Your Ex wants to change the co-parenting schedule: How's your Blood Pressure Now?

How do you react when your ex wants to change something in your co-parenting routine? 

A several weeks ago, my ex emailed, to bring up the idea of changing the co-parenting schedule.  This was a surprise to me.  I could feel my body tightening as I read the email. 

And my immediate reaction, was to just tell him to go fuck himself cause the schedule is the schedule – there’s nothing written anywhere that it ever has to change.  PLUS, I’d asked to change the schedule a few years ago and he’d just written the idea right off, so I sort of wanted to reject his idea just out of spite. :)  

I was also in the midst of a lot of deadlines at work, so this was just not something I wanted to deal with at all right then.

It got me thinking – how do you react to your ex when he/she bring up a topic that surprises you?  When they want to change something that you weren’t expecting? 

Does your body tighten?

Can you feel your blood pressure rising?

Are you still breathing?  Or breathing faster?

Do you get mad?  And just want to shut it down?  Perhaps throw something across the room?

Or are you as cool as a cucumber? :)  Change just rolls off your back?  Well Done - if you are!!

I’m not there yet :)

BUT I have gotten wiser as I age, thank god! 

I’ve realized that what works best for me is this: 1) I don’t need to respond to something the minute it happens (ie. it was an email – I could sit with the idea for a few days and the world work still go on).  2) My highest or most loving response would be only possible once my initial crankiness had subsided and I could think about the idea more rationally and in a detached way. 

Becoming more aware of my reactions and giving myself space to filter through my initial feelings on a topic, always leads to a better response than if I’d just given a snap response.  Always.

And as it is going, my ex and I are still working it out, and it’s been a month or so now of off and on emails about the topic.  There’s no rush.  And I really want to make sure there’s no unintended consequences with the schedule changes.  I think we’ll even do a trial just to see how it goes in real time.

And best of all, throughout the whole thing, I haven’t felt put-upon or overly stressed out about it or angry about terms changing and why I have to bother dealing with it at all.

My peace of mind has been kept in tact :)

So, I’m curious – how are your stress levels when you need to organize/rearrange child sharing with your ex?  How have they improved since you were initially separated/divorced?  What have you noticed about how you handle potentially difficult conversations?

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