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Meeting XAH today to discuss DD7

Old 11-14-2018, 08:22 AM
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Meeting XAH today to discuss DD7

Having a lot of complicated feelings leading up to lunch today.

I left XAH about six years ago. During that time I was very active on this board and attribute this forum and intensive counseling with helping me leave my XAH (one of the hardest things I've ever done) and imagine and achieve a more functional, healthy lifestyle for myself and my children. Today I have a live-in boyfriend who I love very much, who is good to me and my kids, whom I trust and who trusts and believes in me. I have gotten further in my career than I ever expected and have a real job with real responsibilities and am seen as an expert in my field. Seven years ago when my daughter was born, I was enmeshed in this ugly marriage with my HS sweetheart, our parents were pressuring me to keep him no matter what, my son was suffering, I was suffering. Alcoholism was the center of my world, and I was fortunate to be able to put a lot of space between me and this nightmare.

XAH is an okay guy, he has concurrent serious mental illness along with alcoholism, but he is kind and gentle with our daughter. I choose to see his issues as a disease and not a failure of his character. I know him and have known him since we were children, and I just don't have it in me to stay mad. Since the divorce, he has been mostly agreeable and cooperative with me. I know he's still active in his addiction to some degree, but I don't know how deep it is. I think he's active in his alcoholism and only limited by money, being unemployed and depending on his parents for money.

Our daughter, DD7, was a baby at the time we split and our custody schedule demanded that XAH have supervised visitation with her, which he has followed to date. Unfortunately, DD7 is now in first grade and while a bright and beautiful little girl, she is experiencing some pretty serious anxiety that has progressed over the last six months. It's interfering in her education and friendships, and he is developing some weird physical tics that go with it, like nail biting to the point of injury, and rolling her wrists when she's anxious. It likely it will be a lifelong thing. She is seeing a counselor now and I need his cooperation to continue with counseling.

So I invited him out to lunch today to discuss it. I haven't had this much contact with him in, oh, six years. But I'm looking to continue a cooperative relationship, and as we all know, his alcoholism is a big piece of DD7's anxiety puzzle. In addition to genetics (DD7 gets it honestly on both sides), our family is complicated and her father's inability to sustain work and live independent of his parents at 40 years old is something she's identified as weird and bad (I agree). And she's sad that he and I aren't together - so she has regular child of divorce stuff on top of everything else. The only outcome I'm expecting today from lunch is that we maintain our friendly co-parenting relationship, that he is fully informed about what's going on with DD7 as required by law, and that he agrees that she continue counseling. I try to practice radical acceptance around this situation and recognize that DD7, no matter what I try to protect her from, will end up carrying some of this baggage. And it sucks and I'm sad about it, but I prioritize her safety and try to give her the tools she needs to manage this situation. And I know that one outcome of this counseling might be that the counselor advises that DD7's visitation with her dad is changed or reduced and I'm fine with that. I will follow the counselor's lead.

If you're familiar with my story, you know that despite everything, despite my new wonderful new guy, despite all the **** my ex and his addictions put me through, my irrational self still holds a candle for this guy. It's crazy and it makes no sense at all, and yet... I still love him. I have settled for loving him at a distance, which mostly means letting him have the dignity of his own life and his own decisions without my intervention. And I love myself too much to get back into that mess. Yet, I still have those thoughts.

I figured I would share here, as I'm at a point in my life where I have few contacts with this level of acquaintance with addiction anymore, and I need your experience, strength, and wisdom. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:06 AM
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Florence.…...I think that for people who have had a spouse in their lives since the growing up years....that the bonding is different than with those who have formed a romantic relationship with someone after adulthood.....because, that person becomes woven into the fabric of their lives in ways that are in addition to the usual romantic bonding.....a familiarity that never. really goes away...even if the romantic fires have faded or gone out....
This is just based on my experience and observations....(though I never did grow up with a romantic interest, myself)……
I don't think your feelings are crazy and "make no sense, at all", as you put it

I also think that it is very easy to transfer our own anxieties to our kids, even when we don't think we are doing it....because they are like little sponges and observe and absorb everything...everything...in the environment.....
lol...in fact, the developing brain is designed to do just that....
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Old 11-14-2018, 10:33 AM
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Hi Florence and thank you for sharing! I have read some of your old posts. A lot of your story resonates with me. My xah has court ordered supervised visitations as well, however, he does not exercise that right at all and we have had no contact with him in quite some time. I also have a dd7 who has developed tics that seem to come and go in stages as she has grown and then she is on to the next thing. All of that to say, I get it. Sounds like you are making the next right decision and steps for your daughter. Hugs
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Old 11-14-2018, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Florence.Ö...I think that for people who have had a spouse in their lives since the growing up years....that the bonding is different than with those who have formed a romantic relationship with someone after adulthood.....because, that person becomes woven into the fabric of their lives in ways that are in addition to the usual romantic bonding.....a familiarity that never. really goes away...even if the romantic fires have faded or gone out.....
I agree with what Dandy said whole-heartedly. I also met my AXH when we were 14yrs old, we got together at 16 and stayed together for another 26 years. we grew from children to middle aged parents together. That's a pretty huge chunk in a lifetime. It definitely leaves it's mark. The first 20 years were mostly good... the last six... well, since you were married to an alcoholic, you know just exactly how the last six went...

Leaving my AXH was the most excruciating thing I have ever done. I'm years out and remarried but the echo of that pain lingers. My AXH is the father of my children, he will always have a place in my heart as such (even though at times he has been a raging jerk) But no matter how much we loved each other, by the end, we were toxic to each other. I can't ever forget that pain either. I wish I could. Like you, I learned to love from a distance, and over time even that love has evolved. It is no longer something that takes up my thoughts, it just something that is a part of me that I've stowed away. It helps that my children are grown and I do not have to interact with my ex.

I just wanted to let you know I understand what you are feeling.

*hugs*
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Old 11-14-2018, 02:35 PM
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Me too - met ex when I was 13, got together as a couple when I was 18, married at 22, and left him when I was 45. It was not only a very long relationship, it was literally my entire adult existence, and went catastrophically bad.

I donít hold any candles or torches for ex, but am still incredibly reactive to his presence (super-heightened vigilance, fight-or-flight response in very high gear). I attribute this to the difficulty of coming apart and de-attaching, which involved literally re-wiring my brain. No regrets though - marrying him was the right thing to do at the time, and leaving him (when it as clear his addiction and mental illness problems were accelerating) was the right thing too.
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Old 11-15-2018, 08:59 AM
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This, this, this. Very well said!

Originally Posted by Sasha1972 View Post
Me too - met ex when I was 13, got together as a couple when I was 18, married at 22, and left him when I was 45. It was not only a very long relationship, it was literally my entire adult existence, and went catastrophically bad.

I donít hold any candles or torches for ex, but am still incredibly reactive to his presence (super-heightened vigilance, fight-or-flight response in very high gear). I attribute this to the difficulty of coming apart and de-attaching, which involved literally re-wiring my brain. No regrets though - marrying him was the right thing to do at the time, and leaving him (when it as clear his addiction and mental illness problems were accelerating) was the right thing too.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:11 AM
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A quick update: Lunch was fine, and a good reminder that there but for the grace of god...

I miss him, but also the "him" I miss doesn't really exist anymore. And I know that nothing in my life that I love right now would be this good if he was my partner.

From experience, I can tell those of you that are worried that your ex will get it together as soon as you leave that they don't, they just find new enablers. He tells the same old yarns, but I have no investment anymore in whether he's telling me the truth or not. I know what the truth is.

It costs me nothing to be kind, so I will, but from a distance.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:22 AM
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Very well said friend!

I am glad it went well!
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
It costs me nothing to be kind, so I will, but from a distance.
I'm glad it well for you too Florence. You sound very level about all of this and that you see the whole picture, which is very important (whether one is staying or leaving).

Yes, you know what the truth is.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:25 PM
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Thank you for the update! I was wondering how lunch went. You've got a lot of wisdom.
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