But, I can’t…

This is the first weekend that my boys are going to stay with my ex…for an entire weekend. At least, that’s the expectation.

And honestly, I want them to want to go and hang out with their dad. To do cool things that only a dad can make happen, especially with boys. I want them to be excited to see him and to have his full attention for an entire weekend.

Plus, I would love to have the divorce ‘perk’ of having weekends to myself…what mom wouldn’t?!

But I know that it’s not like that. And it may never be that way.

I know that they haven’t missed a thing, over the last year, while he made himself mostly unavailable to them every weekend. They kept count of the hours that he “put in”, it didn’t go unnoticed. I know that they are rocked to their core over the changes that he has forced upon us all – his long term girlfriend moving into our house to eventually be his wife, without any introduction or warning, kind of changes. I know that they don’t really trust him to think of how they feel, or care what they want. on a weekend or otherwise. He hasn’t so far, why expect anything different?

I know that I should let it go and let it play out. Let them discover who he really is.

But, I can’t.

I worry too much, I think too much, I hurt too much for everyone else. I want to protect them, to make it better, to take away the pain and the hurt.

But I can’t.

I wanted it to play out the way that we had agreed upon, with the normal divorce expectations, the slow build up to leading separate lives and bringing in new players, but that hasn’t happened. I wanted our kids to get used to a new normal first, to feel safe and protected by both of their parents wanting only what’s best for them, but that hasn’t happened.

I want him to be better than he is right now. I want him to think of someone else, other than himself – or his new cool life – and to see how he’s trampling on their feelings and trust. I want him to realize that he’s the reason that they don’t feel safe to trust him, and it’s nothing that I did or said, it’s his actions or lack of that are holding them back.  I want him to know that he created this divide between himself and his boys.

But I can’t.

I can’t change who he is, I can’t rewrite the script. I can’t make him more accountable. I can’t make him a better dad. I can’t turn back the hands of time and get a do-over, not that that would help.

I can’t change it. I can’t change him.

This is new territory for all of us, new territory that we didn’t expect to have to traverse. We are winding our way along a path with too many forks, too many hills, and all the while we are hoping that we will come to a flat meadow full of peace and promise, and finally be able to relax. We are thirsty, tired and frustrated. And we want it to be over. I want to get to that place for all of us, to make it better, carry the burden to save them the heartache and disappointment.

But I can’t.




10 thoughts on “But, I can’t…

  1. ladyinthemountains says:

    It is so difficult to see your kids being hurt by their father. It is the biggest reason I hold any anger towards my ex anymore. He just did it again this weekend to our eldest. Chose the WFB over his daughter. I just don’t understand and am saddened by it.. You are right. The kids see and understand what is going on.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The most glaring difference between most (though, not all) men and women is who they view their decision making: Women know and understand that EVERY decision they make impacts their kids to the point that women forget to do things for themselves, because of their kids; And men, are more detached and feel kids have to accept their decisions, regardless of the impact.

    But, you are wise….you can’t change him, but that only means you are NOT responsible for his decisions.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s so disappointing, but I keep reminding myself that he wasn’t the picture of the perfect dad before we got divorced so why do I expect him to rise to the challenge now? He’s always been selfish and self-involved at the expense of others. And you’re right Tarnishedsoul, women consider all sides before making a decision and worry how and who it will affect. Most men just don’t have that gene I guess.

    The other issue I have a problem with is the idea that my boys have to figure out how to walk this thin line, to keep both of their parents happy without losing their minds, and I know it’s hard and it sucks (been there in my childhood, I get it)
    I never understood how it felt for, or affected, my mom at the time. Now I do. I owe her an apology I think, and a hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Children are not responsible for our feelings or.for any other person’s feelings. They do need to learn yhat their actions affect other people’s feelings. But it is not their jobs to make or keep us parents happy. I don’t agree with that part of what you said.

      Each one of us is and should be responsible for our own feelings and we need to own them. Expecting our children to be responsible for our happiness is not fair to them. I am talking from experience. And when I didn’t succeed at making my mother happy, I felt guilty, I felt a failure. It took me years, almost into my 30’s to finally understand that I wasn’t responsible for my mother’s feelings and it wasn’t my job to make her happy.

      We need to teach children the difference between being responsible for and being responsible to. And we need to assure them that it is NOT their fault. For the longest time, I blamed myself for my parents’ divorce. Children will somehow come up to such terrible and mistaken conclusions on their own. They don’t need our help to reinforce that mistake.

      We also need to help them come to their own conclusions without bashing the other parent. Like you said, your children already noticed their father’s absence. Children are not stupid. We can help them understand and cone to terms with their reality on their own.


      • I think you misunderstood my point, I never meant (or implied) that our children should be (or feel) responsible for making their parents happy in any circumstance. But I do believe that most children feel that way on some level no matter the situation – divorce or not. And it doesn’t take a parent to say it to them, they create that message for themselves based upon their own experience, pressures from school and other family members, and their fantasies of what would change it.
        And with regard to my children feeling at fault for all of this, that has never been implied or suggested by myself or my ex. We actually did the TV movie version of sitting them down and explaining that we were getting a divorce before we had even filed, and the basics of why. Something that my parents never did for us, and I’m sure most kids of divorce would say the same.

        I understand your point of view, and I completely agree with your basic argument, I just feel that you’ve misdirected your anger to a post that never suggested what you’re implying. If anything, I am feeling helpless at the prospect of not being able to change what the situation is and how it will go, and beyond sad and tormented that I am not able to protect them from the possible harm it may cause them.
        My children aren’t toddlers, they’re well past that stage, and they’ve been raised to feel confident in their feelings and safe in expressing them for most of their lives; something I wish I was encouraged to do when I was growing up. Maybe then I wouldn’t have been involved in so many destructive relationships, or married into one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I apologize. I was not angry at all! I’m sorry if I sounded like that. It was not my intention. And now that I read your explanations, I do understand that I misunderstood what you said about children making parents happy.

        I apologize. It was never my intention to hurt you in any way.

        Gosh! If there’s something I do not like at all about written text, text messages, etc., is the fact that is not easy to add feelings and emotions to your words, let’s not even mention body language. Words can be misread terribly.

        I feel very bad. I didn’t want to upset you or hurt you at all. On the contrary. I love reading your posts and I think you’re a very sensitive, compassionate, loving person, just by reading your articles I’m gathering that. I also feel close to you as a mother. And I feel your pain. The last thing I wanted to add was more pain to you. I truly feel bad. I am so sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. No apology necessary, or better yet let me apologize back to you! I completely agree with the problem with texting and written words, there are not nearly enough emojis to get the feelings across. And everyone reads with a different voice in their heads, don’t they?

    Thank you for your truly kind words, and for reading my posts. I feel a connection to you through your posts as well, as a mother and as a victim of NPD (I actually learned what that was from reading your blog! So thank you.)

    And I will admit, that it depends upon the day, and the time of some of those days, if I will hear or read something with a positive or negative tone. Maybe a bad habit learned from years of waiting for criticism? But still, I should always look for the positive so the positive will find me.

    Sending you a virtual hug and a warm smile 🙂


  5. This is the part that drives me the craziest. CF walked out the door without saying a word to either of his two kids and moved to a different state. While living in the same house as us he never once went into their rooms to talk to them, or even tried to have a conversation with them. The entire time our daughter was competing in gymnastics he attended maybe 5 meets (she competed in our old state for 7 years). Once we moved he never once he attended a high school meet. When she began cheerleading he never once attended a competition or a football game to watch her. But he can go and cheer on his “paramour’s” daughter, even wearing a school shirt in support of her. When our son was in kindergarten or first grade he wanted his dad to drop him off at school. CF snapped at him and was supposedly anxiety ridden about doing this small task (although he did eventually do it). This year he went to show and tell with the paramour’s son on Veteran’s Day. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s coaching a soccer or baseball team, after years of saying he could never do that for our son because he just didn’t have the temperament for it.

    Do what you want to me, but leave my kids alone! Or at least treat them right.


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