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Why doesn’t my coparent answer my messages?

Have you sent a text message or an email to your coparent and they don’t respond?

Do you then send another one to let them know you are still awaiting a response?

Do you keep checking your phone every 5 minutes to see if a reply has come through, only to find there is nothing?

So, you send another one with a sense of urgency and agitation in its tone. You keep checking your phone. It may have been an hour…. but it seems like hours! You might even switch off the phone and back on again just in case it is a technology issue…. but you know deep down it isn’t.

Your anxiety starts to swell, stomach is in a knot, heart pounding and you notice your hand is trembling as you pick up your phone again to see if there is a response. Nothing…nada!

You can feel yourself becoming angry and your mind starts to create a false narrative that they are deliberately not answering, just to annoy you. Your mind may flashback to all the times they may have ‘let you down’ or been ‘unreliable’.

You send another text or email, this time you blurt out criticism and abuse as the emotional rage floods through your fingers typing vigorously. You finally finish, which ends up being a long vent bringing a sense of relief that you got it off your chest. You press send concluding ‘it’s no wonder we broke up!, you’re so selfish”

Still no response……..your messages seem to have disappeared into a black hole.

Meanwhile, you are unaware your coparent has just finished working overtime or just come out of the movies to find a bombardment of text messages or emails from you. They scroll through, seeing the stream of messages increasing in intensity, triggering them to become angry. They feel that you’re demanding and expecting them to be ‘on call’ 24 x 7 to respond to you immediately, as though they have no life. They may be triggered by memories of arguments when they hadn’t done something straight away or felt trivial complaints were blown up out of proportion. Their feelings of been controlled or suffocated come flooding back. There are two paths they may choose;

  1. Ignore your messages totally and not respond or

  2. Reply with a tirade of insults on how selfish and demanding you are.

The initial message or email content is lost amidst the emotional tsunami.

Both coparents feel the other parent is selfish!

Communication is very poor, damaging the coparenting relationship amidst high conflict. This has a knock-on effect with the children as the tension runs high between their parents at handover or remotely communicating via technology. This shifts the energy to a negative vibe surrounding them, making them feel uneasy. The children witness hostility, lack of respect and derogatory comments regarding the coparent.

The key is to engage a Parenting Coordinator to help implement the parenting plan, consent or parenting orders to help the family adjust and transition to the new family structure. Assisting the parents to be problem solvers and good communicators. This occurs through establishing communication protocols, resolving issues, setting boundaries and improving communication.

A monthly meeting occurs with both parents as well as individual sessions if needed. The aim of the meetings is to work through key issues, learn problem solving skills, educate about child development and impacts of conflict. With a child focus, ensure their needs are met with both parents being good role models so the children feel safe and secure rather than surviving in chaos and uncertainty.

Coparent communication styles are assessed and protocols established to enable communication to be improved which in turn improves the coparenting relationship.

Optional communication monitoring by the Parenting Coordinator, helps the coparents be guided to using constructive respectful communication in ‘real time’. Emergency sessions can be arranged if a dispute needs immediate resolution.

The Parenting Coordinator is assigned for 1-2 years to help coparents avoid contraventions, returning back to lawyers or the court, which is costly both financially and emotionally. Although the parenting coordinator cannot change orders, they can make a directive if both parents are unable to resolve an issue.

Remember, avoid contravention and opt for Parenting Coordination Intervention.

If you and your coparent want to stay out of court and seek the help from a Parenting Coordinator, you both need to book a separate intake session here

Author – Cheryl Duffy, Divorce Coach, Mediator & Parenting Coordinator

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