Thank you all again for your words of support.
I've told her that she needs to leave this house as quickly as possible and she is in the process of making that happen. I've been the one to pay rent, bills etc for almost the entirety of our relationship so im staying here. The timing does suck as Christmas is fast approaching and that potentially means an awful conversation with our son at a time of year that I wouldn't have chosen.
However, I didn't choose any of this!
With regards to that conversation she has agreed that she needs to take the lead on that, with me present, and it will boil down to this being in no way his fault, that we both still love him very much, but that his Mam no longer loves his Dad and so she is leaving to live somewhere else. That he will still very much have both of us in his life and will spend time both at his current home and wherever it is where she will be living.
We've agreed that shared custody is in the best interests of our son and are in the process of working out the logistics of that.
She's looking at places that are quite close to where we are now and i'm conscious that means inevitably running into eachother in settings not related to our son. I also have to accept the possibility that it's high likely that i'm going to run into both her *and* him at some point in the future and that's going to sting when it happens. Hopefully I can fight the urge to pull his head off of his shoulders
I can't help but think that when she's in the situation where she has to pay rent and bills on her own then reality is going to land on her hard. It's not something that she's ever had to do and times are currently hard for everyone - especially renters! I don't take any comfort in that thought or have any petty feelings about the possibility and I hope that she can craft some sort of life for herself for our son's sake if nothing else.
As we live in rented accommodation it's simply a matter of removing her from the tenancy agreement when she leaves. Our finances are entirely separate and have been since before my son was born. They were joined at one point, but had to be separated again for... reasons. We've talked about shared belongings and what she will be taking vs what is staying and there have been no disagreements other than I want her to take our marital bed with her but she doesnt want to. If she doesn't take it then i'm going to either sell it or donate it to charity.
Christmas presents that have been purchased for our son will still be from both of us.
So far it has been amicable in terms of discussing what needs to happen next.
She looks very very broken and i'm sure that I do too however I'm starting to see that I need to harden up and just get through this horribleness as quickly and cleanly as possible. There has been some talk... discussing the relationship, the past and the like, and in hindsight I dont think that should have happened. It's just digging at an open wound. It doesnt really matter why it all happened, just that it did!
When I see her so upset there is an instinctual urge to try and comfort her and I recognise that I need to fight the hell out of that as it does neither of us any good. I did tell her this morning that she needs to recognise that she's doing what she is doing because she believes that its in her best interests and should be focused on that instead of feeling sorry for herself.
I think that i've 99% accepted that this is definitely over. That 1%... I don't know what that is, but I know that I need to nix it. I ask myself if I still love her, or if I love what she was. I think that its that person that was that I desperately miss. I read about the pick me dance and see that i've been guilty of that at times. Another thing that I need to fight the hell out of.
I do see that what I very definitely need right now is a hug... but not from the person who used to give me that.
I reached out to my parents and let them know the whole story - basically everything that i've told you all in these posts. They're worried about me and my son as parents/grandparents always are :) My mother mentioned that my father said that the last time that I stayed at their house with my son, a few months back, he thought that something wasn't right with me. That I seemed sad. I think that's probably been my state of mind for a long time now. I'm going to see them this weekend - I realise that I've not spent enough time with them since the sh*t hit the fan at the start of this year.
For the first time today I started thinking about the future in a more positive light. I started looking around our (sh*t!)... my home and thinking about what I could do, where I could move things when all of her clutter will be gone. I have a lot of home gym equipment that's always been shoved away wherever we could find space so part of one room will be dedicated to that. I looked at myself today and realised how much I have let myself go over the past few years... yikes!. We (damnit!) ... *I* have a third bedroom that was original my sons nursery before he graduated to the bigger bedroom. I'm thinking about putting my guitar in there, a couch, a big TV, an xbox and building a gaming room for both my son and I. Something that we can build together. I'm also thinking about picking up a push-bike so that we can go on rides together.
I also came to the realisation today that building my entire sense of self worth around being a father and husband and leaving no time for anything else has left me in a less than desirable place. All of my time has been divided between work, childcare and family time. I have people that I "know" but no one that I consider a close friend and that's a hard pill to swallow! So I need to work out how to make new friends as a 42 yr old man ! I've arranged to meet up with someone that I used to pal around with at work, back before remote working became 100%, for a catch-up. I'm conscious that I need to make sure not to offload all of my personal sh*t on them. That wouldn't be a particularly nice thing to do to someone.
There's an ideal in my head of who I want to be going forward and I need to work out how to make that a reality.
In all honesty I'm scared stiff about the future... but also a bit hopeful y'know? I'm still riding a rollercoaster and the lows are frequent and very very hard to deal with. A big reason for those lows is that the spectre of having "the conversation" with our son still looms over me and I hate it and hate that there's no way that it can be avoided. It pulls me down at times but, again, I didn't choose this reality!
I've been looking at https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/documents/library/articles/discovery/the-simplified-180/ and a lot of it makes sense. Does anyone have any experience of implementing that where reconciliation isn't on the cards?
That's it for todays mental diarrhoea. I think that writing this stuff here does help.
Thanks again everyone.