Monday, October 8, 2012

Bad Decisions

The other day my 14 year old son told his mother that she didn't deserve any alimony.

He wasn't angry when he said it, he just felt like spontaneously sharing his opinion.

To say that Gabbie was hurt is a monstrous understatement.  Of all our kids, he's been the most supportive of her.  Yet now he doesn't think she deserves any money??  His words literally caused her to double over.

As a rule, Gabbie does not fold under pressure.  She fights back.  She's quick witted with a razor-sharp tongue.  Anyone who thinks they're going to get the best of her is in for a surprise, because once you take a swing, you'd better be prepared to get verbally stomped into the ground.  For her to show any weakness was unprecedented.

Still, it didn't take long for her to recover and deliver a blistering reply.  Normally she attacks the attacker.  This time she attacked me.

I wasn't home at the time so I don't know exactly what she said but it must have been very, very ugly.  I know that she bashed my sexuality and did so in a way that was so offensive to my son that he still refuses to tell me what she said.  I also know that he defended me by asking if Gabbie felt the same way about our oldest son.  That question was a brutal blindside - she had no idea that our oldest identifies as bisexual.  She was so shocked by the news, and responded so poorly, that my middle son ended the argument by screaming at her, "No mother of mine would talk that way about her own son!  If that's what you think, then YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER!"

I heard him screaming those words as I walked into the house.

"WHAT is going on?!!"  Neither of them would tell me.

Without speaking, Gabbie walked out of the room and began to sob so loudly and so forcefully that the entire house shook.  The darkest day of her life was when her dad died.  She cried long and hard then.  But this time she cried longer and harder.


Now that her most loyal kid has "turned" on her, Gabbie has decided to move completely out of the house.  She had been spending half her time with us and half with Charlie. 

She says she's never coming back.  I believe her.

Many men would say "good riddance" but that's not how I feel.  Her horrible, house-shaking grief has touched me deeply.  Not because I feel especially sorry for her, but because hearing her cry made me realize how much grief we've both kept locked inside since our break-up.  In that respect, her pain is my pain.

There's no question that Gabbie is flawed.  There's no question that she's made bad decisions.  There's no doubt that she's very selfish and controlling.  And honestly breaks my heart that we're not going to spend the rest of our lives together.

We're rapidly approaching the end of our days together.  Soon, I'll have a new place, a place for just me and the kids.  Soon, our finances will be completely separate.  Soon, she'll be stuck with a shitty life with an asshole boyfriend, while I hope to achieve the opposite.  The end of "us" is coming and I have to say... 

...this ending feels all wrong. 

This wasn't what was supposed to happen. 

I feel like I'm a time-travel movie, with an alternate reality where what "really happened" has been changed and now everything feels wrong.

I've been trying to shake this feeling for more than a year but I haven't been able to do so.  I don't know why.

As much as I empathize with Gabbie's pain, when I think about only myself, I don't regret splitting up.  She's held me back in many ways, and hollowed me out, and now that I have some distance from her I know that I don't want to go back to our old relationship, even though  I love her dearly.

I expect a lot of people would tell me to stop worrying about her, but that's not the way love works for me.


  1. I wonder if heroin addicts feel bad for the heroin, after they've kicked the habit, as tough as it may be. Perhaps.

    1. You gave me a good laugh! The thing is, as much as I like Gabbie, she isn't addictive like heroin.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me that people who do not hesitate to dish it out simply cannot handle it when some one turns the tables on them.

    It also amazes me when adults act like children but fail to tolerate children who act like children. Gabbie has always been something of a child from you description of her though the years. This episode demonstrates that very well.

    As is usual, Gabbie is thinking only about herself. Evidently it never entered her mind that both she and you have caused great pain and distress to your children. It is inevitable that they will at time lash out at both of you. It is important in such times that you let them know that you understand they are hurting too and that they are scared about how the future is going to work out.

    Frankly, Gabbie failed the test. No big surprise. Make sure you don't fail it when your turn in the barrel comes round.

    Jack Scott

    1. I have the advantage of being compared to Gabbie. That doesn't mean I can't fail but it does mean the bar has been set pretty low.

      Raising a handful of teenagers largely on my own hasn't been a picnic. In fact, now that you mention it, maybe a bullet-proof vest wouldn't be such a bad idea.

  3. I get this. Even though my ex-wife has treated me abominably in the past 5 years, I still hate to see her hurting. So, when our 14 year old son noticeably snubbed her at a public function a week and a half ago, I felt really bad for her.

    1. It's good to know that I'm not the only one with a soft heart! I know you've got a lot going on between the divorce and Bill's health. It says a lot about your character that you can still feel compassion for your ex.

  4. I continue to follow along as this process grinds on. Don't have much to say, esp. since I've never walked in your shoes, except that I think about you and your family and am sorry that there is so much pain and confusion (mainly G's and the kids'), but once the storm is spent, the clouds will clear, the damage and new life assessed and celebrated.

    1. We think alike Jason. The worst is probably over and the clouds will clear. We're in a rebuilding phase now and I do have confidence that the future will be worth celebrating.

  5. When we divorced, my wife told my oldest daughter to take her senior year off from college and earn the money to pay for the rest. She wanted child support from me for the younger one while I would have 'custodial care'.

    The good news is that reconciliation with the kids has happened and her better self has returned. So I don't think the last chapter of this story has been written. Blessings.

    1. Spirit11 - Thanks for sharing your uplifting story.

      I have faith that Gabbie's better self will return someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later...