I have been divorced for three years after having the great pleasure of finding out I’m married to a cheater on my birthday. (SURPRISE!) For the most part, things have been going well as co-parents to two young children. Over the last three years, my ex has dumped the other guy, found her true love, got engaged and decided to dump him after two years without explanation. I, on the other hand, have focused on raising my kids and working on myself. The divorce hurt me financially, (as of course everything was in my name), scarred me emotionally, and put a renewed focus on living my life as well as possible. I dated a woman for a couple months a few years ago but realized I wasn’t ready to date. No date has ever met my kids.
I think I am ready to put myself out there and begin dating again. I was never discouraged from marriage as it became clear that it was not the process but the person I chose that was the problem.
My ex is extremely jealous and insecure. She once told me that she’s apologizing in advance for being a “mega bitch to whoever you decide to bring into MY kids lives.” When I brought up the fact that I had always been cordial to her fiance she replied, “Well, life’s not fair.” It was at this point that I decided to end this conversation.
My parents live in California. I’m in North Carolina. Both are sick with my father having a terminal disease giving him a few years to live. Last month they decided they are going to move near me and the grandkids with the intention of spending as much time with us as possible (on my days of the 50/50 custody). My ex was great for about a day, until my mom said in her presence that she looked forward to helping my daughter learn to ride a bike. My ex later called me to say she didn’t like that comment, that’s a mother’s job, and she’s going to have to bite her tongue a lot with this move. Well, even after the divorce I was still shocked to see what is a great dying wish shit on by an entitled asshole. (When I again mentioned that I never had an issue with her fiancé interacting with the kids, the reply was classic. “That was just some guy I was fucking, this is your mom, there is a difference, grow the fuck up.” I promptly hung up the phone.)
Now it is glaringly obvious that whoever I choose to date, if that ever becomes serious and I decide to introduce the kids, my ex will go insane. Do I try to have a talk where I explain she will always be their mom, etc., or do I just live my life, make sure the kids are okay and treat issues as they arise? Part of me wants to have the talk to try and get a foundation of understanding established, but I also realize I’m a nice guy and I can’t always live in the world I want when it comes to ex relationships.
Thank you for your advice,
If you date, your ex will go insane? She sounds pretty insane now. I think you should continue with your existence and expect the unwavering constancy of her insanity. You divorced a narcissist. That doesn’t go away with a nice fireside chat.
Apparently, you missed the maintaining the shrine to your ex memo and Having No Other Gods Before Her. While you were single she could imagine her continued centrality and uninterrupted kibble supply. She could even dress that as up as “what’s best for the kids” — you know, you not dating. (Her dating? File that under “Just Guys I Fuck.”)
Double standards are what entitled freaks DO. I know it’s especially galling coming from a cheater. Really? You threw your family away for a series of fuckbuddies? You didn’t give a shit about me? And now that we’re divorced you expect me to honor a monogamous COMMITMENT to you? (Oh yeah, raising my hand. I had one of these freaks.)
Please don’t mistake her jealousy for She Still Cares! And get a faint hopium kick off that shit. No, she’s just trying to exert control and protect auxiliary kibble supply.
Here’s what your new life looks like to your ex — kibble kryptonite.
A loving sane girlfriend will underscore to you, how much your ex sucks by comparison. A new life, with or without a girlfriend, means more activities and less flexibility to cowtow to the demands of a narcissist. (Okay, well, whatever. I was free this Thursday anyway...) People in your life who love you and treat you with respect? That models good things to your children. Of how worthy you are, and how you deserve to be treated, and what reciprocal loving relationships look like. That also threatens your ex’s power, and her narrative of how much you suck. (The great suckiness that compelled her to cheat, of course.)
In the warped mind of a narcissist, her objections make a kind of sense.
But you’re free, Stephen — you don’t live in Bizzaro World anymore. You get to live in Reality.
Divorce was a consequence of her infidelity. One of those consequences is that your ex dates and new people are introduced into children’s lives. She doesn’t like that? Well, she should’ve thought of that before she blew up their home. Apparently she doesn’t care about introducing a parade of douches to her kids — but your hypothetical date is a threat? Please. Isn’t it curious how this whole narcissistic You’re Not the Boss of Me! ethos really translates to I AM the Boss of YOU!
Stephen, stop giving a shit what your ex thinks or does. She objects? She can do it by writing and time stamp it. You can do the same. Let her document your 50 awkward coffee dates on your non-custodial time. Let her show that to her lawyer and pony up money for a custody battle based on “My long-divorced husband wishes to date” or “My ex mother-in-law wants to ride bikes with my child.” Good luck with that, bitch.
She overheard your mom? That’s a problem — stay no contact. Your ex is a person you don’t see or talk to. She’s an entity on the other side of scheduling software. That’s IT. You have a custody order — abide by it. That is all the obligation you have to the ex.
Your life? Your heart? Your soul? You own those. Start acting like it. This is YOUR LIFE. Fill it with your aging parents, loving friends, and a new girlfriend. Hell, fill it with circus performers if you want. The only person you need to have a “foundation of understanding” with is yourself — you’re FREE.