Hi Liz, I have enjoyed reading your advice and now feel compelled to ask for some myself! I have been divorced since 2009 and my ex is still with the woman with whom he cheated. I am blessed enough to have found a wonderful man whom I love very much and we are building our life together. My ex and I have two young boys, 8 and 6 years old, and share custody. I feel that I go out of my way to be accommodating. I bring the boys to school every morning, even on "his" mornings so he can get to work, and the boys’ after-school care is at my house with a sitter that I arranged. Summers are spent mainly at my house as well, regardless of whose day it is. I make all the appointments for doctors, dentists, etc. I do this because these are our children-and they are my kids 24/7, not just when the calendar says so. My problem is that my relationship with my ex is horrible! He is not willing to work with me, criticizes me for the smallest of things and basically operates his life under a double standard. I have tried reaching out to him. I have made peace with the woman he is with, and would even say we are friendly, if not friends. Am I asking too much for us to be able to put our past aside and raise these boys together? Should I just give up and concentrate on being a fabulous mom to those great kids? How do I do that?
Hi, thanks for writing in, and thanks for reading my page!
I can’t help but to notice the grace with which you have handled your situation, and what a wonderful mom you are to your children. Seriously, kudos to you. And, congrats on finding love again and moving on. Honestly, in terms of your ex, you didn’t ask but I am going to guess a lot of what you are getting from him is his own guilt. Guilt can rear its nasty head in the strangest of ways. Your ex sounds to be uncomfortable with not only his reality, but with your moving on and everyone making the best of his poor choice! A lot of people respond to their own bad behavior in this style. He can’t really get past his own stuff.
My advice? You can’t get water out of a rock and, right now, he is a rock. How do you mvoe past this? Just as you have been except for now you can stop beating your head against a wall trying to get him to behave and respond in ways that aren’t going to get him to change. In time he may come around. You might pay attention to not engaging when possible. If his only response is critical and he lives in a double standard, then I suggest you make efforts to distill it by not engaging when at all possible. He doesn’t see a way to putting the past behind him but eventually he will.
Great luck and good life to you!