Saturday, April 3, 2010

He wants another chance. I fee like I'm dealing with M, who meets every consequence with, "Just let me have one more second chance!" when he's usually on his fourth or fifth chance in the first place.

Yet, I've talked to four friends this week, healthy marriage, in crisis marriage, in process of divorce and divorced. Only the friend in the healthy marriage votes to not give him one last chance. Last night, the friend in a crisis marriage herself said, "I want to know that I walked out that pier, I jumped in the water and I swam 20 yards from shore. When I was drowning and finally had to save myself is the point that I went back. But, I want to know I gave him that one last chance anyway."

My divorced friend said he wants to believe that if his ex-wife had been willing to stay together for their son he would have stayed through anything. He says he cannot say that because he didn't see how horrible it was until it was over. But, he can tell me that its horrible to have to raise his son like this. For his son, he would give anything to have that child in an intact home instead of sharing custody.

I do not believe he will use one last chance wisely. I believe he will squander it like he has squandered the last three I have given him. But, I want to be able to tell my children that I gave their father EVERY chance my heart could stand to give him before I disrupted their entire worlds and walked away.

I need him to spend Spring Break examining his own heart and life and figuring out what he needs to fix. I need him write an action plan. Quit asking me to tell him what to change and figure it out for himself. Not merely what needs to change, but how he intends to change it. Then, I need him to FOLLOW through on the plan he creates, to effect fundamental and lasting change.

I will do nothing until the end of this semester. If he has not done this self-examination and begun to make changes by the end of the semester, then I will file. I'll allow him to stay in the playroom long enough to find a full-time job and a place to live, provided he sets a goal to be settled elsewhere before the kids start school in the fall. I made him sit down and discuss the details of divorce, child support and alimony, custody, medical decisions, division of debt, what does he want to take from this house with him. We went through it all. I will write it all down and we will both sign it. If he cannot make the changes that need to happen, then we will abide by that agreement. He says if he fails in this chance, then he will not fight me and help me file an amicable petition to allow me to move forward. I'm not so sure he will do tha when the time comes. But, if I write down the division now, then its a starting point when I have to go and file just the same.

I believe in my heart he will fail. He has failed at every promise he has ever made to me in nearly 12 years of marriage. He has delivered on what he felt was the most minimal of effort to this marriage that was required of him and nothing more. Even in the last six months, when everything depended upon his choosing to change, he did the same thing. I believe he will do so this time as well. But, I want to know that before I destroyed the lives of eight children, I gave him even that last chance that I didn't think my heart COULD take, for their sake I gave it anyway.

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