My Family Next Door

Twelve feet.

That’s how far apart our houses are.

When my wife decided we were beyond reconciliation, she called the owner of the house next door. The previous tenants had moved out the month prior and we knew the owner. We had seen him and his wife working on the house, getting it ready to rent. She told them the situation and asked if I could move in.

Divorce experts will tell you to live a minimum of one mile apart from each other. In addition to the obvious physical distance, this creates emotional distance and helps prevent awkwardness when the two of you start dating other people. But I wanted to be as close to my children as possible, and she knew it. The prospect of not seeing my children everyday was killing me, so against better judgment, I moved in.

It won’t be a good long-term solution. I can already see it being problematic. Last night I went outside to lift my windshield wipers off of the windshield because we were supposed to get some freezing rain and I didn’t want them to stick. Just as I was walking to my car, she was walking to hers. She was all dolled-up, ready for what I’m sure was a date.

I didn’t look over twice. I did what I needed to do and walked back inside. The tears and vomit were welling up and I didn’t want her to see whatever was about to come out of me. Somehow I made it inside and calmed down.

When it’s “her nights” with our children, I go to sleep alone in a house that’s twelve feet from my family, but it might as well be a galaxy away.

Today, to be divorced means feeling isolated.