This is not going to be pretty. I need to know if there is any way for me to maintain a life with my children if I cannot maintain one with my wife.
posted by anonymous to human relations (91 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
As the child of a broken family with a father who abandoned us, I have always held steadfast to the rule that should the day come that I was a father that I would never break my family. Unfortunately, someone has come into my life that has turned that wall of stone into sand and I am rapidly trying to come to terms with what is ahead of my life.
It's really quite incredible, to me, how fast this has all come about. I could spin yarns of justification and reasoning and I think I need to do a small bit of it just to make the question more useful:
My wife and I have been married for close to eight years. I have always carried a sort of emotional "hole" with me the whole time. My wife was convinced, and convinced me, that the hole was solely related to my feelings towards my father and that she knew we were perfect and not to worry. So it was a good fantasy and we would bond and I would agree with it and feel lucky that someone understood me.
Unfortunately, this explanation has proven inaccurate. We had several breakups prior to getting married, which in hindsight I should have been more resilient about – Yes, I did all the breaking --, but we pressed on and paint was applied over the hole and we had a lovely wedding and first few years.
The hole, the emptiness, would come and go, and I would mostly try to press on and not think of it or think of it in the terms that had been explained to me. About 4.5 years ago there came a schism that unnerved me because it felt like an obvious sort of disconnect but it was written off as a bad fight and hey these things happen and let's not do that again.
So, life goes on, and, hey, we're blessed -- children! Beautiful, perfect, children. They are the light of my life; I love them so very much. My wife and I are lucky to be so fortunate.
But that hole, that hole is still there, in the background, gnawing at me, making me miserable late at night, and early morning and every time in between. I gave up and decided that I would carry this hole with me in secret and never let it affect my family and, as they say, just keep a stiff upper lip. Give the kids a steady home. So, fine, except I have now met someone, someone out of freakish chance, who has essentially filled the hole with just words. Magnificent, powerful, perfect words that just rain down and fill me to the brim and make me feel happiness in a way I cannot adequately measure. More than I have ever felt in my life.
I told her. I told her the first day – I am a happily married man. So what if I lied? I had to believe this lie because this is what I’ve told myself and the world around me no matter what I may have at times felt inside. Marriage is hard, life is hard, it’s not easy, you have to work at it – yes, absolutely. And here I am failing it. Talking.
I can’t stop thinking about this new person and I am besides myself where – instead of formulating plans of action to never see or run into or think about this person, I am instead thinking how I can absolutely destroy my life and my psyche and everything I’ve ever built in my life in order to fill that emptiness.
It’s that good. I am being so selfish. I’m Ulysses and here is my ship and there are the rocks and there she is and I am compelled with no rational manner of recourse.
So, that’s the backstory. Oh, and my father. My father was a worthless bastard who did everything possible to wrangle his way out his marriage (with his two kids! What are the !#()%*! odds.. fuck!) by doing underhanded things and trying to convince my Mom to be the breaker and not the break-ee to make it easy for him to never pay anything or see us ever again. The bastard. He died before we could make up and I still carry hatred and a grief for him. And this will probably kill my Mom, who never remarried, and I was the good son. So, you know, this whole episode is probably going to send me to the funny farm.
If I must be weak and destroy my family and get a divorce – I think my children can have at least the existence that I had, and maybe, oh god just please maybe, I can do everything I can to be involved and support everything and visit them whenever I can and share custody with my wife, etcetera, etcetera.
Have you done that? Has anyone out there seen a divorced family actually manage being integrated with their kids? Because all I grew up with were deadbeats and assholes, all talk and show until they were out the door then you never saw them again. And, my eternal happiness aside, I will be trading one hole for two smaller holes made of my kids, and I just cannot fathom not being involved.
Argh. Burner email here: firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks for reading. Happy… Holidays! [hamburger]