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His Ex

StepMum1989's picture

I have been with my partner for 2 years. I knew coming into the relationship that he had 3 children (2 that he had regular contact with and 1 that he didn’t have contact with due to his ex being difficult (his youngest who has a different mother to the eldest two). When allowing us to enter into a relationship I knew that the kids would play a big part in our relationship and that this would have to be a responsibility that I would welcome and be willing to take on. I have no children of my own so this for me was a big decision that I didn’t take lightly.

For the last 2 years I have built up a great bond with my partners eldest two children and treat them as I would if I had my own children. I have been very careful not to overstep any boundaries as to upset their mother and I am very lucky to have two amazing stepchildren.

I won’t lie and say it has been a walk in the park it hasn’t. I have faced the challenges of being a stepparent head on and this has included on occasion unnecessary challenge and receipt of hurtful comments from the children’s mother. Being a stepparent has most definitely been a learn curve and a big adjustment. It has been hard work and has been somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, but we have gotten through and I am very lucky to have a really good relationship with my partner’s eldest children.

6 weeks ago, very much out of the blue my partner became involved in his youngest child’s life again.  I am really happy that his ex is now allowing him the opportunity to see and be a father to his youngest child as there had been no legitimate reason for her to deny him being in his child life prior to this.

But, if I am being honest, I am struggling with this adjustment. We have spent 2 years as a four (me, him and his two eldest children), and it has been categorically said that I am not to and will never be allowed to have contact with his youngest child, so this child will always just be a name to me and not part of our family dynamic. I can accept this to an extent as I respect the mother’s decision it is her ongoing actions that I have issue with.

Unfortunately, my partner’s youngest child has very complex health care needs, as such whenever my partner see her his ex is present (I get and understand that).

Over the last 6 weeks my partner’s youngest child has been taken to hospital 4 times. Each time my partner has attended to support his child. After most of these hospital visits my partner has said that he doesn’t actually think that his daughter needed to be taken to hospital and that his ex had exaggerated the symptoms and kept tripping herself up in the trap of her own lies. (I might add at this point my partner’s ex is a narcissistic sociopath (his words not mine)).

He is seeing his youngest every other day. This is more frequently than we see his eldest two but I guess he is making up for lost time.

During the time that is spent at these hospital visits and visiting his daughter at her home my partner’s ex likes to reminisce about their relationship and what could have been. My partner has come away from such visits saying how he feels like his ex is trying to groom him and how he feels like she wants him to still want her. She messages him constantly throughout the day about his youngest and she rings him like clockwork every evening for lengthy conversations which just reiterate previous messages and phone calls for what feels like just an excuse to talk to him and take up his time. It’s good that she now wants to keep him updated but this feels too much and unnecessary all the time every day.

In addition, she has also passed comments trying to cause argument between me and my partner in what seems like an attempt to split us up despite her not knowing me and never having met me.

I am really struggling to accept that this is all normal. It isn’t like this with the mother of his eldest two. Am I being unreasonable?  

I am really struggling with this.


Kes's picture

Given that we in the UK are on strict lockdown at the moment, I am surprised that there has been all this to-ing and fro-ing by your partner to his ex's and to the hospital.    Aren't we all only supposed to go to hospital in the most dire emergencies? 

Also, given that your partner thinks his ex is a "narcissistic sociopath" then why is he spending all this time with her? Especially if he thinks she is exaggerating the child's symptoms grossly, and trying to groom him.   I suspect there is a part of him that is flattered, and is enjoying the ego stroking, although he may deny this.   Phoning him every evening and constant texting - I doubt many wives/partners would put up with this - it is not only unreasonable for him to take the calls, but it is giving his ex completely the wrong message and is disloyal to you.  That's my view. 

StepMum1989's picture

Thank you.

He is visiting to see his daughter but she is taking advantage. Government guidance says both parents can still see the child/ren, because of how complex his daughters health condition is (she is a critically ill child with a short life expectancy) he is only able to see her at the mother’s home. 

Given how ill his daughter is with any slight exaggeration of symptoms would warrant a hospital admission.

We have taken the lockdown seriously and have self-isolated ourselves in the middle of this last 6 weeks since contact was re-established as my partner was symptomatic. Since my partner has been out of isolation and has returned to work (he’s a key worker) he seems to be seeing his daughter for a couple of hours before work a few times a week.

Earlier this week he had to come out of work because his daughter had been admitted to hospital and was kept in overnight for observations. Her symptoms were typical of her condition but her mother said she’d been having seizures and breathing difficults but this I am told wasn’t apparent when my partner got there. He ended up spending hours sat in a waiting room as only one parent could be in with the child (which I completely understand given the current circumstances). I get he wants to be there for his child but the comments and behaviours of the mother are very much overstepping.

And to top it off because of us having to self-isolate and now the eldest children are having to self-isolate because their mother has become symptomatic we haven’t seen the eldest two (my step children) for over 3 weeks. Yet his ex and mother of his youngest has monopolised on his time either in person or by message/phone throughout this time.

My partner thinks I’m overreacting when I’ve passed comment and said I have trust issues.

I don’t think my feels are misplaced and I am getting to the point where I am even considering walking away as I deserve better 

justmakingthebest's picture

My heart breaks for your partner. I can't imagine being kept from my dying child and then FINALLY being allowed back in only to have it be this twisted manipulation game on BM's part.

Under normal circumstances I would tell your partner to stand up to BM, demand time alone to parent the child, get a new CO and a lawyer to help your cause- etc. But if this child is really dying... what can you do other than deal with what is being thrown at you? Allow him whatever you can to be able to have memories with this child before she passes. I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. It is so much to bear emotionally. I can't imagine your relationship ever lasting after she passes if you try and stop what time he has with his daughter. You will be blamed forever for that. 

SteppedOut's picture

Agree. His child IS going to die early. This is extreme and he needs to take advantage of as much time as possible, dispite bm. 


StepMum1989's picture

No issue with his spending time with his daughter just need boundaries regarding the BM 

StepMum1989's picture

We don’t know how long his daughter has her conditions are expected to not see her reach adult hood but she could turn out be one of the ones that does. (Medicine is a marvellous thing) She is 3.

I would never deny my SO time with any of his children and have never commented or suggested he shouldn’t see her I just have serious issues with the BM games and his lack of attempt to control and manage the ongoing situation with her.

shamds's picture

it’s understandable him wanting to spend every moment he can with her and i get its frustrating fronyou to have to deal with.

but issue here is he hasn’t set boundaries, when she repeats the same bullshit he needs to cut her off and end it.

StepMum1989's picture

And that really is my issue. The BM. And the fact my SO doesn’t set boundaries and allows this to happen.

We don’t know how long his daughter has her conditions are expected to not see her reach adult hood but she could turn out be one of the ones that does. (Medicine is a marvellous thing) She is 3.

I would never deny my SO time with any of his children and have never commented or suggested he shouldn’t see her I just have serious issues with the BM games and his lack of attempt to control and manage the ongoing situation with her.

How I am feeling isn’t something I could talk to my SO about either because it would get twisted that I didn’t trust him which isn’t the issue here.

justmakingthebest's picture

I don't think it is a matter of you trusting him, it is a matter of you trusting her. Which is totally understandable. 

What is the current CO? What rights does he have?

StepMum1989's picture

No CO in place just arranged through them mutually. 

justmakingthebest's picture

He needs to go get a CO that allows him rights to see her. Why has he not done that??

shamds's picture

You feel he is neglecting you completely. So you’ve been told she is terminal and hubby has used that as an excuse to not maintain your relationship and pretty much neglect you under the disguise of sd had a major issue at hospital only for it to constantly be repeated bs bio mum overreacting and it makes you feel like why you should be with him.

StepMum1989's picture

Thank you. I don’t even think it’s a feeling of neglect. It’s a feeling of I’m not daft and won’t be played for a fool. I don’t have to tolerate the crap and won’t just be fobbed off. 

susanm's picture

Not to sound cold but exactly how ill are we talking here?  Weeks/months left or likely to pass in a matter of years?  Has he spoken directly with her treating physician or just with BM?  Has he asked prompted BM to suddenly decide that he can see the child now?  The child's illness progression or did she break up with a boyfriend and wants him back now?  

I agree that you will never be forgiven if she is at death's door and you keep him away for any time.  But if she is not that ill and there is an expectation that this will go on for a while, a normal custody order should be established so that he does not have years of this ahead of him.  Not to mention the stress of years of this on your relationship!

StepMum1989's picture

It isn’t set in stone the doctors are not saying weeks or months just that it is unlikely that she will reach adolescence but her condition if it deteriorated could bring about the end sooner rather than later which is a scary and upsetting thought. Unfortunately due to current lockdown and new measures in UK hospitals only one parent was allowed in with the child at a time and convenient when the doctors were doing observations BM was the one in with the child. I don’t know what has prompted the sudden change in the BM’s attitude regarding access/visitation as the child’s health hadnt deteriorated and nothing of any significance that we are aware of had changed.

I would never stop my partner seeing his child but think the boundaries need establishing with regards to the BM 

Maxwell09's picture

I have a few thoughts so I will put then all out there for you to take what you want....

My first opinion is that if he is at the point of wanting to be a part of this child's life to the extent of seeing her on a near-day-to-day basis, regardless of health concerns, then YOU (HIS DAY TO DAY PARTNER) should be allowed to meet the child too--IF YOU WANT TO....which brings me to the next thought I had...consider it a blessing in disguise that you don't have to deal with visitations, overnights, coparenting or what have you with this child if her mother is truly a narcissitic sociopath. I would suggest you tell your DH "good luck with that" and steer clear because a narcissistic BM is so much more than an annoying demanding BM. A living nightmare and to this day I wish I could live my life with DH without BM even knowing I exist. But anyway...I would also point out that he is being manipulated by BM which is fine if that is the cost he wants to pay for seeing his ill child, but that its obvious she is just using this child as an attachment to him and to control his life. If he wants to continue to see this child (probably out of guilt and fear of limited time which I will come around to in another point later) I would say that the two of you need to sit down and set out plans for the separate lives he plans on living. And yes, that is what he is doing if he playing daddy to a whole different child every other day of the week. You need to tell him that his other kids don't need to be neglected or left to you to care for in his absence. You also deserve some quality time with him so he will need to find a way to fit both "family of four," "wife," "sickly child" and "other" all on his weekly calendar.  If he can't keep up then its time to merge some of these or drop some all together. My last point of thought say he admits the BM is mentally unwell so has he requested all this paperwork to prove she is terminally ill? Has he spoken to a doctor who confirmed that the child is not well and has limited life expectancy? I don't mean to belittle the child BUT from what you posted the BM is not to be trusted, is manipulative and a narcissist is absolutely capable of doctor shopping for even the hint of a scenario that will give them the attention they crave. Get some paperwork. 

StepMum1989's picture

Thank you what you have said pretty much hits the nail on the head as to what I have been thinking. I just thought I was being unreasonable 

CLove's picture

No YOU have a gut instinct telling you that this is not right, that something is VERY wrong.

If you have the freedome financially and no entanglements other than emotionally, really start separating yourself.

It sounds like his comment about you having trust issues is basically him not wiling to put up and enforce boundaries with the newest BM.

She doesnt respect your relationship, she doesnt respect him and certainly doesnt respect YOU.

I have the same, and Im almost 6 years in this. I have a highly toxic Varc BM, Toxic Troll, and she continually belittles DH, and disrespects boundaries. Over time things with her have not really gotten better she has just found new ways to break the boundaries and disrespect us. If you are having insomnia you can read my blogs.

Stay away from BM, talk with SO, before giving up. If he gaslights you and tells you its YOUR problem and YOUR issue, there is YOUR answer.

StepMum1989's picture

Thank you so much for the advice and reassuring me that this isn’t just in my head.

StepMum1989's picture

The child is very ill constantly not just during the pandemic and has been since birth. Her life expectancy is limited due to her conditions she is not expected to reach adolescence but touch wood her conditions are controlled enough that she will be with us although living with complex needs for as long as possible. She has not been diagnosed as only having days/months etc to live.

I didn’t say the symtoms didn’t warrant going hospital but that my partner perceived these may have been exaggerated by the BM in such away as to cause the medics treating the child to have greater concern. Personally I couldn’t comment one way or the other as I didnt see and have no contact with the child. 

I have never and never would tell my partner not to see any of his children I just need there to be clearer boundaries regarding the BM.

You are right though this is an extremely difficult situation to be dealing with as a childless woman 

StepMum1989's picture

I have experienced miscarriages in my previous relationship and due to my own medical history there is a high possibility that I wouldn’t ever be able to carry a baby to full term. And the pain of having further miscarriages isn’t one I feel willing to face. As for my partner he can’t have more children as he got a vasectomy 12 months ago.

bananaseedo's picture

Honestly? I think you are better off ending and moving on from this relationship...whether you want children or not.  I feel you on the miscarriages, I've been there.  I have two young adult sons now but had a few miscarriages with my current DH.  It's pretty rough.  Sorry you also went through this.

Another thing to know- a LOT of even solid married couples don't survive the death of a child w/out there's a good chance you throw your best years away only to end up not making it once she passes.  I think you will find you can find love again and a less bagagge riddled relationship. 


Harry's picture

He should of gotten a court order CO.  Instead he is playing games with his ex. She is taking her DD to the hospital to get alone or family time with your SO.  That is onerous.

He must stop doing this or it's going to be a life time of this,  you going on vacation, DD go to hospital, ect. 

StepMum1989's picture

Thanks for all the comments and advice.

I have just aired my concerns with my SO and the need for boundary setting.

I have been told I am overreacting that I have given him a headache and that I’m meant to support him and if I don’t like it to fuck off.

Very emotional right now. 


hereiam's picture

Unfortunately, my partner’s youngest child has very complex health care needs, as such whenever my partner see her his ex is present

Your SO just became involved in her life 6 weeks ago, does he know for a fact the the child has legitimate health issues? What happened 6 weeks ago that BM suddenly decided to let him be involved? Just seems suspicious.

It sounds like the BM is using the child to become close to your SO (emotionally and physically) and he is allowing it. Even after admitting that he feels she is grooming him, he says that you are overreacting?

BM over here, once tried to get my DH to come back to her by giving my SD an OTC that BM KNEW SD was allergic to, causing her to have a seizure, and a trip to the hospital. I was concerned that we were going to have an ongoing Munchausen by proxy situation on our hands.

Support between partners goes BOTH ways and telling you to f^ck off when you voice your concerns is uncalled for. This situation is stressful for you, as well.

Rags's picture

Time for your SO to shut this BM down.  Smack her about the head and shoulders with a rolled up copy of his visitation CO (figuratively of course), stipulate that BM delivers on the services he pays her for with his CS checks, cut off the pathetic manipultive crap she is pulling and keep her firmly in a very tight box.

Zero tolerance is the only way to deal with a toxic blended family opposition.  SO needs to commit to zero tolerance and control this X as completely as possible.

IMHO of course.