I had the hardest time keeping my emotions in check when I was around my husband.
Either I was in tears when he would come by the house or, I was yelling at him over the phone. If I wasn’t fighting… I was silent or withdrawn, avoiding him so that there wouldn’t be another scene.
Even on days that I could hold it all together, I would feel drained and numb by the time he left to go home after visiting our children.
I couldn’t stand it.
I hated that we could no longer have an intimacy between us.
That something had changed, and it wasn’t coming back.
I still wanted to be with my husband.
I still wanted it to work.
He was in a very different place and I was having a hard time accepting it. What I discovered, was that for the time, no matter how much I longed to be with my estranged spouse, I needed to keep my emotional distance. I needed to stay away. I didn’t want to do it but, I had to or I was the one who would suffer.
Our children were old enough that they could contact their father on their own. They arranged a time when they would speak to him on a nightly basis and I knew that when the phone rang at that time… it was their father. I didn’t need to answer it, I didn’t need to hear his voice. I could let my son answer the phone and have a conversation with his dad.
I felt relief.
I felt like an emotional stumbling block had been removed.
We then discussed weekday and weekend visitations. We set specific pick up and drop off times. Knowing when he would be over to pick my son up or bring my son home allowed me to be somewhere else during that time period.
It didn’t always run like clockwork but most of the time… I could keep my distance.
Then, I realized that I had to give up the idea that our family should spend quality time together at this particular moment in our lives.
It just didn’t work.
It was too emotionally raw for me to sit around with my soon-to-be ex-husband and act as if everything was fine at family functions and holidays.
By setting limits, and keeping my distance, I was better able to keep my emotions under control.
I could stop myself from the ups and downs that were causing emotional havoc in my day-to-day life.
“Dear God, help me to keep my distance when necessary. If my emotional well-being is suffering due to contact with another individual, help me to set limits on the amount of time that I am willing to commit to this individual.”