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BM Suddenly Being Nice

CastleJJ's picture

I have been on Steptalk for several years now. I found this site during our high conflict custody battle in 2019 and have been here ever since, across 2 different accounts. If you have followed my story, you would know that BM has always been super high conflict. She has always refused DH any additional time with SS, acts like DH isn't an actual parent, always claimed that SS wasn't comfortable to be with DH, played games of chase to hurt DH, etc. Things escalated when BM met her now wife, who took on the "other parent" role with BM's full support, both of them trying to strip DH of his role and authority. When BM is challenged, she rages and her communication becomes combative and abusive in the most professional way, attacking everything from DH, me, our families, our jobs, our lifestyles, our relationship, everything being inferior to hers. Her wording in her page long emails is always businesslike, but it is covertly abusive. Our attorney said it took reading dozens of emails to pick up the pattern of abuse and her manipulative tactics. 

Despite not getting the final resolution we wanted in terms of visitation and custody, we have accepted our loss with grace and made the most out of the shitty situation. We have followed the court order to a tee and not deviated from the court order at all since it was finalized in 2020. DH has pretty much responded to every email stating "Thank you for the update" just to prevent any additional conflict. Honestly, things have been incredibly calm and civil for the last 3ish years and conflict has been minimal, which I believe stems from DH and I just rolling over and giving up. 

SS11.5 is visiting DH and I this upcoming weekend for a long weekend - Friday to Monday. We decided to take SS to visit my FIL and StepMIL, who live an extra 2 hours from our house (we are 4 hours from BM). StepMIL had a heart attack a few weeks back; she is recovered and okay, but it makes us want to visit her even more. DH told me that he wanted to ask BM to change the pick up time on Friday from 3pm to noon, to help us get to FIL/StepMIL's earlier, like 6-7 pm, instead of 9-10pm. I was initially against asking BM for any changes, since I know how those conversations typically go; DH initiates the conversation, BM says "No," then BM uses the opportunity for communication to berate DH. I prefer to avoid BM at all costs. DH insisted, so he sent the email and I held my breath.

Believe it or not, BM was actually NICE. She explained that the change in time won't work due to her work schedule, said if it had, she would 100% agree to do it, apologized for not being able to accommodate the request, and offered for DH to pick SS up on Thursday if he wanted, and keep him until Monday as originally planned. DH and I were flabbergasted. Usually, it is BM proposing the schedule changes, always to only benefit her, but offering no benefit to us, and she always makes sure the times are exact, not offering a minute more. If she needs to move a pick-up time to earlier or later, she usually forces us to adjust the return pick-up time as well to adjust for the change. We are usually given exact intervals down to the minute, so the fact that she offered a whole extra night without trying to adjust the return pick-up time is weird. 

DH isn't able to accommodate her compromise because he had to submit PTO to pick-up on Friday and can't change it to Thursday this late in the game, but still. I am hesitant to believe that BM is changed or that she is more willing to coparent, given her history of terribleness for a decade. DH thinks maybe she is turning a corner, since there has been no true conflict for a few years now. Maybe it is my Steplife PTSD or anxiety, but I am more skeptical, which makes me feel bad, but BM has done nothing to prove she is more willing to coparent or respects DH. I still think it is because DH hasn't given her any trouble or asked for anything. I think if DH disagreed with her to her face/email or challenged her, the old BM would appear. Either way, I will take this as a win and enjoy our upcoming visit with SS. 


grannyd's picture

I hear you, Hon! With dragons like your SS's mom, one always waits for the other shoe to drop. Because she has been high conflict from the get-go and has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the top three BM bitches on this site, it's very doubtful that she's undergone a change of heart.

Is it possible that your SS has become proactive in wishing to spend more time with his dad?

CastleJJ's picture

No. I can say that SS is partially alienated, but in the most complex and weird way. SS has made it clear that despite the fact he loves us and enjoys seeing us, he will never rock the boat with BM to try to see us more or have more contact. SS will do whatever BM says and agree with whatever BM wants when it comes to DH and I. I also believe due to BM's PAS that SS does prefer BM over DH and I and values her opinion, relationship, etc. more than he does us. BM is home/parent to him, where we are more visiting/other relatives to SS. He doesn't act like DH is his parent or believe that DH has the same authority/role as BM because BM has always belittled DH's role as Dad and has always made it clear that DH is nothing compared to BM. He is polite and loving to us, but the way you would be an aunt/uncle or close family friend, not the way you would be with a Mom/Dad. There is definitely a difference in SS' relationships with them versus with us. It will be interesting to see what happens when SS is 18 and outside of a custody order. 

We don't know what made BM flip the switch and again, I still don't trust it to be genuine. Maybe SS is getting older and she has less desire to "keep him close." He isn't the cute and cuddly little kid anymore. Maybe BM is finally focused on her wife and her life and gave up on caring about us. Maybe I was right the first time and she is just "polite" because DH hasn't picked a fight with her in 3 years. Who knows. I'm not going to believe she has changed until I have more consistency in her behavior.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

You are right to not drop your guard. DH either caught her at a very good time, or she will be asking for something in the future. Although she couldn't accomadate the switch, I wonder why GF wasn't available? In any case, I hope your visit goes well.

CastleJJ's picture

She said that both her and GF adjusted their work schedules to accommodate the pick-up, which means both BM and GF made plans for after SS leaves with DH. 

Rags's picture

Gird your loins. More likely than not, there is something looming.

Though.... she may have learned that following the CO and not playing toxic harpy games is a much more calm way to live and maybe, just a little maybe, her statement was legitimate.

If she is being reasonable, then be reasonable.  Until it is time to not be reasonable which will be entirely up to BM. When she gets toxic, lock even more firmly into the CO and keep BM in line.

Hopefully, BM's shift is legitimate.

But... be wary.

Take care of you.

hereiam's picture

Never drop your guard, which you know, I'm sure.

The only time BM over here was ever nice, was when she was up to something or knew she was going to want something in the future. Pure manipulation, in her case. Always.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

As Professor Moody said, "Constant Vigilance!" I agree: BM wants something. 

CastleJJ's picture

DH has been begging BM for additional time with SS since he was born. She has always said "No" because she hates DH, thinks he isn't worthy, thinks he is an incompetent parent, etc. She has always told DH she would literally pick anyone else to take SS but DH. It's all about control. BM has plenty of alone time; she pawns SS off on her parents, her SO's parents, and their friends. SS is almost never with them. Even if she is happy with her SO, it wouldn't cause her to give DH more time or ask DH to "pull more weight."