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The Big Mess

big-mess-co-parenting

What I’m about to write is a very sensitive subject, and because of that I will have to leave many details out. Thank you for understanding.

I have often written about my good relationship with my ex-wife, her husband, and the co-parenting rapport we have all had. For example, with the This Dad That Dad post. Things have been pretty smooth sailing for us.

But it would make me a fraud if I shared only the good and never the bad. Maybe you wouldn’t ever care, but I assure you I would. I mean, I like to know that who I present myself as here on this blog is the person I actually am, living the life that I actually do. That means the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And things have gotten ugly lately between Noah’s other parents and me.

I don’t know exactly how it happened. I mean, I know what triggered it. I know how it all spiraled out of control since it started, but I don’t know how it even got to that point in the first place. Before then, I thought we had all been getting along just fine.

And this is where I don’t want to share details. The who, what, when, where, and why. It’s not my place to share the details. It wouldn’t be fair to Noah’s co-parents and it wouldn’t be fair to Noah. After all, no matter how thin, there are always two sides to every pancake.

All you need to know is that it’s a big mess right now. An ugly mess.

For four years we’ve all gotten along. Mostly. For four years we’ve all worked well together as co-parents. Mostly. I’ve seen other people with their exes, I’ve seen how ugly it’s gotten, and I always wondered how it happened. I always wondered how it could ever get to that point. To some degree, I took pride in the fact that we never let it get to that point.

I still don’t know how we got here.

All I know is that some weird iceberg sunk what I thought was our unsinkable ship. All three of us had our “last straw” at the exact same time and it made for the perfect storm that temporarily dethroned our co-parenting relationship.

Anger. Threats. Hurt feelings. Viciousness. Inability to work together.

I thought we were better than that.

This kind of thing doesn’t happen to people like me, does it? It doesn’t happen to good parents. Like us. Does it? It doesn’t happen out of the blue and when people have gotten along so well for so long. Does it?

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

480 comments
JessicaFinch
JessicaFinch

I married my best friend. When I saw my marriage going down the drain, I kept it in house, thinking that our marital issues were ours alone. At many times, mine alone, as he was convinced that nothing could possibly have been wrong with him or the way he did anything. Once it had officially ended, I found myself feeling as if I had to avoid longtime friends and even family members because they believed his gossip. Not that I helped, as my pride kept me from sharing my troubles with the world. We have a daughter together. My son's father thinks 3am drunk textss are appropriate almost seven years after the end of our short relationship. What I hope both of you realize is that whatever your problems, as parents, we have to do everything we can to not affect our children. You see something beautiful in him being snuffed? Tell his mom and step dad. When down to the wire, good parents' minds are on their kids.

lisef
lisef

Very, very, sorry to hear that. I'm going through a divorce from hell with an ex constantly lashing out at me (not physically). It is very difficult to co-parent with him. My friends keep asking me how I manage it and I typically give a jokingly answer. The truth is I have bottomless love for my kids and I tap into that when I deal with their dad.

As a more practical piece of advice, I always suggest slowing things down. Silence can be golden. Always let an email sit with you for 24 hours before getting back to your ex. It gives you time to mellow down and find what is really most important. That you kid is loved.

thargraves
thargraves

I wish I had a story to help, but I do appreciate everyones input, including yours Dan.  My husband has made it very clear to me that he plans to try to take my son from me.  I underwent surgery last August, to remove a brain tumor.  The Neurologist in my state, SC, said there was nothing they could do for me, so my dad came and packed me up to take me to Atlanta.   On August 2, 2012,I woke up in ICU.  I was released to inpatient                                                                                                                                                                                             therapy and spent another 3 weeks in there.  I am currently going  through more therapy, since surgery left me paralyzed on my left side, and chemotherapy.      ..I go home as often as possible, to be with my son, but he is so mean to me when I go, it really upsets my son.  When I was home for my son's Spring Break and I mentioned divorce,he made it very clear  that he plans to use our son against me.  My son was  already going through depression from being seperated from me and his dad leaves him home alone a lot.  He's 10!!  Hopefully we will find a way to be civil with one another.   I am not going to hold my breath though, because this health issue of mine has been very eye-opening to me on who he really is.

lrailing
lrailing

Conflict is always so hard and it is crazy how fast it escalates. Best thing I can think of is a neutral place to talk it out. Counseling can be good for that but not always fun to think about (and expensive too :-/ ) Praying for you all. it's so hard on kiddos. you'll make it though. 

Kat872
Kat872

I missed this post before and am just getting caught up. I have had a co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband and his girlfrend for 10 years now. About 2 years after we split up things got UGLY and I never did know why, but it stopped just short of him carrying through with a surprise visit from Social Services based on fabricated stories that could have cost me custody of my son. It took some time, it took some silence, it took some talking, it took some agreeing to disagree, and it still takes all of that every single day, but it did get resolved and we are back to being a successful and  functional co-parent family once again (and have been for 7 years and 9 months now). The good thing is, that you had the good relationship once and obviously made the agreement amongst yourselves that Noah was number one and you would put your own stuff aside and work together for him. That agreement is still there...your own stuff (and theirs) is just bigger right now, but you will get back there because you've built that foundation together. Hang in there...

Beth6
Beth6

I needed this today. Thank you. I'm Currently going through a divorce, and now finding myself a single mother for the second time, I just figured, "I got this. Been there, done that, familiar territory, etc...." But your paragraph about silence hit me like a ton of bricks. It's time to make some changes. I'm not a pro at this. Thanks again.

StaciAx4
StaciAx4

So I am playing catch up on your blog posts, kids , life, busy. I too had the awesome co-parent relationship. For 12 years my ex and I co-parented with no problem, serious girlfriend came in the picture, great love her. They got engaged, fantastic, still loved her, we all got along beautifully....one month prior to their wedding, she quit being nice, after their wedding she got down right ugly, out of no where. My ex doesn't even know why she hates me so much now. It basically melted epically when talking to my son one night, he set the phone down to go to get something, she thought he hung up. She proceeded to say some very vile things in front of my son regarding me, causing him to cry. His father got on the phone, figured out I heard and our relationship is gone, just like that. When his wife is around he is seething and ugly, when she isn't, he is the fellow he used to be, easy going. I am lucky my son is 14 , so I don't have to deal with them for much longer directly, but he is sensitive and sweet, I know they ride him constantly about saying anything to me regarding anything he does at their home, so I try to make it as easy as possible for him. I guess I am honestly hurt that 12 years of co-existence is flushed because of one person's horrible mean side. I have never ever said one negative word to my son or in the vicinity of him about his step mother or his dad, and I never will. They are adults and make their choices, I just try to not have my son feel in the middle or show that it hurts me when they behave the way they do.

SavR
SavR

I don't exactly know the details of this, but some reflective listening from both sides about the other side's needs could really help you both understand each other better and work things. out. There is often a way for both parties to get what they really care about once you know what that is. Mediation is also a great (and usually free) way to help work through conflicts. Mediators are often available in community centers in most large cities these days.  I hope that helps a little.

Mouse
Mouse

It will get better. I believe in you and in them. 


A bit of unwanted advice:

Decide what you really want and create it. Make your decisions based on that goal. Not fighting? That's a rather sad goal. Getting along? That is an okay goal. But what about, say: having a great friendship, or truly loving, respecting, and appreciating each other? Whatever gets you excited and lights you up, work toward creating that!

Also, time is often needed before things that have caused such strong feelings are tackled. It doesn't have to be eerie- it can be enlightening and maybe even a bit healing. 

Brenda Dotson-Jensen
Brenda Dotson-Jensen

I have worked as a Para-Educator in special education for 12 yrs. In that time I have seen lots and lots of families struggle with very similar problems to the one you seem to be having in your family right now. I have learned that when the families emphasize RECONCILIATION, not RESOLUTION, the peace is restored more quickly. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to agree about everything. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, while resolution focuses on the problem. When people choose to focus on reconciliation, the problem loses significance and often becomes irrelevant. I don't know if this will help or not, but I have a "special" interest in seeing you work through this and have a happy outcome..;)

TaiTai
TaiTai

I grew up as a child of parents that had divorced and did not respect each other, it was HARD. When my mother died at my shy age of 17-18 the other parents were cruel, they didn't care that she was no longer a part of my life, they still had to make vocal judgement about her as a person. Mind you my main residence was at my mothers so this was doubly hard on me. Honestly kids can survive parents not talking, but the VERY WORST thing you can do to a child is talk bad about the other parents in front of them, there is nothing that hurts more than being told to your face as a child that your parent is not exactly the hero you think they are. It's not fair to them either cause those are the memories they will remember longest. If you can't say anything nice about them when your child brings them up just smile and tell them you love them. That's the only advice I can offer.

OkieMom
OkieMom

Hey, all three of you can get through this!  Obviously all of you love Noah, and have managed to be (mostly) civil and cooperative.  Don't lose faith that you all will get back there again! Don't lose hope!  You are great!  Thank you for being thoughtful enough of other parties to leave out the details...for what it's worth, I really admire that.  And I'm probably not the only one!

AmandaRenee
AmandaRenee

I love your honesty, Dan. Thank you for being honest and for helping some of US feel normal for a bit. I'm not quite at the "eerily silent" part, but I have a feeling it will come soon enough. Even with all the hard work I put in to make sure the, er, relationship, is amicable, it think it's bound to come. We can do this. Just breathe.

Joan Crow-Epps
Joan Crow-Epps

I have also seen ugly messes fixed, at a minimum de-escalated, by a mediator. The focus should be the effect whatever the problems are has on the child, not the adults' egos or feelings or need for validation or prejudices. Mediators are often retired judges, and understand both the law and the viewpoints of the various 'sides'.

AKinkyDichotomy
AKinkyDichotomy

Praying for you, Noah's mom and her husband to find a  way to resolve the issue and find your way to a better place rather than back  to a place that may not have been what you thought it was. Hopefully they read this and find a way to work around the problem or climb over it or blast it from the enormous boulder it is  into a  pile of pebbles that can be swept away.


PaulCarpenter
PaulCarpenter

I usually jump right in with some comment or other on your posts, Dan. This time, when I read this yesterday morning, I felt I shouldn't comment right away, but take a day to reflect, and read it again. So I did. Please know that I am praying for all of you in this situation. I have never been divorced; I have never been a parent or a co-parent. I can only imagine how difficult that is, even on days when all of the adults involved like each other. I think those days must be counted as blessings, because, honestly, days like that, I imagine, are rare. Certainly, they are not guaranteed, in any event.

As the middle child in my family and the only boy among three sisters, I feel that I have learned a few things about conflict resolution over the course of my life. I used to think that communication problems could only be solved by more communication. But I am only recently learning that trying to force people to communicate before they are ready will sometimes only end up frustrating me, and actually make the situation worse.

So, based on my experience, just this once. may I disagree with something you said? Silence can seem like the worst thing.  Especially to someone like you. You are a communicator by nature and you do it for a living. I understand why the silence from Noah's co parents must be killing you.

But silence is not ALWAYS the worst thing in a relationship. Sometimes, it's the only way for a person who is not always a gifted communicator to process, and deal with their own hurt feelings, something they must do before they can communicate constructively to resolve a problem.

Sometimes, it's better to let an angry person in your life work their own process, and trust that they will come to you to communicate and resolve the problem when THEY are ready. It may not be on your timetable, but some of the best things that have ever happened to me didn't necessarily happen when I felt ready! I have learned to sometimes be open to changes when they happen, and not to try to force the change I seek.

Meanwhile, Dan, Noah seems like a brilliant child, so he probably already has picked up on the current tension among his parents. Nothing you can do about that, unfortunately. All that it seems you can do is to refrain from giving him a detailed description of the dispute, and to tell him, and remember yourself, that all three of his parents love him, and that you will work this temporary dispute out, for his sake. Tell him this stuff happens sometimes among grown ups, and that is grown up stuff you  will work out. He is not to worry about, because he didn't cause it,and he can't cure it. It will work out.  

Tell him that, and tell yourself that. I hope some of my babbling helped you, or somebody else who reads this. If not, please ignore me and carry on. Stay strong and stay sweet and above all, keep being beautiful, messy you/. Love from me.


pingersgal
pingersgal

My husband and his ex wife were never able to co parent. I can honestly say that it has been all due to her (we have court files three feet high of her violating court orders....she is on husband number 4 - my husband was her first ex husband- she in on job number who knows...you get the idea). One parent can try as hard as they can, but if the other won't co operate it all falls apart....and it is the kids who suffer. My husbands daughter hasn't spoken to him in over three years out of fear of hurting her mom. She wants to love them both, but is not 'allowed to'...and mom has done a pretty good job of making sure this is how it has all worked out. Sadly, we now have a 19 year old girl who has no 'dad' in her life....and who is going to need a LOT of therapy. Keep at it Dan....all of you keep at it....if for no one else do it for Noah.

ConnieRoberts-Huth
ConnieRoberts-Huth

There must be something going around.

My ex-husband and I had done a pretty good job in the past 6 years with co-parenting our two children. While we too had minor disagreements, at the end of the day, we managed to work things out and were a united front and our kids thrived in that environment. When I got remarried three years ago, very little changed. When he got married last year, very little changed. Until now. 

We were all getting along just fine and then *POW!* everything exploded. Part of me doesn't want to fix it this time. Part of me says I should just step back and let them undo the damage they've done. Part of me says I need to just let it go and move forward for the kids. It sucks that stupidity happened, bc communication broke down. We're grown adults, and while yes, they're on the other side of the country now, it doesn't mean that they are no longer responsible for talking to me!

*grumble, grumble* So I feel your pain. At the end of the day, we all have to figure it out, get our crap ironed out and be better for those kids. How else are they going to learn how to build strong relationships, if we don't?

*hugs* to you, Dan. I hope it's resolved soonest.

FatherAndSon
FatherAndSon

I feel like I know exactly what you are going through.   After years of being close friends, we chose to co-parent, thinking we would be like a divorced couple, just always happy together and without the past hurt.  After our child was born, things took a left turn.  The anger, the fears, the resentment started.  Unfortunately, we are in the middle of trying to resolve the hurt, becoming more and more separated and losing the necessary feeling of "us," and wondering if it will ever come back, and loosing hope that we can get through this before our infant ever realizes there was a problem. The in-action/silence leaves our unresolved conflict lingering, and though we can all pretend it is okay, it is still unresolved.  It's so sad and confusing that this ever happened in the first place, and I hope that I can soon offer words of wisdom.  For now, I completely empathize.

Melanie Willson Miera
Melanie Willson Miera

my relationship with my ex is non-existant. He literally disappeared into thin air. Our 4 kids have not seen their dad in 3 yrs. I would love to discover the magic charm that could fix the pain that my kids feel over the abandonment of their dad. Till then, I just do my best to love them twice as much as I did before, and thank God daily for great friends and family that love my kids and help me with the day to day care.

Tara Keene-Abramovitz
Tara Keene-Abramovitz

It has been very ugly between my ex and I. Custody was settled less than a year ago, but he now - after over a year of ugliness and dragging me through the court system - seems to want to "play nice." That's my situation. Given our history (both in marriage and afterward), I am always waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Not a great place to be, but I don't focus on it. I focus on making my children first, and trying always to consider their feelings first. It's tough co-parenting - I think, even in the best situations. Keeping the children first is the priority. (And no- I am NOT preaching to you... just sharing my experience thus far.) Hang in there ... I don't know anyone involved personally ... but maybe the silence is a way to process the feelings before it gets worse??

Megan Veteto Muir
Megan Veteto Muir

I too have been going through issues such as this, these last two years...the" roller coaster of emotions"...(we work on not riding it so often at least)... I get to add my ex, my new partner and our children do get along and co-parent very nicely most of the time...just as in life, we all have different lessons, agendas and we get to remain focused on the big one...raising healthy, joyful, wise children. May we all be blessed with the determination...as well as the stamina to do so! God bless!

RedQueenKD
RedQueenKD

Know that your are wrapped in the prayers and love of complete strangers who truly care about you... and your family. May you all know the peace of forgiveness and the blessings of unconditional love!

Amom33
Amom33

Dan ,

I remember sitting in a court room thinking exactly what you stated . In fact I looked right at my ex shaking and crying saying " how did we get here. The truth is most of the time it is outside factors . If people were truly forced to deal with whatbisminside them and face the ugly parts of themselves , change happens. But, most of the time people work on their image . My ex would have everyone believing he is the sweetest most devoted father and can I blame them for believing that ? No , because I bought it enough to marry him and make a family with him . The three people at the center of your turmoil have everything to lose and are intensely invested . The stakes are high. I would not take any advise because it will never mean as much to anyone else as it does to you all. Things have been broken for my children for some time . I like you have been desperate to fix things to to a deprecating point . And you are right . Silence is deadly torture . Tereis an old saying that if you really want to do permanant damage , ignore someone . I have become a paralyzed vacuum of failed attempts to reach out , that are only used to make me appear more crazy . We want more for our children . We want to understand . We want respect and a lack of those things are usually what

Jacquee
Jacquee

Silently sending cookies or treats or an Easter card is perfectly okay sometimes.  Tiny gestures that show you at least want to make an attempt, even if you're not ready to talk quite yet.

TwoBits2012
TwoBits2012

I'm simply sending you virtual hugs & positive thoughts to get through this. I'm still with my husband but I often wonder 1) could I "do it" alone? (probably) 2) do I want to do it alone (probably not) and 3) what would it do to my 2 boys ages 3.5 and 1 (I dunno). That's what scares me the most and likely the reason I shut my mouth and do the best I can, day in, day out. I hope all of you can find that sweet spot, that happy medium once again and with as little repercussions to each other's hearts as possible. ((hugs))

ShawnHumphrey
ShawnHumphrey

My ex-wife and I have also gone through these bouts of hurt feelings/silence. For us, it's usually indicative that something is changing between us. It's usually when I have someone new come into my life and she's jealous of the fact that I can attract someone new and she hasn't had any significant relationship or even dates since our divorce. You say it's not your responsibility or their responsibility, but it's everyone's responsibility. Sometimes, to get the healing started, someone has to extend the olive branch and the other person has to accept it. I'm like you in that I want something fixed and I want it fixed now. But a lot of times when we say "I want it fixed" we really mean, "I want everything back the way it was". And a lot of times, that just isn't possible. Sometimes, it can't be fixed. Then you have two options: leave the rubble as a reminder or...clear the rubble and start building anew. It won't ever be the same as it was, and that's probably a good thing. I hope you get it worked out, Dan.

WillfulDad
WillfulDad

Dan,

Borrowing from JMS, "Understanding is a three-[sided] [pancake]":
your side, their side, and the truth.

No doubt some helpful, learning things are going on in the silence. The other co-parents are probably normally thinking, feeling people who want to look out for Noah, even when it's an emotional chore to see through the moment and collaborate.

My first daughter's mother and I don't really talk these days with the richness, openness and engagement of earlier times. Yes, we're all missing out on the humor and shared experiences that active cooperation would gift. Yes, also, we're still two people who see and choose differently AND love our child AND have the wherewithal to address our daughter's practical needs even through the silence.

Continue to treat the other co-parents as people who are probably reaching, differently, for what fits right now. Be what's needed to encourage them -- or give them space -- to actively look outside now's comfort and into your joint futures.

DiannaRay
DiannaRay

All I can say is that things in mirror are often closer than they appear? oh wait, that't not right..ummm, the early bird gets the worm?? I don't think that's it either..eh, I've been there (and in a lot of ways I sucked at the co-parenting with an ex thing, like REALLY BAD!) and it's hard, grueling, emotional and often confusing, but in hindsight, it's almost NEVER as earth shattering and life changing as it seems to be at that time, when it's fresh and happening. I'm sure you will all figure it out, just WANTING to is half the battle.

Laura
Laura

Oh, to have had a positive parenting relationship with my daughter's father.  Yes, there was a time when I loved him heart and soul.  Our daughter was a result of that love and I will always be grateful to him for helping to create such a delightful person.  For 11 years he and we (me and my husband) tried work together raising our daughter.  From what my daughter tells me the effort was more my part.  So sad for her that we didn't all give her our best, but we are only human and we all had our own baggage to deal with.  After he passed things should have smoothed out a wee bit, but that created another set of luggage to be dealt with. 

I wish you and Noah's co-parents the best of luck in your parenting over the next decade or so.  It's never an easy situation, but if you all can set aside your feelings and baggage.  If you can all remember that you all love that beautiful young man and put his needs above your own.  You stand a chance of doing it right! 

Laura

Kelly Rose
Kelly Rose

In my life, counseling has helped when I don't know what to do next & the situation is really ugly. Not always professional counseling, but counsel.  But then, I like to talk. Saying things out loud helps me to sort our what's truth (my truth anyway) and what is just emotion.  If I say what I'm feeling to the other person...well, sometimes you say things you don't mean and don't really believe to be true, but then you can't take it back and that stuff is always in THEIR heads long after you've put it aside (like telling a certain person she was Medusa in disguise, so take off the damn wig and be honest - that's still a wound between us.  I was pissed, I didn't mean it, really).  So, I've learned. When I need to work something out, I have to get my emotions under control (usually by talking it out with someone not involved) before I can actually begin to work on the real problem with the actual person involved.   That's my problem solving strategy. It was years in the developing, but it's done a lot in keeping the peace.


My prayers are with you. For Noah's sake, I hope you and your co-parents work this out.

Guest
Guest

From your post, it's easy to see you are really hurting. I believe that you are sincere and I really admire the relationship that you have maintained with Noah's mom prior to this. You are a very good person and a good dad to Noah, and I think Noah's mom must be practically a saint as well. 

I don't know the specifics of the situation, but I imagine it would be extremely difficult to have an ex-husband, and father of your child, who had a popular family blog. I recall you recently writing a post about how you are trying to be more cautious about what you say about Noah and what pictures you put up of him. I don't think there is anything wrong with Daddy blogging, and certainly it is up to each individual to decide how much of their child's life to share with the entire world. But Noah's mother hasn't had the luxury of making the decisions which you yourself have professed are somewhat difficult, and in which there is often a wide grey margin. Because you are making them for her. And there has been a time or two where I have read a post and thought to myself "Doesn't this bother Noah's mother?" Not only that, but you have shared very personal and intimate details about your marriage with her in your "15 ways" posts and a few others. You married her and divorced her all without recognizing your own orientation(s.) It's understandable. There is a lot to wrap your head around there, and a lot of emotional processing to do. I just think that you may have unwittingly made her a victim of your own (former) lack of self awareness. Most of all, though, in reading your blog I have "watched" you introduce little Noah to woman after woman after woman. I've lost track of how many. If my husband put my son through that, I would be heartbroken. My intent here is not to be critical of you. It's just my perspective from where I am sitting. Maybe you could consider giving his mother a break this time, and being the one to step forward and apologize, sincerely and vehemently. Look her in the eyes and ask for forgiveness for whatever it was that hurt her. Noah's happiness is worth it. 

Rosa Nowosielski Lecaillet
Rosa Nowosielski Lecaillet

"Sometimes hearts draw near in silence, and then the injuries that words cannot mend are healed. Silence is a cure for wounds; words only disturb, they are obstacles. They get between you and the rich music of silence."

creativemomma
creativemomma

I have a very unusual relationship with my ex in that we still work and live together (but in separate units of the same building). Our goal was to make sure that our split affected them as little as possible. With that in mind, we moved forward and every decision we made, including how our relationship with new significant others would work, placed the kids' interests first. It has not been easy dealing with our own emotional divorce while acting like a family for the kids. But any time we run into a weird situation, we'll ask ourselves how we should handle it so that the kids will be okay. It's worked so far. Communication was key for us, and also forgiving ourselves for being human. It's a long process, but you will get there. We still have our spats and they are a good reminder for ourselves and our kids of why we work better apart. Likewise, I've been able to show them what a good relationship looks and feels like, so that they have a model to emulate in their future relationships. Have faith...as long as both of you stay on track and do what's best for Noah, it will all pan out in the end.

emilylloyd
emilylloyd

Thank God, I was beginning to think you were perfect and therefore--alien. Thanks for sharing, I'm a big fan of yours and any of your supporters will recognize that you are a great person and father and you'll come out of this. Alive, kickin', shinin', and rockin' out.

Almost Single Mom
Almost Single Mom

I'm sad for you and unfortunately know exactly what you mean. I'm going through "the silence" myself as we go through our divorce and custody issues, and it makes it hard. I'm stressed about the silence, and stressed when I have to send an email to discuss something. Thank you for your honesty and pain. I agree, I don't know what to do about it right now, but I'm hoping it works out in some way sometime soon. Sometimes you have to let go and let things happen when the time is right, and not force it to get fixed.  Here's to both of us being able to resolve our conflict with the least amount of damage to our sons.

Sandra Palmer
Sandra Palmer

Blessings to you and Noah and the other parents. Lots of us have been where you are right now.. and our children have grown up to be normal well adjusted adults. My heart is with you and just keep Noah first in your life and everything else will work itself out. :)

StephaniePage
StephaniePage

Speaking from a child of divorced parents:

I thought my parents had the perfect marriage. They always made each other laugh and raised me and my two younger siblings with their whole hearts together. Then one day my mom pulled me aside and said it was over. Just like that. I'll never know what went on behind closed doors, but it broke my heart. I was 17 and in the middle of falling in puppy love for the first time. Confusion and silence is the worst feeling. It was about 6 years ago and I'm still not over it. I cannot wrap my mind around a couple that for 25 years shared a life together and now ONLY e-mail about their children like it's business. The way they talk and don't talk about each other is disgusting. 

I know it's hard as heck, but for your child DO NOT keep the silence. I've gotten over the fact that parents will never be lovers again, but a friendship would help us 3 kids. Divorce isn't a disease or a way of life.

DoodlesMom
DoodlesMom

My Grandmother always says (in reference to her labors) with every pain she felt she just breathed through it, grateful for it, knowing that it was helping her get to a beautiful place, a beautiful life reward, knowing that she would never again have to feel that particular pain again.  Then she would rest for a moment and deal with the next one knowing that it too would pass never to be felt again.  She often says, "This will only last a moment; This too shall pass."


It will pass.  It may not be perfect - but it will pass.

Mary612
Mary612

I understand.  It sucks.  I want you to know, your blog always comforts me.  I am not a parent; I am step-parent-to-be. Which means it's weird. I have no say in anything, especially the important stuff.  Even when I know what's happening is hurting, or will hurt, my step-daughter-to-be. She'es four, and her dad and I live together, with marriage on the horizon. The we-could-just-go-get-married-but-he-knows-I-want-a-wedding-since-I've-never-been-married-before-and-we're-completely-broke-so-we'll-wait-til-we-have-more-money horizon.  Sometimes it seems more distant than others. But to us, we're thiiiisclose to married.  And her mother is okay with that. Sort of.

She claims to be happy that I am in her daughter's life, but her actions speak differently. And she has made comments about how I display my affection for her daughter. And it caused problems. Things got nasty. Little things, here and there. My vow to the little girl was that I would NEVER lie to her. And I won't. Which causes problems when Mommy and I disagree. And of course, she tells Mommy what I say. Which makes Mommy very angry, and causes incidents.  Small and big-ish.  And it hurts the little girl. And it's not FAIR.  And I'm stuck, because I refuse to lie to her, even when the truth is ugly. I will, at times, bow out, and tell her that she needs to ask her dad what happened because I didn't know him then and I wasn't there. Of course, I only know his side of the story.  And his ex's parents, who are on my guy's side, which tells me it's probably relatively accurate. 

All I know is that I want to be a good role model for the girl, and I can't ask her to be honest and not lie to me if I lie to her.  So I won't.  But at the same time, why can't the adults just be grown ups and just get along? For her sake.  

So believe me, I understand.  And someday, so will Noah. 

Pizza mom
Pizza mom

My only personal experience was with my best friend's divorce.

He was a complete narcissistic a-hole, and his selfishness created tears in my own son... The best friend.

There were times I'd like to have torn into that dad. My girlfriend is a tough cookie with a magically positive disposition, and the fight of a dragon.

The one thing she did, which stunned and frustrated me, but I knew was the RIGHT thing... She never fought with the despicable dad in front of their child. She never said a bad word about him within earshot of her son. Remarkable. Rare. Right. And so her son was able to grow up loving and being secure in the love of both parents. And that is all that matters. He is a happy, brilliant, loving, 23 year old. I am still in awe of her.

Ashleigh Memarzadeh
Ashleigh Memarzadeh

Dan, everything will be okay. I'm not saying that to make you feel better. I'm not saying that because you asked that of your readers at the end of your blog post. I'm not saying it because I'm trying to be nice. I'm saying it, because it is true. Everything. Will. Be. Okay. Maybe not now. And maybe not next week. Heck maybe not even for the next half a year. But everything will work out, and you'll look back at this, and all it will be, is a distant memory of yesterday. Good luck with everything, and keep smiling.

GeorgiScholz
GeorgiScholz

I think you have handled this blog entry with incredible grace & as long as you have your sons best interest at heart (and we all know you do) you will ALL be fine. I am sure most of us wish we had someone we co-parented with (together or not) who thought about things so carefully & deeply. Just keep doing what you are doing & follow your heart & soul & in the end, everything WILL be okay! Thanks for sharing your journey... the good & the bad & THE UGLY. Your authenticity & amazing ability to laugh at yourself in the toughest of times has kept me (and many other's, I'm sure) loyal readers of yours. Hang in there Dan, everything IS going to be okay!

jessiejuxtapose
jessiejuxtapose

Dude, seriously, it will be okay! Sorry for posting on your personal site, I read your recent post about the “big mess” and have just started following your site recently. I don’t really like commenting in public. I saw you didn’t want suggestions, that’s okay, mine would probably be the worst anyway ;) But I did want to say that I know everything will turn out fine. After just reading just a few of your blog posts I can tell that. I can tell that you love Noah too much not to find a way to fix this or at least heal it successfully and from what I’ve read about the other dad he should feel the same too. I’m divorced and now in a relationship with a very nice guy that to be honest, takes care of and loves my (three year old) daughter and me much more then my ex-husband ever did or at least showed. Her real dad is still in the picture a bit, but is a few states away so only Skype’s every other week and seldom visits. Kids are smart, they adapt, they can feel when things are wrong, but they also know when they are loved. I don’t think life is ever perfect and when it is I’m sure it’s just for a nano-second. So I think your doing a really good job doing the best you can with what you have. It seems like you make the most out of life, see the good/humor in things, and teach that to your son. Things may not be perfect for your son right now due to the situation, but at least he has you to help him through it after all its all in how you react to a problem right? That’s what I try to think anyway. Even when things aren’t the ideal situation for our kids, they see how we react towards it and towards them. If it is positive, they learn that. If it is negative they learn that too. Basically, what I’m saying is that seeing how you are with Noah is amazing and he is a very lucky little guy to have a dad like you. Keep your chin up. Regardless of the bad that may happen, even if he doesn’t realize it now, one day he will be grateful for your involvement with him like you do and for trying so hard to maintain a good environment for him to have two happy families. Your doing a great job and should be an inspiration to all men out there. I know I’m inspired J Good luck and if anything…at least springs right around the corner! New beginnings, right? Or at least a chance for a lot of fun! J

cmt123
cmt123

So wishing this was not happening to you!  I'm sure that if you look deeply into your soul you will find some of the right words to express your frustrations with the situation and those words will soothe some of the trouble on the other side.  I know you are not "religious" but more spiritual...And with that, Karma will win, with all the good you put out, it has to come back to you!  Good luck!

WillfulDad
WillfulDad

@creativemomma It's a lot that you actively take on that burden to communicate and cooperate even where it's uncomfortable. This alone is a lesson best shared by living it.

GeorgiScholz
GeorgiScholz

@Mary612  Mary, I so understand where you are & how VERY frustrating that place can be.. but the truth & nothing but the whole truth which may be a gift to some, is probably damaging to a four year old child who has no coping skills or anyway to understand some of the "truths" of an adult life. PLEASE rethink your promise to her & consider making one that will only honor her as your soon to be child.. That you will never do or say anything (even if it means saying nothing.) Someday your soon to be daughter may be ready for the truth, at four yrs old, she really is not. ~Please take this with only the utmost sincerity. I am the mother of 4, who  made the same vow you did, and sometimes, the truth really hurt my kids. If I could do it again, I would... & I would do it differently knowing the outcome of my honest intention, caused honest pain to my children. ~best of luck Hun!

Mary612
Mary612

@GeorgiScholz I didn't mean to make it sound like I tell her hurtful things.  The detailed truth is way too much for her to handle.  Sometimes the truth is "I don't know why your Mommy said that, but those are her rules, so we have to follow them.  Your Mommy loves you very much, and just wants the best for you."  Sometimes the truth is "We'll understand that later, but for now, that's not really important, so let's just focus on what's happening now."  Sometimes the truth is, "I know your mommy told you that, but mommies make mistakes sometimes, and that's okay.  Daddies and Marys make mistakes, too."  

Sometimes the truth is that I was wrong, and I make sure she knows that.  I need to lead with that example, too.