My goal for the New Year is to Quit Over-thinking.
Quit Over-thinking Everything.
Especially everything related to the Ex-N.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to predict his next move, outsmart what he will do next, and trying to stay “one step ahead” so I’m prepared, organized, and ready to face whatever he throws my way. In reality, I have spent waaaayyyy too much time worrying and stressing over absolutely nothing.
Because even though I thought I had masterminded every possible scenario of what the Ex-N might do next, he always had a curveball up his sleeve to reveal at very last hour. And he is a pro at throwing those balls.
I went to mediation – again – recently. I told my lawyer I didn’t want to go to mediation – again – but he felt we should try, and was confident we could make some headway this time. I have a good lawyer. I trust him. And he understands that I/we are not dealing with anyone near rational on the other end of this mess.
That was my third attempt at mediation with the Ex-N. And I will never go again if I can avoid it.
I agreed to two hours of mediation. The Ex-N and his lawyer wanted four. The mediator said he would do a few hours of prep work and keep the session to two hours.
The topic was summer vacation.
We are months away from summer break, but it’s already an issue.
Every single summer for the past six summers, with the upcoming one counting as number seven, I have been forced to have lawyers, or a judge, make the final decision over ten weeks of summer vacation time. Ten weeks. Thousands of dollars. And nothing ever finalized until the final hour so planning summer fun with the kids is difficult – just as the Ex-N likes it, so he is in control.
We recently signed a “new parenting plan,” thinking the “plan” would put an end to the historic pattern of paying a lawyer, every single summer, to figure out ten weeks of a summer schedule. But within three weeks of signing the new plan, the Ex-N was right back at it.
It’s funny. My first lawyer told me I “wouldn’t even know where my actual finalized decree was after the first six months or so” because the Ex-N and I would just “work things out: with the schedule for the kids. How wrong she was.
You can’t write a fool-proof anything – decree, parenting plan, revised parenting plan, etc. when you are dealing with an N. They can and they always will find, and argue, anything grey.
I put a lot of time, energy, thought, preparation into my side of the story for mediation; why I thought his proposed summer schedule would be brutal on the kids…
(His proposal: kids 12 nights with him, back two with me, back one with him, back one more with me, and then another 14 with him)
…and how I was the only one thinking of the mental, emotional and physical well-being kids as he was simply trying to capitalize on overnights as to lessen child-support (which monetarily I was not even arguing). I printed out many calendar templates, and used my highlighters to capture several different scenarios on what “could be, should be, would be, better” for the kids. I spent endless hours “overthinking” all of this.
The mediator had our calendars prior to mediation.
The morning of our two-hour mediation, the Ex-N showed up with a completely different calendar proposal and wanted to “start over” and stay at mediation as long as we all needed to until we could come to an agreement.
I was fuming. But I tried not to show it because I knew that was exactly the reaction he wanted from me. We were in separate rooms, and I tried to present anything logical for the mediator to respond back to them with – the mediator clearly understood the dynamics.
The mediator tried. We made some headway. And when push came to shove, and it was down to one contested night – out of ten summer weeks – I extended the olive branch. The night in question was technically, and legally, mine, but in order to stop the madness, or at least attempt to, I conceded.
But that made no difference at all.
Because even though that is what the Ex-N said he wanted, he still did not agree. He did not agree to what he proposed in the first place. What.
When the clock struck “two hours” on the nose I packed up and walked out. I told my lawyer to leave also because I wasn’t paying him for any more wasted time. (Of course, my “two-hour timeframe” limitation came back around to haunt me in the Ex-N’s court documents – as in, I didn’t allow enough time at mediation – I left! – or we certainly could have worked something out. Of course we could have.)
I get so frustrated – still – seven years post-divorce and still dealing with this mess – because it could – should – would be so simple to work ten weeks of summer vacation time out; if there were two reasonable co-parents working through something like this in the best interests for their children that is. But that will never happen in my case. It will never happen and it’s take me seven years to figure that out.
I’m going to court in a few months. Mediation didn’t work – again – so now a judge can decide ten weeks worth of summer schedule – again – and the resulting revised child support.
I will deal with court in a few months.
I will deal with whatever else the Ex-N throws my way this New Year.
What will he have up his sleeve next? I have no idea.
But I will only think about it when I absolutely have to.
Cheers, and Happy New Year!
~LLS~ Lucy K.
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