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first time poster - advice needed

(46 Posts)
claireef Thu 09-Nov-17 17:41:42

Hi all, I am posting for some advice. I have been with my partner for 2.5 years now, we are getting married next may, he has three children with his ex partner, we don’t currently have any children, but are planning on try late next year medical issues allowing.
I don’t know anyone else of my friends/family who are in a situation such as mine, so I thought I would try here for some advice. My partner and his XW situation is very strained as she is the type of person to want her way all the time, and if anyone dares disagree she becomes exceedingly difficult. This is not just with my partner, this is with family and friends as well, as a result neither of her siblings have contact with her or the children and a lot of people have went from her and the children's lives.
Contact and communication with my partner and his ex have not been the best since they have split due to her manipulation, emotional abuse and bullying. I have tried my hardest to make him communicate with her as it is not about them, it’s about the kids, and things have improved slightly. XW and myself did have a cordial relationship, but she now refuses to speak with me after I have helped my partner word responses/emails to her as he is extremely intimidated by her due to their bad relationship, i am not welcome to any school events she is at, not allowed to the door to collect the children etc.
However, our main issue at the moment, is her refusal to accept that any changes/amendments to child care resulting in the children spending more time at mine and my partners house need to be discussed with myself as well. I do not involve myself in parenting decisions etc as, as much as I love my partner's children I am not their parent. I am however, the person that does the food shopping, buys clothes for the children, sorts the finances, keeps track of working rotas, days out, family events etc and generally keeps things running.
My partners XW asks to change nights/days etc - which is always agreed unless work stops this - as it means my partner - and myself - can spend more time with the kids. However, when my partner tells XW that he needs to speak to me first before saying yes WW3 always ensues. I have always encouraged and championed my partner to see his children as much as possible, even to the point that he has left me alone on Xmas Day because he had the opportunity to see them - XW has them xmas day and we have them boxing day - but she refuses to accept that it is courtesy/needed to speak with me before agreeing to changes. This is for practical reasons only. Can anyone give any advice on how we can try and overcome this particular obstacle?

Belleoftheball8 Thu 09-Nov-17 17:57:59

I would say take a step back and allow communications between your dp and his ex. There’s nothing worse when someone else gets involved in communications which by the sounds of it have broken down. Me and ex communicate via each other not been our DPs and it works on the odd occasion our DPs have dropped off but on the whole the take on parenting and communicate is between myself and ex and for the last 6 years there’s no problems. I don’t even have his dw number and he only had my dh because I have a tendency to break my phone.

ThisNameNow Thu 09-Nov-17 18:22:32

I think I would let all the communication go through your partner. I would imagine it would be easier. I don't think you should do all the shopping, planning etc etc unless you actually want to.

claireef Thu 09-Nov-17 18:25:34

I think there’s been a misunderstanding in what I’ve posted. I don’t communicate with XW, I don’t feel the need to, she is not the type of person I would choose to speak to outside of this situation. My query and need for advice is around how can the fact that my partner needs to discuss changes and amendments to childcare that results in the children spending more time at our home with myself before agreeing to it be understood by her without causing the huge arguments it does now. As stated in my OP, I take care of all shopping, clothing, finance and scheduling needs of the 5 of us at our home.

claireef Thu 09-Nov-17 18:28:18

Again, it’s not about communication between me, partner and XW, it’s about her non acceptance of the fact that practicalities around work, meals ect need to be discussed between myself and my partner before a yes can be given.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Thu 09-Nov-17 18:28:49

My best advice is to keep a central 'calendar' of all your joint things (it could be on your phones) so that instead of asking you whether it's ok to change arrangements your DP can just check that. I suspect 'I'll just check the calendar' will go down much better than 'I'll just check with claireef'
The other thing is that as your home is also their home you will need to learn to relax a bit more about their comings and goings. I know it's difficult when you aren't used to it but it will be better for you in the long run. It won't be long before they are teenagers and start wanting a key...

claireef Thu 09-Nov-17 18:42:03

The calendar thing has already been tried between partner and XW and didn’t work out, all it resulted in then was XW changing schedules without informing partner confused
It’s a really tricky situation because my partner and I want the children with us more, currently in the process of increasing contact to 4 days per week, but the changes requested by XW, are generally on the day, and answer demanded immediately on the phone, and if this doesn’t happen the situation degenerates into abusive messages, saying partner doesn’t care ect.
Life would be sooooo much easier for them both if they could just get along without conflict, obviously this isn’t always possible as people are people and disagree, but it breaks my heart seeing my partner upset over things like this and I just want to help him work a way around it

Justbookedasummmerholiday Thu 09-Nov-17 18:48:27

Suggest he gives up his job so he can dance to what tune but no cms will be available to her.
She will likely stfu then.
Been in your shoes op.
The best thing about my divorce was not havimg to deal with his ex.

claireef Thu 09-Nov-17 19:33:49

Justbookedasummerholiday thank you wink Someone understands the frustration!

NorthernSpirit Thu 09-Nov-17 19:51:18

Sounds like my partners EW who is boardering on being a narracist. Argues with everyone. Everyone else is wrong. Is so angry (even 5 years post my OH leaving). And speaks to my OH in a harassing and bullying manner. My other half says he feels sick when he receives a text or email from her.

You can’t deal with these bitter ex wives - they don’t think like rational people and the drama they cause only fuels their fire.

My advice would be don’t get involved let your partner deal with her. I also sometimes help my OH word emails but I always do it in the background and I try not to get involved.

These woman love the drama. Don’t get involved and don’t give her any space in your head. She doesn’t deserve it.

claireef Thu 09-Nov-17 20:17:03

You’ve no idea how much of a relief it is to see that other people have the same situation. It’s so mentally and emotionally draining! Thank you so much smile

TwoDots Thu 09-Nov-17 20:18:59

Oh we have this problem too. Narcissistic ex’s are just the best. They think the entire world revolves around them and everyone should accommodate their requests at whatever cost. They then use manipulation about it being best for the child. Yep

I think your partner needs to word things differently. Not mention you but a simple I’ll look at that and get back to you type of response. If she rants then he should be firm and say he will put down phone etc if she continues to speak to him in that way. Very firm boundaries are needed with ex’s like that

HelloSquirrels Thu 09-Nov-17 20:29:08

This is familiar! Dss lives with us but his mother still manages to dictate everything. The world must revolve around her or else she throws her toys out the pram.
We just let her get on with it because dp is sick of arguing with her and doesnt want to speak to her. I appreciate this isnt a solution that would work for you though.

Honestly id go formal route and go to mediation or court so she has to stick to a routine. I know its a pain in the arse but there's no other way to deal with people like that

NorthernSpirit Thu 09-Nov-17 20:51:21

Agree with the above poster. Go for a formal contact order. You can’t deal with people like that - they want everything their own way and don’t consider anyone else. My OH went through 2 years of hell and heartache while she used the children as weapons and to bully him with.

He got a formal contact order 2 years ago and it’s not all plane sailing but she now doesn’t control and dictate. Your OH can easily represent himself. Go contact order and you’ll know where you stand and the ‘power’ that she thinks she has will be removed.

Good luck. It’s difficult (been there I know)! As I say I don’t give her any space in my head. She doesn’t deserve my time.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Thu 09-Nov-17 21:25:30

Sorry I've explained badly, I meant a calendar for you and your DP to use so he can see anything you have planned that would stop him having his DCs extra without having to ask you every time. But tbh it sounds like it wouldn't be any good anyway if their mum is swapping things around so much. I think you need to go for a very fixed routine (and don't get dragged into 'babysitting' when it's her time with the DCs) as lots of swapping around really isn't good for the DCs. They need to know where they will be on a regular basis as let's face it moving between 2 homes is tough for them without constantly swapping days.

user1493413286 Thu 09-Nov-17 22:49:41

I think your OH is over complicating it by saying that he needs to check with you. Why doesn’t he just say I need to check my work rota or check my diary and get back to her?

swingofthings Fri 10-Nov-17 07:32:06

Ignore it? I agree that if she is a difficult person, there was no need for him to say he needed to discuss it with you, a 'I'll consider it and come back to you tomorrow/next day' was enough.

I don't see how this is an obstacle as in the end, the decision is in your hands, not hers. I would say though be careful if you say yes but the situation would mean that your OH isn't around to look after them so it comes down to you.

Did she tell him the reason for the change? I think there is a difference between accommodating something that will in the end benefit the kids (new work/studying) as opposed to suiting her social life.

sothisisnew Fri 10-Nov-17 11:37:48

I agree with the general thread of the advice you're getting. For a long time my DP tried his best to be nice to his ex, and to accommodate her requests and generally try to make things easier for her, but if anything this just fuelled her sense of self-righteousness, in the vein of 'obviously you should be doing this, AND the rest!!'.

Things got better when he realised that a better approach is sticking to the letter of the agreement, so everyone knows where they stand and communication (and therefore scope for conflict) is reduced to a minimum. Get things in writing, get it in as much detail as possible and stick to it.

NorthernSpirit Fri 10-Nov-17 12:52:28

Couldn’t agree more with the above poster.

Angry ex wives thrive in the drama they cause and because they haven’t emotionally disconnected from the ex they still think they can control.

Get it formalised and get it in writing. My OH tried to work with the EW for 2 years but she used the children as weapons and as I took to manipulate him with. The breaking point for him was when she wouldn’t let him speak (let alone see) his daughter in her birthday. You can not deal with these people they are so emotionally damaged they aren’t rational. Get a contact order and stick to it so everyone knows where they are.

claireef Fri 10-Nov-17 13:39:12

Thanks for all the advice.
We already have a contact order, but we are looking to get this amended via mediation and court approval in January so that our increased contact is formalised and legal.
I agree with the advice of my OH changing the wording of what he says, but at the same time it feels like such a cop out because he shouldn't have to lie! He went through some absolutely horrific times with XW and he shouldn't have to walk on eggshells around her anymore.
The reasons for changes are always socially motivated. Weekends away at festivals, nights out, trips to cities ect. We are always as eager as possible for the children to spend more time with us as it is a positive influence on them as no-one is a favourite, they are no allowed to swear ect, which is something that is lacking in their other home.
I don't want to sound like a 'evil stepmother' but sometimes I just wish my OH would tell her to off and spend time with her children so that we might have the chance to do some of the things she is able to to every weekend. Does that make me sound like a really bad person? sad

The1975 Fri 10-Nov-17 14:48:16

You don't sound like a bad person at all, just someone who doesn't like to see their partner being bullied or manipulated.

I feel like I'm dealing with a lot of this type of sh*t at the moment. We got married earlier in the year and since then, his ex is doing her best to make her presence felt at every opportunity.

It's hard not letting it get to you, but to some extent, you're reliant on your DP standing up to her. He needs to be calm and firm and just say, I'll need to get back to you on that date, as I think we may have something on etc. And yes, saying yes all the time might not be the right thing either unless that cuts both ways and you can change things to suit your plans occasionally.

Good luck.

swingofthings Fri 10-Nov-17 15:02:42

I am however, the person that does the food shopping, buys clothes for the children, sorts the finances, keeps track of working rotas, days out, family events etc and generally keeps things running.
I expect her issues lie there. Her argument would be, and maybe rightly so, that you shouldn't be the one who should do all those things, HE should, and if he did, the children being there shouldn't impact so much on you.

Of course, that's a bit narrow sighted to because indeed, you might have made plans to do things together without the children, and therefore you would be impacted on any arrangement.

I guess it goes somewhere in between. If your OH agrees on extra contact, it should be him who does the lion share of the work (which of course are the things that parents do and to a large extend find pleasure in doing too). At the same time she shouldn't assume that you guys just seat there and do nothing waiting to see if you might have the children.

lifeandtheuniverse Fri 10-Nov-17 15:16:11

Ok - I would not expect the father of my children to check with his partner whether it is alright if he looks after his children. Sorry to me that comes across as you controlling the situation and would get my goat! He should definitely word it better and not involve you in the discussion.

I agree you should not be the one doing everything for his DCs !

however, you lost any sympathy from me, in your last post where you just had to stick in all the little bits about how much better the two of you aprent the children than she does - unnecessary.

Northern spirit - angry ex wives may have many reasons for being angry and most of the time it is not about controlling the EX, it is about the best for their joint children. I have no interest in controlling my EX - he has turned into a weak indecisive patsy. I just want our kids to have a fair attempt at knowing their father. LAst week mine could not go to his on one of their few ( 1-2 ONS per annum) because they were taking her DCS out and there was not enough space in the car!

claireef Fri 10-Nov-17 15:34:04

@lifeandtheuniverse - It seems you possibly may not have read what it is I actually do to facilitate contact for my OH and his children, which is all the things mentioned in my OP and additionally the fact that I have been the one to pay for him to be able to have a contact order so that he is able to see them with consistency as his XW would go through phases of dumping them with no mention of when she would be back and leaving for days at a time, to stopping contact, and pushing him down the stairs in from of his then 2 year old.
To say that I should not be involved in the discussion is bizarre to me, as we are both caring for the children when they are at their home here. Clearly as a step-parent, I am of no importance and should just be at the behest and bequest of everyone else hmm
As to say I have "lost any sympathy" possibly, again you should read what has been said. If you find it acceptable for a 5, 6 and 7 year old to be actively encouraged to use words like fuck, shit, and cunt, then I would ask for you to keep your opinions to yourself.
My OH XW is angry for the sake of being angry, @NorthernSpirit and the other lovely people who have posted constructive and helpful things are clearly in a similar situation to myself and have made me feel much more normal in the space of 24 hours.
Thank you xx

TwoDots Fri 10-Nov-17 15:40:51

I’m sorry but I don’t think a Dad running past a change in contact arrangements with his partner is his partner being controlling. It’s about being respectful of the other person in the relationship and if the family on the whole. It’s called consideration and communication

Yes I can understand how that might get on an ex’s wick but that’s just how it is when families change. It’s not asking permission but being respectful to your partnership. I know my partner is terrible at remembering things so he runs things past me mostly to make sure we haven’t got other plans etc

I’d never ask him to change his half week around unless it’s for something special ,eg we are going on a honeymoon etc. That is where I step back and respect his and his ex’s arrangement. But if she wants to change things for her social life, then I do think it’s important my partner at least communicates with me.

Ex’s really struggle to accept this. The family has changed

I can understand a mother being in fight mode for their child if they feel they are not being treated fairly, but it’s often not the case. A lot of the time it is control ....they want their ex to be a certain way for their child and unfortunately that is often where boundaries are crossed

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