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Our Community / In a Little More Than 3 Months....(cont.)
« Latest by Treasur on Today at 06:46:43 AM »
I am sorry that today is a hard day.
A lot of people - not just LBS - find Christmas difficult or emotionally tender. I’m not sure why but it helps me to remind myself of that.

It sounds as if you are looking for something, wisdom, as a kind of default when truthfully you sound as if you are also at a stage when you are almost trying to work out what you think and how to deal with how you feel.
Don’t be afraid of that.
That uncertainty and even the pain can also help you find your way towards what you need next. Not perfect perhaps, but what feels like 1% or 5% better at a given time. Important to be kind to yourself about how high you set your own bar too imho lol.

Christmas is a good example actually.
No one has ‘taken’ Christmas from you - that’s just factually inaccurate. And it’s important imho to be as accurate as you can be in how you talk to yourself at least!
What has happened is that events and other peoples choices have changed how you approach it in a fundamental way. Old traditions that were comforting are now triggering. Things that pleased you now hurt. Maybe it has even challenged what Christmas meant to you before now.

That’s ok. Well it sucks but it’s survivable lol.
Take your time to think about what Christmas is about to you now in 2023 - the small things perhaps that are comforting or uplifting, or the tedious things you can let go.

I had always really liked Christmas. First one post BD my h came home - and it was awful even though I had no idea what was going on. I had also lost my mum and dad, so for quite a few years, I had no idea at all what to do or feel about Christmas. I knew I couldn’t have what I’d had but i tiptoed around it like an unexploded bomb tbh. I tried to ignore it completely for a couple of years. Then, slowly, I nibbled on things I liked…a carol concert, a lunch with a friend, a festive film, sending a few cards. If it hurt, I didn’t do it; if it soothed or pleased me, I did.

I still remember being deeply moved by going to a carol concert during lockdown here where only the choir were allowed to sing and we all sat metres away from each other in candlelight. I didn’t anticipate that, but it did bc it was so comforting to feel part of a community when so many of us felt so isolated at that time - it was truly heart warming and what Christmas means to me I think. A time of love and hope…even if it is a different kind of love and hope than we might ideally wish.  And a time for gratitude perhaps.

And I gave myself permission to do anything on the spectrum from full Ho Ho Ho to full Bah Humbug and trust my gut each year as December looms.

Even now tbh I am never quite sure how much or how little will feel right…so I sort of let it amble towards me and trust my instincts. This year I said no to a big Christmas trip away with a friend (too much Christmas) and no to a big lunch with another at her family gathering(too much) and don’t feel like decorating the house….but yes to seeing a performance of Messiah, yes to a carol concert and midnight mass, yes to a tree bc I like twinkly lights even if it is just for me, yes to sending a few cards and buying a few gifts, and yes to offering to maybe cook lunch for a chum.

What is Christmas about to you, my friend?

But you have to not be afraid of feeling the loss in order to see what works for you or not.
Our Community / living is an opportunity
« Latest by FrenchHusband on Today at 06:35:35 AM »
A bit of journaling today.

I have very good days currently and each day I am able to find very good things that I thanks God for. Now my niece is at home as she is making an internship for her studies. It is a bit like having an additional daughter at home. So more talks, more good moments together. D14 has cooked something, again a recipe that she invented (soup of lasagne  :o) and again the result was very good. Together with S5 we were in the kitchen and have given a hand (my new pattern since BD) and it was a good moment also. Now D16 is asking for ingredients, she cooks scarcely and is less confident in herself so she cooks by the book (like me). From my side I try more often new recipes out of my comfort zone.

I have seen both spiritual and psychological counselor and it went very well. The spiritual counselor told me several times that my choices are wise. She is not Christian or pro-marriage so she challenged my choice of Standing (why don't you divorce ?), when I explained my position she told me once again that I am wise. I have no more FOO wound or hurting behaviour in mind now, so we agree to not have a new meeting right now. I'll see after New Year whether I'll set up a new meeting. The IC helped me very much to dig deep inside me and I am very grateful. She tells me I look fine, better than 3 months ago, and that she can see from my face and body language that I am serene. The IC has understood from my words that I have dropped the rope, and she asked me whether W is changing accordingly. My answer : I don't know. Actually I see very small signs, but it is too early to jump on conclusions. Good to know the IC believes that W will change, time will tell if she is right and, as I told her, I did not drop the rope expecting changes. It just happened.

The spiritual counselor told me that the daily prayer has changed me, now he has put words on it I see it is true : it changes the way I handle the situations that life is throwing to me. I talked with him about Young Mom, the forum THS and the way I took time and listened to your wise advices. I will continue the work with the spiritual counselor, once a month.

Now we are entered in December. This is a tough month for W : my niece at home is an effort for her, she has the grace to talk with her during our meals ; when my brothers and their big family will come it will become very tiring during some days. December 15th is the 30th anniversary of FIL's death (I told W that I have requested prayer intentions this day) ; December 31st is the 18th anniversary of my mother's death (I will also request a prayer intention).

I think W will stay at home during Christmas time (I am ready for all other possible scenarios btw) and that will be very tough for her . So I have reduced to the minimum the conversation topics and I tell her only once e.g. : "when it is fine for you we can discuss this [important topic for children], if you don't come back to me in 5 days, I'll take the decision that looks fine to me", or "for information, S5 has fever and is coughing, I have given to him [medicine] and he slept well, please keep me informed about his health".

I try to make the Christmas time in family most comfortable for everybody including W, not by walking on eggshells but by acting as if I have an Old Aunt at home. Please don't misunderstand me : W is currently making efforts, not by words but by her actions. As I keep "no expectation" in my policy, I am grateful for her actions. For sure I would prefer to have "words" + "actions", in the present situation I prefer "actions without words" than "words without consistent actions". And I see also that she is listening to me and she takes into account my (few) requests.
Our Community / In a Little More Than 3 Months....(cont.)
« Latest by mcm64d on Today at 06:13:59 AM »
Thank you Treasur.

Quite honestly, I don't know that I will want to maintain any contact in the future. But I am trying to protect myself from the next stages of this, whether they are internal or external.

I think that is where I am asking the impossible, but looking for any wisdom the kind people on here can offer. 

When I posted that question about future contact, I was in a good place and did not want to get slammed in the future to knock me out of it.

But today, not her fault or my fault, I feel like she has taken Christmas away from me and I am back in self pity mode. I am typing this at work, barely holding back tears. I have no idea where this came from or why today but here I am.

Just trying to protect myself from any more damage. Maybe the answer I wanted was to not contact her ever.... maybe it was to contact her every six-ish months. I really don't know. But I will have urges......and that will hurt too.
Our Community / In a Little More Than 3 Months....(cont.)
« Latest by Treasur on Today at 01:02:52 AM »
Xyzcf is right that there are no magic ‘rules’.
But I think you are looking for them….? That if you have x kind of contact then this ‘thing’ will get fixed. Tbh that’s not an unusual way to think for LBS early on, but not necessarily healthy….it is part of the process of grief and acceptance though.
You will probably do what you do until you see that it is not helping you heal and rebuild  :) and then you’ll take a different tack.

But just in case…..
Not rules but things to consider as guidelines maybe…..
1. If it feels like contact damages you further or gets in the way of your healing, probably best not to do it. If it sets your brain running or your heart racing or makes it difficult to keep your attention focused on all the other important and joyful bits of life, best to avoid imho.

2. Being divorced against your will kind of implies that - rightly or wrongly - someone has chosen to remove you substantially from their life. It is resoectful to act in ways that acknowledge that. (And borderline stalky to not lol) Whatever you are now, you are no longer her husband or she your wife. That’s a very painful thing to process and accept. And it takes time to do so. And it always comes with a degree of disbelief, denial and bargaining bc that’s how grief and loss evolve….but that can feel very uncomfortable as a place to navigate, which is why we often fight against accepting it imho.

3. If you feel ok to have some contact, the safest way to do it is to mirror back whatever she initiates. Or not. A query about the cat? Send a photo of the cat. A funny meme? Wait a while and reply with a lol. Nothing? Then nothing. A birthday card? Say thanks, and send one for her birthday in return. But all with the guard rail of 1….you prioritise your healing today over your  hope of relationship in future. Always.

But imho, in a way, you are asking the wrong question….
Which is normal too. But not helpful.

The more useful question is about how much you have accepted the realities of where you find yourself and what your real motivation is right now behind any future contact. What are you trying to acheive with any contact you might want to initiate or exoect from anything you respond to or infer from anything she does or doesn’t do about contact from here on? What does being divorced mean to you now, even if it was not of your choosing? Bc there is probably a lot swirling round in your head about that.

So my best advice is to take your time and do nothing at all while you think about that.
It seems to me that when we say ‘the marriage you had is over at BD’ - legally or not - it’s because a kind of implied psychological contract is broken. And that was seemingly their choice at the time. Regretting it later, as some MLC spouses seem to do, doesn’t change that. We mourn it so hard at the time bc we valued it so deeply, but our grief doesn’t change that either. And we LBS are forced to change our lens on a lot of things because of that, aren’t we? And some of those changes become our new normal so that, even if an MLC spouse wants to go back in some way to the old contract and the old spouse they had, we are no longer quite the same as when they BD’d us. In fact, quite a few stories here suggest that MLCers seem a bit taken aback by that no matter how long it has been since BD which is a bit of a WTF in itself  ::)

So, the old ‘deal’ was broken into a million pieces. All of those ‘in sickness and in health etc’ things that we would have done before with (mostly) love and grace bc of how we saw our part in that deal and team effort of a long marriage. Which means that we get to choose what/if we are prepared to offer or not and it’s ok if we do. Bc post BD, it’s a new ‘deal’. Or not. Doesn’t make us callous or selfish or unkind…just means we are living in a different normal than we used to live in. And I think fwiw you are being commendably clear-eyed about that. So, it’s ok to choose what you are or are not prepared to offer in a new kind of relationship with him if you choose to have one, and indeed what you require of him.

I think your ‘parp parp’ system about his self centredness is a useful one. I’ve seen it in quite a few stories here when returning spouses still seem remarkably Me-Me ish, way more interested in what they want to get from some kind of reconciliation than what they might need to give. That may evolve with time - some longer term reconciled here seem to suggest it does, but with years rather than months - so for the moment, it would seem sensible to me to accept that whatever relationship you form will be with someone who still  is disproportionately self focused. The causes of his self centredness might be multiple ones - MLC, character, effects of his stroke, fear of the future - but in a way that doesn’t matter bc you are still dealing with a self-centred person. It’s up to you to decide what feels comfortable and healthy for you in that kind of relationship and what  ‘new deal’ you are prepared to put on the table imo. I imagine though that it must feel much easier to contemplate this from the security of your own home and your own rebuilt life than from where you were a while ago….if nothing else, it means you can take your time to consider it.

On a separate note, how is your son doing?
Our Community / In a Little More Than 3 Months....(cont.)
« Latest by JohnnyBravo on December 04, 2023, 05:36:39 PM »
Without children or any kind of joint business concern to coordinate on, I don't find I have any reason to contact my ex-wife. Do I hope she's OK? Of course. But there's nothing I can do about that. I said my final piece, that I thought this was a bad idea, before our final divorce mediation. She was sure that I didn't really like her that much, so that was it. The only time she's asked me anything since then was about car insurance, which for some reason she couldn't figure out from the expiration date on the card. This despite her telling me that she was always friends with her exes, or she would probably drunk text me some day. Nope. None of that, no birthday wishes, no Christmas cards, etc.

I've always been polite to her, and I still have the same email and phone number, so she knows how to find me if she really wants to. I feel I made it clear that cared about her, made the most mature exit possible, and there's nothing to be done beyond that. That's what feels right for me, like xyzcf suggests. I also concur about contact possibly getting my hopes up. Whenever I'm envious of those who do hear from their exes, I remember how discombobulating most people here find that. Contact could also be a way to build up tolerance and/or strength, but I feel there are plenty of other ways to do that.

Hang in there.

Our Community / In a Little More Than 3 Months....(cont.)
« Latest by xyzcf on December 04, 2023, 04:18:42 PM »
I know this is going to be a per- situation per person answer, but how would I maintain appropriate contact should I want to? Right now I would want reconciliation and return but tomorrow never knows. Any thoughts are appreciated even tho this is a difficult question with many variables.

You are right. There are many variables.

Have you read RCR's articles on levels of contact?

Her previous chapter on pursuit and distance might also be helpful for you to decide what you want.

My husband and I remained and continue to remain in contact...birthday greetings, recognition of the anniversary of the deaths of our parents, holiday greetings. He often initiated those contacts as well as jokes he would think I would like....I remain open to him...he is a person I loved deeply and has been many years in a crisis.

There really is not any right or wrong. Contact doesn't mean that they will return. You have to know that.

Contact should not bring you down......if you can detach, have contact with her without it causing you distress, then go for can change your mind from one day to the next...this is in your hands.

Responding to contact that she initiates in a brief manner need to discuss your marriage or divorce of whatever...but if she asks about the cat, a simple response is fine as far as I am concerned.

Try to listen to your own inner voice and "hear" what feels right for you. There really are not any set "rules" nor should there be.

Some. people find limiting or having no contact helpful for their healing. I find contact allows me to see that the changes he has gone through correlate with what I know to be true about MLC.

The "danger" perhaps is when they have a bit more contact and you get your hopes up that they are going to doesn't work that way.
Our Community / In a Little More Than 3 Months....(cont.)
« Latest by mcm64d on December 04, 2023, 03:28:33 PM »
Yes for I am missing the point. I get the its disrespectful for her to be concerned for the cat and not at all for me. But I understand that’s part of this thing. But if I should not reach out, then fine. I can do that. Must have missed that chapter. Thanks for setting me straight!
Seems that the Universe allowed for the MLC BD to happen prior to the stroke so you are not obligated to become a nurse maid. There was the female co-worker who globbed on to him, he could reach out to her for help. Please don´t box yourself in to being a caretaker when you finally opened up your box.
Our Community / Re: In a Little More Than 3 Months....(cont.)
« Latest by forthetrees on December 04, 2023, 03:09:58 PM »
You seem to be missing the picture- you don´t keep contact if she stops communication. If she´s done, then you accept done and rebuild your life. If she reaches out randomly for cat pictures you either send a photo, text "Cat is fine." or let her know that you will not be providing cat updates. One day you will see that it is disrespectful for her to inquire about the cat but not give a flyin´ Melinda about you.

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