Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Feeling insecure - would this bother you or is it just me? (ExW related)(35 Posts)
DP and I are having a few rows as of late. I think a lot of it is about my own insecurities rather than what he's doing. He has an ex wife, separated 3 years and official divorce came through 2 and a half years ago. I'm not the OW, we met shortly after they separated but didn't get together until a while after the divorce came through. They have a DD together who he sees often and I've always liked the fact that for the most part they have a very amicable relationship. However lately she will text him asking him to do something for her and if he doesn't reply immediately she will bombard him with texts and then say their DD needs to talk to him until he phones her and then of course DD doesn't want to talk anymore and has just run off. Last week she asked him to help move something for her twice. The first time I was okay with, he did it on a time he was picking up / dropping off his DD and didn't need to go out of his way. The second time though she insisted it had to be done that day. I'd actually wanted to spend time together as it'd been a stressful week and I thought it'd be nice for us to do something together. He didn't ask me if I'd had plans just assumed it would be fine and off he went on a one hour return trip plus about one hour moving this thing. He injured himself in the process which then meant our plans for the next day got scrapped.
On an unrelated (but in my mind interlinked) issue, whenever we try and discuss the future of our relationship it feels like it falls on deaf ears. It feels like I can't even talk about the future yet here is somebody who he married, had a child with and is still running around after. I don't know if it's just my own insecurities. Re the ex wife he says he wants to have a good relationship with her for the sake of their daughter but also that he really struggles saying no especially when in his mind there's no real reason to say no. Would this bother you or is it just my insecurities?
Do you have children yourself? From the sounds of it you don't. He's probably wracked with guilt, that he doesn't have total contact with his daughter & will do anything for her. He's only been separated 3 years, so probably raw. What were the circumstances of the break up? At the end of the day, his ex is being slightly OTT however, he has chosen to be with you, so don't lose sight of that.
No I don't have DC Naze I'd love to but it's still early days for DP and I. Long story re break up and I don't pretend to know it all as obviously I only have one side. There was lots of emotional abuse from her to him. He suggested counselling to try and work things out but she refused to go and he said that was the last straw.
I think he needs to sit down with his ex and tell her that he's there for his dd 100% but he can't be at her beck and call. The more he keeps doing for her the more she will want.
Reading that back I feel like a jerk. My ex was emotionally abusive too and I know it's really difficult to deal with. It's hard to remember that sometimes and I guess there's still the residual feelings left over from the relationship which is really hard to break out of especially when you really need a good relationship for the sake of the DC.
Chocolate he doesn't see the issue. I know he has issues saying no and he said he feels backed into a corner and doesn't know how to deal with it :/
I think you need to put in some boundaries and not let you partner be at the beck and call of ex. They are now separated, so she shouldn't't expect him to go and help her at the drop of the house, especially an hour's journey away. Next time she is insistent, I think you need to be firmer, or go with dh. Put up a united front. Is there a reason why you couldn't't have gone?
He is the only one that can change it. Talk to him calmly and explain how it makes you feel. It's good that he wants to have an amicable relationship with her but she's using her dd to get what she wants.
What about if he can find a way not to say no, but involve you in when?
It is not unreasonable for him to agree to move something, for example, and fit it in with a pick up as he did. It is more unreasonable to drop everything with no reference to your plans as a couple and prioritise exW's request over yours.
It does get more difficult if it's something directly for his DD but then again it won't do her any harm to learn that not everything can be instant.
I wouldn't recommend him just saying 'yes I'll do it but not instantly'. He more needs to say he'll work out a time when he can do it and tell her when that will be relatively quickly once he has spoken with you. If he can say something like 'it shouldn't be a problem and I'll let you know when I can do it by tomorrow morning' that might work.
There's no reason why I couldn't have gone but then I think I would've found it odd especially as I couldn't be of any help at all. I don't think involving me in terms of actually going would've crossed either of our minds tbh. He's asked why I feel he needs boundaries but I'm not sure I can explain it other than it makes me feel really uncomfortable. He also said does it mean because she's his ex wife he should say no all the time. Part of me wants to say yes because that's how I feel because if he gives a little she thinks she can just push it a but more and he'll give a lot more but at the same time I feel like I'd be unreasonable to say he should say no all the time. Can anyone perhaps help me word it as to why they need boundaries other than just because she's his ex? I've said before I could understand it much more if it was for his DD but this didn't benefit his DD at all.
I would explain it in a way that you are concerned for him, rather than you being uncomfortable.
Wait for the next thing to come up and then remind him how the last time he was manipulated into calling and then doing her favours on the guise of his DD daughter wanted to speak to him.
If he's been the victim of this behaviour in the marriage, hopefully he'll start to see that just because he's out of it doesn't mean she's duddenly stopped that. Difference is that now he can put his own boundaries in place rather than accept the manipulation any more.
I'd guess he probably feels guilty and like he can't say no. And now he's got ex and you both organising his time for him - no wonder he won't make future commitments. I don't think you're going to get what you want from this guy.
I'm not trying to organise his time Summer I'd just like to have some discussion and for my plans and thoughts to actually be taken into consideration!
The second time though she insisted it had to be done that day. I'd actually wanted to spend time together as it'd been a stressful week and I thought it'd be nice for us to do something together. He didn't ask me if I'd had plans just assumed it would be fine
it was that section of your OP that gave me the idea that you were arranging his time too. I don't blame you for trying to get organised, sounds like he's still running around after his ex and is not assertive enough to either say no to her, or to make proper plans with either of you. I really doubt he's going to change.
It wasn't intentional but perhaps that's how he sees it? I just genuinely wanted to spend time with him. If I'm planning on doing something I normally discuss it with him to make sure he didn't have plans that could be affected so I guess I just assumed it'd work both ways.
A nice open conversation about trying to make your relationship as good as it can be and you being worried and not wanting to inadvertently push any buttons which had been activated by his previous relationship is the only way forward.
We can only guess how he might be feeling.
It may be much of her manipulation isnt even registering as remember he's been conditioned to this over many years so her manipulation is natural to him, even if it's obvious to everyone else she's manipulating him still.
Too much focus on the first issue - though all the replies on it are valid and helpful.
But not being able to talk about the future? Sounds like you've been together 2 years from what you describe? If you can't openly talk about the future after 2 years, walk.
He can't say no?
Bet he can to you.
Seems to say no to talking about your relationship.
After two years I'd expect a man to be able to say to me "yes, I really see a future here", and definitely be able to talk about it.
The XW is an issue - but I'd sort out the second issue before deciding whether the first is still your problem!
Joysmum I think that sounds like the best approach.
Cabrinha no we've not been together that long - just under a year. Sorry I should've explained that in my original post. We almost got together shortly after we met but neither of us were in the right place for a relationship and then it became a case of we were such good friends neither of us wanted to rock that by getting together. So actually we've been together a relatively short amount of time. Perhaps I need to remind myself that just because the feelings were there we didn't act on them and so actually it's not really been that long. I do think though we need an open and honest conversation about where things are heading. He's alluded to the fact he'd want to get married and we've discussed buying a house together but if I actually try and sit down and discuss things he just seems to close up and not really talk about it.
My last post seems really contradictory. I mean we discussed a few weeks ago about us both getting help to buy isas and how if we saved like crazy we could afford a house together relatively quickly which I suppose is about the future really but nothing in detail really and I'd really like us to discuss actually getting married as that's really important to me. I think this evening we're going to try and sit down and have a proper conversation.
The guy has relatively speaking just finalised one marriage I'm not surprised hes not in a big rush to discuss the next one. If marriage is what you want, this isn't the guy OP, I can tell you without any discussion with him at all, a huge commitment he made fell through and that takes time to recover and learn from , before leaping into it again.
What Slowdecrease said is spot on. As a guy who split from his wife, I know we're all different but, it was around 4 years before I could comprehend a serious relationship. He just doesn't sound ready to me
Thank you all. We had a chat last night and I think it went quite well. He realises it's his issue and not just mine re the ex wife and that he "needs to stop being a doormat" - his words not mine. He said he wants to work on that but obviously I'm not expecting anything to change immediately. I respect the fact he's trying and I do know it's not easy to just step back from emotionally abusive and manipulative behaviour. After discussing it quite a lot he respects the fact it's not about me trying to dictate his time but about us being a partnership and discussing our lives and plans together.
Re the future, he said he finds it difficult talking about it because I'm not as open as I think and what I say and what I feel seem to be two different things. I can understand that. In all honesty I think sometimes thinking about the future is just as scary for me as it is for him and I do think sometimes I'm sending out mixed messages. I was engaged before to somebody very similar to his ex wife. My ex did actually get as far as independent counselling but not couples counselling and it was at that point I realised he was never going to change. I think in all of this I'm reminded that it could've just as easily been me who has the ex husband and a child and so in a lot of ways I do appreciate things are difficult for him.
We've noticed lately we don't spend as much quality time together. We see each other a lot but don't seem to make the most of that time and so we've said we're going to make a conscious effort to spend proper alone time together 2 days / nights a week. I think in my mind I need to give it 6 months or so of us consciously making the effort and talking more etc and then reassess how things are then and if we're still not more open about the future then I need to seriously reconsider what this actually means to each of us.
Wow, what a fantastic update. Hopefully this marks the point where things develop into a closer relationship for you both, especially as you recognise it won't be easy.
Best of luck for your future
Hi. Thanks for your post it has given me food for thought. I suppose I am in a similar position to your man but for a couple of differences. I was married to an emotionally abusive woman. She was not overtly abusive, she was very covertly manipulative. I my case she left me and i am single parent to a 1 and 4 year old. We still talk most days and I do find my self doing little things for her. Maybe it's still a way she keeps a certain level of control over me plus the man she left me and the kids for is a bit of a waist of space (not being bitter he truly he is lazy, self centred and does nothing for her). I too what to keep a good relationship with her for the kids and some how she keeps me feeling sorry for her. Although I can't wait for the divorce to be completed and I want nothing romantic from her it feels like we will always be somehow bonded through a common history and the kids. I am not in a relationship but it has made me see potential pitfalls for if I ever find the time for one.
So yes I can know how hard to detach from this sort of manipulative woman. Especially in his case where she has the children.
Also if he's anything like me his former relationship will have put massive amounts of doubt in the future of any future relationship. Plus after previously falling in love with such an emotionally abusive woman really makes you question deep down ability to choose a partner wisely. For me I didn't realise the level of emotional abuse and lies till well after we seperated. So I am sure the previous relationship will have an impact on his willingness to comit.
I think such a relationship leaves alot of wounds that are hard to heal. Plus it sounds like the ex is still trying to exert a certain level of control over him. I think the best thing you can do is keep being open and talking to each other. Hopefully with time you can find away to make things work better and move forward in your relationship. Thanks you, your post has helped me see my own issues with my ex wife.
Good luck to the both of you.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.