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In feeling my life is being controlled by my partners ex?

(131 Posts)
Pinktartan Mon 01-Aug-16 22:38:50


I'm seeking some words of wisdom, and getting some issues off my chest regarding my current relationship.

I have always been an independent person (early thirties, no dc), and have not had anybody to answer to for many years (travelled widely, lived in different countries etc) which is why I'm not sure if how I'm feeling is reasonable or whether I'm just being selfish?

I am now dating a guy and our relationship has reached its 1 year point so I'm starting to consider the longer term future and the possibility of marriage to this person. He has two dc who stay every other weekend and one night during the week. I have a good relationship with his dc.

What I am struggling to deal with, is (what I see as) the control his ex has over his life (and now mine). In my mind he treads on egg shells around her as he is terrified she will stop him seeing his dc.

Example- I love holidays and my passion is exploring far flung destinations, but he refuses to go away on holiday with me for any longer than a few nights as otherwise he would have to swap contact time with his dc. He refuses to ever let his parents or other family or anybody else babysit his dc in his contact time, as the ex doesn't allow it (she claims nobody else should have them in his time at all), and so we can never do anything without them, e.g. attend weddings etc during these weekends unless his dc can also attend. This is causing some resentment on my behalf as I feel we are turning down a lot of invitations, missing out on social occasions, holidays, and I feel he shouldn't allow his ex partner to dictate what he can do. He certainly has zero say in her life or her time with the dc, so I can't understand why he lets her dictate what he does.

In my view she rules his life (and now mine) as every other weekend he basically isn't allowed to go out (Friday-Monday). Obviously 99% of the time he wouldn't anyway, but I personally can't see why he can't let his parents babysit for one night, or one weekend if we wanted to go on holiday (his dc would love this, as would his parents- it is just the ex partner he is scared of upsetting). He also won't ask her to ever swap weekends in case she 'kicks off' or uses it against him in regards to courts/contact time etc.

However, his ex swaps weekends and takes holidays into his weekends at the drop of a hat. His response to her is always "yes no problem" but in private he gets incredibly annoyed over this, venting his frustrations to me (but not to her) and when I voice my opinion that I think he should tell her he needs more notice if she wants to swap weekends he gets very angry and quickly shuts me down, basically saying that I shouldn't stick my nose into where it isn't wanted and it's nothing to do with me or that I don't understand. (He's right- I don't!)

I don't think I am being unreasonable in my expectations but I am wondering if the situation I'm experiencing is to be expected when you date somebody with children as I have only dated single childless men before? I don't think he will change and stand upto her, certainly not any time soon and He doesn't appear to listen to my opinions.

Any advice?

EveOnline2016 Mon 01-Aug-16 22:41:35

Get out of this relationship.

Pinktartan Mon 01-Aug-16 22:45:42

I also want to make it clear that they split up long before we met! Just in case anybody thinks I am an OW!!

SalemsLott Mon 01-Aug-16 22:46:06

I'm with Eve

DementedUnicorn Mon 01-Aug-16 22:47:29

I've got a feeling you should don your hard hat love

IJustAteTheKidsFoodAgain Mon 01-Aug-16 22:47:38

No, you aren't being unreasonable, he is. Does he feel guilty about splitting from his DCs mother? It sounds like he doesn't value you as a long term fixture in his life with his responses to you and I would be concerned about his possible feelings towards his ex as he absolutely can and should allow his parents - his DCs grandparents- to look after them occasionally (providing they want to). It sounds a bit shit OP, can he not explain why he is like this at all or just to you?

LovelyBranches Mon 01-Aug-16 22:48:13

He doesn't listen to your opinions. Why bother giving them? Find someone who will listen to you. It's no less than you deserve.

PovertyPain Mon 01-Aug-16 22:48:32

Run for the hills, OP. You'll always be so so far down his list of priorities that you might as well be a casual fling.

IJustAteTheKidsFoodAgain Mon 01-Aug-16 22:49:41

Also, I agree with demented AIBU is a scary place, especially with SDCs, best of luck

TheNaze73 Mon 01-Aug-16 22:51:08

You are not & will never be a priority from what you say

Pinktartan Mon 01-Aug-16 22:56:16

She left him, he doesn't appear to know why. She is in another relationship, and has been before I met him.

I haven't met her, he doesn't say much about her really, and most of their communication as far as I am aware is done by text.

He took her to court for custody of which he gained the every other weekend and one weeknight, it didn't sound very pleasant and was not amicable at the time between him and her, and he is now terrified she will take him to court if he upsets her.

He is very defensive if I say anything at all about how unreasonable she is e.g. not allowing his parents to babysit the odd night. They are lovely people and are heartbroken they can't be more involved.

RubbleBubble00 Mon 01-Aug-16 22:56:26

I don't think he's the man for you.

He only has his kids two weekends a month and 1 night a week it's not unreasonable that he should spend all his time with his kids during his contact - 4 days out of every 28 isn't really much?

However one holiday a year would be reasonable to swap contact around, but if he's going on hols then he's going to need to take his kids in a foreign holiday too

Lookatyourwatchnow Mon 01-Aug-16 22:56:41

Ugh, I've had exactly this. It doesn't work. The contact arrangements don't have to be like this of course, but you already know that. I doubt your DP will make changes in this regard, but you don't have to live your life like this. Walk away.

VelvetSpoon Mon 01-Aug-16 22:57:12

I think the reality is if you're with someone with children, then you have to accept their children are around some or all the time.

My bf and I both have children from previous relationships, mine are almost adults, his much younger. I accept that on his weekends we can't do anything as a couple, that's just how it is. I don't arrange things for those weekends as I know he won't be free. We also can't go on holiday other than for a long weekend. However neither of these situations will be forever. My bf doesn't really have family available to babysit, but I'm not sure he'd use them even if he did, his contact time so he feels he should be with his DC. Your partner may feel similarly.

Not everyone is prepared to swap contact, his ex may be like my bfs, who sticks rigidly to their days irrespective of xmas, holidays etc. There is no swapping at all, nor any point in asking.
I think you need to decide if you want someone who will always be on hand, which he can't be, or whether it's him you want, and can compromise on the other stuff.

Pinktartan Mon 01-Aug-16 22:58:02

Of course in the first year I didn't expect he would start swapping arrangements for my benefit. It is only now I am thinking.. Is this going to be the case for the rest of our relationship??!! And from our discussions or should I say him shutting me down on any discussions it seems it is..

IJustAteTheKidsFoodAgain Mon 01-Aug-16 22:58:59

But the ex isn't rigid - she swaps contact when it's beneficial to her

TempusEedjit Mon 01-Aug-16 22:59:30

Your life isn't being controlled by the ex, but by your partner. He is the one who is ultimately deciding how you spend your time as a couple. Your partner is clearly not interested in considering your feelings if he gets angry and shuts you down rather than talk to you decently. You need to get rid, it'll only get worse.

Lookatyourwatchnow Mon 01-Aug-16 23:01:27

Yes, I don't think OP wants DP to spend any less time with his DC (and nor should he), just that the power imbalance is resolved. Flexibility should extend both ways. Ex wife can swap the occasional weekend or DP's parents babysit. Court are absolutely not interested in such a non issue and your DP knows it.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 01-Aug-16 23:01:34

Leave him you are incompatible

Pinktartan Mon 01-Aug-16 23:02:15

Rubble- he has them for three nights on his weekends and another night during the week (most of the day before and after) so a lot more than four days out of 28, not that that is the point of this post anyway..

NeedAnotherGlass Mon 01-Aug-16 23:03:07

You've only been together a year - if you are in a rush to move things on then he clearly isn't ready. How many opportunities have there been to travel to far flung places in the last year? Maybe he's making excuses because he actually isn't too keen on the idea.
His priority is his kids - if you want more than that, you are likely to have a very long wait.

VelvetSpoon Mon 01-Aug-16 23:03:20

Just because she swaps when it suits her doesn't mean she'd be accommodating if the OPs bf wanted a swap to suit him. Yes that would be fair, but not everyone is fair in these things.

How old are the DC, OP? Once they hit teens things will change anyway, so unless they're tiny it probably won't be like this for many years, and certainly not indefinitely. But if it doesn't suit you, then there's no point continuing.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 01-Aug-16 23:04:39

Surely it's a problem with him rather than her?

myownprivateidaho Mon 01-Aug-16 23:05:28

I think that if you get into a relationship with a guy with kids it's clear you'll come second to them. Agree that he doesn't seem to have much contact time and that he should be spending that time with the kids. If the ex won't swap, I can't see it's annoying but she's just asking him to stick to what's been agreed so she's not in the wrong. And it might not feel great for the kids if they get their contact time switched around so their dad can go away without them. Sorry, I think he's doing the right thing by putting them first. And i wouldn't be surprised if he is blaming the ex for things that are his choice. But I also wouldn't want to be in your position. I think you need to find someone with a more compatible lifestyle.

Pinktartan Mon 01-Aug-16 23:05:37

I am glad that the majority of posters can see I have no issue with him seeing his dc at all. That's not what my post is about. Thanks

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