My Selfish Mistake

Joey tells me that I should write about whatever is on my mind. To not worry about anyone who may be reading my blog. That it shouldn’t matter if you don’t like it or even if you are offended by it. I must admit that’s a little hard for me. I care about people. And as ridiculous as it sounds, even though I don’t know you, I worry that you might judge me. But tonight, I’m throwing caution to the wind. I’m writing about what’s on my mind. I’m not even going to apologize. It is what it is.

This is not going to be a happy post. If you were looking for a chuckle or to feel good, you might want to just move on along. I will understand. It won’t hurt my feelings at all. I won’t even know.

I have made a mistake. An absolutely selfish mistake. I have hurt my children. The children that I so desperately try to protect. The realization of this mistake hit me last night, and it is breaking my heart.

About five years ago, I divorced Charlie, my children’s daddy. Not because he beat me or was mean to me. Not because he cheated on me or hung out at the bars. Not because he didn’t provide for me and the kids or because he didn’t support me in any endeavor I decided to undertake. He loved me. He was a good man. No woman could have asked for a better husband. No, I divorced him because I didn’t love him. Pure and simple.

I could have stayed married to Charlie. We had been married for eleven years. He was happy. The kids were happy. I was the only one who was unhappy. So I did what people do when they want to justify their actions. I told myself that it wasn’t good for Charlie to be in the marriage – that he deserved to be with someone who loved him. I told myself that it would be better for our children – that they needed to see what love looked like. My parents divorced when I was eighteen, and I remember them fighting all the years I was a child at home. I was always scared they were going to get a divorce. And they did. I told myself that my children shouldn’t have to live that way.

And so I took Taylor Belle and Mason, and we left. Everything has been going along ok the last five years. I have felt guilty about Taylor and Mason having to have two homes and go back and forth every other weekend, but it has worked. Unlike my parents, who still to this day refuse to be in the same room as the other, Charlie and I both try our hardest to not make our children choose between parents. We all sit together at awards assemblies and school events, even go out to eat together afterwards. We have Christmas together and birthdays together. We help each other out and have tried to put the kids first. Not as good as having your parents together in the same house, but we have made it work.

I got a call from Charlie while I was at work last night. He wanted to let me know that he and his girlfriend are moving to Florida at the beginning of next month. I asked him what his plan was to see Taylor and Mason if he lived in Florida. He said that Mason could come out for a couple of weeks this summer, but he felt sure that Taylor wouldn’t want to visit because of his girlfriend.

So ….. that’s it? This man who has been so involved in his children’s lives is moving twelve hundred miles away in less than thirty days, and that’s his plan? It would maybe make a little more sense if he had to move because of work or something, but that’s not the case. He is moving to Florida because that’s where his girlfriend wants to move. He will be in Florida helping his girlfriend raise her children. What about his children?

He will miss so much. He won’t know Taylor’s first boyfriend or be around when she goes on her first date. He won’t be here to help teach her to drive, to help her with her first car or to help her if she gets a flat tire. He won’t be here to tell her how beautiful she looks when she leaves for the prom. He won’t be here when she gets her first job or graduates high school or packs up to move to college.

And what about Mason? His son who loves it when his daddy takes him fishing. Mason is only eleven. There is so much he will miss. He won’t be here to see him play the clarinet in band next year. He won’t be here to attend his events. He won’t be here to see him grow into a teenager or to teach him to be a man. And what if Mason does like Joey did when he was a teenager and decides to try to go live with his daddy? Will my little boy end up living in Florida? Joey only lasted a week at his daddy’s house, but there weren’t beaches involved. How will I compete with the draw of Florida to a teenage boy?

I would like to say that I understand. That I’m not angry with Charlie. But that’s not true. I’m furious with him. I’m furious for what he is doing to our children. For leaving them without a daddy in their lives.

And then I realize it’s not really his fault. It’s mine.

If I hadn’t been selfish and left the marriage, this would not be happening. He would have never met his girlfriend and decided to move to Florida with her. He would still be here helping me raise our children. He would still be in their lives.

And that absolutely breaks my heart.

3 Responses to "My Selfish Mistake"

  1. Mama
    Mama 5 years ago .Reply

    It’s taken me nearly three days to comment on this. I’ve started sentences, but couldn’t put my thoughts into words. They either sounded cheesy, or like something you would hear from some arrogant know-it-all. Oh well, here goes.

    One of my favorite writers and thinkers is a man named Dennis Prager. He once said on a radio show that marriage shouldn’t be a life sentence. It really stuck with me. I’ve had friends through the years who were determined to remain in marriages that were not happy for them, and although I understand the reasoning (and perhaps unselfishness) I am not sure the result is worth it. We don’t live forever–at least not in this world.

    Having said that, let’s assume (for the sake of arguing) that you were selfish. That Charlie was a good husband. That everyone was happy (except for you). That doesn’t justify for one minute moving so far away from his children that he cannot see them every day if they need him. Not one bit. I asked my husband of 33 years (I was a very young bride–12, I think) a hypothetical question: If we had divorced when the kids were young, would you have considered moving away from them? He didn’t even take a breath. A definitive NO.

    Now, let’s assume that Charlie left you. He had a PYT (pretty young thing for those who don’t love Michael Jackson’s music) on the side that he just couldn’t live without. Would you still feel selfish and guilty when he picked up and moved to Florida? As Southern women like to say, “oh, hell no.” You’d be angry and hurt (for your children). You’d be disappointed. You’d be a million other adjectives, some of which are unprintable. But, you wouldn’t feel selfish or guilty.

    So stop feeling selfish. Even if you had cheated, lied, drank like a fish, or beat him, it doesn’t matter. His relationship with his children is separate from you. It’s related and unrelated at the same time. He is their father, and that bears a responsibility so far beyond divorce. It’s a contract that he signed the minute they were created. It’s not breakable.

    He is really blowing it.

    • Tammy
      Tammy 5 years ago .Reply

      And this, my friend, is one of the reasons that I love you.

  2. Jannie
    Jannie 4 years ago .Reply

    I am the product of a divorce. I grew up with a broader sense of relationships and a love of both my parents who were hopeless together. It was much better to visit them separately and actually our bond was very strong even without the internet in those days! We also had great step parents as both parents remarried.

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