Aden called me last night after having an hour-long “discussion” with her Ex. She was audibly upset and it didn’t take rocket science to figure out things didn’t go well. I didn’t ask her what happened, I knew what happened already. I’ve dealt with people like him before, the kind of person who is always right and has an answer for everything. So she had essentially spent an hour on the phone with him listening to him beat down every answer to his questions, every statement she had to make, and invariably listen to him state his solution to his problem… a solution which isn’t any solution at all.
His argument generally was that it was wrong of her to bring me around the little one and that by doing so he’s become attached to me, and that, should things go wrong, he’s going to get hurt. In other words, he thinks it was a bad judgement call on her part and, essentially, that she’s a bad mother for it. He stated he went out with a girl for seven months but never introduced her to the little one, because he knew it wouldn’t last. He asked Aden if she could say unequivocably that we would still be together in six months and she said she cannot say 100% yes that we will be, and that was his point.
All of this is bullshit. All of these statements he made come not from the perspective of a concerned father, but of a control freak who no longer has control. From our perspective it was not just Aden’s call but mine as well to meet the wee one. We understood fairly early on that this was definitely a relationship and not just dating, and that if we were going to move forward than I was going to need to be a part of her life, her whole life and not just a fraction of it. We decided together that when I was ready and she was ready for myself and the little one to meet, that we would do it under the pretext of a party, where there would be other people the little one already knows and other children around as a distraction if need be… it just so happened that at the party the wee one took a shining to me and we had a great first interaction.
I wasn’t really concerned that I wouldn’t like him… I like kids, always have, and have had a good rapport with them, generally, for decades. No, what I was worried about was that the wee one wouldn’t like me, and that would be a strain on Aden and my relationship. But it’s been the exact opposite. The little one always seems happy or excited when I’m around. I play and I answer questions and I interact without patronizing or condescending. The little one’s a smart kid, and in general adults don’t give them enough credit for how intuitive and insightful they can be. The little one doesn’t talk much about what goes on at daddy’s when with mommy, an it’s obvious the reverse is true since the Ex didn’t know I was around until this week. It goes to show that the wee one understands that mommy and daddy don’t really like one another all that much and that they keep separate lives. Similarly, the little one understands that I make mommy happy and that we’re happy together, and the wee one genuinely seems to enjoy having that around.
The Ex says that if this relationship doesn’t work out it’s going to be hurtful to the little one. What the fuck does he know about it. I have friends who come from broken marriages and single parents, and honestly none of them are damaged from any of the relationships their parents brought into their lives. Yes, I’ve heard the stories of awful boyfriends or girlfriends and how the parents put their new relationships first over the children, but that’s not the case here. To accept Aden into my life meant accepting her child as well, and honestly, it wasn’t a hard decision to make at all. If the Ex is worried that his child is going to be hurt if I exit Aden’s life, well, you know what, it’s a fact of life that every person has to get used to. People come and go from others lives: friends, teachers, family… people move, people die, and people break up, and it does the wee one a real disservice to think he needs protecting from that.
The Ex asked Aden if she could say for certain that we were going to be together in six months? She could’ve said yes, and he would have called her a liar, because there’s nothing certain in life (save death and taxes). She’s smarter than that, so she said she couldn’t say for certain, and he then said that proved his point. The only point it proved is that he’s an irrational asshole who is using his child to try and get the better of his ex. That’s not concerned parenting, that’s just being an immature dick.
Aden and I aren’t dating. We were only dating for about three weeks before we both understood one another, and we both understood what we were in with each other. A relationship unlike anything either of us had experienced before, a relationship that not only met our greatest hopes but exceeded them, a relationship built on trust and honesty and, yes, love. To call me a skank, a fling, or a rebound is offensive, and not to me but to Aden. We’ve both had a couple long term relationships under our belt (aka, serial monogamy), enough to know what doesn’t work and what kind of relationship is not worth being in. We have nothing but the utmost respect, trust and love for one another, and how can you explain that to someone who doesn’t understand it? How to you explain it to someone that only sees what they want to see? How can you explain that to someone who is so self-involved that all they can do is project their own thoughts and habits upon others. He may have been in a 7-month rebound relationship, but that’s not what Aden does and that’s not what I do. He should know that, at least about her, but he doesn’t care. He wants to bitch and argue until he gets his way.
His way? He wants me to not be around the wee one anymore. For some reason in his illogical head this makes sense. His child is too attached to me and the little one is going to get hurt if I leave, so he wants me to leave. Yeah, that makes sense. And what’s Aden supposed to say when I’m not around anymore? We’re still going to be in a relationship. There’s not a reasonable lie to tell the child, and saying “Daddy said Graig isn’t allowed to be around you” isn’t a positive thing either. If I leave, and eventually come back (in six months time, I guess, which seemed to be his measure for a lasting relationship or something) the little one’s only going to be more confused, and perhaps even a little hostile towards me (which, I see now, might be part of the Ex’s little plan).
Well you know what? Tough luck, it’s not going to work. That option just isn’t an option. I said to Aden that if his concern is a stranger being around his child, then I’m willing to meet him so he can get to know me. We don’t need to be friends, but then he can at least understand I’m not a threat. The other option is we can keep going about things the way we have and we get to listen to the Ex bitch for another couple months until he gets tired and shuts up about it.
Aden and I would never dream of using the wee one to get to him, we’re not that spiteful. The way I figure is, over the next ten years, the little one will learn all about daddy’s character and he can make his own decisions. Neither one of us would even think of interfering in the Ex’s life to this degree, and Aden says she trusts him to make choices about whom he brings into his life with his child, and she asked the Ex why he can’t do the same. He said, basically, she hasn’t given him any reason to trust her. Ten years together and she never earned his trust. That makes me ill, especially since she earned my trust within the first week that we were dating. If anything is going to harm the little one it will be the Ex pursuing this any further. Maintaining hostility towards Aden and myself will only make the little one feel caught in the middle, and that’s a lot more damaging to him than if I ever left.
No, Aden and I aren’t getting married in the immediate future, and no, we’re not moving in together tomorrow either. But barring me getting hit by a car (most likely the Ex’s car I’d imagine), I’m not going anywhere. Aden and I have made long-term plans for travel and just life stuff. We are indeed happy even with him trying to interfere in our lives. He told Aden he wants her to be happy (which is complete bullshit) but that she has to keep her love life and her parental life separate. For her to be happy, they can’t be separate. She can’t compartmentalize her life like that. For him to ask that of her only shows how immature he is about relationships and how little he understands his ex.
I didn’t mean this to be a tirade against him, but I’m angry… I’m angry (but not surprised) about how he gets to Aden and I’m angry because I’ve dealt with people like him before. Statements like “I want you to be happy” are little gives, little lies that they use to make themselves sound like good people, when they’re just using such sentiments to try and justify their irrationality. You can talk to these people and answer their every question but they’ll twist and manipulate every statement and every answer into something that “proves” their point, twisted logic that need only make sense to them. The only way to deal with it is like dealing with a tantrum child, short, blunt statements that you don’t deviate from. Not succumbing to argument and not acquiescing is the only way to get through to them. They won’t like it, but they’ll come to understand that they have no power. I mean, there’s definitely a deeper seeded issue here than the wee one, I think it’s a control thing, it might be something else (I’m not a psychiatrist), but whatever it is, it’s annoying, but it’s nothing Aden and I (and the wee one) won’t overcome.
The Ex doesn’t get a say in this. That’s just how it works.