(NB. I wrote this and the next couple of entries while in a resort in Cuba. However I did not have Internet access there so have only posted them now. Thus the discrepancies in the dates being referred to.)
While the kids sunburn and celebrate the wonders of saltwater and unlimited ice cream buffet, the Leaver and Leavee are finally in negotiations.
Dealing with the realities of how we will parent our children. A long hand written letter spelling out the pressing need, from my perspective, to discuss these things resulted in a summit-meeting in a an Italian restaurant in a Cuban resort. détente? We aren’t there yet. We aren’t even ready to issue a communique on what we agree to disagree upon. But she respond to my issues and we’ve agreed to continue talking while we hold our fire…. sort of.
We went broad and thin in the discussions and basically she responded to what I’d asked and I went no further with any substantive counter offers:
When she was moving — Date has finally been agreed on — although no other logistics.
How we will broach this to the kids but nothing that substantive there. “we can’t be married to each other but we will still be your parents.”
Some sort of formula for visiting, access 2 nights after school but not overnight and one weekend night in our house where I take off somewhere. I think. Honestly I need more thought to this. I have to figure out where the hell I’m going to go and how am I going to go and stay someplace else without being beggared with gas and accommodation costs.
That’s about it really.
Nothing about key events in August. Or how the weekend evening thing is exactly going to work. Or how to deal with thorny question from the kids such as “are you getting a divorce?” and “why are you leaving?” and the like.
The question of child support is essentially moot — she has no job and the money she has would come from extracting value from the house. Which she is welcome to do but it would mean we’d have to move — I couldn’t afford the increased mortgage.
So she will get a job but it is unlikely that any job she could pay for support payments.
If I’d paid spousal support then we’d have to move because I couldn’t afford it with the overhead of our house. The Leaver can’t drive and can’t afford a car at this point anyway. Moving to a cheaper area would mean worse transit access, less walkable which would seriously impede her access.
So we have a stalemate.
Mutually Assured Destruction creates a sort of peace — either of us goes to lawyers or makes substantive demands and we blow everything up to hell.
This is a pretty scary situation for me, because I don’t know how exactly I’m going to manage financially without support. We were very tight to begin with thus the need for her to look into employment in the first place.
But that has not been resolved and any income she will get from going back to work will not contribute to the house, the kids in the present (she wants to make a commitment to put money into a kids college fund at some point).
Unfortunately this is not something that she is accepting in her own heart and mind with any ease of spirit. The practical truth antagonizes her greatly, deeply. It makes her at turns deeply hostile, lashing out, angry and/or very morose.
But I cannot allow her to live in an illusion of zero sum gain. Everything I have read says that the two sides in a marriage disillusion will face a huge hit to lifestyle. And there is nothing at all to suggest that we will be the exception.
She has to understand that what I do in the future re: living situation, location, lifestyle, job is not out of a need to self actualize, lifestyle choice or vengeance upon her. It will be out of necessity. The demolition of our marriage creates new necessities that are acute and we have not had to face before as a family. they are myriad, and grave (well for us at least). And they become more serious.
As the Leaver these implications weigh extremely heavily on her heart and conscience. I’m not saying that’s entirely fair but that’s the way it is. And there is no time now to bemoan that fact or try to mitigate substantively — it’s just the way it is. It sucks to be her and I get that.
But she made herself and these choices. And, much more importantly, there is not a damn thing I can do about these facts. Fair or unfair, they are far, far beyond what I can effect by my actions or my opinions of them.
However due to our dynamic I will feel the wrath of her suffering. Back to the Cold War analogies, we are linked and dependent on each other in that whole Mutually Assured Destruction, détente dynamic. To update the analogy, if North Korea is starving, the South worries what comes next.
And so do I.