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Thursday
Jan012009

"My boyfriend, his kids, and his ex..."

After this post, we received a number of emails from women which all varied on the theme of "What degree of contact is appropriate for my boyfriend to have with his ex?" and "My boyfriend hasn't introduced me to his kids yet." Our position on co-parenting and dating is discussed in part in the interview I (Deesha) conducted with Mike's fiancee and our children's future stepmom, Sherry.  But because of the feedback we've received, we've decided to share more of our thoughts about dating and co-parenting, based on our experiences, on the experiences of people we know, and on good ol' common sense.Incidentally, our advice is directed at women dating men because, without exception, these are the folks who have reached out to us.  But we believe that the same principles still apply in other dating situations.


It's interesting, however, that men don't seem to have "meet-the-kids-why-are-you-hanging-around-your-ex" concerns to the same extent that women do.  If anything, according to some single guys we know, too many women want to rush their dates/boyfriends into meeting their kids, when the guys would rather proceed more cautiously.

This is a serious topic, but we believe laughter can be the best medicine and  a little levity can help bring peace to a tense situation.

So, sometimes with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, we present the following Co-Parenting and Dating FAQs:

My boyfriend’s ex spends all the holidays with him and their kids, and it drives me nuts!  Am I wrong to complain?*

It depends.  Are shared holidays part of the co-parenting plan your boyfriend and his children’s mother established when they split up?  If so, then it’s not so much that you’re wrong than it is that your boyfriend is obliged to honor this component of his agreement with his ex.  Remember, divorce ends a marriage, but families endure.  Sharing the holidays may be one way that your boyfriend and his ex affirm to their children that though they no longer live together, they are still part of a loving family.

What exactly about this arrangement drives you nuts?  Are you never invited to attend?  Is your boyfriend’s ex rude or otherwise unwelcoming toward you when you do join them?  Are your boyfriend and his ex are a little too “joyous” (i.e., intimate) during these holiday celebrations?  If so, address your concerns to your boyfriend.  The problem is not the joint holiday celebration per se, but rather your feeling excluded, disrespected, and/or his ex’s attitude toward you.

Barring any of the above…it’s perfectly understandable if seeing your boyfriend interact with his children and his ex makes you feel awkward and uncomfortable.  We (Mike and Deesha) routinely socialize together with our kids and our significant others, and yet on occasion we still feel something nudge us inside that says  “This is a little weird!”  Feeling awkward or uncomfortable is part of the growing pains of being part of a co-parenting family.  Name the feelings, own them, and give them time to subside.  The more secure you feel in your relationship with your boyfriend, the less threatened you’ll feel by his interactions with his ex and kids.

You’re entitled to your feelings about all of this and should communicate them appropriately (and privately) to your boyfriend.  If the two of you are forging a serious relationship, and he’s committed to cooperative parenting with his ex, you’ll need to talk about your relationship going forward within the context of putting his children’s needs first…without turning you into a doormat.  It’s an incredible balancing act that should only be attempted by mature adults.

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for six months, and he still hasn’t introduced me to his daughter.  I told him that if he’s serious about me, he’ll let me meet her, and if not, we’re done.

Ultimatums in relationships are rarely a good idea, especially if you don’t have the wherewithal to carry out your “…or else.”

Six months feels like a long time to you, but maybe not so much for your boyfriend.  Perhaps he’s still deciding how he feels about you, how committed he is to your relationship, and if it is serious enough to warrant an introduction to his kids.  Some parents rightfully keep their kids away from the revolving door of their dating lives.  They are very selective about whom they introduce their children to and in what context.

Before our divorce was even finalized, we agreed not to introduce the kids to our “dates”–people we were still getting to know and not sure if we would commit to long-term.  We ended up introducing our children to our respective significant others after a year and two years of dating, respectively, once we believed that these people were The Ones we wanted to spend our lives with, and once we believed the kids were ready for introductions to someone new.  Our significant others were introduced to the kids gradually, first as “just friends”, and then more as time went on.

Every family is different; the “right” time frame for introductions depends on the status of the new couple, the health of the co-parenting relationship, and the children’s specific needs and concerns.  It’s a huge step for children to be introduced to their parent’s significant others.  It may conjure fears of being displaced, concerns about having to “compete” for dad’s (or mom’s) attention, and it kills the fantasy many kids have that their parents will get back together.  For these reasons, timing can be everything when introducing kids to the new someone in your life.

Ask your boyfriend if he has a time frame in mind for introducing you to this daughter.  What are his concerns?  How does he think the introduction should take place?  Where?  How much time will you spend with his daughter at the first meeting?  Does the child’s mother have concerns about the child meeting you?  These should be addressed as well.

If you are committed to a serious relationship with your boyfriend, let him know that you are also committed to doing what’s best for his kids.  Let him know that you honor the fact that his kids come first, but that you would like some reassurance about your presence in his and his children’s lives going forward.

My boyfriend and his ex sleep in the same bed sometimes when he visits his kids.  He says nothing happens and it doesn’t mean anything, but I don’t like it.

It’s time to introduce Kenny Rogers’  “The Gambler” Rules for Dating a Co-Parent:

“You got to know when to hold ‘em….” So it’s been two months, and your boyfriend hasn’t introduced you to his kids.  Sit tight.  Hang in there.  It’s early yet.

“…know when to fold ‘em…” You’re dating this guy, and every night he calls to say goodnight to his kids.  He spends about five minutes talking to the kids, and then 30 minutes talking and laughing with his ex about non-kid stuff and the inside jokes they shared as a couple.  As they chit-chat, you sit next to him twiddling your thumbs while watching Dancing with the Stars.

“…know when to walk away…” You’ve dated this guy for three years.  He hasn’t introduced you to his kids, and he shushes you whenever his ex calls (which is often), saying, “She’s still raw from the breakup.  I haven’t told her about you yet.”

“…know when to run…” Your boyfriend and his ex sleep in the same bed sometimes when he visits his kids.  He says nothing happens and it doesn’t mean anything.

If your gut tells you that your boyfriend isn’t over his ex, you’re probably right.  Listen to your gut, and move on.  If he really is over his ex, and he really is interested in committing to you, he will make it his business to make both crystal clear to you.  You shouldn’t have to wonder.

My boyfriend’s babymama won’t let me meet his kids.  She says that if he brings the kids around me, she’ll go to court to take away his visitation.  Can she do this?

The short answer is, “No, she can’t.”  Unless you pose some danger to the children,  your presence is not legal grounds for ceasing his visitation.

Sounds like the ex wants to punish your boyfriend for moving on (or other crimes), and thinks that his visitation is fair game.   There are few co-parenting matters that infuriate us more than when adults use children as pawns to fight their personal battles and demons.

Hopefully your boyfriend can have a calm conversation with his ex, letting her know that his visitation and your presence in his life have no bearing on each other.  He should affirm to her that the kids are and will always be his first priority.  Has he offered to let her meet you before you meet the kids?  Perhaps that will allay her concerns.  But experience tells us that anyone who would threaten to take away visitation to grind their own personal ax isn’t inclined to be so congenial.  All you (and your boyfriend) can do is try and to treat her with respect, regardless of her irrational threats.

When you do interact with the kids, your conversation about their mother with them and in front of them should exist along the continuum of neutral to nice.  Even if she bad-mouths you and your boyfriend around the kids, the two of you have to be the bigger persons, for the sake of the kids.

Keep in mind that the kids may feel wary or conflicted about meeting you because they know their mother is against it.  Respect their position, and don’t be overly chummy or try too hard to get them to like you.  Treat them kindly, but give them space.  In time, hopefully, the dust will settle between their parents, and the kids will feel free to get to know you.

My boyfriend spends too much time with his ex.  How can I get him to see that this isn’t fair to me?

This is a tough one because how much time do you consider too much time?  Some women think that their boyfriend shouldn’t spend any time with his ex because if it’s over, it’s over, right?  Well, if they have kids, it’s never truly over.   They may no longer be a couple, but if they are committed to cooperative parenting, they will have to interact for their kids’ sake.  As someone dating a co-parent, part of your adjustment is making peace with this reality.

“Too much time” also depends on the circumstances.  Are they spending time together dealing with kid-related concerns (school problems, health or behavior issues, e.g.), or are they just hanging out enjoying each other’s company?  The latter is an eyebrow-raiser that you should certainly address with your boyfriend (and see the Kenny Rogers’  “The Gambler” Rules for Dating a Co-Parent above).

In our culture, we are so accustomed to nasty divorces or to custody arrangements where kids barely (or never) see one parent, that we question how “normal” it is for ex-spouses to get along, much less spend time in each other’s company.  Remember divorce ends a marriage, but families endure.  Children need reassurance that they are still part of a loving, caring family.  Co-parents who interact in civil and cordial ways and minimize conflict–these parents make life much, much better for kids after divorce.  When a new girlfriend (or boyfriend) comes on the scene, it’s important that boundaries between “the old” and “the new” be respected, but the children remain the top priority.

Ask yourself if the real issue is inappropriate contact between your boyfriend and his ex, or if the real issue is your insecurity about your relationship.  Do you feel that your boyfriend and his ex are crossing boundaries and not showing you (and the new relationship) the appropriate respect?  Your boyfriend should be able to demonstrate his commitment to you in definitive ways that do not require his ex to be used  as litmus test.  His interaction with his ex (or lack thereof) isn’t a reliable gauge of his commitment to you.   Share your concerns with him directly–but take the focus off his ex, if the real issue is concern about your relationship.

The more secure you feel in your relationship with your boyfriend, the less threatened you’ll feel by his interactions with his ex.  It’s easy to think, “I’ll feel better if he didn’t spend so much time with her”, when truly what will make you feel better is clarity and reassurance about his commitment to you and your relationship.

My boyfriend vacations with his kids and his ex.  Is this normal?

Is it typical?  No.  But among those committed to cooperative parenting after divorce, it’s not unheard of.  Ever summer since our divorce, we have vacationed together with the kids.  Our respective significant others have accepted this as part of our commitment to affirming to our daughters that they are still part of a family.  One lament that children of divorce have is that they spend all or most of their time with one parent or the other.  Many children crave times when everyone can be together “like old times”; some parents sacrifice to give them such times.

Co-parenting (parenting in general!) involves lots of sacrifice, including continued interaction with one’s ex, forgiveness, and getting along for the sake of the kids.  By dating (or marrying) a co-parent, you are signing up to sacrifice as well: time, attention, and your comfort zone.

We’re not saying it’s easy knowing that your boyfriend is away with his “old” family.  But keep in mind, the kids aren’t “old”–they are very much a part of his present reality.  Get on board with his commitment to meeting their needs.

That said, consider the specific circumstances of your boyfriend’s family vacation in light of the Kenny Rogers’  “The Gambler” Rules for Dating a Co-Parent above.

My boyfriend won’t insist on boundaries with his ex.  She shows up at his house unannounced, interferes with our social plans, calls constantly, bad-mouths our relationship to the kids, and always uses the kids as her excuse for her behavior.  Should I put up with this?

No, you shouldn’t.  Is your boyfriend worried that insisting on boundaries will anger his ex?  If so, he may have to suck it up, have a conversation with her, and deal with the fallout.  She may initially chafe at his insistence that she respect his boundaries, but hopefully  his calm, matter-of-fact presentation of his expectations will temper her reaction.

Your boyfriend should also reflect on why he’s been so unwilling to insist on boundaries.  Are there issues from their relationship that he still needs to heal or resolve?

Finally, as for what you should do, consider your boyfriend situation in light of the Kenny Rogers’  “The Gambler” Rules for Dating a Co-Parent above.  Perhaps you should give him some time to work out this kink in his relationship with his co-parent.  But if the handwriting is on the wall, and he refuses to insist on boundaries, it may be time to fold ‘em.

~~~

Well, that’s the gist of the dating and co-parenting concerns folks have shared with us.  Don’t see your situation reflected in the FAQs above? Leave a comment or email us!

Happy dating and co-parenting!

« 5 Reasons to Co-Parent After Divorce or Separation | Main | "Custody Chaos, Personal Peace: Sharing Custody with an Ex Who is Driving You Crazy" »

Reader Comments (335)

Hi, Jesse:

While a judge can't tell a parent who she can be involved with, the judge can give stipulations as to who the children are allowed to have contact with if there are safety concerns.

Best to you,
~Deesha

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

hi.my name is mary i was with my boyfriend 12 years got a 9 year old son with him,and has been throw everything with him the drugs the drinking, mental abuse then he leaves me 4 the girl he has been seeing behind my back, i ask him how he could do this to us he said we havent been together 4 years now!!! he see is son on saturdays and he take him there i no nothing about her at all, he want tell me any thang what should i do.

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermary

Hi, Mary:

Unless there's some proven harm to your son during his dad's parenting time, his interactions with your ex's new partner are out of your control. It sounds like you feel betrayed, but try to remember that your feelings and the past relationship with your ex are separate from your son's relationship with his dad. Your son has a right to this relationship, regardless of the circumstances of your break-up and his father's relationship choices.

Best to you,
~Deesha

December 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradmin

I have been seeing my boyfriend for about a year and a half; more serious in the past 4 months. We were just getting to a point where I was going to meet the kids soon (he has full custody of 3 kids, ages 2, 4 and 12. Ex wife is the mother of the oldest and "baby mama" ex-girlfriend of the youngest 2). He has been talking to the oldest about me, to give her time to get used to it before we meet. We also talked about him meeting my family soon as well. In the midst of all these decisions to move forward and work at a life together, he got an amazing promotion in Chicago (we currently live in California). He is leaving in 1 month from now (October). We are having conversations about me moving there to be with him end of Dec, beginning of Jan. I would come visit once or twice; they would be back for the holidays, and that would give me time to give notice for my job and my apartment. I was feeling hopeful about all of this (even though it's a huge change!) But, I was excited about the prospect of a life with my boyfriend, and also the added excitement of a new place, and fresh start, all that! (Not that I don't like my life here... I will be sad to leave my family and friends, but know I will be able to come back to visit every couple months). There are some issues moving forward, that are very doable; meeting the kids asap and making sure we know each other a bit before I move in to their home- him meeting my parents. But, some new information has come into play that makes me take pause (but, at the same time I still have hope that it can work)... His job description has changed in that he will have to be in Chicago (home) for two weeks, and in Virginia for two weeks, every month (so, two weeks home, two weeks away.. indefinitely until he ultimately gets promoted to be in Virginia full time, which is what he wants). I asked who will be taking care of the kids while he is away, and he said the mother (I'll call her "baby mama") of the two youngest. I knew she would be moving out there, too. My first thought was... wow! that's great she is willing to be there for her kids and will be more apart of their lives (she has been kind of in and out as she pleases the past 2 years since they split). But, she would be coming to his house (my home) to stay for 2 weeks when he is away to take care of the kids (including his oldest, which is not her biological daughter, but they have a good relationship). I want nothing more than to be out there with him and start our life together... but it feels very complicated. I feel like it's nothing I can't handle, and as long as my boyfriend and I are on the same page about things we could be happy. But, it's overwhelming the thought of having to figure out a workable relationship with "baby mama." She already doesn't like the idea of me, and didn't like that I would be living with the kids in Chicago. We have given her the option to meet me before I meet them, but she has not shown interest. My plan is that if I am living there I would work tues-thurs, that way I can be flexible when I want to come back home for a few days, and I can be with my boyfriend in Virginia for a long weekend while he is away (to see him more, and "baby mama" less while she is at the house). I will be as respectful as I can to her, and know that they are her kids. I will expect my boyfriend to put his kids first, then me, then her. My fears...
1. "baby mama" will try and run me off (from what my boyfriend says he is not sure how she will handle it... she might give me hell... she might surprise us and be civil.. more conversations with her need to happen)
2. I will get lost in the mix of things, and my needs will not be met, because I will be concerned with not making things more difficult for anyone (especially the kids)
3. My boyfriend will not be able to put his foot down with "baby mama." I don't know their relationship well enough to know this yet, and time will tell. Even if she tries to manipulate him, I want him to be strong in standing up for me and our relationship
4. He mentioned he might find a house with a granny flat/guest house and she will live there (I DO NOT WANT THIS.. we haven't had time to discuss all the details further, and he is out of town on business right now. we are going to talk when he gets back). I imagine his thinking is that it will just be convenient. But, it will be enough for me to have her stay there for two weeks every two week, I do not want her living on the property when my boyfriend is home. We need that boundary. I need everyone to understand that if I live there... it will be his, mine, and his kids home... not hers. She will be welcome in her kids house during allotted times to take care of them, but it is not her home. (Is this fair?)

Any advice on specific things I need to bring up with my boyfriend before we move forward? (on what I have mentioned and anything I may be overlooking... how to approach/handle "baby mama" and my boyfriend when it comes to "baby mama")

I have never loved someone like this, which is the only reason I am considering taking on all of this! I am hopeful, but trying to be reasonable as well. Any/all advice and guidance is welcome.

September 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Hi, Michelle:

I think you've covered all the bases with regard to likely challenges with this arrangement. The move, the new job, the co-parenting dynamic, the step-dating (dating with kids in the mix) dynamic...to say that this a lot for the adults as well as the kids in this situation is an understatement. To give your relationship its best chance of succeeding, you may want to hold off on putting it right in the center of all of this.

Some co-parents have a similar arrangement as what you've described. It's called nesting, where the parents rotate in and out of the living space, so the kids don't go back and forth. But this generally becomes unworkable when either of the parents cohabits with or marries a new partner. It's just understood that the children will now need to see the other parent in her own separate living space.

Boundaries are really hard, but necessary, to maintain with people who aren't entirely interested in maintaining them as your boyfriend's ex may not be, and even harder when people share children AND living space, however temporary or short-term. Frankly, it would likely be a constant fight to claim your rightful place as woman of the house with her there half of every month, not welcoming of your presence in her children's lives. This is a recipe for a lot of conflict and tension. It require a lot of referring from your boyfriend, and most people would not up for this task. Add work, travel, and kids to the mix...that's just too much.

Further, you don't know what your boyfriend's ex's motivations and expectations are; he might not even really know. Conversations with her are just that: conversations. You don't want to relocate on the word of someone you barely know, who has no investment in your well-being, and all of this is contingent on her being agreeable. She's a wildcard here, and not someone you want the quality and logistics of your life to be at the whim of.

We haven't even addressed the kids' reactions and adapting to all of the various adults rotating in and out of their home, their feelings about the move, their parents not being together, your presence in their lives. By moving in, you'd be doing in a single instant what most blended families do over the course of several years. Again, that's a lot to put on children, as well as adults.

But it's possible to still maintain your relationship without making this huge leap. You could remain in California and date long distance. The benefit of this is that it gives your boyfriend and his kids time to settle in and adjust. It also gives him a chance to workout his co-parenting dynamic and for you to see how it plays, instead of asking him and then it turns out to be something other than what either of you anticipated.

You could also relocate and live in your own place. This would give you the proximity you desire and a clear view of how his co-parenting dynamic is playing out without having to be right smack in the middle of it. But if you make this move, be sure that you do it with the understanding that things may not work out the way you'd like. Despite your boyfriend's best intentions, he can't honestly promise you that you'll all end up happily under the same roof, or at least not any time soon. And if, as you indicated, his first priority is to his kids and he isn't able to maintain boundaries with his ex, he may not be able to deliver on this promise. To pressure him to do so would be a disaster for all involved. So if you don't think you'd be happy living in Chicago if this relationship doesn't work out, I would advise against moving there.

Finally, you listed a lot of unknowns about your boyfriend's co-parenting dynamic. He might be vague on the details because he doesn't want to face the enormity of it all. Often co-parenting dads want to try to please everyone--the kids, the ex, and the new partner--and it's just not possible. And sometimes the easier person (from their perspective) to disappoint is the new partner. If you a let a new partner down, you risk a break up. If you let your ex down, there could be hell to pay for years to come. So, if your boyfriend is trying to make everyone happy, chances are this won't end well for you. Already the plans he's making aren't relationship-friendly.

Blended family life comes with enormous built-in challenges even under typical circumstances. Second divorce rates (I know they weren't married, but still relevant) with kids in the mix is over 70%. Having his ex living with you part-time is further undermining your chances of success.

September 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeesha Philyaw

I have been in a relationship with this guy for 4years (off and on) he has daughter whom I met early on in our relationship and in 2012 our daughter entered into the world.. Since I got into the relationship I wanted to meet the mom but she always have an excuse or he either had an excuse we see each other around and has had "words" through Facebook. I'm always trying to get my daughter closer to her sister but its always a problem or excuse from the father as well as the ex. She doesn't like me and I don't really care for her because of them trying to be sneaky and still talk and send pics back and forth, which he claim he didnt. Every time I'm at his house or we say we going shopping and gonna go get his child he want to drop me off at the store or make up an excuse about why I can't ride or sometimes will just leave!!! I think he is trying to hide something as well as be sneaky. I feel as if we in a relationship it shouldn't matter if I ride with MY MAN, when I'm not trying to get out the car and go in her house to fight her!! Is it wrong for feeling like this??? He say he wanna get married but I feel like he need to let go of the PAST if he really wanna be with me and to put her in her place as well as stay in his place and just CO-PARENT!!

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatina

Hi, Katina:

I think you should listen to your feelings. If you feel as if your boyfriend is hiding something, then you don't have a strong foundation of trust. It's easy for your boyfriend to talk about wanting to get married, but if he's not willing to build that foundation of trust, your marriage would be built on shaky ground. He may be moving slower than you'd like him to fully close the door on his relationship with his ex (beyond co-parenting), and it sounds like he's afraid that any face-to-face encounters with you and his ex will be volatile.

He's right to protect his children from such confrontations, but you have to ask yourself if you're willing to live with his way of doing things. It's not unreasonable for you to want him to stop being so chummy with her and trust you not to get out of the car and start a fight. Your ex needs to realize that he can't keep appeasing his ex AND be a full partner in a new relationship. But if he's not willing to do this, I don't suggest you stick around and keep pressuring him to "put her in her place." Move on.

December 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeesha Philyaw

My BF and I have been together for a year and half and he has three kids and i have one. His first ex (mother of two) doesnt let him see their kids at all and it breaks him down constantly. He doesnt even know where they live or anything like that. He pays his child support but the support offices wont give him any information as to where they might be. Holidays are tough and so are birthdays and i honestly dont know what to do to help with this and it's taking its toll on both of us. I havent met them either. His second ex didnt tell him she was pregnant or that he was the father until the baby was 6 months old. (we were together for 8 months at that time). Test was done and he is the father. She uses the baby as a pawn and threatens to not let him see their son if he's not in a relationship with her. He supposedly told her he's in a relationship with me and that he only wants to be there for his kid but it's like she doesnt get the hint or something. She posts stuff online and tags him in everything "romantic". I've told him how its disrespectful and he says he's talked to her about it but its still happening. She's come into contact with me online telling me how he's been with her for years and that i'm just a pasttime. To leave his family alone and stop going to his house, etc... He says she's lying but she keeps insisting. She calls him at all hours and shows up unannounced to his house. There have been times when she's called and im in his presence and he tells me to not say anything while he's on the phone with her. And once when he told me to stay inside his house in his room (out of sight) while he went outside to put his son in her car because he didnt want a fight between me and her. He refuses to let me and her meet face to face, he wants me to have no contact with her that he'll handle it. Everytime she posts something or gets in contact with either of us my BF and i have problems. He becomes distant and it drives me crazy. My son's father and i arent like that we co-parent with our son and we show our son that even if we arent together we're still a family without disrespecting my BF. He says he's serious about our relationship and that he loves me and my son but with all this its hard to believe it. I love him very much and i'm trying to understand this situation but its getting more and more difficult. Please help!!!! I feel like im about to lose my sanity with this!

December 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteradriana

Adriana: Preserve your sanity. Your boyfriend wants to have his cake and eat it too--have a relationship with you, but zero boundaries with his ex. His words may well be true--that he loves you, etc., but his actions don't support a relationship that honors you. Which is what you deserve.

Best,
~Deesha

December 31, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeesha Philyaw

Hi! I have been dating an awesome man for 6 months and we have a great relationship so to speak. We are both divorced parents and I have one daughter and he has two daughters. He goes to his ex wife's home all the time to watch his daughters. Which is fine with me, but I don't understand why he feels it is right to go over there all the time and cook for his daughters as well as his ex and she calls all the time wanting him to meet her and the girls for lunch or dinner. I absolutely love the daughters! Now that we are experiencing an ice storm he takes off over there to be snowed in with his ex wife for 3 days. Also, when we go and attend sport events he insist on us sitting by her which makes me uncomfortable because they sit there and cut up. I don't spend anytime with my ex except when it is about our child neither my ex and I spend the night at each other's home. I have talked to him about my concerns about spending the night at his ex wife's home and he says I'm overreacting! I love this man and I don't want him to have to choose at all... But he sure does spend a lot of time worried about dates she goes on and what she does with her friends. What makes it right for him to spend the night at least once a week over there as well as cleaning her home? I understand having a healthy relationship with her for the kids sake, but their needs to be a line drawn. Help me with advice I don't want to lose him but how much can I take!!! Thanks!

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCandice

I am hoping you ladies can give me some advice! I am a divorced mom who gets along with her ex and new wife and have a 12 year old son plus older boys. I enjoy the peace and respect my ex and I show each other. I have been dating a divorced Dad of 2 daughters for a year. My sons love my boyfriend who I live with now and he is generally a loving and kind person. HOWEVER he was recently divorced when I met him a year ago and his ex was living with her affair guy with their joint daughters. He was very angry and upset about his ex's choices and she was apparently trying to have him and her lover when married and shortly after the divorce. I ge the impression it was messy for awhile. My reason for writing is that his ex is ruining our relationship. She texts, emails and calls him everyday, multiple times a day. I counted one week-end they texted 48 times, multiple calls plus seeing each other at drop off etc.. How much can these two talk about? What is an appropriate level of communication? When they disagree about former bills etc she will not let him see his daughters or his 9year old will text him stating she does not want to go with him for his week-end or event. She lies about money all the time (check in the mail), says and does hateful things to him, excludes him, takes away his Christmas vacation and most horribly controls the kids from seeing their Dad as their visitation is not specified. His ex called me a whore to him and I could go on with the problems. I get stomach aches over this toxic presence in my life and can't seem to get my boyfriend to disengage. I have suggested to talk to her twice a week about kid issues, appointments, money, etc.. unless there is an emergency. He says he is afraid if he doesn't respond every time (like 5am over their former dog together) she will get angry and take it out on the kids and visitation. He says she is crazy and we just have to deal with it. I feel very disrespected and intruded upon and uncomfortable with his ex constantly hounding him. What is appropriate and healthy? Why would he entertain a mean spirited woman like this who does not have his best interests ? It is usually about the kids and stuff that could be discussed twice a week but it also includes topics such as her mom, dogs, her life, her problems,her premonitions lol etc and just basic crazy drama. When he asked her to stop her response was I will text you and contact you about our children when I want to. At this point I can't go out to eat or watch tv, or wake up without hearing the text alert going off from this woman. What can I do to get my boyfriend to understand I can't take it anymore all the drama and that it is not healthy. I should also mention she told my boyfriend I am just jealous and she lunged at me on a soccer field once. I didn't respond or say anything because I don't want legal problems but that just added to my need to disengage from this woman. I don't want to leave my boyfriend but I am over it and feel I deserve better. I have told him our life together will not move forward unless this drama can be contained. Your advice is much appreciated..

February 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdebbie gray

@Candice

There are several red flags here, but...cleaning her home?

This co-parenting situation needs some boundaries, stat!

I understand that you don't want to lose him, but he may need a wake up call that he can't have his cake (a new relationship with you) and eat it too (remain entangled with his ex beyond what is required for co-parenting).

Maybe he's Mr. Not Right Now? You may be the first one to let him know that his behavior isn't conducive to a new relationship. Maybe your taking a break from your relationship will be the wake-up call he needs to invest some time in healing from the end of his marriage and the implications for how much time and in what ways he'll be with his daughters now that he's co-parenting

But if you're not the first new partner to tell him this, well...

February 22, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeesha Philyaw

@Debbie:

I think you've gotten this figured out.

Listen to your body. Stomachaches are a sign of stress, and this stress is ongoing with no end in sight. Yes, you absolutely deserve better.

Your suggestion about limiting his responses to her is a very good one and also a common one that co-parents use when they want to maintain healthy boundaries. It's very telling that your boyfriend doesn't want to put such a boundary in place.

You asked: "Why would he entertain a mean spirited woman like this who does not have his best interests?" Based on what you've shared, it sounds like they don't have a shared parenting agreement in place, which would leave him vulnerable when it comes to seeing their kids because she's controlling access. I think your answer lies in his reason for not having a shared parenting agreement. Is it because if he goes to court to pursue one, he'll have to pay child support or more in child support than he's currently paying? If this is the case, then I think that tells you all you need to know about this guy.

A parenting time schedule doesn't offer guarantees that the situation would improve, because his ex would have to comply with it. But if he's not willing to even attempt to get a set schedule (assuming his parental rights have been established; this is more than his name on the birth certificate), then he's resigning himself to this situation. You don't have to, though.

Best to you,
~Deesha

February 22, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeesha Philyaw

I've been with my boyfriend for a year and half. we were both previously married and both have kids from the previous marriages. Mine was barely a year when we started dating and after 6 months I was ready for him to be around her and be a part of her life. His kids are 4 and 5 and so we decided that for them we should wait a little longer. We would do the occasional play date at the park, but his x freaked out and said I was not allowed to be around the kids any longer until we were ready to formally sit down with her and introduce who I was to the kids. Understanding, we respected that. We completely stopped doing anything jointly with the kids and only saw each other whenever he did not have his kids. At the year mark, and a couple times since then he has said he is ready to move forward...Each time I got really excited, but the meeting still has yet to happen. It seems she talks him out of it, or she says she's not ready...or its not a good time, etc. Thats issue #1. The other issue is that on a regular basis she asks him last minute to take the kids on a day otherwise not scheduled. Him wanting to be the best dad for his kids, never says no - and I respect that! Where I have the issue is that even when we have set plans he will not tell her no. it would be one thing if I was allowed to be around the kids to where when the schedule changes last minute we could alter our plans and include them, but instead he goes with them and I'm left in the dust so to speak. Often times I only find out from a text rather than a phone call which makes it sting a little more that I find out plans are canceled that way. Other than these two things our relationship together is incredible and I know I am in love with this man, but because of the above I do tend to hold back...I'm afraid of going further with our relationship as individuals without the kids involved and he doesnt understand that. When I bring it up that things need to change so that we can move forward with our relationship as a whole, he gets defensive and says that of course its what he wants too but that he doesnt have control of it and is annoyed I'm bringing it up. He has indicated that he is afraid if he stands up to her that she will compliacte things more. Now that my daughter is at a age of understanding things better I'm concerned about her being around him until he shows me that he really is committed to us and moves forward with the 'formal meeting' on his side. I'm getting tired of it, and not sure how much longer I can put up with only being a part of his life every day that he doesnt have his kids, while the most important part of his life is completely seperate from me and my daughter. I'm not sure where to go from here...

Hi, Wanting To Move Forward:

Even if you leave aside the fact that he doesn't want you to meet his kids because he wants to keep placating his ex, canceling plans at the last-minute is rude and you wouldn't tolerate that for long from any relationship. Nor would you encourage your daughter to tolerate it in her platonic or non-platonic relationships. Right now, your boyfriend is showing his ex more concern and consideration than he's showing you.

Consider this: If your daughter was in your situation, would you encourage her to stay with this man in a committed relationship? Or would you want her to be with someone who was more considerate? Your daughter is watching you and learning what to expect from her own relationships. What do you want to model for her?

Best to you,
~Deesha

March 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeesha Philyaw

Basically my other halfs ex wife won't let there son be near me which for the past 3yrs I've let slide as she was threatening to take away visitation rights however, me and him have recently had a daughter and I want the kids to meet... I even said I'd be happy for her to be there when they met if it made her feel more comfortable, her response "the only.way they are ever meeting is if I'm there and she's not".

What can I do my little girl is 7months her little boy is 4yrs he doesn't even know she exists.

The other half doesn't ever want to say anything cause it'll cause arguments, like ive said before my little girl was born I could live with that but not now

March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Hi, Jess:

Unfortunately, you can't do anything if your other half doesn't want your child and her sibling to meet. That's strictly up to him as their father.

But point of clarification: his ex can't take away his visitation rights or dictate who can be present during his parenting time, if this has been established by the courts. Only the courts can do that. She can interfere, but he would have the option in that case of filing a contempt motion. All of this presumes that his parental rights have been established and that there's a parenting time schedule on file with the court. If so, he could file a contempt motion if she's violating the agreement (she has no say over whose present during his parenting time, generally speaking)

If he doesn't have a parenting time schedule on file with the court, why not? Why is his ex being allowed to dictate his access to his child?

I don't know if this is the situation with your boyfriend, but in my experience, the scenario you describe usually involves a spoken or unspoken agreement between the co-parents: she won't run to the court about him not paying (adequate) child support, and in return, he allows her to control access to the child. If this is the case with your boyfriend, it's unlikely your child will see her sibling as long as that agreement is in place.

Best to you,
~Deesha

April 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeesha Philyaw

So my boyfriend and I have been dating for 7 months now.. we are even talking marriage.. He has joint custody of his 5 year old daughter. His daughter loves me very much as I do her. His ex is married and has moved on as well as he has.. Recently his ex decided to take him to court for full custody.. which makes no sense.. they was getting along up to this point. She then finally breaks down and basically admits to being jealous because her daughter likes me so good... said she didn't want me playing the "mommy" role.. I would never take her place but any person would want their child to be around someone who is good to them,, wouldn't they? But anyway all of a sudden him and his ex are getting along again.. talk more then normal! She puts stuff in his head and he believes every word of it and she has always done him that way. She knows exactly how to work him and I feel that she has some sort of control over him. I am really worried that it is gonna ruin our relationship because I feel pushed to the side. One minute he tells me he wants me involved in his daughters life as much as possible and that he wants us to have a bond then the next minute he tells me that I have to have boundaries... what do I do? I'm am not gonna sit back and let him push me to the side for his ex... Its really driving me crazy!!!!

April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

Hi...maybe you can help me see this differently:

I have been dating an older, divorced woman for about 6-months (I am older too, but a couple of years less old than her). She is a true delight to be around and I could really want to be in a long term exclusive relationship with her. I have never been married, nor do I have children of my own.

This woman has two adopted daughters who are teenagers about 4-years apart in age. She adopted the girls a little later in life. I understood going in, and would expect that the children would come first, and that the three of them would be a package deal.

In the beginning, my woman told me that she is not interested in ever getting remarried. She also said that there will be no living together while she has her children at home.

She also moved near her ex-husband after their divorce, as he finally wanted to be a part of their adopted children's life. I was told that the husband, during the marriage, was emotionally abusive, physically bullying, a chronic alcoholic, and an absentee father.

My woman tells me that her ex still wants her, but she is no longer interested in him. Since he cleaned up his act considerably, she wants him to be in their children's lives. My understanding is that he is doing well in this regard, going to school events and meets, and hosting the children often at his home.

She has told me that it is up to me to get to know her children, if I want. She said that they get plenty of attention already, though. We have had several dinners together with the kids, and I have gotten them a few small gifts. I would like to become more involved I think.

This woman and I have moved into the exclusive phase of our relationship. She does not want me contacting any old girlfriends or making new ones, etc. We agreed to be there for each other, exclusively, both emotionally and physically.

I thought I was happy about the way things were going. I have absolutely no problem with the ex being involved with his adopted kids. My woman and I were planning a trip to the Grand Canyon next summer with the girls included. Life could not be happier for me.

The problem I am having right now is that this Easter, I wanted to invite my woman and the girls over to spend it with my family. I could not reach her during the day of, but later in the evening she called me. She said that she spent Easter over her ex's with the girls. They made Easter eggs, then hid them so the younger one could go on a hunt. Then afterwords, my woman spent the afternoon watching TV with her ex, while the children played or read.

I guess there is nothing really wrong with what she is doing, spending time with her ex as a family unit over the holiday. But now I feel like I am not really in a monogamous relationship. It does not matter that sex is not involved (according to her), but it appears to me she is still emotionally committed to her ex. "For the kids sake" would seem to be just a rationalization.

How is it that I am expected to be emotionally and physically committed to just this woman, when she still has emotional ties to her ex? I think she wants her cake and to eat it too. And since the ex still wants her, isn't she kind of stringing him along? I am not the first boyfriend she has had after her divorce.

Not only do I feel like I am intruding into a family, I kind of feel like I am being played. I don't want to be part of a male harem.

Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of love to give the right woman. I understand that children and their parents ought to have unimpeded contact with each other. But I think that there are boundaries in the adult relationship that can't be crossed. I mean, she divorced him. Why is she starting up with me (or anyone else, for that matter) when she still shares holidays with her ex? And why expect me to be exclusive? While I know her children are to come first, I would expect me to be at the top of the pecking order after them in a monogamous relationship.

Any insight you might have for me would be appreciated (unless it is some liberal garbage about "it is best for the kids" kind of thing.) Remember, I would like to share my experiences and life with the woman and her kids, not replace the children's father.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

My issue is a little different, as my fiancr and I are currently broken up and he is "technically" in a relationship with his youngest son's mother. This is the second time he has ran to her after a split up... the first time he came home after a few weeks. This time it has been months, he moved out of her home a couple weeks ago and he says he knows he made a mistake but she kind of manipulates him as well. When we are steady and stable in our relationship she refuses to let him see his child, causes drama at every chance she can... but when we are rocky or on a break she suddenly lets him see his son all he wants and portrays this image of a happy little family. He pays his child support and even above and beyond that gives her money or buys her and their son anything she needs or wants. He even recently put the down payment on a vehicle for her. He does not love her in a romantic sense and does want to be with me but he is afraid if he breaks it off completely and comes back to me that she will rip his son away from him again and neither of us want that. He is not in a position to fight for visitation or custody on any level. How should we handle this situation??

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCandie Jayne

Hi .. I hope you can help me with this.

This has been my day ruiner every now and then. Specially over the weekend. I have a boyfriend. We're technically 1 year and 4mos now. He has a son but is not married to his ex. Now, the ex and the son is staying over the weekend in his place. The reason of the ex is lame. She just want to be with her son every time her son needs to visit his grandparents and daddy. That's her terms according to my boyfriend. That if they dont follow she'll not again let them see the child or even stays in their place. I don't want to be rude or I don't want to give confusions to the kid that's why I don't like going over to my boyfriend's place. Reason is his x has this random visits on them and I don't want to be in that "awkward" situation with the kid in between. I don't see enough reason why the x is doin that. B/c really, she could have just leave her son with his dad and with his grandparents considering too his dads younger bro and sis. They could watch after the kid. One thing too is that this coming June of 2014 boyfriend's family will go to family reunion and bf's aunt's and uncles want the child to be there too. But as his x terms goes they cant bring the child w/o her. So .. Now what? They'll be joining the same trip like they used to when they're still together? Though my bf ask me to come .. I don't want to give his parents that awkward feeling in a situation wherein I'm one major reason its happening. So I decided not to come at all. But it kills me. It drives me nuts everytime I remember that happening. Even during over the weekend. It kills me :( someone pls help. I need it asap. Like I'm thinking bout it every single day.

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Thank you so much for this post and addressing all the major issues that are prevalent when dating a co-parent. I'm absolutely in love with my boyfriend (who I've been with for quite a while now), and he loves me, too, but I've been worried about his ex because things didn't end well with them, and she still tells him she loves him and sort of attempts to get him back. He's proven to me in the past month how much he loves me, and that he would never go back to his ex, but I was worried about a potential "family vacation" they might be going on in a couple months. This post calmed me down so much and made me feel so much better. I know they'll be sleeping in separate beds and that my boyfriend truly loves me, so I think I can stomach this trip a little easier, now. Thank you, again, so much for this blog. Reading it has made me feel so much more at ease.

May 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFallen Angel

My live in boyfriend and I have been together for four years now. He is great. He has three kids with his ex wife of ten years. He has two from a previous relationship and took custody of the two kids when their mom passed away. Before he got with his ex wife, she was raising a little girl who was abadoned by her mom. My boyfriend helped raised that little girl who is now 18. My boyrfriend and his ex wife divorced because he said she was too controlling, treated his other two children horribly and she would accuse him of cheating on her on a regular basis. She actually cheated on him and got pregnant and they seperated and he moved out with his two older kids ages 18 and 16. He and I meet while I was seperated and he was going through his divorce. When he told me he was the father of seven kids I almost fainted. I have three kids of my own. But this is what makes my boyfriend extremely special. He is helping raise and support children that are not his. The oldest and the youngest from his ex are not his, however, he claims them as his own and supports all of them. I love his kids as I do my own. Here is the problem. His ex knows how much he loves his kids and when we meet and starting dating, she was refusing to let him see his kids but that had nothing to do with me. Right up until the moment he and I started dating he was still trying to get his family back but she refused. Ultimately they divorced and I got to meet his kids with his ex after six months into our relationship. They are great kids. After four years together she is still controlling him. He is paying child support for his three kids including the youngest which is not his and still gives her two hundred bucks a week. His ex has had several boyfriends but none of them help her out with money at all. His ex kept the house that they had together and if something breaks in it, he buys it and replaces it for her. My boyfriend says that he can't let the mother of his kids fall and I respect that so much about him. However, his ex takes advantage of that kindness and she manipulates him. He gets the kids every weekend and that is great. His ex and I do not get along at all. During the four years of my relationship with my boyfriend she has tried to get him back. We live four minutes from her and on several occassions when he went to drop off the kids she has made a pass at him. One time he was at her house replacing windows and she took that opportunity to get naked and tried to seduce him. He didn't have sex with her and the reason I know this is because she would have no problem coming over and telling me he cheated on me with her. She has sent him inappropriate tex messages and pictures, and has told him that they should have another honeymoon and no one would have to know about it. Some of these things he has told me himself and others I have heard or found out from his friends and family. His ex won't let me come to her house to pick up the kids with him. She said she doesn't want me there. Why. I don't know. I am not allowed to attend birthday parties for the kids if they are at her house. Obviously, my boyfriend can go but and her current boyfriend can go but not me. I trust my boyfriend completely when he is around her but its her I do not trust and with reason. She calls my boyfriend when she needs more money, when something breaks or if she wants to go shopping. He has left me at the house a few times to take her shopping at night because she has night blindness and can't drive. I told him that if she can't drive at night maybe she should make plans to go to the store during the day. He told her this and she didn't like it and told him that I am trying to control him and keep him away from her. His obligation is to his children, not to her. I feel like he caters to her every whim. I love him every much and I feel like she knows how much he loves his kids and the fact that he would do anything for them and she uses it to her advantage. He doesn't see it. His ex says that I am immature and insecure when it comes to her but I am not. I have no reason to be. My question is how can I get him to see that she is still controlling him and manipulating our relationship. Any advice you have is greatly appreciated.

May 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMOM

I have been in a serious relationship with a Filipino man for 4 years.
We met working on Ships and have had all our contracts meet up so we can continue on a relationship. He is legally seperated from his ex as they don't have divorce over there and has children. After each contract ends we go home to our own countries to catch up with family etc etc. I have yet to go there to meet his family as ships don't pay as well as land based employment and it is beyond what I can affored. He has however met my family. His ex has previously tried to contact me and sent me photos of happy family times and accuses me of breaking them up. my partner has recently admited to me that he has been on holidays with her and the children when he has been home for Vacation to please the kids. He has done nothing but to assure me that there is nothing going on and we are even looking into vias applications for him to move here but now after this admission I can't help but wonder..... His ex has amped up the e-mails and has even gone so far as to create fake facebook and e-mail accounts (even pretending to be him). It seems strange to me that he would try so desperately to hold on and be with me if what she is claiming is true. He is forthcoming with information and often in tears but I cant help but feel like I have been left out of a huge part of his life and feel like something is missing. I'm not even sure what my gut is telling me and would appreciate an outside perspective. Any advice is welcome.

Regards B

May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterB

my boyfriend and i have been together for a year now. he has two children with his ex girlfriend, the kids are amazing and i adore them a lot. he has visitation one or two days a week and he gets them from friday evening to sunday evening every other week. lately he has been wanting to spend more time with his children, and i support him always. but he is also saying that the mother of the children may also come along, but he does not invite me on these family outtings they have. should i be worried? she doesnt really like me all that much, i wonder sometimes if she still has feelings for him but he has made it clear that he definitely doesnt have feelings for her. we have always been religious but recently he has found God again and wants to do better for his kids. sometimes i feel like i am not wanted when he has them for the weekend, i come over and spend time with them and we try to do a lot of activities. today he told me this weekend (which is not a visitation weekend) he wants to take the kids to downtown chicago for a bike tour, and he then added that his ex may be coming with too but did not proceed to invite me..... im confused! advice?

May 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersyl skow

Hi
I have been with my fiancee for two years now, he has 2 kids with an ex and i have one with my ex. Unfortunately his ex is constantly texting himmostly about the kids, whilst i understand the kids come first i have started feeling very awkward, she likes to have things done her way all the time and if it isnt done when she wants she can make my fiancee feel very guilty. In the furst year of pur relationship he was still going to his exes and staying over with his kids, this has now stopped but recently i feel there are no boundries where she is concerned, he has agreed to see his kids every other weekend so that he and i can spend some time together but she constantly texts after he has dropped the kids back saying that he needs to see the kids more, she invites him over to her house constantly and even does a birthday tea every year at her home. Her kids are only 5 and they dont really want tea and sandwiches, i think she does this for her own benefit and to get my fiancee over to her house. The last time i attended one of these tea parties she was very close to my fiancee, she would talk to him very closely almost as if she wanted to kiss him and i felt very uncomfortable. I feel as though my life with my fiancee involves his ex constantly and it sometimes feels like theres three people in my relationship, i have tried to discuss this with my partner and air my concerns but he tells me im being silly. I do trust him but unfortunately i dont trust her, spending time with my fiancee has become very hard as she is always just a call or text away using the kids as an excuse to contact him all the time. We argue constantly, im not used to it as my ex does not get so involved he understands that two people need time to build a relationship, i dont think my partners ex knows this at all. Am i being silly or is there something more to this?

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternissa

My boyfriend received a random text from his ex claiming he has a 3yr old son that he finally meet (she still wants him) she invited him over to see for himself one day and when I said to him I want to come not just to make sure she dont try nothing but mainly for support to show that im still with him, he insists that he goes alone claiming that his ex will try to start something when really were all supposed to be acting like adults so I told him im not changing my mind im going. Am I wrong? I dont know what to do now or the near future.

June 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShelley

I have been with my boyfriend for 11months... When we met he was living with his ex of a ten yr relationship during one of their breakups she was impregnated by another man. They reunited n he has been raising that boy as his own. I have a daughter they are both 5. The little boy is spoiled!! Cries like a baby to get his way n he always does my daughter is the opposite the boy is coddled and it is pathetic to witness , my bf pays the ex 600$ a month n child support is friends with his family which I'm not allowed to his sisters house..(long story)... So now the boy claims I'm mean to him since I asked him to stop kicking my ashtray in my car... So NOW when my bf picks up the boy he spends the whole weekend at his sisters n cones home bout midnight I'm going crazy I think he should put his foot down n be the parent who's wrong? He feels like he has to ease him into coming around after ten months of coming over its reverted to them spending time together away from our home I'm at my wits end Any advice is greatly appreciated

June 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca

i have a boyfriend for 7 years.. we're planning to get married by next year 2015... however, i have these issues thats still bothering me since the time he told me the truth... he told me he had a child (now 6 y/o) with his ex-girlfriend before he met me... and he only told me this later when we were in our 2nd year of relationship for fear of losing me. But then, I chose to stay with him.. Since then,we always try to make things work, he explained to me evrything that these were already in the past... and the only reason he is going to communicate with his ex is just because of the child and nothing more. however, i still have this feeling of jealousy thinking im his only 2nd priority next to them (ex & child). He is happy whenever he chats with them in the web (bec. they're in US and were here in Phils.). And that makes me feel incomplete. i felt like im not part of his life and that they are like a happy family... we have no baby yet and that makes me feel a stranger to him. i have no connection with him (the baby) unlike with her ex. we always argue about it. he always want me to accept him bec. the child is already a part of him. he always tell me to worry nothing bec. he loves me so much & that he also wants to start our own family and be with me for the rest of his life. There was a time, i accidentally saw their exchanging messages in facebook when my BF left it logged on. they were talking bout non-child related stuffs like catching up with each other. but it was only a very short conversation. he even greeted her a mother's day through his previous messages. i know it kinda sounds disrepectful to go through my bf's privacy in fb, but the curiosity made me check it. and it kinda feel like awkward seeing them ok.. i felt so very jealous.. since i am very sensitive about it and insecure, we even came up with an agreement of not letting me know when he will be going to chat them in the web. Although he doesnt want this to keep it hidden from me, he is forced to do so just to avoid me getting hurt. i know it is also hard for him to let me accept him fully... how am i going to deal with this? the babymama is so nice to him that makes me jealous, because im scared that anytime, my boyfriend might fall for her.. FYI, they only had 2 months dating when they met, and we are like 7 years. although he already gave me assurance, i still feel insecure... what should i do?... sould i settle with him for marriage? I would really love to hear some your inspirational advices... thank you...

June 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCandice

I have been with my boyfriend for almost 4 years now and moved in almost a year. He has 2 kids, one going to college and one still at home. the one at home refuses to do anything I ask him to and when I say something to my boyfriend he sticks up for him. but will talk to him when I get furious. Like tonight I asked him to shake the rugs out and he said no. I asked again when I was finished mopping the floor and he said no again. I told him he was useless and did it myself and my boyfriend saw how furious I was and called him out to talk. I then asked him when we were finished with dinner to clean up and do dishes. My boyfriend helped him and washed the dished instead of just letting him do the responsibility. I said something in private to my boyfriend and he got mad at me. I told him he needs to get some responsibility around the house and he refuses to give it to him. I feel he needs to have chores everyday. My boyfriend just keeps on picking up after him.The kid is 16 and does nothing unless he is told by his father and disrespects me when I ask him to. How do I figure out what to do?

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Can my boyfriend give me permanent custody of his daughter if we live together? and we putting the baby in school taking her to the doctor, just doing everything that the mother & father should do....

June 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Hi, am Kendra I have been with my boyfriend 3months after his child was born. So it's been 5 years now. He got divorced 6 years ago and his ex is always bad mouthing me,him, his mom and his grandmother. my boyfriend let her ex get away with telling him what to do when she wants. He let her talk to him any kind of way. He let her embarrass him in public. She rough's him for $50 every week when he is still to work. She knows his has to work early in the morning so she would drop there daughter off in the morning not dress for school and didn't give her breakfast. but let her get off from work and he is still to work. his mother lives not to far from her grandmothers house. she would pick up the child instead of leaving her there till he gets off to pick her up because they both have to pass the same area when they are going and getting off from work. they both live far apart she waits till he gets home them call him and tell him he has to come and pick her HIS daughter. Then tell his he is worthless and his is a dead beat no good dad. Then she bad mouths me and his mother. She calls late in the night to argue about clothes he don't have for the child and say he has it. She made so much noise till he give her the clothes that I bought for her to have when she comes there. Now she sends her with only the cloths on her back no bag no lunch no nothing. every time we buy cloths for her she ends up sending it to his ex. I mean this woman has cloths this little girl never wear. how do I get him to just her lunch by the bulk and he keep it but only give her what she needs for a week and only give her the $50 a week what the courts says to give her. How to I get him to stop letting her run over him. if she take the chill home then let her stay there until she learns to stop taking her and stop being spiteful. If he has her and she is sleeping over stop answering her 3am nothing calls. stop buying things for her and if he does buy her something take it out of the money he has to give her. She don't pay for no bills nothing and she gets paid more then him. So how come she is always broke. Every time I tell him to stop letting her say what she wants and do what she wants to him he gets mad at me. Am pregnant with twins and he says he will put and AC in the room or me and the babies. then he said he will buy her one to put in her room too

June 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKendra

Hello,
I just met someone 3 weeks ago. In California, I am from NYC. As if thst wouldn't be hard enough, we really totally fell in love with each other. So yes, we kinda try the long-distance thing. He was not straight forward in the beginning and didn't tell me that he was married and has 2 kids (3 and 5 years). Well, adter my return to NYC he finally told me the truth and as he did so voluntarily, it was ok. I wasn't thrilled bc there is no reason in the world to lie about his kids, I wouldn't have liked him more or less just bc of that. I am an adult and besides that, I had a relationship with a co-parent. I was 10 yes younger (24) then and it was a tough time in the beginning but in the end, all worked out fine. So...there was no reason to lie. According to him he is separated for around 1yr and 7 months and divorced for about a year. So, all good I said to myself, let's see where this goes. Right now he so head over heels fell in love with me that he tells me he loves me and so on. Right now he is on a cruise vacation with his kids and ex. As I said, I've been there and done that, so, when he finally told me, I was very understanding. Much to his surprise but well, I understand that he wants to be with his kids and wants to spend time and vacation with them. Her involved which is ok as I know they booked all this before he met me. I literally just met him. I asked him once if his ex and he have a good relationship and his answer was "yea, we are totally cool". Why am I writing this? I know I have experience on this but it still gives me this strange feeling. Do I wanna go through this again on TOP of being long-distance? Did he tell her about me or will he do so? I know we are fresh but he "loves" me, right? Shouldn't be a problem, should it? I mean, they are cool, aren't they? But how cool??? I go back now in July to see him for about a week, I don't think that I will get to interact at all with his family. Not with his sister, brother, mom, and less his kids. Which is ok, I guess. He does want me to introduce me to his friends though...yay??? I just don't know, I am insecure right now. Does it make any sense?? Or should I just pull out after this vacation week and silence. No WIFI on a cruise, so we won't interact at all for the next couple of days. Do you have some advice? Do I stress myself out over nothing? Thank you so much in advance.

July 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I have been together with my boyfriend for three years. We have a 20 month old daughter together. He also has two boys from his previous marriage they are 9 and 7. I try so hard with his children we get them every other weekend or when ever the mom says really. I am having such a hard time letting go of my animosity and well almost hate for the stuation. You see my bf never really was able to see his children until all of a sudden I was in the picture. They didn't even call him dad. I was able to meet them right away but I wanted to respect the mother and meet her first. It was def awkward. After she met me she kept calling my boyfriend to talk about her love life and money problems. Them once she found out we were pregnant she kept having us take the kids more and more and would call him even more often wanting him to come to the house to "hang out with them" . When I had our baby she wasn't very thoughtful of us and pushed the kids on us to start doing overnights etc. she now has a new boyfriend but still tries to talk to my boyfriend about her money issues, it's never really about the boys it's always about money. He pays so much for child support that he can't support his new child. We filled out paper work to get it lowered and specified that we have them at least 4 days a month but the mom put she has them 365 days a year and that is what is on the new paper work. Also the new paper work doesn't even acknowledge that he has another child which irritates me.
When the children come over I feel left out and they are not nice to their sister. They are very disrespectful to me as well. And say I'm not important or family it really hurts my feelings I know they are hearing things from the mom whom I have even spoken to to try and talk about that we need to respect each other and I will not be a doormat to her. I feel my bf jumps at every chance to see his boys which he should but he paper work is all wrong I feel like I'm being used. It's like she says jump and he's says how far and high.... I have spoken to him about this and he says it's all in my mind.
I just can't move passed that we couldn't enjoy my pregnancy because of the stress of taking ge boys and dealing wih her. I can't seem to be okay that when he talks with her it's never about really seeing the boys they talk about the past and money. It's like they are trying to impress eachother how much better they are doing with out that person. I just find the situation hard and I know I sound crazy. My bf should see his boys I feel though that they will always come first and that my daughter and I aren't good enough. Any advice to get passed me feelings like this is greatly appreciated. I know a lot of it is me but I just can't seem to get passed that he was married has these kids but now he has a new family but it seems we don't matter.

July 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I have been together with my boyfriend for three years. We have a 20 month old daughter together. He also has two boys from his previous marriage they are 9 and 7. I try so hard with his children we get them every other weekend or when ever the mom says really. I am having such a hard time letting go of my animosity and well almost hate for the stuation. You see my bf never really was able to see his children until all of a sudden I was in the picture. They didn't even call him dad. I was able to meet them right away but I wanted to respect the mother and meet her first. I was def awkward. After she met she kept calling my boyfriend to talk about her love life and money problems. Them once she found out we were pregnant she kept having us take the kids more and more and would call him even more often wanting him to come to the house to "hang out with them" . When I had our baby she wasn't very thoughtful of us and pushed the kids on is to start doing overnights etc. she now has a new boyfriend but still tries to talk to my boyfriend about her money issues, it's never really about the boys it's always about money. He pays so much for child support hat he can't support his new child. We filled out paper work to get it lowered and specified that we have them at least 4 days a month but the mom put she has them 365 days a year and that is what is on he new paper work. Also the new paper work doesn't even acknowledge that he has another child which irritates me.
When the children come over I feel left out and they are not nice to their sister. Three are very disrespectful to me as well. And say treat I'm not portent or family it really hurts my feelings I know they are hearing things from the mom whom I have even spoken to to try and talk about that we need to respect each other and I will not be a doormat to her. I feel my bf jumps at every chance to see his boys which he should but he paper work is all wrong I feel like I'm being used. It's like she says jump and he's says how far and high.... I have spoken to him about this and he says it's all in my mind.
I segue can't move passed that we couldn't enjoy my pregnancy because of the stress of taking ge boys and dealing wih her. I can't seem to be okay that when he talks with her it's never about really seeing the boys they talk about the past and money. It's like they are trying to impress eachother how much better they are doing with out that person. Usually the convos are short now just when to get them but even the meeting half way isn't being met. My boyfriend has to drive the 3 hours each way to get and drop up. I just find the situation hard and I know I sound crazy. My bf should see his boys I feel though that they will always come first and that my daughter and I aren't good enough. Any advice to get passed me feelings like this is greatly appreciated. I know a lot of it is me but I just can't seem to get passed that he was married has these kids but now he has a new family but it seems we don't matter.

July 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKim

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