PrinceCharming has never been the one to talk about feelings. Or share the deepest part of himself with anyone.
He was raised by an mother who was emotionally absent and a father who was physically absent (he worked the night shifts at the Post Office).
This was his upbringing. These were his role models.
And this was, in part, one of the reasons our marriage failed.
(His parents are lovely people, BTW. And there is nothing that they won't do for you. They're always there to lend a hand, babysit for their grand kids or in general help out. They just do so, on a superficial level. This was probably their upbringing as well... and so, the cycle of life continues with their family clan.)
So when the otherwise secretive Prince reaches out, one tends to listen.
"I've been having some challenges."
I find myself back in the familiar role of deciphering his cryptic statements, searching for the hidden meaning, reading between the lines so I can understand what he struggles to tell me.
His texts and phone calls these past week have been riddled with them.
What is apparent is that he's struggling with single-parenthood. Having never had to juggle kids and a career before, he's being faced with the fact that he lacks the basic tools necessary for survival. Reality is hitting him square in the face and he can't hide from it any longer.
After several phone calls, and inquiries into what exactly is going on, decisions have been made, based on what's in the kids' best interest.
Digging my heels in and refusing to take custody for lack of child support is NOT who I am. And was NEVER part of the equation, even if it might have seemed that way to others.
I'm assuming full custody effective immediately so he can work on his "challenges" and be the best Dad he can be. For this week, the kids will be told that Dad has some more job interviews and so they will stay with me again on what are Dad's days (they've been with me on his days for the past three weeks now).
"This is so hard for me to admit, especially since I fought so hard for custody of Cinderella."
The difference, I point out to him, is that he wasn't doing it alone back then. He had me to stay at home and be the parent. Parenthood is hard enough. Single-parenthood is even harder.
"I also need to do something for me. I've been pushing it off for a long time and I don't think I can avoid doing it any longer."
Again, I struggle to read between the lines. Fish for some more details, trying to pull information out of him. He dances around the words, but I know what depression sounds like.
Then I get the texts last night:
HIM: I'm going to be out for a bit. I'll let you know when I get back.
HIM: No phones out.
HIM: I'll be back in touch soon.
I pushed for details, no longer being comfortable with the need for secrecy. No longer willing to accept less than the truth. What if something happens with the kids? What if something happens to him? I should at least know WHERE he will be.
I pushed harder. He gave me no more than one or two word answers. I managed to get him to say where he was going before the texts stopped.
I'm trying to learn from the past, but not get sucked back into the place of mistrust.
It's difficult though, to trust someone with whom I put so much blind faith in for so many years only to have the rug pulled out from under me.
I'm hoping I will hear from him soon. Hoping he is where he says he is.
This weekend is his custodial weekend.
For now, all I can do is wait.