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Partner's ex trying to ruin SS relationship with our baby

(41 Posts)
rOsie80 Thu 15-Jun-17 12:17:15

My partner’s ex-wife is a duplicitous cow, and never more so since the arrival of our baby son. She put on a good show of being excited for us, and her & partner’s son, Alex (now 16), while I was pregnant, but it always felt as though she were using this as a means to exercise some control over out relationship – or more specifically the relationship Alex has with his Dad and I. The enthusiasm she summoned for our future child and brother for Alex was rapidly tempered after his birth when she realised that she wouldn’t part of this particular life event. And why would she? Why would any new mother want their partner’s ex intruding at such a personal time?

Immediately after the birth, she was constantly hassling Alex for a time when she could come and see the baby – in a particularly awkward moment not even two weeks after the birth she invited her way in to our house when dropping Alex off while I was with my mum. I honestly don’t know what she was thinking, or why she thought I’d want to have her there, least of all unannounced? She just seems incapable of leaving us to it and always has done. I, on the other hand, am happy for Alex to be a part of our lives without feeling the need to know about any part of his mum’s and her partner’s lives unless of course he wishes to share or talk about it. If things were the other way around, I certainly wouldn’t be exercising a perceived right to get involved if she had a child with my ex (!) I appreciate the need to be civil to my partner’s ex but I don’t think it unreasonable to expect her to put some distance between ours and her life.

However, whenever we create some distance between our lives and hers, she uses that to create distance between Alex and us. While she was all for encouraging Alex to be a part of his brother’s life when I was pregnant, now she realises she’s not going to be a part of this, she goes about encouraging him to spend more time with his Dad on his own so he doesn’t get left out rather than spend time with his little brother or with us as a family. Yet she’s never done anything to promote a better relationship between Alex and his Dad previously, such as helping his choose father’s day or birthday gifts etc. The opposite is true now, so for the first time Alex is really creeping up to his Dad on these occassions and putting an unseen before amount of thought into cards and gifts, and although this might be in response to feelings of sibling rivalry on purely Alex’s part I cant help think it’s something his mum is encouraging in order to be divisive. Ultimately, this is no bad thing, just a bit annoying.

In many ways I’m happy to just roll with the situation – I’m pretty indifferent towards the relationship Alex has with his half-brother as I know he’ll grow up loved and supported whatever but I know it means a lot to my partner. Alex is 16 now, and he’s a nice enough boy with a good attitude, he just needs to get that he can be part of our family with or without his mum’s approval or involvement. I’m not willing to offer any olive branches to his mum as she’s not always made things easy for us and we’ll never get on. I just wonder if anyone else had has found themselves in a similar situation and how best to manage everyone’s expectations on this front…?

Booboostwo Thu 15-Jun-17 13:25:27

Is the name in your post your DSS's real name? If yes you may want to ask MN to delete it.

Did I get this right? The ex wanted to be there when you were giving birth? That is completely deranged! Wanting to see the baby is a perfectly friendly thing to want to do though, especially as she was at your door anyway.

As for the relationship between DSS and DH there is bound to be an adjustment. It is a very goood idea for DSS to spend some time alone with his dad, it should not all be family time and it may be DSS who is putting more effort into the relationship as he may be feeling a bit left out.

Your approach to the relationship between DSS and DS is a bit odd. They are brothers, you should be actively encouraging a good relationship between them.

Vegetablepatch1 Thu 15-Jun-17 17:56:05

Yes my DHs Ex was 'Very excited' when he told her that I was pregnant. I cannot tell you how depressed I was to hear this. DH thought it was wonderful and very generous of her.

Yuk! I'm sorry but unless the Ex is actually OK - and even OK people find relationships with their Exes new partner difficult - this often is a big warning signal. It was for me. She also was suddenly around and texting a lot at the time of the birth. Wanted to drop off DHs kids to the hospital (no thanks, DH is quite capable).

I find it very intrusive and also quit dominating behaviour.

And no - wanting to see the baby is often not a 'perfectly friendly' thing to do. Wake up and smell the coffee!

Vegetablepatch1 Thu 15-Jun-17 18:00:37

How best to manage it? Don't listen to anyone trying to be intrusive, get on with what is best for you and your baby. Everyone else can either take a hike or help. His brother has years of time with him.

I had this where the older siblings suddenly had to be handled with 'kids gloves' to make them 'feel involved' - I got chastised if I did not always want to pass the baby around like a glorified parcel for the benefit of others. And low and behold, now half sibling is growing up Ex or half siblings couldn't be less interested.

So just do what's best for you and bat off anyone else. Including if you want to a put a protective ring around you. It's fine. There is plenty of opportunities later for all around to help and bond - now if they have to wait before they all come barging in when you dont' feel comfortable, tough!

rOsie80 Thu 15-Jun-17 18:46:47

Thanks! the behaviour def dominating and she's sooooo competitive! Seeing the baby NOT a friendly gesture as ss 16 now and she rarely drops him off so it was totally contrived. She just doesn't want to accept that life has continued for her ex without her. She had the gall to say to his brother when she left him that he'd fall apart without her - I don't think she can handle the fact that hasn't happened and that he's happy!

PandoraMole Thu 15-Jun-17 19:03:25

Has it occurred to you that, like most mothers, she is probably extremely concerned about the impact that his fathers new family might have on her son and that is probably what is driving her interference?

She might be a pita and some of her behaviour is a bit hmm but I know if I was in her shoes I'd be worried sick and possibly a bit bonkers. She is no doubt considerably more aware of her son's feelings about the situation than you are and whilst she might be overstepping some boundaries, which does need addressing, you can't blame her for being in her son's corner.

rOsie80 Thu 15-Jun-17 20:19:42

Oh I get that and don't disagree. She'd be right to step in if anything was really wrong. Without a doubt ss feeling a bit left out and having to adjust, I just happen to think it's better to let ss do this in his own time and that it's up to me and my dp to figure out the best way to allow him and his brother to bond without her forcing his views one way or another.

Lucked Thu 15-Jun-17 20:30:04

Two weeks after the birth is hardly turning up to the hospital and she popped in to say hello to a new mum who you admit you have a cordial relationship with. The plumber who came to our house to fix the boiler a week after DH was born asked to see the baby because newborns are cute and irresistible!

I actually don't think it is strange that she might want to lay eyes on a baby who is closely related to her son and will be a part of her sons life from now on.

I think just roll with it for now and don't be too suspicious - everything will settle down.

rOsie80 Thu 15-Jun-17 20:47:21

Haha - fair enough Lucked, just not the sympathetic sort of comment I was hoping for! wink You can't blame a girl for wanting to enjoy first time motherhood without the shadow of your partner's ex around but I guess it's what you "sign up to" when your partner already has kids (sigh) if only I'd chosen who to love more carefully.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 15-Jun-17 20:52:49

I think that you have made some good points but

Your attitude to "Alex" seems fairly Meh, and you want his mother to basically disappear.

Yet the dwindling relationship between "Alex" and his father is all her fault.

Has this attitude always been there or is it just since the baby?

rOsie80 Thu 15-Jun-17 22:19:46

That's a little harsh. I just want my ss and baby to bond in their own time, and my partners ex not to discourage because I'd prefer a bit more space from her. She's very demonstrative and for me, who's far more reserved, quite overbearing, which is something you can do without when you've just had a baby.

AnniesTurn Thu 15-Jun-17 22:28:44

Eeeeeeee I think you're being a bit harsh tbh

I get it. You want to have a baby and all the lovelyness which comes with it without the spectre of the ex in the background. There is a lot of supposition on your behalf in your OP though.

And the poster who was depressed that the ex was excited for them hmm

What's all that about? I genuinely would be excited if my ex and his partner were expecting. Did you want her to fall to the floor weeping with jealousy?

rOsie80 Thu 15-Jun-17 22:38:08

yes, you may be right. I just know the excitedness was less than genuine, particularly when it took such a rapid u-turn. I also think all this expecting a 16 year old boy to be excited about a baby brother is setting him up for an anti-climax when he's got a world of other adolescent issues to deal with and needs his dad as much as ever now. I'm far from perfect but have stood by my partner through some very difficult times. I think it only fair to be allowed to some space to enjoy the good times

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 15-Jun-17 22:58:49

rOsie80

You seem genuinely confused about what you want, you are indifferent to the realtionship your ss will have with his brother but you want him to bond in his own time

You recognise that your ss will need his dad but don't want his mother to try and remind his dad that he still has an obligation to his son.

he just needs to get that he can be part of our family with or without his mum’s approval or involvement

But you are dismissive of his mum and that won't help the relationship with the baby, his father or you.

I think it only fair to be allowed to some space to enjoy the good times

Space from who? his son? his ex?

rOsie80 Thu 15-Jun-17 23:40:04

Well it was an emotional response to an emotionally charged situation. These are not always rationale. BoneyBackJefferson, I take it you're a stepparent with a good relationship with your partner's ex - that's good news. Perhaps there's something I can learn from you?

WannaBe Fri 16-Jun-17 03:55:32

So what is it you actually want?

On the one hand you want the sixteen year old to "bond" with the baby, and on the other hand you want him to not be encouraged to have a relationship with his father because that encouragement is coming from his mother?

Has it perhaps occurred to you that to an only child of sixteen years news of this pregnancy probably didn't come as a joyous tiding but that he probably didn't have the courage to say that in front of his dad but his mother instead? And that she has reacted by being encouraging of the pregnancy and the birth in order to see the positives/.

Not everyone is excited about someone else's pregnancy, and even if this had been your own sixteen year old it would be unrealistic to expect them to be excited about a pregnancy or even to care much about bonding with a baby they probably have no interest in at that age. Add into the mix that this baby is a part of his dad's new family and gets to spend all of its time there whereas he doesn't, and harmony is everything but assured.

My DS (only child) was thirteen when his dad's partner became pregnant. To say that he was devastated is an understatement. He had been an only child for thirteen years and was already having to contend with his dad moving a new partner and her dd into his house and suddenly there was going to be a baby in the mix as well...

I spent a lot of time telling him that he couldn't possibly know how it would be until the baby was born and that in truth pregnancy is a concept to him at this stage as there's not yet a person in the mix so his feelings might well change and that was to be encouraged, etc etc. I didn't drop round to visit (we don't have that kind of relationship) but I have certainly been encouraging at every turn, have facilitated buying Christmas presents etc, have enquired after the baby's wellbeing as he has unfortunately inherited a genetic condition from my eXH and has required multiple surgeries which must be hard for anyone. And I know that my DS felt differently once he was actually there, although I think there's not as much of a bond there as he spends very little time there now.

But the reality is that I was in DS' life way before the baby or the new partner was, and the same goes for your DSS. You chose to become involved with the father of a teenager, and with that comes the reality of an ex i.e. Said teenager's mother. This is never going to be the micro family you want it to be because his mother is and always will be in his world. And for her the most important thing is that his father maintain a relationship with his eldest son, and the rest may (or may not) follow.

user1486334704 Fri 16-Jun-17 09:28:12

Some of the comments on here are unnecessarily hurtful and as usual pitched in favour of the 'ex'.

It is NOT unreasonable for the OP not want intrusion and interference from her SS's mother in respect of HER baby. Her baby has nothing to do with her SS's mother - especially given the fact that SS is 16 and sounds well adjusted and mature.

Some exes just want to control everything - a long time after they are out of the picture!

Good luck OP x

AnniesTurn Fri 16-Jun-17 09:41:08

User. She isn't out of the picture. As much as some step parents would want her to be.

user1486334704 Fri 16-Jun-17 10:04:58

Annies - if the stepchild/ren in question were very young or there were other 'issues' then the Ex would provide emotional support /answer 'general' questions as/should they arise in respect of her ex husband's new baby.

SS in this case is 16 - nearly an adult. And from the OP description has no 'issues'.

There is NO requirement whatsoever for the Ex (clue in the title) to have any involvement in her ex husband's new baby with his new wife/partner. To think otherwise is horribly entitled. That's why there is no 'name/title' or relationship given to exes in this scenario - there is no status! 'My ex husbands baby' or 'my child's half brother of whom I am neither parent'???!

If there is a cordial relationship between all parties she may be able to meet the baby - on the say so of the baby's mother and father. Not the whim of the ex.

Why do so many exes feel they need to impose themselves where they aren't wanted or needed.

WannaBe Fri 16-Jun-17 10:14:05

Well, if the ex in this scenario had banned any discussion of the baby in her house I'm sure she would have been branded the evil bitch ex from hell. But because she dares take an interest in this baby she's interfering? Funny how that only counts if it's an ex we're talking about though eh?

And from what the OP says the sixteen year old isn't that interested in the baby, so it's. Not as if she's interfering with some process or other which would have run smoothly without her.

rOsie80 Fri 16-Jun-17 10:17:00

It's an emotional subject alright! I value opinions from both side and honestly want the best for my son and ss. I accept the ideal is we all get along. However, it's hard being a step-parent and coming second, third, forth but rarely first time and time again. I suppose I wanted permission to not overburden myself with the guilt of not being able to "be the bigger person" just this once and wanting my partner's ex to just stay away and deal with any of ss's concerns as best she can without being quite so immediately "present".

WannaBe Fri 16-Jun-17 10:55:46

I think it's difficult. The reality is that a child, even an older one, is going to find it difficult to express their genuine concerns to the parent and step parent who are actually having the baby, because obviously it's their baby and they're going to feel differently about it than he does. In fact I'd say it's probably easier for younger children because they just say what they think regardless of the consequences, and some might find that hurtful as well iyswim.

But it really is preferable that the ex at the very least show an interest in the baby and be encouraging of a consistent relationship with DSS father. The alternative has the potential to be so much more negative, and ultimately nobody benefits from that.

DontMindTheStep Fri 16-Jun-17 15:50:15

Hi OP. I think it's reasonable for you to have not liked having the ex in your home, and around your baby. It did nothing for you - she isn't your friend or on your side. She came to "see" for her own motives; you didn't like it much and given she wasn't invited and had come out of the way, you're not pleased about it.

I think you explained too, she blows hot and cold depending on what is in it for her. You must have felt uncomfortable- in your own home.

This situation might have had nothing laudable about it; maybe it wasn't about the 16year old SS or you, or the baby. She was possibly just being nosey and didn't care what you thought. She crossed a line and it was rude to drop in.

Probably not ALEX's fault - he wouldn't necessarily understand relationship politics.

Maybe the exwife feels competitive, or still close to her ex, or entitled to be In The Loop, or to have seen the baby for bragging rights. She was off to come, even if in the unlikely event, it was done with great ideals of supporting you and letting you know that she and you can get along and that she genuinely wishes the family every best wish. Let's face it, had she done so she would have checked it was ok first, and you could have prepared yourself, and she also could have brought a nice card or gift.

The thing is, it's done now. Try not to be offended by it. Don't let her take the shine off your first baby weeks. Park the incident and imagine it as water off a ducks back.

You'll never know what that visit was about. Don't seek out an awkward truth that Alex or your partner may have said it would be ok.
Onwards and upwards. There are going to be many more step parenting/and ex issues. It's how you handle the fall out that is important to having a harmonious home life.

Congratulations on your new babby!!!!!

uneffingbelievable Fri 16-Jun-17 19:40:36

It was me who prepared my DCS for the arrival of their new sib - because EX and his DP could not be arsed, did not get they might be worried and saw them so little they get really upset.

We went out and over her pregnancy they chose little gifts - rattle, blanket etc for the new baby.

It stuck in my gut, but not once did I say a negative thing.

Baby arrived and they have loved him since - so excited. However, very upset that I couldnot see him. They were not allowed to take a picture and have at home etc.

Eventually, I picked them up when SM not their and the first thing they wanted me to do was see the baby, they were so excited for me to see their brother it was cute. EX looked scared shitless that he would be caught.

1 yr later - dropping DCS off and they wanted me to see their room - EX invited me in and in many ways I wish I had never gone in. My DCs bedroom was so foul - next to the washing machine and all the laundry, I had to go past all the other rooms to see theirs - I did not want to leave them.

I think you are being too precious.

rOsie80 Fri 16-Jun-17 22:51:47

Uneffingbelievable - your judgement of me seems rather coloured by your own experience - which does sounds tough. I do however, take your point about being a bit precious. However, perhaps it's better I rant here and get it off my chest than anywhere else !

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