The Day The Game Changed

Since our very amicable and relatively easy separation, RB and I have come to blows only once or twice. There have been heated words and many compromises, but great big dirty rows I can count on one hand. Compared to the last 18 months of our marriage, this is pretty incredible. And, I’d have to say I’m pretty proud of us for that. Give us each a gold flippin’ medal. If you could put a picture on our journey so far, it would look a bit like this…

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However, last week things changed. Forgive me, this post is a bit wordy, but it kinda needs to be…

The Background

If you have been following me over on Instagram and Twitter you’ll know that I am in the process of doing up my first house as a singleton. I’ve done a few projects before, so this is not new to me. It is, however, very stressful. Managing a team of self employed tradesmen who appear and disappear at will, while trying to maintain a schedule of works so the girls and I can move in, can get a little tricky. They are all working on top of each other one day, then the next two of them don’t show up, so the other three can’t do what they’re supposed to as they need the absentees to have completed various tasks in the timeline. Fairly standard stuff when you are managing your own build. However, it saves ££££’s so it’s worth it.

Now, I have been quite used to relying on RB, as we have remained close since our split. This all seemed to change last week though. Here’s the rub. We have a family calendar planner so the girls will always know where they are meant to be on any given night. We share our parenting roles 50/50, three nights with him, three nights with me. Simple!

It’s organised, the structure of the week remains the same, everyone is happy. We occasionally make changes to accommodate each others separate lives, but generally we try to stick to it. Yay us.

The Row

On this particular week RB asked me if I would mind switching things up a bit as he had a function to attend (It was a funeral, nobody he knew personally, but someone close to his new GF and he wanted to support her). Fine, no problemo. I am a generous easy-going zen-like flexible co-parent. It’s all part of the ‘amicable separation’/’conscious uncoupling’ game, right?

Fast forward to the next day when I required a similar favour in return. Going back to the building site timeline, I had some jobs to do so that next tasks in the schedule of works could happen the following day. I was hoping to work into the night to get the task completed. So, I asked RB if he would mind returning the favour of the previous day. A perfectly reasonable request I thought?

He said no.

 

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I was a little annoyed, but then he said it was because he wanted to work late, to make up the hours that he had missed the day previous. He had a deadline to meet before the weekend. Cue mini argument and a bit of mudslinging both ways.

During the back and forth of whatsapp arguing, I suspected that he wasn’t intending to work late at all. Why else would he be so difficult? Especially after me helping him out without any issue at all the day before. This was not the usual run of things, one does a favour for the other, and that favour is returned at some other point. It’s just The Rules!

Then it hit me, maybe he was actually going to spend the evening with his new GF. Duh! He continued to maintain that he was working late and that I was a crazy super bitch for accusing him of not putting the children first. I felt bad. Maybe I was wrong and blowing the whole thing out of proportion, in a slightly crazed jealous ex style? Was I?? Did I make the whole thing up??

N.B. I’m not the crazy jealous ex type – at all. Could not give less of a shit. But, when it upsets the balance of how we are managing our lives as co-parents. That gets on my nerves. A large part of maintaining an amicable separation is having respect for one another, along with a fair dollop of give and take. I felt strongly that this was not being reciprocated, whatever the reason.

The truth is he was flatly refusing to help me out.

Whatever the actual truth of the matter isn’t important, really. What the whole drama DID mark was the start of a sea change in our relationship. So that was it. I knew that things had changed forever. Gone was my reliable, if not slightly harassed, baby daddy. He had been replaced by an ex-husband. There was now someone else in his life and our journey was about take a totally different direction.

 

 

Top Image Credit Mark Williamson – www.mrandmrsw.com

 

 

 

The Beginning, the Middle, the End. In Short.

For me to write about my experience of divorce and co-parenting, I guess I should give you some history?

It all began way back in January 2004. I was 24 and had been happily single for two years but had come to the decision that it was time to think about meeting someone to share the fun with. Nothing serious. I was heading out with K and casually joked to The Mothership that I was off to find a husband. Little did I know…

Later on that very evening I slipped over on the dance floor and landed right in front of him! He was out with a couple of mates and we spent the next few hours chatting, dancing, laughing and drinking, then all went back to K’s house in the wee small hours. The party carried on and we had secret sex on the sofa.

{Note to Children – If you read this when you are older, don’t ever sleep with someone on the first night that you meet them. It’s very bad behaviour.}

The morning after we swapped numbers and arranged to meet up a couple of weeks later. Now, despite being a sensible girl, we didn’t use a condom. I was on the pill, it didn’t matter, right? Well, I thought to be doubly sure I’d get myself the morning after pill, Just In Case. Life went on, we met up a few times, things were going well! Until a few weeks later. Yep, you guessed it, no period. Shit. What??? Oh. My. God!!! I was so careful!

I told RB and he was a dream. From that moment on we were thick as thieves and quickly fell in love. We had made the decision to terminate the pregnancy very early on, but then that decision was taken out of our hands anyway. The foetus wasn’t growing properly and I had a lot of pain. I had a miscarriage at about the 6 weeks mark.

Had we not had this massive emotional journey at the very beginning of our relationship, who knows what would’ve happened. Maybe we would’ve stayed together, maybe not. It may sound odd, but I’m glad I had that very early pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage, as it meant that we stayed together and now have two beautiful children who we both adore.

Skip forward a few years…

2007 – Marriage

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2008 – Baby Emilia

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2012 – Baby Ella

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And that’s how it all began.

About a year after Ella was born, the cracks began to appear. If were are honest with ourselves they were probably always there, but life moved so quickly that we didn’t notice the flaws in our relationship. Small nuances in each others characters that were previously accepted, gradually became very clear differences in our personalities. We ignored it, we didn’t really discuss it, just hoped it would go away. But it didn’t.

Over time it became glaringly obvious that we just weren’t compatible. I feel pretty emotional writing this down, as I’m really proud of how great our relationship now is, compared what it would’ve undoubtedly descended into had we stayed together.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share a more in-depth explanation of the process that we went through. I call it a process because thats what it was like. Once I had made the final decision to end our marriage, things just happened. It was devastating, emotional, terrifying, and guilt ridden. However, we both made it to the other side of our personal Armageddon. And, although we both sometimes have to bite our tongues, and there are usually a few incidences a month where either one of us will quietly tolerate a gripe, things are good.

I am not an expert on ‘how to leave your husband’, nor am I a psychologist. I appreciate that everyone’s relationships are different, so I hope my stories don’t come across in any way other than the way that they are intended – as honest tales of my personal experience of marriage breakdown, and how we make co-parenting work.