Scene: A typical phone call between two peaceful coparents (or at least how I imagine it, as I’ve never actually witnessed one.)
Peaceful coparent #1: “Hello PC2! I know you’re driving, Are you OK to talk?”
Peaceful coparent #2: “Oh Hi PC1! Yeah, I’m handsfree, I’m OK. But we’re already heading to your house. Can it wait until we get there?
PC1: “I’m afraid not, I just saw your text. I’m so sorry, but it appears there’s been a mistake (probably my fault) and I’m around the corner from your house because I thought I was picking up.”
PC2: “Ah! No worries. I would have clarified earlier if I’d realized. It might be my fault. Sorry. Do you want to wait there or can we meet half way?”
PC1: “Let’s meet halfway at that Starbucks on Astaire, just off the highway.”
PC2: “Yeah sure! See you there in around ten!”
Ah. Wasn’t that nice? Both parents, neither blaming and yet both apologizing for the miscommunication. A delightful conversation really. Wondering why I brought it up? No, you’re not. You’ve been reading for a while. You know what’s coming.
[bctt tweet=”Wasn’t that nice? Both parents, neither blaming and yet both apologizing for the miscommunication. NOT ON THE GOBLIN KING’S WATCH. #coparenting” username=”LiveBySurprise”]
So this happened: My phone rings on my way to my ex. Numbered blocked. I answer anyway.
GK: “Where are you?”
Liv: (immediately defensive) “I’m almost at the cutoff. We’ll be there by 8:10. There’s traffic.”
GK: (exasperated) “I’m not at home Liv. Turn around and meet me on Astaire.”
Liv: (briefly considering) “OK. Where on Astaire?”
GK: (Loudly, because that will make me understand what he means) “On Astaire.”
Me: (Thinking “In the middle of the fucking street? WHAT??”) (gritting my teeth and trying to remain cordial). “Where on Astaire?
Puck (from back seat): “Starbucks?”
GK: (after brief silence and a big sigh): “Starbucks!” (because I was supposed to know it apparently)
Me: “OK. I’ll be there in ten.”
Him: (Hangs up without confirming)
So I’m a little stunned. Our schedule is set so I don’t have to talk to him, so this was very out of place. Flower says: “Wow. I can’t remember ever hearing you talk to him before.” Which makes me sad. She’s never heard her parents talk together before. But if you re-read the conversation, you’ll understand why. He’s unable to have a civil conversation with me. No matter how much I try, it won’t happen. So it’s best that they’re not exposed to it. Ever. So I change the subject and tell her that if we get there first, I’ll pick them up cake pops for the ride home.
It’s funny. The parenting coordinator asked me once why I expected his behavior to change if it hadn’t changed in the ten years we’d been married. I think my answer is because that’s what normal people do. They learn from their behavior and alter it to get the best result. Like I did in that conversation. I could have just said I would meet him at his house just to spend some extra time with my kids. I could have shouted and called him names. But really…I never would have done that. Because that’s not who I am. And that’s not what normal people do. But I have to accept that he’s not one of those people. Which is why I turned the car around and went back to Starbucks.
I must’ve done something right (it may be the only thing I haven’t messed up) because my ex is still my best friend. We coparent great and hang out regularly together with our son. We aren’t together but he’s my biggest cheerleader. I am grateful every day that my son has an amazing dad. It’s a shame that it’s not normal based on the comments.
It is indeed a shame. I am envious of such relationships as yours. Good luck mama.
I think I have a similar situation to you… here’s my text:
Me: I’m here. Pls send kids out.
I wait and hear nothing, so I get out an knock on front door. Daughter appears in window and motions to garage. I smile at her and go back to my car to wait.
Then I get two texts:
Him: Get back in the car.
Him: Go to hell.
I’m so sorry you’re going through it. And I wish I could tell you that it will get better (and maybe it will for you), but it’s not my experience. Good luck. Keep seeking out resources and don’t stop talking about it.
*Wow.* This is not the first time I’ve been grateful that the would-be father of my children had a mental breakdown before we could procreate. Am so sorry (for your sake) that you ended up procreating with another of the crazies of the world, and this means it will never fully go away…*hugs* (and may your daughter take after YOU! xo)
It stinks that this is the way it is in many situations. I know a little girl whose parents never talk if they can help it and cant even look at each other if they end up in the same room.
I am lucky I suppose that in the beginning of our separation & subsequent divorce, our communication was mainly via email and he used to pull up outside our house to pick up our children. Occasionally we do speak (not in depth conversations) but I have been divorced from him for 15 years now & our children are now adults, so the old aggression has now disappeared.
That’s the dream…but I don’t thin we’ll ever get there.
Wow. Let’s hope your daughter doesn’t think that’s a normal male/female conversation. I have one of those ex’s too, but he wouldn’t even talk to me, only through our son. And he was so vile in how he talked about me and my friends that at 15, my son cut off his father and didn’t speak to him again for 4 years. Even now, 15 years later, he has limited contact with his father because of the constant manipulation.
It’s sad that they think they’re doing the best thing for their kids – but in fact it’s the worst. I’m glad your son was able to see it.
A nice fantasy…if only. Yes, if only. I know too many who can’t do anything for the good of their kids.