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Vacation Scenario

walfredo's picture

Okay... I want honest feedback here.

My new wife and I (married over Thansging weekend 2022) have had a couples trip to Mexico planned for 6 months.  We are scheduled to be gone Feb 21- Feb 28...

For 2 weeks after we booked it, she was very confused/concerned that I didn't have childcare confirmed, enough to bring it up during counseling at the time... stating she would have never booked it without having childcare confirmed.  Anyway- I asked my parents and they confirmed a bit after this... 

Our setup-  she has 1 son (12) and her ex-husband lives locally although about 20 minute drive...  I am a widow with 3 sons (11, 9, 4) who have my parents living 13 hours drive away, and my deceased wives parents living 4 hour drive away as my primary overnight+ childcare options.

For both of us, this trip is out of character from how we've lived our lives, meaning a trip of this length during the school year.  

About a month ago, she mentioned her exH has been flaking out on his weeknight visitation days (he has him Tuesday evenings) and she was worried he might not be able to handle her son.  She said she was going to ask him to stay at our home with her son while we were gone so he wouldnt' have to commute...

Her son goes to 1 school, is autistic and does not participate in any after school activities.  While we are gone- 2 of the 6 weekday evenings are Tuesdays, where he would be at his dads anyway, and the weekend Fri- Sun is a weekend he is already scheduled to be at his dads...

My parents, driving 27 hours roundtrip, to watch my 3 kids, who go to 3 different schools each morning for dropoff and pickup, and who are in the middle of basketball, tennis, and soccer seasons she assumed would not want to use our house?

They own a 1 bedroom condo about 20 minutes from our house, that they hardly use.  They bought it 4 years ago to help me out when I was dealing with the sickness, and eventual loss of my wife at the time while working full time, and raising 4 month, 5, and 8 year old kids... They have kept it, and use it when they visit so that they and us have our own space, and it's nice... 

Logistically... first 5 people don't fit in it... second each trip (3 different schools + activities for 3 different kids) is 20 minutes further each direction, then if they were leaving from our house.

So... it's my wifes expectation that her son and her ex-husband, who lives in town and hosts their son at his house 25% of the time by design) will stay at our house, and my 3 children, and our family dog will stay with my parents at their condo... And I will tell my parents driving 27 hours round trip, to babysit for free, that they arent welcome in our home while they are watching my 3 children.

Where I have left this as of Tuesday night, is that I am not comforable telling my parents they aren't welcome in my home, nor am I comfortable with her ex-husband living in our home for a week, so if that is her only acceptable solution, we will punt and not go on the trip.  

Are there any suggestions?  Thoughts?  Comments?  Thanks!

Ispofacto's picture

Logistically, all your kids and their belongings and sports equipment going to a condo further away so her weird azz exH can sniff your boxers??? Just NO.

If you think your DW is crazy here, you are correct.


walfredo's picture

So we are scheduled to leave Tuesday return Wednesday morning.  On the existing parenting calendar her son is scheduled to be at his dads

Tuesday, Friday, Sat, Sun, Tue....  So him staying at our house for 8 nights, would avoid her son staying at his dads and extra Wed, Thu, Mon...  3 fuckings nights...  

I guess- Sunday night he would be with us, his dad during the day... so call that 3.5 extra

I am at a loss for how to not just say you are fucking crazy (have a feeling this wouldn't be helpiful for me)

advice.only2's picture

So is the ex-going to sleep in your bed…on her side or your side?  He is going to have access to all your personal belongings.  He’s got a whole week to go through your house and all your stuff at his leisure.  Is she really okay with all of that?  I just don’t think your wife understands or respects boundaries.  Being worried about her child is one thing, kicking your kids and family dog out of the house so her ex can move in to watch their kid is on a whole different level…almost unstable.

walfredo's picture

Her son has a massive bedroom (converted from a bonus room) and the plan would be for her ex to sleep on the couch in their sons room.

The frustrating part, is my wife does understand boundaries and sets a ton of them, they just all happen to shit all over my kids.

For instance, on school holidays, since she works from home, my kids are not allowed to be home during thei work day.  Or for instance, during the workday my dog is not allowed to be home since she doesn't like dogs, so he comest to the office with me.

I don't think there is any motivation,for her, other then this is what is easiest for her son... and her literally not even considering that this may be problematic to others until I told her in no uncertain terms, I would rather not go then do this.

I can't even bring myself to imagine why on earth her ex would want to do this?  If I was in his shoes, I would absolutely not want to do this?


advice.only2's picture

Do yourself a favor, cancel the trip, get the money refunded and use it for a good attorney you are going to need it.    

ndc's picture

Your new wife sounds like she's on the express train to becoming the new ex-wife.  She sounds very selfish and her position is ridiculous. I would let her know that your parents are staying in your home and that her ex is not welcome there.  There is no way that I would consent to my husband's ex even being in our home when we're not there, let alone staying there. Has she explained precisely why her ex needs to stay at your home? I can't even comprehend why he would want to. Is there maybe one particular school dropoff or something that will be problematic that maybe your parents or someone else could help out with?  That's all I can come up with.  If it's just for the ex's general convenience,  I'd stick with no way is that happening and cancel the trip. 


walfredo's picture

the ex is a shithead and won't ever adjust his work schedule. He's never dropped off or picked up his 12 year old son from a school or a daycare. 

He would either drop him off at our house in morning and he'd go with my parents or he would be home alone in morning and walk to bus. (He is autistic and hasn't ridden a bus since first grade, and has never got himself ready in the morning). 

Stepdrama2020's picture

Sorry bud but an ex staying in your home while away is a hill to die on.

Your kids get tossed to the wayside so an EX can be in your home. So many levels of NFW.



walfredo's picture

My parents from out of town and my 3 kids aren't welcome at our house, so her ex who lives in town can live at our house and shorten his commute to work... wtf?

Noway2b1's picture

Look I get it, my son (20) is high functioning autistic. Change is hard BUT this is crazy. She can hire a caretaker to come in, get the kid to school and back and even feed him. If you really want to salvage the trip (or relationship) YOU could even suggest that is a more reasonable route than displacing your kids, dog and parents. Honestly I'm blown away that she even thinks this way and it portends doom for your future with her, the kid and her ex. Oh, and get her kid in therapy  asap so that he has the skills to eventually launch. This could potentially be such a bigger nightmare down the road than this situation is. Also if you're set on following through with this would her son and ex be able to use your parents townhome? Ugh. 

walfredo's picture

When she told me her ex wouldn't be doing drop offs or pickups any of the days, I said- if he isn't going to do anything, what's the point of looping him into this at all?

That got her off on some tangent about him working full time, and her mom worked full time at a job you have to punch into to, and some people don't get to have flexible schedules etc etc...

So I think #1- this situation is fucked up, and I'm upset about it.  #2- the primary thing I'm upset about, might really be that she committed to do this and wanting to do this, without fully thinking through childcare

Who knows?  It's a $9K lesson for me, and I'm trying to wrestle with, is that okay?  We just don't plan stuff during the school year again (I have never travelled more then 1 day with my kids in school, oldest is a 6th grader) so that's not like some big change or sacrifice for me...

Or is her being this reckless about saying she had "childcare covered" an unforgivable thing, that is an obvious sign of much more stuff like this to come?

To the point of the Ex and her son staying at my parents condo- like spatially that makes sense and work.  It's not much closer to his school or work then where he lives.  He has a girlfriend of like 8 years he lives with... I really don't understand why he doesn't want to be home?  Like what is he gaining?  Maybe I'm out of the loop on something and his girlfriend can't stand his kid more then a certain number of days (pure speculation by me).  

My parents and this dude don't know each other, have never met... so just like giving him keys to their place seems a bit weird.  She floated the idea of having all 7 stay at our house lol...  I was like do you think your son would do okay with that many people in the house?  And she was like, no he would absolutely hate it... neat, it would also be awful for everyone else involved, so why would we do that again?

shakes head...

ndc's picture

Based on the posts you've made to date, this is just the first of many bad things to come. I don't see how this whole situation (her selfishness, the impossibility of blending your families, etc.) works out. I wish you luck, though. 

SteppedOut's picture

How long have you known this woman? I mean, recent marriage - trip planned for 6 months... hut how long total have you been a couple?

walfredo's picture

we started dating in July of 2020.  Moved in together started blending thing November 2021, got married November 2022

CajunMom's picture

Your kids are not allowed in THEIR home when schools are on break? Your Dog cannot stay in the house and you have to bring him to work?  Great boundary setter but only when it comes to YOUR kids??? What the hell??? Was she exhibiting such behaviors before you moved in together?? 

You need to really reflect on your situation. What is this doing to your children? Their mindset? Their self esteem??  I strongly suggest you start standing up for yourself and your kids. Time for some serious marital counseling so YOU can learn some boundaries with your wife. 

I've had my issues in StepHell; but there is no way I'd have told my husband his under age kids could not be in our home when school was on break if they were with us. And the dog way in hell. My dogs are my family. She should not have married you knowing you had a dog. this is just so messed up. Please see a counselor, if just for you and your kids.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

The ex staying in your house should be a definite no. I don't quite understand how her ex would be able to handle his son at your house but not his own house 20 minutes away? If it's a pick-up/drop off from school vs bus issue, is there a before/after care place her son could go on those school days? Someone else who could keep him before/after school? Does your wife have any friends or family? With her ex living 20 minutes away, i don't see any reason for them to stay anywhere other than her ex's house. No way would i consent to having any of my SO's babymammas sleeping at my house. Your kids don't have another parent with a house so there's no way they should have to leave.

walfredo's picture

The entire reasoning is so their son wouldn't have to drive 20 minutes each way 3 extra times to get to school... this is something he does once a week as part of their parenting plan.

I think the actual reason, if you peel the layers, is she doesn't want my parents to stay at our house while we are gone, and is making up some bullshit about how they have just as much right to be here.  I don't honestly think he wants to stay at our house for 8 days, unless I'm out of the loop on something and his girlfriend doesn't want their son at her house that long.  Otherwise it makes less then no sense to me why HE would want to do that.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

None of that makes any sense to me. I think you should ask her what, specifically, she thinks should happen for childcare while you are gone. If this crap about her ex is just her way of saying she doesn't want anyone at all staying at your house while you are gone, it sounds like she's not very good at communicating. Once she states her actual wants for this, you can approach the issue head-on, even if the best solution is still for your parents and kids to stay in your house and her ex and kid to stay at her ex's house. This BS about her ex sounds like just that, BS. 

Rags's picture


Stepdrama2020's picture

EDIT: I just read your decision on your last comment. Glad you worked it out.

I didnt realize there was a GF in the picture with bio dad.

Maybe she doesnt want SS there all those days. For what reason?  Step dynamic problemos there? 

Seems you and the wifey are at an impass. She doesnt want your parents and kids to be at your home. The GF on the other hand may not want SS at their place. Does wifey have issues with your parents and kids? Does GF have issues with SS?

Hmmm I could be over thinking, but in step life there are so many dang layers.

So many questions..

Except it makes the most sense to have your parents with the kids at home, and skid with the daddio. I sure hope you get this figured out. 

walfredo's picture

Not sure if its worth prying to ask.  It's worth noting it is HER house too (the girlfriend), she is an attorney and he doesn't make much money, she owned the house when they met.  The ex is kind of a mimbo or whatever, my wife supported him while they were together, and then he latched on to this lady like 6 months after they split up. Their son is very difficult, and I could see her saying I agree to this many days, but I'm not going to have him at my house for an extra week, so your ex can go fuck her new husband in Mexico... lots of layers of the onion lol

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I wonder how bad your SS's behavior is at his dad's that they have to go stay in a hotel rather than live at their own house, which is basically just down the road, for a week lol. That girlfriend should post here. It sucks you have to pay for the ex's hotel, but at least it's a compromise. 

Survivingstephell's picture

How have you made it this far? So the dad has been parenting this autistic kid his whole life but can't manage to  man up and do the parenting while his mother gets a break? Mom won't  put her ex on notice that this is his job ? 
You and your kids come last. How's that working for you ? 

Rags's picture

Your DW's X has visitation in his home with his kid.  Her kid can stay locally with daddy.  Your parents are doing you and DW a favor.  Your DW needs to pull her head out of her own butt on this.


No one in my SS's SpermClan would ever set foot on my property. Ever. Much less enter my home.  That your DW wants her X to enter your home much less stay there is just asinine. My DW would never even think of this.  If I brought a failed family spawn to our marriage, neither would I.

Once my DW kicked the Spermidiot out after my FIL caught the DipShitiot making out with another underage girl, FIL informed the DipShitiot that he would not be allowed on my IL clan's property.  FIL put a couple rifle rounds not far from the Spermidiot's feet when he made the mistake of stepping into my IL's drive way when he was waiting for DW to bring SS to the end of the driveway for Spermidiot visitation hand off. Their driveway was several hundred yards long. My DW grew up on a farm.  After that, the DipShitiot stayed across the road from the entrance to my IL's driveway.

What the hell is your DW thinking? Does she ever think?


Harry's picture

The Ex would never step foot in my home,  no less stay there by himself.  Hire a babysitter.  Oops caretakers,  th handle SO kid.  You don't need the EX with his crazy demands.   It would cost you less then losing 9 k.  See what your parents can do, or let the caretaker handle it . 
Tgen find a good divorce lawer.  This is only going to get worst.  Thr EX is care for more then you. .

I had to deal with some crazy crap in my life as a SP.  But never close to that .  The EX doesn't want to take care of his kid. So he's make stupid demands,  to be shut down and be told he doesn't have to take his son. You will find someone else.  
We a,ways went away with care takers staying over the house. Guest they were sleeping in our bed, yuck,,  But going away was more important then mind games.   
Nithing like seeing a Facebook picture. Saying that table looks like, it's is my table , my plates. With them eating    

TheAccidentalSM's picture

There are a serious amount of red flags in your DW's behaviour.  I'd be rethinking the partnership completely.

Winterglow's picture

I'd go fiuther than this, I'd be wondering why on earth I ever married her because she doesn't seen to have a clue about what  partnership is about.



Winterglow's picture

Heh, I might even go as far as to ask her if she's so keen on having him in your home because she's cheating on you with him... That should effectively end this problem.



walfredo's picture

Ok... I know the general consensus here has been pretty nuclear.

We reached a compromise today, we will get her ex a hotel room nearby.  Her son and him will stay there.  My folks and kids will stay here...

I think it's a pretty good compromise. I think there is a lot of resentment from me about this process, and from her about this solution.  Not all sunshine and roses to say the least, but a reasonable solutions.  Will be interesting to see how this carries over into the trip... I'd say a decent chance it ends up a disaster, and a decent chance it doesn't.  Will be interesting

ndc's picture

Well, this seems to work.  It'll cost you some money, but that'll pale in comparison to the money you'd lose by not being able to take the trip. 

You've got a lot of red flags flying in this situation, though. Prioritize your interests and those of your kids, because it doesn't sound like your wife has those in mind. 

walfredo's picture

So it's been some time and this trip came and went... funny to look back at this thread a bit.

We went on the trip... my wife and I had an aweome time and enjoyed being away from our lives and connecting with each other.

Everything else was a total disaster lol...  So her ex- independent of the trip was supposed to watch his kid Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun the week we were gone... then because of the trip add Wed, Thu, Mon to those days...

Instead, we got snow in the Portland area, and the evening before the snow came down, he decided NOT to go to our house and pickup his kid... someone else can deal with that right?  My wife had already bought a hotel for him and his son right next to his work, and our house so he wouldn't have to commute home during the week he was co-splaying as a parent.  So he just left his kid at our house... this was Wednesday, Thursday, Friday... then got him when the snow was gone, had him Sat, Sun, then LEFT HIM AGAIN on Monday...  Just didn't show up lol.

Wait it gets better!  When he went to pick him up Saturday, after abandoning him for 3 days/nights his sons room was locked... So instead of asking for the thing to unlock it, or using a coat hanger or whatever... or calling his phone and trying to wake his son up... HE BROKE DOWN THE FUCKING DOOR DOWN IN OUR HOUSE.  While my kids and parents were at home... he just fucking broke down a fucking door in anger in the middle of the hallway... Big double solid wood bedroom doors... it's a converted bonus room.  Replacement cost between $3-4K 

So last week, when he came to pickup his son, I answered the door and talked with him, said it's really not acceptable for your to break shit in our house... and so he offered to repair/replace... now he doesn't want to do that since its expensive...

On the ride to his house, he screamed and yelled at his kid for being an asshole and not waking up, and told him I was an asshole, and my wife was so unfair to blame him for the door??????  Who the fuck else am I supposed to blame?

Now the kid refuses to visit his dad anymore?  We are only on the second week of this new schedule... My wife and I have been seeing a couples counselor during this whole blending process the last year or so... That is now switched to her going to counseling with her ex about trying to get their kid to stop hating him?

Just a dumpster fire with gasoline being poured on it... 

Fun times

Rumplestiltskin's picture

So wait, where did your SS stay when you were on the trip? Who watched him?

To me, the only acceptable solution, if this dipshit won't take his kid for a reasonable amount of time, is for your DW to stop with the counseling with her ex BS and spend that money on a lawyer. If the kid is going to be with you full time, the a-hole needs to be paying you guys the going rate of CS. Also, no more ex in your house. Imagine the havoc he would have wreaked if he stayed there the whole week. Your wife bred with crazy. A lot of the SMs on this site also have spouses who bred with crazy. The only way to deal with crazy is to stop catering to him, stop giving a shit about his feelings, and make it a strictly business relationship. If your DW can't clean up her mess and keep a reasonable lid on it, it's going to cause serious problems. 

walfredo's picture

there is an admirable selflessness to always trying to prop this guy up so her son has a father in his life... but he is old enough to start to see through the bullshit, and it's not going to get less.

It does bother me the amount of time/money/bandwidth that goes into her trying to fix a 45 year old man and get him to act marginally like a grown up.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Admirable selflessness....yeah, that's what she thinks, and that's what she wants you to think. But - she is actually being selfish as a partner to you by expecting you to put up with this mess. Selfless would be for her to take on the burden herself without dragging you into it.

Below you say the ex is paying but you have to use his handyman. That is still catering to him. These types of people don't respond to you "trying to work with them." I say get it fixed and send him the bill. Take it to court if he won't pay. This a-hole follows the CO to the letter or he gets taken back to court. He picks up his kid when he's supposed to, and brings him back when the CO says to. This type of jerk only responds to strength.

walfredo's picture

I would agree not as a partner.  It is a thing, she puts her son above us.  I think I do the same with my kids some, but not to the same extent.  I mean this counseling thing... so the guy literally doesn't show up when he agrees to watch your kid while you are out of the country.  Breaks down 2 doors in your house while you are gone, and the solution is for YOU to pay for him to go to counseling with your counselor, and take your time to help him work on HIS shit.

It's not healthy, she beyond enables his forever oblivious life responsiblity free "parenting".  Her kid doesn't even like him... Imho to get any actual behavioral change, she would have to shift the whole dynamic.  This is our kid.. .you are going to pay proprionately for his expenses, and show up for your parenting time if you want to be a part of his life... I am not going to spend my money on things for you anymore... Either be a parent, or don't.  (in either scenario a court would require him to pay her money each month if she pursued it...)  I told her she is cutting a check to him every month from her income, and delaying her retirement so he can live his best life... 



Winterglow's picture

TWO effin' doors? Get thee to thy local police station and find out if you can still prosecute the violent b*d and have your parents testify. I don't give a damn about how much your wife wants to make him better for her son - he's beyond help.

walfredo's picture

It's a small group of folks, but everyone I've told this story to in person reacts pretty much exactly like this... it really is beyond fucked up.  We now provide him with professional counseling services that my wife must attend with him for her insurance to cover...  It's bizarro world stuff

Rags's picture

The kid needs them. He knows his dad is a dumbass. Now is the time to introduce the kid to the CO, court records, daddy's arrest record, the divorce decree, etc, etc, etc...

Kids need the facts. Particularly kids cursed with a shallow and polluted end to their gene pool. They need to recognize the toxicity and have the facts in order to protect themselves as they progress towards adulthood and once they are adults. Toxic dipshits rarely stop being toxic dipshits and the kids need to be able to protect themselves.

We started the introduce SS to the facts model fairly early.  When he would come home as a little boy upset that his mom and I were "taking money from Gramma and the kids don't get enough to eat", "Gramma says your not my real dad", "Gramma says I can't call you dad", "It is mean that I have nice things and (OOWL Spermidiot Spawn #2, #3 & #4) don't"..........  

It started with explanations, progressed to introducing him to the CO, the supplemental county rules on custody/visitation/support, the state laws, Spermidiot's divorce record (he has always insisted he has never been married to hide tha the was boning a 16yo when he was in his late 20s), reviewing the Spermidiots arrest records, etc...  Eventually as he was in his mid to late teens, SS would dig into our Custody/Visitation/Support file cabinet(s) when something the SpermClan spouted did not pass his smell test.  They hated when he would call them on their lies in real time during visitation.  SpermGrandHag would call my DW ranting on why SS knows all of this. Well Hag, he reads, and when you lie, we  review the facts with him. Not... he finds them for himself.

My SS is now 30.  He knows it all, they know he knows it all, and they pretty much stay under the slime covered rock at the bottom of their shallow and polluted gene pool. No more trying to guilt him into repaying the CS as they tried to get him to do when he first aged out from under the CO. No more lies, they know he will call bullshit on their crap as soon as they spout it regardless of who is around.

Facts are the prime tool for addressing toxic.  Spot light it, and keep it spot lighted. Give the kids the antidote.

IMHO of course.

PushedToMyLimit's picture

That's some update! It's like a movie, a really bad one. Glad you had a great vacation but what a shitshow! Why can't life just be normal??? UGH!

walfredo's picture

Basically, she was like he's not going to pay, so maybe it's not worth the trouble... I said he only doesn't pay if we choose that is ok... this would be actually fun to argue in court, and take all of like 5 minutes to prepare the case.  

So the current resolution is he is planning to pay, but we are supposed to use his handyman... who googling looks like he doesn't do these kind of things... but that is scheduled for early April after we get back from Spring break.

My weekly check-in... they are going to be in a counseling session in about 20 minutes.  This has now replaced our couples counseling, I guess its an ongoing thing.  Neat...  She is of course paying for these sessions, and taking time off work so the guy can try to learn that breaking down your sons door and screaming at his kid may not be a good idea.

Dad came over Saturday (his parenting weekend) and took his kid for a walk with their dog.  Apologized (apperently the first session was largely the counselor coaching him how to do this).  Kid agreed to go with his dad Tuesday, stayed with us for the weekend.  So he went to his dads Tuesday night, and now will be on a trip with us the next 2 weeks, so it will be 6 weekends in a row with us, with the idea that the one after that he'll start alternating again.


Rags's picture

Not in my world. 

If the Spermidiot or anyone else had ever set foot on my property much less invaded and destroyed any of it.... Well, we raised SS in Texas and defending one's home is applauded in Texas.

If my parents were watching SS and daddy dumbass pulled this crap, my father would have made him into fertilizer.

All without any notificaiton to my DW and I while we were on vacation.  

When we got home, "Oh by the way. Daddy dumbass is in the morgue."


Winterglow's picture

It's time you put a stop to all of this mess and made those responsible accountable.

  • No more therapy for the ex. Your wife is divorced and what happens to him is not her nor your problem. Stop it now. If she won't, tell her to get in touch with you when she's completely divorced. Therapy is not going to, indeed cannot, make his son stop hating him. He's an arse, that's why his son hates him - no amount of therapy is going to change that.
    Given his behaviour and his son's health issues, I'm surprised the kid isn't scared shitless of him.
  • Stop talking to the arse. Go and file a complaint at your local police station for destruction of property and disturbance of the peace. You have two witnesses and I'm pretty sure you have photos.
  • Take the arse to the small claims court and nail him for the most expensive door replacement that you can.
  • File for a restraining order against the arse.

You said he broke down two doors. Apart from his son's bedroom door, what other door did he break?