For most people, life ticks along at a comfortable pace. Many of us go through the same thing each day. We wake up, brush our teeth, slug back a pot of coffee, and head to work. That daily routine tends to be more stressful when you and your spouse don't see eye to eye. You never expect to get to the point where you no longer want the same things out of life than you did five, ten, or even twenty years ago. As time passes, some couples even find that they no longer want to spend the rest our lives together. Why? Because we grow apart, want different things, or just fall out of love.
In my situation, it was growing apart that triggered a separation between my wife and I back in early 2018. We had our first boy when I was 23 and my wife (at the time) was 19. We were full of hope, curiosity, and excitement. We met online, talked on the phone until five am many days, and finally met. Eventually our family grew with three kids, a house, and so many wonderful memories. Fast forward to today, I see my children twice a week and every other weekend. We separated officially in early 2018. There were so many adjustments, emotions, changes, and questions. Getting to that point was tough. I went from living with my family to now renting a one bedroom basement apartment. I'm starting all over. My ex is staying in the house with the kids until she figures out her next step(s) and we sell our home. A few years before our relationship officially ended, my ex refused counselling. She refused to deal with the situation (for reasons I'll never know) and I tried different things to create distractions. In fact I found myself waiting until the kids were asleep so I could head out the door for a few hours just to get away. Unfortunately, that didn't solve anything. When things at home seemed to get worse (and inevitably they did), I came to the point where the uncertainty and pain of the big change was worth breaking up this unhealthy "norm" that we drifted into. I can safely say that after many months, both my ex and I are adjusting. We focus on the kids as much as we can by putting them first. And the kids even seem happier these days as Mom and Dad both have that sense of self and happiness back. This place of contentment did not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work, risks, and emotional turmoil. A few months into the separation, I hit rock bottom and emotionally crashed into a brick wall at work. I learned later that I wasn't really dealing with this loss in my life and all I did was push the difficult feelings aside while they built into a monster I couldn't ignore. I needed to talk to someone and what I learned was that there was help close to home. (See resources below)
If you're going through this, it won't be easy and I can guarantee you that you will have sleepless nights. My one piece of advice to you is that you don't need to do this alone. Find support that you need and I wish you the best of luck!
Elijah Drown DCL Member
EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program) This is a service that is often offered by larger companies and is generally provided for free.
Family Service Thames Valley
Helping individuals, couples, families with grief, loss, trauma, and so on.
Vanier Community Centre
Provides great children's therapy and is a free resource. Walk-in or via Intake program.
Dad Club London So many other Dads willing to help out, lend an ear, or share their story. If you're a father like me, sign up today (if you haven't already).