Speak well of your ex for your kids’ sake

Speak well of your ex... your kids need that from you.I saw this image posted on Facebook a few weeks ago and in the last few days I was reminded of it. In recent months I have encountered a few situations in which an ex, or soon-to-be-ex, was talking either to their children or around their children about the child’s other parent. In most cases when this happens the parent is respectful and mature enough to not bad mouth their ex or, short of that, they are at least somewhat strategic in the words they use or how they deliver their thoughts. I think this is important because defaming your kids’ other parent is both vicious and damaging, and will ultimately end up harming the kid’s relationship with their other parent.

While I think it’s important to treat everyone with respect, I think it is especially important to treat the parent(s) of your kids with respect, even if you have to struggle through doing it. And along with treating your ex with respect, I personally think it is equally imperative that you speak respectfully of your ex in the presence of your kids. I know you might not have any ounce of respect for your ex. And I know that your ex may have hurt you beyond imagination and because of that you can’t muster even the slightest positive thing to say about him/her. But that doesn’t give you license to harm your kid’s relationship with your ex.

If your kids are within earshot please have the courtesy to speak well of your ex or, at the very least, not speak of your ex at that time. If something happens to come on in a TV show or a movie that reminds you of your ex’s shenanigans, keep that to yourself for a bit. And if your kids have the unction to ask you about why you and your ex are no longer together, it’s ok to be vague to a degree. Saying things like “your mom liked other men more than she liked me” or “your dad is emotionally abusive and detached” might make you feel vindicated in the moment but can cause all sorts of confusion in your kid. There is nothing wrong with saying something like “we just couldn’t make it work and to make things as good as we could for you, we decided to split”. There can be a deeper discussion about that later, or even at that moment, without going into specifics. But at that moment the best thing you could do is protect your children and their relationship with your ex.

Now please understand that I am not saying that you need to lie to your kids, or that you need to keep them in the dark forever. But when they are still kids, or are not yet capable of completely digesting your anger toward, or hatred of, your ex, I personally believe it is best to shield them from potential harm to their relationship with your co-parent. It pains me when I hear people talking smack about their ex without even considering the words coming out of their mouths.

Exposing differences between men and women

I got this from my sister-in-law this morning and had to share it. There are some expletives starred out (*) so if there are kids reading you might want them to not read this entire post. You have been warned.

Here is a prime example of “Men are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” offered by an English professor from the University of Phoenix.

The professor told his class one day, “Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his /her immediate right. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also emailing a copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph and so on back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely no talking outside the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”

*** The following story was actually turned in by two of his students, Rebecca and Gary. ***
THE STORY

(1st paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(2nd paragraph by Gary)
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. “A.S. Harris to Geostation 17”, he said into his transgalactic communicator. “Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far…” But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

(Rebecca)
He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychologically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. “Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel” Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. “Why must one lose one’s innocence to become a woman?” she wondered wistfully.

(Gary)
Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anudrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty, Anudrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Laurie.

(Rebecca)
This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

(Gary)
Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic ! whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. …”Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F**KING TEA???! Oh no, WHAT AM I to do? I’m such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels!”

(Rebecca)
A**hole.

(Gary)
Bitch.

(Rebecca)
F**K YOU – YOU NEANDERTHAL!

(Gary)
Go drink some tea – whore.

(TEACHER)
A+ …….I really liked this one.

I could totally see myself having this same interaction with my wife. In fact I could see just about any man having this same interaction with just about any woman over email. Even moreso if they were dating.

Dealing with (ungodly) soul ties

A few weeks (maybe months) ago my wife asked me if I had been contacted as of late by a former female friend of mine (we’ll call her Gina). I told my wife that I had indeed received an email from her a few weeks prior to that. I also mentioned that I had responded to that email basically as a response to the “How have you been?” query.

At the time I was kind of put under the gun for this interaction. My wife asked me a few other questions that I honestly could not answer in a way that would have been satisfactory at that time. Some of the questions were:

  1. “Why would a married woman make contact with a married man just to see how he is doing?”
  2. “Why would a married man reply to a contact from a married woman?”
  3. “Do you think it is spiritually wise to maintain any type of relationship with someone with whom you have had a relationship?”

When I was asked these questions I could not come up with an answer that I thought was satisfactory for her so when she stated that she knew women and that women almost always have an ulterior motive for making contact with a married man, I could not argue.

At the same time as this conversation I had asked my wife if she ever attempted to contact my former boss, we’ll call him Tom, with whom she had had an emotional affair a few years ago. She said that she would not contact him because she knew what that would do to our relationship. She said she was also a little concerned with me not seeing this topic as she did.

As such, I made one last contact with Gina by way of email to tell her that I could not have any further contact with her because it was not appropriate for a married man to have contact with a married woman who was not his wife. Seeing as my wife had made her position very clear, it seemed like it was the logical thing to do.

Fast forward to last night. While sitting on the couch with my wife she asked me if I had heard from or made contact with Tom recently. I told her that I hadn’t as there has been no real reason to contact him. That was about the end of that.

Now to today. A short while ago my wife called me to tell me that she had sent Tom an email and that, to make communicating easier, that she just called him instead. She was able to catch up on a lot of stuff from the past months and was able to share with him a lot of stuff from her life over the past few months.

However I was a tad concerned about this little experience. I should probably attempt to clarify my position on this a little bit because if I don’t I will come across as a jealous, controlling freak and the truth is I am not.

I used to work for Tom. I actually worked for him from 1999 until 2006 when I left. Before that I worked with him from 1997 to 1999 (it was in 1999 that he became my manager).

During this time he showed a tremendous amount of generosity toward me and my family, even putting my wife to work a few times to help us earn a little extra income. It was during this time that my wife began a long flirtatious relationship with Tom that included phone calls and emails.

In 2002 things had gotten to a point where Sandi, my wife, would actually bypass visiting me at work (we all worked in the same department) so she could go see him. She would spend quite a bit of time emailing and calling him. It even got to the point, I found out recently, that they had even asked the question “What do you think would happen if we ever, you know?”.

So when my told me a few months ago that she would not ever contact him and that, if he ever contacted her, she would simply no reply, I thought it was a bold, strong stance to take. But I guess that has changed somewhere in the last few months.

Part of the conversation we had a few months ago dealt with soul ties. Specifically ungodly soul ties. The kind of soul ties that keep a person bound to a past experience and do not allow that person to move forward from that experience. According to my wife allowing relationships that derive from a past soul tie to propagate could ultimately allow for the destruction of current relationships because of the stuff that comes to the current from the former. That actually made sense to me.

When I asked her about that a few minutes she told me that “as long as you don’t have the same intentions as before then keeping the relationship is OK”. That would have been nice to know a few months ago when I told Gina that I could not talk to her anymore.

Of course, now that the whole issue of past soul ties is mute I am for sure going to ask Gina’s forgiveness for kicking her to the curb and see if she would ever be willing to call me a friend again. And as I think of it there is at least one other person that I would love to find out their current life status. That person is a former friend of mine by the name of Connie Castro.

Connie was a former (junior) high school crush of mine who also happened to be a very dear friend. The last I saw of her was way back in 1993. I had never really tried to make contact with her because I knew that it would make things really bad in my marriage because of how my wife felt about former relationships. But since that is now a non-issue I can see myself doing some Google searching for my long lost friend. I would be really interested to see how Connie is doing.

I am sure there are going to be other people that I could think of touching base with again. Danielle Hornberger from college, David Watkins from High School, Matthias Stephen from College, John Zung from college.

I just feel so liberated now. I feel set free to be able to rekindle past friendships with people that until today were considered too taboo to be friends with anymore.

And I hope Sandi has a great time reconnecting with Tom. Yes, they have a relationship that would make you think they were both single. But I guess that is the way things go with them. As for me, I am just happy to know that I am free to look up some of my long lost friends and I cannot wait to start that search.