The Ex

For me the toughest part of the divorce was the Ex. Most of the things I did were mistakes on hindsight. It seems many divorced fathers feel, for many reasons, cut off from their children. There are a number of reasons for this. Society simply expects the kids to stay with mom, but in many cases that doesn’t work.

There are a number of factors making single father with custody the fastest growing demographic in the United States:

  • Currently, twenty states are considering bills that would default to shared parenting in divorce.
  • Many studies show that shared parenting benefits kids.
  • Fathers are pushing back at gender-biased courts and demanding rights as parents
  • Fathers are now more likely than ever before to demand and receive custody.

It seems there is no human angrier than a mother who has been denied primary custody after a custody dispute. Custody of a child is not a mother or father’s automatic right.

Here are some things to think about as a divorced father of children:

  • Eventually your child will be an adult. If you ever once say anything bad about their other parent they are unlikely to forget or forgive.
  • The same is true for the mom. Her attempts to poison your children against you will fail, and if you are a good parent you MUST take the high road. I have seen kids as young as 11 refuse to have anything to do with a toxic parent who speaks badly about the other no matter how justified.
  • Once a parent starts talking badly about the other parent it’s tough to fix. Don’t do it.
  • You think your kids are dumb? Even young kids are going to notice if your ex is a psychotic whore who sleeps with 10 men a week. No need to mention it.
  • Your kids love their mom. She may be a Satanic combination of crazy, stupid and evil, but your kids love her. Shut up about it.
  • You are going to have to deal with your ex until she dies. You’re nowhere near done with her. Email is a wonderful thing. Write the email and wait a few days before you send it. Remove the bad stuff. Edit, rewrite. Ignore the nasty response.
  • Many mothers (though not all by far) resent the time you spend with your kids, especially if your kids live with you.
  • Your kids will have their time with their mother. You will not approve of many of the things that go on over there. As long as the kids come back alive, unharmed and have not been endangered your only option is to keep your mouth shut. That is your only option. There is no other option. Child Protective Services is too often of little help except in extreme circumstances.
  • This is a marathon, not a sprint. A very, very long, very painful marathon. A marathon through the bowels of Hell itself. Pace yourself. Keep moving forward. No matter how bad it gets short term you must remember that the short term never matters in the long run. I know it’s easy to say, but it’s also very, very true. If the Ex is unstable, your kids will need you to be that much more stable.

Normal will redefine itself many times between your divorce and when your kids move out of the house. Your kids need a loving, stable parent. Focus on that and forget the rest of the noise. There are plenty of positive things you can do for your kids.

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