I was married for 11 years and our DD is turning 10 next month. STBX moved out a year and a half ago to live with the woman he was having an affair with. She is extremely manipulative, a liar (obviously!) and extremely needy. My STBX told me himself that it is not a healthy relationship, but we won't get into that! LOL We just now filed for divorce. Trying to sell a house in this economy has held up the financial arrangements. We still do not even have a Parenting Plan in place, but we have not had any MAJOR disputes about visitation. I do feel comfortable sending DD 2 states away to see her father, and this happens once a month or so. It irks me no end that STBX's new partner will have any influence on my DD while DD is visiting her father, but there isn't much that I can do about that.
The question I have right now is regarding the "stuff" that his new partner sends home with DD. It still angers me to see ANYTHING that DD comes home with that was given to her by STBX's new partner. She is so manipulative that I believe that she buys things for DD to bring home simply so that DD will think of her every time she wears those cool new jeans, for example. Or wall stickers for her bedroom wall in MY house. Am I being overly sensitive or unreasonable for not wanting anything from his new partner in my house? I think what I am afraid of is that if I set the boundary that DD cannot bring anything home from the new partner, STBX and his partner will make me out to be the witch. They will tell DD that *I* am just being childish and I am making DD's life miserable by not letting her "enjoy" these "gifts" that they want to give DD. I have not said anything negative about his new partner to DD. However, when she came home from Christmas with some things, I did quietly but firmly tell DD that I simply don't want these things in my house. I told her that she can't understand why right now so I didn't try to explain myself. I simply told her, "I just don't want anything from X in my house." DD said only, "OK." No questions. No frowny face. Her reaction to my newly stated boundary spoke volumns to me. I think she knows more than she lets on.
Anyway... enough rambling... thoughts or comments would be appreciated!
While I understand your feelings, I think you just put a lot of adult stuff onto your daughter with your request. It's a little selfish of you to do that to her. Why should you be stuck being the angry, bitter person in this? Let the joke be on the new partner. Your ex isn't going to be something different with her than he was with you. He's the same person. The joke is on the new lady who has to buy expensive gifts for your daughter in an attempt to make you feel bad. Don't put this stuff on your daughter. I think you should apologize and retract your new boundary. Don't let the new partner have that kind of control over your relationship with your daughter. I get that you don't want your daughter to be "bought" by this lady who already has inserted herself into your life in such a huge, uninvited way. Completely understandable.
I'm curious to see what others have to say about this...I must admit that I'm not a single mom, but I was raised by one if that counts for anything;)
Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will. If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk New User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement
I was a single mom until I married my current husband a few months ago and grew up with various stepparents/partners of parents on both sides, so I have a lot of experience with this kind of thing.
This is all about you and your anger and bitterness toward this woman, and you're making your DD pay for it. Whether or not STBX's partner wants your daughter to think of her when she sees a gift from her has nothing to do with you. And that's total projection on your part- you have no proof of that or why it would be harmful to DD even if it were true.
If you're worried how your ex and his gf will paint you when they find out about this, maybe you should ask yourself why you're acting this way and what it has to do with DD. I'm sure DD does know more than she lets on about both sides of the story, and you're putting her even more in the middle by creating this dynamic over gifts.
Are you in counseling or doing any other work to help you deal with all of this and let the past go?
I agree with the PPs. Also, consider the flip side of the coin: many mamas have ex-spouses with new partners who want nothing to do with the children. For all this woman's faults (and we all have many), at least she cares enough about your DD to want to buy her gifts. Whether she's doing so to manipulate is pure speculation.
It is not that likely that they will outfit your child if she has enough already... a lot of step moms bag up clothes from the other home on arrival to send the child back in , so that is a legitimate option if it bothers you if it even happens.... dont worry you will be able to adapt, cross that bridge when you get to it.
Tough though it is, I think you have to see it that what is given to your dd is then hers, and as such she needs to be able to keep it in her home/homes as she chooses. The only thing I think you would have legitimate right to refuse in your house is an item that breaks your own vaues/rules, such as a movie, computer game, clothing that crosses a boundary that is already set with your dd. Otherwise, I think you are shooting yourself in the foot by making a rule like this, and it is more likely that your dd will resent you than that she will feel badly towards her father's new partner.
I'd say, let it go, and don't embroil your dd in your own emotional issues with stbx. She is an innocent party, and should be allowed to be a kid without any of the baggage that goes along with adult relationship troubles.
Wait a second? You told your 9 yr old DD that she couldnt bring her christmas presents into your (her) house because you dont like the gift giver?
As much as I detest my sons father as long as the gift is appropriate (not dangerous or life threatening) I allow him to have it.
My son would love for his father to be able to visit with him, how wonderful that your DD is loved by so many!
Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed
Seeking zen in 2014. Working on journaling and finding peace this year. Spending my free time taking J to swimteam
My x and his wife don't pay support and only see the kids on the rare occasion. It makes my teeth grind when they come home with gifts that I know made the x and wife feel all "parently" to buy. But! I would die before I said as much to my kids and I would never forbid the gifts unless they were outrageously inappropriate. The problem is mine not theirs. I hope you will reconsider and apologize to your dd and let her know that your "adult" feelings are not her responsibility and that of course she can bring her gifts home.
Sorry, need to remove this for privacy reasons. :)
i agree with everyone else.
as a kid, i had the opposite problem - when my dad and step-mom gave me a gift, they would say it was for at their house . . . so i would get to play with it for a day or two, and then be very sad that i had to leave it behind. once i got to your daughter's age, the gifts were different (rather than toys, it would be cool clothes, a curling iron, jewelry, stuff like that) so i would bring it home. and honestly, yes, i did think of my dad and step-mom when i used those gifts. even though i knew that my dad cheated on my mom with my step-mom, and a lot of other things i shouldn't have known about, i still cared about all of my parents, and they cared about me. as imperfect as they were (or are), my relationship with each of them was important to me.
now that woman is not even my step-mother anymore, hasn't been for over a decade. however, she is still very important to me. she has done a lot of growing up, and on the other hand she still also has some major flaws, just like me. but it's important for kids (and adult kids) to have people in their lives who love them, even if those people are a bit selfish, confused, hurting, whatever. if she cares about your dd, let her.
i'm not saying you are wrong to feel hurt, threatened and angry. just don't involve your dd.
mama i havent read all the replies - but here are my thoughts on this.
1. do you talk to your dd? i mean really talk? she is almost 10 and ready for it. there are two aspects of what you are feeling. imho this has been going on for a year and a half. and even though i dont have the right to tell you how you should feel, or for how long... its been a while.
first i would talk to your dd. tell her you still hurt. its painful to see all those presents on her. she will understand and perhaps even help you in your healing. you say she knows more than she is letting on and is probably aware and sympathetic and would probably appreciate things in the open. i would bring it out in the open. i know that has been v. v. beneficial to dd with whom i have been bringing up direct age appropriate things. she can and does ask me directly ANYTHING and i answer her honestly and truthfully even if its not nice. its really been an eye opener to do that because she has asked really pertinent questions which have actually helped with my healing.
2. mama work on yourself, you are getting to the dangerous point of holding on. you are telling yourself a story of what she is. stories are terrible because they make you hold on. she might be manipulative but doesnt mean you keep holding on to that. dont buy into it. it doesnt serve you. you might be a 100% right but just coz you hate her dont force that decision on your dd. figure out a way to be indifferent to her. its hard i know. but you can do it. YOU are in control of your life. dont give 'her' the power you give her to hurt you.
my case is different. ex started his affair when dd was 2 months old. she is NOT manipulative or any of that. i know she really cares for my dd. we dont live very far from each other. she gets dd a lot of things, cooks for her and takes her to plays. they spend days together. i know she really cares for dd. makes her her fav. dinners. so i dont feel towards her the way you feel in your situation. so i have never had any problems letting dd wear, use presents from her.
"Taking it out" on the child? That's really what you think she's doing? Doesn't seem to be the case at all.
Anetta, earthmama in the City Wife and best friend to DH , SAHM to our little princess Leda and furbabies Hans and Heidi
Happily expecting a pair of "oops!" twins in October!
I went through this myself when my parents divorced, and watched as my parents attempted to manage their relationship with rules like OP's (I was the oldest, in high school at the time). Please, OP, rethink what you are doing. Your daughter should not be made to feel emotionally responsible for the hurt that you feel when she brings gifts with her. Don't undermine her relationship with her father by outlawing any signs of her relationship with him and his partner. As much as you have been hurt by both your X and his current partner, do not let your daughter experience herself as a cause of this hurt. There's only one way to do this: don't allow her to be a channel for those emotions for you. Please, OP, work on your boundaries, work on keeping what is between you and your XP and his new partner between adults.
I'm sorry if this is strongly worded.
Yes, OP is, unintentionally, making daughter emotionally responsible for her father's infidelity by allowing her feelings about the giver of the gift to turn into a conflict with her daughter. As hard as it is, I really encourage her to do everything she can to keep the conflict between her x and herself, and not to involve her daughter in it. As it is, she's making her daughter responsible for managing that boundary, by asking her to hide signs of the x's new partner. That's not the child's job.
I would also be concerned about the message it's sending in a different light: by saying these presents make you feel uncomfortable, isn't that like saying it's not okay to develop a relationship with this person? The other woman is obviously not an angel, but the fact of the matter is that she is an important part of the daughter's life because she is her father's partner. It can be very hard for kids to get along with step-parents (I know as a stepchild and a stepparent how difficult this relationship can be) and it's a possibility that this woman will become her stepmom.
Even as an adult, I feel a huge amount of relief that I can openly talk about one set of parents to my other set, and that my real dad asks how my stepdad is doing and vice-versa. It was so hard to have to "hide" that I actually got along with the "evil stepmother" from my mother, and it really caused a breakdown in communication between me and my mother, and led to a lot of guilt on my side. Now that my mom has grown up a bit, I don't have to hide and I wish it could have been like that from the start.
i agree with that last post - definitely sending the wrong messages to your daughter. You don't want her to feel like she has to hide things from you (not just physical "stuff", but not feel comfortable to tell you about conversations or fun things she did with her dad and his fiance). As a kid that came from a messy divorce, it is really hard to have parents who not only hold grudges against each other, but expect the kids to understand it and even take part in it. And yes, my kids get to have whatever presents at the house, no matter who the giver, unless it's an inappopriate gift, of course. It's something that was given to your daughter, not to you, so it doesn't seem at all respectful to tell her she can't have it.
Mama of 3 amazingly sweet kids , living the dream on our urban farm
Allow the gifts. Get excited over them with her, that will help her to see that you accept that she has a relationship with her father and his girlfriend (wife?) as well.
I don't understand why people take out their anger about a partner cheating on the mistress - it's not that person's fault that a man decided to go against his vows. It's your EX's responsibility that he cheated. His new woman clearly is not all innocent, but she likely didn't force him to sleep around. Thats on HIM.
Do you have anyone you can talk to about how all this makes you feel so that your dd doesn't have to be involved?
I agree about allowing them (within reason of appropriateness, size and other appropriate boundaries) but asking her to "get excited" about them is asking too much and going too far in the other direction. That would be asking this mama to lie. I learned the art of the brief neutral "isn't that nice" kind of sentiment. Doesn't mean I have to pretend to feel excited.
Yes, of course you are being overly sensitive. I think most people would feel this way if their husband cheated and left them. I don't like a lot of things in life, but I usually try to hide my crazy.
My parents divorced when I was a teen. My advice is as follows:
Don't involve your daughter in your jealousy or anger. Your problems are not her problems. Those gifts are just that, gifts; to take them away because of your issues is rude. Your ex is still her father, and his girlfriend may soon be her stepmother. She will have a relationship with this woman regardless of what you want. By making a big deal out of gifts (regardless of the look on her face), you are hurting your relationship with your daughter.
To be honest, I think you need to take the high road. It's your child's stuff, she is getting enjoyment from it. And she will feel like she is in the middle if you refuse to let keep her gifts. And that's not fair to her. And she also may feel guilty for liking and wanting the stuff if she knows that it upsets you. I would find a way to deal with the anger other than banning your child's stuff from the house.