My (now ex) had affairs with skanks off Craigslist while he traveled for work. I busted him, threw his ass out that minute, and divorced him.
He spent the first six months being nice thinking I might take him back (no way), then met a girl, got engaged within 6 months, and has been back and forth within 6 months along with women in between.
He comes to me wanting to do things together with the kids “as a family.”
Let’s adopt a family for Christmas! — “start a new family tradition.”
We do things with the kids already Halloween, Easter, and birthdays.
Is it petty that I absolutely do not have any desire to start a ” new family tradition” with him?
I said no.
First, he left me in a serious financial tight spot. A single mother, 45, with 4-year-old twins. I can’t afford to adopt a family! I do home daycare to stay home with my kids!
Second — we are not a family!
When we do things together he pumps the kids up — mommy AND daddy are going together!
all of us! — over and over.
I trust nothing he says or does. He is probably trying to make his girlfriend jealous.
I’m not mad at him, I’ve forgiven him for me. But he is still a dirtbag — I just don’t dwell on his dirtbagness.
Am I being petty? I think we do enough together with the kids, am I wrong?
I’m respectful of him, I’ve never said a word negative around my kids — never involved them in adult trouble, never will. Isn’t that enough?
Not a Family
Let me suggest a New Family Tradition — no contact.
Your dilemma is what I covered the other day on the post Co-parenting Cake. You’re not obliged to do “family” together things with him like birthdays, Easter, and Christmas. As you rightly pointed out, you’re not family. You’re divorced.
Divorce (ergo not being A Family) was the consequence of fucking around with “Craigslist skanks.” I’m sorry he doesn’t like the consequence — that’s not your problem. Your problem is single parenting two preschool boys. Your problem is building a new life that doesn’t depend on the facade of Intact Nuclear Family impression management.
Ask yourself what you’re getting out of this arrangement? The enjoyment of watching the various girlfriends wear their tap shoes out pick-me dancing? Some part-time bozo’s help hiding Easter eggs? Picking up ice for the birthday party? Corralling pre-schoolers for pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey?
The $20 you’d have to spend hiring a middle-school girl instead is well worth it. Whatever “help” he’s offering can’t compare to dealing with his manipulative bullshit, or letting your kids think cake-eating is okay.
Why are you being “respectful” to a dirtbag?
Seriously, what is there to respect? The institution of Fatherhood? You can respect his paying you support and holding up his end of the custody agreement. If he’s not doing that, then YOU are doing a kind of codependent jujitsu thinking that “including” him and letting him play the role of Family Guy will make him keep his obligations.
If he keeps his obligations without you? Then what are you doing with him? Why do you think pretending to respect people you don’t respect is okay? Does that align with your values?
I’m all for civility. Never be rude. But there is a wide chasm between basic civility (“Yes, Tuesday is fine for pick up!”) and playing hostess to every Hallmark Daddy occasion.
Frankly, I’d slap him into next week for mindfucking the kids with Mommy AND daddy are going together! all of us! — over and over.
No. Mommy and Daddy are NOT together. And there is a REASON for that. And not telling your children that you HAD a reason is a mindfuck.
Telling the kids age appropriately why you are divorced is not “disrespecting” him. It’s explaining their reality.
Existing as you are is living in a muddle of confusion that only benefits HIM and leaves you in the position as Bad Guy.
Gee, Daddy is so nice and Mommy won’t let him live with us! Mommy divorced Nice Daddy! Daddy is so FUN at birthday parties! Why can’t we see more of Nice Daddy? If you like Daddy so much that you’ll do Fun Things Together With Him, why can’t he live with us all the time?
Reasonable question, kid.
Your values and your actions are not in alignment. And it’s bothering you, which is why you wrote me. Start acting in accordance with your values (i.e., I’m not friends with people who abandon preschoolers for fuckbuddies) — and I trust you’ll feel better soon.
Mr. Cake there can keep his own social calendar.