Remote, congratulations on having such a mature relationship with the ex! I can tell you see what is coming - he is slowly choosing this new woman over his children, which is horrible, but not uncommon. He needs to get his priorities back in line and you, unfortunately, are not the one to get him to see that ... Maybe you could gently suggest that: you see some bumps in the relationship between your daughters and the girlfriend and it appears to be affecting their relationship with him, and perhaps some sessions of pre-marital counseling would iron out the bumps before they become mountains, because after all, step-parenting is difficult and it is about the girls, not him or his girlfriend or you (the italics are directed at him, not you).
A good counselor will get to all the complications and address each of them - the step-parenting, your ongoing friendship, her children, her attitude toward you and your girls, your daughters' (likely) anger and his, well, lets face it, willingness to sweep it all under the rug rather than rock the boat with his new woman...
Best of luck, it's really great that your daughters have such a level headed mom to look out for them.
ETA: Ditto to Chrelsey
This is not at all the impression I got from Remote's post. It does seem like the relationship between the ex and the kids is becoming more strained, but not because the ex is intentionally pushing the kids out of his life so that he can focus on the new girlfriend. Altho maybe I misinterpreted...?
Originally Posted by cricketeen;2277636;
From your description, it sounds like your relationship with your ex was great. I'm curious - has your ex told you exactly what part of your relationship with him his girlfriend finds "unhealty"? Is she suspicious that something 'intimate' is going on between you? (not suggesting it is, of course, just trying to figure out her frame of mind) Is it activities you both do with your kids like movies or dinner?
Have you had any direct contact with the girlfriend? You post *sounded* like your information was all coming through your ex. Would it be out of line for you to talk with her about the situation? Maybe if she heard your perspective and understood that you are not a threat to her relationship she would feel better about the situation???
remote_goddess, your situation is a tough one and I think both you and your Ex dealt with things VERY maturely and thought of the children first. Which is how it should be.
I agree that children are very intuitive and if they feel that their mother doesn't like the new girlfriend, they will dislike the girlfriend because they want to show their loyalty and love to their mother. I am not saying you are swaying them intentionally--but perhaps by body language or tone, they have caught on to this.
I think you and you Ex need to talk first and find out how you can all co-exist together. If the girlfriend doesn't want him hanging out with YOU, I have to say that I don't necessarily disagree. But if she doesn't want him hanging out with his own children, then that's a HUGE problem. If it's the former, I think you will need to not be involved in plans where he and his girlfriend are spending time with the kids. As long as she is kind to the children and doesn't try to sabotage their feelings for you, then I don't see a problem. BUT, if she doesn't care for the children, then that's a whole other issue that has to be addressed.
If she is a good woman who is jealous/threatened by you, can you blame her? :) You're fabulous, your children adore you, your Ex obviously still likes you or he wouldn't want to spend so much time with you! :nod I think it would be nice for the two of you to spend some time alone (you and the girlfriend, I mean), get a coffee and talk things out. It will be uncomfortable, but I think she needs reassurance that SHE--not YOU--is the love of your Ex's life, that you and he are friends because of the children but have no romantic interest in each other AT ALL, and that it's important to all of you that your children continue to see their father. Sometimes you may be around, and is that something she can deal with. Explain that as a mother, surely she can understand how important it is for a child to have both sets of parents around.
I think you're a great mom and it's unfortunate that this woman is making things difficult. Good luck!!
Thanks for all your input, everyone!
Well, I have tried to talk to her when she is around at functions like dance recitals and school performances. She just doesn't talk to me! I mean, she'll answer direct questions, but other than that, nothing. My ex coaches middle-school football, and had a game on Halloween night, so I invited her and her daughters to come over for pizza and trick-or-treating in my neighborhood (full of kids!) She would have otherwise stayed at the apartment, alone. She came, but I think she only said a total of two dozen words to me the entire evening... None of which were "Thank you."
Another time, for no reason whatsoever, I thought maybe she'd like to meet one weekend morning at this really great coffeeshop near my house. She hemmed and hawed and finally said no, she didn't really like to get up early on weekends.
It's really frustrating for me because I do not have any interest in any sort of intimate relationship with the ex. That part of our relationship died a very long time ago... Also, I am seriously seeing someone, whom she has met and even commented to my oldest daughter that it seems like we adore each other. I don't know if jealousy is the right word to use here, at least in a conventional way. But there may be jealousy issues, simply because he and I share a history and know each other so well. I don't know.
As far as what she has told ex-hubby, she said that normal divorced couples do not go out of their way to make plans together. When things were good, we used to do dinner as a family about once a month. Sometimes we'd get together to fly kites at the park or something. Very occasionally, we'd go to the movies or a play. We also see each other regularly at school functions for the kids, and for the extra-curricular activities like dance and sports. We do not see each other without involving the girls, so it isn't like we're meeting for lunch or going out on the town or something that could be taken as clandestine...
She says, according to the ex, that we should have no desire to see each other other than when it is absolutely necessary. She thinks it's weird that we actually like each other as friends and care about the other person's opinions. We're both big readers, so we talk about books and recommendations. We still have many of the same friends, in varying degrees, so we'll talk about what has been going on with so-and-so. We talk history, economics, current affairs, the girls. His family and mine. Rarely do we delve deeply into our personal lives, and when we do, it's usually because there's an issue or problem that needs to be handled. (Like this...)
I understand that he should put his new relationship before his friendship with me. Logically, I understand that. But it still stings a little, you know? And it's never been a problem before, so I don't understand why it is now, with this particular woman.
As far as his troubles with the girls, no, he is a very active father and has never tried to push them out of his life. But I do think that the point made above about him letting them know how much he still values their opinions and feelings is a perfect explanation of what they may be feeling. Based on some of the conversations I've had with them, they feel like he is putting them on the back-burner.
It's a touchy subject because I don't want to imply that I think he's not doing a good job as a dad. He's always been a great dad. But I do feel like he's making mistakes now that are impacting his relationship with the girls in ways he may not even be aware of. Does he know that our eldest says she can't talk to him about anything anymore? That she doesn't want to even try because it does no good? Her words. And I certainly don't want to overstep my bounds as far as what is accceptable to say to him about his relationship with the girlfriend. I always try to think about how I would feel if the roles were reversed and how I would hope to be approached about something like this.
I try to always encourage them to talk to their dad. I try very very hard to keep my opinions about the girlfriend to myself. I never talk about their dad in a negative way. I never have done that. But no matter what I do, or don't do, they see the difference in the way our "family" functions and they don't like it one little bit. And I don't know what to do.
remote, would it help at all to maybe suggest a double date with them and she could SEE again how much you are into your sweetie? I'm guessing your Ex talks about you favorably--without even realizing that he's doing it--and she's insecure and jealous. I wish he'd point out to her that there are no "usuals" when it comes to divorce. I have friends who are divorced (no children involved) but are still the best of friends with each other, even going on vacations with each other. They both date other people, but they will always have a great friendship (and it's completely non sexual!). They didn't work as a married couple but they have a long history together as friends.
I've always found that people who say that ex's can't be friends without being intimate are the ones who occasionally sleep with their ex's. :lol I'm wondering if she maybe didn't do that with her ex so she is now suspicious of your ex and you. (I had a boyfriend once who always accused me of cheating. Well, I never did but he had never NOT cheated on his girlfriends...so....)
I've never been married/divorced/had kids, so I don't have a lot to offer here, but it bugged me that this girlfriend seems to think it's her place to judge your relationship with your ex. You have worked out a balance that works for you as a family and even if it's more amicable than what one usually hears about (and apparently more amicable than her own experience) that doesn't make it not "normal". She should be delighted that she's met a man who cares enough about the welfare of a woman he once loved and still likes to spend time with her, not to mention spending time with his kids. She sounds rather immature to me.
As far as what you can actually do about it, though ... I'm not any expert here. I was going to say talk to her directly, but you said in your last post that you've tried. I might suggest getting her alone -- instead of at a function -- and not asking her questions, just telling her what you've said here. :shrug Hard if she won't even meet for coffee, though.
If there's a way to tell your husband, however, how your daughters feel about her impact on their relationship with him, I'd try it. He should know you well enough to know that you've tried to not let your concerns influence them and that their issues are their own. Maybe then he'll at least realize why his daughters don't want to talk to him anymore. Whether he does anything about it could be a different story. :shrug
The way I see it, he may not be intentionally pushing them away, but the effect is the same if they don't want to be around the new girlfriend/soon-to be-wife (and, by association, him) and he does nothing about it. From their viewpoint he will have made his choice and is wasn't them.
Originally Posted by ClosetRTWatcher;2277797;
I think there are at least two separate issues to address: Their new, upcoming family dynamic and your ex's friendship with you. I really believe it would help to have a neutral party assist with sorting it all out.
(That'll be 5 cents please :teeth)
We've spent all day at the VA hospital 2 hours away.
Hubby was injured in a rappel fall in the early 80's and fractured his skull, his pelvis and shattered his right elbow.
The doctor today said that his range of motion in his elbow has decreased from 60-10% since 1984. He is reccomending an elbow replacement, but if that happens, then he will more than likely be out of work again as after that you can't pick up more than 10 pounds with that arm.
The doctor came out to the waiting room to get him and as they were walking down the hall he asked my husband, what's that popping and creaking noise and my husband said it was his ankles. The doc said he'd never heard anything that loud before.
The bad news is that his xrays are not good. He has bone spurs, degenerative arthritis in his spine, hips and knees. He was told that not only does he need the elbow replaced, but within the next 5-10 years he will need both knees and both hips replaced. He's 45 years old. The dr. said his xrays looked like those of a 70 year old man.
Oh, and the ankles aren't good either, but not much can be done about that.
The doctor is reccomending a disability increase because he says these are all military related due to the jumps he made while in the Army. I hope the VA goes with the dr. reccomendation, but they are slow as Christmas.
He also talked to the VA service officer and he is going to work on getting vocational rehab training because with these problems, my husband is going to need to get into a field where he is not aggravating his problems.
It was a very depressing ride home. He was pretty stoic, but he also said that he's still relatively young and in 20 years how bad will it be then? So I know he's worried about the future and about how his body is going to be in the future.
Poor guy. What a rough year you guys have had. I'm thinking of you.
myrosiedog- I can't really say anything but to let you and your hubby know that I am thinking of you an hoping for the best possible outcome. Our country needs to take care of it's military personnel.
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