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Co-parenting nightmare. Please help. X Post(7 Posts)
(Cross post from Parenting. I think this section is more relevant.)
Hello everyone. It has been a few years since I have posted, and I am back for help.
Long story short: I have a lovely 6yr old dd, and an ex. When we separated I promised that we would be co-parents, and I believe that it is important that she has a great relationship with us both. That has translated into a commitment that we have 50/50 residence. In theory, that was a great idea.
But oh god it is hard. We have tried every single type of schedule and nothing works. She frequently cries not to leave me, whether that is to go to him, or if the handover happens during the school day. Some days she is happy to go but this weekend she begged for an hour to stay with me. It was agonising. I eventually had to promise to visit her that night. She left sobbing but was alright when I went round that evening.
We used to have a 3 days on 3 days off schedule, which she found difficult (frequent handovers) and because that was not working I asked her if she would like to change it. She said she would like to spend one week with me and one with her daddy. But that means I do not see her for a week and I cannot bear it. The first two days that she is with her dad I spend crying. She seems to be fine and happy once she has left. It is possible that she cries when she leaves because she can sense how upset I am (I am not showing it on purpose). She says she does not want to change the schedule, but it becomes a different matter on hand-over day. Am I upsetting her, or is my gut instinct right that a week apart from me is damaging to her?
Who here has managed to co-parent well, and how did you do it, please?
Or who was co-parented in a way that I can learn from?
Or who has great advice for me?
I really cannot stand much more of this agonising separation from her, but I cannot think of the right path forward.
Thank you so much. Hello to anyone who recognises me
hi blinder I am also in a 50/50 shared care arrangement but my ds and dd are both 12. You may think that's different they are older but it is still hard, it is hard for all of you, children and adults. I felt like you at the beginning, ours started middle of September. At first I wandered around the house like a lost puppy, missed them very much, my ex and I don't get along, we can't even be in the same room together and he will do anything he can to discredit me (tried with Social Worker's and now uses his son to make him go against me, this is the reason that I am on here to ask myself for advice or just support!). We have 7 days each, handover on Friday 4.30, set by the court because my ds wanted it and dd wanted termly but has now changed her mind and wants to live with me and ds wants to live with my ex.
Anyway, it is really difficult to start with, you could never imagine not being with your children and you question what your role is now. I'm sure if your ex is a good father and may well be even better now because it is just him and his child so more child focussed that your dd will be just fine and it is you that is more upset. As a parent though no matter what we are feeling (feelings are quite legitimate though and totally understandable) we have to put the child first and that is the most difficult thing in the world when it means that they are no with us and also developing new experiences and meeting new people and creating a new life without us, their Mom. I know how you are feeling but you now have to create a life for yourself in that week, take a breather, do something you like doing, join a club (hard when it's week on week off believe me!) meet your friends, find something that fills your week so that you are happy and welcome your dd back looking forward to hearing all her news. She will be happier knowing that you are happy and ok with whatever she decides and she will be sad if she knows you are sad and this will lead her to feel guilty which I know you don't want.
All in all, good luck, it's hard but hopefully gets easier. You have to believe that you are all better off this way than all together and hopefully this will keep you strong.
I know it is terribly hard and have been where you are. No matter how hard it is for us as adults I believe we have a duty to do the best for our DC. Getting busy helped I tidied, cleaned and batch cooked while DD was away. I learned to crochet and made all kinds of stuff to occupy myself. I joined a choir and made new friends and that really helped. I think often whole weeks are easier for children to deal with as they can settle to a routine.
50/50 shared care does not work for every child and now initially because it wasn't working for my DD my Ex has her EOW. Principally it didn't work because my ExH had introduced a new partner with new family life way to soon and was not really parenting. I think if it had just been DD and him with a nice stable routine it would have worked. We still co-parent and take mutual decisions.
Please don't let your DD know how much it upsets you as this is what my ExH has done and has lead to my DD despite not wanting more contact being racked with guilt about making the best decision for herself. She does say she doesn't worry about me because she knows I keep myself busy.
I also co parent with my ex and have for a few years now. I promise it does get easier. We have a slightly different situation. My work takes me out of the country on a regular basis so our co parenting works around this. My dd is now 9 and my ds is 6. They don't remember any different so are used to going between the two houses. I have a relatively good relationship with my ex, so this helps. I'm able to call and FaceTime the children while I'm away, which really helps. Is this something that you could do? However, I've always felt a sense of guilt when I leave. It's silly really, the children are content, well adjusted children, so we must be doing something right!
I agree with the posts above, I think initially keeping yourself busy is key. Be kind to yourself too, try not to worry. I'm sure you're doing the very best for your dd and she will grow up knowing this.
I should say that we have already been separated since 2014, but that we cannot find a schedule that works, and if anything DD seems to be more distressed now than she was at first. I think my distress is in big part a result of that. When she leaves happily I am fine, as long as I keep busy, as you have suggested.
But DDs crying not to leave me is getting more awful, and I am not sure if the whole 50/50 thing is to blame. I suppose I wanted to know if the 50/50 principle is the problem, because no combination of days seems to resolve the crying.
Having said all that, I am now wondering if it has become a habit. She has been fine at her dad's this week, and apparently has not missed me, so...
It's reassuring to know that it gets easier - I was hoping that would have happened by now, but maybe we need to break the habit, and get back into good handovers. I wonder how that might be done. Hmm.
I wish I could have 50/50 rather than 365 nights a year only with me..... perhaps we always want what we don't have. Why wouldn't someone want a week off from the children? One night a year even would be lovely for me. Week on week off would be brilliant. I think you should stick with the week on week off and perhaps just do extra over time in the week she isn't there so you don't have a minute when you aren't working or sleeping to take your mind off the trauma of your separation from her.
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