Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

What in the Hell is it actually like?

Seriously, I used to tell my ex-husband that my best friend was living my worse nightmare (a couple of friends, actually- one was single, ones husband left).  I used to wonder what the HELL that would be like at my age and status.  Then, low and behold, he pulled the rug out from under me when I had a 5 – week – old baby.  Oh and a two year old.  This was almost two years ago.

What is it like?  Most days are great.  Most days.  Most days I look at my two beautiful children and think, “boy am I lucky I have these two little miracles and DON’T have to deal with their father!” He’s someone else’s baggage now.  Thank the sweet baby Jesus.  No, really.  He was an awful husband but I would have stayed with him for the sake of my family for at least a little longer.

So there’s the relief of not having to be stuck in a miserable marriage.  Then there’s the insanity of dating.  I call it insanity because sometimes it’s sooooo fun, and sometimes it really sucks.  I’ve fallen in love again since my marriage ended, only to have my heart broken.  It stings, but nothing will ever hurt as bad as what my husband did… so I don’t fear heartache. I’ve had suggestions from dear friends to not date at all- that it’s a waste of time because I’m not ready and have things to deal with.  This may be partially true, but at the same time, I feel like dating is definitely more fun than not.  There is no shortage of men to go out to dinner with and as long as I take things slowly (which I admittedly have not always) then I think it’s a safe bet. There is so much to learn about myself still and I really pride myself on the fact that as soon as I see red flags, I remove myself from the situation.

My ex and I are usually on good terms but it has NOT always been that way.  For this reason, I won’t even go on a date with someone who is only “separated.” I had to navigate through some serious uncharted waters in the first AND second year of my separation. The one to finally reel me in wasn’t ready himself.  Like I said, it hurt and I miss him at times, but what a revelation.  This is the beginning of year 3 without a husband.  I still have so much to learn. I am however, at a very happy and confident place.  I’ve never been more confident in what is important to me, and who I am as a human.  I am out of the water in terms of treading… my parents are well and can watch my children when I need to do adult things… like bachelorette parties.

One thing I have found really astounding was that I firmly have no desire to have more children.  When I first was alone, my friends would re-assure me that I would have a girl someday with my perfect husband that I was yet to find.  I appreciate that but my ex-husband has another baby on the way and that has me feeling all types of ways for my own children.  As if he hasn’t given them the shaft enough in this lifetime, he’s going to bring yet another person into this world that will take away from the time and attention he gives them.  It’s heartbreaking for them, and I will never do anything to make them feel that way.

I’m on my 3rd holiday season without my ex-husband.  He left the day after Thanksgiving.  Since that Thanksgiving was a 2-day bender for him that resulted in my discovering an affair, I didn’t even enjoy that last holiday together.   Last years holidays were pretty good, but the ex and I were still not getting along too well.  This year is much more established and no part of him or that family facade I tried to paint will be missed.

So here’s to year three… may I be smart, resilient, have fun, and stop over-thinking.

And save more money.

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