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Boyfriend ex wife moving with Adopted Daughter

Wanderlust24's picture

Hi, I’ve been dating my BF for almost 3 years and lived together for 1 year now. Him an his ex adopted his 6yo daughter who lives week on/off with us. Even though they have share custody his ex is always the one  dictating how, when and where things are done when it comes to his daughter. She and I have never had a conversation but of course I’ve always been impacted by her decision making. 

My relationship with his daughter is not great, maybe I am too strict, maybe he is too soft. She is a nice and sweet girl but we are struggling because there is not a clear system of enforced rules, consequences and rewards when she is with us. I tried to establish that with no luck. She cries and complains whenever she is told to do something she doesn’t want (homework, bath, bedtime). The tantrums are escalating and my boyfriend rarely gives her consequences for her behavior.  She knows how to manipulate the situation an make my BF feel guilty every time crying saying things that will make my BF just give up and because of it she always ends up getting her way. We have talked about it several times but nothing changes. This has affected our relationship quite a lot. We are in our mid 40’s and I don’t have kids of my own, honestly I’ve never been fan of young kids, I don’t know how to talk to them or appeal to them.

 A few months ago his ex wife told him she is moving away because of work. We have a house we love, we both have our lives and jobs here but he wants to move the follow them. He refuses to give her full custody and see her daughter once a month and on vacations, I do understand but I don’t want to move and I told him that. I am not sure if I am being too selfish but my life, my friends and part of my family is here, plus I really don’t like the city they are moving to. I love him and don’t want to loose him but I feel if I move We will be living a life directed by his ex and daughter and eventually the resentment will destroy our relationship. Thoughts? Comments? Thanks for letting me vent :) 



Harry's picture

You can not be in a relationship where the SD comes first.  You can’t spend your life chasing  the BM around the country.  You are going to give up your jobs and home. To follow SM. Just for her to move again.  If your SO what to chase BD let him. She is more important then you. You have to be number one in a relationship, 

justmakingthebest's picture

Yes he can, and if the BM insists on moving he can wind up with full custody. Make sure that is what you want to do as well. 

twoviewpoints's picture

" I love him and don’t want to loose him but I feel if I move We will be living a life directed by his ex and daughter and eventually the resentment will destroy our relationship."

You already live a life directed by his ex.  You said so right here:

". Even though they have share custody his ex is always the one  dictating how, when and where things are done when it comes to his daughter."

And it sounds as if he is going one way or the other (with or without you). If you manage to 'force' him not to move, it will be him who ends up resenting you. As one comment above states, he could try and stop the removal of his daughter through the courts. He can't stop BM from moving but in some instances a court will rule the child must remain where she is already established (meaning your boyfriend would receive fulltime physical custody and it would be BM who gets solely the long distance visitation schedule of holidays and some summer).  

Are you willing for him to go to court and request his daughter remain. Are you willing to have the child 24/7 likely 80 to 85% of the time?  Doesn't sound like it as you say you struggle with the current 50/50. 

This isn't really so much about him wanting to be with BM or follow BM everytime she gets a job opportunity move. It's about his desire to be involved and to truly be a hands on parent to his daughter. He made a very conscious decision and choice to have this child in his life (she wasn't an oops baby nor was he 'trapped' blah blah). He adopted this little girl and wants to be her father and be active in her life. So yes, he very well may decide to move and follow his daughter during her minor years instead of choose to put his girlfriend ahead of the child.

Right or wrong isn't really the question. *We* here could all go on and on about how he should put his relationship with his girlfriend (who is his live-in SO) first, make her the priority et. But none of it matters as to what any of *us* say or think.  The man is going to ultimately make his own decision, and yes, he may be willing to leave you behind. 

In the event he does indeed decide he is going, you need to be prepared to make the best decision for yourself. Sometimes love isn't enough. Following him may not be the best decision for you. 

So I suppose my advice is to be sure you go into this eyes wide open and be sure you are making the decision that is in your best interest. Even if that means he goes and you lose him. You've already made it pretty clear here you know you will resent the kid if you go. You've already made it pretty clear a move is too much on your life and the way you desire to live it and where to live it. 

Review the relationship. Review your importance or lack of as a priority in his life. Keep in mind this child is six and it's many years before she ages out and is an adult (this kid might live in half a dozen more areas before she reaches eighteen). Make a list of what you view as important for you to be happy (not you and BF, but you). How did you picture your life five years from now if BM had not announced she was moving? Are you climbing and advancing in your current job, will the new area hinder this type of advancement? 

In other words, now is the time to be selfish and think of yourself. If this move is not in your best interest but he is going anyway, have the strength to let him go. Because, again, love is not enough and no man is worth selling yourself short for. 

The best of wishes for you. May you make the right decision for you. You must put yourself and your needs ahead of any man... if you don't no one else will. 


futurobrillante99's picture

I agree with what everyone else said. If you go with him and life continues to be dictated by the ex wife and his daughter's needs, YOU will be resentful. If you succeed in having him stay with you, HE will be resentful. And if HE succeeds in getting full custody of his daughter, YOU will not like it and will resent SD.

I do want to point out that the title of your first post points out the daughter is ADOPTED. Why is this an issue? If the child is legally adopted, she is HIS daughter - no qualifiers necessary. She not somehow LESS his daughter.

Sorry, it just irks me. I have a good friend from high school. Her girlfriend was in a long term relationship with a woman who had a son and daughter. For years, this girlfriend helped raise them. She considers them her son and daughter and they are young adults. Because the girlfriend has poor boundaries with her ex, my friend harps about it to me but always adds, "and they aren't even her kids!!" It drives me bananas. Even if she didn't legally adopt them, she loves those kids. She didn't have any of her own, and I know there are a few dads here who raised former stepkids as their own and the new wives have a problem with that - I get it. In this case, I see it as the girlfriend haven taken an important role in the life of those 2 kids and they are her family. I think my friend needs to address the poor boundaries and stop complaining about the kids not being her REAL kids. Ugh.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I do believe that if they're moving away, you can actually file a petition... Then she either picks losing custody, or she doesn't get to move. Ordinarily I believe it goes in favor of who is staying the the "child's norm" environment. 

I wouldn't move for her. She'll just decide to move next month when it doesn't work out, and you all shouldn't be going unemployed or disrooting yourselves on a whim of an ex.

ndc's picture

You are correct when you say " I feel if I move We will be living a life directed by his ex and daughter and eventually the resentment will destroy our relationship."  That is exactly what is likely to happen.

This is a situation where you *need* to be selfish.  No one else in this scenario is looking out for your best interests.  Your SO is clearly thinking of himself and his daughter (and maybe his ex).  He's not considering your wants and needs.  You need to decide what is right for you, and do not allow anyone to guilt you or tell you you're being selfish, no matter what you choose.  And of course one of the considerations is the long term future of your relationship with your SO.  Do you want to be married to him?  If you do, there is no way I would move away from my job, friends and family to be with him without that commitment.  If not, you still need to consider the possibility that resentment will ultimately kill the relationship, especially with his daughter and your vastly different parenting styles.

Good luck - this is a tough one.

ESMOD's picture

This is really not too different from someone that is dating someone that gets a fantastic opportunity across the country.  Either you are up for moving with him this time and potentially more in the future (for whatever reason.. kid, job etc..) or you are not.  It sounds like you like your life exactly where you are and don't see any benefit for yourself for moving.  This may be one of those situations where a long distance relationship might result.. or you might revisit this relationship and decide to find someone who is able to make big life decisions with your feelings involved.

(Is it at all possible for him to file for full custody since mom is trying to move away?).

justmakingthebest's picture

This is a really good point. If this was about a job opportunitiy for your SO, would you go? If SD wasn't in the picture at all, would this be an option. 

If the answer is yes, you really need to think about what you are asking of him in giving up his daughter, If you are the reason he doesn't go with her, he will resent you. If you go but hate SD, you will resent him. It isn't worth it. 

If you live in SD's school district and SO has family and BM has family, there is a good chance he could win full custody if BM insists on leaving. However, he has to act NOW. 

Wanderlust24's picture

Thanks so much! Really all your comments have helped a lot! We talked about fighting for full custody but we don’t think is in the best interest of the girl to be separated from her mom either. She needs her mom, If later when she is older she decides otherwise it has to be her decision not ours. 

I am still not sure what to do but all points out to be that he will go and I will stay. We are not sure how this long term relationship will work or if it will work at all. I asked if he is willing to consider seeing her 10 days a month instead of the 14 he sees her now and then make up the rest of the days during summer so we can have a more “normal” relationship. We would be 4 hours apart (driving) He is willing to try it but doesn’t know if the ex will agree to this terms. Does anyone know if he could fight for that in court and have a chance of winning?