Well, my chat with my daddy was actually helpful. Daddy has a way of being insanely blunt while maintaining tact. Perfect balance.
Apparently Matt has talked to my daddy. I did not ask for specifics because that was their private conversation. Basically, my daddy called me out. He was like I know you probably do not want to hear this, but you created this. I did. I should have listened to Matt in 2008 and again in 2012 when he expressed how he felt about their being another person. I was so concerned with my happiness and having an interdependent model that I forgot the most important piece: their father and my husband.
Daddy suggested we do a co-parenting agreement. Matt has already said there was no way in hell he would have even agreed to a co-parenting agreement then, and he is not going to do it now either. That is out.
There were several key points:
- He and my mother always valued opinions from my grandparents, their friends, their siblings, and extended family, but what the two of them decided was always the final say.
- He may not have always agreed with my mum regarding us, but he still took the time to listen, and they compromised.
- He suggested that I swallow my pride, admit fault, and apologise to Matt for limiting his rights because without his microscopic contribution, our children would not be here. I cannot argue with this because truth of the matter is, he was not heard, and he did come to me many times. I can see how he felt that Si was trying to take his place and undermining his role as my husband and the father of our children. No sense in denying it because that is what happened.
- I have to separate our children from Si because if I do not it will detonate in a manner worse than the first time. Daddy said that while Matt loves you and is in love with you, there is no love like what a parent has for their child(ren). Parents go into protective mode, and when they feel threatened, they will attack. He said that I can keep pushing Matt, but I will regret it.
- He said that treating it like co-parenting during or after a divorce is probably not the best model to follow. There was no love between them and no shared biological ties to the children, so the empathy that is required to be at least tolerant is not present. In the case of divorce, it is assumed that at some point you loved this person enough to create life with them, so there is that respect factor. It is assumed that you respected and loved them enough to conceive a child. No part of him sees her as a mother or an equal parent. Matt was trying to see it from the POV of our daughter. Si is someone she looks up to and cares about. He has said, "That is not enough." Matt is in counselling with me, but he is also going on his own.
For the time being, since I am in the spot of the peacemaker, I am saying no to her spending time with them. I am removing the choice from both sides. I will explain it to her the best way I can and be mindful of her feelings. It is counterproductive to go against Matt when this continues to be one of his biggest issues and a spot of contention. I would be out of my mind to continue doing this when I know he is not okay with it and is likely going to blow a fuse if it continues.
The parenting issue is one of the most important pieces of why he will never trust poly again. For almost five years, he has had to share responsibilities with someone that he never wanted to. Now, he has a voice, and he is utilising it and letting it be heard. He felt that she was taking away precious one-on-one bonding time by being a co-parent and a constant presence. He feels that she was trying to undermine him and usurp his power. He felt like she was trying to take his place and replace him because he was pushed out of the picture. The way he described it was someone coming into your lane in traffic and causing you to veer off the road. The lane then and now is the lane of parenting and bonding with his children.
To my knowledge, Si has not apologised for any of the above, and that could be why his heart has not softened. Matt's apology to Si was an apology for HOW he handled things. He only said that he wishes he had handled it better. No apology for WHAT was said has been issued, which means he still feels the same way. Si's apology was a surface apology, too. One that would enable them to get on for the sake of our children and not move a step further.
I know this is going to hurt Si, but if I want to protect my children, this is for the best. In the cases of divorce, it is urged that parents be mindful of how they act around each other, what they say, and how they treat the other person. Children need to see them being respectful to one another and at the very least cordial. It is killing him to even be in the same room as her, and I know his body language speaks volumes. I know my daughter picks up on the tension. The last thing I want is for her to be harmed by grown-up affairs and issues.
Some level of respect and tolerance have to be part of it, or it will never click. He does not respect her role because to him it is not wanted, requested, and it was never needed. He cannot tolerate her because he does not trust her, like her, and is not willing to put on a game face for our children any longer.
Separating them is the only viable option. I cannot appeal to Matt by urging him to take her feelings into account because they do not matter to him. I cannot even trust Matt to just talk to Si and explain why he feels the way he does, so I have to do it. If I let him do it, things will happen just like the last time when it started with a level-headed open and honest discussion and ended with her storming out after being informed that she was never part of his family.
Seeing as how they have not resolved any of their issues, a forced face to face discussion is not the best idea.
I have made the final decision, and I will inform both. I have to get back to work.