OK the truth is, I was going to come back and post my tips about how I am succesfully using The Secret to have a good relationship with my stbx last night after the kids went to bed. However, he (x) was in a yucky mood last night, he talked meanly to me and I thought he was going against ds's best interests by forcing ds to do something he didn't want to do, when he wasn't feeling well (i.e. go to an outdoor winter party and then go to sleep over at x's house). Last night, I was weak and tired and run-down, so I permitted him to trigger old feelings that brought me down to the level of "Oh, what was I thinking, he isn't getting it, I was fooling myself" even to the point of feeling like a jerk that I had posted here about how it was working. I was sad all night, and got nothing done, and went to bed feeling bad.
However, in the morning, I spoke to x and he actually called me for a "consultation" - wanting to know what he should do about making ds go to school although he said he didn't want to go. I told him if it were me, I would try to get ds to go to school, not by force but by going around the back door (metaphorically) and reframing ds's mood, to see if I could get him to go. X and I both work outside the home, and as it happens it's not a fortuitous time for me to take time off at the moment, nor is it for X. (I am so happy and grateful that my job -whatever that job is going to be, whether it's a new job or a new pattern in my current job - offers me flexibility as well as the money and benefits I need, and I really enjoy being able to change my work hours to fit the needs of my family and myself, and to work from home when it's needed. I am happy and grateful that my home is organized in such a manner that this is possible for me to work there on projects of any scale, with complete professionalism and results that make me happy and help others.)
Anyway, I allowed myself to be despondent last night b/c X didn't call me back, even, to say how ds was doing. But by morning, he was apologizing and asking me for advice. Today he cared for ds who was home sick -then when my dd got home from school, X brought ds over to my place so dd could care for him. He explained how I had hurt his feelings last night (I had no idea how important to x that the event was that he wanted to go to with ds) and I acknowledged that and I apologized. I reminded X that he is free to choose how he will behave - like "ass**** X" or like "wonderful nurturing cooperative coparent of ds" X, and how much better he feels inside when he chooses to behave like "nurturing cooperative dad and nice agreeable x". (I picked up on how bad it must feel to be a mean dad to your young child, and how X probably feels like garbage when he finds himself forcing ds to stay with him or other not-so-nice behavior like yelling at me in front of ds, etc.)
Bad night, great day today. Not a good day for me to be away from work, so it was cool that ds could stay at X's today for a while. Tomorrow, we will try something else. But it's late, and I know I could be - will be - am - clearer after I get some sleep (now). I will come back and read this, and if it's total sleep-deprived gibberish, I'll rewrite so you can see a clear outline of how I have used (am using) The Secret to transform what was, for years until recently, a super toxic relationship with X into a positive coparenting partnership.