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To want her ex out of our lives

(33 Posts)
ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 09:41:15

My thread about my teenage dss turned into a bit if a rant about this soi thought I'd separate the two issues. Although they always seem to come together.

Short story, her ex is an arse as a parent and a manipulative controller as a human being. She has to have some form of contact with him over the children so we will never be completely free of him.

She left him, so I accept its possible he still has feelings for her, although after 6 years and relationships of his own I think that's probably not the case.

But we can't get him to stay out of our lives. He wanted 50/50 child and that's we have had. And we've rearranged that several times to suit his working arrangements. But he's forever arranging things for the kids to do in our time or asking us to help him out with stuff he's arranged in his time.

More often than not that's so he can do something by himself, but he usually lies about that. I've loads of examples I won't repeat here. Typically we suggest he puts the kids first and this is responded to with abusive texts and phone calls to my partner. Then apologies, then a subsequent request, often implying the kids don't understand why she doesn't want them or that grandma will have to look after them and she's not well. Etc

He also decides to share his opinion on our arrangements and how we're dealing with the kids. It's a difficult time with a stressful teenager in the house and he wades in whenever she tells him how horrible we have been to her. Bit rich as he is the biggest Disney Dad.

My ex wrote me a letter telling me exactly how little she wanted to see of me and how our parenting arrangements would work. It's worked fine ever since, and we communicate politely and about the children only.

I have asked on many occasions if we can get her ex to work the same way. That would mean unless there's a problem with the children we wouldn't hear from him at all. And certainly not in the week we have them.

But he seems to believe that because they're sharing parenting that means she should still provide all the support services to him that she did as a wife. Friend, adviser, relationship counsellor and most of all baby sitter!

I came home yesterday to find flowers on the doorstep, apologies for his behaviour, x's. This goes back to another teen issue at the weekend which we dealt with at the time and not one he was inheriting. I know I shouldn't have looked but I checked her phone and there were more texts on it apologising again. Seems he's after some baby sitting again this weekend. But on top of that there was one telling her now much he loved her and respected her. More x's.

Now I know it's not entirely true, you only need to know how he treated her to know that and this is part of the controlling thing he has. And I know she takes no notice of it, although her maternal instinct to take the kids instead of them being dumped somewhere will kick in again now he's apologised.

We have had conversations over the years about keeping him out of our lives. Making clear what is acceptable and not acceptable, how the only thing they have in common is the kids and if there's something to discuss then a discussion will be arranged. She says she's told him all that but you know he is etc and to some extent she has in the last told him his behaviour is not acceptable, that usually brings the wrath of the gods down on her though, more greats, usually a pile of crap about me and my influence on her, he doesn't recognise her any more, what are we doing to the kids blaa blaa

And yes I do know how he is, and I don't like it. I don't like him.

I want to push this point now, I don't want to go into another new year hoping it will be different. I want it finished once and for good.

Is it unfair to ask?

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 18:20:36

Thanks to everyone.

I feel more empowered to stand back and support her in doing this.

If she asks me for my opinion or advice, I'll offer it. If not I'll be there if it goes wrong and gets too much for her.

Don't think I'll be comfortable doing that but I have to try. We can only be better together by doing this.

Cheers :-)

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 18:16:12


How I hate spell checkers......

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 18:04:00


Yeah the phone checking thing sounds shabby doesn't it? But it wasn't quite as bad as I summarised, she has this message preview function which pretty much shows up all of a reasonable length text.

I was in the kitchen, the phone was on the work top, it lit up and buzzed and I did notice it was her ex, and I did take a closer look at the preview before it went on standby again.

But I never mentioned it to her.

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 18:00:01


I appreciate your comments, and I take them on board. I have worried that I might be the cause of her getting stressed over this which is why I'm going to go to a counsellor to discuss the whole situation.

But I think your description of him as 'difficult' is not a fair reflection.

She has also broken down in tears over stuff I've known nothing about where she simply has tried to stand up for herself and been bombarded with vitriolic texts. One even said 'its no wonder your mother is so disappointed in you'! I mean, who has the right to throw that sort of crap at someone. Even when you know it's not true, it's just deliberately designed to hurt.

I don't see taking his shit as being flexible.

Trust me when I say it's not the flexibility thing that's the issue, it's the fact that its always last minute. He has already arranged to do something else BEFORE he asks, he always knows well in advance hes booked something but leaves it to the last minute to ask because he assumes we'll be free, he has never attempted to find a regular sitter, and the abuse which follows if she genuinely can't say yes.

Fairy1303 Wed 18-Dec-13 17:24:41

OP I'm a step parent too.
We get all sorts of this shit and DH doesn't want to call her on it. Even when she blatently takes the piss, let's her child down (again)

It's driven me nuts, tbh, thinking about how much I hate her for abandoning her child, for being so difficult, and how much I've lost respect for DH for not having a sharp word with her.

At the end of the day, the buck stops with your DW.
If she doesn't want to do anything or change anything, it's her call.
You have to take a step back.

I know it's hard but you have to or you will go mad.

Hop on over to the step parenting board. You'll find lots of support.

WooWooOwl Wed 18-Dec-13 17:23:12

Yes, she does have the right to say no, bit she also has the right to say yes if she wants to without her new partner telling her she's wrong for that.

The OP is checking his DPs phone, referring to his DP 'babysitting' her own children just because she might be looking after them on time that is usually the ex's, and he's saying that they have had conversations over the years about what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to the ex being a part of his DPs life. He's the father of her children, of course he should be a part of her life!

Really, I do think it's OP that is coming across as the controlling one here.

Cabrinha Wed 18-Dec-13 17:22:13

You checked her phone?
HOW is that helpful?
He could be a controlling srsehole and this is a continuation of that - and she needs to feel strong enough to tell him to stop.
Or it could be a situation that's a lot more amicable than yours with your ex, and you need to get over it.
I don't know.
If you don't like this, that's understandable... but you looking at her phone is suggesting you don't trust her.

Hissy Wed 18-Dec-13 17:17:21

By the sounds of it, OPs DP is being WAY more than flexible, if Ex is having to apologise, creep,crawl and fling fecking flowers.

She has the right to say No. sounds like he has bullied her into thinking she can't.

WooWooOwl Wed 18-Dec-13 17:13:55

My is is still just as much a parent to my children as he was before though. He's my ex, but still just as much their dad.

People do have a commitment to each other when they have children, and unless one partner was abused by the other, I think it's just plain selfish to cut your co parent out of your life as much as possible just to suit your new relationship.

I would hate to be in the situation where I was only a 50% parent because my ex and I were so rigid that we could never swop times and dates that he has the dc. It would be horrible for both me and my children.

The point is that the OPs DP is happy with the situation until OP starts complaining about it. Even if her ex is difficult sometimes.

Hissy Wed 18-Dec-13 17:09:08

WooWooOwl "I chose to have children with him so I have to put up with the difficult stuff sometimes."

You chose to END it as a result of difficult stuff too! You don't HAVE to put up with any of this shit.

that's why these people are EXES.

A reasonable man will take no for an answer, it's give and take, but this doesn't appear to be the case here.

Hissy Wed 18-Dec-13 17:07:13

No, she is capitulating to a manipulative bully.

"Historically saying 'no' is the trigger point for all the shit stuff."

Well, Tough tits bully boy. We all have the right to say NO, whenever we want to and if he triggers shit stuff, then the police etc are there to deal with it. Support her in this and enable her to reclaim control over her life, and regain control over your time together

change numbers, emails and get non-mol orders if he can't behave like a human being.

He's gone from terrorising one person to both his Ex, AND you.


WooWooOwl Wed 18-Dec-13 17:00:44

It sounds to me like you are the one that's causing the stress.

Your DP sounds like she is just trying to have as flexible and amicable a relationship as possible with the father of her children, and you are the only one that has a problem.

You cannot expect her to be able to control the way her ex is. She can't. And by you making her say no about things she is happy to go along with, you are making it difficult for her and the children.

I may be projecting from my own experience a bit, because I am the wife in your situation. My ex can be difficult sometimes, but he's also a good dad, and the way I see it is that I chose to have children with him so I have to put up with the difficult stuff sometimes. I am also good friends with my ex, and so sometimes we talk more as friends than we do as co parents.

It is not right for you to expect another set of parents to do what you do in your parenting set up just because it works for you. Something that works for you and your ex works for you, it doesn't automatically become the one single best way to have a co parenting relationship.

You need to let your DP and her ex parent in their own way. Your role is just to support her.

My DH would have had a lot of sympathy with you a few years ago as he felt the same as you seem to. But now he gets on well with my ex, as he accepted that it was up to me and my ex to parent in our own way, and he could either support that or go elsewhere. It was hard for him at first, especially when one day he'd see me annoyed with my ex for valid reason, and then the next it was forgotten about but this way is better for everyone, most importantly the children.

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 16:41:11

This will be interesting.

Historically saying 'no' is the trigger point for all the shit stuff. But should anyone be allowed to vent their feelings just because they have your phone number?

And although she doesn't mention it at the time, and i think shes just ignoring it cos theres no point in trying to fight it when work or the kids, or me, get too much for her it is always one of the things she mentions.

I do actually think that he's just not very bright at relationships with people. He comes from a very patriarchal family, where mum did everything and the children could do no wrong. Parents had lots of cash and the kids wanted for nothing, and equally had to do nothing for it.

He certainly created his married life in the same mould, which is why she left. I don't think he ever understood why, he saw nothing wrong with their relationship and is trying to continue it to this day. There was never a partnership of equals, and I don't think he understands there has to be one now.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Wed 18-Dec-13 16:25:21

The only thing you can change about this situation is how you react to it. And the only way your DP will be able to change things is in how she reacts to/deals with her ex. If his involvement in your day to day life is as insidious as you feel it is, both of you need to change how you deal with him. He can only have that much input if he's allowed it. Sticking rigidly to agreed schedules, getting tough on his expectation of constant flexibility/changes and embracing the MN mantra 'no' is a complete sentence is a start. He's being enabled to be that involved in your lives.

Hissy Wed 18-Dec-13 16:12:27

If he's abusive OP, then the LESS time DSS spends with him the better, so he either plays by the rules or there is no access.

Curlyweasel Wed 18-Dec-13 16:05:08

yougogirl Hissy!

Hissy Wed 18-Dec-13 15:53:32

I think you are not being controlling at all, this would drive me doolally!

He's screwing up your weekends AND making out that you/your GF are the ones in the wrong.

Sod that for a game of soldiers!

TBH, this ought to have been something that you should have sat down about a long time ago, now that you are wound up by it, it's going to be harder for you to find the calm and detached manner you will need to navigate this.

You need to find a way of tapping into so seriously Ice Cool Calm. Family Conference is the right way to go. If you are going to marry this woman, these arrangements need to be sorted out now.

Shared care will need to be planned care, He will need to agree what days he can have them within the month and stick to it. There has to be some kind of time that is sacrosanct.

You and she need somehow to be unavailable when it's HIS weekend to have DSS. He has to learn that he has to be responsible and not constantly bail on sorting himself/alternative care out when things crop up.

The only way that he will learn is by her saying, "No, sorry, can't do that" a few times and eventually he will have to learn to make alternative plans.

the main thing he's guilt tripping her with is the 'you've changed since you got involved with him'

Well, she ought to have resolved this before she met you, but understandably, kids do always come first before secondary relationships, but they can't keep doing that, there does have to be some degree of boundary.

she has changed, and with good reason. she has grown up a bit, moved on and has a serious relationship, with someone she loves that is not the father of her son. She owes herself, her son and you more than she owes him. It's perhaps this point that twuntface is resisting. He has NO business texting her ILY, any more than he has sending flowers, he is not her frigging BF, and that ship has sailed. That behaviour from my Ex would send me batshit, too little, too late and he has no reason to crawl around me for picking up the pieces because he can't get his shit together.

Overall, the fluidity of care is laudable, but it's too unstructured. If all parties were happy, all good, but they are not. he is taking the proverbial at worst, or at best making it work solely to his advantage.

When relationships breakdown, there needs to be an understanding of what is acceptable to each party, and a degree of compromise.

Too much on either of these ends of the see-saw and it all goes wonky.

bottom line, your GF has to woman up a bit and if you are there to support her to make sure she doesn't fall for his BS guilt-trips, and calls him out on any Disney Dad/big Bad Mum business, then you can make it work.

If she is unwilling to put herself (and your relationship) first sometimes then ultimately it'll breed resentment and reduce the probability of your relationship lasting.

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 15:17:51

Oh and yes it is a security thing. Or maybe even a safety one.

When we first bought a house together a lot of stress left our lives because he didn't know where we lived and he couldn't just turn up on the doorstep.

That didn't last long.

If I mention one conviction for assault and being drive off the road by him, you might understand why I said safety.

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 15:11:48

I like your last sentence, I'll hold on to that too.

If I felt we had tried everything I'd reconcile myself to it being just the way it is. But I don't think we have.

We have one more chance to talk about it tonight, there's every chance we'll be back to square one if she tells him the flowers were not a good idea. In my head that's th perfect time to nail this, but I know she'll want to leave it.

We shall see.....

Curlyweasel Wed 18-Dec-13 15:00:24

sure. go right ahead. from what you've said, fgc won't work for you then (i.e. if you won't even sit in the same room as him).

i think you need to think about what your problem with this is - is it about your partner's relationship with him? is it about how this is all impacting on the children? is it about you feeling insecure? what? once you've unpacked that - you can have a look at some possible solutions.

it's a tough thing to come to terms with, but he will always be part of your family because of his link with the children - and you will never EVER be able to control his behaviour purely through being pissed off about it.

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 14:53:15

Nice phrase curly, mind if I borrow that?

I have booked counselling just so I can talk this through independently. If my loved one wants to come too, that's great. I couldn't sit in the same room as him though.

But that's it til well after Xmas and this is the worst time of year for it.

Curlyweasel Wed 18-Dec-13 14:45:56

family group conferencing may be a way forward? he sounds like a right twunt to me. feel for you.

gertrudetrain Wed 18-Dec-13 14:30:41

I don't think YABU actually. He is overstepping boundaries of the normal ex relationship IMHO. I know they are tied with the dc's but the flowers, the texts and the kisses etc is not acceptable. DS1's dad and I have no relationship at all, we communicate via text in short to the point texts. He picks up ds1 every other weekend, we say hello, ds has done/needs to do x & x and has/hasn't had his tea and then they go on there way. There's no reason for it to be anything else.

ShesYourDaughter Wed 18-Dec-13 14:29:30

Seven years to go then, there are three kids. Youngest 11.

TheNightIsDark Wed 18-Dec-13 14:28:43

I think you have to bite your tongue. I do with DPs ex and she phones me screeching obscenities.

It's tough but once the DCs hit 18 contact with exes is minimal if at all.

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