It is very hard for me to go against what I think is the way something "SHOULD" be. You can teach on old dog new tricks, it just may take a bit longer to unlearn old habits.
I have for a LONG time--like 2 1/2 years, tried to not have a co-parenting relationship. But I have worked against myself towards that end because of my firm belief that a child deserves parents who love each other, or at least can get along with each other. The huge sticking point has been the fact that we have joint legal custody. That implies joint decision making on important issues. Dilara's dad has said over and over again that he doesn't want to discuss anything with me. Yet, he is the one who has complained to the court that I refuse to consider his opinion about the things he doesn't want to discuss with me. I have already asked for sole custody, or at least sole decision making authority, but only after he did. I don't think either of us can convince a judge, at this point, to change anything about our custody arrangement. The law is pretty strict about requiring "material change in circumstance" that affects the child in a meaningful way. At this point, Dilara has not been affected in any meaningful way by her parents' inability to communicate and make joint decisions.
Our custody arrangement can stay the same, with us simply going to court to break the tie when we can't agree on something. If we start going to court a lot, that may get tiresome after a while.
One HUGE thing that happened this year is that Dilara's dad and I have shown that we can all sit together as a family for brief periods of time, on special occasions. We are able to communicate well enough to adhere to our agreement, other than the implied joint decision making part. I, at this point, expect that we will be able to both attend school functions, graduations, weddings, etc. as a family. I know people who have been married to each other who can't even do that, so for us to have had our child out of wedlock, and never have been "in love" with each other from the start, I think that is pretty good.
So, I have been trying to a week now to work as though I already have sole legal custody and there is no need for me to communicate with Dilara's dad beyond basic scheduling, and letting him know what we need. No need for discussion! What a relief!
There have been several times when I have been stonewalled and I have said, "Fine! I'll just pretend I have sole custody and decision making authority and I don't NEED to talk to you about anything!" But, until now, I have always kept him "in the loop." I am retraining myself to not share with him anything about DIlara's experiences when she is with me. She is old enough now that he can ask her about her day. She has a blog that we put updates on. He is free to ask me questions. But I am not going to send him texts of cute things she says or does. I am not going to send pictures to his phone of cool things she does. I am not going to send him reminders of things.
I am going to block him out of DIlara's life during her time with me. I am not going to ask his opinion on anything. I am sure I'll slip up from time to time, but I have a huge sense of relief because this is the answer to my struggles.
I have said for a while that if I can't have a good, healthy relationship with someone, I don't want a relationship at all. I have been trapped in this one, though.
I can feel good about this because I am allowing him to come to me. I am not stonewalling him. If, at any time, he has a change in attitude and wants to co-parent, i think it would be great. BUT, I don't expect that to happen.
Expectations truly set you up for disappointment. The only thing I expect from him is "more of the same" and if I get anything different, I'll be pleasantly surprised.
I am really trusting God for the outcome of any court decisions. I will appeal as far as I can, if I think the court makes a decision that is not in Dilara's best interest, based on the laws and relevant facts.
We are currently in a fight over education. Other things I expect to end up in court over are religion, and him getting permission to take Dilara to Turkey. At this point, I would let her go to Turkey when she is 15 or 16, I think, but I might let her go sooner IF I went with her and IF I thought there was no risk of her getting stuck there. At this point, I don't foresee having any confidence that if she went to Turkey, I'd see her again till she was grown.
It is hard to give up trying to make things the way they SHOULD be, when i have no control. It is very freeing to choose to control the things that I actually DO have the ability to control.
And, of course, there is a lot of peace that comes from trusting that God is in control and working behind the scenes in ways I don't understand.
I thank God every day that Dilara's dad is such a good man, and I am glad that I love him so much. If I weren't a Christian, I don't think I would have ever gotten to this point. It is God who gives me this love to bear this burden, to "endure" as 1 Cor. 13 talks about.