Thumb Wars

A year ago today, I decided I wanted to be a better dad. A better man. I saw things about myself I didn’t like and took great pains to change them. Still a work in progress to be sure, but my relationship with my son has never been tighter. I see it growing deeper and stronger as the years move on and he grows up. There will never be a moment in O’s life where he doubts whether or not Daddy has his back. Always. No matter what. Thrice on Sunday.

Match.com Boyfriend is a constant influence in my son’s life now. Even more so since the current parenting schedule was put into place over my immediate and detailed objections. I’m not impressed by his contributions. He’s Adam Sandler meets Bill Murray meets Hulk Hogan and doesn’t properly pronounce words as much as he channels adolescent touchstones to ingratiate himself with my son by way of his funny bone. His personality is all passive-aggressive bluster and dumb-ass conjecture based on zero information much less an ounce of intellectual integrity or mature consideration. I’m sure his “students” get amazing results from that process.

This leaves me in the unenviable position of upholding O’s expected standards of conduct and behavior by myself. It used to be a tag-team effort when “co-parenting” was still a thing in my life. Six months back when my ex-wife treated me like a partner in raising our son rather than an uncomfortable obstacle to go around or circumvent or simply ignore. We’re all “lawyered up” now and writing fat checks to “negotiate” basic details that used to happen as a matter of course with zero drama or third-party input. That ship has definitely sailed. Seemingly for good. Brutal.

The only contact I have with my son for six interminable days every other week is by way of uncomfortable FaceTime chats that were never necessary before now. I was happy to give my ex all the space she needed when we shared custody like the court ordered and our son still expects but no longer gets. Instead of Daddy on a regular basis, he has Match.com Boyfriend’s pathetic pantomime to copy and paste. My son has plenty of friends. He needs his mom’s main squeeze to be both a mentor and a role model. This guy offers neither trait given what I’ve seen on my side of the divide. Disappointing and frustrating to say the least.

There are darker undertones to this story, but I’m choosing the less devastating explanation for now. I can beat back the darkness later if needed, but I won’t invite it into our reality unintentionally by jumping at shadows. That said, plausible deniability is how these things go from “Innocent Explanation” to “What The Fuck?!” seemingly overnight. My radar is on high. That won’t change absent detailed, consistent and honest explanations for the many questions I have about this guy’s total immersion into my son’s life and the influence he now exploits by way of my ex’s inability to pay attention to the details. The speed at which O was subjected to very adult considerations was beyond ridiculous. It was injurious.

I don’t anticipate this train slowing down anytime soon. Just the opposite. If anything, my son’s boundaries are going to be violated even more severely than they already have. Not a doubt in my mind. My only hope is that his mom recovers some semblance of sanity soon and applies the brakes on behalf of her son. It’s a slim hope to be sure given my own experiences as a kid in the same shit situation but a persistent one nonetheless. I can’t believe this nightmare is the new status quo. I can’t. Not just yet.

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