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Fooled again
I've delayed my reply because... well because it's hard to word things without coming across as being patronizing. But here goes.

You've said a couple of times that you feel as though you have been in denial of your situation, whilst you've also acknowledged that "the divorce train could be heading down the tunnel at any time now". From the reply you got from your estranged wife it seems that very soon you'll be caught right in the headlights of that divorce train.

It's hard to find a positive in such a situation, but I can only say that, as far as I understand things, Child Arrangements are part of the divorce process. That may be some while away though, so you could possibly consider making an application for a Child Arrangements Order before then.
Hi Kate. That doesn't come across as patronizing at all. It says it as it really is. I haven't gone into this aspect of it but 1) the children are old enough to make up their own minds about who they want to be with and 2) a big part of the problem is my adolescent son. In movies there's often a scene where in situations like this where the parents get together and tell the kids that it's not their fault and they mustn't think it is. You're not supposed to say anything like this but to be honest a lot of this is my son's fault. That's what the big row was about.

He's seems to be perfectly happy about the situation and no doubt is pushing for divorce to get revenge on me for problems in communication I didn't even know were there and other grudges he's got against the rest of the world. He's got every right to be pissed off about the lack of friends in his childhood and various people he's clashed with along the way. But it isn't me he should be getting revenge on: I was the poor sod running myself ragged trying to back him up and bring him up properly. He emails from time to time or telephones but it always turns into a whole list of things I did wrong or didn't do that I should have done. In this situation he gets to be proved right and I get to be punished for everything.

My daughter is younger. She's 13 where he's pushing 17. She's changed since my wife left. At first she was very concerned about if I was eating properly and that kind of thing. My boy told me there were arguments and she said she was going to live with dad but it was probably just heat of the moment stuff. Over the months she became more distant and as far as I can see is now completely hostile. In our few texts and emails both my son and his mother both make a point of saying that nobody is influencing each other and everybody is free to make their own decisions. To hear my wife you would think they don't even talk about it but sometimes his emails to me quote mine to her verbatim.

So I'm not going to get anywhere trying to get child arrangements. My wife has got them both. My son is getting revenge on the world. My daughter hasn't much choice but go along with it. Changing the subject, Kate. I think a woman's point of view is absolutely invaluable in this place but if you don't mind me asking - what are you doing on a Dad's site?
I’m reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them. I’ve got a couple of grandchildren who are similar in age to your children, so I know how it goes!
I first started looking at this site last year when my eldest son’s relationship had broken up. I’ve seen many similar stories to his on here: sudden ending of a long-term relationship; new man on the scene straight away; all access to child(ren) blocked; allegations made to ensure that the access remains blocked and a complete refusal to engage in any kind of dialogue.  His situation never got resolved despite Family Court involvement, but I still visit the site. Shared experiences and all that.
Anyway, while you are waiting for your kids to possibly have a “Road to Damascus” moment, you need to focus the attention on yourself. You’ve probably already noticed that between all the tales of vindictive ex’s, incompetent officials and money-grabbing lawyers there are some positive posts that are humorous and have coping strategies people use. When you are going through the emotional wringer, it’s not going to be easy. But, to use another quote that I quite like “If you’re going through hell, keep going”.
I think the menopause could be involved too. If it is that's me sunk. There's some right horror stories online about that.
There are so many of us on these boards being walked over by our women because they have free rein of their feelings and rules and logic don't seem to mean anything to them. At first it's like being hit by an avalanche of hate and it bowls you over and you feel helpless against it. But the courts are reading this stuff all day every day and I'm not sure they're so easily convinced by all these emotional accusations. I wonder if in general a good way forward is collect your facts, build your case and present it as confidently and reasonably as you can. In the past I have hated reading those posts and blogs that refer to our wives as 'the enemy' but I'm starting to think maybe they're right. What a sad state of affairs.

Whoops got into a muddle and posted same post on 2 boards. Been up most of the night building my case for when the divorce papers come. Maybe a bit muddled in the head.

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