Father lacking boundaries.
==========SORRY THIS IS LONG==========
I have been seeing a man on and off for two and a half years. More on than off.
In the beginning, before we started getting others involved in our relationship, things were actually very good. He was attentive, communicative, responsive, etc. This "bliss" as I call it, lasted about two months. I believe it was bliss because his ex, kids, and family didn’t know about me. We had gotten to know each other and each other’s past. We talked about the kind of future we wanted and it included each other. I heard about his out of control ex. I was also aware that he has one grown daughter from a relationship before he married. An adult step daughter he helped raise, his adult son and teenage daughter from the marriage he is divorcing from. It’s quite the lot but I grew up in a big home.
I had no idea when he said the women in his family were crazy that they were as out of control as they are. I had heard how he didn’t seem to have a voice in much but now realize he doesn’t say no to anyone but me. feel as if I’m his safe person where he can express himself, vent, even get mad and yell. Things have never changed because he never challenges people to be better and change.
I shared with him that I was abandoned by my husband years ago. I raised my son and daughter on my own. I put myself through college, bought my own home, etc. Both of my kids are grown and on their own. I had not been in a relationship steadily in some years.
When I met him, he had filed for divorce the year before. I assumed it was well on its way to being over with. I found it was not. Not only does his attorney lag on the issue, he doesn’t follow up with his attorney to make sure it is getting done.
What has been going on is he pays for all the bills at their house. His ex-wife lives there and his teenage daughter. He even pays for his ex-wife’s car insurance. He says the lawyer says it will look better to the judge since he is trying to get more than half custody of the daughter. I tell him it won’t and he needs to start weaning the ex from being dependent on him. He also will drop what he is doing whenever his daughter wants something. Meaning his ex has full time privileges as “mom” as my boyfriend acts like an errand boy fetching soup, chips, cat food for his daughter when her mother could get those things on her way home from work or merely keep those on stock in the house. He does all this and more for crumbs of time with his daughter. It is heart wrenching to watch. Then he wonders why he is stressed out. And that’s just a small part of the big puzzle.
When we started introducing ourselves to each side of the family, I thought things would be okay. I tend to have an ignorant and trusting nature. For our first Thanksgiving together, we spent it at his sister’s house where I was invited to share in the Secret Santa Drawing. I drew a different sister of his. After everyone had drawn a name, there was chaos. People started shouting “Whoever got me I want a Victoria’s Secret gift card” and “I want a card for Costco”. My family doesn’t do gift cards. We do gifts. A few days later, in my attempt to do Christmas their way and the tradition I am used to, I messaged his sister’s boyfriend on Facebook. I was aware of his account because his family had started sending me friend requests. Anyway, it was to find out if there is anything she’s been wanting that I could get as a gift to accompany her requested gift card. No response from him. It wasn’t as if I had never spoken with the man. Just a few days prior, I sat and had a talk with him that was at least an hour or so. Anyway, later that day my boyfriend tells me his sister is upset because I contacted her boyfriend. I asked him what I should have done and he said to contact him. I thought it strange I contact my boyfriend who contacts his sister’s boyfriend who then asks her, she replies back to him who then gets back to my boyfriend who then gets back to me. It was a long trail of people for a simple task. At any rate, I felt I could have been in the wrong even though my intentions were good. I sent my boyfriend a text to forward to his sister advising her that I come from a family who does Christmas very different, that my contacting her boyfriend wasn’t for anything other than Christmas ideas and if I offended her, I was sorry. I thought things would be okay as I saw her after that and she seemed fine until there was a BBQ. I wore shorts and sandals to the BBQ. Apparently my “outfit” was viewed as short shorts, my top too low, and I was wearing high heels. I have never worn heels with shorts. My outfit was fine to me and my boyfriend and that’s all it should have concerned. After that I was never welcomed to any of their family events. In addition, that same sister also got involved in a situation with food. When we would go visit my boyfriend’s father and step mom, I would bring leftovers there. I tend to cook for a lot of people and my boyfriend didn’t like the food being wasted so we’d take it there. There was no complaint, even compliments, until suddenly, after eighteen months of bringing a dish about once a month, my boyfriend tells me not to bring food over there per his dad’s request. This seemed odd because his dad was usually the first one to dig into anything I brought. I asked him again if his dad said that and he said yes. Because it didn’t sound right to me, I decided to see what was up and looked at his phone. Sure enough, there was his sister telling him to tell me not to bring anything to their dad’s house while calling me unintelligent. Instead of my boyfriend telling his sister to mind her business, he lied to my face and used his dad in the process just to give his sister her way.
Ok, there’s the main sister issue out on the table. Then, we also have his children. Our first Christmas morning he gets a text from his oldest daughter. He texts her back. About ten minutes later, his phone rings and it is the mother of that daughter yelling at my boyfriend that he should have called the daughter than text. He gets worked up from it and I calm him down and tell him his daughter is an adult, she’s twenty-five years old, if she wants to talk she can simply pick up the phone and call or text you to call her. I was shocked over this but brushed it off.
Before I know it, the family is getting wind of my boyfriend and I dating. I get a random message on Facebook from someone I don’t have on my friends list. It was my boyfriend’s stepdaughter. I had not heard many good things about this woman (23 years old) but she basically harassed me and accused me of being with him for his money – calling me “gold digger” and “you don’t know what kind of man he is…” indicating he’s a troubled man. I took this as her attempt to get us apart for whatever reason. Also, he doesn’t have money. He makes a meager pay. I showed this to him and he said that is why they weren’t talking. He also said she only contacts him when she wants something. He had not heard from her in over a year when she decided to contact him for something. Before I know it, they are buddy-buddy again because she ends up pregnant. He’s sneaking to talk to her. I’m not sure why other than I have no reason to be fond of the woman.
Because it was the holidays, my boyfriend tells me his daughter in law and grandson are coming to visit. The daughter in laws parents had booked a flight for her and the baby but not my boyfriends son who is their son in law. I asked my boyfriend what the plan was and he said he would get him a flight after work. Knowing how flights go real fast or go up in price real fast, I offered to book the flight for his son during the day while my boyfriend was at work tending to his route. I got a few texts from him asking if I had booked the flight. When I finally got one, I told him. He asked me to forward it to his son. I did so. I heard nothing. He asked me to send it to another email address. I heard nothing. I finally followed up with my boyfriend and asked him if he had gotten the emails. He said yes, a couple hours ago. I told him his son could have responded and let me know he got the email confirmation. Before I know it, his son replied “received”. No thank you. No thank you for helping me or my dad out. No graciousness at all. I put out my money and time for a young man who is not gracious.
Around this time is when we start doing things with his daughter, who was twelve at the time. Things seemed okay. I noticed we would pick her up or drop her off at a side street than in front of the house. He said it was to avoid drama with his ex-wife. I thought it strange but brushed it off. An event came up where his daughter wanted to go ice skating and we were going to take her and my granddaughter who is the same age. The plan was to go to a theme park who was hosting outdoors ice skating. Because it was late in the day, there is quite a commute to get there, and there was a weather challenge, we were talking about not going. His daughter starts crying and weeping saying she had her heart set on going. She didn’t care that it wasn’t practical to go. While this is going on, my granddaughter gets on her phone and finds ice skating somewhere else. I thought it strange how his daughter acted over something so small and for her age, didn’t need to cry over it. As I was getting to know this young lady, I would show her things like how to curl her hair, bought her dandruff shampoo since she had a flaky scalp, showed her how to make biscuits, etc. Her claim was her mother doesn’t keep a clean house and doesn’t show her how to take care of herself nor buys the supplies to do those tasks. I didn’t want to be her mother because that is her mother’s job. But I also heard about this from my boyfriend how his ex-simply doesn’t parent and lets the kids do whatever they want. It was obvious this young lady needed an older female mentor and I had no problem helping her with whatever she needed.
We survived the holidays and it is now January. I was already planning his teenage daughter’s birthday that is in February. Mind you, I made sure his family had Christmas presents from “us”. No thank you’s from anyone. As I’m planning the birthday dinner, I opted to get her things she wanted. A ski jacket and a purse. I got her the ski jacket and a Coach cross body bag. It’s now February and we are at dinner. It is me, my boyfriend, his daughter, my son and his teenage daughter, my daughter and her daughter. While we are there eating, my boyfriend’s daughter starts getting worked up. Her mother is bugging her about getting home on time for a play that night. The restaurant was two minutes away and there was plenty of time. Because the daughter was getting worked up, my boyfriend gets worked up. I tell him there’s plenty of time and he tell me he’ll just go because it’s easier. Instead of setting boundaries and teaching his daughter logic and patience, he gives into her sudden moods and demands. While he is enroute to drop his daughter off, his ex-wife whom I’ll call “Marilyn” shows up at the restaurant stalking and harassing me. She wants to talk to be but it isn’t the time or place for that. She starts hurling insults at me about my appearance, age, etc. I look at her and tell her she could use a tummy tuck. She then yells “Everyone, can I have your attention.” As she points at me, she yells this woman has been having an affair with my husband. If course it wasn’t true and the people all looked at her as if she’s nuts. My son was so disgusted by what was going on that he grabbed my granddaughter’s hand and walked out leaving me, my daughter and three-year-old granddaughter with the stalking ex of my boyfriend. Management had to escort “Marilyn” out and I had to file a police report on the woman. The sad part is, my boyfriend’s daughter and his ex-wife rely on him to do everything. He pays all the bills on a house he doesn’t live in, takes the daughter to all her appointments, etc. but all of a sudden, that night, they don’t have confidence in him to get her home on time for a play.
The next day, his son calls and asks his dad for my phone number. His son calls to talk about what had happened. Instead of asking me what happened, he starts attacking me right off the bat saying that what happened the day before “hurt his mom’s feelings”. Instead of holding her responsible for her behavior, he’s attacking me, the victim of her behavior, for how she “feels”. It was obvious the situation was out of control, that his son lacks integrity, and his mother lied to him about what happened. While I was on the phone with him, I kept telling him that “she’s the aggressor”. After all that, he tells me “it better not happens again” as if he’s warning me instead of his mother. Not once did he show any concern for me or my family’s feelings nor what his mother did to us.
A few weeks later, my boyfriend’s daughter in law is in the state to visit. We all go to lunch. It’s us, my daughter and her daughter, boyfriend’s daughter in law and little boy, boyfriend’s daughter and my teenage granddaughter. My boyfriend has a habit of looking at his phone non-stop. While he was doing this again, his daughter, again, is getting worked up over her mother texting her on the phone. It was obvious my boyfriend wasn’t seeing what was going on and it was obvious his daughter is lacking the skills to manage her phone and the people who are bugging her while she’s at lunch with us. I walked over and tried to assist telling her not to let her mother bother her like that and simply enjoy the lunch. Instead of appreciating that, she took the opportunity to use it against me saying she doesn’t want to be around me because I talked “bad about her mom”. The reality is, I don’t have to talk bad about her mom. She does enough damage on her own. Instead of my boyfriend sitting us all down and working things out, he’s let her run the show keeping me away when he’s with her. Each time my family has an event, we have always included him and his daughter and anyone else in his family. It’s always the same story – she’s “uncomfortable”.
There’s more. My family decided to go to a theme park for Halloween. My sister sold some tickets to my boyfriend so that they could go. My boyfriend decided to drive there separately and meet us down there and was actually going to ditch us once there. I told him if I had known that, I would have had my sister charge him more for the tickets at a profit. She treated him like family and sold them at face value and he’s treating my sister like a stranger. Once there, his daughter is hiding behind him as if me and my family were criminals or something. While waiting in line to get on a ride, my boyfriend was hanging on his daughter, kissing her head, as I stood there. I was getting weird looks from people. I simply looked back at them and shrugged acknowledging that what was going on wasn’t acceptable behavior, that it was weird and what could I do. My boyfriend was so enthralled in his daughter that I got left behind in the crowd. Later, when we all found each other again, I told him to stop hanging on her and let her be a kid and hang out with the other kids in the group. She seemed to be doing fine until we are on another ride and she hands him her phone and pillow case that had her candy in it telling him “Here, hold this. Nothing better happen to it.” People around were shocked. My family was shocked that my boyfriend allowed her to talk to him like that. This is when I really started to see that there’s a problem but I decided to simply let him handle it, thinking he would get it under control.
Some months go by and my boyfriend says I should use his Netflix account than have separate accounts. He watches cable TV at my place. I should use his Netflix account. I would be sharing the account with him, his son, teenage daughter and myself. I set up my name and added some movies to my watch list. A few days later I went to watch one of the movies I had on my watch list and his daughter had removed me from the account. Instead of holding her responsible for disrespecting me and his account, he tells me she’s going to be on a different account.
Another time, we were going somewhere and there’s trash all over inside his truck. I ask him what happened and he tells me his daughter and nieces were in there. I ask why the mess and he says he needs to clean it up and they are so cute when they are having fun together. They were 13, 12 and 10 at the time. A couple of weeks later he came by my house after work and my son in law was coming to pick up my three-year-old granddaughter. My boyfriend starts telling my granddaughter to pick up her toys. Normally I would brush it off and think he means well. But, when you’re holding a three-year-old to standards you’re not holding your own family to, who are much older, then we’ve got a different game here and I didn’t like the double standard.
It is now our third October and we are holding a large Halloween/birthday party. It is on a weekend the boyfriend has his teenage daughter. As usual, she’s invited. Knowing the tension that has been building, he tells her she’s going and he’ll get her a costume. All of a sudden, his ex-plans a trip out of state to see the son, daughter in law, grandson and their new house. At this point my boyfriend is frustrated and tells his daughter he won’t buy her a costume unless she goes to the party with him. He even bragged to my sister and daughter about this and they were like, it’s about time he put his foot down. It is a Friday morning and my boyfriend doesn’t know if he will see his daughter after work or not. In my plight, I’m trying to plan my day that may or may not include him later, given I could use his help since the party was the next day. Instead of understanding what I am trying to do, he goes on the defense and tells me fine he won’t pick up his daughter. I never mentioned anything about not picking up his daughter and never have. I’ve actually encouraged him to get his divorce ore with already so he can see his daughter more. Because he’s frustrated his weekend with his daughter is being pulled from him, he takes his issue out on me. After work that day, he sees his daughter for an hour. He goes out of his way to take her to dinner and see her. The next day, he’s more frustrated because now the ex and daughter are on their way to another state ditching him on his weekend with his daughter. My boyfriend starts bugging my daughter telling her he’s not coming. I had to text the heck out of my boyfriend or he would have left a four-year-old (my granddaughter) who adores him, looking for him on her birthday. I’m having to protect my family from the effects his family has on him. Plus, he tells me ended up getting his daughter the costume because his ex-couldn’t afford it. She could afford to ditch him and pay for gas to go out of state. Both his ex and daughter knew he would cave in and buy it anyway. In my opinion, he rewarded them for disrespecting him and taking away his weekend with his daughter.
The new year comes and the issues are still there. This was just a few days ago. Boyfriend was telling me we had not seen a movie in a while. I told him we could go after my class on Saturday. We agree on that. It’s now Saturday morning and I’m getting ready to head to class with my daughter. My boyfriend had come over and was on my couch not feeling well. I told him he should just rest and I’ll be back after class in a few hours. After class, I call him and ask if there is anything I could get him on my way home. I get him soup, etc., come home and take care of him. I wasn’t going to hold him to going to a move at that point because of how sick he was claiming to be. I assumed he would be coming back and I would be taking care of him, given how sick he claimed to be. Little did I know, he already had plans to leave. He tells me he has to pick his teenage daughter up from church because she was at a camp. He was going to take her home, get his mail (yes, he still has his mail going to a house he doesn’t live in), then come back here. He never did. He changed his plans and didn’t contact me, leaving me hanging for about an hour wondering if he was okay or something. Four hours later, he sends me a text message that he will be dropping his daughter off then coming by my house. He arrives and at this point I’m disappointed. I ask why he didn’t text me that he had changed his plans. He starts off with excuses that he couldn’t just drop his daughter off and leave her at home. I ask why not since she babysits other kids, why can’t she be at home alone. He comes up with a second excuse that the neighborhood isn’t safe. I then ask him why he would want to fight for a house in a divorce if it’s not in a good neighborhood. He then goes on the defense and threatens to leave. I try to engage him again and go back to my original question of why he couldn’t text me when he picked her up and changed his plans. He refused to sit and talk and decided he’d leave. At that point, I felt betrayed and couldn’t trust him, asking him to leave the key to my house. He did so as well as took the few belongings he had here. Since then, I have had minimal contact with him and that’s his usual MO. Instead of talking like adults, he gives me the ignore treatment claiming he’s busy with work.
I felt he didn’t care about my feelings. He was fine disrespecting me and I’m tired of him acting angry towards me when it comes to anything over his daughter, kids, even ex. It’s like they can act any way they want and he not only allows it, he has encouraged it. For example, his brother Sam is on his second marriage. The new wife is from another country, is young and very pretty. The women in the family don’t approve of the new wife claiming she’s using him for his money, for immigration, etc. I know this because they asked me what I thought of a man in his forties marrying a woman who is under twenty. I also heard an earful of complaints. I told them what he does with his money is his problem since he earns it. If he wants to marry someone so young, he’s taken on another person he has to finish raising. In other words, let the man be and let him be happy. My boyfriend told me of how his nieces and daughter were laughing and saying if they could vote they would vote for Trump so that he throws Sam’s new wife (and the niece’s stepmom) out of the country. I didn’t find that funny at all. I found it rude and disrespectful. Sam’s new wife hasn’t done anything to anyone and my boyfriend is encouraging his daughter and nieces to follow the behaviors of his sisters whom he doesn’t approve of. He’s supposed to be the adult and show these young ladies a better way to treat new family members. Whenever my boyfriend is going to see his daughter or whenever he is with her, he’s a different man. My house is on his way from work to where his daughter lives. He’ll come here after work, change, and try to run out the door. When I try to talk to him for a second, even to clarify something, he gets all frantic and upset telling me “She’s waiting!”. I have to remind him she’s fine waiting a few minutes. No, that can’t be as he rushes out the door like a mad-man. Another opportunity to teach his daughter something is wasted. She could learn the world doesn’t revolve around her while teaching him boundaries that will help him not be so stressed out over pleasing her and anyone else in his family who is demanding of him. He went to the mall with her and her friends. Instead of letting her walk around and be with her friends, at age thirteen, he admitted he was sneaking and hiding behind bushes following them. He should be teaching her life skills to let her grow up. Sometimes he’s overprotective as if she’s a baby. When it’s convenient, he lets her make all the decisions and run the show. It is a contradictory situation.
I’ve been here for him 24/7 listening to him whine about work each day, traffic each day, his allergies, his back hurts, his foot hurts, made sure he had things whenever he was at my house, did his laundry if he had any here. I even dropped everything and sat for hours with him at the hospital. I’ve tried to treat his kids as my own. For some reason, I’m not important enough to stop for a moment and text me that he’s not coming back and his plans have changed. Worse, he’s showing his daughter how men can mistreat women, it’s okay to do so, even okay for her to do it to me.
As he makes excuses for them I’m finding I’ve been making excuses for him. He’s not a mean person but he can be sneaky to benefit his family’s wants. I feel like he’s caught between pleasing them and trying to move on with his life. I don’t know what I have done to him or his kids to be treated like this. I decided that if I ever allow him back in my life on a romantic level, it will have to be through counseling.