Separated but bound together


While my obsession with words is well documented, there’s one area they exhaust me: the amount of interaction needed with my ex about the kids.

He tends not to answer emails, so I send texts. Endless texts.

Where is his car parked so I can get the kids’ stuff out of the boot? When is he be picking up the kids on Saturday? When does the eldest’s band day start on Sunday? When does he fly out to Indonesia on Sunday? Can he send me a list of all the kid activities that are on his days so I know where and when to go while he’s away? Is he working on Saturday, March 19, when I’m planning to have the youngest’s birthday? What does he want to do about Easter? What does he want to do about the school holidays? Did he call the school about the eldest getting a locker? Is he OK with me getting the youngest’s ears pierced for her birthday?

It goes on and on and on. And it won’t stop for years and years and years.

When we lived together we’d sort things out each night, face to face. Now he’s just the co-parent on the other end of the phone who doesn’t returns my the plastic containers from the kids’ lunchboxes (and vice versa) and has to be consulted on all the decisions that need to be made about my children’s lives.

I suspect everyone will give me lots of tips for cutting down on our co-parenting text tennis match, but things that need answers just keep cropping up.

When kids are involved you’re stuck with your ex. You might not live together any more, but they loom in your life at least until the kids leave school. And then you’ll still run into them at all the births, deaths, marriages …

Geez that’s hard.

Comedian Louis CK reckons: “I love being divorced. Every year has been better than the last. By the way, I’m not saying don’t get married. If you meet somebody, fall in love and get married. Then get divorced. Because that’s the best part. Divorce is forever! It really actually is. Marriage is for how long you can hack it. But divorce just gets stronger like a piece of oak. Nobody ever says ‘oh, my divorce is falling apart, it’s over, I can’t take it.'”

I know its his schtick, but I don’t think my divorce is getting stronger. It just keeps throwing up new challenges. (What am I talking about? I’m not even divorced  yet. That fresh hell is still to come.)

Pre-kids, when you broke up with someone you never had to see them again. Admittedly that’s equally weird. It’s kind of like a death but they’re still alive. They were the closest person to you in the world and suddenly they vanish.

My ex hasn’t vanished. He makes almost daily appearances in my life via my phone and once a week on my doorstep … more often if there’s a sick kid we’re juggling.

It’s why I decided to suck it up princess and be cordial. It makes all the juggling so much more pleasant.

I HATE confrontation. HATE it.

If I was dreading every interaction with him, life would be such a miserable trek.

So we get along … 

I read a rather confronting article on Huffington Post Divorce about how “You Don’t Have to Play Family With Your Ex ‘For The Children’.”

Tracy Shorn says: “Could we please stop using  “FOR THE CHILDREN” as a cudgel with which to bludgeon divorced people?”

“You only control you. Make your own family traditions. Have your children’s back and let the ex figure out his or her relationship with the kids. Don’t stand in the way of that relationship. Don’t editorialize (i.e., “Mom’s a slut.”) Don’t fake friendship and model codependent phoniness. Back off and let go. Your only obligation is to abide by the court order with civility.”

She ends the article with the words: “And don’t invite exes to your birthday parties. Thank you.”

I invite my ex to the birthday parties. For the children.

It feels like the right thing to do.

Tracy REALLY doesn’t think it is.

We all have our paths we need to take. Who knows where mine will wend?

But for now the friendly thing is working.

I just wish it didn’t require so many texts to keep the co-parenting train on the move.

Still, it beats the alternative I so often see: co-parents who CAN’T interact with civility when it comes to their kids.

That would be soooooooo awful.









12 thoughts on “Separated but bound together

  1. I like the fact that nob doesnt have to be contacted as he hasnt seen the kids for 3 years… or talked to them this year… now if he wld just sign adoption papers, but even for the offer of never having to pay his paltry $15/ftnite again, that apparently ‘aint guna happen’… bugger… kids r all for it now too…

    • That’s an awful situation Megz. Very unsettling for the kids and makes it hard for them to get on with their lives, equally hard that he never contacts them.

      • Its like theyre mourning some1 who isnt dead… & when they havent seen or heard from him & he randomly walks past when we r out bike riding, it makes it a bit hard for them… they seem pretty tough tho, very matter of fact about it… actually asked about chris adopting them (came up due to a friend of the feral’s going thru similar) & they asked questions about keeping own name, etc… ill just leave it for them to bring up again…

  2. I think you (and your ex) are doing a great job at the co-parenting thing – it can’t be easy – but I think kids don’t need to deal with the guilt of having to “choose” a parent, they need to know they can call on either one and they will be there.

  3. I think she means YOUR birthday parties, not the kids’. Would you invite him to a party to celebrate your birthday?

    • You are right. I read the story about a week ago and rushed those excerpts into the blog without checking. He definitely doesn’t get invited to parties for me.

  4. Oh Alana, I so wish we lived nearby. There would be so much to talk about that I can’t put on here.
    I have the worst trifecta possible in my ex and situation. I envy the women whose exes walked away forever. The psychopath is so much worse. Sigh.
    It’s a terrifying thought that the divorce never ends.

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