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Topic: Burning Bridges

22 posts, 0 answered
  1. SubduedBlues
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    19 August 2014

    I've been here a few weeks, and there have been a few instances, this is just the latest of many, but here goes...

    Normally on Monday mornings the ex-wife takes our youngest child to school, but yesterday she decided that she'd rather not. She sent me an SMS message at 8:15 asking if I could take our daughter this morning, but I was already on the train to the city. Since the train was already in the tunnels, the message was not received until after we exited just before 8:30. By then our daughter had already telephoned her asking her mum where she was. Now the ex was angry that I had not responded to her text.

    This morning the ex sent me an SMS telling me that I need to communicate to her if I am not going to be available to take our daughter to school when she needs me to. Accused me of being bad at communication.

    First, why do I need to tell her if I won't be available to take kids to school on days that she normally does, just in case she decides to have a last minute day off? Second she is the one who left, so I see no reason why I should have to report any of my movements to her. 

    Anyhow, I responded to her SMS about communication by saying "OK, but are you the pot or the kettle?" in inference to the age old saying about 'the pot that calls the kettle black'.

    A bit later she asked, "what do you mean?" I don't know if she did not understand the inferrence or if she could not see that her communication is perceived to as bad (or worse) than me not being available to immediately respond to her SMS messages. Whatever, I don't care. I simply replied: "Doesn't matter. I'm not interested."

    _______

    The other day I was speaking with my son; I asked if I could tell him something that he might not like. I told him how peaceful things have been about the house since his mum has been gone. "I said I would never leave her, and I didn't, she left me. But I never said that if she ever left that I would always take her back. And now that she's gone, I am not so sure that I want her to come back."

    I think I am just about ready to turn that corner, to take that leap, and to burn that bridge. But before I do, 

    • what am I forgetting? 
    • what am I not seeing? 
    • will I feel regret before I feel happiness again?
    D'
     
  2. AGrace
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    20 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Hi D'jected,

    It's terrible when exes feel they can try to manipulate you by laying blame on you for something that was actually their problem. I think I'd ignore the comment from your ex, and instead just remind her of what the boundaries are in terms of last minute changes to you schedule. You may want to consider saying the following; If she's not able to do the school run or any other planned activity then she needs to call rather than text. If you have already left for work then it won't be possible for you to make amendments to your plans, so there needs to be a cut off time for when she can contact you. If she can't do something involving the children and doesn't hear back from you then she needs to make alternate arrangements. What are your thoughts?

    You've asked 3 very good questions, I could answer them, but I wonder what your response is to those questions?

    One thing I do know is that some time after one of my relationships ended it was like someone took off my rose coloured glasses. I started seeing all the little nuances as flaws with that person, and they were no longer bearable. When we are happy and in love it's like those little things don't matter, but when the relationship ends we start to see all the cracks.

    I also wanted to ask whether there was a reason for this conversation with you son? Were you just trying to be open and honest? What was your son's response?

    I know you've mentioned in a couple of posts how much more peaceful your home life is now, are you wanting it to stay this way?

    Sorry I know I've asked a lot of questions. Look forward to hearing back from you.

    AGrace

  3. BeeGee
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    20 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Assuming your account of events is impartial, then her behaviour on this occasion was unreasonable, inconsiderate and irrational. There's no doubt that there is a communication problem here, but it seems to me that in this instance at least, the problem is squarely hers.

    Amber is spot on about suggesting that calling is more appropriate than texting, especially for things that are time critical. Sending a text is a bit like sending a message by carrier pigeon - you have no way of knowing whether or not the pigeon made it, and even if it did, whether the other party saw it had arrived AND opened and read the message. The pigeon could have been eaten by a hawk, it might have lost its way... anything could happen between point A and B. SMS is just the same - unless you get a response you have to assume the text hasn't been seen.  If you were able to negotiate with her to make phone calls for important arrangements rather than sending texts I think that would be a good ground rule and would avoid a repeat performance.

    I too am curious to hear answers to Amber's questions - I think they are really good ones.  I also think that your three questions are probably rhetorical... you are probably the only person who can answer those. But maybe some things to factor into your thinking:

    • What did you have in your relationship (at any time) that you miss now?
    • If you are brutally honest with yourself, can you see any scenario where it might be possible to regain those qualities?
    • She may be your ex, but she will never be your children's "ex mother". How will choices you make affect their ability to have/maintain a healthy relationship with her?

    I don't know about you but I still regret things from 40 years ago. Maybe that's just depression at work, maybe that will change, or maybe I just need to learn to live with that. I don't know yet. But I know I will be living with regrets for at least some time to come; I imagine it could be the same for you. No matter your choice you will probably find something to have regrets about.

  4. SubduedBlues
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    20 August 2014 in reply to AGrace
    Ok, I was speaking with my son as he is one  of my support anchors. His reply when I made my comment about not sure if I wanted to go back was,  'I'm surprised to hear that from you,  but glad that you have come to that realisation. Maybe now you can start to rebuild yourself.'

    I think sms communication is akin to talking before getting someone's attention and 'hoping' that they heard you. I agree with BeeGee, if it's important,  ring. If you don't ring, it's not important. And I agree with Amber in that if it's not answered it's not heard. 

    Yes Amber, I now see all of her quirks as cracks and intolerable flaws. Love truly is blind; or at least it blinds the person who is in love from seeing the truth about the one they are in love with. 

    What do I miss from the relationship?  At the moment nothing,  but I am sure that will change come the holidays and we don't have all six of us gathered together. 

    I have always been afraid to regret anything, because everything tgat has occurred in my life, all of the decisions I have made,  have brought me to here today. If I changed one thing in my past, I would not be here, in this same instance of time. I would not have this new found peace and happiness with my children. No, no regrets.

    Sometimes we burn bridges so we cannot go back,  but other times we burn to keep the undesirables away. I have not decided which reason I need to burn this bridge; or if I should burn it at all.

    D' 
  5. geoff
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    21 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    dear D'jected, well first of all she has broken her part of the deal, the arrangement that should have happened, I can only imagine what her response would have been if you did the same thing, and I'm only saying this because this is what happened when I was married, but I could never do anything right, and we still ring and see each other these days, but we would never live together again.

    To answer your questions, 'what am I forgetting', well to realise that this may happen again and not be able to pick up your daughter, so could you arrange someone else to take her to school, I know that you shouldn't have to and she should organise this, but just being on the safe side, and explain this situation to your daughter.

    'What am I not seeing', well maybe your ex is trying to not take her to school, and that this may become a common occurrence.

    'Will I feel regret before I feel happiness', I don't think so, because you pretty well have decided that you wouldn't live together again, because it wouldn't work out, there would be more arguments, which would be distressing for the kids.

    I'm not meaning to be one sided here, but the same would also happen if my ex wanted to live with me. Geoff.

  6. SubduedBlues
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    21 August 2014 in reply to BeeGee

    If I were to be brutally honest... how's this...

    Today is our youngest daughter's birthday. The ex came by to wish her happy birthday this morning. We figured we do her cake for breakfast as it was the one time in the day that we could ensure that we could get the high-school students, the uni-students and both parents together at the same time.

    During a some non-important conversation, the ex decides to say to the birthday girl: "I'm no longer your parent, I don't live here anymore." Why on earth she would make such an unempathetic statement on this day of all days is beyond me. If she meant to be humourous, I don't think our daughter received it that way; there was no sarcastic tone in the ex's voice, no smile, no laugh, nothing to indicate that it was a joke. I'll find out for certain when I get home from work today, and talk to my daughter to see how she feels, but at the moment I think it is quite possible that the ex just set the bridge alight.

    D'

  7. JessF
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    21 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Breakups can get nasty, but I personally think its unforgivable when people start using their children as pawns in their mind games, or to take out their frustration. How did you daughter react to this horrible statement?

  8. BeeGee
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    21 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    That's outrageous and utterly unacceptable. How can she be either completely clueless or uncaring about the damage she is doing to her own daughter with manipulative behaviour like that?  Once you pick up the pieces with your daughter I would suggest it's definitely time for a decidedly frank and firm conversation with your ex.

    Just not on.

  9. SubduedBlues
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    22 August 2014 in reply to JessF

    Hi Jess

    As expected, being disowned by her mother did not abode well; particularly not on her birthday. She said 'mum probably meant it as a joke, but it didn't feel like one. I wanted to tell her if she wants to treat me like an obligation or an inconvenience to her life then she can just stay out of my life. I don't need this from her.'

    So I did what all good fathers do when their daughters are having a hard time. I gave her a reassuring hug, told her I still love her and took her out for an ice cream.

    --

    For so long I had tolerated the ex's poor tact and unempathetic nature towards me that I eventually just accepted it to be the way she was. I became so blind to her poor behaviour that I didn't notice when she did the same to our children. Now that we are apart I can see her so much more clearly. I now recognise that which cannot be allowed continue. 

    Matchsticks and petrol may not be enough, somebody bring me some napalm !

    D'

  10. CMF
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    22 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Hi D'jected,

    Sorry to hear of what you are going through.  how about just closing  off the bridge for now, not burning it. my ex and I had an amicable separation, he suggested it, I agreed, he moved out within 3 days. we agreed to divorce after 12 months, we didn't but I later felt I wanted that closure so we went ahead.  when the kids used to ask why we separated he manuipulated the story and told them it was me, I wanted the divorce.  yes the divorce as we had verbally agreed but he instigated the separation.  we have had very,very disagreeable times of late but are  now sort of back on track. however he does  ask the kids if I do things with them like he does, if I take them out as much as he does. its easy for him to take them here there and everywhere when he only has them once a fortnight and hes not financially struggling. there is much more to my story.  I thought I had burnt the bridge a few months ago but it appears it was just blocked.  we have been amicable of late but I think I know why, not because he wants to be good friends, its other reasons.  your poor daughter, I think as long as you are there for her she will come through this, she needs to be in a happy environment regardless of having one or two parents there.

  11. SubduedBlues
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    23 August 2014 in reply to CMF
    CMF

    Interesting viewpoint. Insofar as burning that bridge is concerned,  I was questioning whether to sever the tie between husband and wife,  not between either/both parents and children (nb there are 4).

    Yesterday she said that she left because I gave her no other choice; which is not true.  There were other choices available to her,  she just did want them. There have been times that I have been unhappy with her, that I was not "in love", I could have chosen to leave, I could have chosen a great many options,  but I chose to stay. Not because it was the easiest choice (it was the hardest choice), but because I believed it to be the right choice. 

    She left on 1st July.  I've offered to her to have a peaceful and amicable parting. And until the last few days it has been more or less just that. Recently she has been hell bent on wreaking havoc amongst the peaceful family lifestyle we've built in her absence. It's as though she resents us endeavouring to rise above the turmoil and become a happy and functional family unit. 

    I am not angry, I am disappointed. I am disappointed that she is seemingly looking out for number one and not what is best for the children. She does not apoear to be considering the short, medium and/or long term future for them in a holistic sense.

    I'm disappointed that she refused to make any honest or concerted effort towards building a mutually beneficial relationship with anyone in the household. That even now, she still is unable to realize she is the common denominator of discord in the house. 

    D'

  12. CMF
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    23 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues
    wow, your second paragraph is remarkably like our situation, hes says I forced him out, I was unhappy but stayed as I felt I should etc.  exactly the same.  yep I understand severing the tie b/t husband and wife and not parents/children. do your children live with you? my ex has met a new woman and I wish them happiness but they spend time together when he has our kids once a fortnight and my kids want their time with their dad but he doesn't see that, he just wants them to accept her and have her sleep over etc but he sends them to bed and closes off the doors. he doesn't care how lond they stay up for on ipads as long as they are in their room. I hear what you are saying, I'm guilty too at times as I get very angry when they come home upset after a weekend with him but I don't put other people in front of them. i don't think you can never actually sever the tie b/t you as you have children together and will need to communicate about things often.  we tried to sever it, you should see the nasty emails I got but it doesn't work because there will be times when you need to have a united front I have found. how old are your children?
  13. SubduedBlues
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    24 August 2014 in reply to CMF
    Two adult aged and two teenaged 16-17.  
    I asked them, given the hard choice, would prefer to live with me or in this house. My daughters both opted to stay with me,  whereas my son (17) is non committal until such time as he has to make that decision. My elder boy is in the military. 

    My time with my children is their time to do what they want to do,  not my time to do what I want to do. Bytbthen I want to spend my time with my children doing what they want to do and that I can afford. I hope to be able to take them overseas for the holidays in 2016.

  14. geoff
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    24 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    dear D'jected, your a great understanding father, and maybe perhaps you and your kids could make a 50/50 choice, but then I would do what my sons would want to do, but in turn they would want to do what I wanted, but they are more important than what an old man wants.

    I can't believe the malice that your ex has shown, but I have a similar problem which I hope will pass, where my ex won't talk to our eldest son, which means that she doesn't get to see our two grand daughters.

    This has happened before but my ex and daughter in law don't get on, and what ever is said is taken the 'other way'.

    I know that there will be decisions or choices that will need to be made so it's probably not best to burn the bridge, maybe she will eventually do it herself. Geoff.

  15. SubduedBlues
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    24 August 2014 in reply to geoff
    Hi Geoff

    As usual,  I have to walk the high road. Okay,  I'll wait and let her burn it herself. And then, being me, I'll end up forgiving her wrongdoings and throwing her a lifeline when it all gets too hard for her. Damn, sometimes I so dislike myself for always caring about the other person.  When do I ever get to look out for what is best for me?

    D'

  16. Jo3
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    24 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Hi D'

    I feel for you so much.  But do you know what - you are an amazing person, an amazing dad to your children.  I am sure that they are so proud of you as you are with them.

    You also sound like a really caring guy always thinking of others.  But I think you should do what's best for you and your children. 

    What your ex did on your daughter's birthday was disgusting and so inappropriate. And then reading how you told your daughter that you love her and bought her an ice cream - that is so beautiful.  I only wish my dad only told me even once that he loved me :(

    D' don't let her take over; don't let her control you anymore.

    Pls take care, hope to chat again

    Jo 

  17. geoff
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    24 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues
    dear D'jected, true and yes, but how many bridges need to be burnt before it ends up the size of a burnt match stick where there is nothing left to burn. Geoff.
  18. AGrace
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    24 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Hi D'

    For me, the answer to that question is as soon as you want to. I think you've spent some time now putting others before yourself, and to what gain? You are under no obligation to keep your ex wife happy. You just need to maintain respect, despite her comments and actions. This time is for you and your children. It appears as though your children are doing ok. So look after number 1...you.

    I think you may also benefit from lowering your expectations of your ex. It doesn't seem as though she can live up to them. Sadly you can't change her, so to avoid future disappointment, you can only change you and your perspective. 

    Your wife will eventually realise her wrong doings and then she will have to cope with this, while you and your children will have already moved on to a happier place and time. 

    AGrace

  19. CMF
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    24 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Hi D

    in think you mentioned she left on July 1 so 2 months ago almost? Ok, so I don't agree with her behaviour and you seem more level headed but I think it takes time to settle into something comfortable for both of you after a separation regardless of who left the marriage. She may have made the comment to your daughter out of jealousy because your daughter chose to live with you. Have you remained in the family home? May I ask how old your wife is? I have been separated for 5 years divorced for 3 and still go through lots of ups and downs. My kids with my ex husband are younger 11& 12. At the moment we seem to be on the same page. It's very draining I know. 

  20. SubduedBlues
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    24 August 2014 in reply to geoff
    "...the malice that your ex has shown..." I don't believe she is intentionally malicious,  I think that is just become her nature. She is so introverted,  that I believe she has become all but unable to express any empathy towards anyone. My uni psychology student daughter explains her mum as having the emotional maturity of a 10 year old. 

    The ex's Myers Briggs personality profile is that of the INFJ; the rarest of profiles. Unfortunately for the children,  she is not like the average INFJ in that she neither cares for the other persons feelings nor is herself the nurturing type of person. And she is extremely impatient. Other than those,  she does adhere to the Jungian traits quite closely. 

    Me, on the other hand, I am an ENFP. If you have a Google of INFJ and ENFP you'll notice that we are polar opposite of one another,  and thus probably doomed to fail from the get go. We are just too different. But then, I am me. I am forgiving and I accommodate. 

    Well, that might give you an insight into the complexities of us.

    D'

  21. CMF
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    24 August 2014 in reply to SubduedBlues

    Thanks for this insight. I can relate to everything in your posts so much it's unbelievable, but from both sides so I am trying to put myself in both your shoes. I need to think about it all a little more.  It's given me an insight into myself and I'm hoping maybe I can give you some clear insight... But I need to have a think...

    i think I was destined to come across you here...

  22. SubduedBlues
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    24 August 2014 in reply to CMF
    Hey CMF if you really want to get down and dirty in the psychology of our personality of ourselves,  try adding in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). NLP tells us how each of us prefers to interpret the world and communicate with each other. 

    She is an audio primary and kinesthetic secondary; which means she relies on 67% of her inputs to be sound, 25% is intuition and 8% visual.  I am a kinesthetic primary and visual secondary; 67% intuitive,  25% visual,  8% sound. Being that we communicate so differently,  we struggle. I'm aware of our communicative preferences and endeavour to actively adopt when having a pre thought conversation,  but when not pre thought, I am me. She on the other hand is ignorant to other people's communication preferences and expects everyone to adapt to her style. 

    When we become acutely aware of how we communicate and interpret our world,  our world and the people around us all fall into a new understanding of reality. We now know why some people are easier to establish a rapport with, others are easy to trust,  and still others are a serious problem. Unfortunately for me, I found my wife in the third category. 

    In a way, I am happy that I didn't delve into the world of psychological self evaluation until after we began to struggle to be happy together.  I went down this path of self discovery in hopes of finding a solution to save us. I never expected to find me.

    D'

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