Closemouthed Ex

13 Mar

Dear LetterBalm: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for nine years. We have joint custody of our two children now aged 16 and 18. For a long time, there was no difficulty communicating – our interactions and decision-making were always quite respectful. But last year, my ex started seeing a woman, and since then he’s had problems dividing his time between her and the kids and communicating about the kids’ visitations, school issues and other matters. Now, he refuses to answer my calls and texts. He’s texted that he won’t talk to me again. I think his girlfriend is behind this. How can I make him see that she shouldn’t be threatened by the kids or me but that he and I need to keep in touch?

–Mom in Limbo

You’ve got a good take on why you’re being frozen out. It’s too bad your ex is allowing his girlfriend to intimidate him. Ms. L.B. trusts this is temporary, that his natural instinct to be reasonable with you and his kids will soon kick in. Send him a conciliatory e-mail that appeals to his sensible side and doesn’t allude to his girlfriend’s jealousy or insecurities. Be aware that his lady love may ask him to share it with her:

Jeff,

I know there are a lot of demands on your time and attention now, but I’m hoping that you will reconsider your decision not to be in contact and reconnect for the sake of the kids.

We’ve always been able to discuss issues and problems with Gina and Kevin reasonably, and I’d like that to continue. It’s important for them to see their parents getting along well, especially as they get older and move out on their own. Our kids have never had to take sides with us. We’ve built up a lot of trust and goodwill with them, and that’s the kind of parenting we should be proud of.

You know I always wish the best for you in life.

 Elena

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