TikTok and Co-Parenting

Buckle up! This is a long one.

I have a confession to make. I just started getting into TikTok. I only have a few people I follow and I don’t post, but I like the videos. They’re like little lessons sometimes. Small comedy shows other times.

I had a video pop up for me last night and my head just about exploded.

Little background for you so you understand all that’s going on. Woman gets cheated on by her husband. He’s having an affair while she’s at work supporting the family. She finds out, leaves him, and files for divorce. Husband ends up moving in and having a baby with the affair accomplice. In an interesting turn of events the cheated on woman ends up meeting and getting together with the cheated on man. Yeah, they swapped spouses. Also interesting: Cheated on Daddy has custody of the couple’s kids so the cheated on woman is a full-time stepmom to the affair accomplice’s kids. And…. one last twist. Cheating hubby can’t figure out how to properly fill out paperwork so they are legally still married until he files the proper papers.

Got all of that?

Her TikTok basically went like this: I called up my husband’s girlfriend (remember, technically still married) and asked her if she’d like me to take their son for the weekend so they could have time away together. Followed by this lovely montage of all the kids together and words of affirmation about how wonderful it is that they can do this and how this is how it should be. Yes, the cheated on wife watching the affair child of her cheating husband and his affair accomplice. That’s exactly how it should be. In fucking Crazyville!

OK, despite my outburst let me be very clear. If this kind of thing floats your boat then keep rowing merrily, merrily, merrily down the stream. My point is not that you shouldn’t do it, or that’s damaging or confusing to the kids or they’ll grow up having issues. I mean, they might. I don’t know. But that’s not my point.

My point is this: I’m so sick and tired of the media and everyone else out there that tries to sell this bullshit to us as the way it should be. No, it’s the way it might be. Could be. Much more likely if one of the parties is not an asshole. But more than likely it’s not the way that it is and I’m not even sure it’s something we should strive for.

As always there are the sycophants who must chime in with all of their social media wisdom and these are just a fraction of the comments. The post had over 1.4 thousand of them. I did not have the time, nor the stomach, to read through them all.

I love this! That’s how grown women act. These are true mothers.

Seriously? Sucking up to your husband’s mistress makes you a true mother? Not taking care of your kids after their father has abandoned them? Not working two or three jobs to provide for them? Not doing without so that your children don’t do without? It’s only when you offer to take the other woman’s child that she had with your husband that you can call yourself a true mother. Good to know.

No, there isn’t any food in the house because I spent it all on tanning, nails, and tattoos. But I’m a really good mom. Honest! I take my husband’s love child every other weekend when he and the affair accomplice want to get away for some couple time. That’s the very definition of a true mother.

That’s how grown women act. Bitch, please.

And this is what being a grown woman looks like… that little boy is gonna grow up knowing what love really is.

What in the hell is it with grown woman equaling falling all over yourself to help out your husband and the mistress with their child? When did that become a thing?

Maybe what that little boy is gonna grown up knowing about is piss poor boundaries. Or maybe they’ll all grow up under the illusion that cheating on your spouse is no big deal and get a huge shock when they cheat on their own spouse and that one doesn’t say things like, “Oh bring your baby on over. I’ll watch him or her because I’m a grown woman and grown women do those types of things,” or, “I would love to have you and your mistress over for the holidays. Can you ask her to make her amazing macaroni and cheese?” Instead, maybe their cheated on spouse says something along the lines of,”Get the fuck out of here with that ridiculous shit. Watch your own damn kid. I’m not your fucking babysitter,” or my personal favorite, “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire so hell no I’m not helping you and your whore out with your child.”

Honestly, is there no other way for your child to feel loved if you aren’t in one big circle jerk with your ex and the affair accomplice?

This!!! This is how it should be done.

I disagree, M’am. Stop pushing this ridiculous notion that all ex’s should get along and be one big happy family. You know what would be even better for the kids than acting like one big happy family? Not cheating on your fucking wife and ending up divorced so you now have to play one big happy family.

Co-parenting done right. Followed by the person being tagged saying, “Yep.”

Nope. I’m pretty sure my friend who had an abusive ex would not agree that this is parenting done right. Especially considering the fact that the ex attempted to strangle their daughter at one point. I’m pretty sure she feels much safer far, far away from her ex. Pretty sure her daughter does, too.

This can only happen when you saw your partner as a partner and not a possession. When things don’t work out you see the bigger picture instead of feeling like someone else took your possession.

Wow! I am almost without words.

No, how about when someone cheats on you and decimates your life it fucking hurts. You don’t owe it to the person who did that to you to buddy up to them or welcome their affair accomplice into your life. I wouldn’t invite my rapist or kidnapper over for Thanksgiving and I don’t intend to invite my ex over either.

That comment above boils everything down to sex and ownership. It is insulting. It completely ignores the person who has been left devastated by the cheater’s actions. It ignores the person who has had their life turned upside down and they’re struggling to understand what has happened and how they’re going to continue on without this person they loved and thought was “their person.” It ignores the cheated on individual who is left wondering what is wrong with them, or if there was something else they could have done- or something they shouldn’t have done. It ignores the parent that is scared to death because they have no idea how they’re going to be able to support their children, have no idea where they may end up, and have no idea how they’re going to make it. It ignores those of us who went through hell to overcome all of the obstacles thrown our way by the cheater. It takes the insidious act of infidelity and boils it down to ownership and jealousy.

You just won’t co-parent because you thought you owned him!

No, I don’t co-parent because he moved hundreds of miles away from his children in order to be with his cousin. I don’t co-parent because he abandoned his children- physically, emotionally, and financially whenever he could. And even if he had stuck around and my kids wanted to engage with him I wouldn’t have been inviting him and Harley over for dinner or getting a mani pedi with her. I will be civil if the time ever comes where I must be but we are not friends. I like to think I select a better caliber of friends than those two.

Oh yeah, and fuck you, you pretentious little twit!

This is adulting. Hats off to you for doing the best for the kiddos.

Again, I ask, “Is this the only way a person can “adult”?” Because I kinda thought I was sucking it up and adult-ing when I faced facts and realized I was going to have to leave my home. I thought I was adult-ing when I took a deep breath and had to break the news to my kids that we were going to move. I thought I was adult-ing when I went through the whole house and put stickers on the majority of my possessions in order to sell them, seeing as how I had no house of my own and I had no idea when I would be able to afford one (we’re into year six and still no house for Sam). I thought I was adult-ing when I signed us up for Medicaid because that stupid, selfish bastard left us without insurance. I thought I was adult-ing when I got my kids registered at their new schools. I thought I was adult-ing when I took the first crappy job I was offered in order to pay my bills and then took another one when I realized that the first crappy job only covered my bills and nothing else. I thought I was adult-ing when I showed up to my jobs and for my kids every day despite the fact that I wanted to die and my life sucked huge donkey balls. I thought I was adult-ing when I sat in a chair with a plasma needle in my arm twice a week for four months in order to insure that my kids had a decent Christmas because their dad couldn’t be counted on to pay his support on time and I never knew when he might suddenly modify shit again. I thought I was adult-ing when I filed for divorce, had to hire an expert of my own to combat his PTSD claims, ended up at trial, and endured questioning by his lawyer. I thought I was adult-ing when I raised my kids, paid my daughter’s tuition, got my son psychiatric help, paid for counseling for both of my kids, and was the one who had to deliver all the bad news to my kids each and every time because he was hundreds of miles away living a life of luxury with his gold digging whore of a cousin. Huh- who knew? All I needed to do was sit around a bonfire and have a couple drinks with them. Or babysit their non-existent love child. Maybe offering to watch Harley’s children with The Saint would have sufficed.

THIS IS HOW YOU CO-PARENT THE RIGHT WAY.

All caps.

Is there really a right way? And are we sure this is it?

Look, this doesn’t affect me. My kids are grown. I never had to share. I never had to co-parent. He took off to greener pastures and was never seen again except for a brief appearance at Rock Star’s high school graduation so he would know down to the half hour when to cut off child support. I’m still curious as to why we have set this up as the example to which we should all aspire?

There are real people involved in these situations. People whose lives have been turned upside down and inside out. They are doubting themselves. Some of them are suicidal. Some actually kill themselves.

I can’t imagine anything crueler than telling a person who has just lost their spouse due to infidelity that the true measure of how much they’ve healed, or the litmus test of them being a good co-parent is their ability to stuff their feelings deep down inside and pretend that they are perfectly okay with everything that has happened to them. Go to a Wine and Canvas Night with the mistress! Babysit their love child so they can have a romantic weekend away! Come on- do it for the kids!

Love this! Living example for those kids.

Is it? Are we sure this is what we want to teach our kids? Actions have no consequences. Everyone around you will be told to suck it up so that you suffer no discomfort.

I know I’ve been snarky through most of this but honestly is this the only kind of example we can set for our kids? Are they doomed if mom has airtight boundaries with dad? Are they going to somehow suffer because dad isn’t offering to watch mom’s baby with the other man? Will they need counseling if people aren’t fooled into believing that their parents are still married despite the lying and cheating and devastating end of the marriage?

I kinda feel like I’ve set a pretty good example for my kids. I did hard things. I worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. I’ve been steadily climbing up the job ladder, making better money. I’m hoping I’ve modeled a strong, capable, loving mother and that they’re not thinking, “If only she had been nicer to Harley…”

This is everything… could you imagine how much better kids’ lives would be if we just put our drama and hurt to the side for them? AMAZING PARENTING.

Again with the minimizing of what the betrayed parent goes through. The very words they use minimize what I and many others went through.

If we just put our drama and hurt to the side…

What drama and hurt are you speaking of? Are you talking about when I found out he moved me and my kids 2000 miles across the country for a con? Are you talking about when I lost my house? Or when I had to break the news to my daughter that this beautiful new life she hadn’t wanted and yet she crafted for herself was about to end? Was it when I went on Medicaid? Is that the hurt you’re referring to? Or maybe it was signing my kids up for free lunches and textbooks when previously my biggest worry was when my pool was finally going to be completed. Are you talking about the humiliation of having to move back in with my mom because I couldn’t support my kids? Or the fact that I slept on a couch for 2 years and didn’t have a single inch of this house to call my own? Maybe the hurt you’re talking about was when I realized I was going to have to work 2 retail jobs at Christmas if I wanted my kids to actually have a Christmas. Or perhaps it was the year I spent four months with a needle in my arm in order to make sure I had enough money for Christmas. I know I keep bringing that one up but believe me, it made an impression. Or maybe the hurt and drama to which you are referring is being left to deal with my children’s mental health issues all by myself while their father is busy building a new life and new family with someone else- someone a little less taxing. I guess that hurt and drama could even be the financial struggles that my kids and I have gone through since August of 2016. But hey, let’s just push all that pesky “hurt and drama” to the side and get on with the more important things in life- like making sure the cheater looks good to everyone and never has to suffer a single consequence.

I know this may come as a shock to most people but I did not cease to be a person once I gave birth. Oh, my life changed completely. There is no doubt about that. I can’t think of an instance where I put my own wants, or even needs, ahead of my children. Our money went to insure that our children had a good life They wanted for nothing. They had birthday parties to die for. I could have bought a second house for what I paid monthly in gym fees for Rock Star. Nonetheless, I still have feelings. I’m still a human being and I still count.

I get to decide where to draw the line.

I do not need to be best friends with my ex and I certainly do not owe it to the person who chose to insert herself in my marriage to be best friends with her or welcome her into my life in any way.

I wish this is how it could be. But the other side is so selfish it isn’t even funny.

I’m not sure about this one. The person who responded asked, “All up in their own feels?”

Typically, when sane people rant about an awful co-parenting relationship it’s because the other parent is an absolute nightmare. They don’t want to be best friends; they would simply like the other parent to be reasonable and able to have a civil conversation about their shared children. They’re not looking to babysit the affair accomplice’s children. They would just like their ex-spouse to cooperate when it comes to their own children.

So, I’m thinking this is probably one of those people who has done something horrible to their former partner and they’re all caught up in their own feels because the ex is not willing to play that game.

Sorry but no one owes it to you to act the way you want them to once a relationship ends. You control yourself. That’s it.

And this is how you teach your kids.

Teach them what?

You know what I taught my kids (I hope!)? I taught my kids you don’t cheat. I taught my kids that cheating has some pretty big consequences. I’m teaching my daughter not to rely on any man and to make sure she can always support herself. I’m trying to teach both of them to look for reciprocity in their relationships and to stay away from those who only take and never give. I’m hoping I’ve taught them to never make their needs smaller for another person.

What I don’t intend to teach them is how to eat shit. I don’t intend to teach them their feelings don’t matter. I don’t plan on teaching them to stuff every bad thing that happens to them deep down inside because it might upset someone else. And I’m sure as hell not going to teach them they should reach out to their former partner and the affair accomplice and ask to watch their child so they can have a romantic weekend together.

And my absolute favorite: Two women supporting each other and showing the kids just what love looks like!

You think this is two women supporting each other? I’m thinking the time to be supportive would have been before she fucked the other woman’s husband. But I’m funny that way.

We can dress this up like it’s women supporting women but what I see is a woman who is falling all over herself to prove something to the world.

Yes, my husband left me for this woman but we are just the best of buddies now. We’re like sister wives! And I love her child she has with my husband the same as I love my own. You should all try to be like me because I’m so grown up and I do co-parenting right.

Blech! It’s kinda like having someone deliberately run you down with their car and then you insist upon using them as your caregiver and in turn you gush about what an awesome job they’re doing taking care of you.

They ran you down with their car. Taking great care of you is the least they could do. Honestly, they should be in jail, not bringing you soup and magazines and changing your bandages.

This is not two women supporting each other. This is one woman who was perfectly comfortable fucking another woman’s husband, moving in with him, and having a baby with him while the other woman tries to convince herself she’s above all the crap. It’s one woman who was perfectly fine with fucking the other woman’s husband, having a baby with him, and then using the cheated on spouse as convenient childcare. In this case it’s both of the cheated on spouses being tasked with babysitting the cheaters’ child. It’s one woman who takes and takes and takes, and another woman who foolishly gives and gives and gives.

Seriously, what has the mistress given the cheated on wife? Her own cheated on husband? She didn’t give her that. Her children? She didn’t give her them either; she lost custody to her cheated on husband. I bet that if you asked the cheated on wife what the mistress turned girlfriend has done for her the response would be, “Not a damn thing.” Probably followed by some tale of how she didn’t keep score and it wasn’t a tit for tat situation. She just wants to do what’s best for those kids!

Of course I’m sure that it helps that the cheated on woman is now sleeping with the other woman’s ex-husband, living with him, and raising her children because the husband got custody. Hell, maybe she has a nefarious plot to try to wrestle custody of the love child away from her as well.

As I said at the beginning of this post, if you want a relationship like this with the person who tried their damnedest to break you knock yourself out. But if you don’t want a relationship like this? Tell ‘em to fuck off. Don’t let yourself get bullied into believing that this is the only way, or even the best way. You do what works for you.

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