If I had it to do all over again, I'd probably argue with the counselor and my ex-wife and negotiate something a bit more even. You will be advised not to do this. "It's easier for everyone if you just accept this plan, it's been working for families for years."
I had the desire and intention to go the distance with my ex-wife. When I entered the agreement, and we decided to have kids, the deal was sealed for me. And love was never an issue. Compatibility and control could often come up, but I *never* doubted my love for my wife.
Men get a lot of stereotypical flack for not knowing how to be vulnerable and talk about their feelings. And I'd have to say, in our culture, that being a man with feelings can be hard. I'm one of those sensitive guys, and in many situations I've had to learn to toughen up, be hard, unaffected by rage, bullshit, or attacks.
Even though it can be difficult at times, continuing my role as a supportive and cooperative partner is in the best interest of my kids. It's really in the best interest for me as well. A happy ex-wife is much better than an angry one.
My dad died when I was 21 years old. He was afraid to die. And he was angry at God and the world for allowing his death to happen. He was no longer angry at me. He was no longer capable of being a scary figure in my life. He was small, curled up, and very angry. But like today's man, he was no longer capable of hurting me with his anger.
I look forward to having another opportunity to learn about myself "in a relationship" at some point. I'm happy and patient right where I am. But I believe by having my priorities clear and articulated I can do a better job of finding and sorting through the process of finding that NEXT RELATIONSHIP. I wait enthusiastically.
Live your life as you would like to see your kids living theirs. Show them the adults they can be, by demonstrating the best that you can be. Anything less is a miss. Parenting and co-parenting resources come and go, theories of parenting and how do recover from divorce will change from season to season, but this truth never changes.
There are not fewer things to coordinate when you become a single parent, in fact, there are more. The things you once traded equitably, now fall 100% in your lap when it is your parenting time. This new cadence can be jarring, frustrating, and make for some upset campers on all sides unless you plan ahead and go 100% Positive.