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Scenario 1: Crisis If the issue is a crisis that requires a response, I will apologize, explain the situation briefly, and respond with a text or phone call.From that point on, please treat it as an unexpected emergency. But if you’re avoiding the confrontation because “his kids need him all the time,” that might be the issue right there.___A woman who goes by the name “Lucky” responded to one of my Single Dad Wants posts with a moving and impassioned comment that’s too long to reprint here (scroll down for it). Your man, your divorced dad, is lucky to have someone so understanding.
I will try to say, “I’m sorry, sweetheart, I’m just tired and I don’t want to go,” rather than, “Oh, they moved the parent-teacher conference without telling me, and I need to bail on the opera.” I’ll simply say, “Sorry darling, I don’t like Opera.” We can take the negotiations from there.I don’t think I will always do this, and there are certain moments when the phone definitely needs to be turned off, but while my kids are still pre-college, I’m at least going to make sure there is no emergency. But then there are my boundaries with both my kids and my ex that I have to enforce as well. But when the text dings and it is, in fact, one of my kids … Let’s take this from the perspective of a first date, rather than a developing relationship.In a first date you are trying to make an impression.Everyone’s agenda and desires take a backseat to the first aid and trauma response. Whatever the situation, the Mom is incommunicado—a problem that might need to be addressed at a different time—and a solution needs to be provided. Scenario 5: Kids as an excuse This is similar to number 4.(“Your daughter has fallen on the playground and needs to see a doctor.”) And beware that many requests can be setup like a crisis, (“Dad, I need my science binder by 3rd period tomorrow—I left it at your house.”) when they are actually poorly formed requests. Scenario 3: The ex drops the ball“Dad, I need someone to pick me up after the cross-country meet, and I can’t reach Mom.” Things happen. And between strained ex-parents, there can be some manipulation and control going on. “Okay, count on me to be there if we can’t get your Mom to respond. But of course, go to your cross-country race, and we’ll figure it out.”Scenario 4: I’d really rather …Kids can be an excuse to get out of anything. If your divorced dad is always breaking plans because his kid is sick, getting an award, has a recital … When used in relationship, the “excuse” is often used to recover from a miss of some sort. The kids got home and all hell broke loose.” That might be okay, if your call was just a “nighty night” check-in, but if you were scheduled to talk about living arrangements, that might be an example of using the kids as an excuse for not taking responsibility.