Monday, December 10, 2012

Re-visiting the seperation and divorce conversation

So yesterday I had a long discussion with Aspie Dad about filing for legal separation. He seemed hesitant to discuss these matters as I assume he’d rather pretend that everything is fine so that we can continue to co-exist like college roommates. He started out very defensive as he expressed his interest in having joint custody. When I probed him for the reasons why he needed joint custody he explained that he wouldn’t have to pay child support if he had joint custody and besides, “he’s a good dad and he hasn’t done anything wrong.” Here we go again. I explain to Aspie Dad that my desire is to have full and or primary custody of the boys seeing as though I am their main caregiver, they are very attached to me  and since their birth, I have made most of the major decisions related to their well being. This was something Aspie Dad could not dispute. He mentioned that he didn’t quite understand and should probably get a lawyer. “Fine,” I say, but advise him that if he contests my wishes for primary custody, there would be a custody battle and it probably won’t be the best thing for our boys. In Aspie Dad’s mind, he sees the boys staying with him for one week, then with me for one week, and this is how it would be until they are adults, I guess. Immediately, I object to this arrangement. Wouldn’t it be easier to just pick the boys up on the weekends and during the week day [when they have a sporting event], than to disrupt their living arrangements by shifting them back and forth between two different houses. I point out that Aspie Dad’s living situation would probably not be on the same quality as mine considering how he keeps his car, his room [my bad, “the room that he sleeps in.”] and the fact that I have done most of the home maintenance, decorating, and repairs in our current home. Aspie Dad argues that he keeps, “that [I mean his] room” in disarray as a silent protest. WTH! I guess his reference to the room as, “The room that I sleep in.” is part of the protest as well. I reminded him that his children have seen his disorganized junkie room and this disarray reflects badly on him. Silence. Back to the ‘separation’ thing; after Aspie Dad admits that the boys would probably be better suited with me as the primary guardian, he asks if we would have separate bank accounts. Yes! Then he wants to know what is going to become of our shared credit card debt. I reply that he probably needs to get an attorney to explain these concerns for him. He is under the impression that I want to share his check, and make him pay on my 2 credit cards once I divorce him. I guess I have to remind him that these are the credit cards that were once paid off, but he and I both had to start using to purchase gas and groceries when he was fired [or as he puts it, laid off] from his job. Aspie Dad comments that if he isn’t living in the house than his name shouldn’t be on the mortgage. Sorry buddy, that ain’t my problem. I don’t want the house, and would actually rather move out than stay in the house that he has neglected to take care of over the years. At first he wanted to live in the house, but now he feels that the boys should remain with me in the house. Thanks for coming to your senses, but at this point I think I would be happier in a 2 bedroom apartment…this house is too much work for a working-woman with special needs kids. I need a home that has had proper maintenance and does not have leaks, cracks, worn-out carpeting, out dated fixtures, a faulty heating system, fractured and unrepaired window and door frames, and a front lawn that turns into a small swimming pool when it rains. Most importantly, I’d like the freedom to live without inhaling the pungent odors of blow-off from the nearby roofing manufacturer on a regular basis. You see, I never intended on living in what I thought was a “starter home” for ten years. I estimate that after years of neglect it would take about $10,000 to fix up this house. So, we move on to Aspie Dad’s favorite topic of how I never loved him to begin with. It’s hard for him to comprehend how I could have loved him years ago, but now I don’t. He didn’t do, “Anything wrong!” I explain to him that he may not have done, “Anything wrong!” but I have grown and evolved in ways that he has not, and this makes us incompatible. “We both deserve to have companions that can meet our needs.” I explain that there is someone out there in the world that he has more in common with. I interject that I still long for more children; I deserve to have an opportunity to find a suitable likeminded partner to share my dreams with. Aspie Dad appears shaken. He asks if he can call his mom because this is too much to take in, he’s never been divorced before, and he is confused. He remarks that he feels like he might vomit. I advise him to call his mom, but try to de-stress first. We move on to discuss Marty and how challenging it is to parent him. Aspie Dad brought up an incident where he spanked Marty in public for throwing his golf club. He said that he felt that Marty learned his lesson from having been spanked. I share with Aspie Dad how Marty is often aggressive, unruly, and defiant with me, his teachers, my mom, my friends, and even strangers, and I fear that without intervention this behavior will become worse as Marty gets older. I ask Aspie Dad if he is ready to admit that Marty has some ‘issues’ that have nothing to do with how I parent. I ask him what he would do if Marty was officially diagnosed with Autism. He says that he would be sad because no parent wants something to be wrong with their child. I reply, “How would you feel personally?” For some reason he is unable to express and own his personal feelings, but in my heart I believe that Aspie Dad would be ashamed of having a child diagnosed with Autism because it would expose his own shortcomings. I share with Aspie Dad my feelings and worries for the children if they don’t get the kind of help that they need to cope with their respective challenges, and also comment on my newfound love for The Big Bang Theory. I explain how the main character of the show most likely has Aspergers, but he is so successful in his career and fulfilled with his life that he is happy and content with being different. In fact, Sheldon [the protagonist of The Big Bang Theory] thinks that he is somehow intellectually superior to everyone else. I share with Aspie Dad how this show gives me hope that Marty can have loyal friends, a purposeful career, and a happy life in spite of his differences. I offer to play one of the DVR’d episodes while Aspie Dad gets his bearings. Marty happens to walk by while the show is on and says to his dad, “Hey dad, you’ve got to see this part; It is so funny.” Chuckle, chuckle.  I am shocked to learn that Marty has actually been watching “Big Bang,” I thought that he and his brother were busily playing while I watched the show. I’d have the show on as I cooked or folded laundry while they played DSI, wrestled, or just ran around the room. So we all sit down to watch as the Jewish character, Wolowitz, inadvertently pours milk down his pants without knowing that his ‘magic show’ milk pitcher had been switched out with a real pitcher of milk. Marty laughs at the punch-line and commences to push his toy car along the edge of the couch. For a brief moment, I allow myself to envision Max and Marty home from college sitting on the couch in our family room watching re-runs of The Big Bang Theory laughing hysterically at the punch-line. In my fleeting vision of the future, life is good. And in my spirit, I know that everything is going to be alright. Introducing The Great Howdini

No comments:

Post a Comment