Meeting with my ex-husband for the sake of my son is stressful

Dear Troubleshooter:

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company employee in my 30s. I’m worried about my relationship with my ex-husband, whom I divorced two years ago. I’m now raising a 2-year-old boy on my own, while working shorter hours.

My relationship with my ex-husband was tense right after we got divorced. However, we are on good terms now after many times seeing him with my son, so that we go out and eat out together, sometimes even with his parents joining in. But since I’m usually handling the childcare on my own, I sometimes think that my ex-husband and his parents, who only need to give attention to my son when they meet with him, are claiming the best part of having a child without having to deal with any of the hard work.

It is true that my son’s exchanges with his father help in some ways as I can have my own time when they meet. However, once my ex-husband and I have new partners, I don’t think we will be able to continue our current relationship.

I have told myself that such meetings are important for my child, but I’m concerned. I don’t know how long we can go on like this. I’m so worried that I can’t sleep unless I drink.

— A, Iwate Prefecture

Dear Ms. A:

After a divorce, it’s natural to want one’s children to feel that they are still loved by both parents. This is what gives significance to regular, ongoing exchanges between one’s children and a former spouse. Depending on the reasons for the divorce and the situation of the former spouse, such interactions can take a physical and mental toll on children. But fortunately in your case, exchanges with your ex-husband and his family have been smooth. That is something to be grateful for.

To be sure, the lives of you and your husband will change in the future. The form and frequency of the father-son exchanges may change accordingly, but it is important to continue them in a better way for the sake of your child. The Justice Ministry provides information on its website regarding private organizations that facilitate exchanges between children and their divorced parents. Why don’t you give it a look over for future reference? Having a place you can trust and consult with might give you peace of mind.

Even if your ex-husband and people on his side seem to be getting only the best part of having a child, they might envy you since you can be with the child all the time. You also said you can have your own time when they meet. Try to be happy now rather than worry about the future. And please take good care of yourself for the sake of your child.

— Masami Ohinata,university president