How to let go of the ‘ex’

For all you, ‘new wives-to-be’… maybe the ‘ex-wife’ isn’t as rigid as you think. Maybe she is just done…. Read on.

Moving on…. Time to pack the emotional bags of left over crap and let go. Harder than it sounds but also a relief, relief in knowing it is finally over. All these years of his non-verbal cues, hinting at wanting something more, hinting at knowing how he screwed up but never having a clue on how to clean it up. Attempting at being responsible but failing over and over to follow through. Showing up to be the weekend dad, but not having the slightest idea of how to be a dad at all.

I want to say ‘I hope my ex will be happy’ and mean it. Maybe that should be a guide that I have truly moved on… It is ridiculous to look at how many years I gave him the benefit of hoping he would figure it out, us out. How many years of trying to keep the boat from rocking. On one hand it seems like a waste of time, on the other, I know that I was always keeping the kids relationship with him a priority.

Did I do the right thing? All that time and energy of trying to make it work… trying to co-parent in a civil manner? What would have happened if I had just said, ‘screw you’ and left. If I had focused on self-preservation instead of keeping things copasetic for him and the kids. I know rationally I did the right thing… I guess I’m asking, ‘was it best for me?’ best for me to be so accommodating, best for me to stay put, best for me to put the kids above my own needs. What have I lost for everybody else?

Somehow the freedom of it finally being over has given me the freedom to allow myself to acknowledge how much energy I put into him. How I didn’t stand up for myself. How I kept hoping and trying to keep him responsible as a dad for the kids, when I should have just let him figure it out for himself, even if it meant failure. But that was too sad to me, for the kids sake. Who doesn’t want their kids to have a great dad?!

And now, it‘s time, I‘m done…. I’m looking after ME.

Somehow, now that he is getting remarried, I am comfortable with putting up strong ‘go away’ messages. The boundaries are clear. I just want it to be over. Then why can’t I honestly say I am happy for him? Yet, I am relieved for me?! In a way, caring about his happiness keeps me invested. I don’t want to be invested; I don’t want to waste more time and energy on him.

So, although, I’m not all yippee-skippy about their wedding, I am yippee-skippy that I am free! It’s her turn… good luck new wife, I’m moving on!

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Talking to the Ex

 Forced Cut Off vs. Open Communication?
A trusted friend of mine is encouraging me to meet with my ex and his fiancé to talk about how to help the kids transition to the new blended family.  She was blended as a kid and remembers the difficulty of losing her mom to all the new people.  So, I get the value of all of us being adults and having open communication.  Meanwhile, I am taking volunteers for a stand-in.  Anyone want to be that ‘bigger person’ and initiate a civil-open-dialogue about becoming a happy, healthy blended family… Anyone??? 

I’m hearing crickets….. 

There is a load of information on the web for the future couple in how to blend a family.  And an obscene amount of information on how to handle the ‘ex’… me!  But I can not find a thing on how I am supposed to deal with all this.  Do I just step-aside and trust they will take care of my kids?  Believe me, I really want to stay out of their lives, to the point of taking a job 600 miles away.  But that’s not best for the kids, to be so far from dad, so I turned it down. 

What do I do?  Stand-up and try to be an adult or shut up and hope they do the right thing? I think it’s funny, not in a ha-ha sort of way, that ‘exs’ supposed to step aside and trust the other parent…. Really? We divorced for a reason!  And now I’m supposed to trust his judgment 100%?  Really?! 

Ok… at least give me your opinion about what I should talk about – or not talk about.  And how I can manage my emotions and not puke in the middle of the conversation.  My emotions are all over the place.  I can’t begin to explain to friends how horrible it feels to know my children have this huge extended family that’s about to be created and I’m not a part of.  They are getting step-brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents and future nieces and nephews.  Crap, even a dog and cat!  I have; me, my aging parents and the kids… as my parents pass on… it will just be me.  I’m not trying to have a pity party but it’s a horrible, lonely feeling to think my kids will be around this dinner table with another family and I’m the Mom, who is not there.  They have a family that I’m not in. 


I keep running mantras thru my head; ‘keep moving forward’, ‘live your own life’, ‘breathe’, ‘it could be worse’, ’count your blessings’, blah, blah, blah… they help remind me I have no control, they‘re also irritating as hell.  Every mom out there knows what a terrible place it is to let your children go and have no control and the younger your babies are the worse it is.  I tell anyone who will listen… you think it’s hard being married?  Try being divorced with kids! 

So, what’s the point of this blog? I try to have a point… I hope, if nothing else… to put some information out there about what’s it’s like to be the ‘ex’.  We don’t want to be in your lives just as much as you don’t want to be in ours.  But because we have kids, we are stuck together, forever.  Thank God I have my kids, too bad he didn’t die. 

Meanwhile, let’s talk.

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Blended Family – An Ex Perspective

We hear so many negative connotations about the ex-wife.  ‘She is creating drama just for the sake of drama.  She’s the one making everyone’s life miserable.’  Movies are made about her.  Books are written about how to deal with her.  There is an entire market of therapy for Blended Families!  But has anyone considered, well, she may just have a point.  I admit, there are some crazy ones out there… unless she has been institutionalized once or twice… I think you ought to hear what she has to say.
Once upon a time, they were a family.  With hopes and dreams and yes, even in love…just like you are now.  But whatever happened to their marriage, they created a family that unfortunately for you, still exists.  (and remember there was two in that marriage that fell apart and until you know both sides you’re like walking with one eye closed.  So be mindful when you judge her.)
 If kids are involved then, ‘Yes Virginia, they are still a family’.  Children don’t divorce, parents do.  And good co-parenting involves BOTH parents.  They will be the parents for the rest of their lives.  Think about it… both are going to want to celebrate holidays, birthdays, family rituals with their kids… and what about graduations and grandchildren.  Oh honey… you are in for a long life with the ‘ex’, so ya better make nice and figure out how you are going to live with each other… just because she isn’t moving into your house, her kids are.  And where her kids are, she is.  Makes sense, right?! I mean, think about it, would you let your kids live with someone else and have no say in their lives. 
 There is a lot of fear for her too.  She doesn’t really know you like the kids dad knows you.  She doesn’t know if your going to pierce her daughters ears without asking her, or let her son watch R rated movies… there are a bazillion daily choices we make when we parent kids… and the ‘ex’ has no idea who you are, where you stand, and what kind of influence you will have on her kids. 
 So, here’s another way to think about it.  If your child were hanging out at some other kids house and wants to do a sleepover… don’t you want to know the parents, what they are like, can you trust them, what kind of food do they serve, what are their values.  A concerned parent checks out those parents, the house, and who else is hanging out there.  And who does the majority of checking out of the other families?  Mom! 
 Yep, she is gonna check you out and make sure her kids are safe.  And she should!  You think she shouldn’t check you out because you are involved with the kid’s dad?  And Dad should have a 100% say?  Remember this is a couple who divorced… you really think she trusts his judgment 100%? 
 If you are a mom yourself, are you telling me you would leave all the kids relationship stuff up to Dad only, with no input from you?  I don’t think so.  I don’t know any family where only the Dad decides who the kids hang out with, where they go, what they do, all the moral decisions and values judgment. 
Just because the children are with you doesn’t mean Mom doesn’t have a say in what is happening to her kids. 
So please, don’t axe the ‘ex’… her children are becoming part of another family… this is no ‘sleepover’.  This is a family, which technically she has no part of… but the biggest part of her is in your house. 
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