The rest of the night was spent lying in bed and talking, crying, listening, and baring our souls. The kind of thing that is HARD for most men, including myself. But I did it because I have been committed to making this relationship work. W said she waffles back and forth between a) doing the “easy” thing and divorcing and not having to deal with the kids and me, just providing financial support, something she’s excellent at (she makes lots of money!), and b) deciding to work with me and get some counseling. I didn’t even get into the argument about how divorce is seldom easy on anyone, especially children, who are often heartbroken. Most divorces are slow, painful processes that make life more difficult for almost everyone. But I digress.
W thinks she is the worst mother ever, and has terrible buyer’s remorse for having the girls. I asked her point blank “If you could have it exactly the way you wanted, how much time would you spend with the girls?” She paused for just a second and replied “None”. Then we both got quiet and cried for a little while.
We talked about why she feels the way she feels, and it was tough getting to the answers. I talked about how I feel her NRE with her guy right now is coloring her judgment, but of course she denies this. Even though I know from all my studying it is true. Then she claims she has, for 15 years, put everyone’s happiness ahead of her own, and she wants to start making her own self happy. I refrained from pointing out all the things she has done for herself in those 15 years, because I knew it would be sheer folly. But I’ll list some of them here, for my own catharsis:
1) Went to grad school for two years while I worked and supported our household.
2) Got bariatric surgery and lost a lot of weight
3) Got a boob job (which turned out fantastic, BTW)
4) Spent us almost into bankruptcy to overcome infertility to bear two children (the same ones she now can hardly spend an hour around without becoming an angry shrew).
5) Moved us to Las Vegas for a year because she likes the excitement of the city
6) Has never agreed to go to my folks for Thanksgiving, because she always insists on going to her folks.
7) Bought a hot tub, a minivan, an expensive bedroom suite, etc.
8) Bailed a guy out of prison by loaning him $12,000, which I doubt we’ll see again, because she thinks this guy is a great guy who just made some mistakes.
You get the picture.
She says she’s terrified of what people will think if she walks away from this marriage. She said she’ll lose most of her friends, most of her money, and maybe even her job. Because she thinks the way the public (and perhaps the court) would view it as her being repeatedly unfaithful, a terrible mother, an angry, belittling wife, and other horrible things. And I think she may be right, actually. If she walked away, I could basically spell out whatever I want in terms of money, assets, and child custody. And I’d probably get everything I ask for.
Then I did a lot of talking about how I’ve often considered giving her what she wants, which she has made apparent to me time and again, which is nothing to do with me and very little time with the girls. I said I could probably make that happen. It would break my heart and heart of the girls, and our parents, and a lot of the people pulling for us. But I would do it if it turned out to be the only way.
But I don’t want that to happen. I want a family. One where the mother and father love and respect each other, live together, and work together in harmony to raise healthy, emotionally mature girls. One where we live out our retirement that we have saved so much for. One where there is emotional and physical intimacy.
She finally got sleepy and ended up saying things like “I can’t be responsible for two kids AND you”, which is not the first time that she basically called me a child. Then finally we’re asleep.
This morning she sends me a SLEW of texts saying she was re-energized by our discussions last night, and she’s decided to try to make things work. She’s going to try therapy and see if we can fix our issues. She says I bared by heart and soul so much she is convinced I can change and has hope for our future. She said she was amazed by my ability to be so candid with her.
Go figure. I’m getting very weary of this roller coaster. I hope the therapy helps, because I may decide the coaster is way too bumpy for me and decide to hop off.