Dear Ex Husband

Let’s start with this:  I am not passive aggressive.    I have many faults, but when I send an email that says you can pick up the kids at A or B, and you choose C, and I follow that with an email saying, that wasn’t one of the options presented, that’s not passive aggressive.  That’s just the pain of only being able to communicate with you via email because you refuse to talk like a normal person.  You emailed throughout our marriage, too, so I’m not surprised, it’s just exhausting.  And full of miscommunication and long, slow, and difficult.  When you refuse to answer what your plans are over three or four days of requests for a weekend schedule, and then become angry when I say “this is now the plan because you can’t make one”, that’s passive aggressive.  That’s you PASSIVELY refusing to do something to AGGRESSIVELY mess with my life.  I just wanted to clarify that.

I was so worried when you dropped the bomb on me of the affair and the divorce that there would be custody arguments.  That you would want one of the week on/week off arrangements I hear about, or even 50/50.  I wanted to run with the children, protect them from you because you were my source of pain and therefore I needed to protect my three little hearts from that pain.  I didn’t.  I was not perfect.  I yelled at you in front of the kids, I cried, I was very emotional.  In my defense, you refused to engage… ever.  We never fought.  So I never knew anything was wrong.  I never had a chance to work on our relationship, never knew you were that unhappy.  So it was all a shock to me.

I thought you would change so much now that you were ‘happy’ and with her.  I thought you would become the father I always wanted you to be, because surely when you are happy, you will be fully engaged with your children. The thought was maddening.  Now, I wish I had been right.

Stop texting during your two hours with these kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Don’t you see that when you are not with them SO much, you need to be with them fully when you ARE?  They are smart, beautiful, loving children.  They are a family all by themselves and they are amazing.  Our son leads the younger two and has not wavered in his statements that we are all still a family, we just live in different places.  He’s SIX and he’s so emotionally healthy!

Get off your phone when you are at the Tball game.  Don’t let the other moms pick up your slack in watching the little ones while you text. I thought you would make such a good dad when I married you.  What could be more disappointing than hearing you say you didn’t like trick or treating with the kids because ‘it wasn’t fun for you’.  It’s NOT ABOUT YOU.  Don’t say I give you ‘too much information’ when I tell you about their birthday parties with their friends.  How can you have TOO MUCH information about your kids lives?

I was so so angry with you.  Now I am just so so saddened by you. I don’t know what I feel about this woman, your affair partner, ten years older, no children and never wanted to be a mother.  I’m angry she spends time with my children given she never wanted that life and I so very much did (and do).  But I had hoped at least it would help you be a better parent when you were ‘happy’.

Step up, dude.  I hope I can find a new partner who will pick up your slack in parenting, but I’m pretty picky now.  You’re their one Dad.  Don’t slack on this job.

Your co-parent and ex-wife.

~ by Jacquelyn Fletcher on June 24, 2011.

9 Responses to “Dear Ex Husband”

  1. I’m sorry he’s not acting like a decent parent. I don’t understand why people cannot put their dang phones down, and pay attention to the people in front of them. I hope you can navigate custody with him productively. Good luck.

  2. I could have written every word of this letter. I know how you feel. You are NOT alone in your frustration. Email is awful. Tone and purpose are so hard to interpret in letter/email especially if you are like me and my child’s father. Neither one of us were every meant to be writers. Sometimes I think he will misinterpret what I am saying because he thinks automatically I am angry when I’m not. Or I think he is condescending when he really is not. Email is such an imperfect form of communication.
    I too feel annoyed that I wanted to be a mom so badly but I share my children with someone who never wanted that in her life. She too is 10 years older than my exhusband. She too is the OW. She is 20 years older than me and constantly tells me she is old enough to be my mother and knows better than me what is best for kids these days. She has no children! She did not want to share her life with children yet she knows what’s best.

    It’s so disheartening to watch the man that we once loved, who we felt would be an amazing father to our children, who know don’t seem to care. I also am accused of giving too much info. So I stopped. Then I’m accussed of withholding info. I don’t know what to do?
    I wish there were a handbook. I would definitly read it! I would even follow it like a procedure manual I follow at work.
    My child also complains about the texting. Put your phone down! They are so much more important. Time flies. Pay attention. I can’t ever tell my child’s father this. I can’t tell him how to be a dad. I want to. But I know I can’t. It’s not my place. But if we were still married I would tell him as his wife that he is missing so much. But not my place now. I would never put up with a neighbor or a family member mistreating my children but I can’t do anything about the father because I’m not married to him. I could tell a teacher or a babysitter, pay attention! Stay off the phone/Internet/video games but I can’t tell my child’s father. Not my place. It would come out as controlling and manipulating.

    I feel your frustration. You are not alone. That relationship of a father and his children is so very special and important. I hope that as time goes on both of these men will realize how fast they will grow up.

  3. I don’t understand: you were “afraid” that your kids would spend as much time with their father as they would with their mother? Wouldn’t you want them to have equal time with and access to both parents?

  4. Anonymous I think what she means (in my opinion) is just being afraid of the unknowing. We are our children’s world for many years and then all of a sudden, you are no longer the #1 caregiver and you don’t have them 100% of the time like you did for all those years. I know that is how I felt. It doesn’t mean I don’t want my child to have a father or a strong relationship with her father, it’s just that all of a sudden you are in a tail spin of where are my children, are they happy, are they safe, are they healthy etc. It doesn’t mean they are not just means we worry, we are sad, our family is torn apart, we all miss so much, we have to learn in time to accept this new way of being parents separately.

    What happened to no more negative comments?

  5. I don’t think asking a question is a negative comment. If we haven’t been on the other side, how are we to know what it’s like?

  6. OP here – I don’t find the question negative. And if you haven’t been a mother to small children, you probably will not understand (it changes as they grow). My children were in utero, 2, and 4 at the time. I was a stay at home mom. I had to give birth, find a job, go back to work, maintain the house (he helped not at all). It was stressful, to say the least. To go from 60 hours of alone parenting plus probably 20 hours of semi-not-alone parenting on the weekends to 15 hours during the week and 12 hours on weekends already felt like my heart was being ripped out. Mothers everywhere have a hard time going back to work, for me to have gone back to work and faced a 50/50 custody arrangement (which would have significantly increased the amount of parenting he EVER did) would have been a horrific impact for me. My children did not notice when he moved out, if that gives you an indication of how involved he was as a parent. Now they are 20 months, 4 and 6, and it is different, but I would still despise 50/50. I never limit his access (and often encourage the children to call him for big happenings, like a lost tooth) but he often chooses not to exercise his full visitation. Unfortunately, as I expressed in this letter, they are not all put upon fathers whose rights are stolen from them. Some of us divorced mothers are just trying to get them to carry their share of parenting. Though I worry that the more he does, the greater chance my children have of following in his footsteps.

  7. Very well explained OP.

    I was also a stay at home mom for 5 years and had to return to work, putting my child in daycare for the first time. I looked at the positive of starting daycare because she was starting kindergarten Soon anyway and although my thought was we would have more children, it ended there and she ended up being just fine. I think the hardest part for me was falling asleep at night in the beginning when she wasn’t home. We were the ones that moved because I couldn’t afford the house. So it was new, noises were different and I found myself wandering around wondering what to do with myself. I did a LOT of reading, scrapbooking, seeing friends and got a lot of me time but it still was very hard in the beginning just not knowing how to ‘not’ be a mom 24 hours a day. I think after a while, the positive I gained from over night week visits was that twice a week I could sleep in a little and just get myself ready and go off to work. I treated myself to Starbucks and Danish on those days, just to try to make it a GOOD thing and it was.
    Right now, it’s been 5 years since my divorce but my child is gone for the summer and I’m …. Bored. Lol BUT on a positive note, I have no dance class to rush to, no piano lesson to get to. Dinner is easy and I’m totally off schedule.. And laundry is a breeze! But she is having a good time and I’m taking advantage of relaxing while she is gone.

  8. Women want to hear the details men don’t. If your ex wants more information let him ask for more information. You will find that you have less conflicts.

    I think it is time to focus on your parenting skills vs. his. Perhaps that will aid in less conflict with co-parenting. Good luck!

  9. I do wish it were so simple to ‘focus on my parenting’. The logistical considerations and his inability to think several steps ahead and communicate leave me consistently put out.

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