Coparent has new GF - help!(13 Posts)
Ok I'll try to keep this as succinct as possible. Sooo glad I found this forum, really hope it's busy.
My daughter just turned five, and her dad and I have been separated for four years. We have always had 50 50 custody, arranged mutually, nothing legal.
I left him, and for a long time he was lost. because we have 50 50 parenting, we obviously communicate a lot and always have done. We haven't always got on, and her dad bullied me for, well, since I left him. Four months ago he got a GF, his first serious one since we split. A month later he announced they were moving in together, and a month after that they did.
Now, this woman (I hope!) is the best thing to happen to me since my daughter was born. However, being that we co-paent 50/50, my daughter's dad and I have a very different relationship to the one she has with her son's dad, who has him overnight on a friday.
She basically doesn't want DD's father and I communicating. She thinks it's unneccessary, but my parenting ethos is that it's bloody essential. She seems to be involved in some kind of power struggle with me that I really don't want.
I'm on here tonight because I rang DD's dad to tell him there was a riot 20ft from my house. She's angry, and says that I shouldn't 'expect him to be there' at the drop of a hat (?) I was imply informing him, in my book that's what co parents do. She went off on one about me asking him to move a chair (I got it wedged on the stairs and asked him to move it when he came to pick DD last week) and asking him when he's due a mobile phone upgrade (he gives me his old mobiles when he upgrades - or did).
I suppose in an effort to be succint there are two mains points here
1) I cannot effectively coparent 50 50 with him if she thinks that him having a cup of tea here when he drops off/picks up equates to 'playing happy families'
2) I have lived the last four years being told how worthless and awful and substandard and whorish and stupid and evil and pathetic and childish I am. Four months ago, when I suggested introducing my BF (who I've been with a year) to DD, he said a) I had to have BF CRB checked and b) I was never to introduce 'any of my men' to DD anyway. This on it's own is bad enough, but a month later he moved in with a woman I hadn't met. So the pendulum, you could say, has swung from one extreme to the other, very, very quickly.
I'm ready to accept that he no longer wants the coparenting relationship we always had before. I really, REALLY do not want a power struggle with this woman, who I have tried SO HARD to like.
I prob have left out huge chunks or waffled. I just really, really need some advice because my instincts are screaming and this si too big to c**k up. I need as many perspectives as possible and any advice you can offer. Thank you.
yes, i am guessing that your relationship with ex sounds, on the face of it, like it goes a bit beyond co-parenting... not sure though how you know she was annoyed? do you speak to her? (if so, maybe stop) or does ex relay this to you (in which case in may not be 100% accurate...)
asking your ex to move a chair from under the stairs when you have a partner (or even if you didnt...) is a bit off in my opinion and may look like to his new partner that you are the one instigating the power struggle...
I think you should accept that things between you and your ex are going to change.
The examples you gave here of things that annoy the GF - I have to tell you, I can totally understand why she'd be annoyed. I would be, in her shoes.
I don't mean to be critical of the relationship you have had with your ex - there is no one 'right way' to have a family, and if the structure you and your ex have come up with worked for everyone involved, that would be great.
The thing is, I wonder from your post if it IS working. You say he bullies you and yet you seem dependent on him. That can't be easy, or nice for you. And you are both entitled to have new relationships, and to have space to make those work.
If I were you, I would try very hard to embrace the change. It was bound to happen some time, and like you say - this woman could be a very good thing for you. Accept that you are going to have to rely less on your ex, and give him and her the space to start a relationship. Enlist her as an ally, not an enemy. Understand that now someone else will probably get his retired mobile phones, his help around the house, and his time. I have no doubt that it will be very hard, because it sounds like a big shift from how things have been and you will be giving things up. But the main thing is to keep the solid parenting partnership. To do that, I think you will need this woman's support.
Maybe you and your ex could sit down with the GF and talk about it all?
I think Lateatwork and Brdgrl have given you some excellent advice.
My husbands ex refuses to co-parent in any shape or form, and this has made life VERY difficult at times. Even now, any arrangements/communications come via DSS, and teenage boys are not always the best at passing on messages. DH has wanted to discuss A levels etc with the ex, but she wont engage.
However . Whilst I think a level of co-parenting is essential, I think youve got too used to having your ex at your beck and call, and youll have to accept that things are going to be different now that hes in a relationship.
OK, if theres a riot 20ft from your home, whats your ex supposed to do about it, assuming hes not a policeman or a soldier, and from his new girlfriends point of view, it probably felt like unnecessary communication.
And if he bullies you, I cant understand why its him you call if you need furniture moving. So again, I can see why the girlfriend got annoyed. It does sound, like Lateatwork suggested, that your relationship with your ex does go slightly beyond the boundaries of co-parenting, and you sound quite dependent on him.
You need to keep this woman on side, I think you should do your best to accept that life has changed. There are parts of your post that make me suspect you still want some element of control over your ex, do you think this is correct?
Well I can guess the sort of responses that would have been posted on the AIBU board ............ !!!
If I was in her shoes - or even your shoes to be honest, I would ask what the heck your ex is doing in this situation is as tbh he's sounding like a coward.
If there was a problem with your relationship then it really should be him who is asking you to back off, rather than his new girlfriend. I would suggest that he likes the fact that you allow yourself to be dependent on him in a number ways as it allows him to still exert some control.
This way, he still has you dependent. He has his new gf fighting for him (god knows what he's saying about you to her, but I'm guessing its not going to be nice) and it probably gives him a nice sense of power.
None of the things you listed were things to do with your DD or parenting your DD. They were all examples of you looking for support for you. That is why she's been annoyed.
Some straight advice?
1. Keep all communications between you and him about DD and DD only. That way its about you co-parenting and she can't argue with that.
2. When you go to call him ask yourself "Do I really need his help?". For example, was he really the only one who could have moved that chair? Do you really need his cast-off mobile phones?
3. Start looking for friendships outside. Think of friends you could call when you are scared when there's a riot going on.
This man isn't your friend. By your own description, he's a nasty bully who you have a daughter with. Keep your relationship with him about your DD and only your DD and you will find that the problems with his new gf will dry up.
What struck me was that none of your examples were anything to do with co-parenting. I can see why a new partner would find it odd and not be too keen on the dependency you seem to be exhibiting on your ex. Like others, I can't understand why you're so keen to rely on him for non-parenting matters if he bullies you.
I think if you keep the communications to parenting matters only, then she would have no valid reason to have an issue with that.
Co-parenting is one thing, but being reliant emotionally and practically on your ex is another thing altogether.
I too can see when his girlfriend is coming from. A respectful distance is the ideal way to keep your co-parenting relationship.
Same thoughts from me. I used to get Dh's ex's mother calling assuming that he would be going round there to decorate, they would call at all hours for all sorts of reasons and frankly it drove me nuts. You are not a couple. You are by your own admission not friends and you have absolutely no reason to expect phones, domestic assistance or emotional support in any capacity from him anymore. You sound like his bullying may have left you still feeling bonded too him and for your own sake you must break this tie. If she thinks he is so great let her deal with his crap but why exactly if you are not his partner any more and he is so awful do you feel the need to rely on him for so many things?
I think babyheave's advice is excellent.
I have a very good relationship with my DP's ex, and would say that we are friends. We talk about things that are not about the DSSs, we chat and have cups of tea etc. However, if she started asking DP to help her out around the house every time he picked DSSs up, I would think it a bit odd - and I really like her! She has someone else to do those things - her partner.
So, I agree, stick to things that really are co-PARENTING, not asking for assistance.
Re. the phone call about the riots - what did you want ex DH to do? I actually think that was rather an unfair phone call to make. He could do nothing about it, other than worry that his daughter was there with you. That kind of call doesn't need to be made. My advice would be next time you're going to make an "for information" call, think does your ex really NEED to know that info? And what is your intention in calling?
Oh yes, re. your partner - I would just get on with what you feel is right in relation to introducing him to your DD. It sounds as though you are allowing your ex partner to control you. As you also mention bullying from him, I also agree with other posters who've said try to break this cycle... Relying on him for moving chairs is all part of the cycle of dependence that needs to break, IMO.
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