Ex’s Listen Up! It’s Only The Kids That Lose.

  1. You’ve been divorced by your choice for near a decade – your children are 20-somethings – you’ve moved on and are in another long-term relationship.  Your daughter with him graduated from university yesterday and yet you were incapable of letting her take just one photo with her mom and dad.  She wanted to.  Her dad was fine with it – you refused.  She was sad.  But it was, of course, all about you.
                       Obviously not “our family”
    So there were two graduation celebrations – the one Friday at your house, and the one Saturday at ours.  And you demanded her time yesterday morning when she was getting ready at his house for her graduation because he would have the rest of the day (yes, it was Father’s day).  I’m sure if you had your way, there would have been two separate graduation ceremonies – one for you without him there.  All about you.  We could have all celebrated together at a restaurant (neutral territory) and thought about her feelings on her day.
    What are you going to do, Mother, when she gets married (which is on the horizon)?  Are you going to refuse her the joy of a photo with her parents then?  Are you going to refuse to come to the wedding if he’s there?  Are you going to make that all about you?
    What are you going to do when she has her babies?  Are you going to refuse to be there if he’s there?  Are you going to deprive her of the joy of both of her parents being present at the birth of your grandchildren?  Are you going to make her choose?  But, of course, it’s all about you.
    I don’t get it.  Why are some parents so hostile that they can never let go of the ill will towards another parent?  There was no domestic violence or abuse of any kind.  You decided you didn’t want to be married to him any more.  You still refuse to speak to him, much less be in the same room.
    Is it just me? Am I the crazy one?  I think not.  I am still friends with my ex – and am still close with his children AND his ex-wife (his kid’s mother).  We just couldn’t be married any longer.  My daughter and ex-son in law totally realize why they are not married any more, but they are incredible at co-parenting.  Always on the same page.  They do joint celebrations of all sorts about the kids with all of his family and all of ours – together – in the same space – celebrating the children.  They have joint family meetings so the kids know they are both on the same page.  Ex son in law’s parents are divorced – they both join in on all the celebrations – with their new spouses.  It can be done!
    You are forgetting the most important thing of all – so much bigger than your ego and pride – you are hurting your daughter far more than you realize.  You don’t see her pain – we do.   And some day soon, you will do the same thing with your son.  Go ahead, be so small minded that you are okay with taking away from their joy.
    Please don’t – please realize you must make these joyful life passages about them – celebrate them as mother and father – you don’t have to like him – but you can be civil. You can be in the same room at the same time and actually enjoy yourself.   All too soon these wonderful experiences will be done.  You or he will no longer be in their lives – don’t deprive them of precious memories because you haven’t grown up and moved on.
    And believe it or not,
    Namaste – I still honor you.  You did a hell of a job in HELPING raise her to be the amazing young woman she is.
    Itty Bitty

6 thoughts on “Ex’s Listen Up! It’s Only The Kids That Lose.

  1. My daughter was married last month and the grooms father, stepmother, mother and stepfather were all there. I was there along with my current wife. Her mother could not be there, but not because of ill will. When we were splitting up, I made the decision to keep the proceeding as civil as possible. I decided that it would hurt our girls more if I made it a mean split. Since she is the one that left me and the girls, I could have very easily taken the low road, but I didn’t. Today we are friends, she is remarried to someone else and lives in Denmark, but when she comes to the states to visit, we always get together as a family and there are no bad feelings and the kids know that they are loved by both of us and their happiness comes before ours. I wish more people would take that route.


    1. It IS so possible to be civil as opposed to uncivil .. and I believe it takes so much less energy to just be nice … thank you! Love that you and your family have figured it out.\
      Itty Bitty

      ps – congratulations on your successful WLS journey! The work never ends.


  2. Over 30 years ago I married the father of 4 children. His ex disposed him and by some extension, me. She had never met me. Her children were 19, 17 and 11 year old twins. So she sent 11 year olds to spend weekends and weeks at our house without even knowing me. Amazing to this mom of two, at that time 11 and 12.

    This animosity continued over their growing up years and they did both react in a very odd way. We never EVER spoke ill of her in our home, though she was breaking their hearts regularly. The girl twin graduated from college, with help from both sets of parents, financial from us and co-signing student loans from them. She eventually erased us from her life and that remains the case. The boy twin has never separated from us in any way but wrote his mother off for many years as uncaring and unimportant. They have only recently reunited, after about 10 years of I difference.

    All of this could have been avoided simply by putting the children first. Even now that they are all in their 40’s, putting them first is our goal. I have no feelings for the other parents at all. I am fine if they are present and don’t miss them if they aren’t. Unfortunately, I know their sons both feel the same. It makes me sad. They could have 4 parents and the kids could have 8 grandparents, but she made that very difficult and now, it’s a little too late though there is now, at least, some relationship and the babies do know her now and her husband of more years than our marriage.


    1. Jo,
      I fully appreciate your comment about the kids “could have had” 4 pareants and 8 grandparents …. classic example, when my grandsons were born, there were 10 living grandparents –
      5 grandparents
      5 great grandparents ….
      what a joy …

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience ~ and, yes … it could all have been avoided with just a smidgen of civility ….

      Best to you!


  3. Hi there, I know of what you speak but not personally thank God. I’ve seen a close friend not allowed to attend her stepdaughter’s wedding because the birth mother wouldn’t allow it. Really? I hosted my stepson’s wedding last summer at our house. I was there with his father, as was his mother and stepdad, the bride’s father and long time girlfriend and her mother and ex-husband number 2. It was joyous for all. Time should heal wounds. If not, maybe psychotherapy? Thanks.


    1. Hurray for you and your family! Sooooooooooo as it should be!!!!

      I am also sad (besides annoyed at the effect on her children that I see) for her. I wish for her more than anthing that at some point, sooner than later, she is able to let it go. That being said, when I first came into their lives five years ago, the kids bore some of the same animosity towards their father. He experienced great depression in trying to understand why. I suggested to him that he simply be himself and that in time they would come to their own conclusions. It has paid off for him – they both spend far more time with him by choice than with their mom. I don’t think she has a clue as to how she is affecting her relationship with them. Psychotherapy … good idea!
      Thanks for your comment!


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