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Dreamy cloud's picture

I have been with my boyfriend now for over a year and our relationship is great when it comes to me and him... however, I am struggling to cope with the situation around his ex and his son.

they split up over 2 years ago now. My boyfriend has opened up to me about how mentally abusive the relationship was with his ex. And I have seen it first hand on her messages to him. She appears to hate him but seemingly uses their son as a weapon. My boyfriend is an amazing parent and I am sure she is to.. however if he doesn't do what she says or demands (money.. she dictates when he sees his child.. and she is always asking for more and more money.. she even asked him to come and empty the bin at their home and replace the boiler) my partner works full time and so does she, there is no civil court things in place , they just co parent themselves.. but she tends to want things her way or she can have quite a nasty tongue and tell him he's a rubbish dad .. the list goes on. 
my boyfriend and his ex both got a home together and when they split up.. she demanded she got to stay in the home with the child and demanded my boyfriends car.. to which he left it all with her. 
she has now wrote his car off, however, we have not heard what she has done with the car .. my boyfriend doesn't want to ask as he is worried that would cause an argument. And now she wants to move her new partner and his son in to the home that is legally my boyfriends and hers.. but she will not buy my boyfriend out the mortgage. Her partner is going to be renting his property out whilst he lives in my boyfriends home, also my boyfriend is still paying the mortgage to this day and child maintenance on top to and provides for his child when he has him. 

his ex refuses to drop off or pick up her child and even expects me to do the driving as she says "she doesn't pay for petrol to drive that far" baring in mind the journey is 30 minutes but she blames my boyfriend for moving 30 minutes away! And even guilts my boyfriend in to saying he doesn't spend enough time with his son, my boyfriend moved to where he works and still sees his son. my boyfriend rings his son every night that he doesn't see him, and she either doesn't answer or she answers and holds the phone and allows the child to be rude on the phone, she laughs in the background and the child laughs back with her and the child sometimes plays on his x box and ignores my boyfriend (his dad) even when he's trying to ask his son how was school. 

a lot of the time his son is sat in the changing rooms to a gym she takes him to whilst she works out at her partners gym and the child is left sat still in his school uniform playing games on her phone. The child is 8 this year by the way.


the child can be lovley and hasn't yet been rude to me, but a lot of the time is rude and disrespectful towards his dad, and demands from his dad, my boyfriend buys him gifts just to gain some affection from his son, even on Christmas Day bought him a bike and his son was not interested and looked at the other presents and said "I'm sure there is more presents here for me", his son doesn't give me and my boyfriend a second of privacy and is lazy and gives back chat a lot even when being asked to do simple things like getting a shower or tidy his toys away. The child also tells his mum that dad doesn't let him sleep in dads bed anymore, and one night my boyfriend took the bins out and I was still in the home and I checked on the child and he appeared asleep but he told his mum that dad had left him in the house alone which was not true. I have spoken to my boyfriend about this , but I know he guilt parents because of the things his ex says and she has no shame in making horrible comments to my boyfriend infront of his dad. The child back chats a lot and my boyfriend passes it off as "he's just a kid" but the child goes to his room and slams to door and tells me boyfriend to get out of his room when my boyfriend tries to put boundaries in place (my boyfriend doesn't shout as he doesn't need to but tries to be firm) and the child cries or gets an attitude and starts saying to his dad "oh your just a moody dad" 

the child cries when he has to eat at the table , as he has been so used to his mum letting him eat on the couch and he leaves food allover the couch and brushes it on the floor and leaves his plate on the couch. 

when my boyfriend has tried to tell his son it is bedtime his son argues and says no and argues why are we not going to bed .. to the point my boyfriend allows him to stay up.


we also got a puppy and the child was playing quite rough with the puppy and I asked him not to as we didn't want the puppy to get used to that and it could hurt him, and the child went home and told his mum that his hands where sore and dads puppy had done it, 


there is so much more going on but I just really need advice , my boyfriend and I love each other , but things are really hard for me to cope with the ex and the sons behaviour, sometimes my partner gets defensive over his son if I have made a comment about his sons behaviour and sometimes my partner cries and says he is aware of it and my partner hasn't put consistent boundaries in place as he feels guilt for lost time after the break up...

any advice.. there is lots more and I am writing this as I am really worried this is breaking down my relationship and I do care for my boyfriend and his son a lot , but I don't know how to help get things back on track and get rid of this toxic energy his ex still has

ESMOD's picture

You know he needs to legally and financially have things agreed upon.. otherwise she will continue to strong arm him into doing her bidding.

Also.. he needs to parent his kid.. being rough with the dog?  how old is the child again? and how long has he been throwing his hands up instead of parenting?

Dreamy cloud's picture

I know , the child is nearly 8. 

and I feel really bad for my partner because he is such a loving dad and a loving partner at that and he just wants to do best by his kid, but it's this guilt what holds him back and in effect all of this I feel is effecting our relationship, we have tried to things in terms of the child's behaviour like reward charts to do things like put his toys away and things for himself. His kid has good days where he is polite and lovely but more than not is this problem where he thinks it's acceptable to give back chat and argue with his dad to the point the kid appears to know best and doesn't want to listen 

Winterglow's picture

How can you have any respect left for your bf? He is allowing himself to be bullied and not lifting a finger to stop it. There isn't anything you can do to save this relationship so save yourself.

ndc's picture

Your boyfriend needs to gets a court ordered custody and CS plan and follow it. He also needs to cut off unnecessary communication with BM and stop giving her money that's not court ordered. And of course he needs to seriously up his parenting game. I think he could use therapy, too, to work on not being such a pushover. It doesn't sound like he's done the work to recover from his abusive relationship with BM (I mean, he's allowing the abuse to continue!), and he's not ready for a new relationship. I'd let him go. He is damaged goods right now and does not appear to be doing much to improve himself and his situation. Love is not enough.

Dreamy cloud's picture

Thank you , he has been doing different bits of counselling and it works really well, but as it was a private one that was costing more money and with the money he pays out to her and child maintenance (which of course that part is a must) but then on top of that he has to try and afford his own place to live .. it is hard to keep consistent with the counselling, I can honestly say he really is trying but then doesn't have consistency and I have even tried to help in certain ways , but no matter what we do or try to implement ,boundary wise,  whether that be with his child or her, somehow things go back to how she wants them, and my boyfriend gets stressed and upset and then he things I am nagging at him about the situation, don't get me wrong my relationship with him isn't abusive, he is lovely towards me, but I am writing these posts as I know he is struggling and he's a typical man that likes to pretend everything is all ok and just breaks my heart the amount of love my partner does give to me and his child but his child can be so disrespectful and speak to his dad the way he does. The child's behaviour is so rude and it's usually because he is "bored" but my partner and I are always trying to engage in activities with him, and sometimes he does and more than not he rolls around the floor making huffing noises and says he's bored or can't wait his turn in a game. It's hard work for my partner to try and get his child to eat at the table or get a shower or put his shoes on or anything simple like this without his child arguing and saying things like I don't want to and I'll do it when I want to it's my life .. there was a time his child could see my partner was putting shopping away and the child wanted his tea early and my partner said ok but to just wait a minute and the child responded saying "I want my tea now , your my dad so do your dad duties" 

another time we took the child to a water park and asked if he had a lovely time and he didn't respond and my partner said again to the child did you have a nice time and the child responded by saying "oh my god just give your mouth a rest" to his dad ! I was so shocked , my boyfriend really does try hard too hard infact , he's a loving boyfriend but all these frustrations is what is effecting our relationship because we are both stressed and we both work full time and when we do get a minute there is always some drama from her or the way his child is. It's 50/50 whether or not we are going to have a good time when his child comes round and it's gotten to the point I've felt I don't want to be there when his child is , especially with the puppy so I stay at my aunties house a lot . 

I don't think my answer is to just break up with him but I need advice as a couple what to do and someone to understand how I feel or tell me I'm wrong even ? I just don't want to feel I'm going insane and "nagging " .. my boyfriend tends to turn a blind eye to his child's behaviour unless I say something to my partner and then for abit his tries to put in boundaries and then they soon fade and the child continues to be the way he is and I worry will the child's behaviour only get worse as he grows up, I don't think the child's mums attitude towards my partner helps atall because she has no shame making hurtful comments infront of the child about his dad and even times we have dropped him off at the house and she has refused to come to the door and the child has got upset so we have asked the child to try the door handle and then once the door is open she shouts from upstairs , I wish she could just be nice towards everything now and get on 

Winterglow's picture

Does he realize that with no court order every last penny he has given her can be considered a gift and that she could take him to court to pay child support and possibly demand arrears?

ESMOD's picture

Being a loving parent means you do the nice things..but also the hard things.  Your BF is not doing the right thing by his child by allowing him to behave poorly without consequences.. he is not doing the right and loving thing to teach his child how to behave.  So. in short.. your BF may love his child.. but his actions (and inactions).. are not matching that emotion.

He also may love you.. but that doesn't mean that he is being a good partner when he won't set boundaries with the EX and with his child.  

Another thing you have to accept is that his EX does not have to be nice.. she may or may not have been as abusive as he is saying.. the texts and words you have with someone after a bitter breakup are bound to not be as lovely right.. you need to understand that there is a very good chance that your BF was a full participant in that relationship's downfall.. he may have blame there.. and may not be as perfect as you think.. and not as innocent as you are told.

So.. what do you all do now?

1.  He needs to learn how to be a more effective parent.  He should look into parenting classes.. or at the very least get a few books on the topic for some self study.

2.  You need some form of couple's counseling where you both learn to communicate your needs to each other respectfully and learn to listen as well.. and figure how to jointly resolve conflicts.  

3.  If he has a legal framework with his EX.. then she should have less control over things.. but if she doesn't want to answer the door.. that is her choice.. he can send the child in and just confirm that mom is there when he hears her call down the stairs... he may have to accept  things like that. 

4.  You may need to do some therapy on your own self to help you accept that some things are not changeable.. that you may have to learn how to pick your battles and hills to die on and allow that your BF and his son will not always behave in ways you want them to.. and certainly his EX is even less under your control.  Learn how to disengage from the drama and lean in when you can and want to only.

Dreamy cloud's picture

Thank you I think your comment has helped a lot in a positive action way, I know my boyfriend wasn't perfect in their relationship, I just didn't want to over disclose, I think it's a combination of they sound both as bad as eachother at that time but they have been split up for nearly 3 years now.. and each of them has moved on with new partners but she still holds this control and won't let go.. I don't even think her partner is aware of the nasty things she says still to this day.. and half the time my boyfriend just doesn't respond when she gets nasty , and I've seen the messages before myself and voice notes off her. It's uncalled for. She will drag up past and use this to manipulate the situation and threaten when he can and can't see his son if she doesn't get her own way.


the couples counselling is a very good idea thank you and all the other ideas you put forward.


thank you 

Merry's picture

Pretty simple as I see it. There is just no room for you in this relationship, unless you are willing to be a distant 4th place. BF, BM, child, you. 

Rags's picture

Your BF needs to find his balls, get to court, get a CO, and keep BM's nose scrubbed in the stench she perpetrates against him, against their daugher, and against you.

If he won't, he is no man and definately not life partner material.

IMHO of course.

WHat person of even single cell organism level of intelligence gives up their home, their car, empties the rubbish for their X, replaces the boiler for their X, and does not get a court order in place to stop their "abusive" XW from continuing to abuse them?


By extension, who would tolerate this from their mate?