Etiquette

The other night we were driving over to my parents for dinner and T-Rex said to his sister, “Hey, Drama Girl, is my nose bleeding?”

She responded that no, his nose wasn’t bleeding.

I asked him why he thought his nose was bleeding — he’s had one nose bleed that I can recall in his 7 years — and he said something like, “I just want to make sure if someone looks up my nose it isn’t bleeding.”

Me: “Hmm. Do many people look up your nose?”

Him: “No.”

Drama Girl: “No, that wouldn’t be appropriate.”

__

On a more serious note, today I’m having lunch with The Ex. After I told the kids about my engagement to FlyBoy/J. and how J. one day would be joining our family I called my ex-husband, who I’ve had a good relationship with since our divorce 6 years ago, and told him the news. I wanted him to hear it from me, not them.

Well, he didn’t react negatively exactly, but he was in shock. I tried to be straightforward, honest and explained the potential timeline, but let’s just say I lost him at “hello…I’m getting married again.” We spoke for about 15 minutes, he thanked me for telling him the news and we hung up.

As I suspected, after a bit of time went by for him to process the news, he wrote to me with his concerns and questioned me on one or two things that, frankly, really weren’t any of his business.

I answered his questions as maturely and as kindly as possible; I realized he was expressing concerns as a father, but I also understood there likely were other emotions running under the surface. (He’s been dating someone for about 3 years, so some of it may not even have to do with my situation…but that’s none of my business!) I told him I’d be happy to talk further.

To my surprise he sent me an email a few days later saying he was sorry he had acted the way he did, and that he knows I have the kids’ interest at heart. He then wrote, “…I know the best thing for our kids is for your marriage to be happy and stable, and I’ll do whatever I can to help.”

Wow. That brought a tear to my eye. And it still does. I feel very lucky to have The Ex in our kids’ — and therefore my — corner.

So we’re meeting for lunch to talk through some things. J. has also offered to talk to him, if he wants, but first things first. I’m not sure what the etiquette is with an ex-spouse, but I think honesty, maturity, and kindness would be an appropriate start.

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7 thoughts on “Etiquette

  1. I’m all about taking time to process stuff and it’s great that your ex is being so gracious to apologize for his initial emotional responses. Also great that you two can talk about his concerns and address them while keeping appropriate boundaries. Sounds like everything will work out just fine.

    Good for all!

  2. Wow, Susan, your posts just keep cranking out my tears! This is such a poignant, real experience.

    Kudos to your Ex for realizing that he might have been projecting. And good for your for staying present, instead of reacting. You are all amazing role models.

    I’m curious: Has J. met your Ex?

    For my own selfish reasons, I’m also dying to know more about J.’s relationships with your kids.

    How long did you wait before introducing him to the kids?

    How are your kids feeling about your marriage?

    So thrilled for you!! xo

  3. MM and SMS: It is a real experience, isn’t it?! Who would’ve thunk it just a year ago…

    Well, I got back from lunch a short while ago and it went well. I didn’t think it would go badly, but I’m reminded over and over how lucky I am in all of this, especially after reading about many other single parents’ experiences. I know many don’t have involved parenting partners — or maybe those who are more involved than they’d like!

    As to your questions, SMS, J. and The Ex haven’t met yet. They will at some point, of course, and while Ex appreciated J’s offer to meet right away to allay any concerns, he (Ex) didn’t think that was necessary.

    What I reiterated today (and this is the truth) is that J. isn’t looking to take anything away from The Ex; he wants to develop his own relationship with T-Rex and Drama Girl. He’s also let the kids set the pace with him. In fact, he told me he doesn’t think relationships work if you try to force something; he’d rather let it evolve as it’s meant to be over time.

    J. first met the kids in a group setting a month after we started dating. I didn’t really plan to do it that soon, but the opportunity presented itself when my sister and her family were visiting, and I thought I could do it in a way that protected everyone (myself included, seeing that I had positive vibes about us but it was too soon to tell anything). To be honest, I don’t think the kids even remember he was there that night. We went to a Japanese steakhouse and the kids were busy catching up with their equally-exicted/crazed cousins and watching the chef light food on fire!

    The kids have reacted positively so far about the marriage. I waited until only a few months ago to tell the kids we were even “boyfriend and girlfriend” [insert eye roll and gagging sound from my son] — and only then because I knew we were serious and talking about the next step. The last thing I wanted to have happen was for me to announce we were engaged when they only thought this guy was a friend who came over once in a while.

    After I told them about J. asking me to marry him and me saying yes, T-Rex first said, “So, J. is going to be a part of our family?” DG’s first response was: “I GET TO BE A FLOWER GIRL!!!!!!” (I explained,”maybe even a jr. bridesmaid!”) They both asked questions about the event, and then I thought I better make sure they knew that this meant J. was going to live with us after the wedding, and at some point we would move to a new house. It’s a lot to go through, so I tried to keep it simple and not overload them with details. DG asked if they’d still get to go to their Dad’s like they do now (yes) and a few other questions. I know more questions will come up over time, but so far so good.

  4. T says:

    Wow. This is a lot to process for me!

    I love that things are going swimmingly so far. Please continue to blog about the process. You do realize we’re all interested for our own selfish reasons.

    I’m so happy that things went well with the Ex. I can’t imagine telling my ex that news… but hopefully one day!

    Congrats girl. And thank YOU for always being in my corner too.

  5. I can’t imagine the trickiness of navigating a new relationship and engagement/marriage with 2 kids and an ex. To me though, it sounds like you’re all handling it very well! 🙂

  6. Hey Susan, congratulations! That’s great. Anything you can do to help your ex through the process will come back to you ten-fold. Enjoy your new family!

  7. How awesome that you and The Ex have such a decent relationship…you are very lucky indeed! Congrats on the engagement, and on successfully balancing it all! 🙂

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