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I never thought I would be at this place in my life. I have a job that utlitizes the skills I have while teaching me new ones. I'm getting a discount on things I would be purchasing anyways, and I'm going to be moving out of a house that I didn't think we could afford back in 1998. I have a romantic interest who is supportive, friends I can lean on who are able to reach out to me when they need a listening ear. This morning I went for a walk after I went through my yoga poses. I have a DVD that breaks each of them down, I need to get better at doing the individual poses before I start putting them together in a sequence. I'm on my feet at work, my back hurts, my neck suffers, I'm working on losing weight, yesterday I resisted buying a treat and ate when I got home which is one day at a time progress.

Today I'm going to a game with some friends of mine that I haven't seen since April. Due to my spending spree I don't have much cash, I need to stop and get enough for parking. I can use my card for everything else. I didn't plan so I'm a little stressed. Last week I had gone through each day and plotted it out. That really made a difference in how this week went and taking the guess work out of what I'm going to be wearing will make my life easier as well. A girlfriend of mine called me up sobbing last night. She had been up since 6:30 the morning before, she was exhausted, overwhelmed, anxious, and feeling as if she was never going to accomplish any of her goals.

My ex wants to negotiate with me. I need someone there with me. I'm afraid of negotiating with him by myself. I know some of the things I want and need, it's really a matter of having moral support. I've been so badly burned in deals with him, I don't trust him, I know this is something I need to face, but I also know I have some time to think. It's a mistake for me to rush into things without preparing properly. Last night I was crying in the car while I was driving. I thought about writing him a letter or an email that he would never see. I'll do my best to recreate it here.

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Thanks for getting the negotiation process started. I would like to meet with a third party when we go through how things are going to work and who will be responsible for what going forward. I realize that there is a lot of hurt and distrust on both sides. I apologize for the things I have done, the things I left undone that I should have done, and the things that I did that were not as well as I could and should have done them. 

Placement: I enjoy having the girls from Friday to Friday and would prefer to keep that arrangement.

Housing: I am searching for an apartment. My plan is to try and find something reasonably priced in the area where I can stay for a year. After that I would like to move closer to my job and family. 

School: I think it's important to keep Jane where she's been going since she was in 4K. Although I was asked about where Jill would be going to school, it didn't seem as if my opinion carried the same weight as yours and hers did. Having two children going in opposite directions every school morning is not a realistic option for me. I feel it's unfair to drop Jane off as early as she would need to be at school to get Jill to her school on time. My schedule will not be set, I would like to go to events at both schools. I have said from the beginning that I would be unable to drive Jill to school and pick her up afterward. I would like to be flexible and accomodating, but that's an area where I need to take care of myself first. Perhaps next year I could drop her off and pick her up, depending on where Jane goes to school and what else I have going on with my life and work schedule. My request is that Jill go to OHS this year and we revisit other options for the next school year when I am likely to have more flexibility. 

Support: This seems very straightforward if we follow the calculations laid out by the state. I would like to have my check directly deposited into my account by the first of the month. Housing and support for college has not been discussed. Would you continue to provide support if the girls choose to live at home while they attend college?

Health insurance: I would like you to be responsible for providing health insurance for the girls. To this end I will concede my right to declare one of them on my tax return. You had them on your 2015 tax return even though I was responsible for their health insurance. Going forward I would like for you to insure them. 

Lawsuit: I believe that the debts incurred from the car accident are your responsibility. I could lose my license if I miss any of the payments. This would be a non-issue if I had car insurance when I was involved in the accident. You agreed to provide coverage, yet it was not available when I needed it. I would like a check to cover the vehicular loss and another one for whatever the bodily injury bill amounts to when that arrives. 

Communication: I would like the four of us to be on a single cell phone plan where everyone has a phone and access to everyone else. It makes things very difficult when someone is excluded because they don't have Wi-Fi on their device. I realize you would like to detangle to the extent that it is possible. I'm of the same mindset, but I believe that this is one area where keeping things together makes sense. Who pays for what can be worked out if this is a condition you are willing to entertain. 

Food: It would be great if you could start taking Jill's food allergies and intolerances more seriously. Even a minor allergy that may not seem like much can be doing silent damage internally. My expectation is that she is fully supported during meal and snack times and that she is always provided with safe foods she can eat and that she is encouraged to make healthy choices to fuel her body and given treats that are in line with foods that are on the list of things she can safely enjoy.

Requesting time during someone else's week: I feel that this can be a case by case incident. If either of us is requesting the girls during a time when we would not normally have them, I don't believe that time has to be made up unless the other party specifically asks for it. Switching weeks gets very complicated, I feel that we both see the girls frequently enough that a couple days here and there should not be an issue. 

Therapy: I would like to be able to go to therapy to address some of the issues we have. We need to be able to communicate and act in a way that supports the other person and the girls regardless of our personal feelings for the other party. I would like to go with you and as a family so we can resolve some of these difference and move forward together with greater respect and clarity. 

Respect: You closed with this word, perhaps I should have started with it. I try hard to respect your parenting decisions and not interfere with them. Maybe I haven't earned your respect, but it would be great to have. For years I allowed my own poor self esteem to devalue my contributions to this family. Thanks to me the girls are free from the medications and treatments they underwent when they were younger. I fought hard to give them the best quality food, clothing, exercise programs, and shoes that I could. While I am certainly far from perfect, more credit and respect for the things I have done would be greatly appreciated.

Apologies: I am sorry, for many things, and on many levels. I'm sorry I have to be sitting here writing this while my stomach is knotted up in fear, twisted with anxiety, waiting for you to get upset and come after me either in passive ways, or actively indicating your displeasure with me and what I'm requesting. I used to live for your approval, it's been very difficult to unlearn those old habits. I'm sorry I wasn't the wife that you wanted, I tried extremely hard to please you mainly to prevent you from becoming angry or upset with me. I have no wish to be a victim any longer, I have learned new coping skills and have a much better support system than I had previously. 

Emotions: I realize that neither of us want to be doing this. We're probably angry with each other and ourselves, I certainly wish I had handled things much differently, and I'm sure you have regrets as well. I dislike conflict and discussing emotionally charged topics, but agree that they need to be dealt with as soon as possible. I'm not mad at you, perhaps you will find this difficult to believe, but I fully forgive you for everything. You were doing the best that you could with what you had given the circumstances. I wish nothing but the best for you going forward, I'm happy that you have found someone to share your life with you who gives you thinks I couldn't. My hope going forward is that we can both move past the frustration and get to better places in our respective lives and start modeling better parenting roles for the girls.

Third party involvement: I think it would be beneficial to meet with a third party while we are going over this. We can see someone other than Terri if you would like, perhaps another therapist, or an attorney, maybe someone like Curt Brewer would be willing to help us out. 

These are my thoughts, let me know what you think. I'm looking forward to further detangling, improved communication, greater respect, and ultimately more harmony for everyone as we go about our separate ways. 

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