Tyler and I have not been getting along well lately.
(Disclaimer: I always strive for brutal honesty in my posts, and this one might be a little too honest… but I have a feeling that this is a common issue among newly-divorced parents, so hopefully I don’t regret writing it, and here goes.)
The whole thing is frustrating. I’m not sure how it’s possible that we had an uncontested and totally civil divorce and yet now we are always at each other’s throats. I guess our coparenting relationship has been kind of a roller coaster ride rather than a steady uphill climb, just like the rest of this process.
Due to all our visitation issues, Tyler doesn’t take Caroline for overnight visits anymore. It seems to work best for Caroline if the three of us spend Tyler’s parenting time together, so that’s what we do. Which means we have to hang out. Which hasn’t been going so well.
I’m stubborn and still angry, and he’s stubborn and still angry, and it seems like he willfully misinterprets everything I say. (He reminds me of my iPhone. I mean let’s get real here, phone, at this point I think we both know I didn’t mean to type “shut”.) It’s supposed to be his parenting time, but it turns into both of us using each other for target practice. He knows just how to get under my skin, and my problem isn’t that I don’t think before I speak, it’s that I think carefully, decide I shouldn’t say anything, and promptly open my mouth and just say whatever.
Example: we’ll be standing there watching Caroline play on the playground. (She is, of course, out of earshot.)
He says: “At least my new girlfriend doesn’t have a body like a 12-year-old.” (Bullseye.)
I think: (one of my divorce mantras) How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
I say: “Yeah well this ’12-year-old body’ carried your child, a–hole.”
Not productive, Julia. Not helpful. Not mature. Sometimes I open my mouth and then I want to grab myself by the shoulders and shake myself. What happened to all of our maturity and determination to keep things friendly for Caroline’s sake? He and I both know we need to get it together. She is probably picking up on our tension and it has got to stop.
So, we have a new plan: no more communication for the time being unless it’s directly about Caroline. He’s actually leaving this weekend for his usual summer trip to North Dakota and won’t be back until September, so hopefully we can have a fresh start when he returns. (I’m hoping that he and Caroline can do the same, and maybe he’ll be able to start overnight visits again.)
How do you handle tense situations with your ex? Any advice, or secrets to keeping the peace?Add a Comment