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Old 05-22-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
I'd suggest regular phone calls that are actually about _parenting_. The very same kind of conversation that goes on after the kids are in bed when you're married, when you're talking about what this or that little friend did, and so-and-so's mom, and the alternative school someone asked you to join, and the little worries and large things that are parents' glue. You'll see that even (maybe especially) in families where the romantic part of the marriage died years ago, and the parents stay for the kids. I think it's the disruption in that kind of conversation -- the loss of it, not just the loss of the everyday household presence and help -- that really kills the parenting relationship.
This is possible - DF and DSD's mom have these type of conversations. I'd say they speak on the phone more days than not. This even occurred when DSD did not split her time evenly between parents.

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Old 05-22-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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I don't think it is good for the new marriage. For one thing, if the two ex's get along so well, maybe there shouldn't have been a divorce to begin with. I agree civil phone calls are great, but calling one another in the sense that is described above is taking intimacy away from the current marriage. It's not about jealousy by the way, but about preserving the man/wife moments for the actual man and wife.

My ex tried to engage me on this slippery slope of talking to me about kids and other things while he was engaged and then married. I finally said no to it all as I didn't think it was fair or right to her. Yes, that type of thing was the glue that had held us together, not just as parents but as a couple. Once the couple bond was broken I had no need for that type of glue.
Except that the kids are "glue" and this kind of 'intimacy' does not have to threaten or take anything away from a new partnership. For me, I would feel more threatened if my partner felt jealous about these kinds of conversations or if he couldn't have them with his own ex for fear of alienating me (or because he had unresolved anger/feelings toward his ex). If having these conversations strictly about the kids makes one wonder about whether a divorce should have taken place, there's much more to worry about . . .
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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I think the same thing happens on the other side when the NCP becomes engaged with a new family and does in fact pay less attention to the kids from the last family. Again, you cannot garnish part of his mind. It's unfair, but there the burden is again on him to keep the kids front/center, unless the mother's welcome to call his new house frequently and put the kids on the phone. Nightly, if he doesn't do it himself.

Why would his growing family be any different from his first children? I know in my case our second child isn't here yet... but I honestly do not see anything changing with our situation... in fact we will likely be pushing for 50/50 custody so we can see DSD more and it will be easier than carting her a half hour away twice during the week.

We are bringing DSD to the ultrasounds and have her be very involved in the preparation of the arrival of her new sibling.

There is no way we could just stop paying attention to DSD just because another child is on the way... it's the same as an intact family having an addition.


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(I will note that in both sides of this setup -- which is, again, not other setups -- the actor is the NCP. The NCP leaves one parenting relationship and enters another. The CP reacts to both -- first by understanding that her parenting relationship with the guy is gone, and adjusting; then by yelling if the guy seems to be withdrawing from the relationship with the children as well.)

Again, I don't think this is neccessarily true. DP still parents DSD... we will talk with his ex about her schooling and extracurriculars and doctor visits, etc.... This hasn't gone out the window just because he parents with me now too.


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I'd suggest regular phone calls that are actually about _parenting_. The very same kind of conversation that goes on after the kids are in bed when you're married, when you're talking about what this or that little friend did, and so-and-so's mom, and the alternative school someone asked you to join, and the little worries and large things that are parents' glue.

I have to strongly disagree with this... that isn't parents glue... that's a marital glue as well. The relationship is over. There is no need to BS gossip about what happened at the child's school that day with your ex... it is nothing big pertaining to the DC and not necessary what so ever to parent.

Yes they will always be parents together... but they are no longer man and wife and they do not need to have nightly conversations over mundane things that do not directly involve DC.


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Yes, of course they're real. But they aren't real in the mother's lived experience of parenting. They aren't really there in the house or on the phone, and to all appearances they're uninterested. Pretending that you have a parenting partner that doesn't exist is, well, making up an imaginary friend.

So if all NCP's were uninterested like you said and imaginary... then why in the world do we do so much for DSD? Yes, they aren't in the house... you made that decision... but that doesn't make them any less of a parent!!

We pick up and will soon be taking DSD to school... we take her to her dance recitals and rehersals, to her cousins houses, and other family members... I guess we don't exist or show any interest because we don't live with ex??


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It's not about pretending that a parenting partner exists. It's about acknowledging that the child has another parent who has every right to know what is going on with their child.

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Old 05-22-2008, 01:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mama41 View Post

I'd suggest regular phone calls that are actually about _parenting_. The very same kind of conversation that goes on after the kids are in bed when you're married, when you're talking about what this or that little friend did, and so-and-so's mom, and the alternative school someone asked you to join, and the little worries and large things that are parents' glue. You'll see that even (maybe especially) in families where the romantic part of the marriage died years ago, and the parents stay for the kids. I think it's the disruption in that kind of conversation -- the loss of it, not just the loss of the everyday household presence and help -- that really kills the parenting relationship.

I think it would take an unusually tolerant new wife, though, because there is a kind of intimacy involved. One I think is appropriate, but if the new wife is inclined to be jealous, it won't work.
I talked to my DH about this concept last night. Does he think there would come a time when he would have regular chats with DSS's mom about the type of things you describe? I even used your terms "the conversation that goes on after the kids go to bed." Could he see that as being a good thing?

For his two cents he said no. He said maybe if you share an infant or very young child with your ex, you would want to talk every day so you wouldn't miss out on any firsts. In his specific case because DSS is 11, he said he would prefer to talk to him about the events of his day, friends, teachers, etc rather than his mom.

Of course, he may have been saying that just to keep me from flying into a jealous rage....

Then he said: "It's hard enough to do the chat thing with your wife--why would I want to do it with my ex?"
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by angilyn View Post
It is the neediness that these type of conversations should be going on that is worrisome for me. Still wanting the intimacy of shared details at night before bed. My Dh doesn't want that. He wants information but if he wanted the types of convesations that are being discussed here, he would have stayed with his ex.
There's no 'neediness' involved here. It seems more 'needy' to have to control or worry about these conversations. I really hadn't found anything problematic about divorced parents keeping up like this. This whole "he would have stayed with his ex" business is pretty reductive. The issue seems to be whether one can tolerate that the ex-spouses do have a relationship still without trying to inject the "we" of the new couple. It's not at all sexual or romantic or husband/wife-like but can exist nevertheless. If anything, my new "romantic" relationship is enhanced by my being well-adjusted enough in relation to my own history to say, "hey, I married this guy and spent a decade with him. We both love this kid more than anyone else on the planet. He's ok by me." If he wants to email me or call about a kid thing, fine.
In my family history, the exes and steps and even ex-steps are pretty friendly, so maybe it's shaped my perspective.
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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I have to strongly disagree with this... that isn't parents glue... that's a marital glue as well. The relationship is over. There is no need to BS gossip about what happened at the child's school that day with your ex... it is nothing big pertaining to the DC and not necessary what so ever to parent.

Yes they will always be parents together... but they are no longer man and wife and they do not need to have nightly conversations over mundane things that do not directly involve DC.
I tend to agree. In many cases by the time you get to the point of divorce/leaving a relationship, a lot of this "connection" is gone even while still cohabitating. To be able to maintain this level of friendhip, because that's what I would consider it, requires a level of respect and trust from both parties. In my case, DH's ex does not treat him with respect on so many things. Would having a regular "friendly" discussion about Tommy's trip to the planetarium or 'did you hear Aunt Fran is having a baby?' change that?
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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There's no 'neediness' involved here. It seems more 'needy' to have to control or worry about these conversations. I really hadn't found anything problematic about divorced parents keeping up like this. This whole "he would have stayed with his ex" business is pretty reductive. The issue seems to be whether one can tolerate that the ex-spouses do have a relationship still without trying to inject the "we" of the new couple. It's not at all sexual or romantic or husband/wife-like but can exist nevertheless. If anything, my new "romantic" relationship is enhanced by my being well-adjusted enough in relation to my own history to say, "hey, I married this guy and spent a decade with him. We both love this kid more than anyone else on the planet. He's ok by me." If he wants to email me or call about a kid thing, fine.
In my family history, the exes and steps and even ex-steps are pretty friendly, so maybe it's shaped my perspective.
I mean this gently, but truly if it's in no way intimate or inappropriate, then why be afraid of the "we" of the married couple? We are married. He is my husband. We live together and share our lives together. We are a family. I'm not sure why he should pretend not to be part of a "we." We are partners in many things, including parenting.

Oh, and I *know* it's not sexual. Heck, they weren't sexual in their marriage so why would they be now? That's got to be dead last on my list of concerns. That has nothing to do with why they aren't daily phone buddies sharing family minutiae. The point is she's not his family. I am. His parenting partner is Yours Truly, not her.

In most cases I'm familiar with, the stepmom does as much parenting as the natural father, simply because that's how families work. When DSD and DSS are here, they are part of our family and we love them and care for them as a married couple. Not as "oh you're just 'his' so I'll just be over here ignoring you."

So if important things happened that needed to be discussed with their mother, why should she fear our "we"? In our case, she's mostly over that relationship by now and she is able to speak to either or both of us without too much trouble. I don't begrudge her one-on-one conversations with DH if needed (or, more typically, if convenient and/or he's the one who answers the phone or whatever), but as a general rule if it's something you can say to my DH, you should also be comfortable saying it to me. Anything too intimate for me to potentially hear is probably inappropriate. They talk sometimes when I'm not around but I think that's the line I would draw in theory.

[Of course, I'll grant that my situation is different because she and I were friends long before her divorce (and had even discussed parenting before), so it's not like I had to get to know her. Maybe it's partly because we already had that foundation that we talk now?]

I think it's reasonable to accept that the married couple is a "we" and they should be treated accordingly.

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Old 05-22-2008, 03:50 PM
 
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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I mean this gently, but truly if it's in no way intimate or inappropriate, then why be afraid of the "we" of the married couple? We are married. He is my husband. We live together and share our lives together. We are a family. I'm not sure why he should pretend not to be part of a "we." We are partners in many things, including parenting.

Oh, and I *know* it's not sexual. Heck, they weren't sexual in their marriage so why would they be now? That's got to be dead last on my list of concerns. That has nothing to do with why they aren't daily phone buddies sharing family minutiae. The point is she's not his family. I am. His parenting partner is Yours Truly, not her.

In most cases I'm familiar with, the stepmom does as much parenting as the natural father, simply because that's how families work. When DSD and DSS are here, they are part of our family and we love them and care for them as a married couple. Not as "oh you're just 'his' so I'll just be over here ignoring you."

So if important things happened that needed to be discussed with their mother, why should she fear our "we"? In our case, she's mostly over that relationship by now and she is able to speak to either or both of us without too much trouble. I don't begrudge her one-on-one conversations with DH if needed (or, more typically, if convenient and/or he's the one who answers the phone or whatever), but as a general rule if it's something you can say to my DH, you should also be comfortable saying it to me. Anything too intimate for me to potentially hear is probably inappropriate. They talk sometimes when I'm not around but I think that's the line I would draw in theory.

[Of course, I'll grant that my situation is different because she and I were friends long before her divorce (and had even discussed parenting before), so it's not like I had to get to know her. Maybe it's partly because we already had that foundation that we talk now?]

I think it's reasonable to accept that the married couple is a "we" and they should be treated accordingly.

I have to agree totally with that... it's similiar to my own situation in that I know their relationship was not very sexual... certainly not a concern here at all. lol

This part really sticks out to me:

"The point is she's not his family. I am. His parenting partner is Yours Truly, not her.

In most cases I'm familiar with, the stepmom does as much parenting as the natural father, simply because that's how families work. When DSD and DSS are here, they are part of our family and we love them and care for them as a married couple. Not as "oh you're just 'his' so I'll just be over here ignoring you.""


That is how we run things... DP, DSD, me and soon to be new babe are all one family unit. When DSD is with her Mom and her Mom's BF... they are their own family unit. Us parents have to exchange info on the children when pertinent, but daily conversations just cause... doesn't strike me as neccessary.

I talk to DP's ex too, her and I actually do most of the scheduling together as it's just not DP's thing, and both me and his ex are pretty busy women and like to have a clear plan of what is coming, so her and I sit down with our planners and hash out details.

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Old 05-22-2008, 04:09 PM
 
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For the record, my husband has absolutely no interest in pillow talk with his ex. I would imagine most men feel the same way.
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I just thought of this--in these daily conversations would the CP be open to chatting about what's going on with DH's other children? Or step grandparents/cousins/etc? Or the friends in DH's neighborhood? Or how I helped him with his homework? Because those realtionships are real and significant to the child too. If it's important that the NCP demonstrate parental commitment by staying totally abreast of the child's "CP world", shouldn't the CP do the same?

I know that DH's ex could care less about the children DH & I have together (unless they would impact her CS.) She has openly said that she has no intention of ever speaking to me, any place where I am she will leave and she deals only with DH. My family doesn't exist for her. How would he build a friendship with someone who feels like that about people who are so important to him? He should just be there for the ex as a confidante, but not share anything that makes up the other side of the child's life?
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Old 05-22-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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I just thought of this--in these daily conversations would the CP be open to chatting about what's going on with DH's other children? Or step grandparents/cousins/etc? Or the friends in DH's neighborhood? Or how I helped him with his homework? Because those realtionships are real and significant to the child too. If it's important that the NCP demonstrate parental commitment by staying totally abreast of the child's "CP world", shouldn't the CP do the same?

I know that DH's ex could care less about the children DH & I have together (unless they would impact her CS.) She has openly said that she has no intention of ever speaking to me, any place where I am she will leave and she deals only with DH. My family doesn't exist for her. How would he build a friendship with someone who feels like that about people who are so important to him? He should just be there for the ex as a confidante, but not share anything that makes up the other side of the child's life?

That is awesome. *nods* What is good for the goose is good for the gander? hehe

I think CP's should understand... the child's bio family isn't the only family they have anymore... so if you are insisting on pillow talk about your family and what they did with DC... then you should totally be open to hearing of what the "step" family has done with the child too.


I know our DSD tells her Mom all about Grammy Smith and Poppy (my parents), and she knows they have horses and spoil DSD and take her for ice cream.

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Old 05-22-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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I mean this gently, but truly if it's in no way intimate or inappropriate, then why be afraid of the "we" of the married couple? We are married. He is my husband. We live together and share our lives together. We are a family. I'm not sure why he should pretend not to be part of a "we." We are partners in many things, including parenting.

Oh, and I *know* it's not sexual. Heck, they weren't sexual in their marriage so why would they be now? That's got to be dead last on my list of concerns. That has nothing to do with why they aren't daily phone buddies sharing family minutiae. The point is she's not his family. I am. His parenting partner is Yours Truly, not her.

In most cases I'm familiar with, the stepmom does as much parenting as the natural father, simply because that's how families work. When DSD and DSS are here, they are part of our family and we love them and care for them as a married couple. Not as "oh you're just 'his' so I'll just be over here ignoring you."

So if important things happened that needed to be discussed with their mother, why should she fear our "we"? In our case, she's mostly over that relationship by now and she is able to speak to either or both of us without too much trouble. I don't begrudge her one-on-one conversations with DH if needed (or, more typically, if convenient and/or he's the one who answers the phone or whatever), but as a general rule if it's something you can say to my DH, you should also be comfortable saying it to me. Anything too intimate for me to potentially hear is probably inappropriate. They talk sometimes when I'm not around but I think that's the line I would draw in theory.

[Of course, I'll grant that my situation is different because she and I were friends long before her divorce (and had even discussed parenting before), so it's not like I had to get to know her. Maybe it's partly because we already had that foundation that we talk now?]

I think it's reasonable to accept that the married couple is a "we" and they should be treated accordingly.
No need to be 'gentle.' I'm not 'afraid' of the 'we' of the married couple. I've done the 'we' then and do the 'we' now. I'm not an 'all-purpose we' person anymore. I like "I" and "you" and "his" and "hers" as frequently. In my own particular experience (underline, bold, highlight), I don't monitor or control my ex's calls or emails. Maybe blind-copies his wife for every contact and records every call. That's his business, and bothers me not. I've said this before, but his wife doesn't need to contact me about parenting stuff because ex and I handle it ourselves. I'm sure he clears stuff like extra days at their home when I travel, but he handles it on his end and gets back to me. I bring them back a bottle of wine from Italy to say 'thanks,' and he hugs my mom when he sees her. I have a genuine fondness for him and wish that he has a long, lasting, satisfying marriage. I know he hopes the best for me as well. Life is too dang short to get caught up in all the mess. We have all had our pride hurt at one time or another. We've all been worried or insecure. It gets old.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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ps--When did this 'conversation' business become about 'daily pillow talk'? I think I missed that part. Keeping each other updated about the kids regularly sure took an extreme turn somewhere. Talk about a 'can of worms'.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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ps--When did this 'conversation' business become about 'daily pillow talk'? I think I missed that part. Keeping each other updated about the kids regularly sure took an extreme turn somewhere. Talk about a 'can of worms'.
I think that was from here:

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Originally Posted by mama41
I'd suggest regular phone calls that are actually about _parenting_. The very same kind of conversation that goes on after the kids are in bed when you're married, when you're talking about what this or that little friend did, and so-and-so's mom, and the alternative school someone asked you to join, and the little worries and large things that are parents' glue. You'll see that even (maybe especially) in families where the romantic part of the marriage died years ago, and the parents stay for the kids. I think it's the disruption in that kind of conversation -- the loss of it, not just the loss of the everyday household presence and help -- that really kills the parenting relationship.

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Old 05-22-2008, 07:03 PM
 
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I think that was from here:
Ok . . . I can see that the "just like when married" and "in bed" part could be triggering, but it seems like it's all about the 'chit-chat' part. Perhaps the setting should have been less . . . 'intimate'?
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Old 05-22-2008, 07:27 PM
 
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What I was trying to express about communication and the old marriage is that, if the bond is so strong that the couple still want and need to speak every night in what was termed an "intimate" manner, they might revisit working on their marriage. Breaking up usually means we don't want to deal with the other person more than is bearable. In my own case, I never cared if I spoke to my ex of 30 plus years ever again. Still have to do it sometimes for the kids, but don't like it, don't want it and only do if for the kids sake.
I think much has been made of the "every night" idea, which wasn't mine. If you'll notice, I said a while back that "weekly" sounds about right to me, but that the kind of conversation is the kind that used to go on after the kids went to bed.

angilyn, I'm good friends with most of my exes, including a man I lived with for seven years and nearly married. In each case, the romantic relationship was a bust, but the friendships were deep and strong. Four of them, including the one I almost married, came to my wedding. My husband wasn't threatened by that, nor did he feel that if we were so close, we shouldn't have split up. I still see and talk to the one who stayed in town, oh, at least twice a week. We run together, have coffee, edit each other's work. We still have much in common, but there's no desire on either side for a romantic/sexual relationship or marriage.

I don't think it's necessary for the parents to be great friends to have that kind of conversation about the kids. As I say, many married parents whose marriages are essentially dead, even hostile, manage it daily. What is necessary is a level of maturity and understanding that you guys are in a real, familial relationship, like it or not, for the duration, and that it would be best for all concerned if you spoke civilly and easily to each other.

I don't see any reason why the "we" of the new marriage shouldn't show up in the conversations, unless it's an explosive issue; it's a reality.
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Old 05-22-2008, 07:39 PM
 
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Yes they will always be parents together... but they are no longer man and wife and they do not need to have nightly conversations over mundane things that do not directly involve DC.
I agree, though I see nothing wrong with it if they're good enough friends to manage it. The conversation I'm talking about is directly to do with children.

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So if all NCP's were uninterested like you said and imaginary... then why in the world do we do so much for DSD? Yes, they aren't in the house... you made that decision... but that doesn't make them any less of a parent!!
JSMa, please read more carefully. Nowhere -- and I mean nowhere -- do I say that all NCPs are uninterested. Nor would I, because it isn't true. Go back and look for yourself if you don't believe me.

By "imaginary" I mean -- and I've said this repeatedly -- "in the mother's experience of parenting". If the dad is there with the kid, but is not really involved in these conversations with the mom or in the daily work of childrearing alongside her, then for all practical purposes, he is nowhere in her life as a mother. For her, he may as well not exist. For the child, yes, he's right there.

I am sure you have relatives who are perfectly real, and whom you love, but whom you see maybe once every two years. I doubt very much that they're on your mind daily, or that when something good happens you think right away, "Oh, I have to tell Aunt Lindsay!" Even though maybe Aunt Lindsay is very important to your mom, and might be on your mom's mind daily.

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I guess we don't exist or show any interest because we don't live with ex??
No, but unless you have good and ongoing communication, the ex is unlikely to be thinking of you guys much. Assuming she's a healthy person who's gotten on with her life, and she believes dsd is safe when she's with you two.
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:46 PM
 
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so is the takeaway from this discussion that the ncp has a right to know everything "major" that goes on in the child's life, except not by a nightly phone call which would be considered intrusive by the partner of the ncp? Maybe I've gone and mixed a couple threads together in my mind.
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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I know that DH's ex could care less about the children DH & I have together (unless they would impact her CS.) She has openly said that she has no intention of ever speaking to me, any place where I am she will leave and she deals only with DH. My family doesn't exist for her. How would he build a friendship with someone who feels like that about people who are so important to him? He should just be there for the ex as a confidante, but not share anything that makes up the other side of the child's life?
That's lousy. If my ex had kids, I would want to know to know all about them and make sure my ds had pictures up of them, etc. My own dad always gave Xmas gifts to my sister (from my mom's second marriage), and we all see each other for important events. It made me happy as a young person that everyone I loved could hang out together.
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:49 PM
 
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I'd suggest regular phone calls that are actually about _parenting_. The very same kind of conversation that goes on after the kids are in bed when you're married, when you're talking about what this or that little friend did, and so-and-so's mom, and the alternative school someone asked you to join, and the little worries and large things that are parents' glue.
You said to talk about things directly dealing with DC...

Please tell me what a friend did at school, or so-and-so's Mom, or your schooling, or your worries have to do with the DC?

The ex isn't your partner to discuss trivial day things with anymore... certainly not your worries. That has nothing to do with DC or parenting.

Of course weekly talks of trading pertinent important information is a good idea... it's something most of us do.

But looking for a "friend" to BS about life with... sorry not your ex's position in life anymore.

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Old 05-22-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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You said to talk about things directly dealing with DC...

Please tell me what a friend did at school, or so-and-so's Mom, or your schooling, or your worries have to do with the DC?

The ex isn't your partner to discuss trivial day things with anymore... certainly not your worries. That has nothing to do with DC or parenting.

Of course weekly talks of trading pertinent important information is a good idea... it's something most of us do.

But looking for a "friend" to BS about life with... sorry not your ex's position in life anymore.

I may be wrong, but I think Mama41 is referring to the child's schooling and other child-related stuff. Oh . . . those rascally pronouns!
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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That still doesn't answer what so-and-so's Mom is up to, or what the CP's worries have to do with DC, unless worries are about an issue with DC?

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Old 05-22-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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in fact we will likely be pushing for 50/50 custody so we can see DSD more and it will be easier than carting her a half hour away twice during the week.
Whoa . . . didn't you post that you met her mom and got along really well? Didn't you also post that you've been involved for only around 6 months (this time around w/ child involved)? Now you are expecting your own child and want to disrupt your soon-to-be dsd's life by suing for "50-50 custody" because you don't want to "cart her around" with a new baby?

Oy!
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:13 PM
 
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so is the takeaway from this discussion that the ncp has a right to know everything "major" that goes on in the child's life, except not by a nightly phone call which would be considered intrusive by the partner of the ncp? Maybe I've gone and mixed a couple threads together in my mind.
Yes. Precisely.

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Old 05-22-2008, 11:04 PM
 
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[Of course, I'll grant that my situation is different because she and I were friends long before her divorce (and had even discussed parenting before), so it's not like I had to get to know her. Maybe it's partly because we already had that foundation that we talk now?]
My goodness . . . I imagine that would make it different.
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