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Am a little stunned at this perspective

(25 Posts)
TooSassy Mon 30-Nov-15 20:43:51

I was seeing some friends this weekend. One of them is dating a guy (separated from his wife, waiting for the two years to get divorced). This person has a DC with his STBXW.

I asked how it was going and she proceeded to go off on a rant. (She has been seeing him about 7/8 months).

1) That she hasn't met his DC. And that it is his controlling ex that isn't allowing it.
2) That she hardly sees him as a result because he is with his daughter on most weekends.
3) That quite selfishly she is looking forward to having a child in her life (since she hasn't had one herself).
4) That the mother needs to relax and just 'get over it and get a life'. She commented that the woman has just put her life on hold for the child and it is unhealthy.
5) she is starting to demand that introductions are made and that 'he put his foot down'

We've been good friends for years but I was a little like this shock at the end of it.

I know there are two sides to every story and I absolutely made sure my hackles didn't rise (primarily because I am a divorcing mum too). But this perspective absolutely floored me.

Is this perspective a reality shared by many women who take up with a divorced man with children? Because who thinks they have the right to judge and make demands in this way?????

Opinions welcomed. This is a world I will have to navigate eventually.

ivykaty44 Mon 30-Nov-15 20:48:05

Well I would be worried if my ex told me who I could and couldn't see when I was with my dc - tbh it is nothing to do with my ex unless I was harming the dc in some was. That to me would be the sign of a controlling ex who needed to get a life

offside Mon 30-Nov-15 20:52:35

I don't think it's about his ex telling him who he can and can't see when he is with his DC, but rather introducing a new woman into the mix when they are newly separated and having them play house when their emotions must already be all over the place.

If myself and my DP broke up, I would also be calling the shots on whether it was appropriate to introduce a new girlfriend at such an early stage, as I am 100% sure he would do with me too, and he would have every right too.

Hopefully it isn't the perspective of the majority, but I suspect some childless women and men might be inclined to think this way unfortunately.

niceupthedance Mon 30-Nov-15 20:55:19

I think 1 and 2 are reasonable.

Like ivy says, they are separated so the ex can't really demand they don't meet other people in the STBX's life, unless they are a risk to the child.

My son's dad I should think is capable of judging who is a suitable person to introduce to our son, I'd be happy if he met someone who cared about him and our DS. But I am not emotionally invested in a relationship with my son's father.

Dungandbother Mon 30-Nov-15 20:57:52

Oh, she must be the OW my stbxh left me for. grin

She needs to grow up and learn about how separation causes intense pain to so many people, and no matter what she thinks, they are not her children. If she wants a harmonious relationship with them in the future, she's not going back about it very well.

Putting her foot down? Who's the child throwing toys out the pram? Selfish, utterly self centred behaviour.

Dungandbother Mon 30-Nov-15 20:59:39

Stray back in there somehow.

The man is behaving responsibly here and being a great father. A man who makes this sacrifice for his children deserves a lot better than her.

wannaBe Mon 30-Nov-15 21:01:20

After eight months I would be questioning why I had not yet been introduced to the dc. Not necessarily as a permanent fixture, however the longer a relationship carries on and the more serious you become, the more important it is to bring dc into the mix IMO. If you wait for e.g. a year and it turns out you're not cut out for the world of step parenting or even being in a relationship with someone with children then that's a long time to have invested in a relationship which never had any future. So if after eight months there was no hint of introducing the dc then I would be questioning where, if anywhere, the relationship was going.

Wrt the ex, if he is unable to stand up to her and is still under her control at this point I would count this as a red flag for the future of my relationship. If they're not together then no, the ex has no right to dictate who he introduces his children to.

Lweji Mon 30-Nov-15 21:03:18

Is she sure he's divorcing and not just spending time with his real family?

I'd probably dump anyone who put their foot down and insisted they met my ds, regardless of what I thought was appropriate.

wannaBe Mon 30-Nov-15 21:07:15

I agree that I wouldn't be giving in to demands, however I wouldn't consider a conversation about when any kind of introductions might happen to be wrong either.

It's all about the delivery. Plus if the man is saying that his ex is the controlling one who is preventing him from introducing the dc then the op's friend either has a tough time ahead with a potentially controlling/bitter ex in the mix, or she has a disingenuous partner who is using his ex as a get-out for not wanting to introduce his dc but being too gutless to admit he doesn't want to yet. Either way it's not a good sign.

Dungandbother Mon 30-Nov-15 21:09:55

Let's think about the child please!!!

We don't know the cause for the break up. Waiting two years seems a strange situation tho. If it's amicable, then just file the papers. So I guess the split is far from amicable.

The child could really be suffering. Clearly mum and dad are dealing with the child in a sensible manner.

Cabrinha Mon 30-Nov-15 21:15:48

Tbh I think a lot of that is a frustrated friend sounding off. I don't think anything she has said is that bad.

1. If the two of them are in a committed relationship and see a future together, my personal opinion is that - depending on child's emotions and opinions - 7/8 months is fine for an introduction. If my XH had tried to tell me not to introduce then, I'd have told him to do one.

2. With the daughter most weekends? I smell a rat. Is he definitely separated? If he does have the girl most weekends (work patterns?) then I can understand her frustration that no introduction has a particular big impact on them seeing each other.

3. Meh. I was with a guy with a son my daughter's age for 18 months. I really loved little "family" outings, as it was only due to my XH being a cheating arsehole that led to me having an only child. I liked his son, I liked us having two kids. Doesn't have to come from a bad place that she'd like to be involved. (yes she has to earn her place - but surely better she likes the idea of a SC, even if she is probably romanticising it?!)

4. She needs to stop believing the pack of lies fed by the boyfriend, I expect! But still, I'd forgive a friend a bit of a ranting session from frustration.

5. I don't things she necessarily wrong to demand an introduction. Again, the mouthing off is probably frustration. But if someone came on here and said their BF of 8 months wouldn't introduce his child because his ex refused, I think plenty of people would say that was a bit of a red flag. Possibly about his commitment to her, possibly about his ability to manage the coparenting / separated situation. If my BF said "honey, I'd love for you to meet her, but she's really sensitive about the split and is struggling right now, so I want to leave it", then fair enough. If he just says "I want to but XW says no and I'm too scared to discuss it with her" then actually plenty on here would say "walk away until his life has moved on".

So in short... Yeah, I see a potential different perspective. A frustrated woman who rarely sees her boyfriend because he can't sort things out with his ex, sounding off in a safe space with friends.

I suspect the XW isn't the heart of this - it's his level of commitment to her. Hopefully she will insist on the meeting the child, he'll say no, and she'll force herself to move on to someone who is actually ready to date.

Could be wrong! But it's another perspective.

AuntieStella Mon 30-Nov-15 21:16:29

He'll know she can't actually prevent him introducing whoever he likes, whenever he likes.

So my guess is that it's easier to blame the ex than it is to tell the GF that actually he's not sure enough of her to introduce the DC. I'm coming at it from a somewhat different angle than wannaBe, but the underlying point is the same - it's a warning sign.

Cabrinha Mon 30-Nov-15 21:20:21

I don't think it's that unusual not to file and wait for the 2 years separation. Maybe even moreso where it's amicable as we have a stupid system of having to use unreasonable behaviour and place blame.

I wouldn't see the delay as a sign it wasn't amicable - the opposite, I fact!

I'd want a damn good show of separation and moving on though - separate houses, established contact patterns, finances separated and asset split agreed if not enacted yet.

Cabrinha Mon 30-Nov-15 21:26:05

Age of kids and how newly separated they are makes a difference, as well as personality.

Even if they met v soon afterwards, 8 months is forever to my 6yo. By 6 months after us separating, she'd met both our new boy/girlfriends, both met after the on-the-surface amicable split.

2 years after that, no ill effects, my child is a naturally happy go lucky, adaptable and curious type.

Father is still with GF.
I've changed BF - my child knew I had a new BF, nearly a year after the last one, and giggled and asked why couldn't she meet him?

All kids are different. It doesn't sound (?) like your friend's BF is giving her the reasonable explanation that it's not right for the CHILD.

TooSassy Mon 30-Nov-15 21:51:27

Thanks for all the replies and perspectives.

I agree with the comments about frustrating and venting. Like I said I had to have a mental word with myself to not picture myself as his ex when reacting. So I listened and tried to give her some constructive advice.

Listen I am in total agreement regarding permissions of intro. I would tell my STBXH to take a flying jump if he thought he could dictate who my children met when they were with me. I feel the same in reverse. I have to trust that as their parent, he wouldn't put them in harms way.

But if anyone demanded to meet my DS's, then that in itself would become a problem for me. Only I know the dynamics / emotions of my children and I would always do what is best for them. If someone new couldn't understand that then I'd worry about that lack of understanding.

It was just hearing the view from someone in a totally different position. It sort of shocked me.

SoupDragon Mon 30-Nov-15 22:04:21

It's intersting how it is always the bitter Ex who is demanding that the new girlfriend doesn't meet the child(ren)

No. 4 On your list of rants shows that your friend is complete idiot though.

NotNowBono Mon 30-Nov-15 22:13:19

the trouble is, though, that most of this is at least third hand info - the friend's version of the DP's version of the ExW's version. 'She's put her life on hold for the kids' sounds a lot like 'Sarah totally let herself go after Tarquin was born, went off sex, didn't want to go back to work, naturally my eye started to wander, a man has needs...' etc, which is not the same as 'I took a career sabbatical to spend time with my children in their early years'.

Suddenlyseymour Tue 01-Dec-15 09:58:14

Just to back up a pp, waiting 2 years is often a sign of an amicable break up - in my case i just didn't feel the need to file in under 2 years as then it is that you have to go down an unpleasant route. In fact i still haven't got round to it....separate houses, finances and contact schedule all set up though

Sighing Tue 01-Dec-15 10:13:42

It was almost 2 years for me becsuse my exH dragged the process out as much as possible and generally was completely obstructive (despite wanting a divorce). My bias is that he's spinning one hell of a yarn. But that's based on what I've learned my ex told anyone who would listen.

7/8 months seems a bit soon to be rushing in for contact though/ making demands. Perhaps HE isn't as invested? There's nothing wrong with a man wanting to 'test' relationshipS for a while whilst getting used to a new basis for his relationship with his dc. If my ex had done that I'd have been delighted but shocked, he might find they have more time/ interest for his (serious this time) partner.

Lelania Thu 03-Dec-15 02:02:15

Being in a relationship with someone who already has children is really difficult sometimes. You are expected to put up with a lot of things you never thought that you would have an expressing frustration about it leads to people judging you, like you have your judged your friend.

Although I don't think that it's right to demand to meet someone's children can you imagine being in love with someone who was keeping such a large part of their life separate from you? It sounds like she is fully invested in the relationship and she isn't. I feel sorry for her. Especially as she can't even go to her friends for support.

Garlick Thu 03-Dec-15 02:34:12

The mother needs to relax and just 'get over it and get a life'. She commented that the woman has just put her life on hold for the child and it is unhealthy.

Oh dear grin She really, really doesn't get it, does she?

I think I see why the boyfriend's dragging his feet on the introductions.

TooSassy Thu 03-Dec-15 06:23:18


She got plenty of support. I have enough brain power to know that my reaction was partially as a result of my personal situation. So I ensured my reaction wasn't based on the world of me.
And yes a part of me judged. Just like a part of me judged when another friend came to me about having a connection with a married man (and thinking about having an affair) I was horrified. But again I listened.

So she got support. Re judging? Welcome to the world. It's what we're programmed to do. Judge. Every single one of us does so unknowingly every single day without even talking to people.

So meh. I have every right to judge and then ponder on my reaction to then ask if I'm totally off on said reaction. Because that's how I become a better person. And I welcome every single perspective on here. It's why I asked. smile

Lelania Thu 03-Dec-15 12:19:59

Regarding judgement:

Your OP says

Is this perspective a reality shared by many women who take up with a divorced man with children? Because who thinks they have the right to judge and make demands in this way?????

Which is a bit at odds with

^Re judging? Welcome to the world. It's what we're programmed to do. Judge. Every single one of us does so unknowingly every single day without even talking to people.
So meh. I have every right to judge^

You have every right to judge but she doesn't?

And I don't think comparing her with someone who is planning to have an affair is particularly fair.

OnADarkDesertHighway Thu 03-Dec-15 18:27:47

Your friend and her DP have differing views on her involvement with his kids. She should not be demanding 'he puts his foot down' cos it ain't her decision to make.

It is down to the DP and his ex when your friend meets the kids. She will not do herself any favours by making demands in this way.

Your friend is either in a bad relationship with a DP who does not want her to meet his kids or she has a selfish perspective and is not putting his kids first.

My DP is divorced with kids and twas a while before I met them. The decision was my DP's and his kids to make and I never considered it to be my decision to make or a decision I should try and influence.

Cabrinha Thu 03-Dec-15 18:45:15

I think the OP's friend is getting a lit of stick for the phrase "putting her foot down". It's just a phrase! She was sounding off among friends.

And it does sound like the issue she's "putting her foot down" over is not "
"I want to meet your kids wherever you say" but "I want you to decide when I meet them not be dictated to by your XW".

There's a lot to be said for putting your foot down over your partner not standing up to an XH - that way madness lies!

All that said, my gut tells me her boyfriend is lazily using the XW as a cover because he's not bothered about this friend.

You don't know if you'll love someone forever at 8 months, but it's enough time to know if it's a long term serious prospect.

So putting her foot down could also smoke out that he's not as bothered about her as she is him - better to know.

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