Dear Dr. Darcy:
I’m from the East Coast. I just moved to the West Coast about a year ago with my wife and daughter. My daughter is in middle school. We just enrolled her into a very prestigious private school which any child is lucky to get accepted to. This weekend she brought home her new best friend for a sleepover. The girl’s mother came to pick her up the next day, and she turns out to be my ex-wife.
I moved here to get away from my past. My ex-wife and I had a terrible divorce. She thinks I left her penniless and the truth is I didn’t have the money the judge awarded her. The point is this issue led to years and years of litigation between us. Seeing her in my new shiny home, face-to-face with my second wife made my skin crawl.
I don’t want to deny my daughter her best friend. I don’t quite know how to handle this. I’m seriously considering transferring my daughter to a new school so I don’t have to deal with my ex wife on a consistent basis. Would that make me, as you put like to put it, a douchebag?
Well now you went and used my favorite term… No. It doesn’t make you a douchebag. It makes you a guy who is willing to go to great lengths to avoid his past and to avoid dealing with his baggage, and as you can see, the universe has a crafty way of disallowing the avoidance of life lessons. Wherever you move, there you are. And so is the ex-wife.
I can understand the desire for a fresh start, but that concept presupposes that you did the work necessary to exorcise yourself of your past. You, Mr. Avoidance, did not. You moved across the country in an attempt to avoid doing the work that the rest of us had to do. You are not special. You don’t get to bypass therapy, which you’re in serious need of given the lengths you’re willing to go to avoid your ex.
I’ll make a deal with you: You go into therapy with a shrink of my choice for 6 solid months. Don’t miss any appointments. At the end of the 6 months, if you still feel the need to pull your kid out of the school that she’s just acclimated to, from the support group that she’s just created for herself, do it. But do not let your innocent daughter’s happiness be your first line of defense against having to work through your shit. It’s selfish. It’s cowardly. And it would make you a pussy. Not a douchebag.
Writer’s stats: Male, Straight.