I am a divorced mom with twins off to college in the fall.
My divorce was awful and I have tried for years to have a better relationship with my ex-husband. I have actually sent him things you have written about blended and reorganized families and how much healthier it is for everyone to get along.
My husband initiated our divorce after making it clear he was unhappy for years, but did not react well when I met my current husband not too long after he filed. He speaks ill of us to the kids and mutual friends and is downright hostile every time we are forced together.
Our kids are suffering, as is their relationship with my current husband, and every joint event is a struggle.
What can I do to make this better? I’ve tried calls, emails, sending books on co-parenting and still he hates me.
First a warning to you:
You may not want to refer to your husband as your “current husband.” It doesn’t exactly denote expectations of permanency and if I were him I’d be a bit concerned to hear myself described that way.
Let’s call him “Mr. Forever” instead. Men love to have cute nicknames; I know this because I call my ex-husband “The Canary in a Coal Mine” or “Baby Daddy” and it thrills him every time I whip it out at parties.
It’s Time to Give Up
While I applaud your efforts to transform your reorganized family into a better one, there is a critical ingredient you are missing in your mix: the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation on the part of your ex.
Just as one cannot make a cheese omelette without both eggs and cheese (unless you are some sort of vegan freak), you cannot create a positive post-divorce relationship with someone who is happier being unhappy and who, quite frankly, hates both you and your new life partner.
I worry sometimes that people think I have unrealistic expectations about the likelihood of friendship and cooperation after divorce simply because I spend a good deal of effort encouraging those types of arrangements. However, I am also a deeply practical person who understands that there are certain types of people and relationships that are poisoned beyond repair.
You cannot force light into a black hole. You cannot make people change. You cannot fix what wishes to remain broken.
To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.
As much as it Paines me to write this: give up.
Maybe some day he will come around, maybe not. But your efforts at this point are not only futile, they are bordering on odd. How many times do you have to knock on a door and get no answer before you’ll believe there’s nobody home?
Don’t expect him to be nice or even civil and rest easy in the knowledge that at least now your kids are adults and you won’t have to deal with this asshole very often any longer.
Until graduation. And weddings. And babies. And babies’ graduations.
P.S. Tell your “current” husband I’m here for him.