Faking it for the Kids by Stacey Honowitz
I am sure I am not the only divorcee that has to put on a “happy face” when the ex spouse comes around. I have learned that the only thing that matters is being cordial to one another in front of the kids. It used to be when “Mr. I screwed you over” came by, the steam would be coming out of my ears, and every word that came from his mouth made me want to throwup. I had those mixed emotions of “how could he do this to me” combined with “he looks cute” ruling my brain. That’s not a good place to be in, as it means that you can’t get past the current situation.
I used to clench my teeth as he was talking to my daughter. I kept thinking “this guy has some nerve” even coming around, then I would soon remember he “is her father”. Ugh, I honestly can say I never thought I would be grateful that he left. I started to believe that he would be sorry he bailed out (even though he’s not??) I made a decision that in order for me to get what I want when it comes to my daughter , I had to act like besties with my ex, and just chalk it up to two people who could just not live together.
I only went to therapy one time after he left, and I had already diagnosed the situation, still went and spent $150.00 dollars to hear a third party say it. I won’t go into detail as to what the session taught me, because in essence it was nothing. I had to learn on my own what was going to work for me. I learned that being nice, not fighting, not being bitter (although I won’t lie I was) is the key to a successful divorce if both parties are willing to try. I am not saying this formula holds true for everyone, but for me it does.
I always just tell myself that this is for the benefit of my daughter. Instead of him being vindictive, and trying to stir the pot, getting along seems to put a calm over the otherwise rough air. People may criticize why I do certain things like having my ex over for dinner on his nights with my daughter. If I know that she does not want to go with him, I tell him that I don’t want him not see her, so he can come here for dinner and spend time. It works, he doesn’t feel the need to run to a Judge and say I am preventing her from seeing him, and she feels comfortable in knowing that her father came come into the house when I am here without a knock down, drag out fight.
Is is fakey poo in front of my kid? Well sure it is, every time his phone rings I know it is her (the long standing, I’m the last to know girlfriend) but I have learned to accept that he would rather be with her than me, whatever the reason. I can see that my daughter feels more comfortable when we get along, she would rather hold both of our hands at the same time, yet she knows that it no way does this mean that dad and I are going to live together again. She has learned to accept it too, and when he goes to leave there is no big scene. It’s almost become natural for her to see us together even though we are apart. She was only two when he left, so she never struggled with him not living with us, that’s all she knew.
Look it works for me, it works for my daughter, and I do fake it. There is no love for him, lust for him or anything for him. I simply do it, so she doesn’t see the madness behind what happened and she can talk about her mom and dad without disdain for either one of us. It seems to be a good formula, sucking it up and moving ahead, dating which I never thought I would ever do, does help, but in the end its all about my daughter. Its about knowing that she isn’t upset or feels like a pawn, its her happiness that keeps me faking it.