The Angry Ex, 8 Years Later

numbers-time-watch-whiteIt’s been just about eight years since The Boy’s dad walked out and I filed for divorce. It’s been so long since The Boy’s dad lived with him, I wonder just how much he remembers from those years. He was only six, after all, when his dad first decided to live downstairs, and then decided to move four states away.

For a time, we were both angry. Then I lost interest, and he remained angry. But even if time doesn’t heal all wounds, it does mellow you out, a bit. I’m not going to say he still doesn’t have flashes of angry – it was only a couple of years ago that he cancelled the night before a visitation because he suddenly didn’t like our drop-off arrangements. And I wonder what will happen this spring when he realizes I really mean it that The Boy will not be flying by himself. I saw a flash of the old fire in his eyes when I told him that at drop-off a few weeks ago.

The truth is, probably nothing will happen. He may get annoyed, he may even get angry. But he probably won’t shout at me on the phone or send me a nasty text – both of which he loved to employ in previous years. Maybe he has reached a stage where he is indifferent, as well.

In any case, most of our dealings are what you could call “cordial”. Of course I wish he would make more of an effort with his son, but I realized a long time ago that I have no control over that, and it isn’t worth my energy. As long as it stays that way, “cordial” is just fine by me.

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2 thoughts on “The Angry Ex, 8 Years Later

  1. Best thing my old therapist said to me was “You’re not responsible for making him a good father.” And I have realized since then that forcing or encouraging more time with him is not necessarily good in our situation, or necessary, that it sends the wrong message when there is continued mistreatment, and that a child’s success is not determined by the opinions or actions or involvement of an absent parent when there are other good things in life. And I realized that the ability to identify and take action when you are not being respected is a very important lesson that I learned too late. My ex-husband still gets angry from time to time, but the kids get angry too, and I think that’s healthy. They don’t get angry about cancellations. They get angry about other things, legitimate things. If he treats them poorly, it should not define them. And I don’t try to explain it away anymore. That’s on him.

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