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sleep walked into not seeing my boys
#1
I guess my marriage was always a little on the back foot - I remember crying down the phone to my mum about how my then to be wife was making me feel - to me then it was over - we were off doing our own things more and more which is when I found out we were having a baby - so you get on dont you - get married - set up house in fact these years ended up being our chaotic and exciting best - its great having kids...

But the upset and controlling nature of this woman bubbled away and soon enough the core of the relationship became filled with ultimatums - threats - silent treatments - reading diaries - judgments and all that good stuff... I came after 10 years or so to cope by nurturing relationships with other women - not physical relationships but emotional ones - kind and sharing contact - this did not help long term as the stassi would always find out.

In the end after seeing a photo of me with one of my friends my wife took a job in Qatar taking my youngest - then 13 with her - my other older boy was sent off to boarding school and so overnight I was alone - it was quite a surreal moment that I marked by sleeping with one of my friends - frustrated that so much was being pulled apart and I had not slept with anyone in years - I thought this was needed.

In fact I looked online on a dating site specifically to meet someone for sex and did - it took 20 mins - we clicked - and she is still my girlfriend now after a stop start 4 years...

Stop start because I was not sure - trying to sort things at home with my now humble and humane wife - but the humble behaviour when she returned from abroad did not last long however and it was never a long time before the controlling - manipulative bad moods and silent treatments started again - this time however I had the contrast of a normal fun happy woman to compare this low level abuse to and so last year I divorced my wife.

The bit I never expected was the way it quickly became apparent that she was doing her best to destroy my relationship with my youngest boy now 16 - I had taken a flat near his new 6th form college - once I was in the flat she changed the school elsewhere so my wish that he would ba able to stay a couple of nights a week were scuppered - when I would turn up to see him at the old house there was always some sense of anxiety around her returning - and always I was seeing him at the old house so always she was present even when she was out - he eventually responded by not returning contact and a slow slippery slope of distancing started to happen - resulting now in my attempts to see him being characterised by him as harassment - no contact attempt is returned - no invitation acknowledged - nothing...

Even my older boy - who described his years at home with us - staying together for the kids - as toxic - blocks me on facebook so now he is at uni and away over his summers at american summer camps its like he does not exist as there is no culture with this age group of conscious correspondence - its all passive social media led sharing so when he blocked me he wiped his time off my clock.

So now I am feeling to let them go - to stop chasing them - I am seeing myself dancing around like a clown trying to attract their attention with this event or those tickets or whatever else I think they might like - they are both adult men now and need to choose for themselves - she has all contact - often taking them out of reach during key dates - skiing at christmas - surfing over birthdays... there is a deep sadness behind the smile of a clown - it pressed me into therapy - had me flirt with suicide - it was not a trivial thing at all.

What I find is strange is that I never once imagined this was even a remote possibility until it was too late - until it was a reality on the ground - my relationship with my parents is happy consistant I have always shared things with them and them with me and so I Thought always that this was just the way it is never acknowledging that I was lucky.

the contrast is stark Selfishly I feel extraordinarily fortunate that I am happy in a functional and normal feeling relationship not mediated by threats and silent treatments but on fun and laughter - sex and friendship - that part is a revelation - its hard to feel happy however when my children manifestly choose not to see me - to the point now when seeing a recent photo of my youngest boy I did not totally recognise him - he had grown - had his hair cut - become more angular - looked great... and that killed me a little.
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#2
Sorry to read that Scott. My own kids are younger than yours, but I've experienced quite a lot of what you describe. Try to bear in mind that it's natural for them to start to carve their own path in life, and that even if you and their mother had lived together with them as a nuclear family they would be becoming increasingly independent by now.

Ultimately even adult sons need their father, even if they don't yet realise how and how much. It might not even be until they have children of their own. In the meantime keep communication channels open so that they can reach out to you in the future when they are ready to do so, don't "give up" on them, and do your best try to live a life that you and eventually they can be proud of. There is a brilliant book called "Manhood" (author: Steve Biddulph) on some of these themes which you might find interesting.

Good luck.
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#3
Thanks - I guess the letting go part is not cutting myself off totally - but rather not exposing myself to rejections quite as often as I had done - I recognise the self determination that they both rightly have and in a sense this is maybe not great timing in that respect...

I have written to them both and made sure its clear that I am here and that simply seeing them in simple ways would be all that I would wish for...

So in many respects I am waiting in the wings...
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