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good bf, bad ex.

(26 Posts)
chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 09:10:45

when i got involved with my soon to be divorced bf i promised myself that i would not get involved with him and his ex because you never know the full story yada yada yada. well that turned out to be impossible as she is a full on nut case and i do not use that term lightly. they have been separated for nearly 2 years have 2 kids together and he seems to still be very much in her abusive thrall and it is difficult to be involved in.

he didnt tell her about me for months because of her reaction or that we are planing on moving in together but when he finally did she phoned him up screaming at him refusing to let him see the kids, she phones his family to find out if we are lying to her about what he has said to her etc.

we made plans about how to get his children use to my children and how they would see each other over the summer holidays etc so they could build up some kind of bond but he totally went back on those plans because she wasnt happy about things with out telling me leaving me with upset children.

he will sometimes sit for hours texting her trying to placate over many and varied things and says this is what his marriage was like, i point out that if he wanted to do this kind of thing he may as well just have stayed married to her and i am just wondering if i am being to sensitive, if this is how it works or i am i in a relationship with 2 people my lovely boyfriend and his exwife.

pictish Fri 12-Aug-11 09:14:21

Yes you are. If he spends ages texting her to placate her, then he is WAY too involved still, and not in a place to give his full attention to you.

I don't think he's ready for another significant relationship yet - he's still partaking in the previous one.

Sorry x

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 09:27:00

yep pict thats what i have been thinking. we had a massive row about it as i have tried to be understanding and he said that its just for now because of us and meeting the kids etc i have a funny feeling though that there will always be something for her to be riding him about if he lets her.

babyhammock Fri 12-Aug-11 09:29:00

Are you sure he's not trying to keep 2 pots on the boil so to speak

pictish Fri 12-Aug-11 09:30:51

Yes, quite.

The fact that he entertains her at ALL is worrying, never mind texting back and forth for hours. She's got him exactly where she wants him.....pandering to her whims.

Certainly it compromises his relationship with you.

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 09:40:34

i am pretty certain of that ,one of the reasons their marriage ended was because they only had sex once a year. he is here when he isnt at work or with his kids so he would have to work hard to fit her in though i am sure its possible, the fact is he hates her but he is so use to doing what she says and trying to keep her happy for an easy life he is still doing it.
she wields the kids like a weapon when he has to see her or speak to her he actually feels sick.
i helped him respond to an email and she was really shocked and thrown that he had taken that kind of stance and left him alone and i thought we had made some progress, to be honest it makes me think of him as a bit of a coward and effects how i feel about him.
if he isnt willing to fight for us now will he ever be.

pictish Fri 12-Aug-11 09:45:06

Yes indeed. You are quite right OP.

You deserve a partner that will put you first (outside of his children, obviously) and his wishy washy scared of the ex wife routine would be very offputting to me too.

WibblyBibble Fri 12-Aug-11 09:45:43

Yeah, either you dtmfa, or in five years you end up being the 'full on nutcase' when he leaves you with two kids to fuck off with some other naive woman, lying about things to you all the while (why do you think she needs to check things with his family? Obviously he has a history of lying). I don't know why women keep falling for this nonsense. Any man who has a 'psycho ex' is the psycho.

effingwotnots Fri 12-Aug-11 09:48:01

I, like others have been here with regards to the psycho ex. Luckily my dh grew a pair and when he made a decision, stuck to it. Otherwise I would have walked and he knows this.

No way was I going to be with some other woman's bitch!

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 09:49:54

effing you literally took the words out of my mouth.

Dignified Fri 12-Aug-11 11:04:16

I can see this from both sides unfortunateley . When i met my P i was still pandering to my abusive ex , it was very difficult and i was very much afraid of him . If she has been / is abusive he will find it hard to stand up to her .

Having said that , has he sought legal advice about these things , or taken any steps to stand up to her ? Sometimes relationships carry over , its hard to tell whether he is still emotionally involved with her or whether he is having difficulty standing up to her . I suppose the question is , what has he actually done about it ?

samhaircin Fri 12-Aug-11 11:18:08

Oh God, I have been here too. Yes you have a third wheel in the relationship and he is still in an abuse cycle.

<the fact is he hates her but he is so use to doing what she says and trying to keep her happy for an easy life he is still doing it.
she wields the kids like a weapon when he has to see her or speak to her he actually feels sick>

This all sounds so familiar. I think with the guy I was with he was so used to appeasing his ex, to try to calm her down, that he was still inclined to do it. I don't think he could see that this was feeding the bad behaviour and making her more inclined towards throwing tantrums in the long-run. She seemed to generally get her own way. She also used the children as weapons (erratic in letting him see them one minute and not the next, and she seemed to be bad-mouthing him to them and so on).

It didn't help though that the legal situation here is not good, a lot of guys seem to get screwed in the courts (I am not in the UK), and it is very expensive here to fight out things like custody/divorce in the courts if one person refuses mediation. As well as this custody orders are often not enforced, so having a decent custody agreement is no guarantee of actually seeing the children regularly.

He did stand up to her a bit initially (including over me) but then she got creative, and really crazy nasty (invloving a false police report, and she threatened worse).

Though on the one hand I could understand his behaviour and see that he was between a rock and a hard place, I also felt that if it was me I would have been more pro-active at getting more specialist advice, and at least going to counselling to sort my own head out, to build my own confidence, and to try not to be enabling her. I think if he had stood up to her more effectively the shock might have stopped her in her tracks.

He split up with me in the end partly because of the stress of it all, and partly because he felt in the end that he wasn't ready for a relationship (though I doubt this would have been an issue without the crazy ex). But I am not sure he will ever be free. It felt almost like being a teenager needing parental permission, but from an unreasonable control-freak parent.

Like you I think if I had been with him longer I would have started to lose respect for him in the end, and I also would not be willing to have my own life so controlled by a crazy person. But I am still broken hearted over it all, as he was really lovely and I think we suited one another, and it was sad to see him being bullied like that.

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 11:23:07

he really does find it hard dignified, when she demands something his initial response is to agree i have shown him that that isnt right and to be honest it was like a light being switched on.
so i suppose now he doesnt always do what she says right away but that leads to the hours of texts and emails etc which obviously eventually wear him down,she trys emotional blackmail, threats, demanding, reasonable requests, what ever she thinks will work best at that moment.
i said to him the other day that if thats what she wants to do with her day thats fine but its not what i want to do with mine so could he please stop replying and he did, he gets it but to get something logically and to respond to something emotionally are two different things.

samhaircin Fri 12-Aug-11 11:26:05

This might be a useful resource

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 11:34:01

samhaircin reading that actually made me cry for him thats how he lived for ten years.

Dignified Fri 12-Aug-11 11:54:54

Are his family supportive of him Chev ? How do they respond to these phone calls ect ? When your dealing with an abuser you do give in , its just not worth it . When you do try and stand up to them you usually pay . There are legal steps he can take to arrange contact / stop the abusive calls , has he considered this ? I think she will carry on until there are some unpleasant consequences for her .

There are also some good books that explain the abusers mentality and how to deal with them .

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 12:08:02

they are very supportive of him but they are afraid of her as well, everyone has this feeling of she has to be handled to minimize explosive behaviour.
i already know she hates me because she demanded to meet me one to one and i said no, she demanded my phone number and i said no. i sometimes think she is not in her right mind or that she is very much in her right mind and knows exactly what she is doing.
they had mediation to sort out contact and future relationships etc but she is basically just ignoring this, i already said to him that if she keeps threatening him with not seeing the kids he needs to seek legal advice and tell her that he will be doing this, so she can see her behaviour has caused this.

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 12:11:26

i also told him he should document abusive behaviour try and record phone calls etc he is keeping all text and emails.

Snorbs Fri 12-Aug-11 12:17:22

It's hard for men to identify as being the victims of emotional abuse. Society as a whole does not accept that men can be victims of abusive women.

Instead, they get accused of being "wishy-washy" or told to "grow a pair". Or even that "any man who has a 'psycho-ex' is a psycho". It seems we are much more likely to believe that an abused man is actually weak and/or a liar rather than a true victim of emotional abuse.

OP, I was where your DP is. I, too, would spend hours on the phone and texting my ex to try to appease her. It took me a good while to get out of that mindset and I was in an incredibly lucky position - I had Social Services on my side and I had our children living with me. Yet I still felt the need to engage with the crazy. If my ex was acting as gatekeeper to me having contact with my children then the motivation to appease and placate would have been even stronger.

Of course it is unhealthy and counter-productive to act in such a manner but if he is a long-term victim of emotional abuse then he's been 'trained' to behave in that way and it will take a lot of work on his part to stop. I found one-on-one counselling incredibly helpful. There was also a book I found very informative - it's called "Stop Walking on Eggshells" by Randy Krieger. It's actually written for those who are in a relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (my ex doesn't have BPD, although she can do a very convincing impression at times) but it does have lots of information about setting boundaries, withdrawing from conflict and how to communicate in the face of manipulation and drama. I think any information your DP can gain about setting and maintaining boundaries will be beneficial. I think he'd do well talking to Families Need Fathers about the contact problems too.

I've said this here a number of times, but for a while I used to have a post-it note next to my phone saying "Is there anything you could be doing that would be more fun than having this conversation?" I put it there to remind me that I was engaging in conversation with my ex through choice. And I could, equally, choose not to. I just needed to remember that.

Where all this leaves you is a difficult one. I'll admit that when I was still regularly engaging with my ex's drama and chaos then I would've made an absolutely rubbish romantic partner. I felt like I was barely keeping my nose above the water as it was. It's taken me a good few years to properly sort myself out. On the other hand, I'm not every man so someone else may well be different.

Walk away if you have to - after my experiences I'd never be one to suggest that someone else should stick it out in a relationship that isn't working - but do appreciate that you're dealing with someone who is quite likely an abuse victim who has not yet broken free. Be gentle with him.

Dignified Fri 12-Aug-11 12:23:30

Ideally everyone in the family now needs to have a zero tolerance aproach to this . Tiptoeing around these bullies is fairly typical but it obviously supports and enables the abusive behaviour .

It sounds like he needs some support and things setting up properly in regards to contact ect . It must be very difficult , i think its perceived differantly when its happening to a man . I think there are some fathers groups who could help him and i certainly would have him read some of the books that are often recomended on here . He might be able to dump the guilt when he sees this abusive tactics written down in black and white .

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 12:54:15

snorbs i would have to say he is ideal in most other respects apart from this and his over reactions to things i do were i have to remind him i am not his ex. the thing is after a pretty shitty relationship myself for ten yrs with an alcoholic were i came second to the drink i dont know if i want to go on in this were i am going to come second to his ex for god knows how long, its possible i may have over reacted to the situation but its very hard to watch someone doing this, then blaming it all on her and i am sitting there saying well you didnt have to listen to her screaming at you.
but then i dont really understand it do i, i think great he has sent her a really strong email took a stand seen how good that has been and how great he has felt its all going to be better now (stupid emocon)
dignity again his family are afraid of the kids being taken away from them if they dont comply she uses his mum as a sitter when stuck and things but you are right he has asked her not to contact them but i think he needs to ask them to not discuss anything but the kids with her.

Dignified Fri 12-Aug-11 13:05:42

Is the divorce under way Chev ? Often once the divorce is final things calm down a lot, at the minuite they are still married and she obviously still sees him as her husband . Is she single ? It might be worth you posting also in step parenting , this is a common issue .

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 13:09:12

all but rubber stamped should be finalised very soon.

chevronone Fri 12-Aug-11 16:31:39

and yes she is single, sorry.

passingtime Fri 12-Aug-11 16:47:01

YANBUm, my dp's ex tried this act when we first got together (they too had been seperated for 3over 2 years)

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