Sometimes “Coparenting” Just Isn’t Possible
I keep seeing social media posts and memes stressing how co-parenting is the best for the child. There are parents bragging how they’ve put aside jealousy and anger to develop relationships with their ex’s new partner—and how they’re all trying to be one big happy family.
I think that’s awesome. I have seen it work and it makes my heart full.
But a few of those posts seem to shame those who have been unsuccessful at co-parenting as if they aren’t trying hard enough. “If you just put your jealousy aside and do what’s best for your child you could have a great co-parenting relationship.”
A positive co-parenting relationship is not possible if the only one parent is putting in an effort.
I am unapologetically done trying to co-parent.
This is a decision not made lightly or out of jealousy or anger. I am done trying to force co-parenting because I have realized that it is not healthy for my child.
I have spent three years trying to engage someone who does not have the desire or capability to parent a child. It has been EXHAUSTING.
I have initiated every phone call, FaceTime or meetup. I have driven across the state to bring my child for visits. I have dealt with consistently late or missing child support payments because I was trying to be “reasonable” and deal with child support out of the courts. The only consistent thing that my “co-parent” has done is display inconsistency to my child.
In trying to be patient, understanding and empathetic about the situation of my daughter’s other parent—I am hurting my child.
I want my daughter to know that these types of one-sided relationships are not acceptable. She needs to understand that you can and must hold the people in your life accountable. I don’t want her to think that it is acceptable to be a doormat because of some societal ideal that a child should have both parents in their life.
Am I sad? Am I frustrated? Absolutely. But I am putting my child’s emotional well-being first.
I hope that one day my child will have a healthy relationship with her other parent. As someone who grew up with a single parent, I know the feelings and challenges that my child may have. I am angry that she will have to suffer through this—but I also know that it is out of my control. All I can do is parent to the best of my ability and show my daughter that sometimes we just have to walk away from things that do not serve us.
Hillary Dumas is a woman with five years in recovery from substance use disorder and is from central Massachusetts. Hillary is a single mother to a strong willed two year old girl.
Hillary manages a substance abuse treatment program. She has a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling and is halfway through her Bachelor’s in Business Administration Management. She believes in transparency and sharing her raw experiences to help others feel less alone.