law.

the only way i can make him leave is to have the court order him to, or agree upon a settlement. which is why i pushed for a quick resolution after christmas. i didn't expect all of that drama to happen. if i were to force him to move out, it would cost tons of money and make our situation worse.

so no, i did not and cannot back it up with the law, i asked him out of respect to my feelings for him to leave. i honestly didn't think he would stay gone all night and not come back until this morning. turned out he went to his sister's apartment nearby.

now i'm starting to feel ambushed by this board. i'm only trying to vent, and look for support, and i feel like i'm being attacked.

has no one gone through this similar situation? where they are divorcing but still living with their spouses and they have kids? is there no one that can offer me some advice without judgment on how to best travel through this in the best way possible? that is all i am looking for.

i am stressed, hurt, embarrassed, sad, angry, scared and not sure how this is going to look for me in the future. it's a lot to look at and figure out so quickly.

i'm not looking to make enemies, or argue, i'm really just hurting and very very scared, and have no idea how to do this.

please just cut me some damn slack. :( you've gone and made me cry.

Believe this or not, but I am very sypathetic to your situation, and indeed would not have written what I wrote if that was not the case.
It concerned me that unenforcable demands weaken your position, not strengthen it.

sorry, baz. i'm not crying AT you, just at this situation.

i can't keep all the things i'm supposed to say, not say, do but not do, etc. in check 24/7. i feel like i'm on the spot all the time from a legal perspective. and it just hurts so damn bad to think that he would actually want to fight against me during this divorce and honestly try to make me look bad? when he's been the one shunning and rejecting me for the last 9 years? i've been made to feel crazy because he's withheld the most important thing in a relationship and marriage?

i can't talk to him. i can't show him emotions. i can't reveal too much. i can't say too much. i can't engage. i must disengage. i am not to be around him. i have to live with him. i have to co-parent with him. i have to see him day in and day out. i have to let him go. i have to detach. i can't move out. i can't take my kids.

i just don't know how to do it. and i think that is his goal. to make me give up due to the emotional pressure. i don't know. i can't tell what his goal is. i don't know who he is anymore. i'm so hurt by all this bs.

why would he be so cruel to me like this?

Because he wants full custody. That is all.

Yes, what FM said. TM, I wonder what your *written* note will mean in a court of law in relation to whatever position STBX will be taking, that's my concern for you. You just handed him documentation of---well, who knows how he will try to use it against you. Did you think that the "we" stance of the email would play well in court? Talk to your lawyer in the morning and send along that note.

How is it that you made enough dinner for you, the kids, *and* STBX? Why was he not on his own for that? What did your lawyer think about the idea of having a third party in the house as moral support for you and to act as a buffer?

We are trained right from birth to be social animals, to respond when others speak to us. What if you ignore his presence, even when he is right next to you, while you engage with your children? Even as he tries to engage with the kids when you do? Not respond to anything he says, not even in an oblique way, when you speak to the kids? I promise you that it will unnerve him like nothing else, behaving as if he is not there.

I worry that he will try to play your aloofness to him when he engages the kids as aloofness to them, and a reason to be given full custody.

FM - yeah, i realized that this was going to be a custody battle the week after he filed. it got nasty very very quickly. and i am protective of myself and my kids right now. it shouldn't be a showdown of who's a better parent?? i've had to make sure my attorney knows that my stbx didn't even want children, or a dog, or anything resembling responsibility. i've had to make sure my attorney know that my in-laws can't seem to stay around our kids (with us there) for longer than an hour or two at a time. my mother provided a sweet letter to my attorney of my mothering skills, and lauding me on my relationship with them.

i'm wondering if i need to gather up more support in my favor of people who have witnessed my parenting, work environment and performance, as well as social interactions? would it be weird to approach friends and family to let them know i might be heading for a custody battle and that i need their support? my attorney did tell me that it would be helpful to have any notes in my favor on how i parent and provide for my family. what do you think?

TBAWO - i responded to your message in more *colorful* detail. :)

i didn't think about the email in court, for some reason, i just can't seem to think on those terms yet!! it seems so surreal and otherworldly to be living/breathing/thinking in legally defensive/offensive terms. i need a coach.

i'll message you what i sent to stbx, so you can see.

we haven't set any definitive boundaries yet on times with the kids together, alone, or even our own alone time. i've asked my attorney if i could suggest a schedule of nights/weekends/mornings and at first she said no. then, after friday, sensing my distress, told me it was ok to send a suggested schedule of physical separation.

however, the dinner thing: i make meals for myself and my kids, however, he eats whatever i cook. we all eat dinner together. if he's coming home from work, he calls me to see if he needs to pick up dinner, i.e. takeout. see? comingling. no separation. this is what we've been doing forever. the pattern has not been broken. no separation happening.

i guess i don't know how i am supposed to act in front of the kids when we are together, i don't mean not fighting, i mean acting as if nothing's changed and/or wrong. this is the hardest. we haven't told them we are divorcing or separating, even though stbx wanted to months ago. i begged him not to say a WORD until we have worked this through and have a solution. there is no sense in upsetting the kids and making them feel anxious for a longer time than necessary about an impending divorce, especially when there's no plan in place.

Question about boundaries:
can i tell him (not in front of the kids) in email or chat or whatever that i am setting boundaries and will not do x, y, and z? and that he is responsible for x, y, and z? and so am i? and here is our schedule with the boys going forward until we divorce? i think i will because he doesn't have the forethought to even consider that. i am going crazy without any physical or emotional separation from him.

i do my very best to completely ignore him, even when he is in the same room, even when he is next to me with one of the boys. i don't say a word to him, i act as if he isn't there, unless i need something in an emergency, like a tissue for a sneeze or a cloth for a bloody lip, etc.. i engage with my boys and ignore my stbx as much as i can. it's after the boys go to bed, and there's no one but us and the dog awake at night that i get a little distressed. usually i keep myself busy with chores, or retreat outside on the porch or in my bedroom. but, this is the witching hour for me.

disengage, i know. disengage.

case in point in trying to ignore stbx, and a little chuckle to boot:

this morning, i went to warm up my car before work. i came back in to say bye to my boys, of course not stbx. stbx was getting them bundled up to take them to school (he learned his lesson from the other day that when it's cold, you put coats on your children).

thing #2 was running down the hall, crying, tears, the whole bit: "i want my mama!!" and i went to him to console him, and put his coat on, and stbx said to me, "really? this is so ridiculous! can't you just let me get them ready and leave??!!" and i replied "but thing #2 was just crying for me?! am i to ignore that and walk away, making him cry more?" stbx says "he's not crying over you, get over yourself." thing #1 says "mama, he's crying over the polar express movie. he started crying for you when daddy told him he couldn't watch it." me, "oh, i see. well, have a good day boys, love you!"

ok, tmg, working backwards: why say anything at all to stbx in the last paragraph? thing #2 was crying for you. That's all you needed to know. STBX was superfluous. The reason thing #2 was crying was superfluous. The point was that you were comforting him. Because you answered STBX, thing #1 was triangulated into the situation as a tattler. And then you accepted that thing #1 was an accurate reporter and that STBX was right in the situation and you were wrong. You gave thing #1 (a child) and STBX (your enemy) power over you (an adult) and thing #2 (a sobbing toddler in distress). Your kids are so young. The movie may have just been an excuse for #1 to express that he wants your presence. When the offspring see that you ignore STBX, they will, too.

Don't tell STBX what you are not going to do in advance. Just not do them. Make a list, sure, and tape it to the inside of your eyelids to remind yourself. Post it in your car. Say the list to yourself. If you tell him in advance, you allow him to prepare. By changing your behavior and just not doing things, you will put him off balance.

Why are you eating dinner at the same time? Eat with the kids before he comes home, if you can. If you all get home at the same time, bring a big, healthy, yummy snack in the car for the offspring to eat on the ride home if you are the one picking them up. That puts their stomach clocks on a different schedule than STBX.

Gee, can you tell how much experience I've had in shutting out the crazies with whom I've had to share space?

Get as many positive statements about your parenting as possible. When you go to the mediation, go with someone who will provide you with moral support.

It is NOT WEIRD to enlist those people on your side to help you. You fear you might lose your kids. Who would not want to help you keep them? Your attorney said to go for it. Well, you only have a couple of days. Get moving and get those people to write down their support for your skills.

good points, thank you. :)

7 More Responses

Sistertxmusicgal i am sure your husband is a tool but you are acting just like one as well. Unfortunately whether you like it or not he has just as much right to live in the house as you do.

You cant say on the one hand you want him out than dictate who he can and cant see. Absolutely laughable.

I think that maybe you have not yet accepted the outcome of this marriage becuase you are still talking as we.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

wow, harsh words. i'm a tool?

what exactly do you recommend i do to get me through this?

Follow through with your legal advice. The truth is he doesnt want to leave the house and until there is some kind of court order he is entitled to live there.

What i am saying is play smart. You have already stated that he has tried to set you off thereby setting you up so dont give him the chance.

If it were me i'd ignore him completely and refuse to acknowledge his existence. I'd deal with him only through your legal team.

Regarding the tool bit i meant you were acting like one not are one. My wife sometimes throws the same line on to me **** off back to your mothers or get out before i have the police throw you out.

Just really gets me going cuase its my house as well. Be smart sister in how you deal with this jerk.

Eventually his time will come and you will find plenty of support here.

Stay Strong &amp; Good Luck

it's kind of hard to ignore him when he lives here 24/7 and we are both very hands on with our young kids all day, every day, except when we are at work during the week. avoiding him means having to avoid being with my kids at home. i have a right to be with them alone, as does he. and i feel he needs to respect my boundaries.

i can deal with him, i can try to ignore him, but we are still parenting together while living under the same roof in separate bedrooms.

separating the "we" is completely impossible until we reach a settlement. then i can start thinking about "me". unless i'm wrong there.

Ms Tx, it seems that your cup is full again. Can I ask why you took a hiatus from this forum before? Just curious.

what is it that you really want to say lao?

When the cognitive dissonance gets too great, we tend to shut down and react. Breathe....focus on your main objective...moving on. You are fighting against your own goals. I have no quarrel with you. I will cease commenting on your journey. Be well.

3 More Responses

You go girl!!!

I find the same with mine- when I am absolutely clear, he backs down.

There's no middle ground discussion like I'd expected in a relationship - it's ALL power strggle.

yes, it's been a power struggle in our relationship from day one. both of us are incredibly stubborn, but i am outward and he is inward. it's as if all we do is compete on everything, and i'm sick of it. not everything is a competition, especially now, or in the future. it's not about winning, it's about resolution.

Wait, isn't he the refuser? Why would you care if he's sleeping with someone else? Also, most states are "no fault," so it wouldn't matter much who or what he's screwing.

Well I guess technically it doesn't matter, but we aren't divorced yet and are still living together.

So you are still thinking 'we' instead of I and you are also trying to exert control over his choices. See how this continues to go round and round? Sometimes we need to look at our own BS as well or we keep stepping into it. This is about ending a marriage - how you do it sets the tone for the post- event relationship you and your stbx have with each other and your kids. I know there is a lot going on and emotions run high during this time, but moving forward with best intentions is so very important. Take care.

Aye. I can tell there's a huge power struggle between the both of them. Each wants control of the house, kids, spouse.

At times, the support of friends includes holding a mirror up to one's thoughts and actions. Tx, read your recent posts and you will see that you are still combative, you have just rationalized this stance. Sit, breathe and try to center yourself.

I agree. Posting my stories gives me a chance to see my situation through others' eyes.

hmm, well combative isn't exactly the term i would use, but i see your point. i am on the defensive, and very rightly so, at least imho. what started out as a simple filing from my stbx started the defenses up, beginning in how he told me, as i was laying in bed about to go to sleep. that did not set a good tone for how this divorce was supposed to go.

i am trying to influence his actions, not exert control over his choices. he has the right to choose how he behaves during this, as do i. involving his family and taking suggestions from his lawyer father does not help anything. they are trying to act on his behalf, not mine and the kids'.

he has set the tone, and now it's up to him to change it. i begged him in my email to him to stop the fighting, to search his heart to see how much i am hurting, and to stop making this a battle.

living with each other during this process is incredibly hard. i am trying to remain as emotionally detached throughout this, but having him breathe over my neck during every second of the day is driving me crazy.

what do you suggest i do?

"did not set the tone for how this was supposed to go." There is no way this was "supposed to go". Release your expectations. You can grieve that it isn't what you wanted but there is no supposed to.

"i am trying to influence his actions." Stop that. You can't influence his actions. You couldn't influence his actions while the marriage was more solid, what makes you think you can do anything to influence them now? You are more invested in the outcome and more importantly, in his behaviors than is healthy for what is going on. The investment reflects a continued unhealthy relationship between you two.

"taking suggestions from his lawyer father." My father and stepfather are lawyers. You better believe I took suggestions/advice from them. Let go of your resentment about this. You are saying this divorce is between you two, is about "us". Respectfully, no it is not. There is no us anymore. It is about his side being represented and your side being represented. There is no us. Let go of that "should" as well.

"i begged him in my email to him to stop the fighting, to search his heart to see how much i am hurting..." Not his job anymore. Sorry. He wasn't any good at it while married to you. To expect him to search his heart and be compassionate now... you are simply setting yourself up for drama, disappointment and frustration.

You are trying to control a situation that you can't control. There is no more "we" so don't try to appeal to that. If anything that is simply giving him more control and a clearer view of where your vulnerabilities are.

i guess it's harder to separate the "we" when we have young kids and are not separated. he lives here. i live here. the kids live here. it's living a lie. and i can't leave and he won't leave. so i'm stuck.


Emotionally you can separate yourselves as a we. Don't confuse the emotional separation for the physical separation. Do not continue to try to control or influence his actions. That is what getting a divorce is. It's letting go of those attempts to control him and giving up your focus being on what he does. You can control what you do, not what he does. That's it. He is trying to control you and you him. You aren't emotionally separate yet. You both are still fighting to make the other do what you want. You have to let that connection go between you in order to get a divorce.

ok. it's really hard to separate the emotional without having the physical separation. for me, that would make it so much easier. having him here makes every day a challenge, a battle, a competition.

how can i set reasonable boundaries with him while we live together through this process? can i propose that we split mornings/nights/weekends with our kids? because us being on top of one another from morning till night is what's causing more conflict. there's NO physical separation at all. we are comingling every responsibility with the kids and the house.

i just want this to be over.

I would suggest that conflict is a choice.

agreed. and i am not as zen as you are. perhaps i will get there one day, but perhaps you also need to cut me some slack.

txmusicgal - I think making a flexible schedule/calendar to figure out who is doing what with the kids and when would be a good idea. You don't have to ask him, but rather tell him. Write down the nights/weekends you have something planned and ask him if would like to spend time with the boys on the open days (if not, then you have even more time with them). Try to do things with the kids outside of the house so you don't feel like your are tripping all over your husband- go to the park, your friends or families house, even the mall.
Hope this helps. Just keep drawing in those breaths...

hi UJ. thank you for your words of support and advice. i really need to be lifted up in support, hope and advice not beaten down in judgement and criticism. honesty is great, but i'm a bit sensitive right now. i need the group therapy, really i do, but right now, i just need help. thank you for understanding.

i will add this to our google calendar now, and email it to him as well. i will also cc my attorney, as she asked to be copied.

We're in this together :)

thanks UJ. :)

13 More Responses