Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Bitter ex wife and new girlfriend

(47 Posts)
Singledad5871 Wed 15-May-13 05:14:14

Hi, I split up from my kids mum 2 years ago and have been resident parent since then through a long and still ongoing court battle. My ex left to live with somebody she met through AA - who had 4 grown up kids ( who all testified against him in court). I met the most wonderful girl a year ago who also has 2 kids the same ages as my 2. In recent weeks as it has looked like I will receive final residency, my exes behaviour has worsened and is trying to control my life through the contact she receives for the kids. This has affected my new relationship - my gf wants me to sever all contact with the kids mum - phone, f2f etc - especially as handovers are problematic - but this has proven more difficult as she has refused to give the children to my aunt that I designated to get the children for me. My gf is raging with me because I have had to now go with my aunt to collect the kids and didn't tell her that I had! Two parts to this - what can I do to cut contact with ex and how do I heal my relationship - my gf is really the love of my life?

stopmovingthefurniture Fri 17-May-13 18:19:49

I completely understand where your gf is coming from. I think sometimes posters in 'relationships' are too finely tuned to any possibility of controlling/abusing behaviour. Given what your gf's children have already had to endure as a result of your presence in their lives, I think that any responsible parent would be drawing some boundaries at this point. From what you describe, I also think that any reasonable, sensible adult would exit the situation unless it was going to improve, because the pressures on your life sound absolutely colossal. I'd be very surprised if anyone could thrive in that environment over the longer term and that may be the conclusion that your gf is arriving at. It is actually pretty silly to think that a single mother with two children under seven should carry on in a relationship when the potential for serious emotional distress/physical risk is present.

Your gf may not mean 'sever all contact' in an unhelpful way, but simply that you remove opportunities for this bullying behaviour to occur.

You're lucky she has stuck with you and you both deserve a shot at a happy life. If your ex is incapable of sorting out things in an adult fashion then yes, you need to restrict her.

If it was me in your position, I'd explain to your gf that you recognise that she and all the children deserve a safe environment where everyone can thrive. You recognise that she and her children have been affected by your ex's behaviour. You accept that this shouldn't have happened and you are going to do everything you can to make sure it cannot happen again. You respect her need to see that you've moved on and are no longer at the mercy of your ex's whims. You are going to be competent and resolute when it comes to protecting your new life with her (or maybe with her).

Lavenderhoney Fri 17-May-13 17:33:44

Sorry I too thought your gf sounded v controlling but after you have explained, no she isn't.

I hope you get everything sorted soon for all your sakes. I think more experienced in this posters will be able to help you more, re your dc and their residency.

Singledad5871 Fri 17-May-13 16:22:55

Going through court a Social Work report deemed his current situation 'minimum risk' he originally wasn't allowed to be present on the overnight contacts but now is sad
Not what I wanted to hear but SW love ex addicts don't they? If they 'clean up their act' then ALL is forgiven as far as they are concerned!

AnyFucker Fri 17-May-13 06:45:39

Yes, I have changed my mind too, SD

Good luck with everything

springymater Fri 17-May-13 00:28:32

I'm sorry you're going through so much hell Singledad. I had years of family courts and I know how it can beat you down.

Can i ask why she gets overnights when her partner's kids testified that he beat them with a rod? I'm confused at how the PTB have agreed to your children being under the same roof as this man - I can't see how this could have been agreed ??

At first I too thought your gf sounded controlling but now you have explained more i can see that your gf is promoting minimum contact in order to remove, as far as possible, any opportunity for conflict/abuse from your ex.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 20:23:16

@ofmiceandmen - that is EXACTLY what she's doing - numerous SW referalls, accusing me of violence to the children, all with a view to winning in court! She is trying to goad me into losing my temper and to make me do something drastic - which is why I need to remove myself from the face to face situations. I have a 'handover' every day so it increases the chance of conflict sad

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 12:46:59

Thanks - it's good to know other people have had the same thing and got through it. I was full of fight two years ago but court etc has worn me down and I've slipped into the quiet life mode you talk about trying to save my strength I guess.

anklebitersmum Thu 16-May-13 12:34:53

grin DH and I nearly split over his ex, mainly due to his 'I'll do what she says for an easier life and not tell you unless I HAVE to protect you from the stresses of this' phase. This phase unsurprisingly coincided with my 'You need to grow a spine and man up how dare you choose her over me, tell her where to get off accept I'm an adult and talk to me' period.

If you and GF can stay mostly calm, keep talking, concentrate on what's best for DC and stay together through this type of aggro then you are pretty much 'bomb proof' in my opinion.

Good luck and keep yer chin up wink

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 12:08:27

@anklebitersmum - spot on - I understand why she is angry with me as we have always been honest with each other, but stupidly I thought I was protecting her from more stress - yes, very typical male thing!

anklebitersmum Thu 16-May-13 11:30:28

Sounds to me as if GF is raging because she sees you continuing to go through the mill at the ex's hands and is powerless to stop it. That and the fact that as you quite rightly said you did the 'man thing' and avoided telling her something you knew she'd have the 'ump about.

DH's ex was a poisonous troll pain in the behind too and having seen it from your GF's view it's frustrating enough having to watch you have to jump without you asking how high (hope that makes sense).

My advise would be to keep on keeping on with the legal battle but be a little more forthright than you perhaps have been and to tell GF that you won't do anything else behind her back, which was probably especially insulting as she has suffered at your ex's hand personally iyswim.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 11:04:52

@chattylady - that sounds horrific and really puts mine in perspective! I normally have been able to manage her and keep it all at an arms length because I have had a great solicitor - but she is now on maternity leave - and lo and behold the behaviour escalates again, being unreasonable - thinking that she is in the position of strength to negotiate. I am exhausted - I have been through 2 years of court and umpteen CWH - as my XW gets Legal Aid - she has just went haywire - over a 3 month period I got 85 emails and letters from her solicitor!

chattylady61 Thu 16-May-13 10:55:52

It sounds like a nightmare and you are exhausted by the whole thing. My dp and I had same nightmare with police with frankly nutty and twisted accusations _ she told police I had sex with her 12 year old boy and my dp with his daughter aged 14 anongst other things... The police though were level headed and evetually called social services to supervise her and they just treated her as the nutty woman she was. But it was horrific as I am sure she meant it to be and her chilkdren are damaged (she prepped he daughter on sex positions with dad to tell police. God knows whether that child will recover). The thing is that someone like that wants to control the situation and harm you and stop you moving on to a happy life without them and they won't stop. Ever. More reason to cut all contact with her. Its a great pity the courts allow them to have any contact at all. Much injustice is done hrough the family courts and its tough to see how this helps kids.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 10:51:01

@dahlen - thank you, I know that's what I need to do. I am assertive but through court my solicitor has coached me to be reasonable at all times, don't be obstructive etc so sometimes it looks like I am being a pushover, I am quite assertive normally, but as I'm in Scotland - in the Childrens Act up here there are two clauses - if one parent is shown to be reasonable and the other not, care should be given to the reasonable parent and two - if no cooperation can be agreed then shared care is not an option. I want to ensure the kids are protected and oblivious to it all, but equally build a wall round my life, so you're right about what I need to do.

ofmiceandmen Thu 16-May-13 10:46:49

Singledad - pretty much mirrors everything I did (giving up a well paid job, and all the comprimises you made) and I'm pleased its been a good outcome for you (gives us all hope - men and women).

Dahlen, whom I respect (bow to the gods) seems to pretty much be spot on in most cases.

All I can add as a chap thats been there is - as I've said before - 'Let it go'

you can't change this person (your ex), that is what you are really asking for. Nothing after all this is going to suddenly make her see sense - she's chosen a creep over a life with her kids.

Just be the best dad ever, show your kids what real love means (trust me kids can tell when something is weighing on you).

Protect yourself as Dahlen has suggested and give your kids a healthy 'best' you.

Dahlen Thu 16-May-13 10:46:09

Please don't take this the wrong way but I get the impression from your posts that you need to be more assertive. Every problem you have mentioned so far has been a case of identify problem > announce unhappiness and say what you want to change > get rebuffed > accept the status quo. I sympathise. Years of living with an alcoholic will do that to you. Sometimes just saying you're not happy requires a huge degree of assertiveness under those circumstances.

I know it's not easy and I won't deny it will be harder for you because you're male, but you need to insist on being heard. You need to be the height of reasonableness about it, but persistent to the point where you become a nuisance and it's easier for them to do what you want rather than rebut you yet again. That may mean writing/emailing SS weekly, calling daily, etc. Gathering the evidence and applying for a non-molestation order, etc. A full-on operation, basically. That probably makes you feel exhausted just thinking about it, but it would be worth it in the end.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 10:34:22

@dahlen - my GF is not actually that demanding, but this has taken it's toll - as a dad - nobody listens to you - I've been to SS, Health Visitors and all you get is 'just keep doing what you're doing, it will settle eventually' - yet when my little boy bumps his head and my XW goes to them they jump! It is abuse I know that - it's her addict behaviour that feeds on drama and attention - I am there for the kids first and foremost - I see my GF two-three times a week at best, and I tried to keep her out of it but my XW dragged her into it all - citing her for court, trying to report her to Social Work etc - so she has became involved through no fault of either of us.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 10:29:26

@Hellototheno - you don't choose when you meet somebody and even when you're taking things easy, fun etc - feelings etc can take you by surprise. My marriage had effectively ended 4 years before but I simply wouldn't leave my kids - any feelings and a pretence of a married life ended in 2009. I have always put my kids first, I quit my (very well paid) job to look after them when their mum was incapable, I tried again and again to create a reasonable, amicable framework between the kids parents - when I was asked for anything I gave it - extra time, etc - but it was never reciprocated, blocking me taking the kids on holiday (even when I was single) but the final straw was when I asked to pick the kids up 2 hours early AFTER she had them for more than normal contact - to take them to my dads birthday and it was refused. At that point I lost my temper - not violent or even shouting I might add - but when her partner butted in to tell me what i should do with my kids - that was enough for me. I have had police visit my house several times, social work referrals at least 5 times - all unfounded, I was accused of battering the children both to SW and in court - only for it to be retracted. I was ready to move on when I met my GF - the routine that the kids were in worked, every report says they are happy, healthy, thriving - all I wanted was to get on with my life and work together for the kids where needed - but my ex feels the need to control me through my love of the kids as she did when she was drinking.
@ofmiceandmen - I have spent a fortune in court to ensure that doesn't happen - as I'm in Scotland PRR is really strong and as I have the status quo - that is what has given me residence for over 2 years.
@chattylady - I'm done being the martyr, I try to protect the kids from everything, all I want is to have something in place that blocks the worst out and allows me to build my life and future. SW, HV etc all say my ex wife's behaviour is desperate and irrational - but nobody seems to want to help me really do something about it sad

Dahlen Thu 16-May-13 10:23:11

While your new GF does sound somewhat demanding <understatement> I think she has a very valid point about your XW.

If you were a woman in the same situation, I'd be advising you to go back to court to insist on supervised contact at a contact centre rather than through a relative, because the current arrangement is proving detrimental to your children and is also being used by your XW as a means to continue to abuse you. You don't have to put up with that, and unless you want to put up with this for the rest of your life, you need to put a stop to it.

Get in touch with SS, AlAnon, the school, GP - everyone who can come together to provide evidence for an in-depth CAFCASS report that will accurately show the distress this is causing your family.

At the same time, however, with all this going on I really don't think you can be there for your DC in the way that you need to be while at the same time pursuing a relationship with your GF. I know that's not fair and it shouldn't be the case, but I'm afraid that's the reality of a bitter court battle. Your DC will need you more than ever, and if supporting them (by dealing with your X) puts you in conflict with your GF, you are simply going to let one of them down and probably make yourself ill in the process.

chattylady61 Thu 16-May-13 10:06:34

You must be a great dad to have got residency (as not keen on the batmen dads but they have a point about the court bias against men sometimes) so keep that at the front of your mind in all this. Secondly don't dump your gf is you love her! Work it out. She may well be very upset and not be handling it well but who can blame her. You ex sounds a monster and when I was in the same situation it was very traumatic to be harrassed by someone like that and she's stuck around through at lot of stressful problems with you and that's to her credit. I do think though keep her uninvolved but not uniformed on arrangements. But talk with her about it. If you need to find a balance for your kids needs and yours and your gfs (forget the martyred parent approach! You abd gf have right to happiness too) you will building a happy future. Good luck!

Helltotheno Thu 16-May-13 09:48:36

While I have sympathy for your situation singledad, I have most sympathy for the children. They have to be put first.. neither you nor your ex is putting them first. The last poster is right, any new GF shouldn't even feature in this. Couldn't you just have kept that on the down low for another few years until things settled? Would that have killed you?

ofmiceandmen Thu 16-May-13 09:14:12

add - if she does stop seeing this terrible partner and comes around saying she has cleaned up her act - what are the chances of her getting the kids back through the courts - the answer may surprise you.

Its hard, I know but let it go (the thing that's allowing your ex to get to you). EA's know your buttons, know how to manipulate you and get you to be the worst you.

ofmiceandmen Thu 16-May-13 09:07:43

Singledad5871 - Ouch have been there. Ultimately this has to be about the children, I found that the ex was manipulating the situation to finally get things to turn around in court. My kids were younger so perhaps the courts may take your slightly older kids opinions into consideration but it sounds to me as though your ex is really aiming to have you become the 'bad person' in this.
Look at it this way-
1.in your kids eyes who is the person causing all the pain - you may be surprised, they may even see mums actions as a result of Daddy.
2. Who is having problems at home - again sounds a bit like you are. she may be playing perfect families.
3. Who is having to lie to his partner - honestly do you want to be lying to someone you love.

Time to stop Singledad. She may be the person stirring things but dont let her win.
I eventually recently had my ex turn up in court say she had changed had got off medication and just likt that she got the kids. I had become the one who was making it hard and was becoming unreasonable setting different people to pick up the kids etc etc. even my video recordings of the events didn't mean a thing.

Your new gf/dp doesn't actually come into any of the above.

Good luck - from another once singledad.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 08:33:04

My ex certainly is - and I wouldn't bore people with the details, this is an isolated incident re: my GF - she has stood by me through the stress and strain of court, been there when I need her - the issue I have is managing things so that the kids are not affected, but also limits how my ex can interfere in my life. I'm hampered by the way the court ordered contact is in place with her collecting the kids after school till 6 - it was in place when things were a bit more reasonable - but out of date now - but it means there is a handover every day - where her partner is present EVERY time - often I'm on my own and am met with aggression.

nkf Thu 16-May-13 07:40:55

Six months is nothing. A year is not long.the only use mn can provide in this sort if situation.us a collection of often brusque opinions from total outsiders. I think you may well find a common view that both your ex and your new girlfriend sound awful.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 07:12:53

Tbh my marriage died 4 years ago with the alcoholism and living hell that me and the kids went through, but I would never have left my kids. For my first 6 months I was completely focused on just me and the kids, but I met my GF over a year after the split. I have no issues or bitterness over the split - but we do plan to build a long term life together and while my ex does her irrational things - that's hard to do. I understand my GFs anger - she felt I was hiding things from her when I didn't tell her I was going with my aunt - typical male acting without thinking thing hmm

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now