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AIBU regarding contact with EXW and EXMIL?

(52 Posts)
movingonup2015 Wed 30-Mar-16 15:42:22

I think I already know the answer to this and perhaps this is just a vent but its causing lots of friction between me and my DP so either way either I need to get a grip or he needs to sort it!

Ok so I have been with my DP for 2 years, we don't live together and he has a 9year old DS.

His DS thinks the world of me, loves me being there on the nights my DP has him and we generally rub along really well.

However, the EXW and her mother are still a big part of DP's life - now I know they always will be, I'm not disputing that I'm just wondering how much interfering is too much...

For example - my DP has a key to EXW house incase she isn't there and his son needs something from her house one evening - that has happened quite frequently so probably not as weird as it makes me feel. I don't like this at all, I think its weird that he lets himself into her house (not their marital home btw) and collects items but I guess that's something I need to get over as its probably not that unreasonable. The thing I don't like is that she will text him on the nights he has DS and say "can you just go to my house and let the dogs out/feed the cat/stroke the bloody chickens" or whatever pet shes bought that week because shes going to be home late.. - I find that odd personally.. Or if he is due to drop DS home and she is going to be late she won't let DP know she will wait until hes outside and has to ring her to find out where she is, at which point she tells him to just let himself in her house and wait for her to come home - again, don't like that but he lives too far away to just drive home and wait until she has returned.

DP had a minor accident the other day which prevented him from doing something to do with work and she said right come on I am going to do it for you.. instead of saying its ok my GF is actually on her way to do it right now he just said no I don't need any help thanks I can manage to which she kept insisting (obviously because she was unaware I was already on the case) DS then got upset because he wanted his mother to help his dad and he wouldn't let her. So I think its weird that a) she offered to do these things that have nothing to do with her whatsoever and b) DP didn't tell her I was doing it already!

He needed to go to the doctors the other day and I went with him - he had to contact his EXMIL as she was looking after DS for the morning and say he was going to be late collecting him as he was at the doctor -EXMIL then wanted to know the ins and outs about why he was there and who was with him (she offered to sit with him until she found out I was there) so DSS then went over to a friends house because EXMIL needed to go to work in the afternoon. She then kept ringing him all day to find out how he was and told DP that I should leave the doctors to collect DSS and that she would go sit with him?! She then got hold of DSS and told him that I would be collecting him and that "nanny would go and make sure daddy was ok"... I had NOT agreed to go collect dss who then got upset because I wouldn't leave to collect him (I actually couldn't leave as DP couldn't walk or drive so needed my help) and why on earth was she ringing for updates every 30 minutes when I don't see what business it is of hers?! but instead of telling her he was fine and stop fussing he just indulges her by telling her what the problem is and what they think it might be etc.... I can understand that she would want updates on behalf of DSS but she was no longer looking after him that afternoon so why the constant need for updates?

EXW then kept ringing when she had returned home from work to find out what was wrong and why he was at the doctors (really?!) and then kept texting for updates " how are you feeling now" etc... she then rang him the next morning and said right ive spoken to XYZ and they think they know whats wrong with you so I've booked you an appointment with someone I use, they are really good so you have to go there Friday 8am - they don't usually do such short notice but because its me I've managed to get you booked in... WTF?! so instead of saying sod off ill make my own arrangements he just says ok thanks and then goes to the appointment!

EXW rings him constantly asking if she can borrow X Y Z or can DP just fix the gutters, fix the fence, put a new fence up etc etc - when I get annoyed about this DP answers with its not to benefit her, its to benefit his son...

She recently wanted to go halves with DP and buy some pedigree animals which they would both take responsibility for (together) and then when they'd made a profit buy more and put the money into a trust fund for DSS.... well putting money jointly into a trust for DSS is not unreasonable but having this "hobby" together is unreasonable no?!

She bakes cakes/meals for him but makes out DSS has made them (he hasn't because he tells me mummy wanted to make a cake for daddy) DP just responds with that its her own energy shes wasting if she really is cooking them for him because hes not interested in her anymore and that I shouldn't make a big deal out of it because its just a cake now and then and he never shows any interest in her at all so its not doing any good.

Hes a very laid back person - will often let things go above his head rather than point them out or make an issue out of it because he says women are catty when it comes to ex's and see things that aren't really there or a problem just to show they are the alpha female!

His DS keeps having nightmares lately because of the video game he keeps playing - cant remember what the name of it is now but its an 18 rated game which his grandmother bought for him (DP's exmil) so I pointed this out to DP who has mentioned it to EXMIL but she said she didn't realise,yet still lets him play on it?! I said surely you should be telling her to take it off him but he said its out of his control what they do with him...

The weird thing is she's not (AFAIK) making any real moves on DP i.e. there are no messages declaring undying love or any arrangements where she tries to get the two of them together or anything like that its just these odd niggly things where she still wants to be a part of his life and still acts like his wife without the intimacy part IYSWIM.

If EXW rings DP and asks if he can have his DS on a night that he doesn't usually have him and we have made plans he will either just say yes straight away without even consulting me OR he will say no I am going out - she will ask where and he will say just out with some friends - he NEVER tells her hes made arrangements with me (or even tell her to mind her own business for that matter!) for what reason I don't know he just said its easier as she will tell DS that he would rather be with me than have DS...

One evening last week DP didn't finish work until late so when DS called and asked if he could go over for the evening he said sorry I wont be finishing work until late (it wasn't an agreed night but as it was half term he said he would have DS a few more nights) to which DS replied with ok so what about X (me) is SHE going to be going to your house tonight to which DP said yes possibly but shes an adult she can stay up a bit later, you should be asleep by the time I get home and DS again responded so its ok for HER to see you but not me?! This was quite a startling response from DS as it sounded more like his mother speaking rather than him! So when DP got to his house I was there waiting for him having cooked his tea and 5 minutes after he got through the door his DS phoned him just to say good night and immediately wanted to know if I was there to which DP said no.... IABU to think you shouldn't have to keep lying in order to keep the peace??

What do you think? I've already had the conversation with DP asking him to tell them to back off but he said he needs them on amicable terms because his job dictates that sometimes he cant have his DS on the agreed nights and they would need to cancel their plans in order to accommodate him, whereas if he rubs them up the wrong way they are well within their rights to say no sorry its your agreed nights you deal with it etc.

If I didn't know better I would say perhaps DP isn't quite over her but she really riles him up on times and he says how glad he is that hes not with her anymore because shes a complete nightmare and theres just no reasoning with her etc etc. Just don't know what to do really, everytime I bring it up he says im badgering him and making problems that aren't there and just let it go because hes never ever getting back with her but I'm just pushing him away with the constant digging and argueing... Thankyou if you managed to get this far!!

costamum79 Wed 30-Mar-16 16:00:06

Ok im a step mum and there is no way on earth I would tolerate this!
I have a child from my previously relationship and so does my husband. When we first started dating he used to go and tuck the kids into bed at hers and I used to allow my ex to take me shopping. He was even driving her car at the weekends.
It then became apparent that neither of us were comfortable with this and we both spoke about it and it stopped.
Now I believe an ex is an ex and talk should strictly be about what time and day the child will be collected and dropped off and only emergency talk or parents evening. There is no need for her to keep calling asking for favours,when he pays her more than enough child support. I was once a single mum and im quite capable of changing a light bulb, working full time and managing small fixes. Its called life.
If I were you, Id sit down and tell him how you feel. Its obvious his ex hasn't moved on, because if she had, no man would allow her ex to enter her home!
Talk to him and reverse the tables and see what he thinks.. Good luck!

movingonup2015 Wed 30-Mar-16 16:07:56

Thanks Costamum. Yes its quite apparent that she hasn't moved on but DP keeps stating that's her problem, not his and he isn't going to be rude or abrupt with his ex or exmil because whatever ideas she has in her head won't become real at any point so its all wasted energy and that anything he does "for her" is actually to benefit his son. i.e. fixing gutters stops his sons bedroom becoming damp, fixing gates stops his son going into the road etc so It seems like theres always a "reasonable explanation" behind anything she asks him but not in my eyes!

costamum79 Wed 30-Mar-16 16:37:34

Being a step mum is so hard because as women, we know exactly how other women work, but the exes always use the child as an excuse which is so frustrating. The ex says jump and your other half says how high! Its taken me years to stop my husband still running around after her, but more so shes always so mean to him and stops him seeing the kids. Ive always had to break down exactly why she doesnt need him for him to understand (Some men are like small children)
Your one sounds not as bad as mine in terms of behaviour but she needs to become independent too as no man will accept her expecting so much from her ex too. A broken gate is nothing to do with your partner x

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 30-Mar-16 16:54:46

Or if he is due to drop DS home and she is going to be late she won't let DP know she will wait until hes outside and has to ring her to find out where she is, at which point she tells him to just let himself in her house and wait for her to come home

Oh god, there are a lot of small things that add up to a BIG problem.

I sympathise, as this is similar to my situation. In fact, not only did and does my DP still have a key to her house EXW had a key to ours and would just come in! That was the first thing I put a stop to. Only to depressingly realise how many other irritating things I had to stop. DP still goes into EXW house 'to pick up' kids or 'have a quick chat with kids'. EXW also still texts for favours. BUT it is so much less than before.

She also used to 'bake him cakes' until I just exploded into hysterical laughter one day and said 'she can f** off with the f** cakes!' to my DP and luckily we both saw the funny side and I put it in the bin!

It's still not great for our relationship tbh, I feel like there is a harem of wives and she still likes to be number one wife! Her boyfriend doesn't like it either (let slip by her kids).

Trouble is - it's SUCH a common problem - and a lot of DPs and EXWs stubbornly refuse to see it as a 'problem' - it will be excused time and time again 'because of the kids'. You will have to stand up for yourself and your relationship, but be prepared to be vilified and told that you are the problem. But don't stand for it, you are better than just being second best or relegated like this. flowers

JolieMadame Wed 30-Mar-16 16:59:34

Right so he has a good relationship with his ex and ex in laws, which massively benefits his son, and you have a problem with it because of your own insecurity?

If I was your DP id be telling you to like it or lump it I'm afraid. You are the only person with the problem here.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 30-Mar-16 17:00:30

On a more practical note - one thing that made a huge positive difference was a regular, agreed, schedule of contact. Cuts down hugely all the tooing and froing which make it still very 'husband and wife'.

Would you offer or be able to look after DS - if you get on with him - on the nights that your DP could not because of work - in order to make a future schedule work? It would also make it obvious that you are part of the picture and his DS feel more secure.

swingofthings Wed 30-Mar-16 17:12:53

If I didn't know better I would say perhaps DP isn't quite over her
Maybe, of somehow they have managed to remain good friends. Some exes do and manage quite well. If that's the case though, he should be honest with you, but maybe he is worried that you won't accept that friendship.

If they are on very good terms, it might very well be that his ex and EXMIL don't appreciate the seriousness of your relationship since you don't live together, especially if he doesn't talk much about you.

You are entitled to your feelings though and so need to let him know how you feel. The way he will react to you sharing your emotions will be much more telling of how much he respects and cares for you then all the things you describe. Have you spoken about moving in together?

A friend of mine moved in with a lady who was very close friend with her ex and she too had a key to his house. There was nothing between them though and he became friend who him too, so much that it happened that they went out together whilst his girlfriend worked. They have now separated, but his and his ex's ex have remained in contact.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 30-Mar-16 17:29:08

You are the only person with the problem here. Movingon - this is what you've got to expect from some quarters - but don't listen! There is a problem, of course there is, it isn't you and you shouldn't have to put up with it. this is not 'friendship' - this is not 'for the kids' - it's unhealthy habits left over from a relationship that has not moved on.

Stay strong!

movingonup2015 Wed 30-Mar-16 18:01:11

Thanks all for the positive comments! I'd have no problem looking after DSS but dp would never suggest this and exw wouldn't allow it either as she doesn't like to hear about me as it is. DSS often mentions me and she apparently pulls faces and even reprimanded him when he said mine was the best cooking he'd ever tasted! She doesn't like hearing about me hence why dp never mentions me...

Sunshine87 Wed 30-Mar-16 20:18:19

If they get on what's the issue? I think you are insecure about the closeness of their relationship. You will push your DP away he's already stated he's happy with the situation so I would leave it be you don't even live together soon don't think it's your place to be getting involved.

Wdigin2this Wed 30-Mar-16 20:56:25

There is no way she has moved on....she is engineering every situation she can in order to spend time with him, and she probably holds out hope they'll get back together!

You are right to feel the way you do, I'm all for amicable divorces, but this is just daft! YANBU, but I doubt you'll ever make your DP see it that way. The best you can hope for is she falls madly in love with someone else...soon!

As for the cake crap, if I walked into my DP's house to be confronted by the ex's lovingly baked cake...I'd chuck it in the bin!

JolieMadame Wed 30-Mar-16 21:06:32

She probably hates his fucking guts but thinks she's doing the best for the kids. Which she is.

It's astonishing, my ex thinks I like him - he doesn't understand I'd gladly give Donald Trump a blow job if I thought my kids would benefit from it.

Wdigin2this Wed 30-Mar-16 22:40:06

I fail to see how the ex's behaviour, as described by the OP, could be seen as...doing the best for her kids? The relationship is over, the OP's DP has made it clear he will never go back to his ex, be polite and civilised by all means, but how is prolonging the agony beneficial to the DC??

movingonup2015 Wed 30-Mar-16 23:33:46

I know I'm coming across as insecure but that's only because it almost seems like DP doesn't want to mention me to her incase it somehow offends her. I'm not asking for him to rub her face in our relationship whatsoever but saying he's going out with friends rather than saying he's going out with me seems a bit weird to me. This evening I went to his work as he needed a hand and whilst I was there DSS was on the phone to his mum and he announced that his mum had cooked tea for them both and to call in and collect it?! I'm all for them having an amicable relationship don't get me wrong but I think this is overstepping boundaries don't you think? In all fairness he did say no but then dss got upset and said his mum had gone to all that trouble and now it would be wasted...maybe I am being unreasonable as some have pointed out but I'm not comfortable and just because we don't live together doesn't mean we aren't planning a future or aren't serious enough for me to feel a bit uncomfortable with this. We don't live together for reasons which I won't go into but doesn't mean we aren't ready by any means we'd have done it ages ago if we could have...

Wdigin2this Wed 30-Mar-16 23:44:07

Movingon, I agree with you, he is pretending you don't exist for a quiet life! You are not the insecure one...she is! She wants him back, and she using and hurting her DC in her campaign...which is despicable!

TresDesolee Wed 30-Mar-16 23:48:36


I'm separated and on reasonably good terms with my ex, but I'm not a step mum (full disclosure!)

I think it's absolutely in his son's interests that he's freely available to his son, does things that are in his son's best interests (like house repairs), stays on good terms with his son's mum and family, and basically demonstrates to his son that his son is his #1 priority in life - yes, above you. Those of us who've broken up our children's primary relationship need to work hard to show our kids that their wellbeing is our absolute priority. So, so far I'm in your DP's camp on that one.

But, not mentioning you to his ex or painting you out of the picture - not on. At all.

And the comments about 'women are catty about exes' makes him sound like he's on a power trip. Nasty generalisation.

If I were you I'd draw a line in the sand on the stuff about painting you out of the picture - tell him that's got to stop. To be fair to his ex, if she does still hold a candle for him, he's massively encouraging her by pretending your relationship is much more casual than it actually is.

He can do all the dad stuff in the world, over and above what you might ideally like - BUT he needs to be absolutely clear to his ex and her family that he loves you and you're here to stay.

And he needs to stop secretly encouraging the cat fight.

MsColouring Thu 31-Mar-16 09:11:26

You don't come across as insecure. You are just asking questions. It is amazing how we often feel guilty about feeling uncomfortable about these situations.

There was still a bit of this sort of thing with dh and his ex when we first met - asking for lifts to work when her car broke down, letting herself into his house without waiting for him to let her in, constant tagging on fb. There are clearer boundaries now.

I agree with the poster above who described it as 'unhealthy habits' left over from their relationship. I'd have never of dreamed of asking my ex for anything that wasn't directly for the children, I have other people I can ask if I get stuck, it's part of moving on.

movingonup2015 Thu 31-Mar-16 09:48:59

Exactly TresDesolee he is encouraging the feelings by making out we aren't as serious as we are that's exactly how I feel!

I totally agree that DS should come first 100% I have no issues with this whatsoever and i also have zero problems with them being on good terms that's absolutely essential, but, I feel there's a line between being amicable and sparing her feelings by making out we aren't as serious as we are because that's exactly how its making me feel.

I cant seem to get this across to DP without it seeming like i'm purposely picking holes and problems just because she's the EX, that's really not how it is at all I just feel that if anyone should be running around and making sure he is ok then it should be me (and it is, she just doesn't know!)

I can understand the concern whilst he has DS in his care but the days he doesn't have him there is no need to ring him constantly asking how he's feeling and if he would like tea or anything collecting from the shops. If he said to her that he doesn't need her to do anything because I am helping or getting him anything he needs that possibly might nip things in the bud and stop her from asking if he always responds with no thankyou my GF is sorting everything for me but he doesn't, he just says no thankyou I can manage on my own which says to me she doesn't think I am helping, therefore we aren't particularly serious because i'm off doing my own things, looking after myself rather than helping him.

TresDesolee Thu 31-Mar-16 10:11:23

You're perfectly entitled to feel sensitive about his relationship with his ex - that's just human and he shouldn't belittle your feelings on that front. My DP is on pretty good terms with his ex and it makes me feel a bit jumpy now and then. But he doesn't write me out of the picture with her (well, that I know of!) and he's clear to me that our relationship (me and him) is the most important thing to him. And he understands why I feel jumpy and does whatever he can to reassure me.

That's why I think it might be worth you examining your DP's motivation a bit more carefully - are you sure he's not getting a kick out of having two women 'fight' over him? (Not saying you're fighting but it sounds as though he might be enjoying thinking that you are.)

I'd let everything else drop - bite your tongue if you have to - but every single time he paints you out of the picture to her, say it's not acceptable to you and not fair on her if she's still got a thing for him.

If he cares about your feelings he should be able to make that one change, particularly if you rise above all the other stuff.

movingonup2015 Thu 31-Mar-16 10:38:47

Yep - I bit my tongue last night with regards to the fact that she had cooked his tea - usually I would retaliate and say WHY is she cooking your bloody tea when you've not asked her to! but I accepted the fact that he said no to the offer and left it at that and yes perhaps you're right he may secretly enjoy me getting arsey everytime she does something so perhaps I should try not being bothered (as long as he refuses the offers) I just worry that if I don't bring it up as being an issue he may still continue to go with the easy option which is to please her and because I've not shown I'm bothered then its win win...

There are plenty of other issues which I've given up addressing (DS still having a dummy at 9 being one of them and refusing to sleep in his own bed and playing 18 rated video games) but as his mum reinforces these issues there isn't much I can do about it, DP goes for the easy option so he doesn't get tantrums and is worried DS wont want to stay over if he's made to do things he doesn't want to do.

I don't think the video games are helping with regards to sleeping on his own - he has told me he gets nightmares all the time and a lot of them are scenes from his video games - I've told him perhaps he should stop playing them then and he said no he enjoys it... I've brought it up with DP countless times and he just responds with there isn't anything he can do about it and as long as he doesn't play them at his house. He addressed it once with EXMIL who stated she didn't realise it was an 18 plus game (even though she admitted she was the one that had to buy it because they wouldn't served DS!)

hownottofuckup Thu 31-Mar-16 10:58:31

I think that ex's with DC can still have a relationship, a familial relationship, with no sex involved. And it's the sex that makes a relationship something other then friends of family.
You and her aren't in competition. You both have relationships with him, but they are distinct. Don't try and compete or be the 'alpha' it isn't necessary.
Would you care if his sister or cousin made him a cake or asked for diy help?
Being with him means accepting he has a relationship with the mother of his child. In a way they are family. You don't need to feel threatened by it.

TresDesolee Thu 31-Mar-16 11:02:56

I think you need to be really really clear with him OP as it sounds as though he either doesn't think very clearly, or is burying his head in the sand, or is enjoying the show.

Tell him that you love the fact he's a good dad, you'll bite your tongue from now on about all parenting matters (I know it's infuriating but his son's gaming and sleeping habits just aren't your business - harsh but true), but that he needs to be completely upfront with his ex about your relationship.

If he can't do that you'll know where you stand...

MeridianB Thu 31-Mar-16 11:05:25

There are three of you in this relationship. Well, four if you count the exMIL.

It is absolutely great that exes and extended family can get on because of the benefit to children but....I agree with PPS who say that the things you describe are not healthy.

What would your DP say if he read your original post on this thread? Do you think he'd shrug it off and say you were being too sensitive or would seeing all the small things in black and white, plus the way it makes you feel, cause him to step back a little?

QuiteLikely5 Thu 31-Mar-16 11:08:44

Why is she an ex? Who dumped who?

I would not like this set up at all! Sounds like they're both running the show and calling the shots

Your boyfriend sounds slightly spineless and is obviously used to doing what he is told. Good luck with this!

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