Usually when I blog, I can manage to be Miss Mary Sunshine, ever the optimist! But right now, I feel like crap. We're back in a spell of -25 C temperatures; I'm so tired of the cold and darkness!
I'm in the final stages of buying a used car (which is always an unknown quantity), I'm extremely stressed out about the letter I am writing to my ex about our spending on the kids, I have a very bad sore throat from a cold and I'm extremely busy with my new classes and a project I'm organizing in our city schools for Pride week.
On the plus side, all three of my new classes are fantastic! Such bright shining faces! I'm so lucky to be working with young people every day.
My therapist was a sensible, older man (65+) who I had seen a couple of time during the height of my coming-out / separation / divorce drama. It was an enormous relief to be able to tell another person everything about my wife's erratic behaviour AND to receive professional feedback in return.
In the hour-long session, I told him virtually everything .... all of the stories which I've blogged about here and many more which I haven't.
His main observations:
1. My wife will most likely become more and more demanding and unpleasant as she approaches old age .... with everyone, not just me. For many people, getting older doesn't necessarily mean getting nicer.
2. She probably will be angry at me for the rest of her life. That's her problem.
3. My wife still needs to be needed by the kids and so is trying to achieve that by buying things for them.
4. Her level of spending is unacceptable and unsustainable for both of us. I need to protect myself financially. He suggested that I send her a carefully-worded, non-accusatory letter outlining the reasons for my concern and the new rules for our spending on the kids. The rules will ultimately benefit both of us. These are:
-we will stick to the spending limits in our divorce agreement. (no mandatory spending on oldest child, only educational support for middle child and prior agreement on any extra spending for our youngest)
-receipts must be provided for full accountability if any payments are to be made
-a record must be kept of all correspondence (on paper or e-mail)
-any spending outside of our agreement MUST be approved in advance by the other party. He said: "If she spends money on something without your prior approval,", he shrugged, "then, that's her problem."
5. My ex-wife has way too much time on her hands and has too much time to brood and to get angry. She went into retirement without a plan to fill her time.
6. He told me to instruct my children not to tell their mother anything at all about me. Hearing that I am happy will just fuel her anger.
7. In addition to my wife's A.D.D., depression and anger management issues (all diagnosed), he is convinced that my wife's symptoms point to bipolar disorder.
8. As to the abusive texting, he said: "Don't worry about it! Just laugh at the crazy." You still need to maintain communcations with her; both of you will always be parents to your children. Divorce is forever.
If she texts me many times during the day, don't respond instantly as that will just feed into it. Respond the next day and she if her behaviour changes.
He said: "Most people, mostly men, emerge from divorce financially ruined. You both got out of your divorce virtually unscathed compared to most people; you both own beautiful homes, have good incomes and your pensions are intact. You've achieved a highly successful divorce and you should just count your blessings."
"When you complain about her texting, you remind me of some person living in a town which has been wiped out by some terrible tornado. Every house has been destroyed except for yours, and you then go around complaining about some dust on the carpet."
"Just laugh at the crazy."