Us vs The Ex Wife(25 Posts)
Afternoon everyone...I'm just after some advice and somewhere to air my problems really! I'm new to this stuff so excuse the lack of abbreviations and if I go on too long!
Me and my partner have been together for 2 years and he has a 4 year old son with his ex-wife. We have him stay with us every other weekend and my partner also sees him every wednesday night. My relationship with his son has always been great, he knows to come to me if he's hurt himself or if he wants to have a little sulk at another member of the family. As I came into his life when he was 2 he doesn't really remember it being any different. He's a lovely boy who is always very polite, says his pleases and thankyous and listens (to both me and dad) when he is given instructions.
I have only just recently met the ex-wife as she had never expressed any interest in meeting me.
This past weekend things took a turn for the worse and it was like the little one had been replaced by another child. Within an hour or two of him being with us we knew immediately that his mum had obviously been talking to him and had told him that he shouldn't be nice to daddy and me and he also told us that he shouldn't spend too much time at nanny's (the relationship between the ex wife and mother in law is NOT good!).
She never has his best interests at heart, even so much as to deny us a holiday next year as she's not comfortable with him going away...it's always about how she feels and not about what the child wants...
I just don't know what to do about the situation as I obviously have no rights or power to do anything myself I just have to sit back and watch it all happen...is there any advice out there for me?!?
What do you mean by he knows to ce to you too moan about family? That sounds odd and could be viewed as you manipulating him.
why do you see it as an 'us' vs. 'her' situation? why see it a battle? if mum has been OK up till now with contact, what has happened to change things at this point? how are you and your partner being denied a holiday by his ex as you can go on holiday without her permission without the child?
If your partner considers a holiday appropriate, he can pursue the issue through the courts for a Specific Issue Order.
Your post reads like you are setting yourself up for a battle, rather than looking to see what might have happened to cause a sudden change of heart.
Can I just say I found one aspect of your post really irritating. You claim that she never has her son's best interests at heart yet your stepson is by your own admission a lovely, polite little boy. But the woman who raises him for 80% of the time gets no credit for this? Yet as soon as he plays up whilst visiting you it must be her fault. So she is responsible for his bad behaviour yet gets no plaudits for the good.
Maybe she thinks her son is too young to go abroad without her. It may be misguided but it is not an uncommon view. That is for your DP to sort out with her and if no agreement can be reached he can go to court if he feels that strongly about it.
wow, I definitely underestimated the ability to get my story across in such a short space. As a newcomer to this forum I just didn't want to write a complete essay and was obviously naïve to how my words might come across and I apologise for that.
I'll address your concerns so far one by one...
lunar1 - my words most definitely came across in the wrong way. I just meant that if he just wanted to sulk because his cousin wouldn't share a toy he would come to me...I was just trying to chose one scenario in order help people understand how he feels he can come to me.
mumandboys123 - mum hasn't been 100% ok up until this point but again I was trying to keep things short and didn't want to write war and peace. So it hasn't been a sudden change of heart, she will constantly make things very difficult for my partner to see his son. He would love to see him more but requests are always denied...we want to have a family holiday all together, I know she can't deny us a holiday without him. No requests are unreasonable, in the whole of 2012 my partner was allowed access for just 30 days. no additional holidays for any half terms or summer, the only extra we got was mothers day as she had alternative plans that day.
basgetti - I'm sorry you found what I said irritating and I understand where you are coming from. But it is hard to remember the good that has been done when the child is saying hurtful things which have been dictated to him by his mum. And then she has recently turned down the offer for him to go full time at his school, where he currently does half days...now that I just don't understand.
I think the only way I can get my experience across is to give our whole life story over which will only bore everyone! maybe this wasn't the greatest avenue to go to to get advice on such a tough subject...
This us v The Ex wife is not really a good attitude to have in this situation. I think you just have to support your partner when he has his DC as best you can and not get involved in being over critical of his ex partner who is after all the child's mother. Of course it's about what his parents feel as the child is only four years old.
if the child is in a school nursery, she would have to pay for the extra half of the day. Perhaps she would prefer to spend time with him? Perhaps she can't afford it? Does that make her a 'bad' parent? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that full time childcare is bad for children, just as not attending childcare is also bad for children...depends what you read, I guess!
If he wants more contact (and 30 days a year isn't enough, I agree), then suggesting mediation with the proviso of if she doesn't attend, your partner will take it to court is the answer to that. She may kick off, she may cave in. You have no way of knowing. Either way, the courts will grant at least every other weekend access, probably an additional night during the week and half the school holidays as well as every other Xmas, Father's Day and alternate birthdays.
And you have no idea if it's mum putting words into his mouth, if other people are interfering (grandma? aunty?) or indeed, he may well have overhead her talking on the phone and she has no idea. Children can also pick stuff up off the TV and their friends and make their own decisions on what to say, think and feel. My children come out with all sorts - I don't automatically assume that anything negative was put there by their father.
As you may not have known but quickly found out there are a lot of bitter women frequenting the sp board to troll their vitriol.
Your post was not in any was unreasonable as any sensible and rational person with any ounce of intuition or understanding capability would realise. Head over to Legal Eagle on DadTalk they could help far more from a practical view without everything being taken as a snipe at bm.
In general its 50/50 as to whether the trolls are out on these forums
Riakin, some mums that post hear haven't even experienced being a step mum! It would be like me going over to, lest say, loan parenting and bashing the mums there, even though I have no idea what it's like for them. I'd never dream of doing it! (although I may go there to get some perspective) funny the names you see that pop up on hear bashing step mums who regularly post in LP
Everones entitled to post anywhere on mn.different pov can actually be helpful,there has been nasty posts on this board lately,but i wouldnt say its sm bashing on this one..
Your step sons behavior is fat more likely to be down to the fact that he's just started school and is exhausted, which ties in with his mum not wanting him to go full time yet.
Demanding to take a four year old abroad away from his main carer is not reasonable. My children are not going abroad without me until they are eleven, and I wouldn't even bother asking my step children's mother if I could take them abroad, as the answer, quite sensibly, would be no.
A lot of step mothers here are also biological mothers, and their own children have step mothers. I am one of those women, and I feel justified in telling you that your expectations aren't reasonable and your attitude is needlessly combative.
Anyone can post anywhere, that's true, and I look to other areas for exactly that, to put myself in others shoes and get a different pov. BUT, I've seen "advise" given purely to put a sp in her place. The wrong
I personally think that people on here that have no experience on this subject should bolt and discuss something they know more about! Full stop! Aza, I think ur situation (like mine's) is very difficult and as much as its a shame child is stuck in the middle it doesn't help when the SC mother tries to make things difficult unless in best interests of the child!
Sorry I don't have any advice really but I have to say If it wasnt for solicitors being involved in my situation, I'd be long gone! X
Colditz, I am surprised at your approach to your children going abroad. Are you saying that you won't let their dad take them abroad until they are 11? Are you saying you won't go on a holiday abroad with your DSCs until after they are 11? If so, I am shocked, and really rather appalled.
I have both DSCs and DCs of my own. I wouldn't dream of not allowing their dad to take them on holiday, and my DSCs' mum wouldn't dream of refusing to let us take them away either.
mum might be thinkin its in the childs best interest not to go full time nursery.instead of all this us nd her,what would be best for the boy would be mediation between his parents to iron out any dissagreements.
Yes, UC, I am saying exactly that, and I don't really care what you think about it. You are a line of writing on the Internet, and my decisions are made with full awareness of my situation. Your judgements are not.
I agree that OP should lose the 'her vs us' attitude. It's not helpful.
You say she never has his best interests at heart but maybe sometimes she does. He's only 4 and she might feel its too much for him to go on holiday abroad or to do a full day at nursery.
Do you have dc of your own OP? Maybe DSSs mum is a little over protective but he is only little after all.
I do think she is wrong to tell him to be mean to Daddy and that needs dealing with by your DP sitting down and talking to him.
It's perfectly normal for a 4yr-old's behaviour to change when they start school. They often get very tired, even if they are used to spending the same hours or longer at pre-school/nursery. If this is what's happened then it would be perfectly reasonable to turn down a full-time place.
"Your step sons behavior is fat more likely to be down to the fact that he's just started school and is exhausted, which ties in with his mum not wanting him to go full time yet."
What colditz said.
I think it's probably school too. They get exhausted in the early weeks or as end of term approaches.
I'd agree too that viewing it as us v her isn't helpful. And unless you have heard her first hand you have no way of knowing what she is saying.
SM of 14 years by the way but also an LP. I actually found it really helpful when I first found mumsnet to read the points of view of the LPs. While I always tried to see things from dsd's mum's perspective, it was hard to as there was little communication. And it was really easy to demonise her as she was so unpleasant (and i wanted to believe the spin my then dh was putting on things). But being able to read others' thoughts, feelings and views on here meant that I really got to understand how she may be feeling, and therefore I was able to avoid things that I hadn't considered might upset her or not take things personally. It was actually massively helpful now I think about it.
Well you've all certainly scared off the OP - frankly I can't believe how some of you have waded in against her. I thought her post was perfectly reasonable and understandable, and was just a dimension of the step parenting business that is often an issue. Think there might be a lot of first wives/partners posting - oh dear I thank god my SD has now grown and has her own family. If I had known what misery was in store for me for year on year I would have run to the hills.
I feel sorry for all step mums and dads, 1st wives and partners, 2nd wives and partners, but most of all the kids in the middle of all this. I'm not judging anyone, and I was no good as a SM myself, it's just that it's all so damn difficult.
1st wives aren't also often second wives?
I would be uncomfortable allowing a four year old out the country without their mother.
She raises him most of the time I assume while you and dp have him for fun weekend? She should have more say over him. Give her a break.
Yes mab123 of course 1st wives/partners can become 2nd wives/partners and usually do as the majority of divorcees marry again within 12 months. Interesting to not that 1 in 2 marriages break down, and 2nd marriages break down faster than 1st ones (suspect because of all the emotional baggage that is carried into a 2nd marriage/partnership from both sides, and of course this whole step-parenting thing. Think they are sometimes called "blended families" except quite often they just don't "blend" - no surprise there.
Thing is Thants the 4 year old's daddy wants to take him on holiday. Are you saying a child is less safe/happy with his dad and can only be really protected by his mother. Legally both parents have the same rights over their child, so NO I don't think the mother should have "more say" but I think this is just one of the problems (amongst hundreds) of step parenting. I was one of those many years ago and there was no MN and not many "blended" families. In fact the issue wasn't raised at all and if I hadn't had a close friend in whom I could confide, I think I'd have gone out of my mind.
I feel for you all in the list above - sorry if I've missed anyone out - ah yes step grandparents - how stupid I left that out as I am now a SGM and have a wonderful DSGD and GDSGD!! It all gets better through the generations but that's along time to wait.
What all of the adults involved in this boys life need to remember is that he doesn't belong to any of them. There are however two adults here with PR, parental responsibility. By virtue of the fact that the mother saw fit to have a child with the father, and as far as we know hasn't taken any legal steps that would suggest she feels he is an unfit parent, we can assume that there is no issue with him taking his son out of the country on holiday. Who accompanies him is really neither here not there.
Op, I think that the title of your post was probably ill advised, but it certainly can feel like a battle sometimes.
I think your partner is possibly being a little defeatist and dare I say lackadaisical about the contact that he has. I can understand he doesn't want to "rock the boat" with his ex, or have his son exposed to an ugly (and expensive!) legal battle.
This is my advice: sit down with him and ask him what his level of motivation to change things is. And what he would want in an ideal world. You can support him all the way if he wants things to change. But you are also in danger of getting yourself very worked up and wasting a lot of energy and anger on something that really needs to come from him. If he does want thing to change, and asks for your support, I would recommend a free hour with a family solicitor (most of them offer this) who will most likely suggest mediation for him and his ex.
It is a long and painful road that you are on. Be careful not to let this overshadow your relationship.
Also, be careful what you assume I going on at the boy's mothers house. Chances are you are completely right. If she's as bad as all that then there will be no reasoning with her. These mums do exist, despite what we are told. Women are perfectly capable of losing sight of what's best for their children.
But there are other explanations for the things he's coming out with. Kids do push boundaries and give us tests.
I hope that's helped and good luck x
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