Your Ex: Friend or Foe
Do you want to be friends with your ex? Not something I thought about it. I never thought I would have an ex.
In my case, my ex has been so mean and nasty that I have never even come close to thinking about being friends with him – those are not friends, those are enemies. Even in the beginning when he first left and he wasn’t horribly hateful yet and I was still in shock, I never thought about being friends with him. I mean, really? I vowed to love, honor and cherish him until death do us part, and this certainly felt like death.
Over the past 7 years, he has done some outrageous, horrible, hateful things to me and our children – not the kind of person I want as a friend. If you didn’t know, you would think I did wrong, I left him, by the way he acts and treats me. His decision, his doing.
We can’t even rationally discuss our children due to his hatefulness towards me. We had a parenting coordinator for the first 6 years. At one point, all of our communication had to be done through said parenting coordinator. And more times than I can count, the coordinator would have to reprimand my ex and tell him to simply state the issue with the children and stop calling me names or saying mean things.
In a nutshell, a nightmare.
Shortly after our divorce was final, he married the twenty-something that had been living with him. Oh, she is so immature and naive; she has dreams of all of us sharing Christmas dinner together, HA. One benefit to her immaturity was my ability to communicate without the nastiness. Thank goodness, most of the time, even now, she does not take on that trait of her new husband (although there are definitely times she does, they are few.)
Even though the new wife and I have the ability to communicate without emotion, it is still not all cookies and cream. I can tell, even in texts or emails, when he is telling her what to say. But for the most part, it is good.
Other than nasty emails and texts, my ex did not speak to me for years, multiple years. Even now when I see him, perhaps at a school or ice skating function of our daughter’s, there are no pleasantries. If I should happen to answer the phone when he calls my house to speak with our daughter, there is never a “hello”, or “may I speak to…” It was always, “let me talk to,” in a gruff voice. Or if he answers when I call to speak with our daughter, he just picks up the phone, no real hello, I ask to speak to our daughter and it is silent, or I hear the phone bang on a table or counter and then my daughter says “hello.”
If he comes to my door or I to his, to pick up or drop off our daughter, he says nothing and does not look at me, no eye contact. If I speak to him, definitely no eye contact, mostly no answers, or simply a grunt.
It has become a “natural” part of my life now. I am just used to it, and accept it, I guess you could say.
I try to be “friendly.” I consider myself always nice. But I do have to admit, after this going on a while, I am purposely sickeningly sweet when I answer the phone knowing it is him. When I greet him at the door, his or mine, I smile big and say “hey” or “hi” or “how are you” in the nicest, sweetest voice I can muster. Why? because I know it makes him uncomfortable! Mean? Perhaps.
Why is it this way? I have no clue. Some will say that he carries so much guilt, he can’t look at me. Maybe he hates me that much. Maybe he has developed an overpowering shyness!
We just finished our 8th holiday season since he left. A new year has begun. Twice now since he remarried, through his wife, we have compromised and made changes to our parenting schedules to benefit us both. Once at my request, and once at theirs. Signs of better times coming? I can only hope.
I answered the phone last night knowing it was him, as our daughter was at a sleepover. To my surprise, he pleasantly asked if our daughter was here. I let him know whose house she was sleeping over at, and that she had her cell phone with her. And even more surprising, the pleasantries continued as he said okay, he would call her cell.
In most worlds, that seems minor, insignificant. But in mine, HUGE, HUGE, HUGE! Maybe this year will be a year we make strides towards someday being friends? I’m not sure that I want to be his friend – the jury is still out on that. But I would like civil and respectful, especially in front of our children.
Are you friends with your ex? Was it always that way? How did you form the friendship?