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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?

Mosman Wed 15-May-13 05:19:58

The GF has to understand that you cannot sever all contact, I would say it is impossible.
If she wants to continue her relationship with a single dad then she needs to grow up a bit imo.
I have never dated people with children when i was single because I realise that is not a situation I would want to be involved in, surely she needs to give the matter some thought a long time ago as to whether it's something she can handle ?

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Wed 15-May-13 05:54:20

I met the most wonderful girl woman a year ago

Fixed it for you grin

Honestly, as angry as your ex sounds I see a lot of red flags with your new gf.

Do you try to control her handovers to her ex, and if not done in a matter you deem correct, 'rage' at her? I didn't think so.

However bitter your ex may or may not be, she's right to be furious you are letting your girlfriend dictate handovers.

FWIW, I'm a stepmum as well as a mum. smile

You want this to work, you need to sit down and firmly tell her no more tantrums about your DC's mother. I'm sure for what's best for them if they say 'well mum said...' You suck in a deep breath and don't insult her to your children, no matter what she's said?

Your GF sounds extremely controlling.... FWIW, abuse (emotional/physical/whatever) tends to start when a relationship is at this stage.

Good luck, I hope your talk goes well but please do keep your eyes sharp.

Your girlfriend sounds awful. Why are you letting her control you like this?

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Wed 15-May-13 05:59:24

Just saw the no phone calls, no f2f shock

Do you really think your new girlfriend isn't the controlling one? [snort]

Sounds like you jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. Two years of bitter divorce, yet an intense one year long relationship?

Enjoy round two.

lunar1 Wed 15-May-13 06:04:54

No matter how bad your ex is, she is the mother of your children. It is completely unrealistic to have no contact with her.

Your girlfriend sounds controlling, and completely unreasonable. You really need to think if she will be a positive influence on your children's lives as she sounds very self absorbed.

Lavenderhoney Wed 15-May-13 06:20:54

Your gf sounds very controlling tbh. You can't sever contact with your exw- you have dc to discuss. It would surely upset the dc if you even contemplated this? Parents evenings, sports days etc- a world of trouble coming up.

It must be very confusing for your dc, with her refusing to hand them over etc. do you live together? It's all gone very fast hasn't it, in just a year.

Stepmooster Wed 15-May-13 06:26:16

My DH ex-wife married her affair partner. For 4.5 years he has been present at every handover of my husbands son EOW. The timings of the contact start/end revolve around when he is not working. Except when I started to do Friday evenings instead (DH is on extended paterntiy leave and I work nearer to them).

In past DH would agree something with his ex only to get an email later from her to say my DH is not happy with that and we'll have to change it.

Its highly frustrating for DH, where as I trust my DH not to run off into the arms of his ex.

The only ones who really suffer are the kids. Are they going to warm to someone that controlling? Is your GF going to control them too? She isn't going to become their mother she can never be that. She has to respect your ex and the relationship your children have with her.

If it were me I'd not rush it and see how things go.

AuntieStella Wed 15-May-13 06:45:20

Could you clarify the age of the "girl" you are now with?

I am assuming she is very young from that description. So if under say about 21 and with two children, then she may well be exhausted or in a difficult place for some other reason, then it is likely she won't behave rationally at times.

For her demands are utterly unreasonable. You will never stop being their father. But as she is still a girl herself, she might not realise that admin communication is necessary.

Time may persuade her, especially as she matures and gains experience of what your contact with DCs and their mother actually means in practice.

AnyFucker Wed 15-May-13 07:05:30

Oh dear, I think you picked another bad 'un

chattylady61 Wed 15-May-13 10:21:18

I am going to support you gf on this! My DP and I had similar problem with his very bitter, very angry very vindicative ex-wife (wtch out for thsese types on MN!). she was very determined during their divorce to sever her childrens relationship with their dad. eventually contact order issued. but ANY involvement with her - and we are talking 2-3 years after the divorce - about contact she made into an excuse for conflict: screaming, shouting, abusive. she tried all the tricks to disrupt their visits like removing them on "trips" etc. Anyway obviously this was hell for the kids. But it was also hell for us as a couple and started to affect our relationship as he would come home from contact visits fraught and upset, as doubtless she intended. So I put my foot down and said no more involving her, speaking with her, emails or phones etc and my DP cut off contact completely. I also wrote her a letter says we would call the police if she did not stay in the car at handover (She had habit of coming to my DPs car and holding open the door, screaming abuse and financial demands in front of their kids and had been arrested before for attacking me and making false charges of child abuse against my Ex....). Obviously the best solution post divorce is a cooperative parenting relationship but with an ex whose determined for that not to happen, nothing is better. Since then our lives and his childrens lives are much more peaceful and contact visits are much better. His kids are older and now come by public transport or quick handover at end of their mums road. Also - and heres your gf view is right - you need to commit to your new relationship and cut off the old one. Shes you new DP. Show it by showing her loyalty and acting to cut the bitter ex out of your life. That will help you have a stable and much happier relationship going forward. Dont let you ex break you up. I know me and Dp are much more happy and stable as a couple now. Forcing him to make that decision was good for us and his children. Your GF is right!

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 00:43:19

I say 'girl' just because that's the term we use - she is only 4 years younger than me. My ex has called Social Work and police onto us for trivialities - eg my little boy falling off a fence. She has turned up at my door knowing I wasn't in to confront my gf when her two kids were in - all our kids are under 7 years. The stress of it all has bled into everything and my ex is so blind to things she can't see it's the kids suffering - I'm an adult I can deal with being shouted at - the kids get upset and that's what my gf is seeing - the effect on them.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 00:53:26

@lavenderhoney - no we don't live together, we still have our separate houses but in terms of kids stuff, my ex despises me, yet she had the affairs and left me which is ironic - anybody looking at her would think I had left! As a result she wanted a separate parents evening which she takes her affair partner to - winds me up no end as that (I believe) is for parents only. There is zero communication or cooperation - for example my little girl wants to do gymnastics but because it falls in exes contact time she refuses to take her as its 'her time'

bbqsummer Thu 16-May-13 01:13:25

Need more information really singledad, but I agree with chattylady that the nightmare you describe can totally bugger up your life.

I had a long-term boyfriend whose former partner was terrible. Dire. Abusive.

You have to make a choice really - if you really love your GF and cannot see a way to make your ex be reasonable then you need to do both your GF (and your kids so they don't witness any more shit from your ex wife) a favour and drop the GF.

If your relationship with gf is going to work out, you need to sort it with your ex wife first - set up court order for handovers, cut her out of your life apart from minimal legal contact. make sure your children are settled and know what's going on and don't upset them.

pack the gf in and get serious about sorting your shitty ex-wife out, and contacft issues with your children.

Then maybe get bacmk in contact with this gf. If you're worth it she will be more interested than before. Poor bloody woman, I feel sorry for her - having to put up with all this crap from you and your ex and you are not sorting it out.

Lavenderhoney Thu 16-May-13 05:00:30

If you don't live together then I don't see how your gf is so involved with pick up and drop off.

Until its all sorted out with the courts, then she really should back off and let you deal with it until its all over. It's just extra stress trying to manage her expectations when your dc should come first.

You need time and space to manage this so it would be better to not see her if she can't handle she isn't part of it, ie her say is just opinions and can't manage and control. Going forward, your dc have to come first always, and if this means some contact with your ex, so be it.

Gymnastics - have a look for other courses or book her in in sept for a course starting and fits your residency.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 05:50:57

Hi, the long term plan is to live together with my GF, and I agree that contact with my ex has to be minimal (email or solicitor) as her having my mobile number ends up me getting huge ranting ( not abusive) excessive texts or her dictating times to call the kids. To put it into perspective - my ex gets the children 2 nights per month residential and sees them after school - primarily due to the fact she and her partner were both alcoholics and his 4 children testified he used to beat them with a rod. I have taken advice from HV and SW who both agreed that removing myself (my ex has spent 2 years trying to get me to lose my temper by being aggressive to me and handovers are always a 2v1 situation) from potential risk and conflict is the best option. My ex behaviour has escalated since I met my gf and later since the kids became part of it as she was quite happy when I was on my own.

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 06:01:34

@bbqsummer - I have been everywhere to try and sort it out, as a dad my pleas to social work are largely ignored. My ex has tried to alienate the children towards me (saying I'm a 'horrible man') and my 6 year old daughter knows there is a court battle and decision. The Sheriff in the most recent date in court took the solicitors aside to say he was most likely going to give me residence and the contact should be negotiated but after my first proposal my ex took 6 weeks to reply saying that she 'offered me' 3 nights per week - I have looked after the children for almost 4 years and 2 years exclusively since we split - i had 2 years of her being drunk and then not being in with 3 different affairs (which i found out later) My GF was aware of my ex what was happening etc - I want to remove the strain and worry-and yes I have looked to have it legally done - I have spent £50k on my court case so far

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 06:09:27

@chattylady I'm with you on this - my kids come first - and while I encourage them to have a relationship with their mum, my relationship with her has to be minimal as, in my view, she has no place in MY life, only the kids. I do love my GF and I want to do the best for everybody, my ex isn't reasonable - no cooperation or flexibility - I offered mediation to try and remove the acrimony, even the school has commented on how she twists everything with the head teacher of my kids school standing as a witness to show she twisted things said by the school. I see no alternative but to have her removed so I'm free to get on with my life, with the kids settled, stable and happy

nkf Thu 16-May-13 06:24:46

Can you and your children really tolerate two shouty women in your lives? I can see that the ex has to be accommodated somehow because of biological ties to the children. (though I know some people would disagree.) But a raging girlfriend? Who wants you to sever all contact?

AuntieStella Thu 16-May-13 06:45:12

The common factor here is you, as you chose both these 'girls' and they are both behaving unreasonably.

You need to think about whether and how much you want either in your life. Neither sounds "lovely".

Singledad5871 Thu 16-May-13 06:55:21

That of course is a valid point, but until the behaviour escalated things were great - no fights or arguments, disagreements yes.

unapologetic Thu 16-May-13 06:56:31

I don't see why your girlfriend has to be so involved with everything, especially as you don't live together. It is not healthy for you/her/the children for her to be 'raging' about this, however difficult it all is. Also it seems you moved on very quickly to a new partner. That in itself would be a recipe for disaster. I feel really sorry for your children in all this mess.

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

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 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 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.

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- 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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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!

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 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 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 12:46:59

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.

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

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.

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

Yes, I have changed my mind too, SD

Good luck with everything

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!

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.

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).

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