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#1 of 25 Old 12-05-2011, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I just need to vent or something. I feel like I have no one locally to talk to about this kind of stuff and I'm sitting here crying and don't know how to stop being upset.

 

I am so pissed at my boyfriend right now. We live together with my 3yo daughter (full time) and his 6 and 8 year old kids (part time). The 8yo goes to karate and has a test tonight, so we expected her mother would show up for that and I decided I'd rather stay home because last time I showed up it was somewhat of a disaster (not totally the ex's fault...my BF would not introduce us and decided to just ignore the situation and pretend like his ex wasn't even there for the most part...it didn't help that she went to go sit with my BFs parents leaving no room for me and him to sit with the parents and kids, but that's another story). His 6yo HATES going to karate and ever since I moved in, loves the idea that he can stay home and have dinner with my and my daughter while my BF takes the 8yo to karate. We told him we'd do the same tonight a few days ago and his response was basically, "YAY!!!!"

 

So, I spent half the afternoon planning and cooking a meal I know he'll like (he's a picky eater and often ends up with PB&J) and planning some games and maybe a Christmas movie we could all watch together, etc...My BF was planning on taking the 8yo out after karate for some alone time with her.

 

Well, they walk in the door tonight and I can hear the 6yo saying he wants to go to karate and crying when he is told no. I find out that the ex told the 6yo she would sit with him at karate and of course he wants to see his mom and spend time with her over me and my daughter, so of course he's upset when dad tells him no, he can't go.  Now my choices are sit at home with a pissed off and crying kid because he can't see his mom (he has already seen her today after school), or let him go and have the last couple hours of my life be a waste since I'll be eating dinner alone (I told the BF to just take all the kids). Of course I did not make him stay home, but I feel really hurt (even though I know I should not) that he wanted to go to karate even though he hates it so much and really pissed that the ex made plans with her son during a time she knows we have the kids. On top of that, now my BF has to break his promise to his daughter about having a special evening just with her.

 

The two things that make me most angry though is one, the ex is not supposed to make plans with or for the kids when we have them, but she does so anyway. This is not the first time. In the past she has gone so far as to make a doctor appointment for one kid for something she didn't even discuss with my BF first and then call him up and say, "Here is the date and time of the appointment. Make sure you take time off of work to take our child to the doctor." WTF? How can she presume that it is okay to make plans for him, no matter what it is, before even knowing what their schedule is?? The appointment wasn't even for a time that we had the kids, so shouldn't it have been HER responsibility to take the child to the doctor??? As for tonight, she denies making plans with the 6yo, but she told him that she would sit with him at karate tonight and I feel like that IS making plans with him during a time that she is not supposed to be with them. Yes, it is okay for her to be at karate, but plenty of times in the past the 6yo has stayed home with me and she knows that.

 

The second thing that makes me mad is that my BF never stands up to the ex. He is always afraid anything his says she will use against him later on and he will lose custody. So tonight he just told her not to make plans with the kids when he has them. She said she didn't and that was that...he just rolls over like a dog. I want him to tell her that we know she told the 6yo she'd sit with him and that is what making plans is and that it is inappropriate! I wanted him to tell her to take the child to the doctor HERSELF the time she made the appointment, but he wouldn't. So many other times he just does not stand up to her. He lets her send nasty condescending texts and just does what she wants and when I make him say something, he is upset and mad and nervous for days afterwards making our lives miserable. I am so sick of it. It is a good thing I don't have any contact with her because I sure would not let her talk to me like that and I hate that she talks to him like that. But he doesn't want to upset her. Well F*** that. Why is it okay for me to be sitting her crying and upset and alone so that she doesn't get upset?

 

I don't know what to do about it though. What can you do if your ex keeps making plans with the kids like that?

 

Ally :(

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#2 of 25 Old 12-05-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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I can share my experience with you, which might give you a different perspective on your boyfriend's behavior. Obviously I don't know the situation with your family, but hopefully there' ssomething in here that might be helpful. 

 

I knew my husband when he was with his ex and was part of his circle of support while he was splitting from her. When she believed their relationship was coming to an end, she left the state with their daughter. She moved around a lot so he had a hard time contacting her. It was terrifying to him because he had no idea when and if he would see his daughter again, and whenever he was able to it was always at her say-so, and she set plenty of conditions on it. There wasn't much he could do besides document her behavior because there was nothing legally preventing her from doing whatever she wanted. So he lived in fear of pissing her off and having her cut off contact again. He jumped through whatever hoops he needed to in order to see his daughter because he knew that, ultimately, the most important thing was to maintain that relationship and ongoing contact with his daughter. 

 

It was terrible to see what contact with her did to him. He is a sweet, kind, loving person and an amazing dad, but somehow she made him feel like he was a bad person, that he was the cause of everything, that it was his behavior that caused things to happen the way they did. She convinced him, through her words and her behavior, that she was in control and that he needed to do what she said in order to see their daughter. 

The best thing I did for him was to be there for him, to remind him that he is a good person, a good father. All the time. Over and over.  For years he had someone making sure he knew that his worth was determined by how she felt, not by how he felt about himself. It takes a long time to recover from that, and it is much harder when you are terrified that doing what you believe is best for your child is the same thing that will cause your child to be taken from you again. It's nearly impossible to stand up from anyone when you know that your child will be paying the price. 


It's nine years later and he is no longer concerned about his ex just disappearing... but still he knows that when she gets mad about something, she will restrict contact as much as she can get away with, talk badly about him around their daughter, stop communicating about important issues like struggles with school. She will make his life as miserable as she can, and he is willing to take whatever she can dish out AT HIM to stand up for his daughter's needs or our family's needs. But even now, secure in his knowledge that he is a good person, a good father, an equally important parent, and a powerful advocate and decision-maker for his child... STILL, when making her mad will result in his daughter paying a price, he will absolutely hesitate while he weighs the benefits of arguing against the trauma to his daughter. I see it as a positive quality that he is willing to take the abuse or the trauma on himself if it means minimizing the impact on his daughter.

 

So I don't think about it as coddling her and upsetting me in order to keep the peace for him. I see it as putting his daughter's needs first. Sometimes that means he is minimizing the crazy that his daughter has to deal with, at least until he can minimize the damage. Sometimes it means I have to deal with schedule disruptions and disappointments and sometimes I have to figure out how to make things okay for the other kids when their lives are disrupted... and it is absolutely frustrating to have to rearrange my life for a woman I wish wasn't even a part of it, and to make decisions based on someone else's behavior. But we work together to take care of all the kids, and because my husband knows that I believe in him and trust him to make the best decisions he can in a bad situation, we can talk about it and I can share my feelings, frustrations, and ideas with him. Ultimately it is his fight to fight, and the best thing I can do for him is to offer him my opinion when it effects the rest of us, my perspective when it seems important, my advice when he asks for it, and my support in making the best out of bad situations. 

Sorry, I think that was probably far longer than I intended... hopefully there is something in there that is helpful. I don't know how long you two have been together, but it has been a long road for us, with LOTS of bumps and challenges along the way. It's taken us years to find what works for us, and we've had to be flexible and stay open and honest, sometimes in the face of huge emotional challenges. Being a stepmother is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is so much easier when I remember that the kids are innocent little people who are relying on us to work together to make the best life we can for them despite a challenging situation that they never asked for.


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#3 of 25 Old 12-05-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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As much as you feel she deserves a good talking to... it's not worth it.  If you let her actions dictate your feelings... it's going to eat away at you.  Just let it be. 

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#4 of 25 Old 12-05-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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hug2.gif  *sigh* I know how you feel! It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with, having my family life seemingly at the mercy of someone who does not have good intentions. It's having your situation overlap with someone's crazy past marriage that didn't work for a really good reason, and having to live with those problems disrupting the life you're trying to build. And as a pp said, sometimes there are really good reasons for allowing a certain amount of craziness, great reasons like having a relatively consistent visitation schedule, or controlling the level of nastiness your kids might have to deal with.

 

But boundaries are really important! I hope you guys can be on the same team on this, setting some boundaries around your family life so you don't leave too wide a gap for his ex to mess with your peace of mind.


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#5 of 25 Old 12-05-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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I know that your BF doesn't want to upset her and I take it that he is pretty non-confrontational? I get that, I am too. But he lives with YOU and the time that he has with his kids, your kid, and you should be his main priority. He should be looking at this as, "I don't want to have drama at home with my GF and OUR family." He really should tell her that the plans were made a certain way and that this is HIS time with HIS children and that you will be sticking with that.

 

Nasty text messages? Write them down. If he is so afraid about being taken back to court, document all of this. So if she throws it in his face about something he can say, "Ok, well that's fine. I've kept some great records over the past x amount of time." His ex will probably stop in her tracks. 

 

I know I may sound a little harsh, but I feel that most Exs still want control over the dad and this is their way of trying to exercise that. So just have him lay it out for her plain and simple, because it is. Her time with the kids is HER time and vice versa. She needs to respect that.

 

I don't blame you for feeling upset and overwhelmed. You are trying your best and that's all that matters. Things will get better, mama.hug.gif


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#6 of 25 Old 12-06-2011, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View PostAnd as a pp said, sometimes there are really good reasons for allowing a certain amount of craziness, great reasons like having a relatively consistent visitation schedule, or controlling the level of nastiness your kids might have to deal with.
 


Thanks everyone. I really do let the craziness go most of the time. When we get the nasty texts (and by nasty I mean condescending...she is too smart to do something like call him names or anything like that via text. She saves that for face to face which is why he now refuses to meet with her face to face without a recorder and she does not want to be recorded...She is a manipulator, probably has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and knows how to make him feel bad, usually by using guilt or talking to him as if he is a child) I am the one who often says to just let it go or give her what she wants this time since it's no big deal. But when what she does disrupts our time with the kids, I can't take it. First of all, the  custody is supposed to be 50/50 but if you look at it, the time they spend with us is mostly sleeping time while she gets them during the day more. My BF tried to fight for a different schedule but the judge said no and there is only one judge in town, so going back to court probably won't work. The schedule is ridiculous and the 8yo complains about once a week that she hates how she never knows where she is sleeping each night and she hates being bounced back and forth. The ex made the schedule so she sees the kids every day and we have to go 2-3 days in a row per week not seeing them at all. She has also made it so we never get the kids for a full weekend day so we are always rushing back in the middle of a family activity on the weekends to get them to her on time. We've requested that we change the schedule so she gets them one full day and we get them one full day, but she refuses of course.

 

My BF has been better about standing up to her. At first it was hard to get him to do so, but once he did a few times he saw it didn't cause WWIII or anything like that. She has to back down eventually or look like a crazy person and since they do everything  via text or email, we'd then have written proof of her irrational craziness. But he still would rather just do whatever she wants and that really bothers me. I know there are times where that is the best thing to do, but there are also times that is NOT the best thing to do. We've talked and talked and talked about this but he just doesn't get it. I've asked him to go to a therapist, but so far he hasn't done so. She knows how to play him and he lets her and that's what bothers me. For example, she'll ask him at the last minute to pick the kids up at 7am on a Saturday, the only day we get to sleep in. Most of the time I'm okay with that, but sometimes it's a real pain in the butt schedule-wise, so I tell him to just say no. That we can get them later in the day and she can find a sitter. He has a hard time doing it because then she will start in and say stuff like, "Well, I thought you wanted to spend more time with the kids and here's a chance for you to get them an extra 5 hours and you're refusing. Don't you love your kids and want to see them more?" He believes she is right, he is being a bad father for not getting them and then agree to anything she wants! We are constantly changing the schedule to meet her needs, but the moment we don't she goes off on him about how inflexible he is...never mind that she refuses to change the schedule for him or for the sake of the kids who are complaining about the schedule. But he won't even talk to her about that (the kids complaining).

 

It's just very frustrating to watch and to be honest, when he refuses to stand up to her, he becomes very unattractive to me :( I love him and his kids very much, but when he's like that I don't even like to look at him. Maybe that makes me bad or selfish, I don't know, but trust me, I feel bad about that too.

 

Ally

 

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#7 of 25 Old 12-06-2011, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csekywithlove View Post

 

I know I may sound a little harsh, but I feel that most Exs still want control over the dad and this is their way of trying to exercise that. So just have him lay it out for her plain and simple, because it is. Her time with the kids is HER time and vice versa. She needs to respect that.

 

I don't blame you for feeling upset and overwhelmed. You are trying your best and that's all that matters. Things will get better, mama.hug.gif



Thanks :) And you are right, she wants all the control and she gets it a lot of the time. This is what bothers me, him just giving over that control. Sure, she will get her way sometimes and that's fine. I just feel there are times she should not get her way and he needs to find a way to deal with her guilt trips better. I tell him all the time that he is a great dad, one of the best dads I know, but it's not enough. Her words still affect him very deeply.

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#8 of 25 Old 12-06-2011, 06:34 AM
 
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It is so frustrating, isn't it? Dsd's mom has done this a bunch of times, making appoitnments/plans during our time and it makes me so mad. But, dp feels kind of stuck about saying anything about it because if he refuses to take dsd to the doctors/school activity/extracurricular during his time, it just makes him look bad, KWIM? So even though dsd's mom is totally in the wrong for doing this, I just know that WE would be the ones who end up looking bad should we complain.

 

For doctor's appointments and the like, would your dp consider just caling the office and rescheduling to a more convenient time when the kids' mom makes an appointment and tells him to take them? He has just as much a right to pick the time of the appointment as their mom does, especially when he is reponsible for takign them.  This way, it is not that he is refusing to take them, just doing it at a better time.

 

I really do know how upsetting this can be-it is your life and it is so maddening when you feel like somebody else is controlling your schedule. Once dsd's mom signed her up for an all-day event on our weekend, which just so happened to be the day of an annual event we really look forward to doing as a family without consulting us at all. Of course, then dsd was excited about the event and her and dp ended up attending that while I took the other kids to the event myself. So not only did we miss out on our event, but we got the privilege of paying for half of the other thing! ugh. 

 

However, I do feel like it is important to pick your batttles. As I saide, we have the same issue with dp not really saying much about it, but I am learnign to let go of the little stuff as much as possible and save my outrage for times when it really does make a difference. I.e. I was reasonably upset about the above situation, but try to brush it off when her mom schedules something that doesn't really affect us.

 

Good luck!


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#9 of 25 Old 12-06-2011, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

 

For doctor's appointments and the like, would your dp consider just caling the office and rescheduling to a more convenient time when the kids' mom makes an appointment and tells him to take them? He has just as much a right to pick the time of the appointment as their mom does, especially when he is reponsible for takign them.  This way, it is not that he is refusing to take them, just doing it at a better time.

 


Yup, this is what I eventually asked him to do...but he was just going to take off of work and do it when she said originally :/ Also, it was for something that she really didn't need to go to the doctor for, but for some reason he feels he has no say in that. Her argument was that if she took the 8yo to the doctor, she'd have to pull the 6yo out of school too since she wouldn't get back in time to pick him up (the doctor is about 50 minutes away). Um, HELLO?! Why can't dad pick the 6yo up at 330pm instead of having to get the 8yo at 2pm and then driving her back and forth. I asked him to suggest that, but he wouldn't and I don't understand why. I feel like she did all this as a way to prove she still has control over him. If the child was really sick or had some serious or even semi-serious medical condition then it would not have been that big of a deal, but it was for a wart. I mean, why is it so important she go to the doctor right away and when mom wants her to for  wart on her foot that was small enough to be taken care of with over the counter medicine to begin with? It just seems like she plays these games to show she can get my BF to do the silliest things just because she says so....

 

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#10 of 25 Old 12-06-2011, 12:22 PM
 
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Ugh. As someone very much familiar with Batshit Crazy Ex's, I totally commiserate. :-S

 

The thing that stands out to me (and I was thinking about your post as I gave my 9 month old a bath!) is that you don't seem to be taking/being given the primary place in your family. It doesn't sound like there's a sense that YOU are here to STAY. Which, I think, you are. ;)

 

What follows is some advice. Please don't take it if it doesn't resonate with you. I'm projecting a lot of my own experience, and advocating some of the tactics that helped ME.

 

 

The first thing I would do is stop putting myself out for the two kids. Yes, you can love them and adore them -- but I would treat them as members of the family. Making a special dinner, planning games, renting a movie -- all these are things I would do for a good friend who was coming in from out of town. But I wouldn't normally do them for a 6 year old. The fact that you feel compelled to do so (other than saying you're a nice person) says to me that you don't feel confident in your place as their step-mother. Like you're still trying to win them over/compensate for the ex's nastiness towards you. I would give it up. Just be your wonderful self, make a dinner that *you* like. Kids can see who treats them well and who doesn't. If you hadn't put all that effort into the bonding night with the 6 year old, you wouldn't have felt so hurt about the kid wanting to spend the time with his mom at karate. Of course the ex shouldn't be honing in on your time -- but she's their mom and she likes to do that -- so I think the simplest thing would be to just make sure they feel welcome and comfortable with you, but PRESUME your place as an important parental figure in their lives.

 

The other thing is, I would walk right up to my in-laws if they were sitting with the ex at an event, and say hello (to everyone). Have a seat. Thank your MIL for that cookie recipe she emailed you. I know you don't want to start drama, but the ex isn't going to say you can't sit down. And if she does, she's shown her true colours and your bf can politely request (later) to your in-laws that they make a point to sit with you. You are the woman in his life. I think it would only take a few times of showing your 'dominance' (which is really just your place as your bf's current and long-term gf, it isn't even really about the ex) for the dynamic to start to change.

 

There's almost nothing we can do about crazy ex's. There's not even much we can do about our partners kow-towing to them (especially when there's kids involved and he's afraid of losing them). But it is possible to hold your head up high, with the confidence that you're the most important person in your bf's life, the mother of his child, a valuable part of his family, etc. I guess the question is, what will give you that confidence? I suspect that some greater commitment from him (for me, being engaged really, REALLY helped -- but this isn't the solution for everyone) would help.. Maybe you could talk with your bf about ways you would feel more secure. It can be small things -- a promise, a vacation, a joint bank account, a change in facebook status, a conversation with his parents, a conversation with his kids, a piece of jewelry (my ex wore a pendant that said 'TAKEN' but maybe that's pushing it, LOL).

 

And I totally get that "You're so unattractive to me when you let her push you around" thing. We (well, I) want our (my) partner to be able to protect us + our kids, and seeing them in passive positions completely derails the sexy protector image. But it's also often the things we don't like about ourselves that disgust us in other people. Maybe if you felt more secure in your relationship/position in the family, you would see his kow-towing as wily, necessary for the protection of his children (as someone mentioned above) instead of weakness. It could even turn out that you *help* your bf in appeasing his ex -- but happily, because you feel that you are on the same team.

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#11 of 25 Old 12-06-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svea View Post

Ugh. As someone very much familiar with Batshit Crazy Ex's, I totally commiserate. :-S

 

The thing that stands out to me (and I was thinking about your post as I gave my 9 month old a bath!) is that you don't seem to be taking/being given the primary place in your family. It doesn't sound like there's a sense that YOU are here to STAY. Which, I think, you are. ;)

 

What follows is some advice. Please don't take it if it doesn't resonate with you. I'm projecting a lot of my own experience, and advocating some of the tactics that helped ME.

 

 

The first thing I would do is stop putting myself out for the two kids. Yes, you can love them and adore them -- but I would treat them as members of the family. Making a special dinner, planning games, renting a movie -- all these are things I would do for a good friend who was coming in from out of town. But I wouldn't normally do them for a 6 year old. The fact that you feel compelled to do so (other than saying you're a nice person) says to me that you don't feel confident in your place as their step-mother. Like you're still trying to win them over/compensate for the ex's nastiness towards you. I would give it up. Just be your wonderful self, make a dinner that *you* like. Kids can see who treats them well and who doesn't. If you hadn't put all that effort into the bonding night with the 6 year old, you wouldn't have felt so hurt about the kid wanting to spend the time with his mom at karate. Of course the ex shouldn't be honing in on your time -- but she's their mom and she likes to do that -- so I think the simplest thing would be to just make sure they feel welcome and comfortable with you, but PRESUME your place as an important parental figure in their lives.

 

The other thing is, I would walk right up to my in-laws if they were sitting with the ex at an event, and say hello (to everyone). Have a seat. Thank your MIL for that cookie recipe she emailed you. I know you don't want to start drama, but the ex isn't going to say you can't sit down. And if she does, she's shown her true colours and your bf can politely request (later) to your in-laws that they make a point to sit with you. You are the woman in his life. I think it would only take a few times of showing your 'dominance' (which is really just your place as your bf's current and long-term gf, it isn't even really about the ex) for the dynamic to start to change.

 

There's almost nothing we can do about crazy ex's. There's not even much we can do about our partners kow-towing to them (especially when there's kids involved and he's afraid of losing them). But it is possible to hold your head up high, with the confidence that you're the most important person in your bf's life, the mother of his child, a valuable part of his family, etc. I guess the question is, what will give you that confidence? I suspect that some greater commitment from him (for me, being engaged really, REALLY helped -- but this isn't the solution for everyone) would help.. Maybe you could talk with your bf about ways you would feel more secure. It can be small things -- a promise, a vacation, a joint bank account, a change in facebook status, a conversation with his parents, a conversation with his kids, a piece of jewelry (my ex wore a pendant that said 'TAKEN' but maybe that's pushing it, LOL).

 

And I totally get that "You're so unattractive to me when you let her push you around" thing. We (well, I) want our (my) partner to be able to protect us + our kids, and seeing them in passive positions completely derails the sexy protector image. But it's also often the things we don't like about ourselves that disgust us in other people. Maybe if you felt more secure in your relationship/position in the family, you would see his kow-towing as wily, necessary for the protection of his children (as someone mentioned above) instead of weakness. It could even turn out that you *help* your bf in appeasing his ex -- but happily, because you feel that you are on the same team.

Svea makes some very excellent points. The one I really want to address is the fact that your BF needs to define to you, his family, and his Ex what YOUR place is in his life. You may not be married but you live together and shoulder parenting responsibilities--That's a family. Now matter how pissed his EX may be, YOUR place is beside him, not hers. Perhaps that would be the first thing I would be working on. His Ex will most likely never stop trying to make things uncomfortable for you and in turn for the kids. But maybe some of this distress coming from the 8 yr old is not just because she doesn't know where she will be sleeping at night. You and Bf have no control over what happens outside of your home/ time with them. But if karate is on his time, make it about you guys. I'm not saying start drama with Ex but she needs to respect that you are the one helping put them to bed at night, cooking for them, playing with them while they are in your home. If it were me I would ask BF how important I am to him. If his EX can sit with HIS parents but you all can't? That's sending the wrong message to the kids. It's also very insulting to your relationship with BF. Your relationship has status, make it so.
 

 


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#12 of 25 Old 12-06-2011, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh. As someone very much familiar with Batshit Crazy Ex's, I totally commiserate. :-S

 

The thing that stands out to me (and I was thinking about your post as I gave my 9 month old a bath!) is that you don't seem to be taking/being given the primary place in your family. It doesn't sound like there's a sense that YOU are here to STAY. Which, I think, you are. ;)

 

What follows is some advice. Please don't take it if it doesn't resonate with you. I'm projecting a lot of my own experience, and advocating some of the tactics that helped ME.

 

 

The first thing I would do is stop putting myself out for the two kids. Yes, you can love them and adore them -- but I would treat them as members of the family. Making a special dinner, planning games, renting a movie -- all these are things I would do for a good friend who was coming in from out of town. But I wouldn't normally do them for a 6 year old. The fact that you feel compelled to do so (other than saying you're a nice person) says to me that you don't feel confident in your place as their step-mother. Like you're still trying to win them over/compensate for the ex's nastiness towards you. I would give it up. Just be your wonderful self, make a dinner that *you* like. Kids can see who treats them well and who doesn't. If you hadn't put all that effort into the bonding night with the 6 year old, you wouldn't have felt so hurt about the kid wanting to spend the time with his mom at karate. Of course the ex shouldn't be honing in on your time -- but she's their mom and she likes to do that -- so I think the simplest thing would be to just make sure they feel welcome and comfortable with you, but PRESUME your place as an important parental figure in their lives.

 

Thanks. A lot of what you say does make sense and makes me feel like I'm not so alone. As for doing special stuff...I don't generally go out of my way to do extra special things for his kid, but we had both decided together that part of the reason the 8yo was acting out and becoming more aggressive towards the other kids was because she needed more one-on-one time, particularly with dad. She has even told us this in the past. So we decided to make Monday nights daddy/daughter night where he would take her to karate alone and then take her out for dinner or for a treat or even just to run errands, but it would just be the two of them. Then I would also take Mondays as a time to do something special with the two younger kids (his 6yo and my 3yo), particularly for his son since my daughter gets to be with me all day and some evenings alone. So Monday has just been designated a special night for kids and Tuesday night is generally family night where we all do something together. Other nights I do cook what I want to and the picky kids get PB&J.

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Svea makes some very excellent points. The one I really want to address is the fact that your BF needs to define to you, his family, and his Ex what YOUR place is in his life. You may not be married but you live together and shoulder parenting responsibilities--That's a family. Now matter how pissed his EX may be, YOUR place is beside him, not hers. Perhaps that would be the first thing I would be working on. His Ex will most likely never stop trying to make things uncomfortable for you and in turn for the kids. But maybe some of this distress coming from the 8 yr old is not just because she doesn't know where she will be sleeping at night. You and Bf have no control over what happens outside of your home/ time with them. But if karate is on his time, make it about you guys. I'm not saying start drama with Ex but she needs to respect that you are the one helping put them to bed at night, cooking for them, playing with them while they are in your home. If it were me I would ask BF how important I am to him. If his EX can sit with HIS parents but you all can't? That's sending the wrong message to the kids. It's also very insulting to your relationship with BF. Your relationship has status, make it so.
 

 

Yeah, we have talked about what my place is, but he is just very non-confrontational and so are his parents. Telling them we wanted to sit with them didn't really do any good. They just shrugged and didn't know what to do because the ex was already sitting there and there was no more room for us. We ended up taking their seats during an intermission when the ex and the 6yo got up to go to the bathroom. We squished together so they would still have some space, but she just got pissed and walked away with the 6yo to sit elsewhere. It doesn't help that he ended up sitting with her last night as well...it just hurts that I'm left home alone while he's sitting there at karate with his ex. He didn't speak to her, but I really don't think that's the point. On top of that, he is hurt because when they got home his 6yo started crying and said he misses his mom :( He was supportive and told him that's okay to miss his mom, but of course my BF is upset that his son never seems to miss him. I did tell him that in the future when we all have to be in the same room together, before I go he will have to talk to his parents about what happened last time and he will have to talk to the ex about my place in this family now. I am not super confident he will do either though, just because it will cause waves.

 

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#14 of 25 Old 12-07-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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Ya know... I felt the same way when my ex would show up to the kids' events on my time. With his girlfriend/fiancee/wife. But I sucked it up, because it wasn't about me. Or the ex. Or his SO. It was about the kids. Seeing their parent was more important than my feelings. And it should be the same with you. The dojo is a public place - Mom has EVERY right to be there, no matter whose "time" it is.

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You've obviously misunderstood me. I don't have a problem with her being there. I have a problem with her making plans with her son to meet him there (he is not in karate, just their daughter) during a time when my BF has custody of him. He does not usually go to karate when I am home because he prefers to stay home with me and my daughter. Most nights it wouldn't have even mattered that much, but this particular evening we all had very specific plans for each kid that we had planned out with them over the weekend. Him going to karate messed that all up. She has a right to be at the dogo, but she does not have the right to make plans to see her son when he is not in her custody without my BFs permission.  I didn't have a problem with her being there last time either...I had a problem with my BFs parents sitting with her and excluding us. On top of all this, she hides/takes all the school info that is sent home about upcoming events, so we never know when they occur until it's after the fact. She does everything she can to make sure we don't show up to public events.

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Ya know... I felt the same way when my ex would show up to the kids' events on my time. With his girlfriend/fiancee/wife. But I sucked it up, because it wasn't about me. Or the ex. Or his SO. It was about the kids. Seeing their parent was more important than my feelings. And it should be the same with you. The dojo is a public place - Mom has EVERY right to be there, no matter whose "time" it is.



 

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#16 of 25 Old 12-07-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Ya know... I felt the same way when my ex would show up to the kids' events on my time. With his girlfriend/fiancee/wife. But I sucked it up, because it wasn't about me. Or the ex. Or his SO. It was about the kids. Seeing their parent was more important than my feelings. And it should be the same with you. The dojo is a public place - Mom has EVERY right to be there, no matter whose "time" it is.



Sometimes it's not about sucking it up and dealing with it. When plans are changed by the BM it is most likely from my experience and what I have seen from other co-parenting relations, all about control. The BM still wants to be in control and needs to micro manage every aspect she can. Simple as that.


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You've obviously misunderstood me. I don't have a problem with her being there. I have a problem with her making plans with her son to meet him there (he is not in karate, just their daughter) during a time when my BF has custody of him. He does not usually go to karate when I am home because he prefers to stay home with me and my daughter. Most nights it wouldn't have even mattered that much, but this particular evening we all had very specific plans for each kid that we had planned out with them over the weekend. Him going to karate messed that all up. She has a right to be at the dogo, but she does not have the right to make plans to see her son when he is not in her custody without my BFs permission.  I didn't have a problem with her being there last time either...I had a problem with my BFs parents sitting with her and excluding us. On top of all this, she hides/takes all the school info that is sent home about upcoming events, so we never know when they occur until it's after the fact. She does everything she can to make sure we don't show up to public events.



 

 

For the school stuff,maybe your DH could get access to that through the school. He could call the school & give them his email to be added to the PAC mail-out list, and they should  keep copies of other notices at the office. Hopefully the school is close enough that it would be reasonable to pop in a few times a month to pick up notices.


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#18 of 25 Old 12-07-2011, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Unfortunately, we're pretty sure that is what this is all about. :( I have no desire to take time away from her, but DO have a desire to protect our time with the kids.
 

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Sometimes it's not about sucking it up and dealing with it. When plans are changed by the BM it is most likely from my experience and what I have seen from other co-parenting relations, all about control. The BM still wants to be in control and needs to micro manage every aspect she can. Simple as that.



 

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#19 of 25 Old 12-07-2011, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did just find out we can pick up the newsletter off the website...I just need to put reminders in my calendar about when it comes out so we know to check it. I'm also considering joining the PTC (Parent Teacher Circle) though I am not 100% sure I can yet since we're not married and I don't have any biological kids in the school.  But my daughter will be in the early learning program in September, so maybe it will be okay. So far we've always let her take the kids to school events on her days and not gotten involved even though a few times we've wanted to, but if she is going to insist on making plans to meet the kids at events when we have them, I don't see why we can't show up to all events from now on. The kids have wanted us to attend in the past.

 

As a side note, how do you handle parent teacher conferences? The ex rarely does any homework with the 8yo (even though she gets them after school every day), so I end up doing a lot with her which is fine, however I sometimes feel in the dark about how the whole homework thing works and what is the expected parent involvement, etc...There are times when she gets so crazy about not wanting to do homework or wanting us to just give her the answers I am tempted to tell her to finish it alone (and we'll check it together at the end) or don't do it, but my BF insists HE will get "in trouble" if she hands in incomplete homework and the ex will bitch at him. I plan on homeschooling my kids starting in Kindergarten, so I admit I probably have a harder time dealing with this stuff than the "normal" parent. All it does is make my BF feel like he either needs to give the 8yo the answers or let her ruin the entire evening by whining all night about homework.  Hmmm, maybe this homework tangent belongs in another thread! :)

 


 

 



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For the school stuff,maybe your DH could get access to that through the school. He could call the school & give them his email to be added to the PAC mail-out list, and they should  keep copies of other notices at the office. Hopefully the school is close enough that it would be reasonable to pop in a few times a month to pick up notices.



 

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#20 of 25 Old 12-07-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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My XH actually doesn't have visitation with the kids, but the school gives the kids planners which they write homework into, so whomever the kid goes home with would know what they are to accomplish that night/week. DH or I signs it every day, if XH had the kids every other weekend, I imagine he might pick them up from school on Friday & he'd see their planners then? 

 

My kids school has a website and on it, each of the teachers has an email contact. Your DH could email the kids teachers and request a conference with them at any time... maybe if there isn't a website/email isn't listed it's information he could get by calling the office.

 

It seems like teachers get a lot of experience dealing with all kinds of families, and are happy to communicate with familiar faces... I've seen a teacher come out to a child's home daycare provider and inform them if the kid has had a particularly bad day... I've had a little talk once or twice with one of my daycare kids teachers (eg: I couldn't find her after school one day & she'd been having trouble making friends that year... the teacher gave me the heads-up that she'd been playing with a certain kid that day so take it easy on her if that's who I find her with & maybe stick around on the playground if I can, because she's establishing a much-needed friendship) There are a few grandmas that volunteer at the school, especially when they're the daycare provider for a working mom. Teachers like to see that their students have a strong support system, and encourage involvement, I'm pretty sure you'd be welcomed into the community, especially since your own kid will be there next year.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#21 of 25 Old 12-07-2011, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This makes me feel better about going to the next meeting and possibly volunteering for photographer, thanks :) We do get the planner every day, but the ex often removes all the flyers and newsletters or she takes them and then puts them in the planner days or weeks later so half the stuff has already passed :/ We're still waiting for info about the 6yo being "star student" this week and it's Wednesday (supposedly parents  can come in for lunch or snack or something like that when a kid is "star student" We know the ex went on Monday, but when is dad supposed to go?). I should check the site and see if there are email addresses for teachers or if he knows if there is.

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My XH actually doesn't have visitation with the kids, but the school gives the kids planners which they write homework into, so whomever the kid goes home with would know what they are to accomplish that night/week. DH or I signs it every day, if XH had the kids every other weekend, I imagine he might pick them up from school on Friday & he'd see their planners then? 

 

My kids school has a website and on it, each of the teachers has an email contact. Your DH could email the kids teachers and request a conference with them at any time... maybe if there isn't a website/email isn't listed it's information he could get by calling the office.

 

It seems like teachers get a lot of experience dealing with all kinds of families, and are happy to communicate with familiar faces... I've seen a teacher come out to a child's home daycare provider and inform them if the kid has had a particularly bad day... I've had a little talk once or twice with one of my daycare kids teachers (eg: I couldn't find her after school one day & she'd been having trouble making friends that year... the teacher gave me the heads-up that she'd been playing with a certain kid that day so take it easy on her if that's who I find her with & maybe stick around on the playground if I can, because she's establishing a much-needed friendship) There are a few grandmas that volunteer at the school, especially when they're the daycare provider for a working mom. Teachers like to see that their students have a strong support system, and encourage involvement, I'm pretty sure you'd be welcomed into the community, especially since your own kid will be there next year.



 

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#22 of 25 Old 12-07-2011, 05:39 PM
 
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 I should check the site and see if there are email addresses for teachers or if he knows if there is.

 

 

We have DEFINITELY found it much easier to go directly to the teacher or school staff about issues. We always frame things very positively ("can you email a copy directly to me so Mom doesn't have to worry about passing it on?") and talk about how we are working to support my step-daughter ("She's going to be with us for Winter Break, is there anything in particular we should focus on while she is with us?"). There are also loads of ways we get the information without any special accommodations, like the school or activity website. I cannot *imagine* a teacher getting upset about your husband and you asking for a run-down on homework expectations so you can make sure you are supporting what the teacher is expecting. I would have the first conversation with both of you, or have your husband email and cc: you. If the teacher responds only to him (if she doesn't feel comfortable communicating with someone who isn't technically a parent), he can just forward to you any response. 

 

There isn't a reason not to attend school events or other events, but there is also a certain level of respect for the kids and how they feel having everyone there. For a long time we set things up so that my step-daughter's mom and I never attended things together (we took her to swim lessons one day a week and mom took her the other day, or we each chose our own activity). We didn't do it because we were trying to coddle mom, we were doing it to protect my step-daughter because we knew mom couldn't be cordial to me, even in public, and it would be really hard on my step-daughter... so I made the sacrifice until we were able to get to a place that we could both attend the same events. It's not a perfect system, and there are times that have been really hard for me to feel excluded from because mom can't be a grown-up about it, but when I keep my step-daughter as my primary concern it is easier to decide what to do, and I can feel good about myself and my decision. AND if there is something my step-daughter REALLY wants me to go to, my husband tells his ex, "FYI, [Daughter] really wants [step-mom] to attend this, she specifically asked her to please come and we want to honor that." She knows ahead of time when my husband or I will be volunteering at school so she can avoid those times/events if she wants to... and we make sure there are plenty of opportunities for her to volunteer on her own, too. Again, it's not because we are trying to avoid causing HER discomfort, it's because we know that if we take her by surprise she won't handle it well and that will be hard for my step-daughter.

It absolutely takes a certain amount of self-confidence on my part. I *know* that I have a special place in my step-daughter's life and that, just as no one can replace her mom or her dad, no one can replace me either. (I have parents and step-parents to whom I am very close, and that probably helps me maintain that perspective.) I'm very secure in my place in my husband's heart, and it doesn't really matter how anyone else treats me in relation to that because *I* know where things stand. AND... we've been together for 9 years and have weathered many, many storms together... I definitely didn't start out this secure and confident... it was a journey to get here, but one that was well worth the work. 


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#23 of 25 Old 12-12-2011, 05:01 AM
 
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Sometimes it's not about sucking it up and dealing with it. When plans are changed by the BM it is most likely from my experience and what I have seen from other co-parenting relations, all about control. The BM still wants to be in control and needs to micro manage every aspect she can. Simple as that.



Actually... it works both ways. I see just as many Dads do the same. So I don't think it's right to paint it all as Moms always wanting/needing to be in control. It's the nature of the beast that is a contested divorce/custody situation. Rarely is one parent the sole problem.

 

Is it "fair" to OP that she had plans that were ruined? Of course not. But... it still isn't about her. Or Mom. Or Dad. It IS about a kid who, quite understandably, craves attention from a parent who is not part of his daily life. I'm a CP. There have been countless times when I've had to shelve plans because Dad had something he suddenly decided he wanted to do with teh kids. Yes... it is annoying, frustrating, and makes you want to tear your hair out. But the kid doesn't care whose "time" it is.

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 It IS about a kid who, quite understandably, craves attention from a parent who is not part of his daily life.


Actually, she is the only parent who DOES see the kids daily. We are the ones that don't and he had just seen her less than an hour before the karate class. MY BF fought for a different schedule but here in this county, the mother is always favored. I know he's not a perfect saint, but she really is just all about the control and not that interested in what is best for the kids, especially if it interferes with her life. For example, she bitched at us for wanting to keep the kids until 10pm on Christmas Eve (that is how it is written in the divorce decree) because she says that will disrupt their schedule and be detrimental to their health and well-being, staying up that late because their bedtime is 8pm. Meanwhile, she requested to drop the kids off at 9pm on New Year's Eve...so how is that not also detrimental to their well-being even though it is an hour after their bedtime??? Because 10pm on Christmas Eve does not work for HER, but 9pm on New Year's eve does. It has nothing to do with the kids. She also leaves them home alone when she has things she needs to do and doesn't want to be bothered with taking them with her. The kids are 8 and 6. Unfortunately there is no law against that here in Wisconsin.

 

Anyway, I meant to come back here and thank you all because we had another control situation come up on Friday and thanks to everyone's advice here, I think we handled it very well. Basically, she wanted to force my BF to drop some books off at her house that the 8yo forgot (library books, not school books) at the last minute when we had plans. She laid the guilt trip on letting him know how sad and upset the 8yo is. He had asked her to pick up the books at his work because she literally drives right past his building on the way home and one of the kids can run in a get stuff from him, the whole process taking about 60 seconds. She said no. But, instead of just saying, fine, I'll drop the books off, he sent a text to the 8yo explaining that he was sorry but he had plans and could not do it, but she would be able to read the books on Saturday and Sunday when she is with us. When she got to our house on Saturday he also had a talk with her about being responsible for her things and making sure everything she  wanted at mom's house was in her bag. Meanwhile, the ex sends a text that says, "All humans make mistakes and I would never make someone waste their time and gas for a mistake I made". I knew this arguing to go on all night so we discussed it and he sent her a text back citing a date where she did exactly that (they both keep all their texts so I am sure she looked it up after he said it) and made him leave a family bbq to pick up the kids' shoes she forgot to pack in their bag. Then he said he had nothing further to say about the topic and to "have a good evening."  To my shock, she wrote back, "We will. You too!  :)  "

 

Although, to be honest, we're still kinda waiting for the backlash to occur... but I think it was worth it for her to see that she cannot control her ex-husband anymore and I KNOW from observation it is good for him to know he can stand up for himself and say no to her without  being a bad father.

 

 

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#25 of 25 Old 12-13-2011, 05:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PixieAlly View Post



Actually, she is the only parent who DOES see the kids daily. We are the ones that don't and he had just seen her less than an hour before the karate class. MY BF fought for a different schedule but here in this county, the mother is always favored. I know he's not a perfect saint, but she really is just all about the control and not that interested in what is best for the kids, especially if it interferes with her life. For example, she bitched at us for wanting to keep the kids until 10pm on Christmas Eve (that is how it is written in the divorce decree) because she says that will disrupt their schedule and be detrimental to their health and well-being, staying up that late because their bedtime is 8pm. Meanwhile, she requested to drop the kids off at 9pm on New Year's Eve...so how is that not also detrimental to their well-being even though it is an hour after their bedtime??? Because 10pm on Christmas Eve does not work for HER, but 9pm on New Year's eve does. It has nothing to do with the kids. She also leaves them home alone when she has things she needs to do and doesn't want to be bothered with taking them with her. The kids are 8 and 6. Unfortunately there is no law against that here in Wisconsin.

 

Anyway, I meant to come back here and thank you all because we had another control situation come up on Friday and thanks to everyone's advice here, I think we handled it very well. Basically, she wanted to force my BF to drop some books off at her house that the 8yo forgot (library books, not school books) at the last minute when we had plans. She laid the guilt trip on letting him know how sad and upset the 8yo is. He had asked her to pick up the books at his work because she literally drives right past his building on the way home and one of the kids can run in a get stuff from him, the whole process taking about 60 seconds. She said no. But, instead of just saying, fine, I'll drop the books off, he sent a text to the 8yo explaining that he was sorry but he had plans and could not do it, but she would be able to read the books on Saturday and Sunday when she is with us. When she got to our house on Saturday he also had a talk with her about being responsible for her things and making sure everything she  wanted at mom's house was in her bag. Meanwhile, the ex sends a text that says, "All humans make mistakes and I would never make someone waste their time and gas for a mistake I made". I knew this arguing to go on all night so we discussed it and he sent her a text back citing a date where she did exactly that (they both keep all their texts so I am sure she looked it up after he said it) and made him leave a family bbq to pick up the kids' shoes she forgot to pack in their bag. Then he said he had nothing further to say about the topic and to "have a good evening."  To my shock, she wrote back, "We will. You too!  :)  "

 

Although, to be honest, we're still kinda waiting for the backlash to occur... but I think it was worth it for her to see that she cannot control her ex-husband anymore and I KNOW from observation it is good for him to know he can stand up for himself and say no to her without  being a bad father.

 

 


I'm so glad that your BF took up for himself, his plans, etc. That is great, my dear! And yes there might be a backlash, but you have to start somewhere. 

 

It is very obvious that it is all about control their mother. It may never be easy but standing your ground is worth it in the long run.

 

I'm happy to hear that you are saving the text messages, writing them down with a time and date wouldn't hurt either just for documentation. You honestly never know when you will need it. My DSS's bio mom hasn't texted since October 27th and hasn't seen DSS since October of 2010. Our new notebook (yes we filled a 3 subject in a year) is barely used at this point.

 

Good luck! Definitely hoping for smooth sailing for your family!

 


Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

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