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Where is the beginning? I've lost sight!

I Think I Am's picture

My SO & I have been together for 4yrs, cohabitating for roughly half that time, we moved into a rental we picked together in the hopes of fresh starts & new beginnings. Ahhh.. So much hope. More fool me. He has two teen boys, I don't refer to them as my SS's in real life but for the sake of clarity, they can go by SS16 & SS14.

SO & BM were together as teenagers & had SS16 when they were both his age, babies having babies, they broke up when SS14 was a toddler. I mention this because I think the fact that they got together young & moved across the country together to raise their family, is somehow significant to the way they behave & interact to this day, even though they haven't been together for well over a decade.

There is some definite unhealthy enmeshment that I really wish I identfied & understood earlier in our relationship. This is the area I struggle in the most, funnily enough, the kids aren't often the problem. Yet. We'll see if that lasts. My SO told me, from very early on, that he & BM see themselves as 'coparenting as friends'. Not my style at all but fine, I appreciated the honestly & was happy to go with the flow, see what that meant in practice. They do have a visitation schedule but BM still holds 'if we weren't friends...' over SO's head & he lets her. So, in practice, coparenting as friends is a bust. I think it comes down to questionable boundaries? As a person who is really in touch with her boundaries, I struggle with this & at times, I think I'm going nuts! Out of the four of us (BM & her DH, my SO & I) I'll be the only person in a certain scenario who thinks something is not okay/weird/unhealthy. 

I've lurked on this site enough to know that there are some straight talking individuals with opinions & I think I'm looking for advice but honestly, it's hard to know where to start or how to condense everything, I'm just hoping somebody can relate to me in some way.


I Think I Am's picture

I don't know if what I'm describing is boundaries or enmeshment or my being over sensitive but here are a few examples that may clarify a bit: SO & BM will swap weekends, not all the time but enough & I find out at the last minute, super inconsiderate. SO & BM decide on things like gifts for the boys, just as an example & although I think that's great, I'd like him to discuss those things with me too. We don't share finances or anything but I do feel like he should wanna discuss some of these things with his current partner not his former one. SO's brother has recently fallen on hard times & decided to move into BM's granny flat temporarily, he's always asking SO to come over & hang out but it's at BM's place... So to me, that just doesn't sit right. It's all a little, I dunno, a little much!? Chaotic.

tog redux's picture

Does seem like they take this "we are pals" thing too far. Hanging out at BM's? Nope. Changing weekends, I agree is inconsiderate and affects you - should be discussed with you. Gifts? Eh, that's his decision, or theirs if they are combining for a big gift. My DH never talked to me about gifts unless he was out of ideas. Although, he didn't talk to BM about them either. 

I Think I Am's picture

I agree - there's friendly & then there is friends. Before I came along, SO & BM's DH had struck up a friendship, so that made three & I think they all expected me to square it off & make it four but SO picked the wrong gal because that's just not me. I can do friendly - friends is too far.

hereiam's picture

So, he's basically carrying on with BM, as if he didn't have a partner. Doesn't take you into consideration, swapping weekends without even talking to you about it. This would be a no go for me.

After 4 years together, I would think he would be discussing things with you, even gifts for his kids. It's just what partners do. Even if it doesn't affect you or your finances, after 4 years it's kind of wierd that he doesn't even talk to you about it.

If he wants to operate as if he is single, he should have stayed single.

BM still holds 'if we weren't friends...' over SO's head & he lets her.

This is a man who is more concerned about pleasing his ex than he is about pleasing his current partner. Again, if he wants to bow down to her, he should not be with you. It's not right and it's disrespectful.

And, I hate to tell him this, but they are not friends if she is holding that over his head, using it as some sort of threat.

Is she in a relationship? Women like this either want the man back, or they don't necessarily want to be with him, BUT they don't really want him to be with anybody else, either. They still want to be the number one woman in his life. So, where do you think that leaves you?

I see that I missed that BM is married. Still sounds like she wants to be the number one woman in your SO's life.


I Think I Am's picture

I think I expected a change to naturally occur over the years for, for us to become a team & his codependency (not sure if this is the right word) with BM to fall away. It's my bad, a little bit, I shoulda made my expectations clearer cos he does not read between the lines well.

When I tell him there sometimes doesn't feel like there's room for me, cos she fills all the gaps, he is super perturbed & flabbergasted & swears he thinks of me first in all things. He's a smart guy - so why is he so dumb!? 

She's married, recently but they've been together for longer than I've known SO, I know there's no romantic feelings there but you're spot on that she wants to be the #1 person in his (& everyone elses) life.

Is he a lost cause? Or will I regret asking that question! 

hereiam's picture

When I tell him there sometimes doesn't feel like there's room for me, cos she fills all the gaps, he is super perturbed & flabbergasted & swears he thinks of me first in all things.

Haha! Does he think YOU are stupid? He doesn't think of you first in all things, and he is perturbed that you realize it and have called him out on it.

Also, the fact that he was perturbed and flabbergasted just shows that he really doesn't want to change things with BM. His reaction would have been different and there would have been a discussion about your needs.

Since the change did not occur naturally (as you had hoped), it will be an uphill battle, with resentment on all sides.

I Think I Am's picture

I fear you may be right that he doesn't want to change things with BM, or at least, he has no idea how to. We discuss future plans, moving out of the city, once YSS14 gets older & I get the impression he wants to change the status quo with regards to BM & everything that goes on at her place but the only way he can, is indirectly & I'm not sure that's good enough for me. I'm not sure that makes sense. Thank you for your feedback, it's helpful, even tho it's not easy to hear.

Harry's picture

You don't like it and you come first. People who had a sexual relationship can not go back to "friends"  Once you cross that line you are forever lovers.   Don't believe the BS you get , that we are just friends. Only people carry one these relationship say it's just friends,  no body else feels that way,

Movingonisbest's picture

I think your significant other is disrespectful and lacks boundaries. Men who think they can have a new relationship while making an old one the priority are selfish. I wouldn't settlement for him or his disrespect.