Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Divorce Dilemmas: What To Do?

D3 has been living with me full time for almost nine months now, so it was bound to happen. She decided she wanted to go stay with her father for a few days this week because she missed him.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be a child of divorce. I'm sure she does miss her father... he's the "fun" one and I will always support her relationship with him no matter how difficult that is for me. I will swallow all the bitterness for her sake.

She was responsible, outlining all her obligations for the week she would be with him, making sure he would be able to drive her to her extra-curriculars and volunteer job. Recently, he moved further away up in the mountains, which includes a treacherous drive up a windy and steep road, doubling his commute to her school. I drove it once, and never want to drive it again. D3 even told her father when she gets her driver's license later this year, he would still have to pick her up. She does not want to drive that treacherous road. He told her she shouldn't worry. He would practice the drive with her. Music to my ears. {ahem...bullsh*t}.

He assured D3, he would be able to drive her to all her activities while she was staying with him.

Day 2 into her stay with him, I receive a phone call at 6:58 in the morning as she is already commuting to school. "Mom, can you pick me up after dance class and drive me back to my dad's? My dad can drop me off at class, but I need a ride after."

I told her I could not. I already had made plans with LB.

"Dad can pick me up and take me home. Can you pick me up from school and take me to class?"

So what does that tell me? Her father doesn't want to do all the driving.

Mind you, he is supposed to be caring for her 50/50. Since May, I have been doing all the driving. I have asked him for gas money to cover the the driving I was now doing on his part and he said "No". He has never paid child support. Doc H pays everything now that I'm not working and never complains about it (the man is a saint).

So what do I do? Do I...

A. Say I can't and let her realize spending time with her father is a disorganized mess and he's not going to support her activities?

or

B. Go pick her up, drop her off, and pray she realizes it's just easier to stay with me?

I'd love to know your opinion.




Seriously Shawn

21 comments:

  1. chances are she already realized it's easier to stay with you, hence the nine months she spent full time at your house. maybe she's just trying to give her father a 'second' chance.

    but i don't think you should say no. as it seems, she already have one parent who doesn't care enough to support her in her activities, i don't think it would do any good if you let her deal with this alone.

    although i don't have any children, and i myself am only 21 years old, i might not be very good at parenting but this is just my thoughts.

    hope the situation will get better soon.

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  2. I would pick her up. My husband's parents divorced when he was 2. One parent did things that was most convenient for them (without regard to the other) because they let their new spouse control them. My husband still resents this to this day, and that parent is still remorseful. I know it's a slightly different situation, as her father is the one at fault here, but you can't change what he thinks. Also, you'd probably get the "But you're not working" card thrown at your face. Unfortunately, it's a lose-lose situation. But it will make your bond with your daughter that much stronger. Good luck!

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  3. Today I would say choice A. Let her feel the consequences. Tomorrow I would probably say B. It shows that you are the one that will always be there. How about C: you could offer to pick her up and bring her back home (your home) and things could return to normal. Who doesn't love normal and consistent? Your husband is a saint (maybe our husbands are related:-)

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    1. I already offered C. Since she was calling from the car, that was shot down. She had left all her stuff at his house. :(

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  4. I would say C as well, but having read that C wasn't a real option... My first instinct was A. Why should LB (and you) suffer because of your ex's lame version of responsibility? But then again. D3 will suffer if you choose A and you're not trying to punish her. I agree with Elizabeth, D3 will already realise life is easier with you. I suppose, *sighing heavily*, B is the best option.

    I have a remarkably similar situation to you, only in the UK, so this scenario really caught my attention! Best of luck. :)

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  5. I'm a child of divorce and I can tell you, it messes a person up. I'm still in therapy and it was the first thing we tackled and I'm 35 years old. My dad wasn't really there for me (except Saturdays) but my mom seemed to be too busy to really give a hoot about what I was doing so now she and I don't even talk but oddly enough my dad is my best friend. Unfortunately there is no easy answer, you just need to do what's best for the child and hope to God they don't end up a mess because of all of it.

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  6. I vote A. He helped create her, and he's shirked too much responsibility already. Her "fun" dad needs to be shown as the "irresponsible" dad. It's not fair that you're the parent and he still gets the reward of seeing her.

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  7. You are right, divorce sucks. Everyone gets hurt in the end. And YOU CAN NOT WIN IN THIS SITUATION. No matter what you do, someone has to sacrifice something,it just won't be your ex. He has already declared his irresponsibility. Do what your heart tells you to do and realize it isn't your fault.

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  8. I'm the child of a divorced family and this situation sounds all to familiar. Honestly, I agree with Lisa - you cannot win in this situation. Your daughter won't realized (or be able to see) the big picture until she is out of the house and understand more of life in general. I also had the "fun" dad and the "disciplinary" mother, and only now (in my late 20s) am I able to have a much better idea of what was going on.
    The best you can do is care for your daughter the best way you know home- regardless of what her father does or does not do.

    On another note - Good for you for speaking highly of your ex to your daughter, it goes a long way in not putting her in the middle of bitterness. (and it so speaks highly of you too!)

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  9. Always be there for her. Karma comes around for the others.

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  10. In similar situations I tell the Boyfriend all you can do is focus on what your kids need. He pays support and only gets his every other weekend. Except for the summer, and then he still has to pay the same amount for support.

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  11. I think you be there for her. Whatever it takes. And don't badmouth dad (which it sounds like you don't do). It's a win win if you're the nice one.

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  12. I'm all about choice A...but it's not my child either. Truth be told, I'd probably choose B. But he's not playing fair! And he SHOULD give you gas money! What an ass.

    Thanks for linking up! Let me know what you decide (or decided). I'm curious.

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  13. I think it depends on how old D3 is. If she were say 5 then I would go with B. Because at that age they don't really grasp the whole situation. If she's like 16 then go with A. By that time she should be able to realize when her Dad is bein a D*&k.

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  14. How tricky!! I went through this sort of thing as a child with my parents. I would say A - but tell her you can arrange to be there for her next time if she needs it, but you just can't drop everything. It's a bit tough, but it might push her to think through if she can really rely on her dad to follow through. I know I had to discover that for myself... Good luck!!

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  15. You are right, divorce sucks. I come from a divorced family, and at 34 I'm still dealing with the repercussions. I thought once I became an adult it would get easier, and it did until I had kids of my own. Now I'm right back in the middle trying to make everyone is happy and make sure each grandparent gets the same amount of time with the kids. It's enough to make me not want to go visit sometimes.

    As far as your dilemma I would choose A, but not happily. It stinks that you have to rearrange your day with LB just because your ex isn't pulling his weight. But as a someone who has been the child in this type of situation, she's the one being punished for his inadequacy as a parent. She knows he's irresponsible and unreliable, but as children we always just keep hoping they'll change. I know I did.

    I wish option C was available because that's the best one. Good luck. What a crap situation for everyone. I would imagine it will be a while before your daughter wants to do this again. Like I said, kids just want to believe that they will change. :(

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  16. You are right, divorce sucks. I'm from a divorced family, and at 34 I'm still dealing with the repercussions. I thought it would get easier as an adult, and it did until I had kids of my own. Now I'm right back in the middle trying to keep everyone happy, and make sure each grandparent, with their new spouses, get enough time with the kids. It's enough to make me not want to visit sometimes.

    As for your dilemma, I would choose option A but not happily. It stinks that you and LB have to rearrange your day because your ex isn't pulling his weight or honoring his commitments. But your daughter is the one who will be punished for her father's inadequacy. She already knows he's irresponsible and unreliable, but as a child we always hope and pray this time they will change. It's sad, but true.

    I wish option C was available, because that's the best one! It's a tough situation for everyone, expect for the bum ex. But I would guess that it will be quite a while before your daughter wants to do this again. He's proving, once again, that he isn't going to change. A harsh reality for your daughter to see time and time again. But believe me, as someone who lived with the responsible parent (my dad!!) she appreciates you and all that you do for her, even if she doesn't always say it.

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  17. Oh no, I meant to say option B!! oops!

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  18. As a daughter in her mid-twenties whose parents are still married, I still find your story resonating. When I started showing symptoms of a chronic illness, my parents started doing whatever was convenient to them after the first year. It was hard for them to deal with the chronic illness and easier if they just pretended it didn't exist.

    This has resulted in events like my visiting them for 24 hours. An old boss flew me in for a major event, and the deal with my parents four months in advance was that they would pick me up from the airport, host me for one night, take me to the event in the morning, and pick me up from the event in the afternoon & take me back to the airport. When I got there, they announced that they had other things scheduled the next day; they couldn't give me a ride to the airport. Could I just take public transit?

    It was hard and seemed incredibly unfair. I had confirmed the plans with them over and over again. I had asked them to write it in their calendar. They complained that I never visited. But at the end of the day, I was just on my own.

    I wound up telling my boss that I didn't have a ride to the airport, and he took me. My mom called me later because she felt bad (but didn't do anything about it), and I politely let her feel bad.

    My point is that sometimes parents can be selfish or not think about their child's best interests. You don't have to be divorced in order for this to happen. As D3 grows older, she'll learn how to improvise and make things work for herself. (Maybe she can get a ride with one of her ballet classmates. Maybe she can forgo ballet class one time if she wants to spend time with her dad.) I wonder if that will give him the opportunity to feel bad for his attitude.

    For me, it took a long time, but I finally realized that there's a cost for spending time with my parents. And, there's a reason that I'm closer to other mentors in my life.

    Life's not always fair. It must be hard to be D3 and want to maintain a relationship with her dad. But at some point, she's going to have to figure it out and also be okay with him knowing that he's not living up to his responsibilities.

    Abigail

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  19. B. Her dad is being a douche, but she's trying to have a relationship with her dad and you should facilitate it, even it is a huge inconvenience, because you're the parent in this situation--she is the child and lets be honest, so is he. Toughie. She'll grow up and realize how great you were/are. :)

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  20. My own dad is a POS and still married to my mom. I would pick A. I would have appreciated my mom letting me realize what an asshole my Dad is a looonng time ago. Would have helped me not pick such loser boyfriends. Lucky for me my husband is also a saint and nothing like my father. Kids have to learn lessons. And send your ex to court. Screw him for not paying child support. You are too nice...I would rake his sorry ass over the coals and make no apologies for it. Why should you and docH suffer and die a long miserable death when you can just confront the bastard and his ways... it's like a bandaid. Initially it will hurt but after its off the sting wears off. of course, I say this and know nothing of divorce; though I sometimes wish my mother would have left my Dad and found another great father figure...probably not possible. She is attracted to pathetic losers who need her to take care of them. :(

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