Category Archives: parenting

The Guilt of Divorce.

Two days ago I told my ex that I wished our children had never been born.

And in that moment, I meant it.

Let me be very clear – I LOVE MY CHILDREN. They are amazing; kind, smart, loving, and a pain in the ass when they want to be. I grew them for fuck’s sake! I adore them. I really do. But sometimes, there is a resentment and a confusion around parenting that creeps in, and the guilt that goes along with this is nothing short of horrific.

So, in that awful moment, as I sobbed my way to work, I was thinking that maybe my life would be somehow easier without them.

Erase the children, erase the guilt.

Wishing my children would disappear is a selfish thought born of denial and insecurity. It’s me, projecting my sense of self-worth onto 2 people who didn’t do a damn thing to deserve this. This divorce, this hurt, this major shit-show of a broken childhood. Any of it.

(It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault).

I know that I feel this way at times because the single hardest thing for me to deal with as far as this divorce and my ‘new trajectory‘ goes, is the bone deep guilt I feel over breaking my kids’ hearts. I do not know how to settle this within myself. Sure, I see them, and they are happy and thriving. They are still their silly selves and the acute trauma from last fall after their dad left has eased.

But my guilt remains; steadfast, not budging, in my heart and in my gut. It makes me feel physically ill. All I EVER WANTED was an intact family. I never had that as a child. And now my kids won’t have that either.

My inner 9-year-old is hurting badly. Again. It’s grief. I am grieving as a wife, as a mother, and as a little girl who thought she had the life she always wanted. Jesus. That is a lot. No wonder this is lingering.

When they are with me, there is a constant unspoken reminder of a missing piece. I feel off-balance, off kilter, and longing for the family unit that we once were. I struggle to be present with them because they are a constant reminder of my own shit. My hurt, my loss, my guilt, my confusion. When they aren’t with me, I can ignore that. Do my own very, single thing.

I am redefining my life. I am rediscovering who I am. I am trying to rebuild my self outside of my role as a mother. I got swallowed alive by that role. And I harbor resentment toward my kids because of that. Again, not their fault.

When I feel as though I wish that they had never been born, I am also struggling with this fear that no one will love me if I have 2 nearly grown kids. We are a package deal and that is not for everyone. I am responsible for 2 human beings aside from myself. Who wants to take that on?

Sometimes I can barely take care of myself.

If they didn’t exist, I could feel my feelings and my hurt and my upset whenever I wanted to; whenever I needed to. When I have them, if I am struggling emotionally, I have to push my feelings down as I don’t want them to worry about their mom. I have a ‘game face’ – everything is sunshine and happiness when they are with me and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to sustain that. Do I show my emotions to them? Of course I do! I just can’t share the depth of those emotions during the times when the hurt and the fear and the ache is so primal it brings me to my knees.

No one sees that. That is mine and mine alone.

Okay, enough of this shit.

I want to tell you about my kids.

Sam is 9. He struggles with anxiety and his own sense of self-worth. He is an amazingly smart kid and loves with a sensible caution. He is a an introvert and a highly sensitive person. He loves bugs, Pokemon, reading, and his family. His laugh is infectious and when he gets going, we are usually laughing at him laughing than whatever made us laugh in the first place. He doesn’t like to cry and he has a hard time feeling his feelings. I worry about him. A lot. He looks just like his dad.

Ellie is 7 (soon to be 8). She is an empath and has a huge heart. I am constantly amazed at the depth and clarity with which she is able to express herself. She is a smart, kind, quiet, child. She loves with a reckless abandon and has a dry wit and silly sense of humor. She is a fierce friend and hero-worships her older brother but also stands up to him with a newfound confidence I am thrilled to see. She looks a lot like me.

I cannot imagine my life without them. Their love, their hugs, their laughter and their tears.

I own this resentment and this guilt, hurt, heartache, and confusion. It is mine and mine alone. And I will beat it just as I have beat the other shit that comes up.

One day at a time.


Do Not Love Me.

The kids and their dad move into the new house together with the girlfriend this weekend.

This major transition is bringing up some seriously weird emotional shit for me. I know that it is my trauma rearing it’s ugly head in another attempt to shut me off emotionally again. I feel separate from the kids in a way I didn’t think was possible. I feel disconnected and flat – not fully present in reality. I am questioning my want and my very desire to be a mother. I am questioning whether I even want to have custody. What if I just let go and give up? What if I just shut the fucking door and walk away for good? What if I don’t want to feel anything, for anyone, ever again?

I know that these big feelings are coming up in part, because I have met someone. This wonderful, surprise-of-a-guy who blows my mind with his amazingness and his kind heart. I feel myself being vulnerable in ways that truly terrify me. My heart is saying, “GO! GO! GO!” while my mind is screaming, “COMMENCE LOCKDOWN!”.

I know another part of the resentment and confusion I am feeling is due to the fact that the kids are the ONE thing that bind me to my ex. My ex, whom I wish I had never met. The man I spent 17 years of my life with. I wish I could erase him and those 17 years forever. The kids are EXCITED about their new living situation. My heart wants to door-slam them completely for that. But it’s not their fault. It is no one’s fault. It just is.

I am all twisted and turned around with these new emotions. I am trying my best not to judge them, but when they are directly related to my willingness and my ability to parent, they seem inherently WRONG. Mothers should love their children without thinking, worrying, resenting, and shutting-down getting in the way. Mothers should love their children UNCONDITIONALLY. IRREVOCABLY. FOREVER.

Should. Could. Would.

But what if I don’t want to? What if I don’t want to love or be loved by anyone, anymore, ever again? I loved my dad and he dropped dead in front of me. I loved my ex and he ripped out my heart, broke me, and kicked me while I was down. Love feels like a betrayal of my sanity. I know what happens firsthand when you let yourself open up and love with reckless abandon; whether you are 9 years old or 42. You get HURT.

What if I want to go find a cave on a beach somewhere and never return? What if I don’t want to deal with the orthodontist, groceries, feeding, caring, or loving for one more second? What if I don’t want to deal with the emotional repercussions of loving someone again? What if I want to march out of this house, get into my car, and drive straight to the airport? I could board a flight out of this state, out of this country and start over. I could do that. I really truly could.

But I won’t. Because I know that even though these emotions are deeply painful and very hard to bear right now, they will pass. They always do. And when they do, I will walk away knowing myself a bit better. Knowing once again, that my strength lies within me no matter what my mind is trying to tell me. And I will never break again because no one will have control over my life and my emotions to the extent that my ex did. That is the TRUTH.

And I know, of course I know, that I love my kids more than life itself. And that these emotions are okay and they are normal. I also know that I am totally worthy of loving and being loved again. I do not want to go forward in this life for one more second ignoring my feelings, putting them in a box, and erecting walls around my heart. Because that isn’t really living. It is watching life pass you by like you’re some spectator, not an active participant.

I have to learn to let go of this fear and this hurt in healthy ways – not by putting my heart on lockdown. I have to slowly and gently trust that it is okay to love and to be loved by my children, by my family and friends, and by others. Not everyone will break my heart and stomp on it. There are many who will treat it with loving kindness and a tenderness so beautiful that it will be worth the risk. I cannot let myself miss that by living in an emotional cave on an imaginary beach somewhere.

But fuck, it feels so scary. And I wish someone could hold my hand.

Right now.

Straight up RANT.

I had to go into hiding; lockdown. I have been faced with yet another monstrous hurdle in this shit-show called divorce.

The ex wants my kids (aged 9 and 7) to live in a home with multiple people; one of whom I do not know. Adults. His girlfriend is one of them and another male I have never met. I feel so unbelievably uncomfortable about all of this. It raises all of the hairs on my head. My momma instincts are screaming ‘NO! NO! NO!’.

Even if my ex knows and trusts these people, I do not. I have only met the girlfriend a few times and this new male, not even once. Adults in my children’s home mean more adults visiting those adults and that just grows exponentially. He assures me that they won’t be in danger. That there will be no big parties when they are there. He tells me that they will be safe and respected. That the people he will have as roommates understand what it means to live with small children. But none of this changes the fact that I DO NOT KNOW THESE PEOPLE. None of this information helps me feel at ease when I have been told that I will ‘never be welcome’ in that house. And that ‘maybe’ these people would be willing to meet me. And it certainly doesn’t help that I have little to no faith in my ex for very obvious reasons.

Last week, when this new development came up, the all too familiar emotional and verbal abuse came with it. When I asserted my position, I was called ‘combative’. When I stated that he could lose custody if the judge rules that he cannot have his children in a home with strangers, he called me ‘threatening’, ‘manipulative’, and ‘shaming’ of his lifestyle choices. There was no intended malice in that statement – no judge would ever put minors in a home with adult strangers! That is a FACT. When I said that I don’t feel comfortable with his scenario, he called me ‘controlling’ and that I ‘cannot control who he lives with and what he does with his life’. Both of those things are true but we aren’t talking about his life and his life alone. These are my kids too, goddamnit! MY KIDS TOO!

Why is it that when a strong woman makes a case for her beliefs and stands her ground, it is called being “COMBATIVE”?

I call bullshit on that one. BULLSHIT.

And of course, this new development hurts like hell. Of course, this new living situation feels like a nightmare for me, personally. But I will be damned if he is going to make this about me and my needs! This is, and has always been, about our children and what is in their best interest. I would never take them away from their father. He is a good dad – just a shit husband – and that is for me to deal with, not them.

So, I did the only thing that I could, I created a document that sets up parameters around the kids new living situation. Background checks, limits around unknown adults in the home while they are there, etc. Smart parameters, not selfish and manipulative choices! I am struggling with the fact that I will never be welcome in that home. A place my children will call home for half of their lives. HALF OF THEIR LIVES. And that half will be spent living with someone I really believe (at least for now) that I hate. Someone I would pay money to be in a small room with for five minutes. That is all I would need. Five minutes to get in her face and say all of the things I want to say, that I should have said months ago. The biggest and loudest one:


Well, something like that. I am so angry right now. It comes and it goes. This is my reality and I am done running from it.

My next post will likely tackle more of the codependency stuff. I really thought I was in love with my ex. That he loved me still. I haven’t spoken to him in 4 days and you know what? I feel better and healthier with every single day that passes.

Thanks for listening.


From monogamy to polyamory………… a checklist (of sorts)

Do you have what it takes?

You have been thinking about becoming polyamorous. You find that the lifestyle resonates deeply with you emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. But are you truly prepared to unwind years of monogamy? Years of social conditioning and systematic reinforcement that you only need one person, a soul mate, a ’till death do us part’ relationship with only one human being?

Do you feel like something is missing from your life and from your self?

I want to challenge you to step back and take a look at yourself and your relationship; BEFORE you take that leap toward polyamory. The work it takes to sustain a relationship and a family is exponential. Add to that more relationships, more people, more time, and it can feel like your entire existence has been consumed by polyamory. Trying to figure out how to balance it all can be exhausting.

1. How are you with you? Are you able to meet most of your needs on your own? Are you okay with who you are? Are you prepared to face off with your deepest insecurities? To embrace that hard truth that you cannot possibly meet all of your partner’s needs? You need to be ready to stare into the mirror of self-doubt, of emotional and physical insecurity. And not only do you need to be okay with what you see, but you must own it and work through it. Do you know who you are separate from your spouse, separate from your relationship with your significant other or your kids? Codependency is a real issue that many couples who have been together for years face. How do you untangle that and decide if you can stand on your own two feet? When your partner walks out the door to go on a date and you are left home alone with your emotions, your unsettled feelings, you must be okay with feeling them and then talking about them with your partner. Having the time and the energy to process through big and sometimes uncomfortable feelings is absolutely vital.

2. What is the status of your relationship? Are you prepared to admit that your relationship might need work? To admit that you and your partner might need therapy? Have you been putting counseling off? Not enough time to make that appointment? Are you bored, restless, or unsatisfied; living life from one stagnant moment to the next? Are you connected in many different ways? Emotionally, physically, sexually? Do you take the time to reconnect by going out on dates? One thing that can be particularly tricky in marriages or relationships that have children can be finding the time to get out of the house and have adventures as a couple. Do you carve out the time to date each other; to see your partner in their true light, separate from their role as a parent? Or are you going through the motions in your relationship and putting one foot in front of the other? Trudging through life, because it’s what you’re used to; what you are supposed to do. If there doesn’t seem to be any spark there, do not seek to put a polyamorous band-aid over your realtionship. It will not work.

3. Hows the sex? Are you regularly intimate with your partner? Are you bored in the bedroom and does sex feel like a chore? Have you come to terms with your own sexuality and your own jealously and insecurity around sex within your relationship? Are you prepared to let go of control and fear and resentment when it comes to knowing that your spouse, your love, has sex with other people? Have you established clear boundaries around what this looks like? Will you use protection? Will you tread slowly or go all in? Safe, consensual sex is paramount within polyamorous relationships.

4. Timing is everything. What are the limits on how often you will date? What nights during the week will you go out, will your spouse go out, and what time will you have left over for your children and your family? Your friends? Polymarory takes a lot of juggling of time and priorities. This was a huge trigger for me. It takes massive amounts of time and communication. Communication and constant processing with your spouse and with your partners and sometimes with your partner’s partners. The amount of phone time can affect the quality of the time you spend with your family and your children. Do you have limits on how much time you spend on the phone? Is there a limit around phone use in front of the kids? We tried time and again to limit the phone use – in the bedroom before bed, while the kids were around. It was something we constantly struggled with and I had tremendous guilt around it and still do.

Do your research. Read as many books as you can get your hands on. More Than Two, Sex at Dawn, Opening, Non-Violent Communication – these are all very good resources. Have your support system in place as soon as possible. The poly community can be an incredible source of support for anyone embarking on this journey. You will need people outside of your relationship to rely on for processing and working through difficult situations. Discuss everything – the books can help with this. Do you believe in hierarchical relationships? Fluid bonding outside of your marriage? Limits around time and phone use?

If I can instill anything in my readers exploring polyamory – it would be these four things:


How NOT to treat a human being

There is so much rage coursing through me. I cannot control it and I don’t want to.

I shouldn’t have to.

Typically, I will get what I call a ‘rage-hangover’, because I am usually lambasting my ex and he shames me for my anger, he always has. I end up texting him relentlessly, telling him how hurt I am and how much emotional damage he has caused, in the name of polyamory! Poly people are emotionally caring, vulnerable, open-communicators. The man I married has been none of those things.


I have been trying to work through it and let go of it. But fuck, I am pissed, I am hurting, and I have every right to be. I have been trying so hard to be friends with this man who claimed to love me and to be my husband.

I do not think that is possible right now.

This has not been about love, this has been about selfish and cruel behavior and I am not sure I will ever ‘get over it’. Is that even a thing? Do we ever truly get over something? The death of a loved one? A failed marriage? A betrayal of trust so deep, it has left me not trusting anyone?

I do not think that is possible right now.

I was, and still am, shamed by my ex for my rage. I was blamed for being ‘too moody’, ‘too angry’, ‘too all over the place’. Well guess what? I am allowed to be all of those things. Every single person in my life holds space for my emotions no matter what shape they take. Every single person but him.

I am allowed to hurt.

When things went south with him this summer, after my PTSD had kicked in (but we still didn’t know what it was, or what was ‘wrong’ with me), it was our 11-year anniversary. I was trying to be positive. It had been a week of triggered hell because the relationship with his meta was real and taking a forefront to my marriage. I was edgy, panicky, and just plain terrified. I quit school and my job. I got a tattoo. I was on a path to a total meltdown.

I was cooking dinner for the family, and he got on the phone with the girlfriend. I was instantly triggered. Like pumping-my-fists triggered. The adrenaline coursing through me felt horrible. I tried to tell him, “I am getting triggered, please get off the phone. It’s our anniversary, we are supposed to be cooking dinner together.” He took one look at me and said “No, your trigger is ridiculous. Who cares if I’m on the phone? We are in the middle of a conversation and I am not getting off just because you feel ‘triggered.'”

I might have thrown something at him. I don’t really remember. The next thing I do remember is crawling under the low hanging clothes in my closet and laying there freaking out, completely losing my mind. I texted a friend who told me to stay there as long as I wanted, as long as I needed. When my ex found me, he demanded that I get out, but I literally couldn’t. My 6-year-old daughter found me and crawled right in, right on top of me.

When I was finally able to get out, I asked him point-blank to pause poly. I needed help, we needed help. “I am going to end up in the hospital”, I said. I had never felt so lost and out of control in my entire life. He looked at me and said, “No. I won’t pause poly”. I replied, “So you are choosing poly over me and my mental health?”

He said, “YES”.

And in that moment, I disconnected completely from my body. The only other time I had done that was when my dad dropped dead in front of me when I was a 9-year-old little girl.

My daughter looked at me with confusion and terror in her eyes and, in that moment, I knew I had to leave. It was not safe for me to be anywhere near this man who was supposed to have my back through everything. The entire family took me to the hospital. I was admitted and stayed for 3 days in a mental health facility where they diagnosed me with PTSD and codependency.

While I was away, I had asked the ex to please not have the girlfriend over in our house, with the kids, or in our bed, out of respect for where I was and what I was going through. He said yes, he would respect that. The truth was, I was already feeling replaced and didn’t want to feel more so while I was a prisoner in a mental health facility.

He visited every single day. We would snuggle and talk; it was nice. He was a lifeline in a very dark time and place. When he picked me up to leave, we had a meeting with one of the counselors. She told him, “The next 2 weeks will be critical. Do not push her, do not surprise her, do not trigger her. Take her triggers seriously”. He said, “Okay”. We talked about strategies to use if I did go all ‘amygdala’ and entered a completely triggered state. Everything felt good. A bit scary and uncertain, but good. Hopeful.

We left the hospital and went to get a much deserved burger and beer. Not more than an hour after my release he informed me, point-blank, that he had had sex with a stranger in our bed, on our 11-year anniversary, while my kids slept in the next room, while I was on suicide watch in the ER. Then, over the course of the next few weeks, he let slip that he had also had sex with the girlfriend all weekend in our bed. I stood up and left him at the restaurant, I left my body again.

I stayed with my sister for a week. I kept the kids with me and sat around in horrified shock much of that time. I would have left him then. I would have kicked his ass to the curb if it weren’t for our kids. But instead, I moved back home and he moved back in and I spent the next 3 months living a lie; pretending that I was okay and that I would be a better person by forgiving him for those transgressions.

I began to put one foot in front of the other for all of the wrong reasons; for my family and for my children, for fear of what would happen to me, to us, if he left.

But then something else happened.

We were siting and eating dinner one night and he looked at me with the most guilty and pathetic gaze and said, “I have to tell you something”. I knew exactly what was coming and said, “You’re having sex with her without a condom”.

He said, “YES”.

He had lied again. It was our ONE solid agreement, protected sex with everyone outside of our marriage until we had a discussion around it. He had been having sex with me that entire time without a condom, without my consent, in regards to their fluid bonding.


And yet, again, I tried. I swallowed that bitter pill and tried to keep it together for my kids. For my sanity. I was scared to leave him. I was scared of what that would mean for me and my abandonment issues; for my codependency.

Until one afternoon, the four of us were on my bed, being silly. I felt separate, apart, as I watched the kids play with him. And in that moment, it hit me. I left the room and curled up in the fetal position on the couch. I was bawling. He came and found me and asked me what was wrong.

 I said, “I am done”.

And here we are.

Digging Deep

Most days I wake up feeling a tightness in my chest. I feel instantly anxious; filled with emotions that range from hopeful and present, to scared and confused.

For a long stretch of time, I was feeling good. My husband and I got into a routine with the kids – they do 3.5 days with each of us. My husband was floating around from place to place – crashing here and there – and the kids were staying with his parents for the most part (consistency for them comes first).

This week things shifted, yet again. He moved into his new house and the prodigal girlfriend returned from being abroad. These two things in conjunction started to weed their way into my subconscious and then fully into my consciousness with harmful ramifications. I could not turn off my thoughts yesterday. Partly because when I saw my husband, he was texting with her, next to me in the car. He knows that this triggers me badly and yet, he did it anyway. And partly because since she has been back, he has been choosing to spend his time with her instead of with his family.

I want space from that relationship. I want space from that person, who, in my opinion, should have walked away the minute we began to struggle emotionally as a married couple WITH CHILDREN. I am in no way saying that she is the cause of our demise, merely that, when everything began to fall apart, she didn’t have the decency to say, “Hey, it looks like you need to work on your marriage. I am going to give you the space to do that”. But hell, my husband didn’t do that either.

So, yeah. I am back in the rejection phase of when he first left. They are dating and she is sleeping at his place, and from my perspective, it’s as though he has left me for another woman; 12 years younger than I am. It doesn’t feel like he is out doing the self-work and soul-searching that he claimed he needed to do when he moved out. This doesn’t feel like polyamory, this feels like abandonment, plain and simple.

I know that this too shall pass. But it feels so hard again. I feel like every time I get to a healthy head space, something or someone knocks me down; again and again. And I am left asking myself, why? Why do other people’s actions seem to define my sense of well-being? Why do I give others the power to affect me in such unhealthy ways?

It needs to stop.

I have a mantra that I have been using over the last month or so: “is this a helpful thought?”. If the answer is no (which it usually is) then I shut the door on it. I am usually able to shut that mental door and focus on the moment – I have found that being present in my self is the healthiest way to be. Being mindful, peaceful, and gentle with myself means taking control of my mind and not letting it run away with thoughts that just aren’t helpful. I have a tendency to ruminate and let my brain flood with images and fantasies (not the good kind) which serves no purpose other than to knock me down. I am so tired of picking myself up off of the proverbial floor.

I have another post coming soon about mindfulness and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) – the therapy that I am currently working on. Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, try to be gentle with  yourself. Try to remember, that you are strong, you are loved, and most importantly, that you are worthy of love. That is all we can do – one moment at a time becomes one day at a time then one week at a time.

It is there, that light at the end of the tunnel. I have seen it and it’s calling me forward.

In order to find forgiveness, something must die.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to see Brene Brown speak in Lakewood, Colorado.

Over the course of 5 hours, she relayed personal stories and spoke about her new book, Rising Strong. She touched on spirituality, forgiveness, vulnerability, and from her book: the Rumble, the Reckoning, and the Revolution. She talked about being brave enough to fail and to fall down and to make mistakes. I have done all of those things this year. I have made some major mistakes, I have failed. And there have been times that I have felt emotionally at rock bottom; falling down my rabbit hole to hell, wondering if I would ever make it back out. But now, by some miracle, I am wide awake and in my own revolutionary state.

I am writing today because I want to talk about the one thing that stuck with me from her presentation. The piece about forgiveness. She told a story of interviewing a group of rabbis on the concept of forgiveness. The rabbis told her that they believe:

In order to forgive, you must be willing to let something die.

I have tried to find forgiveness for my husband and the unfathomable hurt he caused me. There was a huge breach of trust around sex within our polyamorous marriage that I won’t go into here. But, needless to say, it was a breaking point for me in my marriage and my trust for this man who was supposed to love me and treat me, above all others, with respect, care, and kindness.

For a long time, I imagined that hurt in a bag that I tucked away behind my back. I didn’t feed the hurt, I tried not to dwell on it, and yet, there I was carrying it around with me because I didn’t know what to do with it. I knew I needed to find forgiveness for him. I understood that logically, but how does one do this? How does a person so deeply hurt by their spouse or anyone that they love – move past a transgression of such intense magnitude?

Something must die.

In that moment, listening to Brene speak, I knew exactly what must die. It was my marriage and the family (living under one roof) that we created together. It was my trust and my deep love for this human being that I had lived with, built a life with, these past 16 years. It was the relationship we had before polyamory. Dead. All of those things were dead and they needed to be buried. It also became clear to me why I had clung to that hurt and that betrayal  – why I questioned whether or not I could or would ever forgive him. These were things I never wanted nor expected to die!

Saying goodbye to that man and that marriage has helped me to find forgiveness for him. It has helped me to make peace in my heart and in my mind with a very painful situation. I have moved on and I have said my goodbyes. I have stopped blaming and acting out from a place of hurt and resentment. That part of my life is a chapter in a book that I have closed. I won’t ever read it again. It is there though, it will always be there; collecting dust on a shelf.

For now, all I can do is focus on each moment as it comes and on moving forward. I can see a future for this broken family. One that involves two people who love each other, but need to reestablish themselves as friends and not lovers. Two adults who are the best versions of themselves that they have ever been and who know how to put their bullshit aside, put their hurt and resentment behind them, in order to parent. Two people who will set a loving and caring example of what a family can look like – even when it breaks.