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Chimp with a book by Rich Gutierrez

What can I tell you and where to start from? I wouldn’t endeavor to call my past 4 years of life an adventure, nor would I classify it as an absolute nightmare. You see about four years ago, this guy right here decided to take the plunge. Yeah, I know right now you are probably wondering why the steps in getting married would be an absolute nightmare and obviously happy time, and believe me there are plenty of good and bad that go into taking that major step in one’s life. No ladies and gentlemen, the plunge I took was completely on the other end of the spectrum. It’s that moment of clarity where the strings of finality have been completely undone and you’re left with not a single breath within your lungs to look the other way and decide otherwise. Divorce, girls and boys. That one word can bring a person to their knees faster than a swift kick to the money maker.
See, 4 years ago I decided to get out of what was in the beginning a wonderful relationship. We had it all. We loved each other, built our lives together, and gradually just became better and better as a unit. We had a son, a wonderfully sweet and good natured little boy. Truly made me see things in a different light. As he grew, there were ups and downs as in any normal marriage, but things slowly began to change around when our son was just around 5 years old. She became distant, always tired from work. Affection was nonexistent. On my end, I became depressed and withdrawn. We began to live separate lives while living under one roof, but co-existing with each other for our children. Oh yeah, we had a baby girl also with the thought that it might bring us closer together again, which in reality, only further distanced us. See, she was of the mind that she did it all, worked, cleaned and took care of the kids, while I was the chimp doing nothing in the corner other than maybe occasionally picking my nose and scratching my butt.
Well needless to say, things happened that led to the breakup. From a man’s perspective, life was very hard after I left my life of marriage and being a husband and father. I basically gave it all up in order for my children to be comfortable. See, I came from a broken home. My father was in the military and traveled the world while I was raised by my mother and my stepfather. He and I did not have the best relationship so going into the whole separation and divorce I made sure to tell myself that I was going to make sure that even though I am not there every day with my children physically, I will make it a point to be there in every other way. My life became a focused task of being there without being there. All of that came at the sacrifice of my own personal life socially as I entertained women here and there but I wasn’t very lucky at maintaining a relationship. It wasn’t where my head was at. I wanted to make sure that the kids knew dad was always there for them. Through the 4 years up to the present , it has been a roller coaster with the ex. From squabbles that had no business even being a part of a conversation, to moments of peace and happiness where one would think we were on a good path of salvaging a relationship of co-existence.
My son at 9 years old witnessed it all. All the yelling and arguing. While my daughter was yet too small to even understand what was going on. Her adjustments in life will be much smoother than my son but at the end of it all the one thing myself and my ex both agreed on was that we could not put our son in the middle of our nightmare. The adjustment for me was severe. I went from a house and had to move into a small studio apartment. My kids would come over and sleep in the bed with and we were so crammed up in a space that as an adult it became difficult. Kids need to horse around and wrestle and adults at times need peace and quiet. Normally I would be able to escape to a far end of my old home and the kids would be horsing around up stairs. In this case we were always on top of each other. There were moments of impatience on my part and frustration. On one hand I was able to find my new home but on the other it was not what I wanted for my kids. I was lost and going through the most difficult time in my life with no help or family support. I was barely hanging on and doing the best I could with what I had. In time I made the decision to spend a little more and move from the little studio into a one bedroom. It’s gotten better but still not the ideal situation.
A man in the process of divorce in this world is set up for failure. There are many aspects of life that get in the way and work against you. From the divorce itself and the money hungry lawyers that simply want to see this carry on as long as possible to the personal aspect of a man’s life that he has to pick up and begin anew. Imagine having all you need in life and the next day having nothing. I wiped out my 401k to rebuild myself and even to this day I struggle on a day to day. What I have learned is that life is tough, and it’s all in how you deal with the roadblocks that are put up in front of you. You live a lonely life, you’re financially strapped trying to make it check to check. The one thing I have now is that I look at the problems and do not let them put me into a mode of desperation and anxiety. I life to approach problems now with a “whatcha gonna do” attitude. At the end of the day stress will kill you faster than O.J. hanging out in a bush with gloves that “don’t fit”. I have grown as a man and father. The lessons I have learned have been great and although I still go through moments of depression and loneliness, my children are what ground me and reel me back in. My pride is being a good father and knowing that these children will never say I was absent from their lives. I have gone to every soccer practice and school assembly, I treat my kids when I can and when I can’t I try to spend and make quality times. After four years things have gotten better but I am not out of the woods yet, but I know I will emerge from those woods a much better and stronger man with the ideas of what not to do and what to do in life. Experiencing this all has prepared me for a future where mistakes will be avoided. I will one day again have all of the things I once had, I know this. Good things will come to me because in my heart I have gone forward with good intent. So to all the single fathers out there, I say this, be patient, have resolve, show strength. You will have your moments of weakness and despair but it will all be ok. All you have to do is hope and work hard at rebuilding yourself and in time you will be the man you always were but had to shave down to find. Be a good father, focus on them. Women will come and go, don’t make the focus in your life finding someone, you may not be ready. At the same time do not neglect yourself and become a social deviant and outcast. Hang out with friends, find things to do that interest you. Mine became writing and running and doing crazy obstacle course races. I’ll leave you with a quote and a final thought. “Determination gives you resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you” Denis Waitley.
I hope in the future as I embark on this shuttle of life to provide insight and thought on all situations you may be going through. I hope I can offer advice to you all and answer questions you may have. They may not always be the right ones but they are based on my life’s experiences. I hope that going forward I can provide you with a much more light and fun approach but this is the best way I could introduce myself to you. Give you my story, share it with you all and hope that I can help. Till next time, this is your chimp and I’m gonna go read a book ;).

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