Never Belonged to You

You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago

I think Dewy was right:

It’s not too bad being the black sheep. It gives you space 😊 To be the golden child is much harder. Always having to live up to expectations .

I was once a youth group leader, teacher, and worship leader. I used to lead prayer services on Wednesday. Bible classes on Monday. I was being groomed by the Elders to become a deacon in the next year or two. I managed the Church website, social media, technology, and audio/video systems. My wife and I held fellowship and hospitality events monthly.

Now, I stay home and sleep in Sundays. I awake in the morning light to the sound of my son’s little toddler stomping with my wife’s softer steps following close behind upstairs. For some reason, she doesn’t like it when I help with the baby on Sundays. I think it is because seeing me disturbs her mindset as she’s preparing to attend church and worship God.

The Elders, in tears, announced my defection from all that is good and holy last Sunday and asked the congregation to encourage and care for my wife, and to encourage me if they could. My phone gets filled with text messages from concerned members on a regular basis. Honestly, I’m burned out. I can’t do it anymore, I’m so tired of telling people that I’ve had five affairs (my wife won’t allow me to say ‘I’ve cheated’ or ‘I’ve had an affair’, the number is important to her), I’m sorry for hurting my wife and son, and that we are likely headed towards divorce.

Sunday mornings seem to be my rare moment of peace. The house is empty except for me and the dogs. Just about all my non-secular friends have gathered to worship God. But, I get up lethargically. Turn up the stereo and put on some tunes while I prepare myself some breakfast. Just having this rare opportunity to do what I wish without concern for others. I never really had this before unless my wife and son were out of town. Time to myself was almost non-existent before, I was either at work, on my way home (my wife kept continual tabs on me, 15 minutes late and guaranteed she wouldn’t let me hear the end of her suspicions of me cheating all that evening), when I was at home, it was chores or baby, or a few solitary minutes downstairs in the shared living room with our renter. The only times I was ever alone is if I was driving to or from work. I didn’t realize how regulated, regimented, and scheduled my life was. I didn’t defer to my wife for every activity, but believe me, when I didn’t defer to her there would always be hell to pay, she would tell me how lazy and unhelpful I was if she wanted me doing chores or working on a project and I decided to do my own thing, or if I wanted to go see a friend or read a book I was preferring those things to spending time with her. Besides all that, there were the expectations of people at Church, the heavy responsibilities I’d piled on myself over the years.

Now I had Sunday mornings free, the first taste of regular freedom I’d had in a long time. I almost remembered what a day off felt like, even if it wasn’t a whole day off. I know I don’t deserve it, I have a child now, and parents are never supposed to get a day off, or so I was told. In many ways, I feel guilty for having this time, or any time now. Feeling like a bachelor again while my wife is stuck taking care of our child. She has been emphatic though, she would like sole custody of our son. Much as it tugs on my heart strings, but I have to agree that that is what is best for him, to be with his mother everyday. Besides, the way this is going I won’t have my own place for a long time, no way I could afford it, and especially not with over two-thirds of my income going to support my future ex-wife and child. But, it should be enough for her to remain a stay at home mom, which is what we wanted for our son anyways: to never have to be in day care. I’ll still get to visit him on weekends and a night or two during the week, but the thought of not seeing him every day breaks my heart.

Unstructured free time is amazing. No expectations, no one to be annoyed by my loud music and rocking out while I fry up some eggs, bacon, papas, and beans to make a breakfast burrito. I spend the morning chatting with Her. We keep finding ourselves deeper and deeper in our relationship. We are both going through major upheavals in our lives, and we’ve been able to lean on each other for support. I don’t know what I’d do without Her at times. Our desire for one another is unreal, but the space between us seems insurmountable at times. I dream of Her at night, and wish she was lying next to me in bed each morning. Still, as long as I have my phone she can touch my heart and I can touch her’s. In some ways, some of my first impressions of Her was that she was prickly, wild, uncouth, and even a tad pretentious, but as I’ve gotten to know her better I can see she is really quite the sweetheart, a caged free-spirit waiting to be released.  She is not a simple girl by any means, a woman of contradictions much like I am a man of contradictions. The more I get to know Her, the more I love her. Perhaps it is unwise, if I’m headed for divorce should I be seeking a new relationship so soon? I suppose, but if I just passed this up because of the timing, I could regret it forever.

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25 thoughts on “Never Belonged to You

  1. Dude that is insane. No custody of your son? I can’t even fathom such thoughts. I was struggling to consider missing them 50% of the time. Missing them 100% is too much. You make it sound like this is what you expect and what you want. Is it really? Or has she just beaten you down so you feel this is right? I mean not even a weekend here or there? I just can’t imagine. I hope that is really what you want if you sign up for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I realize I haven’t really talked about this enough, have I? It is amazing the different perspectives you get in this area and I feel like I’m being pulled in many directions at once. Since you offered the first comment on it, I’ll respond to you in the most complete manner compared to the other comments regarding custody.

      Well, you are right to a certain extent, I want to honor my word since I did, with a guilty conscience, agree initially with my wife to give her full custody. But, it wasn’t just my guilt. I honestly felt and still feel that would be the best thing for our son. Studies are certainly in conflict over whether joint or sole custody is best for children, my personal feeling is that there is no single answer, and you have to try to pick what is best for the child in their age and development, and the parents with their relationship and economic situation. I know for me, as a child of a divorce, I hated joint custody with a passion, the back and forth was constant turmoil for me (besides my parents battling over me and my sisters), so my knee jerk reaction was sole custody since I didn’t want that for my son. I persuaded my parents to move to sole custody since I didn’t like the back and forth at all, even though I loved both of my parents and wanted a relationship with both of them. The other part of it is that with our current economic situation joint custody would seem to be untenable. My wife has a part time job, not a career. If we were to do joint custody, first, each of us would need a place suitable to have a toddler for overnight stays. Currently, I’ve agreed that my wife and son should be able to stay at the place we are currently renting which is large enough, and since we are renting it from a friend the rent is well below market. With rental costs here, I wouldn’t be able to afford a place for me that would be suitable to have a toddler for an overnight stay, even with reduced child support costs. I’m basically looking at renting just a room with some friends at this point, that’s all I’ll be able to afford. And, it would have the further domino effect of requiring my wife to get a full time job if we had joint custody since she’d need the extra income to make up for the lost child support, which in turn would mean we’d need day care which would be another cost. Basically, I don’t see any way that joint custody doesn’t bite us in the ass economically. We’d sat down and crunched the numbers as much as can be done at this point. Besides the fact that my wife would never willingly agree to joint custody at this point, which means our divorce would cost 20k-30k+ possibly ongoing (I have a friend with 3 kids that has been in and out of court for joint custody business and spent over 100k on lawyers between him and his ex-wife). Right now, with an amicable divorce we should be out the door at around 5k. Another major factor is stability for our son, keeping his life and routine as close to as it has been with his stay at home mother. And, lastly, as long as I’ve been in the house my wife and I are still fighting like cats and dogs (much as I try to avoid her), which is understandable given the circumstances. It is a very toxic situation as is, and I’d rather not make it more toxic. It seems we are just hanging on by a thread right now, and I realize she needs space from me. So, much as I want to spend time with my son, I’m trying to acknowledge the economic and emotional reality we are in and try to do what I feel is best for him. Joint custody is a popular approach these days, and it has its merits, but I don’t feel it is the end all solution. I want to keep the peace as much as possible between my wife and I for our son’s sake. She seems willing to work with me down the road for visitation so I may be able to have him for weekends and father-son trips and activities. To be honest, as heart wrenching as the idea is, my ideal is that my wife would remarry (a good man of course) so that my son can have a full time mother and father again. He’s still young, and I just feel that would be the most healthy solution for him in the long run, much as I want to be his father. So, right or wrong, that is where I’m at right now. Taking it one day at a time and trying to come to the lesser of all the evil choices I’ve been given.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It gives you space to be who you want to be. I grew up as the oldest. Although not the golden child I had a lot of pressure to be the role model for my siblings. I felt I had to do what was right all the time.
    One day I woke up with the realisation of doing what was right to gain acceptance did not make me happy and I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was miserable. From then on I was like I’d rather just be me. If they think I’m crazy well so be it. Life is too short to be dictated to how we should live our lives. As for acceptance birds of a feather will flock together. There’s no right way to live. As long as you don’t hurt anyone intentionally I don’t see why not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with R. Patience- and I actually think you may be confused. Sole custody means she decides if/when or *if ever* you’ll see your son. Your legal document will say you have no rights. Please don’t do that – if she threatens you ib that arrangement you’ll forever be at her mercy and *no parent wants that scenario.
    Add a new wife down the road and you’re asking for disaster (ck out stepparents on reddit to learn more).

    50/50 is trading off half the time (You ought to read articles on this – children benefit from being with their mothers and fathers).

    Joint custody is the arrangement you described with one evening a week and EOW, written in a legal document supporting your right. It will also split holidays.

    The worst decisions made in divorce and custody matters is when you’re emotional with guilt or worried about finances for everyone but yourself. Yes, you have an obligation, to your wife, son, and yourself. If you write yourself off legally both financially and as a farther (as a penance) you’ll always regret it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re not alone, I’m being pulled in many different directions on this. I replied very completely to Mr. Patience where I’m currently standing on the subject. But specifically, I am dealing with the legal ramifications carefully to leave the doors open, while still working with my wife for what seems to be best for my son at this time. Per my legal discussions on the topic, it seems that custody can always be re-evaluated, the door is never shut (may just be thing in this State). Besides, we are codifying in our divorce my visitation rights so it isn’t just left to my wife’s discretion. You’re absolutely right, guilt has no place in the discussion, and finances should take as much of a back seat as they can while still prioritizing the needs of my son, wife and, myself.

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      1. J- do some homework on this one. *Please* read up on what happens to dads with bitter ex-wives.

        Too many ppl make such very important decisions when pieces of the fallout are still falling.

        Please don’t project your past into your future!

        Your passive nature in this will haunt you. Yes, orders can be changed but not easily and especially not so after an initial ruling because she’ll be holding all the cards at that time. Do you understand what that means? She’ll be documenting every thing you don’t do and everything you do do and you can bet that once you start off with, “I agree to her having sole custody” that you’ll be fighting an enormous black mark against your abilities and desires.

        None of your well thought out reasoning will go into your legal ruling. It will read like you just didn’t care enough. Harsh. True. Do. Your. Homework.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. p.s. I am being a bit pushy here but I’m looking at your “naive adulterer” moniker and don’t want to see it become “naive divorced dad.” 😓

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  4. You fucked this up. You let her and the church decide this fate.. all the moralizing bullshit I read from your church community and wife makes me sick. You need a secular divorce. Go see a non-religious marriage counselor together to make this a healthy split.

    What she is doing to you is wrong for you and your child. You failed your marriage, sure, but that does not give exclusive rights to parenting your child to your wife. Snap out of this shit man. You sound so brow beaten.

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    1. A little harsh don’t you think given your distance from the situation? Anyways, you’re right that I am hurting and stressed and pulled in many different directions at once. Regarding custody, I gave a good explanation of where I see it now to Patience above. You’ll probably disagree with my stance, but I’m doing the best I can.

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  5. That’s tough. I hope once the sting of the betrayal hurts less, she won’t be as harsh. I agree, joint custody is probably best for your son. I won’t tell you what to do though. I know you don’t want to piss her off and did fuck up but it’s your son. Fight for him. Just because you stuck your dick in someone else doesn’t mean you’re less of a parent than she is. You both made sacrifices to be parents. Don’t let her control and dictate what happens just because you think you owe it to her because you cheated.

    It seems Her is a positive thing in your life right now. You seem to resisting it. Do you think you don’t deserve good in your life? I think it’s great she seems to make you so happy. I’m sure she feels the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right that I need to fight for what is best for him, and I feel I’m doing that. Perhaps I am making the wrong decision, but who can say? I won’t let my wife decide by herself, but I will try to work with her whenever possible.

      She is definitely a positive influence right now. I’m not resisting, so much as having the occasional question. I feel I should work towards my own happiness, along with the happiness of others. I do feel very guilty about what I’ve put my wife and son and others through, and in some ways that makes me feel it is unfair that I should be able to enjoy some peace and happiness. But, the world isn’t fair, all I can try to do is make amends while still trying to find my own special happiness, and I hope it is with Her.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally understand the feeling of freedom of simply staying at home with no obligation. I have friends who have events scheduled every weekend, weekly meet up throughout the week… all I can think is: doesn’t it get tiring? I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t just go home and decompress whenever I felt like it.

    And I agree with the above comments. You say you want to give your wife custody now, but you maybe thinking this way due to your feelings of guilt. Sounds like she has a lifetime of resentment for you which will inevitably lead to her keeping your son away from you. Though my parents are still together and have been my entire existence, I strongly think a child needs his/her mother and father at least in some capacity growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Decompress is always a good way to put it. I haven’t had that in a while, and it has been nice.

      Seems I really should have explained my custody thing in great detail given the level of comments, but it shows how concerned people are for me and my family, and that makes me feel really good. I answered Patience above with what I felt was a complete rundown of my thinking. I certainly don’t want to check out of my son’s life, and certainly not for my wife’s sake. And my wife agrees (despite her anger at the situation), she wants my son to have a father and as much of a relationship with me as possible. We just ultimately feel that sole physical custody at this time would be in all of our best interests. My wife may resent me, but I still feel she is doing an admirable job of setting her feelings aside and focusing on what is best for our son.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been following your blog for some time, I like your words and the shape they take even if I don’t always like the content (I strive to avoid passing judgment on anybody’s choices but obviously we are all imperfect). For some reason I felt compelled to write and show some kind of sign of moral support.

    I left the Mormon church years ago and one of the greatest small pleasures is the freedom of those Sundays. Thankfully I was young and the sense of time wasted wasn’t quite so profound as it might have been had I waited longer to make my escape.

    Others have urged you to be cautious, and I will reiterate. My father followed a similar path to the one you are taking regarding custody and was badly screwed over; it damaged our relationship for a long time because I was too young to understand the complete picture. Watch out for parental alienation; the way she’s insisting that you brandish your scarlet letter to everybody you speak with does not bode well. She seeks to punish you and will find that this is most easily achieved through your child. It may be subtle and unintentional, I’m sure she’s a loving mother who only wants the best for your son, but that kind of sullen bitterness leeches into the kind of narrative she will spin about you to your child. And before you say that maybe you deserve it, it’s not about you. That kind of thing leaves very deep marks on a child.

    I hope you have your own lawyer, for your son’s sake as well as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting, Rose. I appreciate your perspective, I hadn’t really thought about those possibilities. Yes, I’ve consulted with my own lawyer, but we are working with a single family practice at this time to do an uncontested divorce to avoid battling it out in court and incurring ugliness and high costs.

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  8. In my job I was in court all the time and I dealt with many parents who were there because they’re teenagers were in trouble. In interviewing them the first question out of my mouth was when was the divorce. They were always surprised and said how did you know there was a divorce?. Sorry, but divorce damages children. The hardest thing for any of you to understand is that even though they don’t have language yet children understand perfectly what is going on around them. Your son knows you have a covenant with his mother and when he was born you had a covenant with him. If you leave and leave him to her and only see him periodically you are pretty much damning him to a life of misery. You say you did not like having to choose back-and-forth but one thing you do know, both your parents loved you. What if you get so involved in that alternate life you are looking for that you decide not to get your son one weekend and then another and then another. At some point he is going to realize that he is nowhere on your priority list. I have no quarrel with you getting out of the church I think that was imposed on you way too young. I don’t like divorce, particularly when there are children involved, but I can tell you this, an amicable divorce, whether dad is just as involved with the kids as the mother, is the very best way to go. Don’t ever let your son think he was plan B. Be a Dad. It does not matter where you live you and he need to see each other every day. Be his hero.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Moi and I largely agree with you. I certainly don’t want my son to ever feel unloved by me or that he isn’t a priority in my life. Still, seeing him every day may be difficult given the circumstances, much as it would be a nice ideal.

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  9. Then push for it. This is your child. You can’t put him in a drawer and take him out when it is convenient. You wife probably hates you. It is time you step up r gardless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your advice and concern. Yes, you are right, he is my child and I’m trying to make the best decision for him. At the same time, this isn’t a time for me to pull out a one size fits all solution I’ve heard from strangers on the internet and ram it down my wife’s throat, but to use my best judgement and the judgement of people I trust close to the situation.

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    1. Thanks for the support. Since this post, I have had some more constructive dialogue with my wife. While it will never be an ideal situation, we have worked it out so I’ll have more time and a closer relationship with my son. It still breaks my heart when I think that it may be unrealistic for me to see him every day, but at least I should be able to see him most days of the week. One day at a time. At least it seems my wife and I are resolved that we want what is best for our son, and that means as a close a relationship as possible with both his mother and father, and we are on the same page of working together towards that end in the future.

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  10. A bit off topic from the above discussion, and maybe not what is welcomed thoughts; however i wonder who would enjoy living the life you were living as you described it.
    I always wondered how these very regimented and controlling people can meet someone who can satisfy them, or retain a partner for long term.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really, I blame myself for the life I was leading. I acted like I did it all by choice, that it was what I wanted for myself. Sure, my wife could be controlling at times, but I allowed it to go on and didn’t stand up for myself enough, I mean, I married her after all too and put myself into the situation. I hope I know better now and won’t fall back into that trap again.

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