I'd just noticed this morning that's it's been a year since I first joined this forum, and months since I've posted anything. Thought I'd let you guys know how things have been going...
I haven't been around here, because I've been posting and getting advice and support on another forum more appropriate for my problems.
For those of you who don't remember my story, you can find the whole, long version here, including what's been happening since I stopped posting here. The "short" version is this:
My marriage had been slowly going downhill... My wife was building a history of being just a little too friendly and flirty with other men, while neglecting me. About a year and a half ago, I caught her kissing one of her coworkers at a party, and later caught her sexting a different coworker. Both times, I tried to work things through with her, but it didn't really take... She has always refused marriage counseling.
I was a mess.
A little more than a year ago, she moved into the basement bedroom to initiate an "in-house" separation, and starting talking about getting divorced. I shortly thereafter, I received my ADHD diagnosis and began treatment... Medication and counseling. In the meantime, my wife worked toward neither reconciliation nor finalizing divorce, and was living at home for free -- I've been paying practically all the bills at home.
Living in such close proximity with no progress toward resolution one way or the other, the situation became steadily worse. Eventually, I got her to talk over doing an amicable, no-fault divorce with as little involvement with lawyers as possible, and we came to a general agreement on most terms... amongst them, 50/50 time split with the kids, neither of us needs child child support since we both make about the same income, and I'd be willing to take responsibility for most of the kids' expenses. I had found a lawyer willing to draw up the paperwork and file it for a modest fee. I was willing to pay for the service, and she agreed. I hired him, and came back with the first draft of the Settlement Agreement and Parenting Agreement... And she kind of freaked out.
From there, she steadily escalated the conflict... Within weeks she was openly dating her boyfriend, and even introducing him to the kids. She was spending most her time away from home and the kids. She was (and is) still living at home, but not helping to pay any of the household bills or expenses and she mostly stopped buying groceries... living there practically for free. And yet, she was stalling the divorce process by stonewalling me and my lawyer, and refusing to file. Finally, I got tired of waiting, and filed for divorce on Valentine's Day in February.
When she did decide to begin negotiating, it was to demand a majority of custody time with the kids and full statutory child support (28% of my net income... about $900/month). While we eventually came to an agreement of sorts on the custody schedule, she dug her heels in on the support. In the end, the matter went before a judge, who ruled mostly in my favor.
Now, the settlement is almost complete. There are only a few detail to hammer out, but she's still stalling. Next week, my lawyer will file a Petition for Temporary Child Support in an effort to get her help with the bills and expenses, and maybe convince her to move along with the divorce.
I've learned a lot in the last year... I am ADHD. That's for certain. But it's not nearly as bad as I'd first suspected, and I had been dealing with it pretty well (a few tips and tweaks care of my counselor, and it's even better).
I've learned that my wife is almost certainly either Borderline or Narcissistic. And that most my worst symptoms could be attributed to the depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep caused by her blame-shifting, gas lighting, manipulation, lies and emotional abuse. I had grown very co-dependent about it, the undiagnosed and mostly untreated ADHD didn't help, and had made enough of my own mistakes to give a certain amount of credence to her complaints and accusations. In hindsight, she had been involved in several emotional affairs -- possibly physical affairs as well, though I have no hard evidence for that -- over the years of our marriage. And in the last year, her emotions, attitude, choices, and actions have become increasingly erratic. She has, largely, tended solely to her own desires and ambition, abdicating all responsibility for raising and caring for the children to me.
I have since effectively become a confident, independent single father. My relationship with my children is the best it's ever been. Money is very tight right now, but I get all the bills paid on time and always make sure there's food to eat. With a little bit of luck, I expect to be debt free by the end of the year. I've taken back up several of my old hobbies. I'm getting out and reconnecting with old friends and am making new friends. I've even gone on dates with a few women, and found one who is VERY interested in me.
So, it's been rough. But things are going as well as can be expected. Hopefully, the divorce with be final soon, and I can really begin to focus on being the man I want to be... The man I should be.
I want to thank everyone here for all the help and advice they gave during one of the worst times of my life. You guys really helped me start to get my head back on straight, and I wouldn't be where I am, without you.