You are here

New here seeking help regarding Husband being pushed into co-parenting therapy with controlling ex

Dawnmarie88's picture

Ok on the surface it all sounds good two divorced parents going to co-parenting therapy to support their children. The truth is my husband is a spineless, ball less, filled with "daddy divorced guilt" who can't stand up to his controlling, manipulating, ex-wife who lives to make our life hell and get my husband to jump through hoops. She knows she can't bully me and I make my husband stand up to her...somewhat. Unfortunately she is VERY good at manipulating other people and playing the victim and my husband does NOTHING to defend himself.  This being said she LOVES going to therapy as she monopolizes the whole sessions and gets the therapist to side with her with what she wants then gangs up on my husband and makes it look like what the therapist is "recommending". This is how she gets what she wants as I'm NOT allowed to attend. Here is an example>>>>SD14 likes horses so mom wants to send her to horse camp. Fine no problem. Well mom wants to send her to the MOST expensive horse camp in the area and not just for one week but the whole summer and wants dad to pay for half. Mom will then get SD14 to tell her therapist(yes the kids have one too) how much she wants to go, then the mom will get SS14 therapist to write a letter stating how wonderful it would be for SS14 to be able to go and give it to the co-parenting therapist. Then husband will be guilted into paying. The problem is they are currently is family court and my husband was told by his attorney if he does not do co-parenting therapy it will look bad in the eyes of the court since his exwife is willing(of course). I don't see a way out of it. If there PLEASE let me know...if not has anyone ever been through co-parenting therapy? How does it work?How long are the parties expected to try and make things work? Is one of those things you go till everything is worked out? God I hope not? The only therapy they have been to is with the children and like i said it was a disaster with her running the whole show.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I know this isn't what you want to hear, BUT him going actually might be beneficial to your case if she's HC. Hopefully you'll have a good enough one that they'll realize a LOT of the BS...

notsobad's picture

Separate your finances, make sure he pays his portion of all the bills, puts money into a retirement fund and an emergency account and then let it go. This doesn’t have to be 50/50. You can split things on a percentage basis depending on what each of you bring home. 

Then Disengage.

You can not change him. All you can do is make sure he doesn’t drain your finances and put you in a bad spot in the future. Make sure he understands that those hoops he’s jumping through better not affect you and him and plans he makes with you.

marblefawn's picture

What a freaking racket!

The kids are making out like bandits and will probably end up hating their father anyway; the therapists are making out like bandits; the attorneys are making out like bandits...and then there's you two.

I used to BEG my parents every summer to send me to riding camp! That's exactly how these skids end up so spoiled.

My rant aside, if you want to know how that therapy works, call your husband's attorney -- it's your mess too, so you have every right to ask questions and get answers.

In fairness, if your husband is "sans balls," even if BM didn't manipulate, he'd probably still give away the farm to her and the skids -- my husband is san balls too, so I get what you're up against. And because you can't be there, there's little you can do about it. So find out as much as you can so you know what to expect in terms of length of therapy and obligation. The second it goes past what he MUST do, you pull the plug on it. 

And as for that riding camp, we all know your husband is sans balls and can be manipulated. So why don't you manipulate him to say no to the camp? Do you remember how Christopher Reeve (actor who played Superman in the '80s films) ended up? He was a mountain of a man and an experienced equestrian before he was thrown from a horse and left quadriplegic. He was dead at 52.

Your husband could decline to fund his half of the camp by virtue of disagreeing with SD being in a dangerous sport. And if SD is at camp all summer, when will she spend time with her father??? Gosh, think how bad BM will look in court if she presses this camp thing when your poor husband only wants to spend time with his daughter???


Dawnmarie88's picture

but its just a "day camp" when we are working during the day and SS14 would come home at night so missing parenting time. Also as far as a dangerous sport she already takes ridding lessons so can't play that card either. As far as me manipulating him it does not work that way as we don't have any kids together and thats the key...DADDY DIVORCE GUILT. He has problem standing up to me BUT the kids or the exwife forget it...

Iamwoman's picture

Yes. HCBD, DD15 and I are in court ordered “coparenting therapy.” It is definitely a racket for the therapist,and a complete waste of time and money for us.

HCBD had the therapist wrapped around his finger for 10 solid months until he and his wife were FINALLY caught on tape abusing DD. Now therapist sees the truth, but she is still stretching out sessions with an hour of bullish!te yapping (I always though the client should talk more than the therapist, but whatever), and basically being pretty damn useless.

DD’s GAL is helpful because she is a voice and advocate for DD’s needs and experiences.

Therapist is profiting from us, and nothing more.

momjeans's picture

my husband was told by his attorney if he does not do co-parenting therapy it will look bad in the eyes of the court since his exwife is willing(of course). I don't see a way out of it. If there PLEASE let me know...

I think his only hope of getting out of it is by confirming if this is actually court ordered co-parenting therapy or just coming highly recommended by his lawyer. You have to remember that lawyers are schooled and skilled at using just the right verbiage to get their client to do, or not do something that’s in their “best interest.”

I don’t see this sect of therapy as a bad thing, in general, but having to do it with a toxic, high conflict person can be hell and basically worthless when it’s all said and done, as high conflict parents generally aren’t open and receptive to change for the betterment of all involved. 

I don’t recall if it was court ordered or not, but my DH went to a few sessions with his high conflict ex wife. I say a few sessions, because HCBM wasn’t having it. I’m pretty sure she got her lawyer to call off the sessions because she couldn’t hang long enough, and be on her best behavior, to complete it. HCBM was, and still is, highly controlling, manipulative, and combative BTW. 

I’m a big fan of therapy, and if it’s an absolute must, maybe they can each go to their respective therapists and work on issues within themselves? 

beebeel's picture

He should research the other camps and offer to help pay for one that is more affordable. BM, SD, and the therapist can't say he isn't cooperative that way and it shows he's willing to compromise. If they insist on the most expensive option, I'd tell them to see me in court.

Dawnmarie88's picture

one camp was not structured enough BM said, one was more for younger kids BM said, one BM did not like the director, one SD thought looked "boring" ect.....bottom line is spolied brat wanted the most expensive camp and so did BM. I told BD if  had a choice of going to Bora Bora for vacation or Lake Michigan of course I would pick Bora Bora but we can't always get what we want in life. And yes this "horse camp" for the summer is about how much it would cost to go to Bora Bora

Areyou's picture

Ignore the request for therapy and let the brat go to camp. Be happy you don’t have to see her all summer.

ESMOD's picture

Honestly, I don't believe that the therapist should have any business in the details of what your DH pays for and what he does not.  That is stipulated in their agreement and isn't in therapist territory.

If a therapist even tries to bring this up to your DH he can look at her and say this.

I understand the fact that my daughter wants to go to the most expensive summer camp in the region for the whole summer.  I will even go so far as to agree that she would probably enjoy the experience.  However, that is not an option that I am able to pay for.  You are way overstepping your boundaries by telling me how I should spend my money.  If my exwife wants to send her to this camp then she will have to be on the hook for payment in full.... as this is not going to be paid for by me.   Furthermore, this is in no way shape or form a need.  My daughter will not have her life ruined by not getting to go to a fancy summer camp.  I am here only to discuss issues regarding consisting PARENTING... NOT what fancy desire my EX wants me to bankroll.  So, if you want to get on with the discussion of how we can both set boundaries regarding screen time or discuss her inability to clean her room.. fine.  If this is going to turn into an arm twisting session to get me to open my wallet...I think we are done... and I will ensure that this is brought up to the state licensing board because I'm fairly certain that this isn't typically the type of behavior that therapists should engage in.

Ispofacto's picture

Omg, THIS! 

Seriously, does SD have some mental health issue that can only be resolved by always giving her exactly what she wants?

I can confirm, right or wrong, therapists are TERRIFIED of being reported, sued, or given bad online reviews.  Fact.


tog redux's picture

Yeah, I have to say, just split your finances and let this go. This is DH's problem to handle, and you aren't going to change his basic nature, nor can you control everything that happens.  I spent a long time trying to control how DH handled things, and sometimes still do, until I remember that this isn't my problem and I don't even have to think about it, much less fix it.  Then I feel great relief.

Just carry on focusing on the things in life that make you happy and let DH deal with his crazy ex and his kids.

Rags's picture

Going to co-parenting therapy does not mean your DH has to do or agree to anything.  He should go, participate, document, document, document all of the XW and her therapy lacky’s Bullshit and learn to  say NO!

No judge is going to take issue with dad paying for half of a weeklong horse camp rather than half of the  whole summer at the Chateau de Horse Shit..

Remember. No is s complete conversation.


Curious Georgetta's picture

The OP must be clairvoyant to be able to describe in such detail therapy sessions with various therapists none of which she has been permitted to attend and some of which her husband had not attended.

However she says that she sometimes "is able to mske" the husband  stand up and do certain things.

At days end, it sounds as though the husband may have traded  1 controlling woman for yet another controlling woman.

I suspect that battle is not over horse camp but more over which woman gets to control this unfortunate man. He may need to find yet another  therapist to help him understand why he is driven to seek a certain type .

The OP should just step back and let this process play out. She is  not the parent and these are not her children. What ever agreements.are reached about the camp it seems that the mom is willing to pay half . The only stance that the OP  can legitimately take is that money that she  has earned or generated will not be used to pay for the camp.



Notup4it's picture

I disagree- when it comes to HER household finances she DOES have a a say.... sorry, that is truth. 

Also as a mom who has a DD that I raise with a stepmom and stepdad involved they do have a say as well and strongly believe in that philosophy. If I decide to do something that impacts my ex and his wife she does have every right to be concerned about it, and talk to my ex (her husband!) about it as well and be as involved as she wants to on that side of the fence!! That is her business, and she can talk to her husband about it as much as she wants. Same with if my DD was behaving like a brat over there and it impacts her she has every right to get involved as she sees fit because it impacts her life and her family- my DD is also a part of HER family (whether I like that fact or not is irrelevant). 

When me and my ex decided to divorce that became our reality- and one we need to accept. There are now more people involved... and stepmom and stepdad are also members of the family and impacted by our decisions on how we raise DD and what we spend $ on.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Households.  But I would think that the husband knows how much of the household income he generates and consequently how much he can afford to contribute to his daughter's equestrian activities without upsetting his equitable contribution to the household. 

If the court decides that each parent should have to pay the cost of participatory activities, they are not going to request the wife's input or opinion.

If the bio mom is willing to pay half of the cost, she is not asking for any more than she is willing to expend.

It may indeed be the wife and Not the dad objecting to the cost of the activity which may be why the Law Guardian has recommended co parenting therapy. This gives the 2 people who have the direct responsibility the opportunity to try to learn to handle decision making in a civil and thoughtful manner. It keeps the focus on the issues at hand and attempts to limit  external bias 



SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Warning OP:

CG is not a stepparent and allegedly hates “her” brother’s new wife. Take everything CG says with a huge grain of salt!

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture


If it’s not court-ordered do not pay. As the immortal Rags says: bring the pain.

The DH ATM is now permanently closed.

susanm's picture

Counseling after divorce is like having coffee after drinking too much.  It makes you feel better and can make you function somewhat but doesn't really fix the underlying issue.  Both people either truly want to co-parent and put the kid ahead of their dislike for each other or they don't.  Counseling is not going to magically change anyone's mind about that.  Maybe there is 1 couple in 100 who goes into it with pure hearts on both sides and can pick up tips on how to make it work.  But I firmly believe that the rest of the time there is one person pushing it so that they can force their ex into a room and beat the sh*t out of them on a regular basis.  All in the name of "getting to the bottom of things so that they can do right by the children" of course!  Good luck to your DH in finding a therapist who will put a stop to it.  I know the one that my DH had to deal with under court order years ago allowed it to go on for months because BM cried and claimed that she could not "move forward with co-parenting" until she "got all of her anger out first."