Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: South-Central Missouri
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|Well, I'm in the step-parent role myself and what I can tell you is that she needs to remove herself from the situation between you and Ex... if it upsets her then she needs to have less involvement in it. I understand she has taken financial responsibility and that is great BUT they are not her kids and she is not their parent. You and he are and any dealings that need to be done should be between you two only. This was a very hard thing I had to learn over the last 10 years... I can not STAND my DH's ex-wife but I love my step-kids as my own so for my own sanity, my family's well-being and the well-being of my step-children, I let my husband deal with everything that has to do with her. I can't be a part of it because I get so frustrated and angry with her... so I just stay out of it. He is perfectly capable of dealing with her and I trust the decisions he makes. She needs to do the same for you.
Her NEED to not have him in your daily life is honestly not a reasonable request. He is the father of your children. He should be a part of their daily lives. I know that's not always easy but nothing about divorce is and it certainly isn't for the children. They have a need and want to have their father in their life. If YOU are able to get along with him and don't have a problem with him seeing them on a daily basis, that is wonderful and I don't even understand how that could possibly prolong the hurt... that doesn't even make sense. If they are able to see him daily and he's an important part of their life, they have LESS to hurt over. Honestly, I think the best thing would be for YOU to handle all communications with the father... you are trying to facilitate a great relationship between children and father and that is awesome. I commend you for that Mama
It is not fair to attempt to cut your children's father out of the picture because your DP thinks it is a good idea. Or to move them away and make their father inaccessible because she does not want to deal with him.
I am only going to address yout second question:
2) How do I support her need not to have my ex involved in our daily lives (mine or the kids' even), and do right by my kids?
Why would you support this need in the first place?
Aricha, I think your response has been the most helpful so far, from an emotional standpoint. DP has never been good at setting limits and enforcing them for herself. She has a long history to support this.
|How can I be a good mommy and support my kids' relationship with their dad, which is in need of help; and how can I be a good partner and support my partner as she grows in her role as step-parent and comes to terms with her feelings towards my ex?
|You say your DS is having a tough time with his father. The FIRST thing I would do is have him attend counselling.|
|When I read your posts, I hear you say that you want to do right for your children and help with their relationship with their father AND that you want to do right by your DP and validate her feelings concerning your EX. It's hard to do both isn't it? Your kids need to be number one. That doesn't mean that your DP doesn't count or isn't important. It means finding a balance between it all. One thing I've learned about manipulation is that you can really only be manipulated if you allow yourself to be manipulated.|
|Oh, I've heard of someone else who has banned any talk or discussion of the ex from their bedroom so that step-mom has an "ex-free zone" to unwind in.|
|We've been in the hole for so long and we're not making rent anymore|
She can't stand him, refers to him as a gaping black hole that sucks the energy out of me.
In a perfect world, I think both birth parents, if they're wanting it, should have equal access to their children after the relationship has ended. This would mean seeing him on a daily basis. DP is convinced that doing so would prolong the hurt they're feeling over the end of the relationship between me & their father and possibly perpetuate the idea that we might get back together at some point. She's also not convinced it's a good idea for the kids to spend that much time around their father....
It's come to a point where she loves me, and she loves the kids - calls them her own, even - but she despises their father so much that she's contemplated leaving us just so that she doesn't have to deal with him anymore. She really doesn't do well with negative people, and she's had to work really hard to keep her distance from them in the past - she "catches" their energy, and it changes her outlook and the way she deals with life in general. It's really not good for her mental health to be around him.
Right now, the only real option I can see - to save my relationship with DP and protect my children's long-term well-being - is to move out-of-state.
savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).
You say he's manipulative?
I'm sorry, but looking at this (especially these pulled sections), from the outside -- the only way you could know some of these things is if your DP were *also* being manipulative. It comes together with a message: "Cut him off or I'm leaving you." "Lets leave town with the kids, its the only way we can save our relationship."
It's a very junior high attitude. "Him or me. Choose." Even coated in new-age speak of "oh, its his negative energy, I catch it," its still, in the end, someone trying to get you (and the kids) all to herself by cutting the competition out. The fact that you know in excruciating detail how much she *hates* the father of your children, the fact that she's has in essence threatened to leave you unless she doesn't have to deal with him -- those are signs, to me, of some pretty heavy manipulation on her part. It may be cloaked in "oh, we need to communicate about EVERYTHING" language, it may sport the paint of progressive psychoanalytic talk, but its still manipulation.
Right now, you're squished between *two* manipulative partner (former partners). It must be an incredibly uncomfortable place to be, and what you need to do is make sure that you take care of YOUR needs and your kids needs, rather than catering 100% to either of them.
is it possible your son is picking up on your partner's dislike of ex? is there conflicting loyalty?
i'm sending good vibes towards your ex getting busier and more productive and for this tense, triangular pattern to break up. and good vibes to your new partner in the hopes that she can step back, unhook and come at the situation with you and your kids from a new angle. and for you, some letting go of trying to be the mediator, the pleaser to both sides. too many compromises/too exhausting.
tighten up the boundaries.
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