Lesson One – Stick To The Facts
Lesson Two – Letting Go of His Family Obligations
My friends are appalled that I receive my EX’s mail, as he requested it be forwarded to me since he’s moved to another state. It’s probably laziness on his part, but I’m not insulted. I am willing to throw in and help him when he needs it. Anyway, the advantage is for me to know what’s going on as we transition through the divorce. I open his mail because it’s coming here. I need to weed through the junk mail and then let him know the important bills/mail that come for him. Although I have not forwarded any of his mail to him as I’m not spending my money for postage. Luckily for me, I pass it along to his family and let them deal with it.
I’ve broken the tradition of being his secretary as well. Laughingly, in a good humored way, I told him that to his face. His face was surprised, but by the manner in which I said it, he knew I was teasing him but I also was serious. It registered finally to him that I’m not taking charge of his stuff like I did when we were married. I’ve dropped that sandbag with glee. Sure, I’ll open your mail and pass it along, but I’m not keeping up with whether you are paying your bills on time or filling out necessary forms.
Another big change is that I do not remind the kids of his family’s birthdays. He made it clear years ago that I was not to gift his family anymore. There was a definitive split there and he has not reached out to any of my family, nor me, on any holidays, birthdays, etc. I still, because of who I authentically am, send a card to his family on such occasions, but I also told them all what he’s declared.
So when we had a few recent birthdays, I took care of things in a new way. I texted and sent cards on the special occasions to his family members, but I didn’t remind the kids. It was hurtful to the family members that the kids didn’t reach out to them, but it was a direct reflection on my EX and not on me. I know that one individual in particular was appalled by my not reminding the kids, but that’s part of the restructuring in the divorce. His family is his responsibility and not mine. If he wanted the kids to reach out to his family on their special days, then that’s on him, not on me. In the meantime, I did as I have done for years, I texted and I sent a card from me and left the kids out of it. I must say it’s freeing to not be tied to the secretarial duties anymore. Because I don’t remind him of his family members’ special days and it shows.
There’s a little part of me who is happy that they now see how disconnected he truly is. For years, I tried to explain what I was dealing with, but nobody listened. Instead of telling, now I let his inactions show and maybe they will get the message loud and clear. I don’t think they will like it, but it’s not my problem anymore.
Funny thing is that I am still in contact with much of his family through phone calls, texts and cards. It’s all in how we finesse the relationship and I have taken the high road to keep us all comfortable even when I have been hurt by their actions. I don’t do it as a martyr. Instead, I allow them to have their lives and I live mine. But for over 20 years of marriage, we were a family who had a lot of love between us. Just because he’s disconnected, doesn’t mean that his family and I can’t be nice to one another. After all, it’s for the kids that I do it. For the kids and for all of us.
There’s a peace within that comes with being kind. That’s all I offer – take it or leave it. I am me, above all, authentically me, embracing life’s changes.