Ex DH & his girlfriend(58 Posts)
I have name changed recently as was outed in RL following a thread, will probably do the same after this as this will be outing too but really want opinions.
My ex DH & I have been apart for about 8 years & we have an 11 yr old DS. Ex DH & his girlfriend have been together for about 8 years - got together v soon after we split.
Their relationship as been v off & on over the years, he cheated on her at one point which I knew about at the time & she later found out. They only moved in together 6 months ago as he liked living on his own & didn’t want to have to deal with the teenage dramas she was going through with her son.
She is always with him when he comes to pick up our DS & we’ve had a few awkward conversations where she’s been there when we’re discussing a parenting issue & I always feel it’s 2 (them) against 1 (me).
She recently came along to a new school open day as we were looking at senior schools & I felt it was inappropriate as surely our son’s education & choices is something me & his Dad should be involved in?
So, there was a “welcome evening” for parents & kids last night & I gently asked on Wednesday if ex DH would be coming on his own & when he asked why, I said “I find it’s easier to co-parent as a team when it’s just the two of us”.
So yesterday he rings be up, guns blazing, saying she is “part of his family unit” & “she spends as much time with our son as I do” - we share 50/50.
After the row on the phone which I ended by hanging up as I didn’t feel the need to stoop to his level, he ended up not showing up to the parents evening & then I had to drive completely out of my way (20 mins each way) to drop him off at his Dad’s as the agreement was that ex DH would take DS home after it finished.
I am raging - AIBU?
When I pointed out that she might spend as much time as I do with him (only in the last 6 months), I said, “but I gave birth to him” & ex DH replied “so?”. That was the final straw for me!
I suppose after 8 years she is part of the family unit?
I can absolutely see why you feel like you do, but it IS important that all those who are in some kind of parenting role are involved in the child’s education somehow
FWIW, as a new secondary school mum myself this year, I can tell you that involvement is pretty limited as they are expected to do everything themselves pretty much.
I know you feel outnumbered, but if she’s a decent enough person, kind to your son, then that’s all that matters.
He sounds like a delightful person... Not.
It just looks like they both like drama tbh. She doesn't really have to be there for everything?
I wouldn't care if they'd been together 50 years, they have only been living together for 6 months! So how on earth does she see your d's as much as you do?
I think it is great when step parents are involved (I wouldn't seem her that though) but when a child has 2 parents that is enough to go to parents days/school welcomes etc. If every child came with 4 adults the place would be overrun. I think it is fine for the parent to relay relevant info to the step parent later. I also think the child should be given a voice once a teen too. I had this issue growing up, no one ever asked me who I wanted there and it felt to me a bit Jeremy Kyle.
Thanks mastershelp, will bear that in mind.
I agree it's inappropriate for her to be there - she's not in a parenting role, he has the full complement of parents already. And it's absolutely pathetic that his showing up to things to do with his son's education is conditional and hinged on you not saying anything he doesn't like.
I wouldn't have been inclined to drive your son to his house afterwards tbh (unless DS was dying to go.)
I think as a 'step mum' you are always in the wrong.
If she wasn't interested that would be wrong but she is interested and that is wrong. Maybe it was you exh that wanted her to go just to support him and get a different perspective.
The comment about giving birth is a ridiculous once. Father's don't give birth!
He was wrong not turning up though.
Imo the back story you give i.e. they met very soon after you broke up, he cheated on her etc etc makes you sound somewhat bitter about the situation.
Why did you drive DS to his? If ExDH didn't turn up then you both go back to yours surely? Don't fill in his gaps.
I took DS back to his as it was his night to have him & I had plans, which obviously I was late for as had to sort DS out first.
You are his mother, no-one else. This girlfriend May accompany his dad, but should not be involved in stuff like parents evening unless you want her to be. Your ex is being a dick, but then you split for a reason.
I can see both sides. The issue is the set up that clearly has been agreed between your ex and his new girlfriend and it would seem to involve her doing a lot for your son, probably things that your ex shouldn't doing but he's delegated to her because it suits him and she is eager and maybe to build a relationship with your son. You do have to consider that living with a child that's not yours 50% of the time is not easy, so if she's going to do things for him, she will want to feel that she is not just the maid but also has some say or involvement in the rest of his life.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it because that's your ex choice to involve her in such a way. What I would consider before anything else is how your DS feels about it. Is he happy for her to be there or not. If he is and he gets along with her, then you'll need to accept her in his life and make an effort to build a relationship with her. You might actually find it easier to communicate with her than your ex and what matters is that your son is happy when he is with his dad. If your DS is not happy about it then, you need to bring this up again with you ex, although he is probably so desperate to play happy family again that he will probably say that it's you talking and not your son and ignore any sign from his son because he won't want to tell his new partner to back off, which would mean him having to do more of the work looking after him.
I would definitely try the 'let's give her a chance' approach.
she's been in his life 8 years turns up for things she's is a part of ds life to some degree .
I think the backstory might be relevant.
From her perspective, she got together witj a man who had recently split from his ex and child, then for 7 years he wouldn't move in with her because he didn't want to have to deal with her child, some time during all of that he cheated on her. Now they've finally moved in and she's doing her best to treat her stepchild well and be involved only for the child's mum to say 'actually on this one it's best just for me and dad'. Her DP could have been the reasonable party and coparented, but probably went back to new GF and made a big deal about how it's not his fault, mean ex wife says... And so the girlfriend loses it.
I agree with the OP, some things should be between the 2 parents. Equally, the girlfriend is wrong to suggest that living together for 6 months makes her 'equal' to mum anf she shouldn't have acted that way.
But i can see why she may be trying to cling onto the family unit idea and/or feeling insecure. He's hardly done much to show her he is serious.
Well, the reason she comes along is, because she doesn't want him to spend any time alone with you. Not many people relish the thought of going back out again after tea, to parents evening, especially if they're not the parent.
I also would have taken my Son home afterwards. If he wants to hear the ins and outs of your DSs progress, let him speak to the teacher, very juvenile of him not to attend.
There is a possibility of course, that she is genuinely fond of your Son, and is trying to do right by him, time will tell.
No matter how much time she may spend with your child, she will never ever take your place, we only have one Mum. 🌸
I have always thought that she doesn’t want me being alone with him, she obviously doesn’t trust him but I’m not going to pounce on him at a parent’s evening - or ever!
Don't worry OP. It's a reflection of her view of him, not you.
It's not hard to see why she might not trust him: got together straight after a split, didn't live together for 7 years because he needed space and couldn't be arsed to deal with her child and when he was busy having his space, he cheated.
Poor woman should have walked years ago.
That's crap. I've been living with my partner for 5 years and we have been doing 50 50 for about a year. I get invited and I attend all kinds of things for my partners son. He's also a teen.
I don't go because I don't trust him around his ex, that's laughable and this probably isn't the issue at all.
More likely that spending literally half of your life with a teen you aren't a parent of is bloody hard and it's almost impossible to please everyone or feel you are involved or have some kind of say. Sounds like she's interested and trying, might as well get along because she's spending a lot of her life with your child
what does your son think? he's the one that matters really
she is part of his life and it might be useful for her to know school stuff - I doubt she's worried about you and him - and you and him both seem to like a spat - it doesn't matter if you gave birth to him - she's not trying to be his mum - just be informed about his life.
I speak as a parent of 3 who have a step mum
I don’t want to turn this into an anti- step mum thing, I’m a step mum too but I’d never dream of going along to a school event with my husband and his ex as I’m not needed & it’s not my place. Two parents to me means no one else needs to involve themselves.
I am very involved in my step daughter’s life & it’s been incredibly hard at times but I don’t encroach on how my husband and his ex parent their child together.
I think me & my ex “liking a spat” is a bit rich, we have been amicably co-parenting for 8 years & I brought up my concerns calmly & considerately. He’s the one who rang me up for a barny!
I'd never go to a school open day for dp's children. I can't imagine any more dull! And i certainly wouldn't expect to be involved in the decision about which school they attend.
The only thing I've been to us the performance when the children have wanted me to watch them in something. And if I'm honest I'd rather not but I went for them.
OP, I can see this from both points of view. Given that your Ex and his GF only recently moved in together, we don't know how much time she would have spent with DS. But she has been a part of his life now for 8 years - since he was around 3 years old.
After that amount of time you would expect her to have an almost parental interest in him (in fact given how childish your Ex seems to be I wouldn't be surprised if she's doing more of the parenting than he is during contact), and it's likely that she's trying to take an interest in his education and be supportive.
Going forward your Ex and GF will be a team, and I would expect it works that way in relation to DS too.
However I can see where you're coming from re parents evening. And it's not practical for more than 2 attendees - and obviously you and DH would be priority choice. (Assuming DS is happy with that - who does he want to come with him?). Of course the same would apply to any partner of yours, too.
I don't know how to reach an amicable solution - really Ex and GF should be a team WRT parenting etc, however there will be times (such as parents evening) when practicalities limit this.
I can't believe Ex didn't go to parents' evening because things didn't go his way, though! It shows up the person he really is quite clearly.
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