I have mixed emotions about this for a few reasons. I understand the kids want and need both of us, and showing them that we have a civil relationship is good. But, I don’t want them to think that Brad and I are ‘together’, or that we might get back together. Luke has never asked if daddy was coming back to live with us after he left, but Cassie has a couple of times. She would say things like ‘If you and Daddy could stop fighting, he could come back, right?” This, when she was three years old. She hasn’t asked recently that I remember. I think they see him as a distinct individual now, he as his own house and does his own thing with them. So hopefully they won’t see any false hope from these types of activities. Brad does have a girlfriend now and I wonder what she thinks, or if she knows, that we all went together for trick-or-treating.
My biggest problem with the whole thing is that it continues to be very uncomfortable for me to be around Brad. His controlling and invasive behavior is essentially non-stop. His two current problems with me are that I occasionally feed the kids a can a sliced new potatoes and that I have started dating. The food thing is controlling and annoying – he says he just wants to help and that he will cook potatoes and bring them over to avoid me giving them canned ones. Really? Because the reason I do it is because I’m in a hurry to throw something together after soccer practice, not because I don’t want to cook real potatoes. Plus, they really like the new potatoes.The dating thing brings up a whole host of other issues for him. On the one hand, he says he wants me to move on and find a boyfriend, on the other hand he’s asking questions he has no right to ask. While we were walking around, he asked me if I would be spending anytime over Thanksgiving with my friend. The day before that he asked if had come home yet from my date Saturday night. I’ve only had two dates with the guy, so I think it’s a little premature to talk about Thanksgiving, but Brad is anxious and wants to know right away. After asking me on Sunday if I had been home yet, he also proceeded to tell me twice that if I ever let another man discipline his kids that he would “lay him out first and let him know only you or I can discipline them.” So he’s already imagined a step-father scenario and has physically threatened my future husband. Nice.
Back to Halloween. He could tell I was hanging back and not really trying to engage as we were walking around and he asked why it was uncomfortable for me. I just can’t fathom why he doesn’t understand, but he doesn’t. I explained I was uncomfortable because of the types of questions he asks, just like the one about my date and Thanksgiving. He insists he is just being friendly and that he’s not critical. He also insists that if I was nicer to him by telling him everything the kids do when they’re not with him, that he’d stop doing the things that annoy me. It’s all very complicated and he’s very passionate when he talks about it, but bottom line it’s the exact same behavior as when we were married.
If I do fill in the blank with any over the top nice thing he wants and prove to him that I can change my behavior to make him happy, he will stop fill in the blank with any abusive behavior his is currently doing. This is how his mind works, “I will stop doing bad stuff after you do good stuff for me”. We had that same argument a thousand times when we were married and I could not, and still cannot get him to understand that it’s a threat. And above all, it does not work. He never stops his bad behavior regardless of what I do. He really hasn’t changed a bit. I feel sorry for the girlfriend.