Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh

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Blackbird11

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Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« on: July 25, 2021, 09:23:48 AM »
 :stars:

My uPDh moved out of the family home last Nov. I have a "separation agreement" that was drafted before he moved, but my god does he take every opportunity in the world to find technicalities and interpret things in a way that are beneficial to him.

This has been a helpful experience though because I was able to tell my attorney that we need an air tight final divorce agreement that is as detailed as possible, with little room for interpretation. 

That being said, I have my son the majority of the time due to stbx's work schedule. The schedule rotates so I have different days off every week. I also pay all the bills and childcare costs. Stbx lives rent free in his mom's basement. He has not paid me any child support. I don't bring this up to him because it's not worth triggering an argument. I'm letting the courts handle it.

I really value the two days when my son is @ his dad's so I can clean, grocery shop, do laundry and sleep in a little bit, which does recharge me for the next 7 days I have my son. I work full time so the days off are usually work days. This means sometimes I have to ask stbx to help me out a little extra here and there - ie. his work day ends @ 3pm so can he pick up son from school bc I have a late meeting? Or can he come over one evening so I can get something done that I wasn't able to on my previous days off?

I'm very careful about these requests though, because they never come for free. It's always thrown back into my face at some point.

So yesterday, stbx actually invited himself over to the family home for dinner and offered to pick up food on the way. I accepted the offer because I was exhausted from the day kept my kid busy from the moment he woke up at 6am till around 4pm, but had asked stbx to watch son for 2 hours so I could take care of something I didn't have time to do during the work week.

Stbx came over, I thanked him for the food, and then as I was cleaning up the rice my kid got everywhere, I asked if stbx could give him a bath. Stbx said no, why should I? You do it.  In front of my almost 4yo son, and I'm on my hands and knees literally cleaning the floor.

Folks, I'm not religious but it was a very "Jesus take the wheel" moment. Because OMG.

I didn't want to get into an argument in front of my son, but I did say "Well how come you're prioritizing your tasks tomorrow and trying to ask me to drop off our son to you at 12pm, when you know I have so much to do and you have so much more free time?"

And he told me that he gave up 2 hours of his afternoon to watch our son for me so he needs to do what he needs to do in the morning before I drop him off.

And I said "Wow, you just don't get it."

And then he said "Well this is what YOU wanted, right? You wanted a divorce. You wanted your independence. You made your bed. Now lay in it."

And I looked right at him and said, after months of ignoring comments like this and gray rocking him, "Well actually, that part has been amazing."

I just left the room. I didn't want to have to explain that just because I asked for a divorce doesn't mean he isn't 50% parent of our child. I didn't mention zero child support after 8 months. I didn't mention that he has 18 extra hours per week, minimum (even more when he's off and the kid is at school) to do whatever he needs to do.

I didn't say any of that because he doesn't care, and he still thinks he's a victim.

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. I cannot wait until this divorce agreement is signed.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2021, 06:36:05 PM »
Thank you for sharing this experience. We're here for you!

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Latchkey

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Re: Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2021, 06:38:03 PM »
Hi Blackbird11,
It's always good to vent and also document these kind of interactions. If at all possible, I would recommend you ask yourself what kind of boundaries you need to keep yourself mentally and physically safe from him. The divorce decree is a piece of paper and what happens in real life is what is really happening.
It sounds like being in physical proximity in the same house brought out many old patterns and resentments that maybe seemed to have faded over the 8 months.
I try to avoid involving my ex in anything relating to care for my DS10 when he is in the house picking up or dropping off. Maybe help get shoes on... In regards to bathing or doing anything involving physical care, my ex does as little as possible with him. In fact, when my DS is over there over night my ex so rarely gives or offers a bath that my son 99% of the time comes back wearing the same clothes. For my DS it is fine, he likes having that kind of free for all once a week. But when I've had to travel for business or family and I've come back to him having one bath or no baths for days straight it is not so much fun.
I've resigned myself to the fact that my DS10 is going to have to be responsible for this as he gets older because PD dad can't be bothered with anything boring or tedious that involves him.
I think that for future interactions the less you can involve his Dad in anything care related might be best. Also, child support is for the child, and I think it is important that that gets paid. I totally understand you not wanting to confront, but if you can, putting it into the legal system to enforce is going to make it easier for you than having to remind him.
 :bighug:
Latchkey
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
-Maya Angelou
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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pushit

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Re: Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2021, 10:39:47 PM »
Something that has really helped me deal with my exPDw is to try and eliminate any and all coordination with her.  Based on experience, coordination with her rarely goes well.

My exPDw likes to try and insert herself into my parenting time by scheduling appointments for the kids, overscheduling their activities, and then offering to help transport the kids back and forth.  I tried it for a short while at the beginning, but she quickly proved herself to be unreliable.  Wouldn't show up to pick up the kids, or would take the child out of school for lunch, play at the park, and then finally go to the doctor appointment.  She was also telling the kids different things than she was telling me so it resulted in the kids getting angry with me over things I was never told about.

What I do now is essentially treat my time as if she's not part of the equation.  Late meetings and the kids are getting out of school?  Schedule after school care for them or get a babysitter.  Too many activities to take the kids to?  I arranged for a neighborhood high school girl to drive one of the kids to their activity.  exPDw informs me of a schedule change at school or an activity?  I go directly to the source to find out the reality, because exPDw usually misinforms me.  Your ex sounds similar to mine in that once the door is opened a little to interaction, they start acting like they have the right to show up at your house anytime.  I've never allowed my ex into my house, and I don't plan to.

On the surface it can seem cruel to treat them this way, but I haven't seen any other way to force her to keep her distance.  Admittedly there is an inconvenience in that it creates additional work for you to find other alternatives, and creates more expenses.  However, once you enforce these types of boundaries it creates a lot of peace in your house.  Scheduling things with normal people is much easier than trying to coordinate with a PD.

Good luck to you, I know how frustrating co-parenting with a PD can be!!

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Blackbird11

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Re: Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2021, 09:17:02 AM »
Thank you Poison!

Latchkey - I'm so sorry to hear your situation too.

 There are other details about what I have going on that I've left off the forum for the sake of anonyminity. Sometimes - due to these circumstances - I have no choice but to rely on stbx to help. But you are right - boundaries are key.

My stbx is trying to do the "cool, amicable co parent" routine. He literally acts like we're buds - which I continuously fall for because I desperately want to keep things peaceful and as normal as possible for my child. But then things like this happen.


Pushit - I see your point. I'm definitely changing my approach from here on out.

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athene1399

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Re: Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2021, 09:57:48 AM »
Blackbird,

Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry this happened. It sounds so frustrating.

I am a sm, but what I learned over the years of supporting SO while he deals with BPDBM is that any “favor” you ask of the PD parent needs to be repaid. It was easier for us to not ask for stuff like that after realizing the hassle that would accompany this. We also tried to stop trading time. For example, BM would ask for more time with SD so we would trade to keep the time even, however, we would never get SD back for our allotted time and BM would keep her for extra.

Trying to explain anything to BM is just a headache. I recommend checking out the tool box and JADE. When speaking to the PD ex, try not to Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain your position or point of view as it will create a circular argument and you will end up very frustrated. What helped us to communicate was empathizing with BM’s point of view then sticking to the facts of the situation. Like “I am sorry you had a bad day. That sounds terrible. However, we already had plans with SD and would like to keep them per the agreement “ (or whatever. I can’t think of a better example now lol ). I have heard from others that that doesn’t always work though. It may take trial and error to see what type of communication is best for your ex.  As SD got older, we could communicate less and less. Now we do not communicate with BM at all and it has been glorious. (SD is 20).

Also, look up parallel parenting as coparenting is impossible with a PD.

Great idea on making the next agreement airtight! We had the same issue at times. Mainly BM thought the agreement only applied to us if it benefited her. For example, if we owed her half of something things went smoothly, but if she owed SO half she refused to pay and always had some excuse why it didn’t apply to her. Eventually SO and I tried to finagle (sp?) everything so we had the control where he and I split everything and kept BM out of the equation. It was just easier to expect no money from her instead of arguing over what she owed.

I wish you well, Blackbird! And remember we are always here if you need to vent or need advice. It is so frustrating and heartbreaking to deal with a PD ex and not a lot of people outside of this site get that.

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lightupthere

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Re: Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2021, 06:09:54 PM »
They don't go very long between showing you who they really are.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 11:07:00 AM by Starboard Song »

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cgr68311

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Re: Vent: 8 months into coparenting with uPDh
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2021, 09:04:21 PM »
These dynamics are difficult. I agree with previous poster, it's easier to do things on your own and no rely on the other parent, even if that means hiring a sitter for a couple hours, or carefully planning a trip to the grocery store with all the kids

In the far past, when I was still hopeful of fixing things, NPDx would ask me for things, even to hire someone to clean her place etc. I would not mind, I would be a good pup for a while, being her delivery boy etc. But then I would be crushed when I would ask for things or needed things and she would simply not even acknowledge and ignore my pleads. for example one day me and our child were involved in a t wreck, pretty shaken, total loss, and spent the next few days barely able to move and caring for our boy in whatever way I could despite the pain and hurt. Yet no word from her or even to come and check on our child.