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Am I crazy...or is this normal?

AshAsh1027's picture

So I am newly married. I have 4 children of my own ranging from 2-12. My new husband has a 5 year old daughter with his ex wife. They were divorced about 5 years ago. He was in a relationship for 1 1/2 years after his divorce. The ex wife lets the ex girlfriend see his daughter. My husband is NOT okay with it at all. And it seems she deliberately does this. The whole situation seems extremely detrimental to my step daughter in the future. And it causes confusion for primary concern as a parent of my own is for my children's welfare and safety. And while the ex girlfriend may care for SD I don't think it is healthy for them to continue a relationship. It is a constant fight and struggle. And my SD has recently started saying, "I have two step moms." The ex wife even makes plans during My husbands time with his daughter. Which during Thanksgiving caused a huge fight between all of us. Including my husband and I. With Christmas a few weeks away now I'm dreading the holiday because it is nonstop phone calls from his Ex wife. I simply just don't understand this behavior and why his daughter is seeing his ex girlfriend. Any advice on this issue? Is this normal and okay for a child?

Stepped in what momma's picture

Monkey, kind of harsh, if he has two girlfriends and is now married all over the last 5 years it really doesn't seem like a revolving door IMHO but I digress.

OP I would be upset if this was happening to me but you can't control what the BM does or who she allows the kid to see. My approach would be for you and your DH to never say anything about it again bc once BM knows she has your number she will use it. Once you take that power away it sort of takes the fun out of the game for them. If it was me, I would ignore BM and ex hag, caulk it up to the more people that care about the kid the better. BM is probably just using her as a babysitter anyway.

AshAsh1027's picture

Step parenting is hard enough as it is. Without added stress from BM and ex Girlfriend! I guess it hurts my feelings to the extent that I feel like my bonding with SD only occurs on my husbands time and it makes it difficult for SD and I to bond. I guess I feel like BM makes ex girlfriend more of a priority than myself who is married to BD. For example, I was suppose to go get SD for Thanksgiving, meet half way which is a 5 hour drive, husband was suppose to go and got called out for work the night before. I still was willing to go get SD, when he called BM to make sure of the meeting place he told her that I would be coming to get her. BM flipped said no I could not come and get her. She would call someone else to come meet her to get SD, and we would have to pay for gas. My husband said absolutely not. If she was going to do that she could pay for gas because I was willing to go get SD. When she couldn't find anyone she suddenly said I could come get her. At 11:15pm I find this out after I had already made plans for that day. And wasn't able to go any longer to get her. Then I was the bad guy. Well one of the people she tried to go get her was the ex girlfriend. Seems like I won't ever get past the ex girlfriend. It just seems outlandish to me for a mother to behave like that. But maybe that is just me.

JasmineG05's picture

Tough one. Unfortunately the kids are always the ones to suffer...I can't say I blame the ex-gf for wanting to still be in the daughters life. She broke up with your husband, not your SD. Although I don't know how I would feel in your situation, I don't think it's fair to remove the ex from your SD life. Especially if her intentions are pure. Just my opinion.

Rags's picture

If your DH has a Custody/Visitation/Support CO with a stipulated schedule for time with his daughter WTF is he doing letting BM say shit about anything regarding his time with his kid?

If BM wants to give part of her kid time to your DH's XGF that is fine but BM has not a F-in thing to say about what your DH does with his time with his kid and he damned sure does not have to do anything he does not want to do with his kid time. Why the hell does he tolerate the toxic calls from his X. That is what call screening and V-mail are for.

smh :?

AshAsh1027's picture

He does not. But when he doesn't, she makes our lives hell. During Thanksgiving break we actually turned our phones off on multiple occasions because it was getting out of hand. I understand that she wants her daughter to have relationships with people but it makes it hard for me to bond with SD when BM is constantly allowing the EX to be involved. It's confusing for a 5 year old. And seems it would be far more detrimental to her later in life when the EX finally moves on and forgets about SD. IDK maybe I am wrong for thinking this.

Rags's picture

So.... the obvious next step is for DH do drag BM's ass to court and get a visitation order in place then tolerate no encroachment on his time with is kid.

BM is missing the message that she too is an X and when DH finally steps up and gets a visitation order he can hand BM her ass on a silver platter if she so much as thinks about interfering in his time with his kid.

IMHO this situation is nothing more complicated that DH grabbing BM by the short and curlies and dragging her to court to get a visitation order and have a Judge tell her to STFU and stop interfering and manipulating dad's time with his kid.

I would not give this any more thought than that. BM obviously does not give a flying rat's ass about her kid. She is a PASing manipulative morong. DH and you need to treat her as such.

Have fun.

AshAsh1027's picture

BM has 3 kids with 3 different guys. And as always had a new person in the kids loves. All of the kids think they have an enormous amount of parents. Which for any child has to be confusing! To me it seems outlandish to put a child in a situation like that. And it furthermore complicates the holidays and our visitation with SD, while ex wife from 400 miles away makes plans for SD and ex girlfriend on our time. The reason my husband does not agree with visiting the ex girlfriend is because she hangs with a rough crowd and has been known to use drugs. BM doesn't seem to care and more so seems to use just about anyone to take the kids when it is convinent for her. BM and I do not get along, at one point we had great communication until she started calling me to rant about my husband. Which I kindly asked her to please not call me about those things and to be respectful to my relationship. I do not want to hear her talk bad about my husband, whom she also calls constantly every time the wind blows a different direction. When I asked her not to call about things like that I told her to feel free to call me about SD any time I would love to hear about those things. She has since turned on me. Prior when she did call she also would talk bad about the ex girlfriend. And now suddenly they are friends and SD is completely confused. My concern is the ex girlfriend has no obligation to SD and with her past it seems risky to me.

Stepped in what momma's picture

Don't talk to BM at all, nip it in the bud and stop because you will never win that battle.
Your concern about ex girlfriends past should have been your DH's concern when he was dating prior said girlfriend so if anyone should have been careening people in SD's life if should have been your DH so that issue is a DH issue and not a BM issue. Why would he introduce anyone to SD that was "risky"?

AshAsh1027's picture

She cheated multiple times while he was out of town working. The drugs became an issue after they broke up. And I am very good friends with one of her most recent ex's, and it's just not a good situation now.

AshAsh1027's picture

Well it absolutely does take away from my time as well. And it is not that I don't like the EX I just find it hard to understand why she is involved with a child that she clearly made choices in a relationship that caused her to no longer be with the father.

happystepmum's picture

No it does not. Any more than you take time away from her mother. The child has already lost her family as she knew it, been through the trauma of her parents divorcing, she shouldn't have to lose another person she loves because the adults in her life stuffed up - again.

twoviewpoints's picture

Does the CO have ROFR ? If so, BM had every 'right' to inform you/Dad since he wasn't going to be home, the child wasn't going to be picked up by you (or anyone else). Visitation and holidays are for the parent, not the stepparent.

It's not BM's place nor responsibility to help you and SD bond. You bond on Dad's time in Dad's home. How often does Dad have regular non-holiday visitations?

Seems strange Dad now has a problem with his exGF. He was involved with this exGF for 18months and allowed his little one to be around her enough to 'bond'...but exGF is bad cause she hangs with rough crowd and does drugs. Sounds like an excuse to try and control.

Livingoutloud's picture

BM can let her child see whoever on her own time. It is really not your business. If she interferes with dads time then he should take her to court. You shouldn't bother answering the phone when BM calls.

hereiam's picture

You are right, BM is doing this deliberately.

You helped create this situation. You befriended BM, she overstepped, then you overstepped, and now BM has befriended the ex girlfriend to get to you and it's working. Ignore it, she will eventually get bored when she sees that it's not getting under your skin.

On BM's time, you and your husband cannot dictate what she does or who she lets her own daughter see, anyway. If she's putting her in a dangerous situation, your husband needs to take legal action. If she's making plans for the girl on your husband's time, then your husband needs to take a stand.

ChiefGrownup's picture

Do yourself a favor and stop worrying about "bonding" with SD.

Let your dh sort out his own mess. Do not befriend BM. As you've already learned, she will trash your DH and then she will turn on you. Now she's taunting the both of you with this ex-gf nonsense.

She will continue to do this while she gets a rise out of you and DH. If you remove yourself from caring, she will more quickly find a reason to feud with ex-gf.

To save your own sanity, let your dh fight his own battles and guard your heart around SD.

still learning's picture

Weird for BM to do that and add even more confusion in the picture. I could see the ex gf having more of an "Auntie" role but definitly not a SM. There's really nothing you and DH can do about it when SD is with her mother so I would just ignore the whole situation and focus on you and DH's parental role when she's with you. If SD brings her up just say "uh huh" and change the subject. I have a feeling that this is temporary and the ex gf SM relationship may fizzle when ex gf moves on.

chamomileflower's picture

This sounds really hard Ash!

Regardless of BMs passive aggressive behaviour, the main person who is not stepping up to the plate here is DH. HE is the dad, and HE has to teach the BM that no means no, his time is HIS time, and she can't interfere. In short, he needs to learn how to enforce boundaries! (hopefully boundaries that you and he have worked out together).

Would it also be possible to get some kind of agreement in place that expressly stipulates that you, his WIFE (for goodness sake), are legally authorized to pick up/drop off SD whenever DH can't ? Seems reasonable, hopefully the court might see it that way, too.

As for the ex-girlfriend, your SD is just 5, right? So ex-girlfriend has been around for 1/3 of her life, give or take, that's significant for her age....but her role now (whatever the little girl calls her...pick your battles! that one will shift over time...) should be (and has been, just in terms of time at least) as an Auntie, and it's nice for little girls to have aunties if they're not toxic. Maybe that is a conversation you and DH should have, where you both talk about why it is/isn't a good idea, negotiate a solution...centering the best interests of the child. (Does she enjoy those visits with ex-GF?)

I'm amazed how many of us-- SMs-- wring our hands for years and then are forced to detach (which relieves some stressors but invokes others...) b/c the DHs/SOs are not taking a stand/standing up for their kids & current partners, many of whom do a lot if not most of the caretaking of THEIR children...

I imagine these (usually) guys feel caught in the middle, but they have chosen to be with their new partner, asked/expected their new partner to help raise their children, and so they need to be backing that new partner (provided that's also good for the children).

a possible script:
BM: oh, BTW, ex-GF is coming over at 3 to pick up SD
DH: sorry BM, this is MY/OUR time. We have family plans. You can arrange whatever you like on your time.
BM: But she's only free today and really really wants to see SD.
DH: well I'm sure if she wants to see her that much, then she can find time during YOUR scheduled time. Gotta run! Talk later!
(either shifting the topic, or ending the conversation is important at this point!)

I know, real life is always more complicated than a script, but maybe DH hasn't worked through actual ways of managing the conversations (and therefore the arrangements) with BM, and could use some prompting....
Good luck! Let us know how things go Smile

Maxwell09's picture

I think it's a little dramatic to say it's detrimental to her future. I'm sure if this BM is anything normal she won't be letting her daughter have any kind of special relationship with the ExGirlfriend. She probably has just enough of a relationship to annoy you. Stop playing the game, ignore her and what she's doing on her own time.

BethAnne's picture

Disengage from BM. It is not worth your time or stress levels to engage with her. If you interact directly with BM, stop it now. Just ignore her. Block her if you need to. Do not go anywhere where BM will be. No drop offs, no pick ups, no school events or activities. You have plenty of kids to keep you occupied, just concentrate on them. Sd has two parents who can go to these things if they want. Avoid her. If that means your husband misses out on time with his kid because work stuff changes and there is no one to collect her then so be it. Your sanity is important.

BM will stop trying to provoke you if she gets no interaction with you and sees no reactions. This also means you have to ignore anything your sd says about her mother at home. I find a curt 'that's nice' on repeat for a while to be very effective.

Don't worry about sd having two step mom's and being confused. What does it really matter at the end of the day. She has one more person to look out for her and care about her, that sounds like a good thing. It sounds like the only person who is confused is you, for sd this situation is perfectly normal. It takes a couple off years in my experience for step life to settle in and for things to start to feel ok most of the time. Give it time, establish your boundaries and your expectations and things will wirk themselves out hopefully.

Disillusioned's picture

I think the BM is insecure about you, and using the ex-girlfriend to try to control and diminish you. Ignore her - and the ex - and don't play into their game. The less they see it affects you, the less power they will have.

Simply focus on your own relationship with your SD. Be the best you can be for her, and do that on your own time with her. Don't worry about what is happening when she's not with you.

notsobad's picture

"And it furthermore complicates the holidays and our visitation with SD, while ex wife from 400 miles away makes plans for SD and ex girlfriend on our time."

I don't understand this. Is the exGF in the same town as you and DH and BM sends SD to the exGF when SD should be with DH and you?

If this is the case your DH simply doesn't allow the exGF access to SD. He's the parent, she is nothing to this child.

Or is exGF in her town and BM sends SD to her when she should be sending SD to DH and you?
If this is the case DH needs to get a CO and enforce his visitations!

In any case you need to listen to the advice here. BM is only using the exGF to get to you and DH. She knows it upset you and that is all the motivation she needs. Take away the motivation and she'll stop.
In fact I'd bet that if DH was to say I can't take SD this weekend, see if exGF will take her, BM would lose her mind and visits with exGF would stop. She would then force DH to spend time with SD.

These women will do whatever they think most disrupts DH's and your life. If she thinks that having SD all the time will be hard on you two, then expect to see SD ALL. THE. TIME.

StepGF84's picture

I can't say whether or not this is "normal." I know of a few cases where an ex-stepparent continues to see the kids, but in those situations the ex-stepparent was married to the kid's father AND had bio kids with that father, so the ex-stepkids obviously needed to maintain a relationship with the ex-stepparent.

In your case, this was just an ex-girlfriend that he had for a year and a half? I would not like that at all. My future husband had an ex-girlfriend who he was with for 2 and a half years and who he lived with, and he didn't let her see his daughter after they split up. His ex really wanted to and at first he let for a few weeks after the break-up, but when he met me, he cut it off. His ex texted him and BM to try to get them to let her see my future step-daughter. I give BM props for sticking to her guns and not letting his ex see the kid behind our backs.

I'm sorry. Unfortunately, since BM is doing this, there isn't much you can do. But you are not crazy. That would definitely bother me. I spoke up numerous times to my future husband that I wasn't comfortable with his ex seeing his daughter, and he agreed and BM was on board as well. It would be different if they had been married and/or had a kid together. But just a girlfriend? Nope.