A new one from DP's ex - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As I've posted before, my DP's ex has made our lives miserable from the start. Even to this day, we still get letters from her eternally retained attorney with all kinds of threats. Nothing comes out of them, but they cost us money and stress nonetheless.

Last week, my DP got a letter from his ex requesting that they do therapy to help them co-parent my DSD. My DP couldn't believe it! After all the damage she constantly does to our family. Plus, him and I have been together for four years and we have a one year old son, the fact that she comes up with this now seems a little weird (I have a hard time trusting her intentions on anything she does.) But my DP is very insecure when it comes to his parenting, and it takes a lot of work and patience for me to point out how she completely runs his life as it relates to DSD. This is mainly all we argue about.

So my DP's first reaction to her request was "No way. I don't want to be in any kind of therapy with her," but I know that he's thinking about it and even if he says "no" he thinks he has no good excuse to give her for refusing to do it.

From my end, whether justified or not, it would bother me if they met with a therapist together to talk about their co-parenting, since I parent DSD as well. I mean, I think it's great for them to be on the same page as much as possible as it relates to parenting, but I don't want them to agree on things when I'm not consulted, and when we have two kids in our household, not just DSD. Am I totally off here?
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#2 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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Co-parent counseling can be truly wonderful for the parents and their child. You may even be asked to participate. It is definitely not done to control what happens in your household. I would encourage you guys to participate. It really helped my ex and I with his ex-wife. I even participated in the counseling. It was very helpful in the end.

Lilly, mum to one handsome boyand to one of God's angels in heaven
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#3 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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Wow. No way. This is the same woman who attempted to bring your husband and your baby to a school event and pass them off as her family, right? The same woman who excludes you from birthday parties?

The idea here is to detach, not get further entangled in her games. If you want you dh to be stronger in his parenting, then help him get the time and space necessary to do so, by welcoming dsd into your home and supporting him as he reaches out into her social circle so that dsd's playmates will be familiar with both of her homes. Certainly don't encourage him to get in the same room with his toxic ex and an unknown shrink. HER emotional life is no longer HIS problem.
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#4 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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My husband and his ex definitely made some initial strides toward positive co-parenting with the help of some good therapists acting as mediators. It was NOT couples counseling, but counseling specifically for divorcing/divorced couples who were going to be co-parenting.

That said, not every therapist is a good match. If he wants to do it, I would suggest he meet with the therapist first (with or without the ex... I would actually prefer *with* to get a better picture of the dynamic) to find out the goals, process, philosophy, etc. He could probably get a good feel for whether that person is a good match for him from that initial meeting, and make his decision from there.

My husband's ex made our life really hellish for years, but in the last couple years things have made a drastic turn for the better and things are mostly smooth sailing. It has taken me MUCH longer than my husband to accept that she doesn't have any ulterior motives, and I find myself reacting much more strongly to percieved slights/inequities/etc than my husband who tends to take them in stride... so it's possible she is actually turning a corner of some kind, and this could be a positive step.

Then again, its certainly possible ther eis some ultierior motive... but there's really no way to know for sure but to find out whenever you find out...

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#5 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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I'd say no.

DH's ex tried this one on us a few years ago (before he was my DH, so I didn't feel I had much of a say at the time), and she tried to turn it into couple's counseling. She really does things like this because she still thinks they're married. And there's no way my DH would sit in a room with her like that voluntarily, as she is pure toxin.

They're not a couple anymore, and no matter how jealous she is of you and your one-year-old (and let's be realistic -- that's what this little ploy is likely all about), he needs to not cave on this matter.

Also, if you're not even invited, that pretty much gives her game away, doesn't it?

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#6 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can understand that co-parenting counseling could be beneficial, as a couple recently separated or divorced, trying to figure out how to parent while not being together, but shouldn't this have happened a while ago?

Let's say she's just coming around. And I mean "just" because the day before she sent the letter, my DP got other nasty emails from her and a letter from her attorney.

I think maybe for a moment or two this woman focuses on her daughter and what's best for her, but those are fleeting moments. She does not acknowledge my (or my son's) existence. The couple of times when she did, it was to insult us. Just last night, as she picked up DSD from our place, DSD forgot her lunchbox, so I ran outside, as they were getting in the car, to give it to her. The mom looked away and pretended I wasn't there. She has never talked to me ever. Not even to say "hello" back.

I get so upset at the thought of her and my DP talking in a therapy setting. I feel like she really knows how to push his buttons and what to say to make him feel guilty and get what she wants. I honestly think she's trying to find a way to stay connected to him, since her attorney letters are proving to be useless. This woman's actions have caused me severe depression since I moved in with DP three years ago. I keep hoping things will get better, but every time I think she's coming around we find out it was some sort of scheme. My DP and I have made so much progress I could not handle something like that. I actually would like to have conversations at home that don't revolve around his ex. It seems that's all we talk about in front of my son, when DSD is not with us. Some distance from her and a civilized, business-like relationship would be beautiful, but she's not ready to accept our family. The more I think about it, the more I realize she's the one who needs to do therapy and she needs to stop telling DSD things like that her dad is not really my son's dad and all her other damaging comments. With DP, she's either a horrible person or she jokes around as if flirting. It's just too much.

I appreciate all the advice. It really helps me sort things out.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 10:11 PM
 
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I don't know about what you should do, but I would suggest that if your dh decides against the counseling, to be careful how he words his refusal. You seem suspcious of her motives, and this sounds like the kind of thing that she could get in a front of a judge and say, well I tried to work with him but he wouldn't even do counseling, etc., etc.. Just something to consider, especially since she frequently has her lawyer communicating with you.

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#8 of 10 Old 02-24-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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I'm not sure of what the background is with your dp's ex (it doesn't sound good though!) but also wanted to add that my ex and I continue to occasionally have counseling sessions re: our two daughters. Neither one of our respective spouses have any issues with it... and rest assured, it's definitely not couple's counseling. If anything, it reminds both of us why we're divorced. Having said that, it's been extremely beneficial to working out how we want to respectively want to parent our children, and areas where we disagree - it gives us a safe space to work it out. I've definitely seen improvements in our communication re: the kids!

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#9 of 10 Old 02-24-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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I would absolutely say no! This is something that should have been done (if it was genuinely about the child) when they first split and first decided to co-parent.

The fact that you are left out shows the true motive. I completely think you are 100% validated in your feelings, and if the gut says this seems weird...it probably is!

Type up a refusal, and maybe offer that you, your husband, and her go to co-parenting as you two are obviously in a long term relationship, and there is no denying your role with your step child.

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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#10 of 10 Old 02-25-2010, 11:02 AM
 
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If Mom and Dad do end up in court, his refusal could end up biting him. If you become overtly involved and identified as instrumental in his decision to refuse, that could end up biting him harder.

If they are unable to co-parent effectively, the last thing that is needed is throwing a third person into the mix. Especially a "new" partner (quoted since you're not new-new). Mom and Dad need to figure things out between themselves, first. With the help of a therapist, quite possibly. Then you can be brought into the mix.

I can tell you that, if I were to be offered co-parenting counseling with my ex (and we have been divorced for a long time - there is always something new to learn, though), I would only agree if it was just the two of us to start. I would not go into it if his wife was there from the get-go.
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