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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2013, 09:17 PM
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Default This might be a minor milestone ...

Got an angry email from the ex today. He's upset because I registered our daughter in Saturday afternoon gymnastics rather than Saturday morning ones. I made the registration change because the Saturday morning classes at her level were filled up. I sent him an email over a week ago telling him that I'd made the switch and asking f he had any objections. No response until today.

At first I thought "what a jerk! I gave you plenty of time to indicate if this would be a problem for you; when you don't even bother with the courtesy of a reply, I assume you have no objections and I go ahead. Then you get mad because you think I messed up your Saturdays! Jerk!".

However, after an hour or so it occurred to me that maybe he actually has something resembling a point. Yes, he should have checked his email and responded to me sooner, but I probably shouldn't have gone ahead and made the switch without giving him at least a day to think it over, rather than sending him an email after the fact. I assumed that the switch from mornings to afternoons on Saturday was a minor one, but there may be reasons I know nothing about which mean that it's not minor for him.

So I sent him an email saying I understood why he was upset, I should have waited before going ahead and registering her for the afternoon classes. I also said I was willing to agree that neither of us would make any plans which might affect our daughter's time with the other parent without first getting agreement; and that I'd also like us to agree that if one party suggests a change, no matter how minor, the other party will respond within a day with yes, no, or "I need to think about it and I'll get back to you by such and such a date".

I realize this sounds pretty trivial, but it's something of a milestone for me to get past being instinctively defensive, to be able to see that there's a problem, that we've both contributed to the problem, and own my contribution to the problem when I propose a solution. I've spent so much time dealing with irrational hostility that I was losing the ability to see where the grain of truth might lie in the midst of the venom and accusation. And to realize that I can admit that I made a mistake without being a doormat.

I still think my ex is a jerk (which is why he's "ex"), but I'm realizing I can inject some humility into dealing with him, where humility is warranted. I don't have to be constantly in defensive mode. And that is good for me.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:39 AM
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Great post Stripes. It's always best to wait a bit before responding to the ex. First reactions might not be pleasant, but after some thought we are more level headed.

Kids activities bring a lot of conflict. Even when both parents agree, there is still nothing we can do to ensure the other parent actually takes them to their activities.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:05 AM
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Credit for this goes to McDreamy:

http://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/f7/water-15150/

"This is water."

Thanks McDreamy for posting the above message and I am posting it here as this appears to be stripes' "This is water" moment.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:11 PM
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Got email back from ex saying he was angry at my manipulative, grandstanding attempts to control him through my suggestion that we both agree to respond to emails concerning our daughter's schedule with a day of receiving them (whether it be "yes", "no" or "give me a few days and I'll get back to you"). Apparently, I claim this is about improving communication but what I'm really doing is trying to take away his freedom by forcing him to do things like read his email.

Sigh.

I do not want to control him. I do not want to have anything to do with him, but unfortunately that is not an option, with a kid in the picture.

Yes, he still is a jerk. It's good to not be married to him. Onwards and upwards!
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:00 AM
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While your email means well, your ex doesn't want to play nice right now and will just use it against you by claiming you're being controlling.

Minimize contact for now, only emails related to child when need be. Give your opinion for activities and ask for his, then mention that a decision needs to be made by xxx date. If he doesn't respond then you can make the decision on your own. You can't expect him to do things on his scheduled times, but hopefully if your child is excited about it it will make him want to do it. Expecting him to pay for the activities is a whole different challenge.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:33 PM
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I don't really agree with you. On several occasions you state you are giving him about one day to respond:

Quote:
the other party will respond within a day with yes, no, or "I need to think about it and I'll get back to you by such and such a date".

Quote:
Yes, he should have checked his email and responded to me sooner, but I probably shouldn't have gone ahead and made the switch without giving him at least a day to think it over, rather than sending him an email after the fact.
Change gears - ask him how he'd like to communicate? Its perfectly possible and (I am sure you know) that he may not check his email daily.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:29 PM
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I did ask how he would like to communicate. His response was that he does not want me to text or call him ever and he will check his email when he feels like it. No constructive response, just "I refuse to do this or that because I don't want to". I am accused of hiding my belligerent intentions under a false front of reasonableness, and using communication issues as a way to control him (control him in order to do what?). All this in paragraph after paragraph of ranting and name-calling.

So we're back to status quo. I'll keep him up to date by sending emails, but I can't force him to read them. When a decision needs to be made, I'll ask for his input, allow as much time as possible to respond, and if there's no response, I'll make the decision as I would have made it if he didn't exist.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripes View Post
I am accused of hiding my belligerent intentions under a false front of reasonableness
That's funny. I wish we could all do as well as this!

Sounds like you are making the intelligent best of the situation.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:36 PM
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I know, it is kind of funny when you think about it. (And those were his exact words, I'm not putting my own spin on it).

The important things are:

1) I am not living with that sort of mind game on a daily basis any more.
2) Neither is my daughter (at least for the 50% of the time that she's with me - sounds like things are a little less calm at her father's house).

So the two goals I had for this divorce - save my own sanity, and take care of my daughter - are being achieved.

You can't fix crazy, but you can look after yourself.

I really appreciate the perspective I've gotten from people on this forum in the short time I've been here.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:30 AM
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Good for you Stripes. Even though your ex didn't reciprocate, moving on must feel great.
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