Holy crap, my monoship is a novel. Advice welcome.
As you can guess from the title, this is not about a poly relationship, it is about my dissolving monoship. But some of you have a lot of relationship wisdom in general so I am looking for advice, encouragement, whatever you have.
I was drawn to polyamory because of the enormous amount and intensity of love I am capable of giving.
This is also what drew me to my soon-to-be-ex-husband. He is hard to love. He has poor social skills, although he can be very engaging when he wants to be. He is a person who simply does not like other people and doesnít put much effort into learning how to get along with them. He has at least one psychological/emotional disorder, maybe more. He is moody, has a volatile temper, and is a pathological liar.
And I got together with him because I wanted the challenge. He was so unlovable and yet I could love him (in that unconditional, not-necessarily-sexual way, although obviously I was highly attracted to him as well). It was the opportunity to ďscale the Mount Everest of loveĒ if you will. People warned me about him and I was like ďI KNOW, but I am strong and capable and I can handle him!Ē I kind of wanted to prove something. And I was thinking from a mono mindset Ė if one person is all you get, I wanted my ďone relationshipĒ to be epic. I didnít want to be with just a Nice Guy, I wanted to be with someone who made the story interesting.
(When we first got together I was totally in Invincible Teenager mode. Then as we got older, everyone in the world wanted to give me advice and tell me what to do about my relationship with him, and finally I was like SCREW YOU IíM DOING WHAT I WANT EVEN IF IT TURNS OUT TO BE A MISTAKE. And Iím glad I did it that way. I donít think I would have learned as much about myself otherwise.)
Anyway, the thing is, it seemed to work! When I first got together with him, his behavior seemed to improve exponentially. He even admitted to me that he did have a propensity to lie a lot, and he didnít know why. You donít normally get that admission out of a pathological liar. At least, I donít think so. (Qualification: I saw the lying as no big deal because it was always patently obvious when he was lying, or at least stretching the truth. I didnít see him as capable of truly deceiving me.) Even his family noticed that I seemed to be making a real difference in his life. But due to life circumstances, our relationship turned into an LDR for a while, and during this time all the positive effects seemed to wear off and he went back to his normal antisocial self.
Part of the reason our relationship lasted so long is that his family was wonderfully supportive of us. They are all much saner than he is, they just put up with him because heís family and they love him. So I did the same thing. And the good times were REALLY good. But the good times happened less and less often, and he turned into basically a grouch that I tried to ignore most of the time while occasionally trying to do nice things for him. He became increasingly dissatisfied with me and eventually told me to leave. And I did. Rather gratefully, to be honest. One of the big things I have learned is that Unconditional Love does not equal Unconditionally Staying With. In some situations it is healthier to love from a distance.
But I was, apparently, not as immune to his emotionally manipulative tendencies as Iíd originally thought. He has an emotional hold on me. He has this way of convincing me that heís absolutely right and I should agree with him even though I KNOW heís spewing a bunch of BS. Itís this authoritative tone of voice that he gets. Also, he knows that I do desire to make him happy and he takes advantage of that. Maybe not even purposefully. Maybe he does it without thinking, like the lying. Either way, I find myself hanging on every word of his, even now. Itís almost hypnotic.
And we are going through a divorce and I have to make myself NOT listen to him in order to protect myself and our kid (1 year old).
So here are some current complications:
- I want him to have as little influence as possible on our kid. I donít want our kid learning these behaviors from him.
- I do want him to have a relationship with our kid. I think that would be good for him. And he is really good with kids when heís not angry at them. (I have never seen him get really angry at a kid but I have reason to believe it wouldnít be pretty.)
- I want his family to have a relationship with our kid, as they have been heavily involved in kid's life.
- I have no idea how to get the courts to take his mentally and emotionally abusive tendencies into account. Thereís not any particular incident that I can point to as obvious. Itís a lot of memories all muddled together in a soup. And itís not very obvious to an outside observer.
I feel like I canít think logically about how to deal with him, ESPECIALLY in the heat of the moment. I donít get explosively angry at him like I used to, thank goodness, and I at least notice that heís manipulating me now. But still it is really hard to overcome the effect he has on me.
Iíd love some outside opinions. I feel like I canít really share this with most people, as they would basically say heís a horrible person and give me reactive advice. I donít need reactive advice, I need honest, sane, boundary-setting advice. Or encouragement or SOMETHING.
DISCLAIMER: LONG. Trigger topic for me. I am VERY sorry you endure this. :(
I will try to keep even keel. Sorry it is a novel back!
Given these things...(purple mine, designed to help YOU think all this out and make your decisions. Not that I actually expect you to answer ME here. Your life decisions are yours to make. I have faith you can decide things for YOURSELF. )
How am I making these decisions:
MY CURRENT REALITY
I am sure you can set limits just fine. It's the he keeps on crossing the line. Right? He lacks respect. If this is the case?
Be specific -- boundary line with your limit. Have a consequence. DO the consequence.
You are a firm but fair traffic cop. Traffic cops DIRECT how to drive safely around on the tricky road. They don't tell you WHY to drive or WHERE you are going to do WHAT. They assume you know how to operate your car.
You are a traffic cop on the road of you-ness. If he wants to drive on this you-road? HERE is the road he has access to. Other roads on this property are PRIVATE and need ID card. He has no card to access those parts. Security clearance revoked. Here is HOW to drive on that road. Here's what happens when he drives off the road. He asks you things -- it is a green for go, red for no, yellow -- proceed with caution. Tell him his traffic light color. [/color]
Ex: "No. I am not willing to talk to you on the phone in general. (the red light limit). I am willing talk on the phone about divorce things (yellow light) [/COLOR]but only if you email me your agenda. I add my bullets points. We schedule talk time and go down the printed agenda bullets to keep us on track. (the How of green light-ness) No rambling on and on and on. No going round and round in circles. (red lights) 60 min. Times up, it is up, table agenda for next session. (red light limit and how of green lightness to future) Respect my boundaries, those are the limits. You do not respect? I hang up phone. (CONSEQUENCE)"If he gets pissy about you being MEAN or something because you hang up phone?
How are you being mean? You stated the thing that you are willing to do, and how you are willing to engage. He doesn't have to engage. You are in charge of how you behave. He is in charge of how he behaves. What is more fair? He behaved thus. THIS happened. He was in charge of avoiding the consequence or not by his behavior. Plenty of red lights, yellow lights, and green lights on how to drive on the road of you ness. Not your prob he bad driver and he fell off road!
Sigh. Expect song and dance like that. Set CONSEQUENCES. :(
I am currently supporting an abused friend who is in divorce process too. I frequently check the speak out loud stages to make sure MY role as her friend are in the right bucket.
So I totally get it, and I totally know. You want someone to give you calmness. Not more people to give you more wackiness. ASK for this from your people. I ask my friend to tell me to piss off if I cross a line, but I also ask to tell me where she is at today and what support shape she needs from me.
SAY to your people what you need:
I need you to stop using the world “should.” I will make the final decision for MY life. I need helping seeing my options, not making my decision. Use the word “could” with me. “I could do this. I could to that.” Then I can see my choices and I will decide. Thanks.
I need to be normal OUT for a change – air me out! Take me to cheap coffee. Lunch. A movie. Bookstore. I do not care.
I need normal BUSY for a change – give me a boring normal job. Wash dishes. Mow lawn. Whatever.
I need normal STAYING IN for a change – play a board game with me. Let's watch TV. Do a puzzle. Paint kiddie crafts.
I am tired. But I do not know ____. I need you to let me nap while you Google things up for me to read.
I am at Stage ___ at speak out loud. I need you to read that stage article, and play inside that bucket for friends and family support people,. You are leaking on me. I need you to stop. Do not ADD to my plate. Take AWAY burden.
Making it hard to leave is a tactic. I tell her this. She's taken the speak out loud to highlighter. TWICE. I suggest every time he does a THING to go look up what section and what bullet. Note it in her divorce diary of evidence for why she wants to leave the marriage. Highlighter it all again as many times as you need!
In fact, highlighter and write out this sheet too.
And so on down ALL those words.
And this one. Your feelings. Are your needs mostly met? Or mostly NOT met? Then if shenanigans happens you can go reread your OWN words/advice/realities.
I tell my abused friend -- " You might love him. Does he love back? Not in words. Talk is cheap. Does he love back in ACTIONS and BEHAVIOR. Or is it all about him? Honeybunch sweetie pie false words to get him what HE wants? "
That also helps her NOT get sucked back in. She ignores his words (hard, I know) and lists his ACTIONS.
Watch for tactic hopping bullshit. Develop that skill -- freshen up your bullshit meter if it has gotten dull. Check the Speak Out Loud list. Did he change gears from one thing to another? Watch separation abuse and using the child against you closely since you are at the divorce place.
So go out and take soundings. The more you talk the better – for yourself to unload. Also for feedback. If people are having a cow left and right -- even if they are all reactive and annoying because of HOW they deliver their feedback? Listen to the words, not the delivery style. It's telling you something. That his behavior is NOT normal. You are CORRECT in wanting a divorce from wacky.
Since you HAVE started divorce process, you sound like you are at least at Stage 4. So read stage 3, stage 4, and stage 5 just to be on guard for what may/may not happen at this place. Especially for what you might feel and how to do emotional management.
Guard against minimizing damage done to make it easier to bear inside your head and heart -- the mental bruises you've been given. Speak it. Out Loud. On paper. For you divorce needs. You have a kid to protect. You have YOU to protect.
It's ok to love him. But remember you own words:
For you to thrive? A one-sided relationship cannot take the place of a two sided relationship where you are shown love and loving behavior BACK.
Hang in there. Remember you have worth, dignity, and value. Even during divorce time from a manipulative ex.
You are being brave, and strong for you and your kid. Kudos to you! But be watchful of more shenanigans from him. He's a known shenanigan-er! :eek:
There is a real grown up REASON you decided to leave -- and that is YOU making the choices. YOU are in charge. You are a grown up person who can make her own decisions.
You run the SkylerSquirrel Show over there. YOUR life. You can do it!
How DARE you willingly have a kid with someone and then decide he should have no influence in this kids life. OK, so he may not be the best role model, but my God who is? You say that he has never seen him get really angry with a kid, yet you THINK he would be dangerous but you have no proof. I know a great many people who go ballistic when it comes to adults, but are completely different with kids.
If you truly believe this man will endanger your kid's life, ask for supervised visitation, but do NOT try and cut off contact. Make arrangements/agreements with him, that if things get to be too much for him, you will be close by to rescue them both.
My brother and a friend of mine are currently in custody issues where the ex-wife (or soon to be ex) is doing everything possible to remove all influence these dads have in their kids lives. These women have been advised how to lie/manipulate the courts "to get their way" and gain total control over their kids. The deception because they no longer want anything to do with these men or they want revenge is astounding and sickening.
Okay. Thanks, that really does help. I don't mind reading long things.
I'm reading through the speakoutloud website. Here is an additional complication: I have so far been allowing him to watch the kid a lot. He lives with his parents so I have been less concerned than I otherwise would be, because I figured his parents would put a stop to any abusive behavior.
This is how it happened:
Also, before he said he wanted a divorce, I did nearly 100% of the childcare. It was like pulling teeth to get him to help me.
Also, I need *someone* to help me watch kid so I can work, and he and his family have been providing that for me.
So I would feel like a jerk suddenly fighting for custody again, and I have said multiple times that I do not want a long drawn-out custody battle. But if it is better for the kid in the long run I will do it.
I'm just worried about it looking like I suddenly changed my mind and backed out on my promises and things like that.
I'm vulnerable to accusations of being a bad person and selfish and things like that, I guess. I start to believe them subconsciously, even though *consciously* I know I'm a good person and I'm just trying to do what's best for me and my kid. And I don't know how to fight back against such accusations.
Also: I don't have a lot of money. My lawyer is doing my case at a reduced flat fee. If this turns into more of a custody battle I will probably have to pay more.
I have told my lawyer that he is possibly emotionally abusive but wasn't able to give much detail, and so we didn't go down that track.
And NO he does not meet my needs. He has not met my needs for a long time. But I was raised to believe that marriage is not about getting someone to meet your needs - marriage is about giving to the other person. There is the social idea that getting divorced just because your needs aren't getting met is a selfish thing to do. "You're ruining your family for the sake of your own happiness!" It's really pervasive.
I have this thing where I need to prove that I Am The Person Who Can Love The Most Regardless Of What It Does To Me.
But I think I have proven that by now. Gone past proving it. Made some dumb decisions trying to prove it. Now I just need to figure out where to go from here.
50/50 Custody doesn't usually work well and really isn't in the best interest of the kid. Kids need routine, kids need one place to call home. Request a mediator for the custody nitty-gritty, it's cheaper than an attorney and they will likely have opinions and suggestions for stuff you didn't even think about. It also might be helpful to "try" certain arrangements and agree to re-evaluate everything in 6 months or something. What works for the one year old, won't necessarily work when the kid starts school.
While his family watching your kid may not count toward custody, it should count toward child support (IMO). What would you have to pay for child care if his family wasn't picking up the slack? Talk with your attorney/mediator, but you may want to agree on a number for child support and then figure out what can be counted as credit (or partial credit) toward that, like child care, medical, rent or mortgage payments on your residence, etc.
Divorce -- Take notes of the behaviors. What was said, what you feel, what you worry about. In the light of doing what is best for child. Get a mediator to hammer out details and put in a checkpoint. Like until this kid reaches their majority and is an adult themselves, we will review agreements every ____ mos to update needs for growing kid.
Focus on what YOU want. Ask for what YOU want. For your alimony things.
Focus on what YOU feel, Ask for things to assuage those feelings on the kid things. Him saying he wants to get out of child support -- that's disturbing to me.
He's not the judge in your case. He's him.
Your judge is your judge. Your judge will listen to your side and his. And then you see what you see. BREATHE. But stop listening to him. Get a third party person in there. A mediator and/or lawyer.
I do not believe in self-sacrifice to love to the point of self-damage in my healths -- mental health, emotional health, physical health, or spiritual health.
See, GG, this is my problem. People are going to read my situation wrong and think that I'm trying to steal the kid from his dad for revenge. I'm not. I'm not trying to hurt him. I don't want to deceive anyone. I have legitimate concerns here.
But I'm sure his lawyer is going to paint it like I'm evil and I'm trying to steal him, and honestly I don't know if I can handle that.
The other reason I am concerned about him being around my kid is that his father was physically and emotionally abusive to him as a child (something no one in his family will admit but the things they have described are abusive). Abuse tends to perpetuate itself through generations.
Also, since I don't have to pay for childcare at this time, no childcare cost was figured into calculating the child support. Ergo, his payments are less than they would otherwise be.
I actually could care less about the child support as long as I am actually able to support us. I simply want to be the primary parenting figure in my child's life. I want my child's relationship with his father to be more like that of an adult friend or relative. He cannot be trusted to meet a child's emotional needs.
I sympathize with your brother and your friend, but this is not that sort of situation. Please read more carefully and don't make assumptions like that.
Also, he is no longer The One Person I Love Most now that I have a kid. He has to share that title now if not give it up entirely. And as you have pointed out and as I mentioned in my blog thread, he can (in theory) take care of himself - kid can't. Also, none of my "loving behaviors" have done him any good so far. So going to cut my losses there.
My lawyer says the most likely thing is that the judge will send us to mediation. That is what I want because I DO want to get a neutral third party involved. (Five, for some reason, is adamantly against this. He's like "Why do we need mediation? We don't need mediation!")
So I'm basically waiting until that happens in order to voice all my concerns. What I'm wondering is, do I need to bring them up earlier? Should I send highlighted Speak Out Loud list to lawyer and ask her - do we wait for mediation to bring this up, or bring it up in court?
Just state your concerns, wants, needs. All your puzzle pieces. Openly, honestly, without lies. Do not perjure. Let court do as it does.
It know it is hard, but FOCUS. Your lawyer sorts all your things out for you to prepare your case and present YOUR best scenario.
So give lawyer all the puzzle pieces you got!
Let lawyer organize it into piles of what is useful in case or not useful. That's their job.
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