I received the e-mail below from a man seeking divorce advice:
Jackie, My ex wife and I have been divorced about 4 years. We have one child who is eight now. Our interactions have been good when I’m doing everything she wants and horrible when I don’t. I don’t fight back with her I just remove myself from the situation. She told me a month ago that she’s engaged. We have a fairly equal co-parenting schedule with joint custody. I would like to have an amiable interaction with both of them for my son’s sake and my own sanity. It’s seems that it may end being worse than ever though. It’s almost as if they are trying to drive me away or something, which I really don’t understand as I have been a big support for her with taking our son, pickups/drop offs from school etc while she finished school and allowed her to take a job schedule that she couldn’t have otherwise. Thoughts?
The first thing I thought of when reading this comment was the movie, “Taken.” Have you seen it? At the beginning of the movie, it seemed like the ex wife was trying to drive Liam Neeson away. Remember? She was married to some new, wealthy guy, and Liam Neeson goes to his daughter’s 17th birthday party and a security guard says to him, “May I help you?” Neeson says, “I’m her for my daughter’s birthday party.” The guard says, “No, her father is over there,” and points to the stepdad.
I think there are many men and women who attempt to drive their ex’s away, and I think it is selfish, cruel and really bad for the kid. It angers me. Why can’t people realize that there is a place for everyone? The dad is the dad and the stepdad is just another person who can offer support and love to the kids? I just don’t get it.
Is it possible that your ex still harbors a lot of resentment towards you? Because that’s what it appears as to me. Is she trying to hurt you? Forget you? Get you out of the picture so that SHE can move on? Whatever the reason, she is dead wrong. No parent should try to take their kids away from the other parent, unless there the person is dangerous or abusive in some way.
Here is my advice to you. Don’t let them drive you away. Be your son’s dad. Enjoy him. Spend time with him. Have your life with him. Try to be civil and kind to your ex, but nothing more. She has made it very clear that she doesn’t want to be buddies with you. Don’t let that bother you. That’s HER issue. I do believe there will come a time when her new husband won’t be Mr. Perfect anymore and she’ll come around. But I wouldn’t even think about that right now. Just think of your son and how much you enjoy being his dad. And keep being it.
Remember that you are unable to control how your ex acts, what she does and says, and how she feels towards you. But, you can control your own thoughts, words and actions. Take the high road with this and just be polite. For years and years and years I tried to be friends with my ex, and I would get hurt and cry when he was cold and distant. It actually still happens from time to time, and I ask myself when I’m going to realize that he doesn’t want to be friends with me and be ok with that. That doesn’t mean the two of you have to be cruel to each other and fight. It just means that she doesn’t want your friendship, so make yourself be ok with it.
One last thing. No one ever seems to remember what the other did for them while they were married. In other words, when your wife was finishing school and you were helping her out with that and her work schedule, you were really helping your son. So, who cares if she conveniently forgot. Again, you ultimately helped your son. Good luck to you!