Gotta get this out somewhere. Need some perspective.

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It's been a while since I visited these forums.  I typically just keep things bottled up and when I do tell things to someone(mostly my parents) I feel like I am just complaining.  This might be long.  Please do not feel like it needs to be read.  I just need a place to put it down.

I have been divorced now for 8 years.  I have joint 50/50 custody of my kids.  They spend a week at their mothers and then a week at my place.  Our kids have always gone to schools in her neighborhood.  We fought about schools when we were first divorced after we had both moved to new neighborhoods.  We moved relatively close to each other so I figured where they went was a 50/50 toss up since they would no longer be going to the schools where we lived when we were married.  When the first day of school came around the decision of schools wasn't decided and the kids were stressed about where they would be going so I relented to having them attend schools in their moms neighborhood.  For the last eight years I have picking up and dropping off my children from school.  Early on, I had a preschool, an elementary school, a junior high and a high school to make those pickup and drop offs at each day.  For a while I paid a nanny to handle the pickups so I could stay at work.    

A couple of years ago the school district made a boundary change so that the high school and junior high were the same for both my ex and myself.  It was really nice because I now had bus service for everything except elementary school.   Unfortunately that only lasted a year.  Last year the junior high was switched out of my exes boundary but remained in mine.  My child who attended that school has kept going there but my ex's mom takes her in the morning and she walks home to her mothers house after.

Next year my son will move to Junior high.   I would like for him to attend the junior high that has bus service to my neighborhood(the same as his sister attends now).  I mentioned to his mom that we needed to work out junior high and that I would like for him to go to the junior high that allowed for bus service in my neighborhood.  She commented that I shouldn't have moved so far away when we got divorced and then something to the effect that church beliefs could no longer control her.  What?!  She went on to say that she was going to do what's best for her.  Yes, obviously.  

First, it was weird that she felt like my wanting to have my son go to the school that made it so I didn't have to drive had anything to do with her leaving the LDS church.  Second, the comment that she was going to do what was best for her kind of hit me in a way that it never had before.  

I really feel like she has continued to use me even after getting divorced.  I have been faithfully paying child support for 8 years and have split custody but I continually buy all the things like shoes, clothes and sports equipment.    My youngest told me her shoes had a hole in them this week and I wanted to say "Please ask your mother to get you some shoes" since I have bought all but one pair for the last 8 years.  Instead I told her we would try to get her a new pair the next time she was with me.   

A few months ago my ex actually accused me of buying the kids whatever they wanted with reference to shoes and clothes.   I pointed out that I just buy them shoes when I see a need.  I get them jeans when I notice they wear a pair more than a few times a week or they are damaged or stained.  I buy them a jacket when the one they have doesn't fit or is raggedy.   I'm just trying to fulfill my role to provide and when I see a need I take care of it.  I was blown away that I was being accused of doing too much.  I don't think that is a normal complaint a divorced man gets.  That wasn't the whole of it.  She actually accused me of doing things for the kids just to make her look bad.   Like the last eight years of going to every activity, every parent teacher conference, every recital, coaching kids sports teams, taking every extra day with the kids that she offered etc etc was somehow just so I could make myself look better and her worse.   I'm really kind of blown away at the accusation. 

As each of my two oldest got learner permits and drivers licenses I spent months looking for the just right, cheap,  beater cars for them to drive.  I purchased the cars, do all the maintenance and repairs etc and yet my ex gets all the benefit without any of the cost.  I really want to draw a hard line in the sand and tell my kids they aren't allowed to do errands for their mother, drive siblings to things etc. in the cars I purchased.    I want to tell them that until their mother contributes to this huge cost that they will only have the use of the vehicles at my house.  I know that isn't practical or kind and that it would only create resentment in my kids but dang it if my ex doesn't appreciate it at all.  My third oldest gets her permit soon.  While I'm really excited for her to drive I don't feel like I can continue to bear the brunt of this cost and the continued entitlement of her mother.  

My birthday is coming up.  The kids will be with her that week.  My ex sent me a text asking if I wanted the kids on my birthday in the evening.  That on the surface seems like a nice thing to do.  In the text she goes on to explain that she and her family are having an adult only celebration that evening and that even if I didn't want all the kids could I at least take the one who has a sports event that night so she has a ride to her game.  You see, all of my ex's usual drivers are going to the adult event.   It kind of upset me and I don't know if it should have.  It was obvious that the kids being with me on my birthday was secondary to her needing someone to take our youngest to her game.  I resisted the urge to call her out on the optics of what she was asking and in my response I just asked if I could maybe get them a few hours before the game.  She responded that she had changed her plans and taking the kids was no longer needed.  She then offered for me to take them a few weeks later for the same adults only event but "just in evening".  

During this back in forth of text messages with my ex, my second oldest asked me what my plans for the my birthday were and I responded that I might be taking here two younger siblings in the evening but that her sister had a game right in the middle of it.  She gave a very knowing look and then commented that that didn't seem right. 

That kind of leads me to my next major complaint.   I want to be done sticking up for my ex with my kids.  Usually when my kids complain about something their mother has done I either defend her or try to give them some perspective that paints her in a good light.  I've made it clear that I won't allow them to bad mouth her when they are with me and I have asked them to speak respectfully to her when in her presence.  I can't say that I have always done the same but that doesn't mean I can't at least let them know what the right thing is.  Since I know I will get frustrated if she and I talk about anything other than the weather, my rules for communication with my ex these days usually boils down to either email or text.  There needs to be a paper trail for any communication so nobody mis remembers what was said or how it was said. 

Anyway, there is too much to unwrap here.  Just frustrated by all of it.  I feel used and unappreciated most of the time.  I just want to be done with doing anything for her that would be considered extra.  I want to do only what my divorce decree specifies and ignore the rest.  I know that isn't best for my kids though.  This sucks.






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I'm so sorry, @000Zero000.  I have no experience that might let me counsel you, but I'm sorry.  It sounds like you're a really good dad and dealing with a really, really difficult situation.  I hope you're able to get some relief or support somehow.  Remember, our Savior knows what you're going through and Heavenly Father will always listen - even to ranting. :)  (Your post doesn't read like that, though - it just reads like a loving father who's exhausted and trying to do his best.)  I will pray for you and your family.

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Sorry you are going through this.

Based on what you have told us my advise is... Do not stop doing what you know/feel to be right for your kids even if your ex benefits.  With the divorce your priority needs to be your kids, which it looks like you have been doing.  But now it seems like you want to control things to cut out your ex from any benefits she gets from being the mother of your kids.  This completely understandable... But is also completely the natural man talking(which is why we understand it so well) don't give in to it.  It leads to a bad and dark place.

Instead take your frustration, sense of offended fairness, sense offended justice and hand it to the Lord and let him deal with it.  Allowing you to get back to focusing on being the best father you can be to your kids.

As for your ex...  Kids are more aware then we give them credit for, they might not understand it yet but they will sooner then you think.  Everything your ex is claiming you are doing she will accomplish entirely on her own with out you doing anything to her (Based on what you have said unless she repents).

So turn it over to the Lord.  Do what you know to be right... Let her laugh and mock and scorn you from the great and spacious building, heed her not.  It will fall on her soon enough.



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