Kindness mistaken for Weakness

Ex had my daughter over the majority of the weekend. Saturday, she had a volunteer activity for a couple of hours, so I went to see her and take pictures. I visited with her. Decided to talk to ex. I talked to him about some of the things going on at girlfriend’s house. Yes, I know, I have no control over it, BUT if I can make him realize there are issues than maybe something will happen. For example, band-aids should not be stored on a high shelf above the stove. His response was that he didn’t even know where the band-aids were and if there was an emergency than our daughter could wake him and girlfriend up. I talked to him about me keeping her on Thursday nights, to make sure homework is done and she gets to bed at a decent hour. He shrugged and said whatever our daughter wants to do. I bit my tongue about the situation of our daughter almost being late to school because he has to sit around and put girlfriend’s kids on the bus while she sits in the house. Figure I’d just hold that for another day if the situation continues.

My daughter had a friend spend the weekend. Ex continued to sleep at girlfriend’s house even though there was a friend there. Apparently he did not tell the girl’s parents where they would be. Personally, I would have been angry not knowing that my daughter was at a stranger’s house and I not know about it. He also drove the girls to our hometown – a few hours away – to visit his parents. Again, really? This friend will probably never get to spend the night again with my daughter.

Anyway, I called ex on Saturday evening to ask what time he would bring our daughter home. He said the friend was staying that night also. I decided to be nice and try to let my daughter have some more fun. I gave up some of my time so she could let her friend stay longer and maybe do something fun. I told ex to have her home by 1p.m., if it looked like it would be later than to call or text me.

Sunday, 1p.m. comes and goes still no sign of my daughter. I call ex. There are out of town. Really? I ask him, didn’t I say just to call or text me if you were going to be later than 1p.m.? He said, I forgot because he is so tired. What?!? Bullshit. He’s a selfish ass. He mistakes my act of kindness for weakness. Shouldn’t do that.

I give him extra time to try to save what little of their relationship they might have. I give him extra time to try to be a good dad to his own child.

So, should I be selfish about my time? I want to do what is best for my daughter. However, each day that goes by I’m really starting to think what is best for her is to not to be around ex and girlfriend. My daughter even asked me yesterday if ex was breaking any laws by spending the night at girlfriend’s house with her there.

Sadly, no.

I had never met anyone who was divorced. I was completely clueless going into my divorce. I didn’t have anything put into our paperwork about no overnight guests of the opposite sex, or first right of refusal. I wish I could go back in time and apply what I know now.

My divorce was an example of during my kindness, I was weak. I was in love with him. I didn’t want a messy divorce. I wanted us back together. I wanted him to love me.

Birthday Update

My birthday started out rough – ghosting and then hitting depression about maybe ending up being a crazy cat lady forever. However, the day got better. I got my daughter yesterday after school. She painted me a beautiful rock of a sunset. We watched a movie and goofed off. Oh, and I started a new account on a different dating site. This one, the female has to send the first message. So, I am waiting for my first “match.”

Downside, my kid told me about being at ex’s gf’s house Thursday night and Friday morning. Apparently they used all of her shower stuff while she was gone. She told ex, and he said ‘yeah they were using mine too so I hid my stuff.’ SERIOUSLY?!? He thinks to “hide” his stuff, but not our daughter’s stuff. And what kind of relationship is it that you need to hide stuff? Then she told me that she was bleeding and needed a band-aid, but they are put up out of reach at ex’s gf’s house, and both adults were in bed and all the kids were still awake. Next issue, why the hell are the adults asleep while the kids are still awake on a school night!?! Why is the first aid kit out of reach, what if something serious happens?!? (My daughter is certified in First Aid and CPR. So, I know if she has the kit she will be good. She also knows she can call me ANYTIME.) Final issue, ex takes our daughter to school on his days – obviously, because gf’s kids go to a different school district. So, my daughter told me he had to wait to put them on the bus and the bus was about 15 minutes late, so he drove her to a restaurant to grab breakfast but she didn’t have time to finish it and she was almost late for school. My question, where was gf? Why does ex need to put HER children on the bus? Why are HER children more important than OUR child?!? Apparently, gf was in the house sitting on her ass watching TV.

ARGH!! He cheated on me. Even after our divorce, when I was still with him he chose this woman over me!! WHAT THE HELL MAKES HER SO AMAZING!?!?! Why is my daughter having to suffer because this woman is so great?!? (Apparently not only ex thinks she is great. I tried dating a local. We talked on the phone for about a week. We had planned on meeting in person that weekend. I found him on social media. The first friend on his list was ex’s gf. So I asked him how did he know her – I’d hate to go on a double date and it be them. He said they are very good friends. They used to date. Now, they meet up each month for lunch. I told him that was my ex’s gf. He then said oh your “ex’s name” ex-wife? WHAT?!? He’s heard of me, fun. He said well “ex’s gf” is a SAINT, and there is not a better woman on the Earth than her. I told him I disagreed and I had to bow out because I was not comfortable with the situation.) I will add, I thought it was odd she was meeting and lunching with this man. So, I told ex. He asked gf. She said they never dated. She used to babysit his children a few years go. (The guy had 1 child – who is married). Ex told me I was lying and the guy was lying to me. Really? What did HE have to lose by lying to me? What does GIRLFRIEND have to lose by telling ex the “truth?”

I’m annoyed. I’m angry. I’m disappointed. I feel so bad for my daughter. I’m not sure if I should talk to ex. I’m seriously thinking he doesn’t need our daughter on school nights. If that is going to be the situation then let me keep her on Thursdays and he can just get her after school on Fridays.

Acceptance

One tough lesson of divorce is acceptance. Acceptance of your marriage being over. Acceptance of not being with your ex for the rest of your life. Acceptance of having to date as an adult. Acceptance of a new life you never actually planned for. Acceptance of new people being around your children.

There is also the fact that my daughter wants to be accepted. She continues to try to stay involved when with her dad, his girlfriend, and her kids.

I knew she wanted her dad to accept her. Until yesterday, I didn’t realize how much she wanted acceptance from girlfriend, too.

Saturday, ex took all of them out of state – girlfriend actually went too. I got blamed for the fact that they could not spend the night up there, which I’m used to getting blamed for a lot since I’m “the crazy ex-wife.” Funny thing is, I actually thought they were going to spend the night up there. I was trying to accept the fact that my daughter would be sharing a hotel room with ex and girlfriend in the same bed.

Yesterday, my daughter was showing me pictures and telling me about her trip. She had fun, but then would mention ex was not around. He would disappear to be with girlfriend.

Then out of the blue, my daughter says  girlfriend doesn’t have a picture of my daughter in her office. She said, girlfriend has pictures of her kids and of ex, but not my daughter.

I understand my daughter is not girlfriend’s daughter. But I try to think about my daughter’s point of view. I completely understand the hurt. Ex and girlfriend have been on again and off again for three years. Ex has pictures of her kids hanging up in his house, and on his phone.

I don’t think I should address the situation with ex. I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t want it to seem like I am tossing my daughter to the side and saying another woman can step into my place. But, I want my daughter to be happy and to be cared for.

I know if I was with someone for three years, you better believe his kids would be my kids. I would have pictures of them. I would brag about them. I would love them.

So, does girlfriend not like my daughter? Is she afraid of what would happen if she accepts my daughter?

Old family vs. New family

This is something I do not have a lot of experience in – actually no first hand experience at all. The old family vs the new family. The dynamic of family when it comes to biological children and step-children.

My parents are still married. As a child, all of my friend’s parents were still married, too. Except for one, but her step-father adopted her. So, he was the only dad she knew. In college, I met a woman – she had an awesome family dynamic!! She was on her second marriage – it was also her husband’s second marriage – they both had children from previous relationships and with each other, plus her husband had adopted his step-children during his first marriage and after his divorce he got full custody. The wonderful thing about their family is you can not tell who is a biological child, step child, or bonus child (except by their looks). They are all her children. She is there for all of them. It is a wonderful balance, and I know it has to be hard at times – together they have seven girls. But she is able to make time for each of them. She spends time with all of them as a group, but also individually.

As I said I do not have any first hand experience in this – since my divorce I haven’t had a real relationship with anyone with children. The longest relationship was with the serial cheater, and of course the children (mine nor his) were ever introduced to each other.

I would like to think that I would be able to treat all of the children as if they were my own. But I wonder, would mine want some extra time with me? I figured she would. I would think she would still want that time with her mother, and I would gladly give it to her. She is about to turn thirteen; pretty soon she will be too old to hang out with her mom.

My daughter was seven when I got divorced. However, for two years after our divorce ex and I were still together. Giving myself and my daughter false hope. Of course she wanted her parents to get back together. Every kid wants their parents to be together especially when they are young and don’t know the details, which is fine. I did not want her to know her father was a lying, cheating, abusive person. That is her dad, I wanted her to love and respect him. And I expected him to do the same in return.

When ex started seeing girlfriend – we were still together – so he would sneak around. He would tell my daughter to lie to me. He would take my daughter to girlfriend’s house and then tell her not to tell me about it, not to even mention that he was seeing anyone. Of course, I would catch him in his lies. But I was seeing him except these kids – three girls – as his own, which hurt for two reasons: 1. During our marriage he never wanted more children. He told me he didn’t want to take a chance of the second child being a girl too. He would be the only male in the house and he did not want to have to deal with that much drama and that many hormones. 2. He was stepping up to be girlfriend’s kids’ father (they have fathers. they see they fathers on a regular schedule), but my daughter was getting left in the background. I tried telling him that he was messing up. Asked him to spend time with just his daughter. Him and girlfriend are not married. I think there is nothing wrong with him spending time with just his child.

This past week – ex returned from his deployment last Monday – it has been one piece of drama after another. Time after time, ex has been choosing girlfriend and her kids over his own. Yesterday was another example.

My daughter had cheer last night for a football game. He took my daughter and girlfriend’s kids to a water park an hour away yesterday. Great it is summer take the kids to go swimming, but plan your schedule accordingly. He got back just in time to drop my daughter off so she could warm up with the rest of the squad. She did not have time to shower after the water park, which her eyes looked so painful from the chlorine. I got there thirty minutes before she was supposed to perform – she needed help with her hair and bow. I did not see ex. I called him. He was getting pizza to take to girlfriend’s house. He said he would be back in a few minutes. Okay, fine. So I fixed my daughter’s hair. Took some pictures of her and some of her friends on the squad. I found a seat in the bleachers to wait for her performance. The day before I had told ex that she performed at 6pm. They did, it was a minute before 6pm and they started introducing the football team, the cheerleaders, and then the girls performed. My daughter did an awesome job. The whole time ex is no where to be found. The cheerleaders came off the field, my daughter asks me from the field “where is he?” I told her “I don’t know.” I don’t know what time he actually got to the football field parking lot, but I do know he missed the performance. I do know he sat in his truck with girlfriend’s kids instead of coming into the stadium. He was sitting in the parking lot spending time with him. He finally came into the stadium at 6:23. Really? I watched from my seat, my daughter go up to him and tell him that he missed her perform. I watched him shrug it off as if it was not a big deal. I know to him it was not a big deal. It was a big deal to my daughter. Yes, she has been cheering since third grade, but this is the first year they had to try out to actually make the squad. He avoided me. He sat and talked and laughed with girlfriend’s kids (girlfriend was not there), and he watched the football game.

After the game was over I gave my daughter a hug – I will not see her this weekend, she will be with ex. I asked ex what happened, why did he miss it. He said I don’t know, sorry. I wanted to say “sorry” doesn’t mean anything from you anymore. His “sorry” is as empty as all of his promises. The beauty of divorce I can leave. I can brush off the fact that he is a selfish ass. However, we still have a child together. We still have to co-parent.

After the game I decided to grab something to eat in town. Ironically, ex was at the same place getting food for my daughter – since he, girlfriend, and her kids were going to eat pizza – my daughter does not like pizza. I sent her a text playing around saying “I see you.” She came over and visited with me while I waited for my order to finish. She was upset. I asked her what was wrong. Apparently ex had promised her some ice cream, but when she asked for real food and a milkshake with her meal, ex refused. I was annoyed with ex. He was going to give her ice cream, but refused to after she asked for real food first? He knows she doesn’t eat pizza, what was he expecting her to eat? Selfishness. 100% selfishness.

I worry about my daughter over the weekend. Apparently he is taking her and girlfriend’s kids out of state. I just hope my kid has fun. I hope she is safe. I wish ex would understand that just because he and I are not still a couple, he still has to father his child. I wish he would find a healthy balance with his old family and his new family.

I find myself wondering how is ex going to react and behave if and when I find a man that is willing to step up and show my daughter how a father should behave. How will ex react when my daughter has a positive male role model in her life?

She has already told me that she plans on calling the new man “dad.” — I am not even dating anyone!! She is already thinking about it.

I know it is her choice – if and when I have that positive male in our lives – to call the new man “dad” but how will have effect ex. I know I would be hurt if she called girlfriend “mom” only because I do not think she is a positive female role model. She is just as selfish as ex. I think if there was a positive female in the “step mom” position I would be okay with my daughter calling her “mom.” Honestly, I would love to have that positive relationship where all the adults got along and could be present, speak with one another, and enjoy being around the children.

$5, free movie, and a free cupcake!

I’m already ready to send ex back on another deployment… I am tired of him making my daughter cry! He had her for Monday and Tuesday. I said I was getting her last night. Then she will go back to him this evening until Sunday.

Yesterday was an annual 4-H event. My daughter made a pumpkin pie for the contest. Won first place, and won five dollars. Yay!! The pie was delicious, too. She is also a member of the 4-H Teen Leaders. So, she helped lead songs and games during the day. She did a great job! I loved seeing her step up and show her leadership skills. She also hosted Minute It To Win It games. She had to explain and demonstrate each game. The kids had so much fun!! And it kept them busy and entertained with simple materials – mentos, soda, plastic cups, card-stock, m&m’s, straws, cookies. It was wonderful! My ex was there. I spoke to him twice the entire time – once I asked if he would help me carry stuff outside for our daughter’s activity (I couldn’t carry 2 liter sodas and chairs at the same time. lol); second time was to see what he thought of her games after everything was done (trying to get him involved as a parent). Other than that, he was either in the corner staring at his phone or outside on his phone – I assume with girlfriend – the entire time.

As we were leaving, (apparently before ex and I talked on Tuesday night about when I was getting my daughter, he had told her that he was going to take her to a rock climbing gym after 4-H) ex says to our daughter “I was going to go to get some hibachi, but now I get to eat some pizza.” He includes naming the restaurants. The hibachi restaurant is my daughter’s favorite restaurant! And to tease her about getting to go to the pizza place – yeah, my kid doesn’t like pizza but she likes pasta and sandwiches from that restaurant and that is the town where the rock climbing gym is. She gets in the car crying. She said that was mean of him to tease her like that about him getting to go. I completely agree! Not a way for a grown man to behave – EVER!!

I had actually planned on just going home and hanging out with my daughter at the house. Money is tight, so I wasn’t planning on spending any money. However, after ex’s childish stunt, I felt so bad for my daughter. I hate that money is so tight, but I was going to go ahead and do something fun and go ahead and spend some money. I took her to the town ex was going to – luckily we did not run into each other. But I took my daughter to the movies. This theater has a loyalty program – every time you spend a dollar you get a point; eventually you get enough points for free stuff (popcorn, soda, movie tickets). My daughter wanted to use her $5 that she won to help pay for the movie – her ticket was $6.50. I went to pay for the tickets and he told me I earned a free ticket with my loyalty card – WOOHOO!! So, we watched a movie and only paid $6.50, which having that $5 from her winnings I really only spent $1.50. Works for me!! The movie was very funny. We really enjoyed it.

Afterwards, we went to the hibachi restaurant. We shared a meal, which is more than enough food and it is cheaper buying one meal instead of two. Plus, I have leftovers for tonight when my daughter goes back to ex’s house. Win-win. Anyway, at the restaurant, there was a family – mother, daughter, father – sitting at our grill. The mother and daughter were both having a birthday – this restaurant will sing to you in Japanese and you get a free cupcake if it is your birthday. The mother asked my daughter if she would like to have her cupcake – apparently they had a lot of birthday cake at their home, so she didn’t want more sugar.

I thought our day worked out so well. I got to spend more time with my daughter – we watched a movie and really only paid a buck-fifty, she got to eat at her favorite restaurant, and she got a cupcake.

I did not get to take her to the climbing gym because they were closed after the movie was over, but really don’t think she minded too much.

During this time, my daughter texted her dad – I think she was curious if he was going to take girlfriend and her kids to the climbing gym without her. He said he was in the same town as us, but he was at the youngest kid’s dentist appointment for her braces then they were taking girlfriend’s car in for an oil change. Seriously? I am so glad I got my daughter. How boring of a day just sitting around waiting for them to finish their errands. I kind of wonder if he really was going to take her to the climbing gym or if it was just another one of her empty promises.

She also told me that she tried showing ex her cheers multiple times and he kept making excuses of why he couldn’t watch her right then.

I used to hate when my daughter would tell me about ex and girlfriend. It was like pouring salt into an open wound and then rubbing it as hard as possible. I left horrible that he chose girlfriend over me. I don’t mind my daughter telling about them now. That is part of her life. When she is not with me, that is who she is with and if she wants to tell me then I will listen.

Apparently, ex bought girlfriend a new rug, earrings, necklace, and china. He bought her kids new clothes, toys, and a Xbox. My daughter got a necklace. (Fine, it he wants to spend all of his money on them great! Don’t show my daughter how much more they got then she did).

He is now wanting to move in with girlfriend. I don’t know how that will work – they break up often. He even told my daughter after one break up that it was girlfriend’s time of the month. Really? That’s how you talk about women to your daughter?!?!

All I could really do was tell her I am sorry her dad behaves like that. I am not sorry he is her father, because he and I created her. Without him, I would not have my daughter. So, I can not apologize for him being her father. I can not change him. He obviously prefers girlfriend and her kids. I am not making excuses for him.

Then my daughter said something that surprised me. Girlfriend’s oldest is out of high school – the daughter and girlfriend do not get along. Apparently, the daughter was visiting and got into an argument with girlfriend and ended up calling her a toxic narcissist. Yes!! That is why ex and girlfriend mesh so well, they are so much alike!! That saying opposites attract, hmm. I don’t know. Ex and I are complete opposites with money, for example. I want to save it. If I spend it for something other than bills/food, I want it to be spent on family activities or my daughter. I hate having gifts bought for me. I don’t like the thought of wasting money on flowers – they will be dead in a few days; jewelry – I don’t wear any, except earrings, and I’m allergic to gold. However, girlfriend demanded ex buy her a new purse – a $200 purse – because her other one (another $200 purse he had bought her) had a scratch on the bottom of it. They can have it each other. Apparently, they deserve each other. I just hate my daughter gets stuck in that situation.

And sometimes when my daughter tells me about them, it makes me laugh. Apparently, Tuesday night ex cooked tacos at girlfriend’s house – my ex can only cook 3 meals. I do not miss having to eat his tacos, yuck. But apparently girlfriend is on another diet. They got in an argument because he added taco seasoning to her meat. She told him she could only eat 20 grams a day. I asked my daughter 20 grams of what? Surely not 20 grams of food. But I used that as a great learning moment for my daughter. I starved myself for years and tried diets. So I got to tell my daughter about the importance of eating healthy and exercising. To avoid fad diets.

 

Parent-child relationship… can it be repaired?

Once a parent-child relationship is damaged, can it be repaired? Does time truly heal all wounds?

I have my doubts. My relationship with my mom is horrible. Damage was done when I was a child and there was no recovering the relationship after that. People have told me that I need to forgive and forget. A daughter needs her mom. Honestly, I try to keep a relationship with my mom – only because I want my daughter to have a relationship with her grandparents. But usually something happens and I realize that I am giving myself false hope of having a good relationship with my mom. I guess I will just have to settle for an okay relationship.

So, I wonder if the relationship between my daughter and ex is already to the point where the damage is done. I have tried for years to tell him he is seriously fucking up as a father to her. He disagrees. I have spent years taking his side telling my daughter that he loves her after he breaks a promise or chooses girlfriend and her kids over my daughter.

I have stopped teaching my daughter that is “love.” I apologize that her father acts that way. I listen to her. I provide a safe place, and a shoulder for her to cry on. I save my breath instead of telling my ex how much he is messing up their relationship.

Yesterday was the first full day back from his deployment. He kept girlfriend’s kids while she was at work. Apparently he also took them shopping. My daughter told me about this with tears in her eyes. Apparently he “found” more clothes for them than her.

They were supposed to go out of state for a “family vacation” this weekend. Apparently, ex only choose that location because one of girlfriend’s kids had a basketball camp in that city. He was taking her kids but not girlfriend. Now, the camp is cancelled and he told me that he probably isn’t going to take my daughter there now. Sad thing is, she was really looking forward to going to a rock climbing/ropes course gym and seeing the Ripely’s Believe or Not museum.

Next disappointment, apparently my ex thought he was getting our daughter from the day he returned until she has to go back to school. Umm… negative ghost rider (Plus, my daughter returns to me with attitude after spending time with all of them). He wasn’t even going to talk to me about this!! I was the one that started the conversation. I was the one trying to figure out the schedule. So, I am supposed to get my daughter later today until tomorrow evening then ex keeps her until next week – I think that arrangement is extremely nice for him so he better be nice. Anyway, apparently today he was taking all of them to rock climbing gym and out to eat. When my daughter heard she was going to miss that she started to cry, again. I told her to see if he will take her on Friday. He told her that they (him, girlfriend, and her kids) were just going to go ahead and go without her because girlfriend had a car appointment in that town anyway.

Even when he is there with our daughter, he is not actually there. For example, last night she had tumbling practice – which exciting news, she moved up to the next level class!! During the two hours of practice, he kept messaging “Beautiful,” as she is saved in his phone. Then he left for almost an hour to go grocery shopping for girlfriend’s house. Today, my daughter has a 4-H activity. I wonder how “present” he will be today…

I wish ex would still just spend some time with our daughter. She is almost a teenager. Pretty soon she is going to be completely grown up. I fear the damage is done.

He is never going to change

I have known my ex-husband since ninth grade. Actually, turns out in eighth grade I let him copy off my classwork, and in band he was the student always picked by the teacher to take names if anyone talked when the teacher left the room.

We were friends throughout high school. We didn’t start dating until the summer before our senior year. While we were friends there were red flags/ signs of what type of person he was. I ignored them. He was emotionally abusive even then. During my junior year I was engaged to someone, he was a horrible person. He had a temper. Apparently a rumor started going around that we had sex. My ex-husband took that rumor and played with it to hurt me. He would write “condom queen” in my jacket or on my notebooks. He told other guys to call me that. Even the cheating, in high school he always let different girls hang on him. He loved the attention.

I ignored the red flags. I thought he would change. He didn’t. During our marriage he continued to be emotionally abusive and a cheater. He bad mouthed me because of my weight. After one deployment he came back and the first thing he said to me was how fat I was, and that I should have lost some weight while he was gone.

I stayed married to him out of fear. I truly believed I did not deserve better. Abuse was all I knew, so I thought that was true love. I hoped he would change. After our divorce, a new fear appeared – being on my own, being single, and not having the father of my child there. So, again I told myself he would change. We actually had more sex after our marriage than the majority of our entire marriage. I thought if I gave him whatever he wanted he would change. He didn’t.

Three years ago, when he was still seeing me, he started seeing another woman. She had three kids. I thought he would change and realize how important his daughter was. Instead he became his “father of the year” to girlfriend’s kids and continued to put mine in second place. And he tells me often that he is a great father to her children.

I used to beat myself up with thoughts of what was wrong with me? Why was I not good enough? Why does girlfriend get the family man and the great boyfriend that I always hoped for? Actually, things are not always as they appear. He didn’t change.

He returned from his deployment yesterday. I did not hear from him, but I told my daughter to see if he was at his house since we were in town – he lives in town – and I would take her by to see him. He said that he just got back and that he would come by later to see her. I stopped at his house so my daughter could see him. First off, my divorce decree states I am not required to give him additional days to make up for missed visitations due to military. Yesterday was technically my day. He automatically assumed he would get her, which was fine but he did not ask nor did he even talk to me about it. That drives me crazy. He has told our daughter that we are divorced so he does not have to talk to me. I have told him we have a child together so he has to talk to me about her in order to co-parent. Honestly, if girlfriend wasn’t in the picture I think ex would do a better job communicating, but girlfriend has two ex-husbands and does not have a good relationship with either of them. So, I think there is a little jealousy and maybe fear that I will steal him back. He will never change. Really I wasn’t surprised that he did not ask me about having our daughter.

We got to his house and girlfriend was there, but not her car. So, he had time to run by her house and get her. My daughter was hurt. Girlfriend got to see him first. Really? What a lousy move. I know why he said he was going to come by my house later to see my daughter – because he was going to leave girlfriend at his house. I know I’m naive thinking he should have wanted to see his child first. I know if I had been away for three months, my daughter would be the first person I would want to see. Relationships come and go, but that is your child forever. My daughter rolled her eyes when she seen he’d picked up girlfriend. I know she was hurt. I was hurt for her. He is never going to change.

I know how today is going to go, girlfriend is going to go to work and ex is going to babysit her kids. I wish he would spend some time with his daughter. He barley talked to her during the entire deployment. He is never going to change.

Just like this weekend, apparently he is taking a trip out of state. Lucky for him our decree doesn’t outline a time frame that he has to run by me before taking her out of state – it should. I find out that girlfriend is not going on this weekend trip. Instead, he is taking her children. What?!? Then I am hurt for my child again. She wants to go to a rock climbing gym and the Ripley’s Believe or Not museum. I really don’t see girlfriend’s children voting on that – they would rather go to water parks or go to the mall. He is never going to change.

I guess my life would be a lot easier if I would just except the fact that he is never going to change. He is going to be a selfish ass. He is going to put girlfriend and her kids first. He is going to continue to be emotionally abusive.

Even though he is never going to change, I really want my daughter to learn that all men are not like that.

Turning negative into positive.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe July 4th for my American followers.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day with a horrible migraine. I still feel horrible today, but still have to go to work to make money and pay the bills. Since I didn’t feel great yesterday, I had no plans of doing anything for the holiday.

My daughter was on her phone, and she started crying. I asked her what was going on. She said her dad had texted her. So, of course since she was upset I wanted to know what was said. Apparently, he’d sent her a text telling her that he had gave his girlfriend some money to buy fireworks – he is deployed and he loves shooting off fireworks. I thought my daughter was upset that we did not have any fireworks to shoot off too. I told her we could go to town and buy a few fireworks – granted buying fireworks was not in the budget, but I could make it work. She said she wasn’t upset about the fireworks. She was upset that ex gives girlfriend and her kids money for fun stuff, but not us.

We then went to town. I asked her again if she would like to buy some fireworks; she still said no. I found a place in town and contacted them about my daughter and I volunteering at – she is very excited to do some more community service. Then we went to the park and went rock hunting – my community does the kindness rocks. We didn’t find any, but at least we had fun and kept up with our exercising.

Parenting

One of the hardest things to adjust to after divorce is visitations. I was used to having my child all of the time, and I still remember the first weekend away from her. We both cried. She didn’t understand why she had to go, but I didn’t go with her. That has been years ago, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday.

So, I have been fairly silent the past few days because I have been so busy between work and my child’s activities. We played cards for a couple of hours each night for the past three days. We’ve watched movies. We talked. I’ve heard her laugh. I’ve watched her practice cheer and tumbling. I watch her eyes light up when she gets closer to mastering a skill. I’ve watched up get up in front of a crowd and talk with confidence. I’ve watched her lose with grace. I’ve also seen the upset and heartbreak of disappointment. It has been a wonderful past few days. I have enjoyed every minute of it.

But that’s something I really hate about being divorced – missing my child’s life. Missing these awesome moments while she is at her dad’s house. She is growing up so fast and I miss key moments. It is hard, but I always look forward to when she comes back home and tells me about what I missed. I swallow my hurt and I listen. I know it is going to include ex – obviously – his girlfriend, and her children, but I continue to listen and love every minute of it. Just because I am not there, my child is still sharing her life with me.

To Talk to Him or Not To Talk to Him

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My ex-husband is currently deployed. His deployment is the length of 90 days. He is about half-way through. We use an app to stay in contact. This app texts, sends pictures/videos, allows phone calls, and video chats. The app, however, would not work on my child’s phone so I had to download it on my phone, which is fine. I do not have a problem having a way to contact him.

The night before last, ex tried to video chat with our child. There were technical issues, and the video chat was a bust. He messaged me afterwards that he was going to buy a new set of headphones so he could actually hear our child. He also said he would try calling again the next night. I told him okay.

Last night, I figured he would try to call our child at the same time so I made sure to have dinner already finished so she would be done eating when ex called. Almost an hour later than what I was expecting – which I get it, could have been busy – he messages to ask if our child would like to talk. Now, my child is twelve-years-old. She knows the sound of that app when I get a message or when a call is coming through. She automatically told me: Tell him I do not want to talk tonight. I want to watch the TV program.

Here’s where parenting as a divorced mom and an former military spouse gets difficult. Do I tell my child she needs to talk to her father?

I have done that during this deployment. Ex has called maybe four or five times thus far. I have to tell my child to talk to him. I get it.

Last night, I didn’t want to battle. I didn’t want to remind her that he is deployed. I didn’t want to remind her that he hasn’t seen her since April. Why? Because, she knows this. She also knows that ex doesn’t try to contact her very often. She knows that he doesn’t ask about her day, or her activities. She knows that ex doesn’t comment on her Instagram, but comments on girlfriend’s kids’ Instagram.

I wasn’t quiet sure what to do. I told ex, she wanted to watch the program (it’s one of those that only comes on once a week for two hours). Ex said “Ha figures.” At this point I know I need to respond, but what do I say? Sorry your child doesn’t want to talk to you tonight? Try again tomorrow? What? So, I type “lol. There’s always tomorrow.” Now, before you started judging me. I laugh when I am nervous. I laugh when I am not sure what to say. When I type “lol” 99% of the time I am not actually laughing. It is filler. It is a response. He, of course, is angry at this point.

I understand his anger. I would be hurt if my child choose to watch TV over talking to me. However – and this is a major however – I have a better relationship with my child than ex does with her. I talk and hang out with my child. I am typically the strict parent, but I spend time with her.

I have tried to talk to ex about his relationship with our child. I have tried to tell him, and it gets turned around on me. I have tried to tell my child that her father loves her. Then I have to rethink what am I actually teaching her about love?

This is the fine line. I want my child to have a relationship with her father. I want ex and I to co-parent. But, I don’t want to have to make excuses or do damage control.