Divorce Fallout

I’m a bit worried.

When I first told the Girl and Boy Child that I was leaving their mom, I got reactions that I mostly expected.  The Girl Child was not surprised, but very upset nonetheless.  The Boy Child was not surprised and readily accepted the news.

In the ensuing months, The Boy has taken a caretaker role, always asking in phone calls, “Are you okay?  How are you doing with this?”  Girl Child, though, has continued to struggle, though doing a valiant effort of supporting both of her parents.

I can’t speak for what is said between her and her mother*, but I cannot help but feel Daughter Person has words still left unsaid and emotions still unexpressed.  I have no real choice but to be patient.  I cannot, nor should not, press her to talk before she’s ready.  To be sure, I must…and do often…make myself available to her in case she wants to talk.

Where I see it most is when I talk with her about things I’m doing to get on with my life, even though the divorce is not yet final.  Now, I’m not talking about dating other women.  Given her reaction, which I’ll talk to in a moment, I doubt that will come up for some time.  No, I’m just talking about setting out on trying new things, new adventures…or going to a bar with friends…or getting help in setting up my condo.

The key to all those discussions?  Each will often—certainly not always—involve talking about a “non-Mom” woman.  I happen to have women as friends…yes, along with men, too.  And the mention of any woman—even without a name or the nano-hint of an emotional connection to them—creates a visual visceral reaction in Daughter Person.  She tenses up ever so slightly (or, on occasion, more than slightly).  She gets quiet (which is NOT like her).  She changes the subject.

And it doesn’t seem to matter if the topic is innocent or not…

–     Being designated driver to my good friend DK at the Masquerage?  <daughter cringes>

–     Mention I went to a bar with some guy friends?  <daughter nods nonchalantly>

–     Talking about how some of the furniture in the condo is borrowed from theater friends (a couple of whom happen to be female)?   <daughter winces>

–    Say I went flying with some pilot friends who are male?  <no reaction other than, “Cool”>

–    Mentioning that I took a group dance lesson, but two female friends happened to be there too?  <slight recoil>

<caring sigh>

She will get to the point she can talk with me directly.  I just hope it is sooner than later.  And I’m positive that she has friends that she is already sharing with and leaning on.

But, I still worry, as I guess any parent will do.

And, still, she will have to get over it.  I intend to date when the divorce is final.  Often.  In exuberance.

But will always do so with concern for her.


*And purposely so.  I do not intend to create any ideas that I’m trying to manipulate her relationship with her mother.  Either by trash talk or enlisting her as a spy or anything…


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13 Responses to “Divorce Fallout”

  1. silverstar98121 Says:

    Hope she gets to where she can accept it soon. It is hard for children to accept their parents are apart. Hope you’re doing all right, too.

  2. daisyfae Says:

    there was about a 6 month lag before some issues popped up with my daughter – she just hoped we’d all still be able to hang out together as friends. i probably could have handled that, but my wasband’s girlfriend couldn’t — so my daughter had to face the reality of the divorce about 6 months after. yours will get there, or not. you can only do so much to help her…

  3. Sassy Miss P Says:

    I hope she finds her way out through the woods and onto the high ground. You’re doing all you can to help her find the way – and that’s what counts, time, support, love and understanding.

  4. nursemyra Says:

    Time baby, it all takes Time…..

  5. Stephanie of Stopbouncing Says:

    kudos to you for not pushing this delicate subject.

  6. The Unbearable Banishment Says:

    Time heals all wounds. Or, if you’re Nick Lowe, time wounds all heels.

  7. lucidlunatic Says:

    That’s difficult but, at this point, you’re right. There isn’t really anything you can do. Eventually you might both very well re-marry.

    On some level, I doubt your daughter will ever really be okay with that. Its the way that she (and many of us) are wired. We want our parents to be our parents, and to be together. But regardless of what her visceral reaction might be, I expect she’ll learn to cope, and that will be the grease upon which things continue to move forward.

  8. thegnukid Says:

    silverstar – no looking back. i made the right decision. i just agonize over my baby girl agonizing. it will be okay.

    daisyfae – it helps to hear others have worked their way through this. glad your daughter is facing reality. gives me hope.

    miss p – she’s really being outwardly wonderful, except for that shadow of words left unsaid. i can only give what i think is right for her, while standing my ground on what’s right for me.

    nursemyra – yep, true words. i’m just being overly impatient. hell, the papers aren’t even signed yet.

    stephanie – whew… thank you for saying that. i get urges sometimes to push, but thought this the better path. thanks for affirmation.

    t.u.b. – that sounds familiar… and here’s hoping i’m not the heel, but the one who will heal.

    lucidlunatic – yeah, that’s what i’m afraid of… never be really okay. but, both of us need to move on and come to at least an understanding and acceptance. i am NOT going back.

  9. anniegirl1138 Says:

    My mother will sometimes mention that she has been out to dinner or whatever with a friend and I am always tempted to ask, “male or female” now that Dad is gone.

    I don’t know that we are ever entirely comfortable with the idea of our parents with someone else, but I think that most of us learn to appear as though we are and eventually that becomes the reality.

  10. hisqueen Says:

    you are doing a wonderful thing by not pushing her. Way to be one of the best fathers I have the pleasure of reading about. She will find her own peace but there maybe a few unkind words from her before she does. I know–did it when I was younger and had it done to me from my own kids. Always takes time and patience, both of which you seem to be handling very well. Hang tight, it will all work out. Mine did.

  11. thegnukid Says:

    annie – i’m going to have to resolve myself to the fact girl child will likely never really settle into me being with anyone else. i’m guessing as long as i don’t flaunt it, it shouldn’t be overly contentious, though.

    hisqueen – time and patience… [sigh]. yeah, i know i’m being impatient. but thank you for the affirmation. it helps. lots.

  12. beaverboosh Says:

    Dude, give it 20 years or so, she’ll open up a bit more by then.

  13. thegnukid Says:

    bb – can always count on you to give me calming and supportive thoughts… (and, yes, I laughed)

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