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Happiness 101

The happiness quotient is in play. At least for one-half of the former couple that was once married and shared a life.

Divorce does strange things to relationships, especially when there’s a couple decades of history strewn over the trail. We survived 20 years of marriage, two children, and the count-the-slices-in-the-loaf-of-bread-so-we-can-ensure-                                    we’ll-have-an-adequate-food- supply-until-our-next-payday days that served as the foundation to the beginning of the marriage.

So my ex is on her road to happiness. The giddiness comes through the phone during our infrequent calls as well as through the conversations shared with our two children who bounce back and forth between homes – hers and mine. The new guy is moving to town. He’s taken a new job very close in proximity to where she works. And while all this makes me happy – happy for her, happy that her life is back in a semblance of order after a broken marriage created at my hand, I’m also a bit…on guard for some strange reason.

In contemplating the protective shield that I feel going up, it seems to stem from the fact that there is someone on my home turf, experiencing time and moments with my two kids, spending the night in the home I bought and continue to remunerate even now. I feel a harsh, covetous edge from time to time along with a sense of relief. Very odd.

What am I worried about? That I care? Both my children are old enough to know that I’m their Dad. Even through the worst, I’ve always been Dad – never absent, never the vanishing parent. I provide, I nurture, I mentor, I care, I love like I always have and always will.

But that ground, I suppose, is uneven since the divorce. There’s been, and likely always will be, a drive to make sure my turf as parent can’t be taken. While they may mess it up, no one else is allowed on it. And as it becomes encroached in this very subtle way, how can I not put up the shield and dust off the “Beware of Dog,” sign?

I’m happy the ex is happy. It’s one step closer to healing the devastation. But just as one page seems to turn, another unfolds and keeps the collateral damage assessment fresh in my mind.

-end-

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