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How involved should ex's be in each other's lives?

(36 Posts)
Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 15:59:14

This is not a personal post as such, but I have seen all over Facebook recently a post about a father who still goes around to cook breakfast for his ex wife on her birthday because he wants to set a good example for his kids... but there's no mention of any current partners on the scene grin
This has caused a lot of debate between my friends and I just wondered what other people's views are on the level of involvement your or DP's ExW/ExH has in their lives?
What do you think is appropriate and where are lines drawn?

Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 16:00:26

Here's the article if anyone's interested in reading it

Chasingsquirrels Tue 04-Apr-17 16:01:03

ExH and I: almost none, we communicate about the children and see each other at changeover but that's about it.
It's not acrimonious at all, but we don't have a relationship any more and the kids don't need us to.

Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 16:17:04

Well my personal view in the discussion with my friends was that 1. I wouldn't want my ExH to do so her to be honest, I think it's acting like you're still together which seems bizarre
2. You show your kids you respect your ex by helping them organise it but let them take the lead (even a young child could pour a cup of juice and some cereal)
3. I wouldn't like my DP being this involved with his ExW
4. They must both still be single as otherwise the current partner would be doing all of this?

Philoslothy Tue 04-Apr-17 16:22:25

One of the things that I love about my DH was the total repeat with which he treats the mother of his eldest son. For many years he treated her equally with me for Mother's Day and he bought her gifts for her birthday. They would go out for meals together both with their son and on their own to catch up. We went in holiday together and she was a frequent guest to our house. Christmas is also usually spent together.

Friday999 Tue 04-Apr-17 16:40:01

It's very positive to respect your ex, but surely if you're divorced, then you're divorced? You can be respectful whilst being apart?

Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 17:04:08

That's lovely Philosothy. My partner is also nice to his ex but I personally wouldn't want to be that involved with her myself (she isn't the type of person I would choose to be friends with)
We are all extremely polite and civil with each other, ExH husband phones daily to see how DCs are and DP's ExW and I communicate fine about the kids.
I just don't think I'd be comfortable with DP going to her house to make breakfast in the morning for her birthday etc confused I just find that overstepping a boundary.

Magda72 Tue 04-Apr-17 18:07:16

I must say that fb post irritated me no end.
Of course showing respect for exes is great & assisting small kids re money or ideas for gifts for special occasions is good if there's no other adult around to step in.
But kids (& adults) need boundaries & over involvement can give kids (& adults) false hope that the relationship may rekindle.
I also think it's grossly unfair on a new partner to over involve yourself in your exes life - your kids never stop being your kids but your ex is no longer your life partner or your responsibility - they are your co parent & in some cases a friend & even the best of friendships have boundaries.

Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 18:11:37

magda I agree with everything you just wrote

Mu123 Tue 04-Apr-17 18:21:33

I saw that on fb too and of course had to go have a swatch at his fb... was a nice gesture but i think hes quite probably a bit of a dickhead

Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 18:23:14


CMamaof4 Tue 04-Apr-17 18:44:51

Totally agree with mu123.

To be honest the whole story made me cringe...

Mombie2016 Tue 04-Apr-17 18:49:14

ExDP and I - very close. He's just purchased a house which I viewed with him when he went for the third viewing. He wanted my opinion so I gave it. He takes me out for Mothers Day/birthday and I take him out for Father's Day/birthday. We split Christmas equally. I still see his lovely Mum for coffee and lunch every so often. I have a DC with my (STBXH) and ExDP always makes a fuss of her and buys her bits and bobs as does his Mum. We go to parents evenings sports days etc together. He has our DCs EOW and half the holidays, he drives them to all their after school clubs once a week and we video chat once a week.

STBXH - nothing. He ghosted me when I was pregnant. Been almost 2 years since I heard from him.

Mombie2016 Tue 04-Apr-17 18:52:57

I'm aware that ExDP and I are quite strange but my parents fought like cat and dog and I swore I wouldn't do that. Our break up wasn't dramatic - we'd just grown apart and were like ships passing in the night. He's been single since we broke up (5 years ago) but I imagine things will change when he meets someone new and I'm completely fine with that.

Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 19:06:19

Mombie2016 I imagine if he meets someone and falls in love then he'll still be friends with you, but the dynamic will almost certainly change as you will not be the most important woman in his life any longer. And rightly so, I wouldn't want my ExH to put me first in that way especially if he had a partner.
As an Ex people need to be respectful of the Ex's new partner.
Being friends is great, but I definitely would not like my DP having that level of friendship with his ExW

Mombie2016 Tue 04-Apr-17 19:19:14

Goggle the first year was really hard. We barely spoke to each other because I just couldn't handle not being with him. It was the right thing to do, split up, but still hurt and was tricky to find our feet.

Then when I was married for all of 15 months blush and the 8 months prior to that it did change a little. He still got me cards/gifts from our DCs and we did attend school things together but that was it. Always had a chat on the doorstep etc but that was more politeness than anything else.

My marriage went to shit and we got a bit closer, hence how we are now. But I would totally expect it to change if he met someone and I'm not the sort to throw a hissy fit. I really hope he finds someone who is as amazing as my own Step Mum (who I absolutely love) and I would happily take a back seat to that!

Gogglerox Tue 04-Apr-17 19:21:50

Mombie you sound like an amazing person!

Porpoiselife Tue 04-Apr-17 19:25:06

I have a good relationship with my ex. We have children together so it's much better for everything if things are friendly. He'll often come in for coffee and sometimes stay for dinner and vice versa. And he helps the kids with all things Mother's Day and Birthday as I do for Father's Day. He'll do things like fix the washing machine if it broken and I'll help him with stuff if needed.

It would be horrible for the kids if we hated each other.

workingmumsarebad Tue 04-Apr-17 20:15:58

EX left me for OW, for 3.5 yrs they were together it was hell on earth and our DCs suffered massively. Exclusion from their fathers life, emotional abuse on the few days they did go to his new home and worse.

WE could just about have a conversation about them but usually involved him telling me I was unreasonable if I asked him what weekend he was going to have them, were they going to see him on his or their birthday etc.

Last year, he left her. OMG - we talk, discuss, he comes around to see the DCS, takes them out, they are still very wary of staying ON incase she turns up. Mothers Day b days special days remembered - turns to school stuff, has read their school reports for the first time ever - it is so much better for all concerned.

His family have been so supportive of me and the DCS during the bad years, where he also stopped all contact with them as OW tied to dicatate who they could be friends with, who visited. In the last year, he has been repairing bridges with his family and I am so happy for him, his family were never rude to her, just refused to be bullied in dropping a frinedship after 18 yrs.

This is good - the before was so awful, I would hate to return to it.

It was what I always wanted once he left and now we have - the stress removed is unbelievable.

The1975 Wed 05-Apr-17 03:50:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

heron98 Thu 06-Apr-17 12:32:35

My mum's first husband to whom she was married before I was born never remarried or had a family. He lived in the Middle East but used to come to ours every Christmas for Christmas dinner and my mum would always send him birthday gifts.

As far as I know my dad had no issue with it. I think it's nice they all got on.

Onlyaplasticbagdear Thu 06-Apr-17 12:37:21

I hate that post, like the dude wants a medal or something.

Why is it that everyone drops to their knees whenever a man does something worthy of a decent human being? Shouldn't we have high expectations anyway?

Magda72 Thu 06-Apr-17 13:24:02

I'm sorry - I know I'm going to be jumped on here but (& I'm speaking as a therapist) over involvement in an exs life is enabling behaviour & is as detrimental (in a different way) to children as the nastier aspects of separation/divorce.
Every time something is done for an ex out of obligation/pity/unfinished business, kids are taught unclear boundaries & that the ex (their other parent) cannot function alone. Many posts here state that you hope things will change if dps ex finds someone else. All that is teaching kids is that mum/dad is a dependant & his to be minded until someone else comes along to relieve the burden. This is confusing for everyone involved!
When my kids were small & would make me little gifts for special occasions I would go out & buy myself a birthday gift or Mother's Day gift. The best thing I ever did for myself was learn to take responsibility for myself. If I had let my ex mow my lawn/buy gifts/do laundry (& believe me he tried - out of guilt because he left) I would never have become the woman I am now & I fully believe I am better example to my kids, especially my daughter, because of it.
My kids have seen their dad & I divorce in a civil, respectful manner, but are well aware that we now lead separate lives where the common & only thread is them. We are able to co parent as well as we do because the boundaries are very, very clear & as a result we have 3 well adjusted, secure kids who get on great with their parents & step parents.
You do not show your children your respect for their other parent by staying entwined. You show them your respect by treating the other parent civilly & respectfully while giving space & acknowledging space & that the relationship is now ended.
You also teach your kids that your new partner is 'less' than the old family unit by maintaining an over involvement & that is not a good way to send them out into the world of relationships. Things end & honouring those endings, no matter how difficult, is what creates healthy adult relationships & encourages new beginnings.

Mombie2016 Thu 06-Apr-17 13:39:48

magda That's in YOUR opinion. I have lived alone since I was 17. I am currently raising 3 children alone. I am dependent on nobody. I have since married and had a child with someone else, there is no boundary blurring there. You keep doing you, Hun, and let others get on with what is best for their children without spouting off like you're an expert on what will definitely fuck kids up.

Magda72 Thu 06-Apr-17 14:16:32

With all due respects Mombie yours was not the type of situation I was referencing at all.
And yes it is my opinion - an opinion I am perfectly entitled to express on an open forum - just as everyone else here does.
Furthermore we'd all learn a little more from each other if we could dispense with rudeness & sarcasm.

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