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About BF's ex or should I mind my own business?

(10 Posts)
IfNotNow Thu 04-Dec-14 12:59:08

I'm a little bit confused about this and suspect I'm probably BU but thought it might be useful to post and see what others think.

I've been seeing new BF for several months and things are progressing well. According to BF he and ex have a civil relationship and they have remained on friendly terms for their DCs. I was pleased about this as I think it is further proof that he is a good and reasonable man.

I'm not sure how things were before we began dating but since I've met him, his ex has asked to change and swap quite a few of his contact dates and/or times (they have a 'normal' routine usually). More often than not, he would agree to this, even when we had made plans. I really didn't mind this at first and assumed that things would settle into more of a routine as time went on.

However, I've now noticed that he almost never says no to her and if he does, I can tell he feels really guilty. Maybe it's because we now spend more time together but it's becoming apparent just how often she wants to change the contact days and times.

A massive part of me feels like it's none of my business how they conduct their parenting between themselves but I admit I have to bite my tongue and not offer my opinion, particularly where the ex is (IMO) being quite 'bossy' about what he does and doesn't do on his contact time with his DCs. It just feels like the ex is 'over involved' (for want of a better word) as if they are still together. BF has told me he's unhappy about the way ex does this but still, he doesn't seem able to say no.

Now it looks like our relationship is getting more serious and we have started talking about the future (including having DC of our own) I'm wondering if it will always be like this and the ex will always have this level of influence on our lives. I guess I'm at the point where I'm wondering if it's worth continuing this further or just cutting my losses (I'd be very sad to do that though). Any opinions please?

Mammanat222 Thu 04-Dec-14 13:12:39

I am of the opinion that is a healthy, happy and progressive relationship you should be able to talk about anything (especially if something is bothering you)

Of course they are ways and means of phrasing things and broaching topics but the short answer is just to have the convo with him.

DoJo Thu 04-Dec-14 13:15:22

Are the changes in contact for the children's benefit or for the ex's? Has she been difficult about contact in the past which has made him keen to accommodate her in order to maintain regular visits with his children? Are the changes allowing him more time with his children?

It's a tricky one - before I had kids I would have said that I could date someone with children of their own, but since, I have realised just how much you can miss them and how devastating it can be not to spend as much time with them as you can.

If you are concerned that your boyfriend is being manipulated by his ex to his detriment, then I would say it is worth a discussion. If you are concerned that his desire to see his children means that you aren't his top priority, then I think this might be the wrong relationship for you.

IfNotNow Thu 04-Dec-14 13:23:47

Mam, for the most part, I feel able to talk up him about anything but this feels like a really touchy subject for some reason. I don't want him to think that I have an issue with him seeing his DCs as I really don't.

DoJo, I actually have DC of my own but a very different parenting relationship with my ex so find it difficult to understand theirs. We have much more of a set routine which only varies if one or the other has something really important to do or an event that is unmovable (a wedding for example). I also never tell my ex what he can and can't do with the DC on his time even though I disagree with much of what he does. With BF's ex, it just seems as if she wants to tell him what he can and can't do a lot of the time. She calls him a lot to tell him off for one thing or another. The changes are usually for her benefit or if she disagrees with somewhere he wants to take the DC. The net result is that he sees his DCs the same amount but it will be on different times/days to the usual routine.

DoJo Thu 04-Dec-14 14:25:10

Hmm, tricky (and apologies for my assumption that you didn't have kids - I wasn't trying to be patronising smile), as it sounds as though your boyfriend is trying to accommodate his ex's wishes, which is a kind thing to do, and helpful for their long term relationship. However, I can see how it could be frustrating for you as it means that your plans are presumably always subject to change and alterations to make way for his access. Perhaps he feels that as the NRP, he has to jump through hoops to prove that he is prepared to do whatever it takes to see them, whether that's conscious or not, but it does sound like you need to have a conversation about the practicalities of what this means for your relationship long-term.

Do you think that he would be prepared to discuss this with his ex, or is she likely to spin the 'your new girlfriend doesn't want you to spend time with your children' line? It's a very delicate balance and I don't enjoy you as you and your boyfriend will have to tread very carefully in order to ensure that you don't alienate anyone.

IfNotNow Thu 04-Dec-14 16:46:17

Thank you DoJo. I've been trying really hard to put my finger on what is annoying me so much about the situation and in part I think its that he goes to great lengths to tell me how reasonable his ex is (in contrast to my difficult ex) when I'm biting my tongue and thinking 'she really isn't'. I think it annoys me that he panders to her so much and it's not something I want to deal with long term, especially if we also have our own DC.

I know he must find it difficult and I think it's in part because he doesn't like turning down time with his DCs (even though he would still get the same amount of time iyswim). It's not that I don't want him to have a great relationship with his DCs (whom I've met and get on well with) it's just that to me it feels like he's putting her needs and wishes above my own.

Again, I'm probably BU to expect him to put me first now and then as I've been in his life much less time than she has. Having said that, if he wants to build a future with me in the way he says he does, I think he's going to find it impossible to keep us both happy if things continue this way.

What has triggered this now is that he's recently changed plans (due to the ex asking to change a scheduled contact) that also involved my DCs so now they're going to be disappointed.

I also get the feeling (given the way he talks about his ex) that he won't be receptive to anything that is any way critical towards her so to bring it up will be very tricky indeed.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Sun 07-Dec-14 17:04:57

Can you not just go ahead with whatever plans you had with your DC regardless? Even if it means less/more people involved?

YouAreMyRain Sun 07-Dec-14 18:02:58

It's not going to get any better. I have a baby with my DP. His ex snaps her fingers and he jumps. This is because he is worried that she will withdraw contact for their DC.
I am like you, I have DC with my ex. I am reasonable and accommodating. My ex has a gf with no dc, he does whatever his gf wants, drops contact, goes on holiday for four weeks, messes me around etc.

HamPortCourt Sun 07-Dec-14 18:08:30

I think this I also get the feeling (given the way he talks about his ex) that he won't be receptive to anything that is any way critical towards her so to bring it up will be very tricky indeed. is the problem.

I would have a heart to heart with him and if it not resolvable then yes, better to walk away now. Your DC are already playing second fiddle to ex's whims, so what would happen if you did have DC together? How would you feel if he still put DC from her before your DC together?

Had they not split for long before you came along? It sounds like he is still quite enmeshed with her. I know I can get my XH to do pretty much anything I want, and it must drive his girlfriend crazy. I don't take the piss at all but I know he accommodates anything I ask for as he is still in love with me, despite being with her for four years now.

I see it as her choice to put up with it, not my problem. Do you think XW is deliberately changing things to be awkward or is it really that he finds it impossible to say no to her and she takes advantage?

WooWooOwl Sun 07-Dec-14 18:38:15

It sounds like he has a good flexible relationship with his ex, and that is the best thing for the children. He seems to be making it clear to you that he doesn't want that to change, and it would be wrong of you to try and chance it in any way.

You don't need to criticise the ex when you talk about this, because she isn't at all relevant. If you keep in mind that you have no right to try and change things between these two parents, then it will be easier to decide what you will and won't put up with. When you've decided that, you can either choose to separate if you know you don't want to keep things the way they are long term, or tell your BF your position and let him decide whether he wants to meet your expectations or not.

Make it about you and what you want out of a relationship, you don't need to bring the ex or his co parenting relationship into it at all. It's fine for you to say that you won't put up with having your plans messed around last minute and then stick to that. It's not fine for you to say the ex shouldn't want to change contact times or that he should stop supporting her and his dc in the way he normally does.

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