To everyone who left comments on my last post....thank you so, so much for your sweet words, your encouragement, and most of all, for sharing your stories. They're validating, fortifying, and inspiring always.
I'd planned to spend a lot of time today spewing more outrage at what's transpiring between me and my STBX (details are coming, promise). But as I sit to type, I find the boil in my blood has cooled. When my 100-percent-stress-induced fever finally broke a couple days ago, it seemed to take those white-hot feelings with it. Or maybe, I just no longer had the energy to hold on to them. Or maybe after hearing my parents, my aunt, my sister, my shrink, my P, repeat the same wise words—"You have to find a way to let it go and move on"—my brain decided to cooperate. Don't know, really. Doesn't matter. I'm just happy to be relieved of some of the hurt, because for a while there, I wasn't sure I even wanted to. Feeling all wronged and sorry for myself has a weird way of also making me feel satisfied and justified and excused.
Where I left off: After our failed mediation meeting, we left without any kind of plan to follow up, at least with them. Our heels were dug deep. A few days later, he texted that he wanted to talk the next night after Miss Monkey was in bed. Of course, ok. The discussion didn't last long. Twenty minutes, tops. He said he was there to beg me not to go through with my planned move. That I was being highly aggressive and selfish and bullying him into a decision just like I'd always done in our marriage. That his family was outraged I'd even consider taking our child Out Of State. He offered a financial incentive for me not to proceed. In fairness, it was generous, but I bristled at the thought of a payoff. The alternative, if I didn't agree, was that we'd have to go to court. There was no way he was moving to this place and there was no way he was giving up any time with his child. (That I never once said he couldn't be with his kid didn't matter.) I stayed as calm as I could and asked him to leave. Then the shaking began. And the crying. And the you-can't-catch-your breath sobs. Court?! Because of this?! He knows I have no way to fund any kind of serious litigation, so what choice would I have?! Why the hell was I being punished when I wasn't the one who just walked away without even trying? (His views on this are entirely different, of course. He places the blame for our broken marriage equally on both of us and accepts no additional responsibility.)
I went fetal for days. I could barely focus on my projects. The loop in my brain went something like this: I'm trapped. I don't have have any control over the direction of my life. I'm trapped. The limits he's imposing could become the dealbreaker someday in my relationship with P, or anyone else. He's taken away everything I thought I'd ever have, and he's still going to be able to take away more. I'm trapped I'm trapped I'm trapped. Why does he get to have veto power...still?!
The answer, according to our marriage counselor—the one we saw at the very beginning and the one person I thought might have a shot at getting us through this—is Miss Monkey. He's her father and he has a say on where she lives, period. It doesn't matter that I think I deserve some small dose of generosity from him to choose the homebase from which to coparent. It doesn't matter that I think it's unfair. In decisions like this, emotions don't automatically have a place. It's simply about rights.
It was my idea to see our counselor. And I'll admit it's because I fully expected to be one validated. That's what happened last time. He called my STBX on the inappropriateness of his behaviors. Made it clear, to me anyway, that I wasn't in fact a crazy person. That didn't happen this time because we weren't there for relationship issues, we were there to figure out some legal ones. Fine. Yes, I may think my vote should count more and that I should have first right of refusal on pretty much anything, but no, that's not how it works. But that realization (which honestly didn't come until several days later) wasn't the worst part of that meeting. The worst part was this: hearing from my STBX that 1) he doesn't trust me at all and 2) he thinks I'm "struggling" as a mother. And that, dear readers, is what not only made my heart sick but my body, too.
During this achy, sweaty, feverish week, I've spent a lot of time thinking about everything I want and the things that actually matter: I want Miss Monkey to be happy and safe. I want to have a relationship with her father that is amicable and civil and adult. I don't want to spend the next 18 years avoiding eye contact because I'm seriously concerned that I'll vomit with disgust if I do. I want to be happy and free of this ridiculous situation ASAP. I want to accept that I'll never be able to change the way he sees me (as much as I hate to admit it, I do understand that his experience of this divorce is different and we'll never, ever agree on why or how things went so terribly wrong). I want to know—without needing to be convinced—that just because he thinks what he thinks doesn't make it true. I want a fresh start.
Is it truly going to ruin my entire life if that doesn't happen in the exact town I want? No. Fighting him on it and wasting money and energy on proving a point just isn't worth it. So I looked at some places yesterday in-county. Two were dumps. Two were promising. I explored a new area not far from my No.1 that was pretty darn sweet. We're meeting again on Wednesday, and I look forward to hopefully leaving with some closure. Maybe he'll have had some kind of turnaround, but its doubtful. There's still a part of me that feels like I'm giving up and giving in. But I know that soon enough, I'll let go of that, too. xox, Evie