When Pete started a new relationship a few months after moving out of our home, at first I wished for his relationship to fail. Why should his life skip right along without missing a beat when mine was entirely starved of music?
Less than a year later, it was clear that Pete’s girlfriend Taylor had become an important and loving presence in my son’s life. It was also evident that in Taylor’s company, Pete was finding new ways to step up as a father to Teddy and friend to me.
What had once been a fantasy—Taylor sitting in my kitchen, bereft and broken open by disappointments that echoed my own—became a fear. I started wishing for Pete’s new family unit to hold. For Pete’s sake, my son’s sake—and all of our sake.
Then, I stopped wishing altogether. Pete’s relationship had nothing to do with me, and it seemed that even my wishing was an intrusion where I did not belong. I trusted Pete to his own destiny and me to mine. I believed we’d each find our own ways to fulfill ourselves and give our best to our son.
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Wishing anything at all for our co-parents keeps us bound to them in ways that don’t serve anyone in the family. Choosing not to burden their choices with the weight of interpretation or desire is warrior’s work. But it can be done. Each time you wander into wishing, try calling yourself back to neutral. Remind yourself that your co-parent is on a path now that doesn’t require your opinion. The less attention you give to how he is steering his life, the more freedom you have to navigate your own.
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