Welcome to the Dad Starting Over Forum!
Here’s the place where guys like us can get together and let some steam out, chat, compare notes and leave knowing we’re a little bit wiser than we were before. Let’s help each other out and be the best men we can be.
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This forum is new to me, so there may be a glitch here and there. Be patient as I learn and get things set up properly. Thank you!
If there's one thing that I learned in my belated attempts to prevent my divorce, it's that working isn't enough to support a relationship. And I thought it was.
It's not cause I was stuck in some kind of model behavior, it's because, you know, when I came home from work I was tired. My job demanded of me all of my emotional energy, and so I came home and drank a few beers and zoned out in front of the TV for 2 hours and went to bed. Although my ex didn't work and stayed home with the kids, she did the same thing and I thought we were getting comfortable and sedate and that's what life was like in your 40s with two kids and ok.
And then, of course, all of a sudden it wasn't. She started going out on her own and it was harmless but then it wasn't.
So I think the moral of the story, and the mistake that I'm not going to make again: tend your relationship. You need to spend time at work, you need to spend time on your chores, you need to spend time with your kids. You also need to spend time with your SO, and that doesn't mean a date night every other week. That means checkins on their mental state, emotions, laughs, loves, interests. If you start taking your (female) SO for granted, then she'll start to wander off.
I mean really, I'm pretty self-sustaining. Since she didn't really speak up, I assumed that she was too, and that the energy of my providing for her was sufficient contribution to the relationship. It wasn't, it needs constant care and feeding, on a daily (or more!) basis.
There's a good article on the site about playing whack a mole. If your SO is uncommunicative, determining which mole has their head up is a challenge too, but again, don't accept that--you need to draw them out. Just cause you don't see them doesn't mean they don't exist.