I have two uncooperative people, and I am faced with an impossible decision. I am being neutral and not taking sides, but if anything that makes it all the more complicated because I empathise with both.
Their apologies scratched the surface. From his side, "I am sorry for how I handled it." That translates to: "I am sorry for how I acted, but I am not apologising for what I said. I will try to get along with you for our children, but this does not change anything between us." From her side, "I am sorry for how I reacted to the way you handled it." Translation: "I could have reacted better, but I, too, am not apologising for anything I said. I am willing to work with you on behalf of the children." They might as well have said, "I do not like you, and you do not like me. That is the way is, but it is not about you or me."
Matt's argument from day one has been I never wanted her to be a co-parent, still do not want her to be one now, and I feel forced into doing it now because I have to consider our children. Now that she is not an integral part of his life or part of his personal life, he is having to divide the time he has, and he resents it.
It has been discussed in and out of counselling. The balance was lost, and he was rather powerless. I have to admit it. He came out swinging and is more protective now than ever before. From where Matt is sitting, that third person caused the quality and quantity of his time with our children to decrease drastically. I think I need to ask Matt if he even wants an apology from Si, and if so, what would the apology be for?
Matt feels so strongly about this because she did halt the plans to move with her announcement that SHE did not want to move. It was wrong when I asked him to reconsider because SHE did not want to move, and I did not want to leave her. That was the point when Matt and I should have talked and taken what Si was thinking into consideration and ultimately made the best decision for our child. That did not happen.
Matt and I started the process for looking for schools last year. We had a list of about 20. We knew our daughter would be starting school this year, and this processes to get admitted into these schools can be lengthy and competitive, so we started early and in advance. We visited the places over the course of time. We asked our daughter because we wanted her to have a say regarding her education. We kept Si informed with every step of the way. She was not blindsided or left in the dark. After, nine or ten months of talking, planning, and decision making, at some point in November, her hesitation entered the picture. I knew about it, but I did not mention it to Matt because I thought she would. This was when they were establishing a friendship and that now failed relationship. She did not, and he found out last month during that argument, which is how he ended up telling her, "It really does not matter if you move or not because you are not part of my family."
I guess one could say that we were making other plans behind his back, and I can see how he felt undermined, powerless, and like she was trying to take his place. Anybody would feel that way if somebody went behind their back and was making plans for their children without consulting with them. He said at that point he felt like a known sperm donor to a lesbian couple, who had to ask for their permission to have a say in the upbringing of his children.
The whole co-parent argument is a moot point. I treated her like a co-parent. I wanted her to be a co-parent. I wanted her to have equal say. I wanted to involve her in our children's education. I wanted an interdependent model. I wanted this and that. See a common theme? I, I, I. None of the we's included Matt, so he was left out. I can see how he felt threatened and still feels that way. I helped create this disaster by not listening to him when he was telling me what he was and was not okay with. He was never okay with her being a co-parent, and now that I know and I am hearing what he is saying, what is the right step to take? Cut her off now or let this continue until he snaps again?
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 think about this every day. Our relationship was suffering. We were together in name only, and heaven knows I tried to save it and fight for it as long as I had the strength and the energy. I realised that I could not do it on my own, so I stepped back and opted to work on our friendship and figure myself out. That order sucks balls. And to add more pain to the situation by telling her that she cannot spend any time with our children? There has to be a better solution.
Functionally out of his and their lives, but she wants to still maintain relationships with them, see them, and talk to them. While she may not physically be around 24/7, she will still be around in other ways. Just like when you send your children to university. They may be away from you, but you still love them, support them, and are there for them just as if they were still living at home. The ability to physically touch is gone, but it does not change how much you love them or the fact you miss them terribly. I am not the one who has a problem with that. He is. I think if she decides to move there in due time, I wonder how Matt would react.
They are avoiding each other, but the one thing he is not willing to back down on is splitting the time. Before, he was tolerating it. Now? Not a chance. It seems very cruel, but I cannot make Matt feel anything regarding Si at all. He just sits there with a blank stare like, "And that matters to me why? Sounds like a personal problem." When he cut Si off, he cut her all the way off and refused to look back.
I agree. Their bonds are real. Just as real as if she had carried them and delivered them herself. I cannot make a choice now. If DNA was involved, I probably could not do it then either. That would not be on me. It makes no difference to me that there is no DNA involved. I know she loves our children. Trying to get through to Matt and getting him to see that is going to be impossible.
What he said in counselling one day was, "Our son is not old enough to remember the bond he [supposedly] has with her, and our daughter will forget about her in time." Our son is one week shy of being 10 months old. That much may be true. Our daughter is almost five. The odds of that happening are pretty slim.