Worried about ex-husband's partner's behaviour towards my teenage sons.(7 Posts)
I'm new to the site and hope you will be able to help me with some good advice.
My ex-husband and I separated nearly 3 years ago as he was having an affair with his now partner. We have two boys aged 16 and 14 who live with me but see their dad regularly. Obviously I wasn't overly keen on his partner, but have always tried to stay neutral and not be negative about her in front of the children. I found out shortly after we separated that she had been convicted of drink driving, which concerned me. When I found out that she had recently got her licence back I asked my ex to reassure me that he would make sure the boys were never put in any danger. I wanted to say I never wanted them to go in the car with her driving, but realised that I could not control what went on during their time with their dad. He assured me he would never put them at risk.
Things have been ticking along ok until the last few months. My eldest son has lost a lot of weight (he weighs 7 stone 13lbs and is about 6 foot 1). I am very concerned about this as he seems a bit depressed too. We have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow to hopefully investigate the cause. Then yesterday, I received a call from my eldest son (who was at his dad's house, but his dad was still at work) saying they had arrived home from school and 'stepmum' was very drunk (this was at 4.30 in the afternoon). She had been quite hostile towards him because he wanted to go upstairs and revise and she wanted him to stay downstairs and talk to her. He begged me to go and pick them up and take them home, which I did. When she came to the door of the house she was staggering about. She tried to ring me later and I wouldn't answer the phone so she left a voicemail saying how disappointed she was (I think she meant in my son!). I rang my ex and he was furious, came to see the kids later and was apologetic, accepted she may have a drink problem and thinks she may have driven home from work whilst drunk. My eldest son barely slept last night and my youngest complained of a headache all last night and this morning.
I am concerned about my sons being around this woman. Both my ex and my eldest son admitted this was not the first time this has happened, but it is the worst she's ever been. I am now concerned that this may be contributing to my son's problems and texted my ex saying this. I have heard nothing back, which makes me think he just wants it all brushed under the carpet and forgotten about. I don't know what to do. Obviously I want my sons to see their dad, but I really don't want them around her and think he should put the needs of his sons first.
Any advice would be gratefully received. (Sorry for the length of the post!)
Well, they are old enough to say they don't want to go or only want to see their dad when she isn't,'t there. In fact they shouldn't be there if she is like this.
Not sure how it could be making your son depressed though. It may be, but does he see her often enough to have such an impact?
I'm not at all suggesting it's responsible for his depression, just that it won't be helping. They go there every Tuesday overnight and every second weekend, plus extra in school holidays.
It sounds horrible, bb. If your boys were 6 and 4 rather than 16 and 14, I would be suggesting that you re-looked at the contact arrangements, and probably used mediation, and perhaps considered only supervised contact for a while.
But because of their age, I think they are old enough to make their own decisions. They can decide they don't want to go to their dad's any more; that they don't want to see stepM; that they want to meet their dad in a 'neutral' venue like a cafe; that they will not get into a car she's driving, etc. They can do what they did in fact do if there's a problem - and call you. They can also leave, and they wouldn't put themselves in any danger by doing so.
Make sure they know they won't be in trouble with you if they do any of this. If you have a civilised relationship with your Ex (and it sounds like you might do) talk to him, and ask him to support your boys to do what feels best to them...
I'd personally feel very tempted to comment on his relationship, but I'd resist, knowing that that wouldn't help. You're right he should put his sons first, and maybe he will, if you can give him a bit of time.
Actually, I have just re-read, and absorbed what you said about your eldest son's weight. If there are no typos in your original post, then he needs urgent medical help. His BMI is approximately 14.6, which is dangerously underweight.
There is certainly something badly wrong - anorexia, bulimia and type 1 diabetes are possible causes (tho' he may be a bit old for diabetes to be starting...). I am glad you are seeing a doctor - I can't emphasise how important this is, because your son's low weight is extreme enough to be actually dangerous. He perhaps even needs hospitalisation - a healthy BMI is 20-25 and many NHS Trusts advise hospitalisation if a person's BMI falls below 15.
My friend's DD had anorexia, and she was admitted for a long-term hospital stay last year when her BMI fell below 15. My friend was told that at that low weight, DD was at risk of organ failure as well as facing risks to her immune system, infertility, malnutrition and vitamin deficiency.
Really, this must be your top priority. The other stuff can wait.
Thanks for your reply. I agree about my son's weight - unfortunately it was not a typo. Went to the docs and they've done blood tests and a chest x-ray. He didn't seem nearly as concerned as I am about how underweight he is. We have to go back in 2 weeks for the results and to decide what to do next. He said he doesn't think he's depressed because he was interacting with him ok. Still not convinced though.
I'm a bit surprised by his lack of concern, tbh. I was honestly expecting you to come back and post that they'd admitted your DS to hospital, as they did with my friend's daughter last year - and her BMI was not as low. Can you get a second opinion? If your DS won't go back to see another doc (I don't think mine would) perhaps you could call NHS Direct? Or maybe weight-loss is dangerous if it continues, but not urgent? I really don't know... Sorry, that's not very helpful is it?
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