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To be concerned about BF's relationship with his ex?

(43 Posts)
PeggyTheClothesHorse Wed 03-Jun-15 10:40:07

They separated 2 years ago and I've been with him about a year. Not sure if it's relevant but she left him. I was not the ow, we met months after their split. They have one DC together and she has also moved on to a new relationship.

So onto the problem: I'm a little uncomfortable with their relationship as co parents. BF is a good father and on the one hand I really admire how they have managed to stay amicable. However, I feel like a lot of the time he bends over backwards to please her. He does a lot of swapping and changing of their contact arrangements at her request, usually so she can go to an event, or go out. I'm never consulted on this, even when it necessitates a change of our plans. There are other minor things which I won't go into but the overall feeling I get is that he panders to her somewhat whilst moaning to me about how 'demanding' she is.

On Mother's Day, she requested he buy her a particular brand of (IMO) expensive jewellery from their DC. As someone who doesn't wear jewellery, I don't really get it. I also get no presents at all from my ex on behalf of our DCs so it seemed very extravagant to me. However, I didn't let on my feelings as I felt it was none of my business. Then on his birthday, I know he was disappointed as she didn't get him the inexpensive item he'd requested but instead a few bits of tat that his DC confessed his ex had chosen.

It's her birthday next month and again she has requested an expensive piece of jewellery from the DC which my bf is to buy on their behalf. Bf has commented on this but I know he will still go along with her wishes and buy it.

I'm not sure if my own situation is clouding my feelings on this or whether I am right to feel a bit miffed about this. I suppose I'm just worried as we are talking about moving in together soon and ultimately these expensive gifts will then come out of family money. I worry that he will always put his ex's needs above ours as a blended family and it's leaving me feeling reticent to move to the next stage with my BF who would also like us at some point to have a DC of our own. However, I'm ready to be told I ABU and if so will keep my feelings to myself.

DoraGora Wed 03-Jun-15 10:46:45

You have the option to not more in together until a more satisfactory arrangement has been reached.

It does not seem wise to commit to an arrangement that you are already dissatisfied with.

littlejessie Wed 03-Jun-15 10:52:28

YANBU, and if you already feel like this it'd only going to get worse tbh. Personally I find the idea of specifying a gift to someone extremely bad mannered, and the fact he also requested something from her speaks volumes. They aren't sufficiently "separated" imo!

LemonYellowSun Wed 03-Jun-15 10:52:37

He should stop the expensive present malarkey. She is taking the piss. Whats wrong with some flowers and a homemade card??

bertiebogtrotter Wed 03-Jun-15 10:53:39

She demands presents?? and he buys them?? I think that is hugely odd personally. If she wants jewellery she should buy it herself or ask her OH to buy her it (or at the very least reciprocate on his Bday) but that is one for your BF to sort I am afraid.

When my kids were smaller I used to help them buy a little gift for their Dad (ex) but just a small token item, now they are teens I leave them to sort it themselves.

Whether you are BU or not if this is something that bothers you sort it before you even think of moving in together. If he can't/won't sort it you then need to decide if this is a deal breaker in your relationship.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 03-Jun-15 10:58:10

Are they still married? (Were they ever married?)

It sounds like he's her bitch. She takes him for granted. Maybe she was always like this, and that's why she dumped him. Now she has the DC, his feelings of "I mustn't ever annoy her" come from a place of fear: "or she won't let me see my DC".

BUT... That's all irrelevant to you. The only things that matter to you ae things that affect you. Like when he cancels dates with you, with no consultation. I take cancelled dates as a reliable sign of disinterest, so I'd be very reluctant to move this further.

I think DoraGora's post was perfect.

ShaynePunim Wed 03-Jun-15 11:05:40

I think it's wonderful that they have stayed amicable and you should see this as a positive sign, because it shows his commitment to his children.

Her demanding expensive gifts on behalf of the children is not ideal, but you only have his side of the story I suppose.

He should also consult you on swapping days etc IF it really affects you (ie only if you already have plans, as you don't even live together I can't see why he should consult you just for the sake of it).

On the whole as a loving partner and mother of his child you should be encouraging of his good relationship with his ex though, and try to avoid being bitter and jealous about it.

VivienScott Wed 03-Jun-15 11:10:19

I'd far rather be in a relationship with someone who tired to work with their ex than be with someone who constantly tried to wind her up/got wound up by her. Living with that angst is not pleasant!

ShaynePunim Wed 03-Jun-15 11:16:41

Exactly.

Because it also shows you how he will be with you, should things not work out between you two.

PeggyTheClothesHorse Wed 03-Jun-15 11:39:50

WhatsGoingOn, I think that's a pretty accurate description of what's happening. Obviously I only have his side of things but it does sound like she took him for granted and apparently has admitted that she didn't appreciate how much did when they were together. I think he also did an awful lot more before he met me and I think she struggled a bit not having him at her complete beck and call anymore.

I suppose this is why I'm struggling because in one sense, I know this is not my business whilst we're not technically living together but on the other hand, I have no reason to believe anything would change if we were to move in together. Honestly, as things stand, I don't want to move in with him right now.

There's lots I haven't mentioned like the fact that she has often lied about the reasons she needs him to have their DC at short notice. She'll say something like she's got to work late but he then finds out she was out with her bf. It would be one thing if he was going along with it happily but I know he isn't happy yet still does it and then moans to me!

The other is that he is nearly always at my house so if he swaps their arrangements he still expects to bring their DC to my house on my child free weekends hmm.

I'm not jealous of his ex (although I don't understand her attitude sometimes) my issue is with the way my BF handles her. I love that he is so kind and caring but at times it feels like it is to my detriment. I don't know how to raise this with him without coming across as unreasonable and jealous though. Or even if I have a right to have an opinion given that they have more history together and also a DC together. The responses have been mixed so I'm still not sure grin.

The5DayChicken Wed 03-Jun-15 11:43:18

The demanding of the gifts thing is a bit of a red flag for me. If he wants to get her something from their child, their child should be picking it. But that's not what's happening here. She's putting in her order and he's fulfilling it. That's him buying a gift as it's completely bypassing their DC.

How do you think he'd respond to you suggesting he lets their DC pick a gift?

DoraGora Wed 03-Jun-15 11:46:18

The house you'd be moving into is already your house? You need to be a bit more firm, then, really. My house, my rules and all that.

WorraLiberty Wed 03-Jun-15 11:48:46

He should consult you if changing arrangements affect arrangements you've already made.

Otherwise I'd say he seems like a pretty good parent.

Apart from the stupid gift buying/requesting. They both need to grow up about that. They're supposed to be from the children.

PeggyTheClothesHorse Wed 03-Jun-15 11:51:49

That's how I feel about it Chicken. What happens is that she specifies that she wants a specific type of jewellery from a particular store and then he takes their DC to chose the exact one. On his birthday, I believe she asked him what he wanted. He asked for an inexpensive item related to his hobby (he told me so I didn't also get the same thing) but then she went out and bought him socks and chocolate from their DC. She also bought him a couple of bits specifically from her and also a separate birthday card. I'm not sure if he also buys her things from himself, if he does, he doesn't tell me. This would be understandable if they were actually friends, but I think the reality is that he doesn't like her very much but wants to stay amicable. Whilst that's admirable, I think his behaviour goes above and beyond.

If I'm brutally honest, I've wondered if she does these things to send a message to me. There are other things that would out me if I put them here but it has been a thought I've had. Of course that's just me speculating though.

FeijoaSundae Wed 03-Jun-15 11:53:25

I'm going to go massively against the grain here ... as a young, single woman with no kids of my own, I'd be moving right along. Very, very quickly.

You feel resentful now? Well, this is how he is, and quite honestly, he sounds like he's being pretty decent to his ex. Move onto someone without kids, if you don't want this to be your life. It's OK not to want this to be your life, and there's plenty more fish in the seal

The5DayChicken Wed 03-Jun-15 11:53:45

I do think though that if you move in together, you need to allow some leeway for his DC to visit, whether it's your child free weekend or not. It'd be nice if your child free weekend didn't coincide with his access, but not always practical when each person in a couple has DC from their previous relationships. And access with his DC is something you need to be supportive of if you're going to have a serious relationship with this man.

PeggyTheClothesHorse Wed 03-Jun-15 11:55:28

Yes Dora, it would. It's a difficukt one though because I moved into my ex's house and he never let me forget that it was 'his' house. In the decade we were together, I always felt like I was lodging in his house and never felt like it was our home. I never want my BF to feel like that but equally I don't want to give up the security of my own home initially while we trial if living together could work.

PeggyTheClothesHorse Wed 03-Jun-15 11:58:18

oh no Chicken, don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely ok with him having his DC here, even on my chikd free weekends (this only happens when one or the other swaps as we have the same weekebds child free normally. It's just that he'll swap with his ex and then just make the presumption that he'll stay at mine with his DC. He doesn't even ask, just assumes I will be ok with it. It's his lack of consideration for my feelings/opinion/position that bothers me.

PeggyTheClothesHorse Wed 03-Jun-15 12:00:51

Sundae, I do have DC though. It's not that he has a DC that bothers me, it's his bending over backwards for his ex. I'd have thought it would be possible to be amicable without the over the top gift buying and putting all her needs/wants first.

The5DayChicken Wed 03-Jun-15 12:01:49

How old is their child Peggy? I don't think either of them should be specifying a gift, whether they specify type/shop/brand etc.

That aside, you don't get much say in how he conducts his relationship with his ex. Certainly not a year in to your relationship. If this is going to be an issue for you, I'd consider cutting my losses now.

PeggyTheClothesHorse Wed 03-Jun-15 12:06:23

Their DC is 5. Thing is, I know he'd stop doing these things if he knew how much it bothers me but I don't want to be unreasonable by dictating anything to him. It concerns me more in a future sense because then this behaviour really would impact us. I might tell him to stop moaning about her to me. That way I don't have to listen to it and if it bothers him like he says it does, it's up to him to stop.

wheresthebeach Wed 03-Jun-15 12:16:50

hmmm....I think there are two problems here - firstly that he dances to her tune regardless of the impact on your plans - that's just rude in my book.

Secondly - he present thing is out of order - expensive jewellery is a very personal gift and not appropriate to demand.

It seems that she's very much calling the shots and this will not get better by pandering to it.

Hold off on the moving in together until he's prepared to have a more grown up and balanced relationship with his ex - you know - she respects his time, they co-parent but don't make unreasonable demands on each other etc etc.

Presents from DC should be just that - from the child. Flowers, soap, teddy bears with hearts etc etc.

PtolemysNeedle Wed 03-Jun-15 12:29:06

Her asking for specific expensive gifts is not on, but her asking for childcare arrangements to be changed at short notice is fine IMO.

My ex and I are like this, we want to be flexible because it benefits both of us, and more importantly, it's better for our dc if we are friendly, helpful and supportive to one another. Just because we are separated, doesn't mean we stop being parents, and parents do sometimes have to change things around last minute to be able to care for their children.

I think you need to look at the situation as it is and decide whether you are prepared to accept it or not. Whether you can or not is entirely up to you, but you have no right to try and change a relationship that two parents already have. If your bf wants to change things then that's up to him and he will do it without your prompting, but if he doesn't, then that's the sort of parenting relationship he wants and you should respect that.

Iamannogginandanoggin Wed 03-Jun-15 12:31:07

You might have to live with this.

If he really cares about his DC and is separated has to really cross his fingers and hope she doesn't behave like an arse, because if she does, he's screwed. That child can be whisked away from him and hardly ever seen in future whether he has done anything wrong or not, and all the odds would be stacked against him trying to put things right.

Assuming he is a very loving father and dreads such a thing, she has him over a barrel whether he cares to admit it or not.

QuiteLikely5 Wed 03-Jun-15 12:38:15

I have got children, if there was a divorce I know I would cherish my child free weekends. No way on this planet would I be as accommodating as you on those weekends. If it was an emergency then absolutely yes but otherwise totally no.

Discuss your concerns with him. See how he responds. Yeah listen to what he says but watch, wait and see what he really does about it.

The gift buying, yeah nice for the children to see your buying something nice for each other but limit that to £10 or something.

Keep your boundaries intact. The more you compromise them the less happy you will be.

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