After the separation session, there were five awkward days of negotiating kids, work, meals, errands, and life in general before our Monday counseling appointment.
First thing Monday morning I sent the hubs meeting notices for the remainder of the month’s counseling sessions, only receiving one “accept” for that morning’s meeting followed by a two-line email explaining that he didn’t like the counselor’s technique (insert foreshadowing music here).
On the way to counseling I got a text that he would be 15 minutes late, he was getting the cable installed in his new place and it was taking longer than expected. I was running about 5 minutes behind myself, cautiously navigating the rain-soaked streets, I didn’t dwell on why he would schedule the two so close together. Rushing into the reception area resembling a drowned rat with strands of wet hair stuck to my neck, I was taken aback to find him standing there waiting for me, looking fresh as a daisy.
We entered the office finding places on opposite ends of the royal blue crushed velvet couch.
Doc asked us where we were, metaphorically speaking.
I said that he had been very engaged with the kid’s activities. He had requested weekly calendars and had begun taking the kids to activities. It was super helpful to me and I was appreciative and the kids enjoyed spending time with him. However, I felt that him moving out made it impossible for me to work on being more intimate with him.
He confirmed that he had moved out.
He said that he wanted the Doc to help us to set up the temporary separation.
“It feels permanent to me,” I thought.
He continued by asking “When should I see the kids?
“When should I stay at the house?”
“When should we go on a date?”
Doc answered his questions by explaining that although she was willing to continue to work with us she did not think a separation was a good idea, letting us know that 75% of marriages that separate end in divorce.
Doc then asked what we had heard her say to us.
I said that I had heard to be kind and very enthusiastic when he did something that I appreciated.
He cut back to setting up the separation.
Doc said I can help you with that, but it’s against my advice. Therapy has steps and it takes time to work, being separated only prolongs the process.
As she talked I could feel his tension building, A sideways glance at him confirmed the red rising in his face and the pulse of his protruding forehead vein that indicates an imminent eruption.
In one swift motion his large frame stood up and he said emphatically “Then we’ll find another counselor!”
Doc appeared caught off guard and said: “Is that what you heard?”
He spits out “Yes that’s what I heard!”
Without a word or a backward glance at me he opened the door and walked out.
Feeling abandoned and embarrassed, laced with a lot of pissed off, I apologized.
Doc looked up piercing me with her eyes and said: “Get a lawyer.”
Somehow I made it through her office door and down the hall choosing the stairs over the silent inactivity of the elevator. I had to keep moving, everything in me was screaming at me to bolt. Ditch it all marriage, job, home… but the kids. Once I’d made it back to the car I took out my phone and read two texts from him that said “I’m sorry” and “Call me”.
I called and he apologized again and said that I could pick the next counselor.
His volume steadily increased, explaining that he knew how counseling should go, he’d done a lot of research, Doc was not good at the job.
I took a deep breath and said: “If we are going to continue I need to know if there is someone else?”
“What!” he blurted. “Did Doc say that to you?” “I can’t believe it!”
“No! No! Listen to me. No one told me to ask. I want to Know”
“Look” I started “At first you lost a lot of weight, you bought new hipster clothes, started locking your phone, then the separation and now you have walked out on counseling. All the signs are there.”
“I have a right to know! If there is someone else all of this is a waste of time!”
He denied it. He said he didn’t want a divorce.
For the sake of my family, I had to believe him.
To The Ex: