In the 3.5 years since I came out to my ex-wife, I've experienced some pretty erratic behaviour from her: much screaming, slamming-down of the phone, bitterness and obstructionist behaviour at every turn. Some of her behaviour was just plain crazy*; wishing I was dead, throwing furniture and threatening to burn down my house with gasoline.
*my wife's sister and late father were diagnosed with serious psychiatric problems so it runs in her family, I think.
It was my inclination to "hold the course" because my wife was basically a good person and would reverse her unreasonable demands after a few days. Through it all, I enjoyed .... rather, earned .... enormous support from my wife's entire family, our three children and all her friends.
I don't think my ex-wife fully understood how precarious her position was. Had our divorce become adversarial, I'm sure that she would have been destroyed, financially as well as emotionally, and would have had little support from anyone. But I would have been ruined financially as well.
As our divorce proceeded, our exchanges steadily improved as her hatred faded but there still was no warmth in her texts and e-mails. Emotions were still too raw for us to talk on the phone let alone face-to-face since her hurt and bitterness would instantly resurface.
But since our divorce became finalized three weeks ago, there's been an unbelievable shift in our communications. We now talk on the phone several times a week and she's warm, friendly, cooperative, helpful and polite.... it's all "please" and "thank you."
We're very busy completing the final requirements of our divorce agreement such as dividing up our cell phone family plan for the five of us and finalizing our "reciprocal wills agreement." But my wife's biggest task is to prepare both of our income tax returns for the past four years. This requires much cooperation and exchanging of financial information; receipts, income information and such. (Yes, we haven't filed since 2008! Yikes!! But it's nothing to worry about....more on that later)
recent spring blizzard, my wife phoned at 8:00 am to urge me to NOT drive into work. "I'd worry about you getting to an accident." And later, "I care about you."
It was a bit of an awkward conversation because I intended to drive into work come hell or high water. She wanted to phone the Superintendent of Education (her friend) to convince him not to dock my day's pay; an offer which I declined.
In the end, she extracted a promise from me not to set out for work until the highways had been plowed and sanded even if I arrived an hour or two late and to text her when I arrived safely. I followed her advice on both counts.
Throughout the drama of the past three years, our best friends have been predicting that my wife and I would end up "best friends" after our divorce. I never would have believed it in a million year, but now I'm thinking that they might be right.
It will make it so much less awkward when we run into each other at the kids' future events such as music recitals, graduations and even weddings. :-)