My anger is my own. My kids are a shared resource and responsibility. My ex is a wonderful human being who is doing her best in the world.
I felt like I had a pretty good idea of the way the divorce was going to go, once I agreed to actually get a divorce. We went, eyes wide open, into the negotiations about parenting rights, money, schedules, and I also felt like I had a cooperative soon-to-be wife who was not going to try to destroy me. The first part was true, the second part, well...
If you put your kids first you may need to fight to get what you want. And by putting your kids first, sometimes you may have to fight their mom. But to be the best dad you can be, you have to be there, you have to spend time with your kids. All of that time that was taken away is now water under the bridge, but today it's much more clear for me. I take every offer to have the kids an extra night or to support my ex when she has to work late.
I will be in the process of recalibrating my life in relationship to my ex-wife probably for the rest of my life. Even after the kids are off and doing their own lives, there are always collective contributions that need to be made, adult advice that needs to be given, and we will never fully separate from the relationship.
When the other partner decides to ask for divorce there is very little the committed partner can do. The fracture has happened. The other person has declared they are considering divorce. Then that option is forever on the table and could be used as leverage.
I did not want an incremental win. I needed a massive win, so what was required of me, as the captain, was massive action. I had been on this oxygen-starved…
So I'm a little rocket ship. And when I'm well-fueled, well-balanced, and have a good map in front of me, all systems are go, green lights across the board, look out, cause here we go.
When you ignore your kid's messages and voicemails you are giving them a very powerful message about their priority in your life. There is nothing you can say afterward, the exasperation has already taken place. This is never a happy response, "I don't know, I can't reach her and she's not responding."