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New girlfriend-will he ever let go?

boston0823's picture

My BF of a year and I are talking about moving in together and getting married. Our relationship is great and wee see eye to eye on everything BUT his role with his ex-wife. He believes that it is his responsibility to help her with car problems, house problems, etc. for the sake of his son. He also thinks it's completely appropriate for him to go out to the movies and other events with his ex-wife and son. He says that those are the few things his son has left of his family. She calls or texts him at all hours and I do know it's about the son, but it still bothers me. I know he loves me and he has done so many things to show me his intentions with me are pure. He engages with my 16 yo son and they get along well. We've spent time with our boys as a family and it's wonderful. I just can't understand why he still needs to do those things for his ex-wife or spend family time with them if he's truly moved on. Am I being selfish? Or am I being reasonable in expecting that he set boundaries with his ex-wife and stop being a husband to her and doing these "family" things with her and his son? Please help me. I am on the verge of leaving an otherwise healthy and beautiful relationship.

hawaiigirl's picture

Nope. Set boundaries and see how he does with them. Give him a chance to see what you think is acceptable. If he doesnt, then its time to go. He doesnt need to do any of that stuff with her. He can be a great dad to his son without the ex doing "family" stuff.

lucky2bme87's picture

Wow, he REALLY needs to make up his mind WHO he wants to have a family with. Doing "family" things with his ex-wife is NOT appropriate if he intends to solidify his relationship with you. His ex should not be calling/texting him at all hours either. Definitely set some boundaries or you will regret this. And if he will not budge, you should leave this relationship. You deserve WAY better than that, girl!

2BoysOfMyOwn's picture

Boundaries are sooo important! I have issues with those in my relationship, but nothing close to this. My DH dislikes and sometimes hates BM, but he still gives & gives financially above & beyond monthly payments. BM blows money on toys for herself & SD, then needs money for school stuff, shoes, clothes or band stuff... It's frustrating that I am so careful & ask if can I buy maternity shorts or cleats for my DS or whatever (not like a pedicure or CD's), but if BM doesn't have the money to buy stuff for SD, we end up being asked to buy it.

pkccbl_momma's picture

I think I can see his side of things. My DF is the same way when it comes to some things. He does help his X with some finances but as our relationship solidifies he has withdrawn a lot of the support he used to do. He has custody of his 2 kids, and she lives in New England, we're down south. She doesn't pay child support right now (unemployed since Jan) but when she comes to visit the kids, she stays with us. They do things as a family, he has given her money to do things with the kids too while she's here.

I had a hard time wrapping my head around it since I was still really angry with my X for our situation...I have 3 kids which prior to this July he had seen 3 whole days in 3 years and the circumstances of our divorce, child support...was a huge mess. He lives in Hawaii per the Army so not much of a choice but I felt that if he really WANTED to see OUR kids he'd do whatever in his power to make it happen.

DF put it this way a few months ago...They are divorced, but they ARE still a family and I am still a family with my X and our kids. It's in their best interests sometimes to still do things as a family and be able to be comfortable enough to enjoy the kids together. I told him how I felt about things, got to know his X and realized my feelings were somewhat based on my insecurity in our relationship.

My X finally saved enough to see our sons for 10 days this July. I know it cost a lot for the plane ticket, to keep them in a hotel (a cheap one, but still) buy their food for 10 days and take them to do things. He still owed child support when he picked them up but asked if he could wait till the 15th when he dropped them off so he'd have more money to do things with them. It was a stretch for me financially, but I saw how important it was for the boys to enjoy that trip. We all went swimming together at their pool (me and my stb skids and our boys - DF is on TDY) and my daughter and I joined them for a day trip to the beach. For me it was not about being with my X, but seeing the kids with THEIR father.

Bottom line is I never would have been able to do those things with my X had I not been able to see DF's point of view. If I think he is being too generous with his X now, I let him know. He lives with me, we care for "our" children together, he takes care of me and wants nothing but to see our kids become successful adults. I know part of the success too is that his X is also very diplomatic, we get along great. We both parent differently but she knows that I do what I do out of love and care for her kids.

boston0823's picture

Wow! Congratulations on a VERY hard task of blending families and finding your way! I know first hand how hard it is. You're right and I thank you so much for sharing your story with me. He is frustrated because he feels that everything that affects her affects his son and so he does everything he can to help alleviate any stress that can fall on his kid. I get that now. I didn't say that my son's dad is not and has never been in the picture so it's hard for me to relate. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you reaching out. It gives me hope! This man gives me so much more love, affection and support than I ever imagined I could have and I was so focused on his relationship with his son and BM that I have been ignoring what we've developed so far! I think it'll be OK. Since my original post, we established clear boundaries for him with BM and me too, as far as how I react to his interactions. We came to the middle, finally heard eachother out and came to an agreement on how things will go from here. Just hope it stays that way Smile

2BoysOfMyOwn's picture

I am shocked at the idea of a DH spending time w/X, but that is my opinion. I am not in your situations. The BM hates me (I think). We've never even spoken in person or on the phone...
But I might feel differently if there was civility, openness, etc. However, I would expect that my family & their family did things together, not separately.

alwaysanxious's picture


Nope. He's not over her. You are dating a man who is dating his ex-wife. Sorry. They shouldn't be talking unless its about skids.

Major red flag. It stops or you move on. If you don't I promise you a road of misery. PROMISE. Stand up for yourself. He can't have his cake and eat it too.

tootie25's picture

Absolutely not. Boundaries need to be established immediately or else you better run. That sounds like nothing but trouble. People get divorced and don't go to the movies for their kids. Sure seems like feelings are still there between your BF and his ex.

cat72196's picture

I, also, can see both sides. I think there is slight overstepping of boundaries going on. There should not be all-hours phonecalls unless there is an emergency. Anything else can wait 'til the next day.

If you believe that his "intentions are pure" with you, and his actions support this, I honestly don't think you have to worry. In my mind, he wouldn't be actively pursuing a future with you as he seems to be doing (you said he does a lot for you, getting involved with your son, etc.) if he were still hung up on his ex.

That being said, I TRULY believe that there is such a thing as having a really healthy CO-PARENTING relationship with the other parent of your children. My ex and I do. He and I have a ton of mutual respect, work together/communicate on EVERYTHING regarding our 3 daughters, and his fiance and I get along extremely well. As a matter of fact, the three of us adults often do things together with the kids, or sometimes if she's not available, he and I do things w/the kids or are at school functions, sports events/extracurricular activities, etc. without his fiance. She handles it very maturely because it's in the best interest of the kids that BOTH their biological parents are supporting their endeavors. I hate to sound discouraging towards your situation, but there are parents whose kids go to school or play sports with mine, whom I have known for YEARS, and never realized my girls' dad and I weren't together until I refer to him as "my ex." It's not because he and I act affectionate toward each other, show up to places together, etc. It's because it's not the STANDARD that exes get along so well that they can mutually attend their kids' activities, sitting together, chatting with each other, even joking around. Like I said, it's not the STANDARD-- it's not "normal." Divorces, splits, custody disputes, finances... those are all usually bitter points of contention that MOST people can't get past for the sake of raising their children TOGETHER. Yes, these two had the kid TOGETHER, they should be raising him TOGETHER.

I agree that boundaries would be helpful. As I don't have a boyfriend/brother/father around to help me if I had car trouble, for example, I definitely wouldn't hesitate to call my ex and get his opinion on the matter. After all, my vehicle is what gets his kids to school and soccer practice and dance class-- I feel that it directly impacts his CHILDREN'S well-being, so therefore I am not bothering him with requests for help. That being said, I would never make CONSTANT requests for help, expect him to help financially with any home or vehicle incidents that come up, etc.

I think your situation is a two-way street with you and the ex. I think he AND she need to make sure that their interactions are always respectful towards you, and solely for the good of the child. But I also don't think the two of them CARING about each other is the end of the world for your relationship, either. In fact, I think as long as they aren't crossing lines, it's beneficial for the child to see that they respect each other and help each other out. Definitely speak up if the ex IS crossing lines, but in addition, be open to the fact that as an important part of her son's life, she is also going to be a part of your and your boyfriend's lives for a while. How is your relationship with her? Have you tried to befriend her? You have common ground; you two can either join forces, or you can make each other's lives a living hell. Like I said, two-way street.

Good luck to you!