Should your ex show up at events when it’s your time?

Since I post questions for other people with some anonymity involved, I am finding that more questions are showing up in my mailbox, asking me for advice. I’m happy to help, but I do have to be candid that I’m hardly an expert parent nor am I any sort of expert on attachment parenting.
Nonetheless, here’s the question of the day:

Dave, I’m struggling with a co-parenting issue and looking for a fellow attachment parent to run a couple things by…like hockey tournament in Colorado Springs during my weekend in Feb. and he wants to come and get his own room. Not really my cup of tea. So, what is in the best interest of my son and MY best interest feel competing. Then again, the 30 minute hockey tournament 2 mornings during the weekend is really cute but not worth driving to the Springs with girl du jour. Motivation unclear, in my opinion.

I know that my first reaction was “screw your ex, it’s your time, he and his gal should stay the heck away!”, but then I kept thinking about the situation, took a breath, and realized that my first reaction was exactly wrong.

In fact, I believe that the right perspective upon reflection is to focus on the child. The only question that should really matter is whether your son wants your ex there at the sporting event too. If it’s important to him that his Dad be present, that’s really all that matters.
On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that Dad needs to be present for everything that weekend: Since it is your time and your son is traveling there with you I think it’s quite reasonable for you to set down some basic rules, like “no eating meals together” and a reminder that the non-game time will be yours.
If you’re not particular enamored of the woman he might bring with, it seems reasonable to just drop a note that you’d prefer if he had the discretion not to sit next to you in the stands. Some people might expect everyone to just get along happily as a foursome, but I don’t think that’s realistic for the vast majority of divorced couples.
Nonetheless, at the end of the day, I think the important question is is it important to your son? not whether it’s important to you.
That’s my two cents. What are yours?

4 comments on “Should your ex show up at events when it’s your time?

  1. As a parent who is currently in the midst of a divorce, I found this question — and your answer — very interesting. My 1st, gut feeling is like yours: the interest of the kids should always prevail. My 2nd is: Either parent should be welcome to attend any event that is otherwise open to the public, at any time.
    However, your answer helped me to realize that some parents will never be happy or content with their ex around, and that may help me understand and deal with my to-be ex’s behavior in the future.

  2. I’ve been divorced for 13 or 14 years now and unfortnately one of my kids is recently divorced. I think you have to go through a period of getting the hurt and anger out of your system before realizing that divorced parents still have to be parents and find a way to work together for the benefit of their child. Not everyone is able to get to that point.

  3. As hard as it may be, suck it up and let him come to the events. Be an example to your children, and they will grow up to be better able to get along with all types of people.

  4. I should clarify that my posting comes from my experience as the product of a very bitter divorce. My parents couldn’t be in the same state, let alone the same room together. My mom could not say a kind word about my dad. And, my dad missed alot of events that I considered important b/c they could not get along. I would never do that to my own children in the wake of a divorce.

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