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Seperation v Divorce; With Kids

Eleanor wrote:

I am writing due to some issues that I have been going through. I am newly in recovery from Rx's and have tried very hard to work on my program by attending meetings, etc. I have three children 13, 11 and 3 (the youngest is ours together).

My children love my husband, but I have a lot of anger towards him and get frustrated with him a lot, which in turn causes me to look like the "mean parent". He works nights and I can't wait for him to leave, and the kids and I do very well. I recently asked to have him move out while I try to get my life together.

I am completely comfy with him gone, the kids and I do great, they can see him whenever they would like, I want to be apart without anger, and try to show the kids that we are still their parents, just not living together. The problem is that he is just waiting to move back, plays the good guy so the kids think it's all my fault and I'm not sure how to do this successfully without the kids hating me.

He had never seen me without alcohol, or meds in my system, and now that he sees me trying to better myself and actually have feelings, standing up for myself and being consistant with the kids, he has admitted he doesn't like all the changes. I feel guilty not loving him like he seems to adore me, but I've been in a loveless, controlled marriage before, and I am not afraid to do it alone with just the kids and I.

I just don't want the kids to think that relationships can be so disposable. Yet when I am with him, or around him, he gets on my nerves, I become tense, and short. Am I being selfish wanting time to heal with him not around? For once, I just feel the need to take care of me, so I can be a better mother. I've taken a lot of verbal assults from family members over this (they like his income) yet I feel I need to grow and get better on my own. I hope this is not too long, but I have needed to share this for a long time, thank you for taking time for me, and I hope this made sense.

Dear Eleanor

It makes perfect sense, and I think few readers will not admire your strength and courage . But ...

First, Consider the recovery issue. You say you husband had never seen you without alcohol or meds. That makes your whole relationship up for grabs. Just as I'd advise folk whose spouse goes on to substances as "a different person", that they should feel no guilt in dealing with honestly and firmly, the reverse is true too ... he's suddenly married to a different person, and unless you feel (and you might) that the marriage took advantage of your state of being, then you owe him at least consideration.

So, second, examine that relationship. Did it help you get straightened out - or hinder you. or was it no real part? And how do you feel about him, really? Because you need to decide which side of the fence you want to be, and I'd suggest that some of his behaviour reflects the insecurity he's feeling.

If you want to save the relationship, and bearing in mind that you are the New You, and he's seeing bits of two people, then outside help, through a counsellor is worth considering. Either way, it needs sorting!

Last, but by no means least, the kids. You feel there's a competition here between you. That must stop. What have the kids done to deserve being weapons in your war? It must stop.

You need to look objectively at his relationship with the kids - and how dependant they may be (for good or ill) on him. And you must be objective.

You are a New Woman, and I don't want to take that away from you - your story will give strength to other women. But the buzz of freedom won't last forever; you must think long term, not only for the kids. but especially for the kids.

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