If you have a child together, you have to parent together ... no matter what.
Too often, our coparenting relationship reminds me of our marriage. He will text me to say "I'll be away for x number of days/weeks and I'll be picking up Caroline for these days and I'll need you to take her back on this day." I'll say okay, rearrange my schedule to accommodate his, and basically do whatever he asks… but then I'll get mad, and resentful, and pick a fight with him, and then we snipe at each other via text for a few days and act sullen when we finally see each other. Sounds healthy, right? And by no means do I claim that it's all his fault—fighting takes two.
But how do you change that pattern of interaction? How do you reverse the momentum of a relationship when you have to stay in constant contact after a breakup, because you have a child together? How do you put the pieces of a broken marriage back together to form a healthy coparenting relationship?
It's hard. It really sucks. I don't know the answer. I tried, today, to establish something new. He texted me, telling me the way the next visit was going to go. I told him that I had a conflict with my schedule, but I would be happy to have a two-way discussion about it if he would rephrase his order as a request. Somehow, we ended up fighting anyway.
One of my friends said to me tonight, "I hate seeing my ex every day at school. It doesn't seem fair that I still have to deal with that, every single day." I looked at him. "I win," I said. "I have to deal with mine for 18 years." (He was kind enough to refer to my one-upping as "perspective".)
But, hey, that's just life and coparenting after divorce. You've got to make the best of it… right?
If you're a single parent, how do you and your ex manage?
Written by Julia Landry
More from Parents.com:
- Easing the Pain of Divorce
- Surviving (and Thriving) as a Single Mom
- What Children Understand About Divorce