"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."
The thing is, how can you have an apology that goes deeper than the surface unless you believe you really did harm or wrong? From other stories here, I know it's possible to have more than two co-parents and not take away from anyone's "power" or bonding. Like, is a single parent more bonded to their children because there isn't a second parent drawing focus and time? Really, I think most busy professionals would be able to have better quality time with their kids if there was a third person pitching in, because they'd be less exhausted. Obviously that's not how it felt to Matt, I'm just musing over this question of an apology from Si...
If she was really actively trying to push him away so she could have more time with the kids to herself, a sincere apology would *certainly* be warranted. But, for me at least, if I'd been told I was a co-parent, treated like a co-parent, and then had acted with love and support, giving of my time and energy to make sure that there was always someone to be there for the kids... I could never apologize in a sincere way for that. Especially not if I'd had a "I'm breaking up with you, you were never wanted or needed or valued by me and I want you gone" thrown in my face by one lover, and a "I know you haven't had time to begin processing what just happened, but I'm breaking up with you too to focus on that person who just broke your heart" handed to me by another in short order.
I'm not sure why I'm saying this, exactly. Your decision is a hard one, I really do feel for you so much.
It's just, it's only a few more months, really, until you all move, isn't it? And then they'll be functionally out of her life anyway. It seems so cruel to take away these last chances to say goodbye, on both sides (hers and theirs), when it still seems like it'd be possible to work something out where she and Matt can avoid each other but there can still be some time split. This may not be a traditional "divorce" in that she and he never had those bonds, but she and the kids did and that is real, despite the lack of biological connection. Adoptive parents and other non-biological parents ARE parents. If the kids did have some of her DNA, could you make this same choice? What difference does it made that they don't? Is their love less real? Isn't that what matters?
It just seems to me like, for all three of you, extreme responses come the most naturally. Matt cutting out Si so completely and irrevocably, Si refusing to speak to anyone or go to counseling, you breaking up with Si, and now this... I am putting in a word for a moderate approach, even though I know you're afraid of the tension that that would continue to allow to be in the air. Is that tension really going to be harder for your daughter than completely and suddenly losing Mom #2? I think tension, and even the occasional explosion, amongst parents is just a part of life for kids of divorce, to go back to that analogy, and yet, while it's unpleasant, I guarantee you those kids would prefer it over losing someone completely for reasons they couldn't possibly understand and will probably take personally.