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What's the difference between being respectful and being a pushover? *LONG*

(11 Posts)
Heedsgonnabust Fri 16-Sep-11 16:18:09

Okay, I don't really know where to start. This is my first ever post. Things aren't terrible, but lately I've been thinking things aren't what they're supposed to be, and maybe I'm insane. Maybe I am? Who knows?

I just need to know that what I'm feeling is normal and I'm not going crazy.

Basically, been with my P for 5 months, he has been separated for 10 (I had nothing to do with that, nothing like that) and 2 young DS with ex-p. Divorce is nowhere on the horizon, for reasons I'm not fully sure of, but isn't really a massive issue for me, I'm quite patient and respect that things, especially complicated things, take time.

But what is really beginning to do my nut in is this feeling that I'm 2nd best all the time? Is that really immature? Before people start thinking I'm horrible I don't mean 2nd best to his children (I can't wait to meet them and get to be a part of that too), I mean 2nd best to his ex-p. From what I've experienced so far she seems like a right nasty piece of work, using the children to get what she wants/when she wants.

I understand that the children are the most important part of this, and that P needs to see them as much as he can (he really misses them the 5 nights he doesn't have them) but quite often ex-p will throw a tantrum, flip out over nothing and make his life a misery. It's becoming a cliche now - every few weeks or so he gets told he'll never see his children again if he doesn't cave in to her (unreasonable) demands. So he spends 3/4 days an emotional wreck, being told she's moving away, changing phone numbers, he can't even know where they are, until she realises that actually she wants a break from the children and maybe they can spend some time with their dad...

So obviously P's in a bit of a shitty situation - say no to ex-p, piss her off and be told he's not allowed to see his children - or let me down? I know what I'd do too. But how long am I supposed to go along with this for? I've been pretty resepctful and patient so far. But on tuesday we had tickets for a show that I had bought him for his birthday 2 months ago which we couldn't go to because his ex-p had decided he could see their children on tuesday night or not at all. So we didn't go. And I said nothing.

But is what I'm feeling right? Is it ok? Is it ok to be pissed off? To be annoyed that he hadn't arranged having them on monday or wednesday and not be put in that position of being told last minute 'tuesday or nothing'? The situation is complicated even more by the fact his ex-p has 2 other children from her 1st marriage so she has 4 children and 2 ex-p's to arrange days with. They have agreed that they will arrange their days with the children flexibly, so is it any of my business to be bothered that things are last minute? Not really eh? Unless it affects me, then I am allowed to have an opinion aren't I? Aren't I!!?!?

Well, I'm sorry that this hasn't made much sense. I think it's just been nice to write it all down. But please if anyone can tell me that I'm not going crazy that would be appreciated, or even if you have to tell me it's none of my business and I'm being selfish that would be welcome too - got to be cruel to be kind don't you...

mouldyironingboard Fri 16-Sep-11 17:35:41

Until he learns to stand up to his ex and sorts out proper contact arrangements for his DC, you can't have a decent relationship with this man. Sorry, but I think you're wasting your time with him as you are clearly not his priority.

SkinnedAlive Fri 16-Sep-11 17:42:53

I really feel for you. I watched a good friend go through this. I agree with the poster above, until he can sort out contact you will only have tears. No-one likes feeling that they are second best, and you will almost certainly be left sitting alone and in tears every Christmas day, his birthday, your birthday, New Year and everything else in between. All arranged months in advanced but cancelled at 5 minutes notice. I don't think you are being selfish at all but you do have a realistic grip on the situation and I think you know you are in for a lot of heartache.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 16-Sep-11 17:46:04

Ah, I feel for you. My ds's ex does the "you'll never see him again" thing with their child, but she's never actually followed through with it, so DS is no longer dancing to her tune. She's nowhere near as unpleasant as your DP's ex, though.

But yes, his dc are his priority and always will be.

It's ok to be upset. Have you told him how you feel?

ImperialBlether Fri 16-Sep-11 17:52:31

I think his divorce not being on the agenda (for either of them, presumably) should be a massive red flag.

His children know he's living away from them. He and his wife have separated. Why, then, aren't they getting divorced? It sounds as though he gets a lot of aggravation from her and a day in the divorce court would mean that she has to agree to certain dates and times when he can have the children. It's not fair that he is being used by her like this, but he has the option of sorting it out and he's not taking it.

I don't think I'd stay with him in these circumstances, to be honest, no matter how much I liked him. I would want to be with someone who was free to be involved and with someone who didn't have to play stupid games with an ex. There are other men out there - why not put an end to this (it can only get a lot worse) and try to find someone who isn't in such a situation?

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 16-Sep-11 17:57:56

What you are feeling is normal and you're not going crazy.

It would seem that he's allowing her to use the dc to jerk his chain and
this is not beneficial for either him or, more importantly, his children.

A divorce can be speedily obtained but issues of maintenance and shared child care can take time to resolve. However, until he consults a solicitor, nothing is going to change and his dc will continue to suffer from the lack of stability in contact arrangements.

BTW, the fact that the one night you had tickets for a concert was seized upon by his (not yet) ex leads me to suspect that he told her of his/your plans.

Are you certain of his feelings for you? Could it be that he's using you as a 'fill-in' until he decides whether his split from his wife is permanent?

I would suggest you steer clear of the subject of divorce and talk to him about the necessity of formalising contact/shared care of his dc for their sake. If he is reluctant to seek legal advice in this matter, it will not bode well for your relationshiip with him and you should consider looking elsewhere for a man who is either 'sorted' or comes with less baggage.

Heedsgonnabust Fri 16-Sep-11 18:42:27

Wow. Thank you for your replies, that's been really helpful and good to know I'm not crazy!

I'm still not too sure what I'm going to do though. I will talk to him and ask him if there was a possibility of them arranging more concrete days where things like Tuesday aren't capable of happening, because when it does, it makes me feel pretty shitty. But I don't want to stress him out. He is getting a hard enough time off her he doesn't need me to add to it. But you're right, when he's putting all his efforts into his ex and her shite we can't have a proper relationship. I do really like him tho and I don't want it to end sad I just wish it was better.

I've read a really interesting article on baggagereclaim.co.uk about people in my situation being "buffers" so maybe you're right, maybe I am just a fill-in? I am 100% sure he would never go back to his ex tho, some of her behaviour has been pretty vile, e.g telling him his 2nd son isn't his, but there's still a part of me that thinks I'm probably just a rebound.. I don't want it to end tho, I just want him to consider me as a priority. Like I said, I don't mind being 2nd to his boys (if I wasn't he'd be a bit of a dick and I couldn't be with him) but I do need to be more important to him than his ex. Don't I!?

AnyFucker Fri 16-Sep-11 18:52:17

I think you should walk away

He is embroiled in shit city

You don't need this

Find someone with less baggage, or say to him I will see you in X number of years when you have sorrted your life out

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 16-Sep-11 18:56:42

Of course you need to feel that you are more important to him than his ex - but she isn't yet his ex in law and until such time as he decides to legally formalise his separation by petitioning for divorce and/or documenting contact arrangements with his dc, you are inevitably going to feel that you are playing second fiddle to her.

According to what you have said, he is approaching the first anniversary of his split with his wife and if he is not willing to move on to the next stage of ending his marriage, there can be no future in this relationship for you.

Please come back after you've talked to him - I, for one, am curious to know why he's allowed this situation to continue when it is clearly unsatisfactory for him and his dc.

Heedsgonnabust Sat 24-Sep-11 10:33:53

Okay, as requested by izzy here's an update...

Never got round to having a proper conversation but stupidly mentioned some stuff that had been on my mind when I was a bit drunk... P took it bad, got offended at the accusation he can't have a proper relationship with me whilst he's still pandering to her insane requests and I'm always going to be playing second fiddle. He was offended because he says he's doing what is best for his children so I can sort of see that but I still didn't apologise (which is very unlike me I'm always saying sorry). He also mentioned that he needs it to be flexible because quite often he needs to go away for work, meaning early starts and late finishes, so if they fell on the set days he had his children who would look after them/take them to school etc? So that also makes sense. Doesn't mean I'm particularly happy about the fact him and his ex need to be in constant contact (eg last night they were texting each other in front of me - rude and disrespectful if you ask me, especially seen as it wasn't even about the kids it was because she had done that thing teenage girls do "oops sorry ha ha that text wasn't meant for you". What a fucking bellend.) but I can sort of see what he means by need for flexibility.

Re the divorce - she's initiated it. So first step done so I need to mind my own business with that, it's nothing to do with me.

But most telling thing of all is last night when I was looking through a Christmas catalogue one of the shops had given me I innocently just went "oh what will I get your boys for Christmas?" he laughed and said "they don't even know you" so I said "yeah but they'll knows by Christmas won't they?" and he looked sheepish and said "it's only 2 months away".

So there you go, he has no intention of introducing me to his children and like you said I'm probably just a "fill in".

P.S he's just rang me to make sure I'm not still in his flat as he's on his way home with his children. I know that that would be an absolutely terrible way to meet them, but come on, how to make a girl feel good eh.

RabbitPie Sat 24-Sep-11 10:42:34

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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