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I promised all of my readers that you will get nothing but open honesty from me regarding my blended family issues. Additionally, you will get my honest feedback about what has worked and what has not. Furthermore, you will get honest content regarding what I believe my issues are/were that may have contributed to some of my blended family issues. This post will be no different – honest!
My ex and I were together for almost 6 years, and at one point we actually had a pretty good relationship. If nothing else, after all of those years and a child, I feel as though we should be able to move past all of the bickering about who did what and why. At this point, I’m all about solutions. We have an 11 year old son who I don’t want to be affected by our mistakes, and I told my ex that today.
Without going into too much detail, today is the first day I decided to be completely open and honest with my ex. Although we don’t have as many heated discussions as we did before regarding our son, we still have them from time to time. But, I feel as if those discussions are/were unproductive. As such, today wasn’t about trying to persuade him to adopt my way of thinking. It was more about attempting to truly understand him and him understand me. Usually, although I’ve learned a little bit of tact over the years, I am ready to rebuttal any and everything he has to say. This time, however, I honestly spoke my piece and actually listened (hoping to understand) to him. What I learned is this – I don’t know why he has made the decisions that he has made in the past, but I do know that I don’t believe that he possessed any malicious intent when making those decisions. I honestly believe that he is pulled in a number of different directions, and he just doesn’t know what to do. Now, while this isn’t acceptable for my son, I sort of understand where he is coming from. I hope one day that he can gain some clarity regarding his own life – figure out his priorities, learn how to balance his relationships and still work on being a better father and person.
It’s amazing how certain decisions will follow you for the rest of your life! I hope that those after me will learn how important it is to be careful, maybe even strategic, when choosing a mate. Additionally, I hope that those same individuals will think carefully about when to have a child and who to have that child with. Certain decisions can not be undone, and often times you will spend the rest of your life trying to correct those decisions. Like me, for example, me and my ex will forever be connected because we share a child. We MUST learn to communicate effectively, trust each other and continually attempt to provide our child a life that he deserves. A part of that deserving life are parents that get along and will also do what’s in his best interest.
A relationship of any sort takes time and lots of work. But, the blended family needs a lot more so make sure you’re willing to devote that type of energy before entering into this type of family. Ideally, we would all like to think that love conquers all, but this just isn’t true so try not to get caught up in the fairytale of love. Instead, carefully examine your potential mate before deciding to enter into something that will take a lifetime to get out of.
All of my posts have mainly been about one side of my dysfunctional blended family, and that’s the side that includes my husband, his ex-wife, and their son. Because I never want to insinuate that all my blended family issues are unilateral in nature, I feel it’s only fair to discuss the other side of my blended family. Although we don’t have nearly as many problems with my ex as we do with my husband’s, there’s still quite a bit to talk about.
So, now let’s talk about my ex, who is my son’s biological father. The reason I emphasize that he is my son’s biological father is because when I do refer to my son’s father most know that I am referring to the man that has raised him for the past 7 of his 11 years, and that’s my husband.
At any rate, my ex is a professional basketball player (overseas) who has been physically absent from my son’s life since he was in the womb. We were together for nearly 6 years, including the first few years of my son’s life, but we parted ways when my son was 3 years old. Even though we were technically together for the first few years of our son’s life, my son never saw him as daddy because we lived in separate countries for 10 months out of the year. When I met my current husband is when my son finally started to experience life with a full-time father, and my ex was livid. He didn’t want another man to be involved with his son in a way that he couldn’t be out of fear that he might be replaced, and he surely was. My husband became actively involved in my son’s life. He coached him in basketball, baseball and soccer; attended school plays; had father/son time which is still referred to as bachelor night; and overall, was a prominent male figure in his life. After about 2 years my son started referring to my husband as dad. At that point, my ex’s ego had gotten the best of him and he petitioned the court claiming that I was keeping my son away from him and teaching him to call another man dad. However, he neglected to reveal to the Judge that his only involvement, since birth, in my son’s life was/is 8 weeks out of every year. Furthermore, he also didn’t tell the Judge that he lied to the court about how much money he was making so that he didn’t have to pay a fair amount of child support. Additionally, he had never attended a soccer, basketball, baseball game, school play, teacher’s conference, nor had he ever taken him to the doctor, attended a birthday party or any other normal activity that real parents participate in. So, my attorney and I decided that we would just let him hang himself as we knew the Judge would ask such questions, and she did.
The Judge was appauled by the fact that my ex had wasted all of our time bringing such a matter to court knowing that he was not nor had he ever been a father to my son. She told him that it was bad enough that he could not be physically present in his son’s life, but he had enough nerve to try to cheat him financially, and try to enforce ridiculous rules on my life (meaning, he couldn’t call any other man dad, but him). The Judge bascially laughed after throwing the book at him and calling him a poor excuse for a man. As a result, my ex is partly financially responsible for my son’s daily care, but he is still physically absent from his life. Although he still struggles with another man raising his son, after 7 years he is learning to accept it. We don’t have nearly as many heated unproductive discussions about it now as we did 7 years ago.
But, now we are entering the next phase of our blended family which I will call unanswered questions. I always told my ex to be careful of the decisions that he made regarding our son because he wasn’t always going to be a baby. I explained to him that when he got older he was going to have questions regarding his absence from his life. Well, at age 11, we have now arrived at that point. My son wants to know why everyone and everything else has always been more important than him. And although he loves his stepmom (who we’ll talk about in another post) and his little half brother, he is very angry with and disappointed in his biological father. So, my husband and I constantly reassure him that he has a mother and a father who adore him and have always been and will always be there for him. I used to try and tell him that his biological father still loves him even though he is not present, but that doesn’t work anymore. Additionally, I don’t feel like I should have to make excuses for his behavior. He needs to be telling him the things that my husband and I do. As such, my husband and I only speak for ourselves and reaffirm our love for him.
So here’s a message to all of you father’s out there: Remember that if the choices you make regarding your child turn out to negatively affect him, it’s nobody’s fault but yours. Don’t blame your ex and tell everyone that she’s keeping the child away from you. Instead, take responsibility for your actions, be consistent in your child’s life and communicate with your ex.