My partner and I were in a V with his ex-wife; now they're broken up and it's just us, but the co-parenting relationship is strained

A few years ago, I got into a V with a married couple (Dragon: 28M and Mermaid: 30F). It came about after Dragon told M he loved me and Mermaid said they'd make it work. After a big conversation later we decided to try a V. The boundaries were very restrictive: Mermaid wanted to move at slow pace (we at first were not even allowed to kiss). Dragon and I tried to respect it but we fucked up and broke those boundaries. Long story short, the V got really bad/toxic for all three of us. They had a kid right before Mermaid and Dragon divorced. A few months or so later Dragon and I decided to get together again. 2 days ago Mermaid accidentally picked up a buttdial while Dragon and I talked about our Mermaid's responsibility in the failure of the relationship/marriage, heard a short snippet, and she's really angry.

My and Dragon's relationship is healthy, and we communicate well and are much happier. Before me, Dragon and Mermaid's relationship was rough, which I didn't understand until later in the relationship. Now that we're out of the V, I can see how bad it really was, and I wish I had made smarter choices to save everyone some pain. I don't blame any one person from the V because it IS painful, but isn't something I can weigh on objectively myself with D. Mermaid and I don't talk. She sees me as the homewrecker. Obviously with a kid in the mix it makes it hard for Mermaid and Dragon to move on from the relationship. They are both good parents, but after this, their relationship is strained. Mermaid has full custody. Right now we are being patient because Mermaid is hurt and we don't want to push her, but obviously Dragon wants to see his kid. I know both Dragon and I have fucked up a lot and been hurt. I just wanted to hear outside opinion; what the best course here?

The first course of action is that Dragon needs to see a family law attorney about an official visitation arrangement. I understand that Mermaid is hurt, but his ability to see his child should not be subject to her feelings. A visitation agreement needs to be in place, because she should not be able to use the baby as an emotional bargaining chip to withhold or provide based on how pleased she is with him. It’s not fair to the child to see their dad in such inconsistent and unpredictable ways. He can also get support through the courts or a family therapist to work on a co-parenting and communication going forward.

Hearing a butt dial where you two were discussing her and her “responsibility in the failure of the relationship” would absolutely be painful for her, and you need to give her space for that anger. There is no real “course of action” here that can change her opinion of you as a “homewrecker” and you can’t retroactively fix what has happened. You’ve acknowledged that you “fucked up,” but your owning up to it in your own personal narrative doesn’t obligate her to forgive you. You can’t change how she feels, and you can’t demand that she adopt your perspective on things - that she and Dragon just weren’t great together, this was best for everyone, and she should move on with grace and friendliness.

Dragon needs to apologize to her sincerely for the cruelty of what she overheard during the buttdial; whether or not it was “out of context” or an “accident” is irrelevant to how hurtful it was for her. And then he needs to give her time and space without expecting her to forgive him or come around to being happy for his new relationship with you. You two need a “course of action” that respects her pain and leaves her space to feel however she feels about you two without trying to influence it. And the primary focus needs to be on establishing a productive, functional co-parenting relationship that allows Dragon to see his child based on a neutral schedule, so the question of “when Dragon sees his baby” is totally separate from how he and Mermaid are currently feeling about each other.