No, I’m sorry. I can’t. The children are home.
I *actually* could get a sitter and join you for dinner or shopping or some other outing – but I’ve only got a limited amount of time. See – you know that I’m one of “those” parents. I’m divorced.
Even eight years after the fact, my ex is so nasty that we can’t be in the same room together. When our custody schedule was finalized, the arbitrator took our relationship into consideration. Which means that our fifty/fifty custody schedule is built around us not seeing each other and potentially exposing the children to our toxic relationship. As a result, I can’t see or speak to my kids fifty percent of the time.
You know it’s not because I want it that way. You have seen me do everything I can to decrease the amount of tension between myself and my children’s father. But he’s incapable of reciprocating.
I would love it if we had one of those post-divorce relationships where we could share everything about our children. I’d love to be able to invite him into my home – or pop over to visit the kids while they’re at his house. Or, if we could spend holidays and birthdays together. It would be wonderful if we could have constant phone contact.
But truthfully, if we’d had one of those relationships in the first place, I would have had to leave. If we’d had one of “those” relationships, I would have gritted my teeth and gotten through it until the children were old enough to leave.
But we don’t have one of “those” relationships. That’s why I left. You know. You were there. I know you only saw hints of the abuse. But you knew how miserable I was. You know what a difficult decision it was for me to make. And you know how much happier I am now.
So no, I can’t go to dinner with you. I’m going to pass on Girls Night. I’m going to have to pass on that weekly yoga class. I can’t take the time away from my kids. I have to give them 100% of my attention because I only have 50% of their childhood to do it in. Please understand.
Let’s schedule our dinner/class/outing for a day when they’re with their father.
This post originally appeared on Live by Surprise on October 5, 2017.