I DO get it. I do. When my daughter was born in 2002, my parents had just moved back to Oklahoma after transplanting me, in 1983, in alaska 5000 miles away from her 7 and his 4 siblings and their kids and 2 sets of grandparents I’d alternated spending weekends with since I was born in ’73.
I went from a childhood spent where I couldn’t spin with my arms outstretched without smacking support people to alone in alaska with my abuser. In 2010, we divorced (explosively) and within 6 months he was remarried to a nice girl whose whole family lives within spitting distance and I was the proud owner of a custody agreement preventing me from leaving the state for more than 2 weeks a year with the kids.
my life became about attending school events alone on one side of the auditorium and him and his “family" taking up multiple rows on the other. I’d have one kid and he would have the other, the one on stage usually, so my 3 year old would inevitably wander over to the ‘fun' side. the ex would save just the number of seats for them. plus my son. once I sat down only to be told by him that seat was saved.
sports are the worst because my daughter is an athlete and so is everyone in his wife’s family (i m not) so they’re this huge cheering section and I’m just sitting there. between us, sometimes I can’t even bear to be there.
so, yeah. I get it. hes never once helped my kids pick out a card for me or acknowledge me in any other way.
my baby turned 12 yesterday and my daughter is 16 now and driving. and I just turned 45. I’m middle aged and lack the energy or desire for a relationship. it’s hard to make friends when you’re a grown up. that said, I do have a small core of special friends in my life that have become like family...it took years but we finally have a Christmas and Thanksgiving tradition so unlike the first 4 or 5 years it’s not just me and them anymore. that was hard bc they knew with dad they’d get to have real ‘family “ holidays.
I just have a question for you. and only bc one of these friends was brave enough to ask it of me a few years back.
he would reach out and make sure I wasn’t alone on special days and at some point he stopped and when i asked him about it he said
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CALLED ME JUST TO SAY “Hello" INSTEAD OF “Help"?
it can’t be a one-way street. yours kind of sounds like one. when was the last time you reached out to anyone when you weren’t feeling needy, to see if there was anything THEY needed? everyone has a life. everyone has hard days. that alone doesn’t make your life any easier, but becoming not only the receiver, but an equal giver, will not only make you a more valuable friend, you will FEEL more valuable, instead of feeling like you’re always the one asking and never the one answering a need.
just a thought.
when I started initiating contact, even just to say hello now and then, I started feeling less alone.
I wish you much luck. I know how hard it is.