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treborwi posted 5/16/2019 13:49 PM

I need some perspective, please. So, the D finalized over a year ago. We have made the best when it comes to the kids, despite my utter disdain for her very existence.

My youngest has his 10th birthday in late July, and being the type A, plan everything to the minute person she is, she wants to get the ball rolling. He wants a movie party and it's my weekend. But, my ex-WW also has relatives in town that week. Sister, BIL, their kids. An aunt and uncle. I have no problem altering the placement schedule so my boys can spend time with their cousins and other relatives. But she wants the usual "family" party for the birthday.

I'm just not up for that. I don't want to "play pretend" with her family and "act as if" it's all hunky-dory, kumbaya, aren't we mature with our divorce and handling the kids bullshit. I just can't because I know the next few days will just be a downward spiral emotionally for me.

But I don't want to disappoint my son either. It's his birthday, not mine. He wouldn't understand (the boys are too young and don't know about my ex's A) why I couldn't be there. I don't want to miss his birthday.

I know the kids come first. And open hostility or even subtle hostility or even indifference is not what I want to project. But right now, emotionally, I just can't. I just can't play that part.

Thanks for any input.

ETA: While I am not "amicable" as far as the D is concerned, I act that way because the only interaction we have revolves around the kids. She may be taking it as such, but I don't have to play that way. She's trying to create a "friendship." I'm just waiting for the kids to get older so I REALLY don't have to deal with her.

Also, if the extended family weren't involved, I could do the party with friends, other parents, etc.

[This message edited by treborwi at 3:17 PM, May 16th (Thursday)]

Justsomeguy posted 5/16/2019 14:10 PM

I dont have any profound advice, but I feel your pain. I tried to do a Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family and it was a shit show. I ended up leaving the house and going for a walk while friends talked my down on the phone. Think of what is good for you first, then your son. You are no good to him of you are a wreck.

TheBard posted 5/16/2019 14:54 PM

Been there. I couldn't do it either.

Switch weekends with her. Let your son have a party with XWW and her family. You have your own kick ass movie party for him next weekend!

If she wanted a "usual" family party then maybe she shouldn't have broken up the family.

Rustylife posted 5/16/2019 14:59 PM

Then don't. The boundaries you set in the first year will act as a guideline until the kids grow up. Separate events work for most couples with non-amicable split.

LilBlackCat posted 5/16/2019 15:23 PM

Quick question, do you only have weekend visitations?

If so, and if it's an option... Take a few days off work and swap days versus weekends so that there's no gap in your son's party time.. To your kid it will be a truly extended celebration of his birthday and you don't have to put yourself in a situation you know will end up ugly.

This is assuming his birthday lands on the actual weekend. Otherwise, adjust accordingly and he will have a blast.. and so will you.

Hobbyist posted 5/16/2019 15:33 PM

We did that the first year after D, joint family birthday parties. No drama, but emotionally draining indeed! Now we do school parties with their friends, which we still both attend, but individual family parties if we choose to. Still draining, but much less so.

Good luck, I don't have an answer or advice - just know it'll be ok either way. And you can always try something different next year.

Marz posted 5/16/2019 16:48 PM

Do something with him on your own.

Who wouldn't want two birthday parties?

I have 3 friends who do parallel parenting. Look it up

lizgwvet posted 5/16/2019 18:24 PM

I agree with the two party arrangement, what kid wouldn't want two separate parties?
As long as your child is ok with two parties, that should be the plan.

seekers posted 5/16/2019 21:02 PM

If she wanted a "usual" family party then maybe she shouldn't have broken up the family.

Boom! ^^^ This

seekers posted 5/16/2019 21:08 PM

But, my ex-WW also has relatives in town that week.

Its probably the cynic in me, but how lucky is she that her family visits on his birthday and its your turn to have him. Coincidence I'm sure.

ashesofkali posted 5/16/2019 21:21 PM

"Its probably the cynic in me, but how lucky is she that her family visits on his birthday and its your turn to have him. Coincidence I'm sure."

Yeah! Seekers is spot-on, IMO. Your exWW doesn't deserve this much special treatment from you, treborwi.

[This message edited by ashesofkali at 9:22 PM, May 16th (Thursday)]

ADryHeat posted 5/17/2019 00:07 AM

My kids were 6 and 8 when we divorced. Prior to the D, we usually hosted a party at our house for friends and family and did a pizza night at a local place on their actual bday.

That year, we did the pizza night and both families came, for both kids on each of their birthdays.

I also hosted a bday party at my house on my weekend for them and their friends.

It was fine. We were amicable so there was no issue, and it was what the kids wanted.

Every year after that, I’ve hosted a party for friends at my house and we’ve done separate stuff with our own families on other nights. That has worked really well.

You do what you need to do to feel comfortable. Your kids are at an age where you can say, “Dad wants you to enjoy your special time with your mom’s family and then when you’re here we’ll have your party with friends.” Sure, he may wish you were there, but this will become his new norm and I promise you with time it will get easier. Be patient and empathetic with your son, but also take care of you.

annanew posted 5/17/2019 02:20 AM

But I don't want to disappoint my son either. It's his birthday, not mine. He wouldn't understand (the boys are too young and don't know about my ex's A) why I couldn't be there.

Oh gosh. 10 is not too young for your son to know the basics. Age appropriate of course, no mention of sex. The only person who benefits from you not telling your son is your ex. Your son doesn't benefit, you don't benefit, in fact it could be harming both of you. And helping her.

Never lie to your kids if you can help it. They need to know there's someone out there who will level with them.

nothisfriend posted 5/17/2019 08:22 AM

I also vote for you to not attend and do your own thing with your DS. It is best to move forward with separate families as that's how it's going to be from now on. Kids will adjust to the new reality. Set your boundaries and stick to them.

You do not need to be friends to co-parent efficiently.

treborwi posted 5/17/2019 13:36 PM

Thanks all, greatly appreciated. I will add two things. First, those that see some sort of manipulation on her part, that's not the case. She asked months ago to swap the Saturday before his bday (falls on the Sunday), before her family visit was scheduled. The boy didn't start asking about having a movie party until a few weeks ago. So more a confluence of events than some sort of Machiavellian power play.

As I said, if the "extended family" weren't in town, I could handle it. As an example, my 82yo mother, who hates cold weather, came up for Christmas. Including my former MIL, we all had Christmas Eve dinner at exWW's place then she dropped them off the next day. As much as being in her presence can send me into a spiral, I can make the sacrifices for my boys.

But for this, the pretending with the other parts of her family there is just a toll I can't bear, especially her sister and BIL. Not that I don't like them or their kids, they're just not a part of my life anymore. I actually had the conversation with her yesterday when she had to pick up some things for the kids. I may yet suck it up, or hit on a solution I can deal with, but don't want to hold back her planning the party for my son.

And as predicted, even just dealing with how to handle this has been draining. Suggestions still appreciated.

HalfTime2017 posted 5/17/2019 16:04 PM


As you continue to move on pass D, its just best to keep everything limited. The playing happy family crap won't work when you have a new lady friend.

I've been one that has had separate everything from the very moment I found out about her affair. I've never regretted doing my own thing, there is no awkwardness and I could have fun with my kids during my time with them.

If you child is 10, thats def. old enough to know and understand. Maybe not when they're 3-4 yrs old, but at 10, trust that they know much more than you give them credit for.

Plus, if its your weekend, I'm not sure you'd need to trade with the ex if you have something planned. If you have nothing planned, let the kid do his thing with exWW and family since they're in town and you take another weekend.

hardtimesinlife posted 5/19/2019 09:27 AM

I think a 10 year old can handle this if given time to get used to it. You have 6ish weeks to prepare him for his Saturday party with his mom's family and then you can plan a party for Sunday, his real birthday, with you. Age appropriate in my view would be "since your mom and I are divorced we will be doing more things separately. I wish we could have stayed one big family but _____________. I just want you to know I'd like to spend every moment with you, especially your birthday, but unfortunately life didn't turn out that way so we will make the best of it and you'll get two fantastic parties"

EvenKeel posted 5/24/2019 13:59 PM

Establish your new norm and it will be ok (honest). It is good to set the precedent now since you have quite a few more years to go.

At age ten, he is very aware that your family just looks different now and will continue. That isn't bad - just different. There will be multiple days for celebrating (ie holidays with Mom's family and holidays with Dad's). It is great that he has so many folks who want to celebrate him. All good stuff treborwi!

Around your DS's age, I started offering either a party versus taking a friend and doing a day out. They always picked the day out. Anything from amusement parks to a day at the lake, mini golf, caverns, etc. Since he is already having a movie party - I would do something different with him to celebrate his birthday.

Trust me - your child with rather have two separate celebrations. There is no reason to subject yourself family party with your ex. Your DS is NOT to young to understand this.

J707 posted 5/25/2019 19:38 PM

What I've done is keep all holidays and birthdays separate. A year past Dday and almost D it has set all future events in place for me and my kids. I told them things are different. My stbxw called me all sorts of things because I wouldn't do joint holidays or bdays with her, whatever cheater things are different now. I say do them separately, kids get 2 parties!

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