Amber, Gary and Kristina also sit down to hash out their relationship and come to an understanding about “boundaries.”
Amber Portwood made some progress when it comes to her relationship with ex Gary Shirley and his wife Kristina on “Teen Mom OG,” though things between her and daughter Leah continue to be strained as ever.
On Tuesday’s episode, Portwood called up Gary and Kristina and asked whether they could meet up to talk about “baby steps of moving forward” and “what our boundaries are” when it comes to coparenting. Amber has been hoping for more time with Leah and wants her and son James to have a strong sibling relationship — but Leah has been hesitant to see her mom, feeling abandoned by her after Portwood’s rehab and prison time, as well as relationships with other men.
While Gary sounded reluctant at first — and reminded Amber to try and keep this positive — he agreed.
“He has this notion that I’m a dick and I kind of am sometimes, but not always,” Portwood told her producer after the call. “I think Gary thinks of me exactly how I was years ago. He can’t comprehend changes. You’re just gonna have to see it and you will.”
Gary, meanwhile, told Kristina he just hopes Amber doesn’t think that mending their relationship with automatically make things better between her and Leah. “I hope she understands that her relationship with us does not transfer to her relationship with Leah,” he added.
They met up for what turned out to be a very cordial lunch date.
“We wanna move forward, where we can all get along. I know that you apologized and we appreciate that. We apologized for our part as well,” Gary began. “We were at odds, people say things they don’t mean, we want to move forward with all of us getting along. I completely want Leah and James to have a relationship.”
He was, however, hesitant to make any sort of firm visitation schedule for Amber and Leah.
“The groundwork is in for you and Leah, that is definitely completely separate from what we’re doing right here,” he told her. “We want your relationship with her to be there, we’re not rooting against you. We have always been on your side … that’s what we want.”
They all seemed to agree that “slow and steady” would be the best approach for mending things between the mother and daughter duo. Amber also copped to making mistakes and having a mouth that gets her in trouble.
“It’s about learning afterwards what you did wrong and stepping back a little bit,” she added. “We’re doing okay, just not to worry too much and it’ll be alright.”
After the meet up, Gary and Kristina felt it went “great.” He explained that he didn’t want to agree to a set scheduled because he didn’t want to “feel like we’re pushing that on Leah.” He added, “The most important thing right now is keeping the kids first. They’re brother and sister. I do want Leah to be able to trust her mom and have a relationship, I really do.”
Amber also felt like they all made “progress,” but wished she had gotten a more firm schedule out of the conversation.
“He is the father of my daughter and I need him to understand some things. I hope that we’re able to move forward and do this, I think we can,” she added. “This is just a bump in the road. To me, that was just us getting over something in the past that wasn’t even a hill for me. Yeah, I f—ed up.”
“What the hill and the mountain right now for me is Leah,” Portwood continued. “It’s going to take some time, but eventually, she’ll come to me. It’s a waiting game of her to accept a few things and I’ve accepted that she doesn’t necessarily like me right now. She just is hurting and is trying to understand why.”
“I didn’t choose one f—ing man over my daughter and anybody that says that, they don’t know s—,” she concluded. “I care about Leah, I care about James. They’re the only thing I care about.”
“Teen Mom OG” airs Tuesdays on MTV.