I've been here a few weeks, and there have been a few instances, this is just the latest of many, but here goes...
Normally on Monday mornings the ex-wife takes our youngest child to school, but yesterday she decided that she'd rather not. She sent me an SMS message at 8:15 asking if I could take our daughter this morning, but I was already on the train to the city. Since the train was already in the tunnels, the message was not received until after we exited just before 8:30. By then our daughter had already telephoned her asking her mum where she was. Now the ex was angry that I had not responded to her text.
This morning the ex sent me an SMS telling me that I need to communicate to her if I am not going to be available to take our daughter to school when she needs me to. Accused me of being bad at communication.
First, why do I need to tell her if I won't be available to take kids to school on days that she normally does, just in case she decides to have a last minute day off? Second she is the one who left, so I see no reason why I should have to report any of my movements to her.
Anyhow, I responded to her SMS about communication by saying "OK, but are you the pot or the kettle?" in inference to the age old saying about 'the pot that calls the kettle black'.
A bit later she asked, "what do you mean?" I don't know if she did not understand the inferrence or if she could not see that her communication is perceived to as bad (or worse) than me not being available to immediately respond to her SMS messages. Whatever, I don't care. I simply replied: "Doesn't matter. I'm not interested."_______
The other day I was speaking with my son; I asked if I could tell him something that he might not like. I told him how peaceful things have been about the house since his mum has been gone. "I said I would never leave her, and I didn't, she left me. But I never said that if she ever left that I would always take her back. And now that she's gone, I am not so sure that I want her to come back."
I think I am just about ready to turn that corner, to take that leap, and to burn that bridge. But before I do,
- what am I forgetting?
- what am I not seeing?
- will I feel regret before I feel happiness again?
It's terrible when exes feel they can try to manipulate you by laying blame on you for something that was actually their problem. I think I'd ignore the comment from your ex, and instead just remind her of what the boundaries are in terms of last minute changes to you schedule. You may want to consider saying the following; If she's not able to do the school run or any other planned activity then she needs to call rather than text. If you have already left for work then it won't be possible for you to make amendments to your plans, so there needs to be a cut off time for when she can contact you. If she can't do something involving the children and doesn't hear back from you then she needs to make alternate arrangements. What are your thoughts?
You've asked 3 very good questions, I could answer them, but I wonder what your response is to those questions?
One thing I do know is that some time after one of my relationships ended it was like someone took off my rose coloured glasses. I started seeing all the little nuances as flaws with that person, and they were no longer bearable. When we are happy and in love it's like those little things don't matter, but when the relationship ends we start to see all the cracks.
I also wanted to ask whether there was a reason for this conversation with you son? Were you just trying to be open and honest? What was your son's response?
I know you've mentioned in a couple of posts how much more peaceful your home life is now, are you wanting it to stay this way?
Sorry I know I've asked a lot of questions. Look forward to hearing back from you.
Assuming your account of events is impartial, then her behaviour on this occasion was unreasonable, inconsiderate and irrational. There's no doubt that there is a communication problem here, but it seems to me that in this instance at least, the problem is squarely hers.
Amber is spot on about suggesting that calling is more appropriate than texting, especially for things that are time critical. Sending a text is a bit like sending a message by carrier pigeon - you have no way of knowing whether or not the pigeon made it, and even if it did, whether the other party saw it had arrived AND opened and read the message. The pigeon could have been eaten by a hawk, it might have lost its way... anything could happen between point A and B. SMS is just the same - unless you get a response you have to assume the text hasn't been seen. If you were able to negotiate with her to make phone calls for important arrangements rather than sending texts I think that would be a good ground rule and would avoid a repeat performance.
I too am curious to hear answers to Amber's questions - I think they are really good ones. I also think that your three questions are probably rhetorical... you are probably the only person who can answer those. But maybe some things to factor into your thinking:
- What did you have in your relationship (at any time) that you miss now?
- If you are brutally honest with yourself, can you see any scenario where it might be possible to regain those qualities?
- She may be your ex, but she will never be your children's "ex mother". How will choices you make affect their ability to have/maintain a healthy relationship with her?
I don't know about you but I still regret things from 40 years ago. Maybe that's just depression at work, maybe that will change, or maybe I just need to learn to live with that. I don't know yet. But I know I will be living with regrets for at least some time to come; I imagine it could be the same for you. No matter your choice you will probably find something to have regrets about.
dear D'jected, well first of all she has broken her part of the deal, the arrangement that should have happened, I can only imagine what her response would have been if you did the same thing, and I'm only saying this because this is what happened when I was married, but I could never do anything right, and we still ring and see each other these days, but we would never live together again.
To answer your questions, 'what am I forgetting', well to realise that this may happen again and not be able to pick up your daughter, so could you arrange someone else to take her to school, I know that you shouldn't have to and she should organise this, but just being on the safe side, and explain this situation to your daughter.
'What am I not seeing', well maybe your ex is trying to not take her to school, and that this may become a common occurrence.
'Will I feel regret before I feel happiness', I don't think so, because you pretty well have decided that you wouldn't live together again, because it wouldn't work out, there would be more arguments, which would be distressing for the kids.
I'm not meaning to be one sided here, but the same would also happen if my ex wanted to live with me. Geoff.
If I were to be brutally honest... how's this...
Today is our youngest daughter's birthday. The ex came by to wish her happy birthday this morning. We figured we do her cake for breakfast as it was the one time in the day that we could ensure that we could get the high-school students, the uni-students and both parents together at the same time.
During a some non-important conversation, the ex decides to say to the birthday girl: "I'm no longer your parent, I don't live here anymore." Why on earth she would make such an unempathetic statement on this day of all days is beyond me. If she meant to be humourous, I don't think our daughter received it that way; there was no sarcastic tone in the ex's voice, no smile, no laugh, nothing to indicate that it was a joke. I'll find out for certain when I get home from work today, and talk to my daughter to see how she feels, but at the moment I think it is quite possible that the ex just set the bridge alight.
That's outrageous and utterly unacceptable. How can she be either completely clueless or uncaring about the damage she is doing to her own daughter with manipulative behaviour like that? Once you pick up the pieces with your daughter I would suggest it's definitely time for a decidedly frank and firm conversation with your ex.
Just not on.
As expected, being disowned by her mother did not abode well; particularly not on her birthday. She said 'mum probably meant it as a joke, but it didn't feel like one. I wanted to tell her if she wants to treat me like an obligation or an inconvenience to her life then she can just stay out of my life. I don't need this from her.'
So I did what all good fathers do when their daughters are having a hard time. I gave her a reassuring hug, told her I still love her and took her out for an ice cream.
For so long I had tolerated the ex's poor tact and unempathetic nature towards me that I eventually just accepted it to be the way she was. I became so blind to her poor behaviour that I didn't notice when she did the same to our children. Now that we are apart I can see her so much more clearly. I now recognise that which cannot be allowed continue.
Matchsticks and petrol may not be enough, somebody bring me some napalm !
Sorry to hear of what you are going through. how about just closing off the bridge for now, not burning it. my ex and I had an amicable separation, he suggested it, I agreed, he moved out within 3 days. we agreed to divorce after 12 months, we didn't but I later felt I wanted that closure so we went ahead. when the kids used to ask why we separated he manuipulated the story and told them it was me, I wanted the divorce. yes the divorce as we had verbally agreed but he instigated the separation. we have had very,very disagreeable times of late but are now sort of back on track. however he does ask the kids if I do things with them like he does, if I take them out as much as he does. its easy for him to take them here there and everywhere when he only has them once a fortnight and hes not financially struggling. there is much more to my story. I thought I had burnt the bridge a few months ago but it appears it was just blocked. we have been amicable of late but I think I know why, not because he wants to be good friends, its other reasons. your poor daughter, I think as long as you are there for her she will come through this, she needs to be in a happy environment regardless of having one or two parents there.