What a concept, right? To even think that you’d ever have to co-parent with another person, who helped create your child, is cringe-worthy. It’s sad, really. Kind of like the co-captain to your football team, but not as fun. It’s an eerie thought for anyone, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. Everyone wants to have the perfect family with the perfect fairy tale beginning and the perfect happily ever after ending. But, life is life because it’s not perfect and curve balls are always thrown your way.
For some people, divorce is the reason for co-parenting. It’s sad and unfortunate-because it’s never something you ever imagine happening- but it happens. The most important thing to remember during this process is the well-being and emotional comfort of the child. Divorce can be a pretty brutal and emotional battle, but a brave face must always be worn around the kids.
For others, co-parenting comes into play when the relationship of the parents fade, love is lost and it’s better to cut ties than to try to make something work that isn’t feasible. This is the category my ex and I fall into. Our relationship was great in the beginning, and somewhere along the way it began to fade. Unfortunately, we had already brought a child into the picture, so going our separate ways was messier than it needed to be. When we first split, I was mad, I was angry and I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t make our “family” work. It took a while for me to be okay with the situation, but that didn’t come easy, as you will soon see.
At the end of our relationship (but the beginning of our co-parenting journey) I was bitter. I ultimately was the one who ended the relationship, but I was still mad and hurt. Because of those feelings, I took that out on my son’s father and his relationship with our son. Time heals all wounds and I can finally openly admit that I did block his visitation and I made it very hard for him to see our son. ON PURPOSE. Especially when he began dating someone else. I just couldn’t fathom my son being around another woman. I wasn’t having it! But when you co-parent, there are a lot of things you have to come to terms with; the significant other of your co-parent being one them (terms). When it comes to the significant other, you are very petty and immature. You just can’t help yourself! But at some point the light bulb goes off and you have to remember that this new person will be around your child regardless of how you feel. Instead of hating that person or avoiding them, you have to build some type of relationship/respect for them and have open lines of communication, because as long as they are with the other parent, they are going to be in your child’s life. It may be for a short amount of time, it may be long-term. But the point is, they WILL be around, and you need to be able to trust them as much as your co-parent does. As bad as I didn’t want to come to that realization, I had to because I wanted my son and his father to have a relationship. And the bottom line truly is: if you can’t accept that your ex-partner has moved on and you do things to push them away, you may be pushing them out of your child’s life as well. This also happened to me. My immaturity caused my son’s father to see him less and less. Until eventually, he wasn’t seeing him at all. And although that makes him look bad as a father because he made the decision to be distant, my role in the situation didn’t help. His dislike for me pushed him away from OUR child. Co-parenting is a task; no one ever said it would be easy, but, it happens. And when it does, that child’s wants and needs come first.
The moral of the story is that we all have different situations. The only thing that remains the same is the interest of the child. While we emotionally may not like that we are co-parenting with someone we once had some type of emotional connection with, we cannot let the turmoil from the relationships destruction wreck havoc on the relationship our children have with either parent. We have to be smart….if not for ourselves then for our children’s sake. They see and hear EVERYTHING! Don’t be fooled. The things you think they won’t remember, they will never forget. And that could have a lasting impression on them for the rest of their lives.