the dynamic I find is this: I may address something with him kid wise feeling like as their dad he should know (such as discussing new schools and my conflict over making them go to the schools our new home is in, or driving them 30 minutes to the schools they went to previously where ex still maintains the home)...he then gives me horrible guilt trip and acts as though this move was all my choice and the old schools were better than where my new home is. That because moving was my decision I should not make the kids suffer....no responsibility for the fact that he hadn't paid the mortgage in six months and we were getting notices from the courts about hearing set for mid July regarding foreclosure, etc. I moved because I had spent six months checking about whether he had called and settled things with the mortgage company and got excuses and promises to pay that never seemed to happen. So I said screw it, and rented a home from a friend and we moved out....only to have him move back to family home and conveniently pay mortgage owed to keep house from foreclosure in the same week I moved out. But it was all my fault the kids are not in the same town. I felt between a rock and hard place.
Anyway, I am made to feel guilty, then either bend over backwards to accommodate every else at my own expense or dwell with guilt. My SO is wonderful and understanding, but he and several friends of mine have also told me that by even bringing these topics up with stbx that I will get crap for it and I should just not bring it up. When he forgets to call the kids or is late and I see them hurt...it hurts me and I reach out and remind him he should call. I end up allowing him to rely on me to make sure his relationship with the kids is good and doesn't suffer. I felt bad and allowed him to join my oldest sons birthday celebration last week, and then heard snide remarks the next day from him about SO.
I hear things from him like we don't have to have a bad parenting relationship just because others that divorced do, that we don't have to do things the same way every other divorced couple does and be cold to each other, yet it seems my trying to accommodate or share things about the kids because I want to respect his role as their father is just biting me in the ass....I want to have strong boundaries and email or text, but I hear "you know I rarely check email, why can't we just have a normal conversation?" its exhausting!
My middle son is getting ready to have a birthday, both of us is supposed to have access to them on that day, but I feel uncertain about it. He gets offended and is difficult when I don't treat him like he's s great guy and friend....but he isn't my friend!
This is an almost daily occurance in life now, too.
Nearly Exh actually wanted me to agree with some things lately that are parenting related, like "equal say" and such. I'm not agreeing to a darn thing without my lawyer also agreeing!
If your Wh's name is on the property you moved from, it may be sparking some control issues for him, I know we have that here and some friends do, too, with a WH for a spouse who was ordered to continue paying.
We become the easy target in their lives to blame the unhappiness on or things they feel are wrong. They don't have to blame themselves, and especially when it comes to kids, can have someone else to put that on.
I worked for a long while as you do, trying to still help his relationship with our child, but I'm stepping aside now. He fired me from that role when he fired me as his wife and if he is going to blow it with her, too, then he is on his own. It sounds like cold parenting on my part, but he's just too hard for me to deal with. I concentrate on our child instead and my work/relationship with her.
If he disappoints her, I merely say, "I'm sorry", and give her affection and support til she is sunny again, but I say nothing about him. It's terribly hard, but I remember the end result and it helps.
The high road is an attainable goal, though not easy to stay on. Besides my own dreams, I've given up dreams of how I want her and her father to be and I know that she is smart and strong and realizes that he has changed.
Maybe you could just tell him that "email is better for now" and if that doesn't work, telling nearly Exh it's a request of my lawyer, eventually helps.
We have occassions coming too, many in the fall to go through to plan and sort. It takes a lot of energy, but I am going to concentrate on my part of the planning and if he presents himself, we will work around it. I did not want to do split occassions for a few years because of so much change and don't know if he will be agreeable, but I also try to remember...it's not about us.
I'm sorry for your hard times.
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.
That being said. Only you can give him (and your well meaning friends and family) power over your emotions. Only you can allow them to make you feel guilty. No post divorce parenting relationship is the same as the next and to assume that you should say or do something because it's what they did is wrong. And to feel guilty for not conforming to what they think is wrong. You need to do what's best for you and your family. Not your ex and not your friends.
And you're right, he is NOT YOUR FRIEND. Your relationship is legal at this point. It's business and there's no place for emototions outside of being polite and amicable in a business relationship.
Gently, he can't "make" you feel guilty. He can throw down a guilt trip that you either pick-up and own, or leave it lying in the dust. I think what you may be dealing with in regard to the kids school is some self-imposed guilt. It's incredibly difficult for kids whose parents are divorcing. If you add in a new house, new school, it makes it harder. I know that you may feel that it's partly your fault, but you have to learn to let that go. Your circumstances have changed because of his bad choices. It is what it is. If you want the kids to attend school near where you live because the 30 minute drive is problematic, then they should attend where you live. If it's so all fired important to him that the kids attend their old school, let him make the drive. The children will adjust, I promise. As to how involved I let my x be? As involved as he wants to be. Which in all honesty isn't very much.
You live where you live, he lives where he lives. Do not have a discussion about why each of you is where you are, whose fault it is, etc. FWIW, I think you are totally in the right here, but I also don't think this is a hill to die on. So let go of that.
The issue is, where are the kids going to school, and how are you two going to handle transportation, etc. Do NOT discuss *why* the kids are in this situation. Just the what and how. If he legally gets to help make the decision about where they go to school, then email him something like this: Kids can go to A school or B school. I see the advantages of A as..advantages of B as...disadvantages of A as...disadvantages of B as... Which school do you think is a better choice?
If he responds with crapola about how horrible you are to create this situation, ignore. Keep focused on the kids and the decision to be made.
If he doesn't get any legal say in it, then just email him: Kids are going to A school. Then work out transportation (if that's an issue to address), etc.
I have extensive experience dealing with self important a&&holes (I work at a university). Stick to the topic at hand. Be even tempered. If there are court ordered deadlines, or if you get to set the deadline, do it. Stick to the deadlines.
And don't do it in person. Email always -- if you have the convo in person, then follow up with an email "just to make sure I have all the details". You need a record.
Best of luck.
And remember, you have NOTHING to feel guilty or in the wrong about in this situation.
Live your own life, stop giving a shit about his.
That being said, I do usually let him know prior and take his feelings into consideration, because ex is a person I have to have in my life regardless.
I have to walk a fine line of being polite, and not giving him the impression that we are friends.
Ex can pick up DD early when I say it's okay- but he can't stay and hang out at my house.
"What did you expect? I am a scorpion."
Stop letting him guilt trip you. He caused all this in the first place, remember? If he does not like how you are dealing then maybe he should have kept it in his pants.
I have worked hard in the last two years and have detached from him tremendously. its amazing the clarity that comes when you are no longer living in disfunction. but there is still work to be done...its the navigating process. he is fairly npd I think and I have tried to keep the peace more than I would like and swallow more than I'd like to in order to pacify situations and not deal with him. he gets so offended that I don't consider him a trusted friend anymore but you are all right. he isn't. the more I open the door for hurt, the faster he will walk through it! So yes...my choices decisions lately HAVE been made as a result of HIS actions...if he doesn't like it...its his problem. I also have final say in decision making for the kids so whatever I feel is right, I will do without guilt. they will adjust....so will he.