Late Night Crying Over the Disappointment

I don’t cry. I just don’t. Well, rarely. I’m not a robot. I have feelings and I’m deeply empathetic, imo. It’s just that it takes quite a lot to get that fluid to leak out of my eyes.

Here’s how the eye actually produces tears

— Bitmoji

Ok, Bitmoji, ok. I can see you’re going to be a pain in the rear today. Strictly speaking, you’re right. Tears don’t actually come out of your eyeballs, like water weeping through porous cinder blocks. Apparently there are glands and tear ducts involved. But come on. You get the point: despite being in touch with my emotions, I don’t cry that often. Stop busting my balls, Bitmoji, and let’s move on. Geez…

Given the rarity of the occurrence, when I do actually cry, it’s a indicator of the severity of the emotional trauma or a measure of my mental state. Or both.

Well, just the other night, the glands and ducts were pumping the fluid, causing it to leak down my face (and before you start, Bitmoji, I have zero clue if “pumping the fluid” is the correct medical phrase. Look it up yourself. K?). The reason? In short, my kids. In long, keep reading…

Effectively, I’m estranged from my daughters. The reasons are varied and the blame rests on multiple shoulders. Since I was the adult when the separation between us started, I’ll take the bulk of the responsibility. Since a primary cause of the estrangement is divorce-related, I’ll accept a large part of the fault on that front, as well.

First, I’m not a child. Don’t talk to me as such, Bitmoji. Second, F you!

Your attempt at humor, Bitmoji? Not funny, not when it’s related to my kids. Not seeing or talking to my oldest daughter for close to two years is heartbreaking. Seeing my youngest daughters twice and communicating with them on the phone a handful of times in that same time period is equally agonizing. I would appreciate you NOT make light of the situation.

I question your sincerity, Bitmoji. But I’ll drop it…for now. Moving on…

So yes, I’m primarily to blame for how the schism began. But the widening of the gap and our inability to close it? Hmmm. Let’s just say the blame is more evenly distributed.

I was married for close to 30 years. And before that, my ex-wife and I dated for another five. We met when I was 19; she was 18, just graduated from high school. In retrospect, the relationship was based on physical desires. Of course, we grew to love one another. But the foundation was sexual attraction. I mention this solely for perspective; we liked each other in the bedroom, but otherwise, we weren’t really compatible.

Fair point, Bitmoji. That is a long time to be together, if you don’t particularly like each other. But it’s more complex than that, in truth. I’ll try to explain.

  • We married waaaaay too young.
  • I had massive insecurities and depression, coloring everything I did.
  • My ex was a tad bit snobby. She had this “keep up with the Joneses complex,” regardless of whether we had the resources to actually keep up with the Joneses. She fed into my insecurities, making me feel inadequate as a provider, father, and person.
  • I drank too much, using it to self-medicate and quiet the voice in my head. The voice that constantly told me I wasn’t worthy, that I was a fraud, that I was ugly. Our marital stress exacerbated the swirling thoughts in my mind.
  • We said a lot of hurtful things directed at each other. We both had difficulties apologizing. Communication was a problem. The verbal sparring could be intense. As the years progressed, our squabbles became even more heated. Never physical, always hurtful.
  • We disagreed on major topics:
    • Where to live. My first job required us to relocate. I liked living there; my ex didn’t. I ending up quitting my job and we moved to an area I didn’t particularly like.
    • Where to live, Pt. 2. Once I quit my first job, finding a new home was a serious stressor. We just weren’t on the same page. From my perspective, my ex wouldn’t be happy unless she lived next door to her parents. If I had to drive 45 minutes to make that happen, so be it. That’s what she wanted. In the end though, we bought a house very close to my work. But that was primarily due to the housing market. The tension between us remained; the inability to compromise was constant.
    • My ex was financially reckless, using credit cards as if it were free money.
    • Where to live, Pt. 3. Our house was unacceptable to my wife, causing more feelings of inadequacy and more financial strife. We refinanced to fix it up, even though we couldn’t afford it.
    • Where to live, Pt. 4. My wife demanded we move to a more expensive home. When I finally relented, the two of us were farther apart than ever. Immaturely, I didn’t participate much in getting our house ready for sale, considering I knew it would be a devastating financial move. Rather than the passive aggressive resistance, I should’ve held my ground and not agreed to the move at all. The bad karma between us resulted in the buyer of our house backing out at settlement (the f’er never showed up!). Our house was empty, in preparation for the home closing and on that day, I remember just sitting on the floor of our bare bedroom, shocked and emotionally drained. All of our possessions were placed in storage and we were forced to live with her parents for a few months. To compound the financial woes, my ex demanded we spend another $30,000 fixing up our house and buying furniture before we moved back into our old house that, at that point, none of us wanted to live in any longer. My ex’s rationale for the added expense? “I deserve it, if I’m forced to move back into that shitty house.” In my mind, our relationship never recovered from this incident.
  • My daughter developed a chronic illness, requiring a feeding tube. Her condition was (and still is) mysterious, difficult to treat, and caused inordinate fear and anxiety. Had my ex and I been on the same team, we could’ve supported one another. But, that wasn’t the case.
  • My job became tenuous and incredibly stressful.

Although cliché, we stayed together for the kids. The love was lost. The differences between us were magnified. In the end, our marriage couldn’t survive.

Speeding things ups a bit:

  • I quit my job and moved two hours away. At the time, I thought our marriage was still salvageable and that we’d all relocate. My ex thought otherwise, staying behind with the kids. Now we had to pay for our home that we couldn’t sell, plus my own accommodations. We were bleeding money.
  • To save $$$$$, I moved into a house share situation. For five years, I lived in a 9’ x 10’ room, having to move from house to house periodically (one housemate was a crack addict, another a white supremacist, another was just…a dick).
  • Living in semi-squalor, my depression soared. On one occasion, I had a flash of suicidal thoughts. Driving back home, I started to sob (I know, I know. I did say I don’t cry often, didn’t I?). I missed my kids, desperately. And I momentarily envisioned steering into the concrete median, ending it all.
  • Finally, I decided to explore dating. A dating app, to be precise. After lots of weirdos and ghosting, I basically gave up. Then, I met the love of my life, Nikki.
  • Ten days after I met her, I awkwardly and reluctantly told her I loved her. A month or so later, I moved in with her and her two children. A year later, after getting COVID and having a sense of mortality, I asked her to marry me. (This is not to imply that COVID was the impetus for getting engaged. Not at all. I actually had the ring in my jacket for a month or so, waiting for that perfect moment. Oddly, COVID finally made the proposal just feel “right.”) At the time I proposed, I was still married to my now-ex.😬
  • Two and a half years after we met, we married. Now, Dear Reader, you’re essentially all caught up. Good for you!👊👊

I have zero regrets for getting married again. Nikki is perfect. And I love her intensely and completely. When I told her how I felt, so quickly after we met, the reluctance wasn’t because I was unsure how I felt. It was my fear of how she’d react. I could just imagine her saying, “Who the f’ is this weirdo? We just f’ing met each other?!” Thankfully, she didn’t say anything of the sorts. Shockingly, she admitted she felt the same way towards me.

I do, however, wish my ex didn’t find out, on Facebook, that I was engaged. In my defense, my ex would not respond to any form of communication and we’d been separated for five years. Still? I never wanted to hurt her. Yet I know I did. That makes me sad.

And that’s when the divide between my kids and I developed. Prior to being engaged, my kids were supportive of me and Nikki. They were even supportive of us getting married. It’s just, the timing could’ve been better.

So now, here I am, crying over a damaged relationship. Crying over not getting to see my daughters. Crying over the loss. The lost time, memories, and…love. The love between a father and his daughters. A love that feels as if it’s not returned. I’d cut off my arm with a hacksaw if necessary to save my daughters. That’s not hyperbole. Yet I feel as if they could care less if I lived or died. When I donated a kidney to Nikki, they barely acknowledged I was in the hospital. A few other trips to the ER went with scarcely a text of concern. It stings, thinking about his. But it’s also an indication of the pain they felt. The pain that I caused.

It’s fitting that my Bitmoji is resting his head on a pillow, because in the end, we all have to lie in the bed we make. I made a sizable share of the bed with my ex, with respect to the divorce. And I tucked all the sheets in with the timing of our engagement. As a result, it’s up to me to keep trying to make things right with my children.

My therapist tells me I have to practice acceptance, that I have zero control over how someone else feels. And that makes sense. But it doesn’t make it any easier when your kids routinely ignore you, whether by text, email, or phone.

I went off on a tangent and for that, I apologize, Dear Reader. But that’s kinda what I do, no? And maybe you should’ve expected as much, reading blogs from a page with “Ramblings” in the title?

Will my relationship with my kids ever be the same? Impossible.

But I do have faith that our relationship will be better than it is today. Perhaps even better than it ever was, stronger as a result of what we’ve overcome. Who knows? What I do know is that I won’t give up. I’ll practice acceptance (despite it being a motherf’er), I’ll be resilient, and I’ll try to be a better person today than yesterday. I owe that to my kids, my wife, and to myself. And maybe along the way, I’ll shed a few more tears. And that’s ok, too.

5 responses to “Late Night Crying Over the Disappointment”

  1. Again, so vulnerable and deep with emotion. I feel like I get to know more and more of you, the more you share. Thanks for letting me into your world

  2. […] I was disappointed at not being able to see my daughter, during my travels. We planned on meeting up, but she […]

  3. […] Bitmoji. I promised I wouldn’t dwell on my depression, like I’ve done in previous posts, like here and here, for example. But this blog is like the stuff floating around in my head: it may start off […]

  4. […] I never felt so loved before. Not in my entire life, perhaps (Well, back in the day, when my kids actually loved me? They might’ve argued otherwise. I mean, my kids did absolutely adore me. Funny how time changes such things…😔). […]

  5. […] Dickmoji. Before you continue, we have covered this before. The minutiae of tears and that they’re not actua…, but instead they’re coming outta tear ducts, and blah didi-blah didi-blah blah blah. Give it a […]

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