When you live as a couple, you should be a team working together.
That's my take on it, anyway. A relationship isn't a relationship if you're just two people living in the same house, floating around each other while taking care of your own business.
I was bluntly reminded of my own beliefs the other day. Ex Number Two was having his day with our girl. I was having a bad day and feeling a little emotional — it's been a rough week.
When I went to pick up my daughter, she was violently upset that she hadn't had time to go hide in her snow fort and surprise me before I pulled into the driveway. She screamed in protest that I should get in my car, leave and come back so she could play jack-in-the-box.
I calmly but firmly gave my daughter a chance to cool down and discuss the situation. I stated that I wasn't going to get in my car only to come back.
No luck. We were slowly working into drastic measures to resolve the problem. She was screaming blue murder — enough to make the neighbors come out of their houses — and I wanted to go home.
I gave a warning. Cease and desist by the count of three or I would have to pick her up and put her in her car seat. Well, she's 3 — she was ready to test my resolve.
To my ex's complete horror, I followed through. I picked up my struggling, screaming daughter and tried to get her to fit in the car. If you've ever tried to do this, you may know that it's almost impossible. Splayed arms and legs just don't go through a four foot square space.
Instead of helping out and cooperating with me towards a common goal of a calmer daughter strapped safely into a car seat, my ex started questioning why the child was protesting leaving with me so strongly.
He alternated between skeptic accusations of a bad mother and over-empathy with my daughter. He was not helping anything and was making my daughter's behavior worse. She snagged onto that show of emotion with pleas and begging.
I gave up. I was fighting someone who wanted to make my life harder. There was no common goal or support or help. There was no understanding.
I wanted to be so far away from my ex at that moment that I nearly drove away. How could someone who once loved me now be so against me?
I sat in my car thinking, "This is why I left him."