Through my employer's Employee Assistance Programme, I had a one-hour session session this week to discuss a couple of problems I've been having with my ex-wife. I don't actually know if he was a marriage counsellor, therapist or some other sort of mental health professional but I left the session feeling empowered and invigorated.
I had foolishly thought that my ex-wife and I would finally be done with each other, four years after coming out to her and after three years of separation and nearly one year of divorce. But I'm still as enmeshed * with her as ever; in some ways, her behaviour has become more erratic.
*Dr. Spo first introduced me to this term!
Problem #1: Annoying and even abusive texting. I would NEVER voluntarily text my ex-wife for any reason and she sometimes goes for a whole month without texting me at all. But on other occasions, she will text me thirty times in one day and these can come at any time: 6:00 am or midnight or when I'm in class. I should say that a few of the texts are constructive or at least neutral.
But too many of the texts are usually downright rude and often involve some conflict she's having with one of the kids where she expects me to intervene and "talk some sense" into one of the kids. These texts are always stressful and invariably, I can't support her unreasonable demands which just causes her anger to escalate. She always to have the last word.
If I don't respond instantly, she will text repeatedly: "Well!!!!!??????!" and send the same text over and over. Incidentally, she demands an instant response with all the kids as well (which they hate) but if they text her, she might not respond for days.
My ex has taken all the fun out of owning a SmartPhone. I love getting texts from my kids, friends and especially, from the hot guys who want to have sex with me. But when a "bing" signals the arrival of a text, my heart sinks and I assume it's another unreasonable demand from my wife. It's become an instrument of abuse and there is no escaping it, 24/7.
EXAMPLE: Last week, I mentioned casually to my eldest daughter that her mother texted me 15 times during the school day about some issue. Eldest daughter said, angrily: "Mom's been at me about this all week! Now she's trying to get at me through you! I"M GOING TO TELL HER TO STOP TEXTING YOU!!!!" I asked her not to: my ex goes ballistic if she knows that we've been talking about her.
The kids and some friends have urged me to block my ex but I want to take the high road and consider the bigger picture. As co-parents, we still need to maintain contact. I feel that blocking her would be a provocative act which would poison every future contact between us which might occur at big family events such as the marriages of our children or births of grandchildren.
Problem #2: Excessive spending on the kids. Our divorce agreement dealt with child support differently for each of the three kids. We have no financial obligation for our eldest daughter (now 22) who is an independent adult. We committed to providing equal funding towards our middle daughter (now 19) as we are able, towards her university tuition and other education expenses only.
Our son (17.3 years old) is our only dependent child. Each of us is required pay for our son's daily upkeep when he is living at our respective homes and to discuss in advance the big purchase (such as a ski membership or new snowboots). For these larger expenses, we usually split the cost evenly between us. This system has worked fairly well until recently.
But in recent months, my wife has spent a few thousand dollars on items for all the kids (over their objections) and billing me half of the cost which I cannot afford. The vast majority of the spending does not adhere to our divorce agreement and she is unwilling / unable to provide receipts or any form of accounting. The kids are angry at her for this latest tactic and urge me not to pay.
I must continue this text on Monday because Miner Dude will be coming to my house for another round of sexytime very soon. I must wash up!
The therapist give me some exceedingly sensible, balanced advice which I am now following. What do you think he suggested as the best course of action?