Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
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For me, it took a lot of repetition, a bit of compromise and my ex marrying someone more focused (on things besides work) and more considerate than he is.
We don't quarrel over my ex letting himself into my house, but he does frequently drop off the kids earlier than expected, or he won't be available at all for his parenting time day and will "forget" to tell me. Like your ex, he gets defensive when I point out the basic courtesies I'd (quite reasonably) like him to respect. The gist of his defensiveness is that I really ought to understand that he and his job are SO important that I can't expect him to remember trivial things like the need to tell me when he'll be out of town. And, really, do I have anything else going on in my life? When he needs the kids to be with me, am I not just sitting around waiting for them? I don't think even he actually buys into that. He just knows it irritates me so much that I will either wind up yelling at him and making an ass of myself, or giving up on the whole conversation as useless because he seems so dense.
From talking to his wife on several occasions, I realize that he's like this with her, too. Sometimes she calls after he misses dinner, to ask when he'll be home, and learns he's in China. Literally. That has helped me put things into perspective. It's not targeted disrespect toward me, because I'm "only" his undervalued ex. He simply has bad manners, even toward people who are unquestionably very important and dear to him. Which reminds me to be grateful that I'm not married to him.
It also makes me reflect that if my kids are going to have him as a parent (Not that he's all bad! This is simply one area where he's off-putting.) then it's something of a privilege, that everyone understands my home is the one home always open to our kids. Regardless what kind of mansion my ex lives in, my kids still call my house "home" and his, "Dad's house". And it's precisely because Dad's house is only available to them when it's convenient for Dad and Step-Mom, who have busy lives. They live at - and are welcome in - my house, all the time...even when it's inconvenient for me. When I'm frustrated, I try to focus on the fact that I can't change my ex's rudeness, but I can make sure my kids feel welcome, even unannounced.
Over time, there has been some change. If my ex and/or his wife realize at the last minute that he never told me neither of them would be available for his parenting time, they're more likely to arrange a grandparent, in case I made other plans. She has also gotten good about sending a meal home for the twins, if I expected them to eat with Ex & her, but they get dropped off with me, before they eat. Having them show up unexpectedly is less irritating, without the dilemma of them being starving and me not having made enough dinner to accommodate two extra teenage boys.
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate:
... twin sons:
(HS seniors) ... step-son:
(a sophomore) ... our little man:
(a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all