Divorce Gets Uglier…How Is That Even Possible?

Well, as this divorce drags on my Fibromyalgia grows more painful too. I guess this is a direct manifestation of stress.

Recently B stated he would be coming to CA with our 18 yo son Paul. He wanted to see Gracie and take her with him. Problem: he refused to sign a short two paragraph document stating that we both had joint physical custody and she lived with me. That she would be with him from x to x and that he was not allowed to leave the state with her without my permission. He refused to sign. Our eldest daughter and friends who know B said do not allow him to take her. He will take her back to Texas and if she is back there getting her home will be difficult if not impossible. We all believed he might not bring her home because he stated he was going for full custody of her and that she left the state without a good discussion.

He bought the tickets last week. He still wouldn’t sign and I had no idea what I was going to do. After thinking about it I realized that he had left no time for Paul and I to see each other except during the time we would exchange Gracie. This was unacceptable since both Paul and I had told him many times that we wanted to spend extra time together. I called Paul. He told me that his father had told him he would have to spend time with me another time.  I asked him if he wanted to spend more time here after his father’s visit ended and he said yes  and immediately sent me a message that read:

Hi mom! I would like to spend 10 days with you. That would mean alot to me!!

Love you.
I sent the message stating I would buy Paul’s ticket and that he was now an adult and I urged him to talk with his sister, his Dad and watch the news and make a decision that was best for him. B who responded with:
I have his ticket already purchased.
Long story short within a few hours B canceled their trip “due to the Corona Virus.”
A few hours later he sent this:

I told him we would take the trip when things calm down. You and Gracie are welcome to come here and visit, I will pay forGracie’s flight. Give it a thought, it might be a better solution.

So yeah, you already bought tickets won’t come and then offer to have us visit you….that makes sense.

I called Paul the next morning. B had not even told him the news that they would not be going. Paul started crying. Paul was upset stating his father had already told him they would come no matter what the status of Corona was .
I wrote Paul the following :
I know today you said you were very upset about not coming out to visit. I found some direct fights from Austin to San Francisco and there is also the possibility of a flight from Austin to Sacramento. As an adult you are able to make your own decisions but I would urge you to talk to Dad, your sister and listen to various news outlets so you make a decision that is right for you. I know that you are going out to eat and last week were at the Pearl. Here they may be shutting down some restaurants tomorrow so if you were to come know that there would be limited opportunities but there would be plenty of time for us to spend together. I am not going to urge you one way or another because I think that this needs to be your own decision. So if you decide to come, I would love to have you. If you decide to stay in Texas, know I love you and we will get together another time.
Love
Mom
Long story short:
  • 1. B refused to sign the temporary custody visitation agreement regarding his trip to California.
  • 2.B bought tickets for himself and our son Paul July 8, 2020 knowing that the COVID situation was getting worse but is still taking the boys out to dinner and in public in San Antonio which has a high rate of COVID infection. I have pictures of these outings.
  • 3. A week later on July 15, 2020 when B realized that I offered to let Paul stay out with myself and Gracie for an extra 10 days he canceled the trip to California without informing Paul. He was away in Oklahoma at that time and has no problem traveling.
  • 4. The next day B sent an email stating he would pay for Gracie to come to Texas instead and I could go too. This makes no sense as:
  • A) B had already bought tickets for himself and Paul to come to California and told Paul he was not concerned about COVID
  • B) If Bis really concerned about COVID why would he ask Gracie to come to Texas which is another COVID hot spot. Why should she travel when he already had tickets purchased for himself and Paul?
  • C) The real issue is that Mr. Dieter wants to deny Paul and I access to one another and is afraid to have him stay in my home for 10 days in case he chose not to come home to him or COVID shut things down. Paul is not enrolled in college at this moment and is doing nothing that should prevent his traveling to see his family in California.
  • D) Paul is an adult. He should be able to make his own decisions without having to worry that his father will be mad at him for choosing to come and see his sister and I. This was one of Paul’s concerns that he expressed to me.

Power

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I ask B to share with me the emotions he has  felt on this “maybe” divorce journey as part of the 365 Days Little Buddha Challenge. My intention is just to listen in hopes of greater understanding and clarity.

He says that he feels under appreciated, under valued, and like he has been in a rowboat rowing all by himself.

I ask what would it take to make feel him feel that he was valued and appreciated.

“For you to focus on the family instead of yourself. I work and have taken on a lot in the last 5 years.”

What would that look like I ask?

“I don’t know.” It always comes down to I don’t know. Or I want to have the last word in our relationship. My word is the final word. And I know that at 56 I do not want to become a caricature of who I want to be and who I am.

And as I ponder his answers I realize that everything he has said I feel the same way about. Exactly. Undervalued. Unappreciated. Unloved. And when you have two people who are intrenched in those kinds of feelings it seems like there is no chance of moving on.

I wonder how exactly he feels I focus on myself. My writing? My genealogy work? He has work, the gym where he works out with Gwinnifer, Rotary, Boys Scouts, his various  industry organizations and playing the bagpipes.  Yet, he does focus on the things he likes to do with our family. Boy Scouts. While I focused on getting the kids to their therapist once a week for years, hippo therapy, diving lessons and meets. I write and research…that is all I do for myself except clean house at least two hours everyday, make dinner, lunches, do laundry, grocery shop, taxi the kids around, work in the garden, paint all the rooms in our house, etc.

I think having two children with special needs has impacted our relationship in ways that most families never experience and it has increased the stress in our relationship. In addition, it has made it difficult to socialize with others who do not understand how we must live. So we have isolated ourselves as a couple and I have isolated myself as a person.

And as he says these things resentment screeching out of his words like nine-inch nails on a blackboard; I realize once again there is no way to get over this. Even if I bowed down and “obeyed” like he says he wants in a woman, it would never be enough because he will never see anything but what he wants to see/ how he wants to feel…resentment (which he denies), cheated, and all the un-everythings so that he can justify his feelings about wanting a new life, a new wife, and find a way to feel comfortable in his mid-life crisis which actually started 7 years ago when he bought a two-seater Mercedes convertible for a family of six.

And so I inch that much closer to the demise of a relationship in which one person never expressed his needs or told the truth and one who expressed all of it. Constantly. Who asked the deep questions that B couldn’t answer in an attempt to learn about his wants but never could because the information was top-secret and I never had that kind of clearance.

It is time to make the kinds of chances that break hearts. It is time to make the kinds of changes in which it feels that you have been eviscerated and your guts are hanging outside of your body for the world to see. It is time to let go and get on with life unhindered by 30-year-old anger and disappointment. For every time I talk with you I feel horrible about myself afterwards. I’m selfish. Not appreciative enough, skinny enough, loving enough, a good enough mother, a good enough wife, a good enough partner, a good enough person. Like I am nor will I ever be enough. For anybody and certainly for you.

“You took my power,” he says.

“If you really felt that to be true it was your responsibility to get it back, instead of blaming me for not having the guts to do what you should have done.”

So here it is. The power that you accuse me of stealing.The power that you’ve always had and were afraid to control.  It’s all yours and it always has been. Let’s see what you do with it.

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