So The Man and I are in the early stages of the divorce process. The whole thing is very weird. We are still in the same house. He makes himself scarce. I'm wondering about a couple of things and hoping for some suggestions/insight.
Our oldest is turning 16 this weekend. She decided that she would rather volunteer out of town than deal with the awkwardness of being the first 'holiday' celebrated post decision. We've got another birthday coming up in November. He expects to be part of a whole family celebration for both events. I cannot stand to be in the same room as him and am counting the days until I can afford to move out with the kids. I told him that I didn't want him there, but I would be willing to suck it up if the kids want him included in one celebration instead of two smaller ones. The oldest doesn't want to have anything to do with him, especially for her birthday.
Question 1: Did I do an OK thing?
His parents have never had a very close relationship with our kids. They have been downright vicious and cruel to me, which is documented somewhere in the archives here. I have already had concerns about the kids spending time with them because of their drinking and the way they openly slander me in front of my children. My family is very close to our kids. My mother and my sis & BIL have all contacted the kids to let them know that the are here for them, whether it's to talk or whatever. Even though the kids will be with me, my family went out of their way to ensure that the kids know that they will remain in their lives. The IL's have done nothing. No contact at all.
Question 2: How can I find out what their intentions are? Is this something only The Man should do?
He has changed his relationship status on facebook to "it's complicated" but has refrained from openly sharing the fact that we are divorcing. I'm also positive that he will not be open about the fact that he initiated it. I'm a very open book. I want to be able to tell people. I hate being vague all the time as to what is going on.
Question 3: Do I have to follow his pattern? What about with his family? There are some people I've been very close to--can I talk to them and tell them? I would like to thank some of them for being so kind and welcoming to me for the past 22 years.
(ETA that he sent my BIL a message for his birthday and thanked them for being so good to our children.)
You guys need to separate - physically. This must be such a stressful time for you and the kids. I know you said you can't afford to move yet. Can your ex?
You did fine by telling him that you will no longer do joint holidays/birthdays. That's fine. Many or most separated people do this. It will help your children to have as many clear cut lines as possible. This must all be terribly confusing and uncomfortable for them. Sounds like you're sticking up for them - good for you!
You do not need to know your ex-IL's intentions. They are no longer your worry. If they initiate, that's great. If not, that's great too. You should not worry about if or how your ex will maintain your kids' relationship with his family. You have no control over that and it will only cause stress. Focus on yourself and your family. They sound supportive and loving. Make those relationships as strong as possible. You can start giving your children the safe and peaceful life you want for them, even if you and ex are still in the same house. Build those loving relationships. If your children do end up spending time with your ex-ILs, don't grill them about what they said, but be there for them (silently or as they talk) when they return. They may not want to tell you what went on, but they will almost certainly need to feel your unconditional love after visiting such toxic people.
And about telling people - again, don't worry about what he will tell people. Be careful how much you tell anyone who still has contact with your ex. You don't want to over-share (like me ) but you certainly can be honest about your status. People don't need to know details like who initiated. All they need to know is that it wasn't working and the decision was made to end the marriage. Their opinions and/or judgements will be tested when you remain strong, stoic, loving, and peaceful throghout this process - there's no point trying to make other people see things your way. If your ex is a jerk, that's going to come out eventually and anyone who chooses to stay friends with him over you are not worth being your friends anyway!
hth. Take care. You and your children are in such a horrible situation right now.