First, let me say I don't really know why I'm posting this other than the fact that I feel the need to write this down somewhere where people might understand. Feel free to ignore!
21 years of marriage, 2 kids, countless years (I swear it is somehow more than 21!) of financial and emotional chaos. He is a 44 year old man still acting like a petulant 15 year old. (Our actual 16 year old and 9 year old are both so much more mature in so many ways.) He moved from his mother's house to my house back in the day, and has never supported himself or taken care of himself. He spent years making promises (and I think actually believing them), not following through. He was diagnosed years and years ago with ADHD and has been spotty about his treatment. He refuses to do anything more than take a few pills every day. He drinks like a fish, plays world of warcraft or some such stupid game--I don't even know these days which one it is--for hours and hours.
In all the time we have been married, I have had 4 different jobs and have only been unemployed once, after graduating school, and that was for six weeks total. In all that time, I have taken two two-week vacations, a six week and a three week medical leave after having kids, and a handful of one week vacations. I counted the other day and he has held 27 jobs in that same period of time! Further, he spent at least five of those years unemployed. He quit jobs, got fired for cause, got laid off, kept going back to school for degrees he never finished, etc. He actually had two jobs that lasted only one day!
He spends money like it's nothing--literally has no sense of addition, even when it's written down on paper in black and white. ("I know the numbers don't add up, but I think it's important to get this thing." Seriously.)
His parenting style at first was "keep them alive while she is away". He was a "stay at home dad" off and on for a while, which turns out to mean that he slept in until noon every day and then he and his friends got together with the kids and drank and played poker all afternoon while the kids played. (Found out about that and put a stop to it by paying for preschool while he still sat home.) His parenting style now that the kids are older is "do fun stuff when it suits me and otherwise yell at them if they're interrupting what I want to do").
In the early days, he was great at getting me to relax, kick back and enjoy. We enjoyed each others' company and senses of humor. These days, there is only anger, memory loss, defensiveness and confusion. I think the confusion and memory loss are a combo of ADHD, drinking so much for so many years and something else I can't put my finger on. His father went through the same process. When I met my father-in-law, the man was pretty sharp and could hold a conversation. Now he's confused much of the time, moves slowly and can't keep the thread of a conversation for long. My soon to be ex spouse is going down the same path. His previously sharp and witty sense of humor has become senseless, crude, confusing and embarrassing. He cannot remember things that happened to him, conversations, or how to speak or think logically. He used to be a whiz at chemistry and now cannot remember even the basics when trying to help our oldest with homework. He cannot read a simple calendar or operate even basic computer programs that he used to be able to use easily.
His lying has gotten out of control. He lies about everything--big and small. And he's so much worse at lying than he used to be! He's so obvious, it's a joke. He gets a look on his face like he's constipated, presumably trying to think or remember what he's said before. His betrayals have also increased and gotten larger than life.
I have worked my butt off for years trying to help. Books, counselors, organizational systems, reminders, talks, etc. Promises, promises, promises, lies and refusals to follow through. Forgiveness on my part and starting over. Serious damage to the relationship, especially the love life.
So a couple of years ago, he had an epiphany. He realized that all of his problems were due to me. I didn't help him enough in his life. I wasn't understanding enough. I just didn't understand that he wasn't capable of being a partner, but that I was at fault for not seeing him this way anyway. He flat out stated that he was not capable of changing his own actions, but that he took "responsibility" for them by admitting to them occasionally. He did not feel he had to actually do anything to fix the problems. He knew that there were ways to fix the individual issues, but he felt that they were too difficult, too likely to fail given his past. So, in short, I should act as if he was and treat him with love and caring and with respect and as if he had been an equal partner all these years. I should see him as the big, responsible man and treat him as such in all ways. If he overspent, I should take on a second job to fix it or just live with the consequences. ("We can always just declare bankruptcy! It's no big deal!") I agreed with him that he should be treated with love and respect, but I did not agree that I could acknowledge something that was untrue or just flip my emotions on a dime.
I tried working it out. I tried to concentrate on the big stuff and let the small stuff slide. We reconnected physically (which is really, truly, the only important thing to him besides video games and booze). But he wasn't into it anymore. I was fat and ugly. He sampled other wares. He told me about them, comparing me to them and explaining how much better they were. He got dumped by the other wares and became even more depressed.
Still, I tried working it out. We have two kids. I meant what I said when I got married--in sickness and in health.
He, however, loved the cycle of his dramatically threatening to leave and my talking him off the ledge.
So, a few months ago, he did his dramatic threat again, but this time I said OK, go. I started closing our joint accounts, splitting the money. I got a second job and a family loan and paid off all the debt. I drew up all the papers for divorce. I got an attorney. I drew up a schedule for custody. I drew up what I believe is a very fair settlement for him--he actually walks away with more than I do, just to keep it peaceful. I told my family and close friends that we were splitting and started down the road. I am done. I will never go back.
He did nothing for the last few months. Finally, he realized it wasn't going to stop and he got a small apartment. He begged relatives for money, giving them whatever sob story he could think of, and pieced together a place. He did nothing to prepare at all.
Now, he has figured out that he can't afford to live on his salary. (He never worked this out before threatening to leave or heading out the door.) He has figured out that he has little to no credit because he makes little to no money and all the credit that he enjoyed earlier was due to my salary and my work on the credit rating.
He has also figured out that moving out and having joint custody means that you have to take care of the children. They expect a certain level of care, and they are not quiet about it.
He is really, really angry with me now. Apparently, he was "forced" to leave, "forced" to make the decision due to my bad behavior over all these years. I am the one who gave up on the marriage. I am the one who caused the bad marriage to start with. He has told some of our friends that the marriage ended because I cheated, I stole money from him, and all sorts of other untrue things. He doesn't realize that they don't believe him.
But I am no longer angry. I am sad for the kids who have to go through this. I am not sad for me anymore. I do not wake up feeling anxious or guilty anymore. I have so much more energy, so much more time. I don't have to clean up after his messes anymore. I can help my kids heal and help them see what good parenting is because the two households are so different from one another. And the coolest thing is, their relationship with their father has gotten better! He realizes now that he has to treat them well so that they want a relationship with him.
Here is my hope for the future. I hope this newfound desire to be involved in his kids' lives translates into figuring out how to actually be a good parent and not just a buddy to them. I hope that his newfound independence will help him to understand that there are immediate consequences for his actions and that there isn't some magic person (previously me or his mother) who will just go "fix things". I hope he finds someone wonderful and becomes the person he wants to be. I hope he realizes that drinking and video games is a poor substitute for a real life.
I don't have too many hopes for my future, because I am already in my future. :-) I am doing what I have wanted for so long, which is living the way I want to live and enjoying my life no matter what comes. I have a close relationship with my kids and that is the most important thing to me along with their future.
We still have a relationship because of the kids, and we always will. So is there a forum for that??? I am sure there are going to be bumpy times ahead when he falls through for the kids or we disagree on something huge relating to them. Marriage has ended, relationship has changed drastically, but hasn't ended...
OK, done with random rambling for the day. Thank you to anyone who got this far for just listening!