Sunday, October 05, 2008

Vote on my future now

I have to make a decision it seems, which is always hard for me. Of course my natural instinct is "No change" accept the status quo. In this case I am not even sure what the decision is. However I press on...

My partner, Neil, has accepted a job overseas, and my child's father is in the same country as me. I know my partner will eventually come back. In the short term I need to decide whether to go with him. The cost is high. There will be a court battle, I will risk losing my job. If we loved each other wholeheartedly this would be a no brainer - I would go and particularly if we had a child together (which had always been the plan). But with my survival mantra - "My self, my child, my health, my work" in mind I can't find it in my heart to risk my job and my child's happiness in exchange for a half-love.

There is another dimension to this. The country in which he is working is my home country. Near to my folks, and my child's grandparents. The last sentence there seems redundant. Perhaps after all this is not going to be too much of a risk to my child - he will be back with his Dad in a year or two and in the meantime he has his extended family. Dad could visit, if he could afford it. Or move even. He has the passport. If I had more self esteem, perhaps I would care less about holding onto this particular job.

But now we come to the nub of the issue. All this obfuscates one fact. If I turn to my only working decision making tool, my gut*, I get the following answer. DO NOT GO. DO NOT FOLLOW THIS MAN. LEAVE HIM. BREAK FREE. And following this, should I take this course of action, some questions

(1) How will I cope with the smug self-satisfaction of my ex and his new partner? (Not having my own partner will doubtless create a power vacuum in which Simon will move in, metaphorically, and try to control my life)
(2) How will I manage to discipline/manage/parent my child? and who will support me in this emotionally? (this is a place where Neil takes a role)
(3) What will happen if I get sick, who will care for me and my son? (In the short term I have health and income insurance - I fondly imagine Neil would take care of me, but in reality he could not, with his job responsibilities, and he never takes care of Connor in that hands-on, bathing, story-reading, sport taking kind of a way)
(4) Where will I live? (this is probably the most emotive part. I love my house. I have waited 20 years to have my own home, I have put more cash into it than Neil - and there would be a court battle to try to retrieve that)
(5) What will I do for sex?
(6) What about my aging parents? will I ultimately opt to re-patriate to be with them?

If I go, I should go for me (because I have a good job opportunity, I want to be near my folks), if I don't go I should realise that I am in a holding pattern where I can live separate for him for some time, but eventually it will only tear us apart and the questions above will have to be addressed. Not going and not even taking extended leave over there saves me from court-battles. If I go semi permenantly I have to lose my job and fight connor's dad for custody. If I follow my gut, do not go (at least not with Neil) use this as a chance to sever ties. I have to have a court battle over the house .

Here it seems are my options

(1) Move No Action: Stay here. Remain in relationship. Avoid all court battles.
(2) Explore the boundaries: Stay here. Remain in relationship. Plan extended leave over there and minor court battle with Connor's dad
(3) Gut Instinct: Stay here. Get out of relationship. Have financial settlement battle. No attempt at custody in near future, although reserve right to go and live near folks when connor is old enough to make his own mind up. Put myself at risk of domination/interference by my ex.
(4) Armageddon: Drop job - follow Neil (my SA partner) - have full on custody battle, leave my job and tenure, go an be near my folks with no plan to come back - this would give me a power base. Neil will want to come back but having made the move I would have family support.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Musings on codependence

It dawned on my rather depressingly this week that, if we believe such a thing exists as codependency, I have it. Apart from the control patterns of codependency (which I don't have), I have a good handful out of each of the other lists. Where did this come from? I have no idea. I did not grow up in a dysfunctional home. But as I look back on my life, from the discomfort of my mid-life crisis. I realise that for no good reason that I can discernm, I have been living my life for other people. And what have I got to show for it? Nothing. No, sorry, very little....

(1) A very unhappy disatisfied mentally ill ex-husband.

I rearranged my life to be with him. I changed countries, left the family I loved. Accompanied him on all his hair-brained adventures, never once saying NO, THAT DOES NOT INTEREST ME, GET STUFFED. I held off on buying a house, having a baby, all the things that meant so much to me, because he was not ready. I cooked the food he liked, shopped where he liked and carefully packed it in the in environmentally friendly bags that he liked, I went on holiday where he wanted to go, did the sports he wanted to do, often to the point of physical exhaustion.

The only thing I have to show for this is my beautiful son, who was a result of my only act of rebellion when I got to 35 and refused to wait anymore, and he was the catalyst for the breakdown of my marriage.

(2) A disrepectful, unfaithful, sex-addicted partner

I do all the household work, and I never argue with his opinions, it is not worth it. This suits him just fine. I feed his addiction by saying "I don't care" and allowing him to be out all day and night and not provide me with any support, and allowing him to objectify me, and to progress his career at the expense of mine. Worse still I have no idea whether or not I do, in fact, care. I remain with him when he has offended every moral value in my soul, and stepped over more marks than I can count, and I have no idea why.

It occurs to me that if I persist in this pattern of self-sacrifice around no-good men, I will not only totally lose myself, but I will have nothing to show for all the hard work such blind devotion entails.

So here's the punchline. If I can't shake myself out of it I may as well put my self-sacrifice to good use and volunteer or give back to society in some way, rather than hitching my wagon to their capricious stars and being dragged heaven knows where.