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Should I stay or should I go?

(35 Posts)
BestestBrownies Fri 04-Oct-13 13:21:46

I have recently started dating a lovely new man after separating from my ex-husband almost a year ago. DP is also separated, but has an 8yo DS whom I have not met, although he has spoken of him a lot.

Just to be clear, neither of us broke up the other's marriage. We met after we had both separated from our respective spouses.

I am 36 and have no kids of my own. I'm not sure I even want to have any. Not because I don't like children. I work as a Nanny and love kids. I have no doubt that should the relationship become more serious, I would have no problem loving and step-parenting his son at all.

My issue is with his ex-wife. She is incredibly controlling, manipulative and just downright nasty. She uses her son as a means to hurt DP with little thought or care for how her actions and words will be affecting her own son both short and long term. DP feels he has no choice but to comply with her demands and whims for fear that she will prevent him from seeing his boy, whom he loves dearly.

So far, her behaviour has screwed up our plans and upset DP when we have been together several times, spoiling our time together. She doesn't know about me, so it's not intentionally timed, she is just like this with him constantly.

I like this man very much. He and I are on the same wavelength. He is everything my husband was not and although it's early days, I think we could be really good together and make one another very happy.

I know from reading these boards that there are plenty of other women in my position. Does it ever end happily ever after? Would you, if you could go back to the start of your relationship with DP, choose not to date a man with a pain-in-the-arse of an ex-wife and save yourself the heartache or was it all worth it in the end?

louby44 Fri 04-Oct-13 18:34:02

But in answer to your question, things can get better.

I met my DP nearly 6 years ago, he'd been separated a year and it was very bitter. We have 4 children between us.

Initially his ex wife and her then partner were very nasty to my DP. They would send awful texts/voicemails to him, which forced him to get his solicitor to send them both a letter asking them to stop. Which actually worked.

Ex wife was very controlling, visits were set in stone and if he was 5 minutes late she was on the phone wanting to know where her children were. It was all a bit over the top.

Things have improved greatly and they now get on much better. They speak and he's even been invited in for coffee on a few occasions.

So things can get better with the passage of time.

Beamur Fri 04-Oct-13 18:36:03

Without a crystal ball it's hard to say how it will work out.
How long as your DP been separated? Sounds like his ex wife is still hurting, although it is also fair to say that some exes (male and female) don't get beyond the vengeful stage.
They may over time work out a more amicable arrangement (they may not..) as kids aren't on your agenda, you've nothing to lose in giving this relationship some time to develop and see what happens.

Kaluki Fri 04-Oct-13 19:00:42

* DP feels he has no choice but to comply with her demands and whims for fear that she will prevent him from seeing his boy, whom he loves dearly. *
This is ringing alarm bells!
If he won't stand up to her now then he probably won't in future.
What else will he do to keep her and his son sweet? Is he a Disney dad? Do they both call the shots and make him do as he is told?
Have a good long look at the way he is with his son as well as his ex wife and it will tell you a lot about the future!
Bonsoir - marrying and having dc is rather an extreme way to go about it and as other threads on here have shown that doesn't always make a jot of difference to a bitter ex wife!!,

HisLommel Fri 04-Oct-13 19:07:49

I agree he needs to stand up to his ex. If he's worried she will stop contact he needs to see a solicitor. There's no way I could have lived a life pussyfooting around DFs exW. I am respectful of her (it's hard for her too and I understand that being an exW myself!) but she doesn't get to just chop and change - or at least she won't after the court hearing. If DF had insisted on not rocking the boat I probably would have had to leave.

heidiwine Fri 04-Oct-13 21:47:44

I have been with my DP for 6 years. We are pretty happy. However, his ex wife makes our life very difficult and although it's a bit better than it was it's still intolerable at times. That said, I've chosen DP, I'm a big part of his children's lives (despite what their mum thinks/says/does).
My advice to anyone embarking on dating someone with a difficult ex would be to encourage them to stand up for themselves from day one (I didn't). It might sound corny but by allowing DP to go along with her whims and be treated like shit was enabling him to become a doormat and not empowering him to stand up for himself. I wish I'd started off empowering him...
That's a very tricky spot for a new partner, it needs a certain type of confidence that (I think) I rare especially in a new relationship. My rules (which I try to pass onto DP)
- always strive to be a good person
- always put the children first (that means living your life as an example for them to follow)
- minimise conflict but don't avoid it
- don't get caught up in emotions, state the facts (and repeat them each time emotion is returned)

Being a step mum is the hardest thing I've ever done... I don't have my own children but can't imagine it being harder that being a step mum. It's definitely not going to be a good substitute for your own children.

I'm a bit tipsy so probably rambling but the one thing I'm absolutely sure of is that I'm better with my DP and he's better with me. If I ever doubted that I'd walk away... I also knew that very early on.

Good luck!

BestestBrownies Fri 04-Oct-13 22:30:39

Wow, thank you all for the replies! the thread seems to have taken on a life of it's own!

Just to clarify, my statement about the ex-wife being jealous etc of me meant that she would be jealous that her ex-husband has moved on and is happy without her, not of me personally. I can only imagine that once she does find out her controlling, unpredictable behaviour will only escalate. I think DP knows this too (he hasn't said anything, but every time they have an argument he becomes distant with me for a day or so, so that's my interpretation).

I am not DP's first GF since they split. They have been separated for over 2 years already and he's had his fair share wink. He is my first BF since my split though, and my first ever BF with an ex spouse and child, so I have no experience and no real idea of what to expect.

Although we have only been dating for a short time, we have been friends since February. The fact we have both been hurt and married previously means we have proceeded very slowly and gotten to know one another very well before starting a relationship. I'm trying to do things right relationship-wise this time wink

DP is not a Disney Dad at all. Prior to their split, he did the lion's share of child care and all the discipline. In fact, one of his bugbears is that the ex-wife will often call him and tell him to discipline their son over the phone when she can't get him to co-operate. All homework is left for his contact days because only DP can get his DS to do it. He worries that his son will start to see him as the 'bad cop' because he is the only parent who cares enough to provide any discipline. I am an experienced and very good Nanny, so we often discuss the behaviour of his son and my 6yo charge, and we are totally on the same page with regard to our parenting style.

When DP has asked for my opinion, I have stated that I think she must still love him and be hurting from the split. Either that or trying to punish him for it (he left her). He believes the latter.

I too think it's a case of DP needing to grow a pair and set clear boundaries/call her bluff, but he knows her best and he is absolutely certain that she will take his son away if she feels she is losing her power over DP.

I'm going to have to think long and hard on this aren't I?

The thing is, I just like him so much! I have liked him from the start of our friendship. We are similar in all the ways that matter and I fancy him so much. He would be very tough to give up now sad

Petal02 Sat 05-Oct-13 12:53:02

I don't think you need to give him up Brownie, just be aware that step parenting is no picnic!

elliebellys Sat 05-Oct-13 18:02:45

I dont think this is ex wife problem moreso ur dps.he needs to sort it out with his ex,not dither,whats their relationship like nd why the secrecy bout your relationship?

Kaluki Sat 05-Oct-13 20:00:53

Don't give him up.
Just keep your eyes wide open and be prepared for a lot of shit to be thrown at you when she finds out about you.
The most important thing is that you and DP are a united front, she won't be able to cause as much trouble if you two are solid.

HisLommel Sat 05-Oct-13 21:16:42

I thought DFs ex wife would "go mad" when she found out about me. She didn't. She did stalk me and use my struggle with depression as a reason for DF not having unsupervised contact with his sons.

Go with your gut. It's not easy but what is? If he's the right man for you, you'll get through it and be stronger for it smile

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