Confession Time

It Sucks To Watch My Ex Take Our Kids On Fancy Vacations

But I have to keep my mouth shut.

Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock
The Divorce Issue

My ex-husband messaged me recently, asking how I felt about him taking our three kids on a vacation to a faraway, very warm tropical climate. Paradise, basically. And I'll be honest, I had to take a moment: It was a trip I'd have loved to go on when we were married, but he always complained about the expense. Now he had no problem paying... oh, and he'd be paying for his girlfriend and her kids to go, as well.

We've been divorced for a really long time, but man does this kind of thing still sting. I have a good relationship with my ex-husband, and we still openly communicate about our feelings. He told me years ago he knows he made some mistakes in our marriage and doesn't want to make them again.

That's very mature of him — but frankly, it also sucks, because I feel like the new woman in his life gets to reap the benefits of our marriage gone wrong. Unfortunately, that's my reality. And I have to live with it and stop being so jealous.

It's not even about the money, necessarily. It's that I can't help but feel like I wasn't worth it. I wasn't worth a vacation or a weekend away in the city to him. I always wanted to travel as a family, and he never wanted to when we were married. Now off he goes with our kids and his girlfriend and her kids. Meanwhile, I stay home.

It's not just the big trips, either. The first time I saw my ex-husband strolling around a department store with his girlfriend on a Saturday afternoon, I got hot with rage. He always complained about going to the mall and would never shop with me. Instead, he stayed in the car and told me to hurry, like it was a huge inconvenience for him. So what changed? Did I irritate him, or did he just learn to chill out and not be such a brat?

It's really hard to bite my tongue when my kids are over the moon about going on a lavish vacation this winter to a tropical island. I remind myself that this vacation and all the other vacations my ex has taken my kids on aren't about me. They're about him and our kids and being able to spend quality time together. My kids get to experience things I never did growing up, and that's important to me. I'm glad my ex-husband can do that for them. And I hope one day I can afford to do the same.

Until then, I have to keep my hurt about this away from my kids. The last thing they need is to feel guilty about going on a vacation with their father. I have friends I can vent to so that I keep the pain to myself. I never want my kids to worry about me or hide their excitement because they are afraid of how it will make me feel.

Besides, it gives me motivation to plan something special for us. And honestly, I like knowing that I'll be the one doing all the planning and the paying because I don't need someone to treat me and my kids to a vacation. I'll do it myself, and that will be an enormous gift.

Diana Park is a writer who finds solitude in a good book, the ocean, and eating fast food with her kids.