to make a fuss about how much dp sees/does things for his ex-w or am I being too controlling?(139 Posts)
please be honest with me, have name changed
dp and I have lived together for a few years. He is the loveliest bloke I have ever met but with him being lovely comes the fact that he hates upsetting anyone.
His split from his ex-w was quite traumatic. She appears to have quite significant mental health issues (depression, she has attempted suicide in the past). They have a dc together and even to this day, she will call him up and say she isn't coping and dp is expected to drop everything to help out, which of course he does.
I have never given him a hard time about this as it involves children and they must always be a priority. However, i am pretty convinced that there are times when his ex does this knowing that it is ruining time for me and him (we all live in the same town so she appears to always know when we are going away). Dp and I had been planning a trip away to Europe for the Valentines day weekend but at the last minute, she threw a wobbly and dp had to take his son out for the day and we had to cancel our trip and we lost everything we had paid for the weekend.
This week, she is burying her father. She has been calling him around 30 times a day. She calls and calls until he answers. If he doesn't answer, she sends messages threatening to turn up at the house (she has done this before). When dp stands up to her a bit, she does back down but she threatens him with all sorts, it is all very unpleasant.
So on Saturday night, we had a night out planned together. He has been running around doing stuff for his ex all week and i was really looking forward to some time on our own. When it got to going home time, he bumped into a friend and wanted to stay out later (I had to get back, I have dcs and couldn't leave them any later) so I ended up going back on my own. Normally this might not bother me but I hadn't seen him all week and that morning, rather than coming out with me, he had gone with ex dw to put their old dog down together (an appointment she scheduled for the weekend rather than any day during the week when dp/she doesn't work). So for a change i threw a wobbly.
He says he doesn't get it, he says he loves me, he has to handle her this way or it will be worse for us. He says he was very sorry about Saturday but he doesn't see it the way I see it and he just wanted a few more drinks and what's the problem. For context, I work 5 days a week, he doesn't work currently, so that was the only night I could go out with him. He went out, on his own, with his mates, 3 other nights that week so it's not like he hadn't been out.
I think he has to grow a backbone and stand up for himself (and me for that matter) more otherwise me and him can't ever move forward without her shadow being there.
AIBU with that thought?
YANBU. It's not as if you're complaining about occasional help or about them maintaining a civil relationship for the DCs. Of course it's good he puts the DCs first but that shouldn't include dropping you for the world and his wife (or ex wife!).
Hopefully you will get lots of similar answers and you can show him this thread. I think he does need a bit more backbone, yes. She shouldn't still be dictating his life.
There's only so much you should be expected to tolerate and imo this exceeds it.
thank you so much for the reply. I was starting to think I wasn't seeing things straight if you know what i mean . It's rare I doubt myself but this has really been playing on my mind.
yaNbu, he's handling it this way because it doesn't make him feel uncomfortable (as perhaps taking a harder line with her might), not because it "has" to be handled like this. But you're in a tough position, the fact that they have a child together means that he'll always be responsible for making that child's life safe and happy. But letting her pee in the corners of your life isn't very healthy either.
All this said, she's burying her father and her dog died this week, it's not the time for a confrontation. You've done really well holding it together till now, bide your time and speak to him about growing a spine at another, less frazzled time.
She is bound to be extra demanding/sensitive/needy when her father has just died
But it's his relationships with all sorts of people that wind you up, not just his with her. He never puts you first. If you are going to call him on it, that's the line you have to take.
Is he looking for a job, or enjoying the flexibility to help out 90% of his acquaintance?
thanks, yes that is excellent advice. I have said to him why don't we book dinner on Friday night (I don't have the dcs, they are with their dad and the funeral is on Thursday so that will be out the way) - I will then sit down with him and have a chat. He has said that's a lovely idea, let's do it (little does he know lol).
he is looking for a job but struggling to find one. He has always run his own business and is now late 40s and never has worked for anyone. In the divorce, the ex-w got the business but he hasn't had the pay out yet (it is all dependent on a number of transactions happening and they haven't completed yet - it could be another 12 months).
of course, this is giving him the flexibility to run around doing all this stuff whilst I am bankrolling everything - which is another source of frustration though not the main one.
I should point out this won't be the first time we have had to have this conversation but it is far worse now than it ever has been, largely due to so many things going wrong for ex-w so he is being called up more and more.
btw, thank you all so much for responding. I was beginning to feel like the mad one! I am so busy at work at the moment too and running after my own dcs - it is so hard to get time to reflect on anything x
YANBU to want a bit less of her in your life, but YABU to think that he hates upsetting anyone, as he clearly doesn't mind upsetting you! I think your plan sounds like a good one and you need to ensure that you separate your issues with his ex and your issues with him not making the effort to spend time with you - she might have him dangling on a string, but she didn't make him spend all night out with his mates while you were home alone, so don't forget that he is perfectly capable of meeting his own needs when it suits him.
I would also advise maybe saying your piece and telling him that you don't necessarily want an immediate response from him - you will have been thinking it over for ages and he will probably feel defensive and a bit surprised, so give him a chance to process your displeasure without expecting him to have a solution ready (unless you have one you want to suggest to him, but give him a chance to think everything through rather than promising the earth as a kneejerk reaction and finding it hard to follow through).
Does he look after his children 50% of the time? It isn't really "helping out" when he looks after his own children.
It must have been a really hard week for his kids and ex-wife what with the father/grandfather and dog dieing, I don't think it's unreasonable for him to offer support in those situations.
I think it is unreasonable for him to stay out with his friends if you had specifically said you wanted him to go home with you. Where does he get the money to go out 4 (?) times a week?
How long have you been living together and how long have you been bank rolling him for?
Realistically, he can leave once his money comes through, so you are putting a lot of trust in him, whilst accepting shabby behaviour.
He isn't showing you and your needs any real commitment, that is the issue and a worry.
yes I agree re the bankrolling. It wasn't always this way. They carried on running the business and he took out a salary from it but when the divorce was worked through, it was agreed that she keep the business but as she also got the house, he needs to get a payout to reflect that. He won't take a payout from the house unless it is sold/while they are still living in it but he needs a payout from the business.
Re the extra help, what I haven't really explained is that her father has been ill for around 6 months and it is that whole time that she has been calling on him to help. Which I agree is fine but it's never 'defined' if that makes sense. So he suggested to her that they define the extra days he helps her out (a lot of the help is helping her run the business because now they have cut him out, they haven't replaced him if that makes sense). So he said rather than seeing my son x days a week, I will now see him y days (more days) and she blankly refused and said she wants to be able to call on him when she wants him to help not when he defines it. So he asked her to define what she wanted and she can't of course because what she wants is him dangling on a string. The difficult thing is that when he said no to her, she drove off into a forest with 200 paracetamols and the police were called etc. etc. No follow up ever gets made btw. The police told dp they expected him to support her more because she was clearly vulnerable (without offering any help or social services involvement etc.) and dp feels dreadfully guilty about that so of course, is now jumping whenever she says how high.
I am not disputing that he needs to help at all. Especially as they is a child involved (he's a teenager but still a child of course).
A lot of him going out is a reaction to the stress of dealing with her. He needs to change his reaction to the stress, which he has acknowledged to me, but he is struggling to do. It is all a bit of a mess tbh.
When you say helping her out, whay does that entail?
I don't want to give too much away but their business involves visiting people's houses who are away and looking after things. What she does is she will say 'I am off to see my sister, you need to do the houses today' for example. That is the during the week help. Or for example, they had a leak in their house and she got him to deal with that, call all the people in to fix it, wait in for them.
On the weekend, it will be doing that plus taking their son out for lunch, getting him school uniform etc.
She point blank refuses to give him any money out of the business to help btw as the divorce states she does not have to as he will (at some point) get this settlement.
the way things stand, since the beginning of the year, there has not been one weekday where he hasn't helped out. He sees his son every weekend though originally it was every second weekend.
with me working full time, you can see why this is leaving me with very little time with him
last week was a bad week with him going out - it isn't normally that bad but the more she pushes him, the more he runs away (and therefore goes out) as he is struggling to handle the situation
I must admit, she is a very very difficult woman. I have met her. She accosted me in the street once. Threatened me and called me the most horrific names. She then goaded me with all sorts of questions about dp. Later that evening, she texted dp and she had recorded our whole conversation and she sent it to dp. She is a very calculating and manipulative and aggressive woman. When dp left her house once as me and him were going out for dinner, she lay behind his car so he couldn't drive off. He just sat and waited for her to move. She lay there for 2 hours. When she eventually got up, she leaned into the drivers seat and punched him in the face. Personally, I think he is terrified of her and has no idea what to do with her demands. He has sat in my arms and cried and cried about how to deal with her.
I can't really see the point of them being divorced if he still has to provide all her support and run around after her!
I think you've been far more tolerant than I would have been and in your position I would telling him that it ALL stops now. Her dad dying and her mh problems are not his concern anymore unless they affect his child.
I would have him tell her that if she cannot cope then he will happily take full custody of ds but she is not to call him anymore - he is no longer her husband.
X posted. I think he should be applying for full custody anyway now given what you've just posted. I wouldn't leave her with a child of mine.
And go back to court re the settlement. She is taking the piss and your dp is allowing it at your expense.
sad thing re their ds is that she has poisoned him against me and the kids which is really sad as he is the same age as one of mine and I'm sure they would get on fine (I know this as he basically told me one day!)
when she threatens to come and get dp, she turns up with him in the car and shouts abuse in front of him. What I can see is happening is that their ds feels like her carer . I told dp to take ds away for the weekend as I think the poor child needs a break and ds told him 'I can't leave mum alone on her own for that long, she would be so sad'
so there was no application for custody for ds as he is over the age where he can be told what to do and if asked, he has said he wants to stay living with his mum
I know someone who was standing on a street corner when their ds approached her. She said 'oh hello ds what are you doing' and he said 'my mum is parked over there and she sent me to see if you were dp's exgirlfriend (not me, the one before me) because if you were, she wanted to come and run you over but I see it isn't her so don't worry' and walked back to the car. That is what she is like...!
I really think he owes it to his dc to do something about this. He is burying his head in the sand if he thinks this is ever going to get better without intervention.
LouiseAderyn You're quite right, this all goes much deeper than it first appeared - the woman needs help and no amount of sad personal circumstances excuse this
batshit/manipulative/aggressive behaviour. I'd go for custody in a heartbeat, leaving a kid to put up with that on their own isn't an option.
just to put into perspective, said child is 15 so very difficult to make him do anything he doesn't want to do
he has also had problems at school etc. (not surprising) and tbh, this is half the reason I don't call dp on a lot of the support he gives them because ultimately, the more stable she is, the better it is for him
but it is very hard to know where to go from here. Even the police threw their hands in the air. When anyone 'official' visits them, she blames everything on someone else. Apparently their house is an absolute pigsty. The child has attendance problems at school (but it's private school so no outside parties involved).
Social services have been tipped off (not by me but i imagine one of their friends) who concluded he wasn't at risk (it appears - I never actually saw the results, not did dp, but this is what he was told) and nothing further ever got done.
I think because the child is not say 2 or 3 and is a big lad (looks like an adult) and is 15 they think he's fine where he is and he expresses a strong desire to stay there.
It's like a massive no win situation for anyone
the issue is really that I am not going to take this on, dp should in reality. So he should take this up with social services if he really believes he should. But I can tell you now he won't. Because he believes if ds gets taken away from his ex, she will kill herself. I actually think she may well do that. And he would never forgive himself. And so the guilt circle for him continues. I think he also still feels massively guilty about leaving her even though it was ages ago. Every time she has an issue, she blames it on him leaving (though god knows how he stayed that long when she's like that).
I said to him the other day, it's like he has an overactive guilt gland with her but with no-one else. She can guilt trip him like no tomorrow but he never seems to feel guilty for anything else (like my relationship with him, or his son's etc.).
I appreciate being able to talk about this on here. It is so hard in real life to speak to anyone about this as I have so little time at the moment.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.