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Insecure over the ex?

(15 Posts)
HesNotAMessiah Sat 06-Feb-16 22:51:20

just wondering if the 'essential' contact with your DP's ex over the DSC ever gets to the point where you think the Ex is still stuck in a relationship with DP?

Or some kind of emotional dependency, mutual or otherwise, out of some sense of obligation disguised as shared childcare?

Happy to accept I'm being paranoid, just getting uneasy about the texts and phone calls and the 'I can't stop them' response....

Wibhay Sun 07-Feb-16 18:52:54

Been there done that. Texts would come through at 11pm reminding dp of a footbal match or party that was happening in 2 weeks time! Yet if I ever brought it up that I thought it was slightly unreasonable I was the bad guy

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 07-Feb-16 20:43:26

Yep. The 'essential' relationship is often (not always!) A cover up for not moving on and creating boundaries. I think we humans find moving on hard, particularly if there is no vested interest in doing so.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 07-Feb-16 20:46:13

P.s. my DPs Ex is definitely still stuck feeling that he's still her husband! DP of course can't see it. They never do.wink

Scoopmuckdizzy Sun 07-Feb-16 20:57:55

I've been there. It took years for DH to realise what was happening. It got very bad for a while.

There's a great article called male emotional adultery - DH read it and it was like a light flicked on with him. I found his ex's behaviour annoying but DH annoyed me the most as he enabled it. When he introduced clearer boundaries the situation improved, it's been slow but it's much much better now. Their relationship is still amicable but she's not calling at every hour for random reasons. Also helps that SDC are in their teens now and able to communicate with their father for themselves. For years DH went along with his ex as he was so worried that she'd cut contact (as she threatened to often).

PrettyBrightFireflies Sun 07-Feb-16 22:22:24

Given that DHs ex cheated, I'd assumed she no longer needed him as an emotional support - how wrong I was!

Many of the dramas and hassles we've experienced can be attributed to her inability to move on - which was evidenced during one of the several periods where she was withholding contact between DH and his DCs - and trying to prevent it through court - yet, she phoned him in tears, sobbing, when the cat that she'd bought the DCs several years after their split go run over. hmm

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 08-Feb-16 01:22:26

Wow Scoop & Pretty - that sounds tough. Witholding contact between DH and his DCs is shocking. At least we never had that, mostly she wanted DP to have the kids all the time. But she always puts him down to the kids, and I thought that they were above that, but over the years I've seen them one by one treat DP like their mother treats him - a taxi/cash withdrawal/fixer but no compassion at all.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 08-Feb-16 01:32:19

OP I definitely see the obligation side - DP was made to feel obligated for so much - the first Xmas I had with him she demanded that he set up her TV called him late and got him to stay the whole of the night before Xmas Day! They had been separated for 5 years!

PrettyBrightFireflies Mon 08-Feb-16 08:13:02

But she always puts him down to the kids, and I thought that they were above that, but over the years I've seen them one by one treat DP like their mother treats him - a taxi/cash withdrawal/fixer but no compassion at all

If you consider that from the DCs perspective it may be easier to accept - if they treat their father differently to the way their mum treats him, they are admitting that their mum is wrong. That's a big step for even adult children. One day, they may be ready to take that step.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 08-Feb-16 17:19:23

Pretty that is a good way of looking at it. They do complain about their mum too, quite a lot! And she had enough of one daughter, found her too difficult, and sent her to us for 6 years. But that daughter is probably the most loyal to her mum and the most uncaring now. She's back with her mum, who still doens't like her around too much, however she'd never treat her mum the way that she treats her Dad.

I think I just find it hard seeing so closely how my step children have grown, close enough to care about what kind of people they turned into. And now most of them are either young adults or late teens, and they seem to be becoming more ruthless than I expected or hoped they would be.

PrettyBrightFireflies Mon 08-Feb-16 19:59:19

bananas I am often criticised for my advice to Stepmums to emotionally detach from their DSC, but it is for exactly the reasons you describe.

By emotionally investing in DSC we become hurt, upset, disappointed and even frustrated at the people they sometimes become. Yet, in reality, we rarely play a part in that. Whether you believe in nature or nurture, it is the case that stepparents make no genetic contribution to their DSC, and while many stepparents may play a supporting role in their DCs upbringing, we rarely do enough to counteract the parental guidance.

So why do we care so much if they become adults we don't like very much? Why do we feel ashamed when they behave badly towards their own parents, friends, spouses, and siblings? We played no part in the formation of their values and ethics.

Stepparenting is in many ways like fostering; we can guide, support, advice the DCs while they are with us, but it is not our responsibility to shape and mould them.

So we should be kinder to ourselves; and maybe even hold our partners to account for the type of adults their DCs have become?

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 08-Feb-16 20:10:53

Wise words Pretty. I think I was a scapegoat by two DSCs, DP and his Ex for quite a while, to distract from problems that weren't being tackled. But like you said, my influence, good or bad was pretty minimal!

HesNotAMessiah Tue 09-Feb-16 08:10:24

Thanks for all those comments.

At least I'm not alone, even if it's not a great place to be.

Another blazing row last night. The slightest thing seems to pop the cork out of the bottle these days.

I need to find a way of not letting that build up, but DP does not like it when I try and keep a distance.

Is it unreasonable, that when we decide to do something for the DSC, that the ex can be excluded from that? They don't need to be invited to contribute financially, or have an y other involvement other than a conversation with DSSC about how activity X is going?

DP seems to think that whenever an opportunity comes up that would normally be part of parenting in a non separated family, the ex should get the chance to take part so they 'don't miss out'.

I've got one burning topic at the moment I'd like to discuss in private if anyone's interested in being a sounding board - message me.


Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 09-Feb-16 12:53:45

DP seems to think that whenever an opportunity comes up that would normally be part of parenting in a non separated family, the ex should get the chance to take part so they 'don't miss out'.

It's just confusing for the kids and denial that separation has happened. It's really common though I think, I also was a bit like this when I first separated from my Ex. I felt so guilty that my child would have to grow up in a separated family, and there was a strong 'oh we messed up but we'll keep everything as normal as possible for our child'. Except it isn't normal anymore, and the sooner good habits are established the easier it is for the kids in the long term I think. Otherwise, it's more pain and confusion all around. We as step parents come along and find ourselves in the middle of what is an ongoing relationship, it's totally unworkable unless the parents don't forge a new relationship ever.

But try telling that to a parent who then feels that you are pulling their loyalties away from their 'first family'! So hard. Maybe we should have have divorce/step parenting classes!

Keepon123 Tue 09-Feb-16 13:22:08

More than happy to be your sounding supportive as mn forums are I can understand that sometimes you don't feel comfortable posting everything in public!
I find it tricky getting the balance right between myself and exh and quite often dp thinks I could handle things differently.

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