It is 8.30 on a Saturday morning. The Husband is due to have the children from 5pm tomorrow afternoon (why from 5? Go figure, I guess he must have other plans for his day). He just text me saying “Any chance I could have the children today?”. Now, the previous incarnation of me would have jumped at the chance – other than taking the kids to my parents house later on we have no plans and when we have no plans things inevitably go bad because my eldest becomes quite the horror if he isn’t kept continually entertained!
However, I am on a sharp learning curve right now having discovered the potential cost of court involvement in formalising child contact arrangements. Without the resources to pursue that course of action I have no one to count on but myself. I need to begin acting like the responsible adult which means learning how to say no and dealing with the fallout.
I went through this with my son last year. I realised what a soft touch I am as a parent, how I was letting him walk all over me, unable to put a stop to the back chat and the defiance. And all because I never ever followed through with consequences.
The day I followed through he had what’s known as “an extinction burst” which is essentially the one thing that had me ready to run for the hills.
When someone who has been letting you get away with unacceptable behaviour suddenly changes and stands firm and proves that they are actually capable of making the harsh decisions and standing by them, it’s going to provoke outrage and rage and that person is going to put you right in the eye of their storm.
That day my son picked up a plastic bottle full of shampoo and hurled it across the room. He yelled abuse in my face and picked up my laptop threatening to throw it at me. He hit me on the arm with the full force he could muster and it hurt.
That was his extinction burst. He’s never behaved as badly before or since.
I knew that it would be bad and I prepared myself for it. I managed to remain calm and talk to him in a reasoned manner despite his behaviour. I told him he would be grounded this time and I stuck to it.
I’m using this as an analogy. His father is not going to like me withdrawing the flexibility he’s become used to. It might make him angry and verbally abusive. However the fact of the matter is that he’s been angry and verbally abusive to me on a fairly regular basis over the course of the past 20 months anyway, culminating in police involvement. I really feel like I have nothing to lose by standing firm from here on in, so wish me luck!
On a completely different note, I went out to see the comedienne Katherine Ryan the other day and was taken aback to find out that a lot of her show was taken up talking about being a single mum, co parenting, feelings about men (just about as intelligent as dolphins apparently) and being really happy with her single status.
She asked if there were any single mums in the audience and a few of us called out. She struck up a chat with another woman (no not me sorry, guess I wasn’t vocal enough!) and found out this woman had been single (and celebate) for six years. She applauded the single status but told her she should get herself some “side pussy”. We didn’t really know what she was on about but I think she meant get a fuck buddy – someone you can sleep with but not commit to. That’s something traditionally gendered I guess. And not in favour of the woman. It then occurred to me that I spent a significant amount of this year as someone’s “side pussy”. I thought I was ok with it but it unravelled.
After about 8 weeks having no contact with the ex he suddenly tried to call me about one am on Wednesday morning, sent me a dick pic and told me he could come over (after 2pm) and stay the night Friday. Before I had time to compose a response which suitably conveyed what a knob he was being he dialled it in and apologised for his inappropriate behaviour. I never even touched my phone.
I read a meme the other day that said something like, “girlfriend, he’s not missing you, he’s either horny, drunk or he heard you were moving on”. Seems about right and actually my attitude to the ex becomes more and more cynical with every bad decision he makes to the extent that this latest incarnation leaves me cold. I think I’m finally done with him in my mind.