Episode 029: Gobsmacked! Welcome to Co-Parenting
Episode 029: Gobsmacked! Welcome to Co-Parenting with special guest Dad Solo
It’s our 29th episode and The Boyfriend and Leanne talk about how women (and sometimes men) lie about their age. It seems like nobody wants to be older than 30. Leanne’s mom always told her she was 29. Then one day Leanne mentioned to the neighbor that it was her mom’s birthday. The neighbor asked how old her mom was. Leanne said 29. The neighbor laughed and laughed and said “You’re mom is lying to you.” Leanne was upset by this and told her mom. Her mom said, “She’s right. I’ve been lying to you. I was 30 when I had you.
Anyway, back to divorce…
Do you stay in touch with your ex? The Boyfriend doesn’t keep in touch with his exes anymore. Leanne doesn’t keep in touch with her ex husbands, but does keep in touch with ex-boyfriend. What’s the difference? None of the relationships ever lasted long enough to really to be concerned. Also, it’s easy to stay connected because of social media.
The Boyfriend and Leanne discuss why it may be easy or not easy to keep in touch. If you’ve had children, you’re always going to have a bond with your ex. It may be more difficult in some situations.
Our guest today is in the midst of a challenging divorce and shares his experience of learning to co-parent. Meet Dad Solo!
Dad Solo and his ex-wife split on Christmas day! Over the following couple of days a friend of Dad Solo’s suggested he start a blog teaching single dads how to cook. He did start a blog, but it never turned into that. Instead, it turned into him ranting and sharing every thought about what was happening. Things had gotten to such a bad place with his ex that he wanted other people to know how hard it is. He wanted to give people a real slice of what happens in a divorce. He often shares real screen shots of text messages and in the moment exchanges.
Wait! Let’s back up a minute – they split on Christmas Day? Yes, things had built up over time. Dad Solo’s patience had run out. They were both young when they got married and he thought he could fix her. Having kids didn’t give them much time to work on themselves. He was past forgiving and didn’t have any more to give. Over time Dad Solo started to awaken to the idea that he wasn’t happy, and about three years before they split, he had sex with someone else. His ex-wife found out much later and they almost called it quits then, but he stayed. He stayed because he dreaded the divorce process.
Dad Solo accepted the blame and that was the window for him to change. He had accepted the label of having depression because he was so miserable in his marriage. It was a very controlling relationship with a lot of co-dependency on his part. But because he didn’t break free, it just became much worse.
“I accepted a label of having depression. It was a lovely label that explained why I’d done it. It explained to everybody else why I’d done it. It meant he was less of an asshole. Most importantly, my wife accepted it.”
Eventually Dad Solo woke up one day and realized he was really done. From that point forward he decided to start moving toward extracting himself from the unhealthy marriage. He’s continued to do so and now reached a forensic level in court.
Dad Solo suggested that Dad Solo had been behaving like a little boy and need to start having an adult voice in the relationship. Dad Solo has had to learn new behaviors in order to move forward, and his ex-wife doesn’t understand why he’s not behaving the same way he used to.
According to the laws in the UK, Dad Solo should have 50/50 custody, but it’s not working out that way. (There are different rules if you’re not married or depending on where you live.) When it comes to the children, the court always seems to side with the mother. In his case, he’s trying to be realistic with scheduling and his ex-wife is not. As a result, Dad Solo averages 11-13 nights a month with his kids.
He’s read a number of books that he has found to be helpful – links at the bottom of this post.
Dad Solo volunteered to attend a one-day co-parenting class. When he spoke with some of the other dads in the class, they were Gobsmacked at how much Dad Solo actually saw his kids! Many of the other dads were only able to see their kids a few times every six months.
Dad Solos’ ex-wife doesn’t want to go to co-parenting, as she is still angry and has a lot of resistance to move forward. Dad Solo has been doing a lot of soul searching and trying not to point fingers and place blame.
In the meantime, Dad Solo’s ex-wife has run up a large debt and he’s unable to give her as much of the financial support as she wants. She’s not being realistic and is asking for more than both he and she earn together.
When it comes to co-parenting he believes the kids need clothes and toys at each home and to make it easier on them. He want to make it as easy as possible for the kids and doesn’t want them living out of a suitcase or a backpack. To avoid having to run back and forth all the time, he keeps an extra set of schoolbooks, toys, and clothes.
Dad Solo’s ex-wife is very materialistic and hasn’t been working on her independence. Some of the ex-wife’s friends suggested she run up the credit cards so Dad Solo will have to pay for it. Others in their circle are telling her that what she wants doesn’t exist, but she continues to lash out. The ex-wife has always been materialistic.
“One of the biggest contributing factors to us splitting up is I cannot carry her, I cannot keep covering up her spending, and basically robbing Peter to pay Paul so to speak…and constantly dealing with her excessive spending…”
And the very unfortunate part is that she communicates with Dad Solo only through the children.
They separated Christmas 2015, and since it’s frowned upon if you don’t try to sort things out, they’ve been trying to do so. The first six months they tried to work things out on their own, and then took the next step and went through mediation. They were in shock, in therapy, and trying to have a co-parenting relationship. The ex-wife pulled out when the mediator said she was being unrealistic. The whole process has ended up taking a very long time and continues to drag on. They’ve had a lawyer, mediators, solicitors, they petitioned, they had court dates, and the only people winning right now are the lawyers.
Dad Solo spent the last weekend with his kids and took his new partner. Now he’s worried about what his ex will say or do, especially since she tells their kids things she shouldn’t. She treats the children as friends rather than as parent/child, which makes everything more difficult. They are too young to understand adult relationships and should not be placed in the middle.
“We have to do this. We have to talk to each other.
I don’t want to talk to you, I’ll be happy to never deal with you again. But we’re going to have to.”
What are Dad Solo’s options going forward?
He feels that the money situation will work out fine. Dad Solo feels it’s a legal process and he trusts that the courts will be fair and more realistic than his ex-wife. When it comes to finances, the laws have improved and he is confident they will find a middle ground.
However, it’s more difficult when it comes to the kids. This where the courts are still favoring with the mother. Ultimately, he’d like to be flexible and work together on the time rather than on a strict schedule.
Dad Solo believes that time Heals and looking forward to the end of the negotiations so they can all get on with life. He wants to heal and communicate better.
His kids are eight and six-years-old and on the surface it doesn’t appear that they notice too much. The youngest is a bit better because she is a bit more resilient, while the older one is more sensitive and is more aware. Dad Solo would like he and his ex-wife to work together and be consistent. They should be parents.
On the upside, Dad Solo and his ex-wife are within walking distance, which is great because the kids have the same friends, same schools, and least amount of disruption. However, his ex is from Scotland and he really hopes she doesn’t choose move further away as that would be much harder.
Dad Solo doesn’t think it’d be the end of the world if they were farther away, but is certainly grateful to be so close. He appreciates being involved in his kids everyday life vs. just the weekend stuff.
“When you have kids with somebody… you’ll be linked with them the rest of your life. You’re going to be haunted by that person… You’re going to be putting up with this shit for years.”
If there was one thing Dad Solo would have done differently, he wouldn’t have enabled her and let it drag out for so long. He wishes he would have stuck up for himself much sooner; he could have save a lot of money and be divorced by now.
What you’ll learn:
- How challenging a divorce can be
- The importance of communication
- Some rules of divorce in the UK
- Why staying in a relationship can be more harmful than leaving one
What you won’t learn:
- How to make your ex stop being difficult
- How to cook for kids
- The Boyfriend’s true identity
Our favorite moments:
@06:42 Intro Dad Solo
@07:44 Meet Dad Solo
@08:20 Merry Christmas! We’re getting a divorce
@08:40 He was going to teach dads how to cook for kids
@09:17 Turned into his personal thoughts on his divorce
@11:05 Wait a minute! You split up on Christmas?
@14:48 Accepting the label of having depression
@15:50 Woke up and he was done
@17:37 Changing behaviors
@18:38 Court and laws usually side with the mother
@22:30 Laws in the UK
@35:25 The flaws she had at the beginning were the same ones that
@41:01 Holiday with his new partner and the kids
@42:07 How do you move forward?
@45:55 Time Heals
@47:34 Kids are okay
@54:30 You’re going to be putting up with this shit for years
Tweet: Once we have a child with somebody, we’ll always have a bond with them. Ep29 @lafterdivorce #divorce #coparenting #choiceswemake
Tweet: Staying in an unhealthy relationship can be worse than leaving it. Ep29 #divorce #relationships #choices #selfcare #lifelafterdivorce
Tweet: Changing how we talk about things can change our perspective. Ep29 #divorced #childofdivorce @lafterdivorce #lifelafterdivorcepodcast
Tweet: Time Heals #divorce #coparenting #attititudeofgratitude @lafterdivorce.com
Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex- A Hands-on, Practical Guide to Communicating with a Difficult Ex-Spouse by Julie Ross https://www.amazon.com/Joint-Custody-Jerk-Uncooperative-Hands/dp/0312584202
You Can Heal Your Heart by Louise L. Hay and David Kessler https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1781802440?keywords=You%20can%20heal%20your%20heart&qid=1457812556&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
Living with Mum & Living with Dad by Melanie Walsh https://www.amazon.co.uk/Living-Mum-Dad-Two-Homes/dp/1406341762/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=12A89F7G1N46Z0P741WD
It’s not your fault, Koko Bear: A Read-Together Book for Parents and Young Children During Divorce by Vicki Lansky https://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Fault-Koko-Bear-Read-Together/dp/0916773477/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454010738&sr=8-1&keywords=its+not+your+fault+koko+bear