A Perspective on Co-Parenting a Year after Divorce

Last year, I finalized my divorce, ending my first marriage. My ex has majority custody because I’m serving in the military and move frequently.

I’m currently assigned OCONUS (outside the Continental US) so instead of seeing my kid a few times a year like while I was living on the East Coast, it will probably be like once in the next year. We talk and text semi-regularly so it’s not that bad.

But…

I called her on Monday and it turns out they’re in Northern California visiting relatives. There is nothing wrong with that. They go for a week or two to the Bay Area every year to visit relatives. It also happens that my ex and I went to high school together and my parents still live in our hometown as well.

My expectation is that when they travel to the Bay Area, they arrange with my parents to visit at least once. My brother is severely disabled and will never have kids. My sister to date has been unable to have a kid. I’m snipped and 40 and I’m not having any more kids. My girl is likely the only grandchild my parents will ever have.

As soon as I asked my kid about visiting my parents, she got snippy with me. Then her mom (who I’ve actually been getting along with as of late) got on the phone and started arguing and bringing up crap that had nothing to do with my parents. Then they hung up and wouldn’t answer and finally they did and I calmed both of them down and they’re supposed to visit my parents on Friday.

I don’t think any of what I’m asking is off base. You can’t keep a kid from getting to know their grandparents if there is no valid reason to avoid them (e.g., abuse). “I don’t like your parents” is not a valid reason to do unilaterally deny one set of grandparents opportunities to visit with their grandchild(ren).

That I didn’t even know they were traveling to CA for vacation is no issue with me. That’s their right and I’m not monitoring (or giving a hoot) about where they go for vacation.

Then I came across this article in Medium today:

https://link.medium.com/fGjGXN04YY

As I read this, I got to thinking of some observations. I’ve noticed ex being less formal with our kid than what I would like. I think kids need PARENTS and not friends in their parents. I’m her dad. I am not her friend, and I certainly don’t ask my kid for emotional support. I’m the dad so I give her that support and guidance and listen to her concerns. But my ex, I think, is approaching, if not outright committing, the sort of “emotional incest” the author describes. Then I thought back to last summer after the divorce was final and she suddenly decided she wanted me to take her back, which is relevant to the rest of what I wrote above because after that, my kid called me several times asking me to call my ex because she was apparently crying a lot. While I’m empathetic, probably to the extent of being too nice and naive regarding my understanding of women, I’m not a sucker.

I’ve since married and I think they are both mad at me for that. I mean, nothing makes a divorce more final than falling in love with another person and committing to marriage.