Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “it’s about the kids

The Divorce Part You’ll Never Understand: Living Within the Compromise


Yes, we got divorced. Yes, we got angry and bitter and had some tussles over child support and entitlement. And yes, I still have fond feelings for the mother of my children, in spite of all that we’ve been through. It’s not the same as wanting to be in a romantic relationship with her. No, that’s not it. That part was done before our marriage was done.

Were I still married to their mom we might work together more closely, to enforce and build healthier boundaries, better manners, more respect for other adults in their lives.

But the relationship, once you have kids, is not about what’s gone wrong between you, it’s suddenly about what can go right between you as you support your children. Together. The fall and slip of one parent equals a fall and slip of the entire family. We’re still a family, both emotionally and financially. The sooner you come to realize that after your divorce the better.

You Take What You Get

Whatever the “deal” was you struck with your ex-partner, that’s what you’re going to have to live with. Over time, you may both ask for flexibility and forgiveness in various aspects of the decree, but for the most part, you can always revert back to the “schedule” if things start getting too squirrelly.

So then, as a divorced dad, I had access to my kids 70% less of the time. That was a huge blow. From full-time to fractional-time. And that’s where the compromises begin.

  • I don’t always discipline my kids the way others might
  • I want to hear them more than I want to hear almost anything in the world
  • I adapt my goals and plans to make room for their ideas and agendas
  • I am looking for ways to connect and support them in everything they do, even when they are with their mother
  • I don’t raise certain issues with their mom, because I’d rather focus on my time with the kids, not arguing over some detail about health insurance billings
  • I give my kids the benefit of the doubt on almost everything
  • I assume that they are honest and good kids, and I give them leeway in managing their own time

Were I still married to their mom we might work together more closely, to enforce and build healthier boundaries, better manners, more respect for other adults in their lives. We might be more strict about things like picking up their clothes, letting us know of their weekend plans *before* the weekend. And we might have more collective influence and bargaining power over their decisions. But we aren’t and so we rely more on the attachment parenting ideals that we used when they were little.

I love my kids with all my heart and soul. I still love their mom, but primarily for the way she has navigated this divorce trip, and how she has never stopped putting them first as well. We are aligned in parenting. We’ve been aligned on most of those things since the earliest days. So our parenting discussions and negotiations are usually pretty easy.

Where things have always been hard is around money. When there’s not enough, on either side, the tension gets high and things get wacky. It was that way when we were married too, but today things have fallen into disrepair. I am happy to say, we’re working on it. Talking about it, at least.


In the compromise that was my divorce, I opted to not fight. I decided to accept my dad role as it was outlined by the state of Texas and do my best within that structure. I miss my kids every day. And I know there is no getting back the time, the 70% of the time, that they are not with me.

I am so honored to have her in my life, and so honored with everyday that we are able to be parents together.

So as a single father I work really hard to make my time as authentic and honest as possible. At this age, (14 and 12) I can hope to have several real conversations with each of them over the course of “my weekend.” And then they are gone. The house, though wonderful, orderly, and clean, is less of a “home” without my kids.

And it’s within this compromise that I am also bringing in my new relationship, my fiancé. She’s not privy to all the kid bringing up that we did. She wasn’t part of the tenderness that has grown between me and my kids over their entire lifespans. And of course, her relationship to them is exclusively through me. She’s finding her way within this “new home” with us. It’s like we’re all dating again. Me and her and the kids. We’re having fun.

The other morning she was essential in getting me and my two kids off to school on-time, which happened to be very early. She packed lunches, made breakfast, and did all kinds of parently things. Later that evening she expressed how it had felt warm, and fun, and right.

Love First

I am so honored to have her in my life, and so honored with everyday that we are able to play at being parents together. She’s an amazing partner, and she shows me the light at the end of my single parenting tunnel to be the twin flames of LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. Fortunately for me and my kids, and even my ex-wife, her warm LOVE affects all of us.

Afterword: So while I unload and vent on this site from time to time, know that my intentions towards my kids are pure and my relationship between myself and my ex-wife may be in the “it’s complicated” setting for now, but we’re working on it. And that’s also why this site is anonymous.


The Off Parent

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image from friend Darren Smith on Instagram, used by permission

How To Jack Your Ex-Partner’s Day

Rejecting a call from your exWas it passive aggressive? I don’t know. But the kids have been expressing their concerns this way, “She never picks up.” They are talking about their mom and her telephone manners. Today, it was a simple request for information. And unless there was some emergency, there’s no reason an answer could not have been generated within an hour or so, even giving the benefit of the doubt for sleeping late. It is a work day, however so that’s wouldn’t seem to apply.

Let the record show, that around 8:00 in the morning I wrote an email to my ex-y asking about the possible splitting of son and daughter duties after school. Both kids had after school activities, and my son was pretty sure his mom was coming to his cross-country meet. By 10:38 I was ready to either make other plans for the transportation of my son, but I still hadn’t heard from my ex.

Um, okay, I escalated to a text.

No Response from Your Ex


Her response came at 1:30. “Yes I’m going to the meet.”

That’s it. No acknowledgement that I’d been waiting for an answer for over five hours. And it’s not like she doesn’t check her phone. I’ve been around her enough to know she’s ALWAYS checking her phone and texting back.

So, in the end, we worked out a cooperative arrangement. And of course I didn’t blast her, because I still needed her help. It would be better for my son if he could catch a ride home with her, rather than waiting with the entire team for the bus back to the school.

What do you think? Was she jacking with me? Was I being unreasonable or pushy from my side?

My ex does not want to talk to me any more. While we were negotiating for our marriage, she also put in a request for me to quit emailing her my thoughts. She was done. In this case, I think she’s just ignoring me. She might even be ignoring the kids, which I see as more of a problem.

Sure, I like the power of silencing a call I don’t want to take, and often, if SHE’S calling there must be a problem. But a call from my kids, I have bypassed them once or twice, but called them back as soon as I was off the other line. (see: she is silenced in my back pocket – poem)

But when your ex begins taking over five hours to respond to a question about the kids…


The Off Parent

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