Author Topic: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes  (Read 615 times)

Captains wife

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Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« on: January 22, 2018, 03:18:24 PM »
As a widow dating a divorced man I am having a really "difficult" time with the amount of time NG is (sometimes) in touch with his ex during "our time" - I get if there is an emergency etc. regarding their child but they have fought on the phone in front of me (I put my foot down and said never again) and now they are text fighting while we are on dates, while we are hanging out with my son....and this last time he started it by sending her a link about the flu shot early in the AM which totally set her off and then the barrage of texts started and lasted throughout the day...until I firmly asked him to put his phone away while we were supposed to be on our way to a romantic dinner. Id like to add they cant seem to stand each other but it irks me nonetheless.

I just wouldn't do this, I think its disrespectful - but maybe I'm being unreasonable. If others have opinions I'd love to hear them....

Portside

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 04:07:42 PM »
Well, here's the thing. You don't get to draw the line. What I mean is you can suggest where the line is drawn, insist where the line is drawn, or ask where the line is drawn.

If NG won't/can't draw it where you are comfortable, then you have to decide if the relationship is worth the trouble or not.

At the risk of annoying Mrs Dan once again, NG is already under extreme pressure from his former wife. You have to be careful how you handle this - you don't want to inadvertently make him feel like he is battling you too. Nothing good for anyone will come out of that. If you can structure the push back to the ex such that NG feels like he has a partner that has his back and is helping the situation, that would be optimal. I can't tell you what that is though. I wish I could.

It sounds like a mess - I wish you much luck.

Best wishes - Mike
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

trying2breathe

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 05:07:50 PM »
Hmmm ..... well I agree that you don't want to be another battle that he's dealing with, however this irks you and I would draw a line and let him know what you're not willing to put up with.  If you can't have time with him without a text/phone argument going on with his ex at the same time - arrrggh - that for me would be very difficult too.  Maybe a polite conversation about how much it does bother you, and ask him if he can hold off on those arguments for another time?  I also understand the kid thing, crisis situation, etc. but other than that it is being disrespectful.  I've asked my guy to put his phone away at dinner and he was understanding about it and so far it's been better.
Have I told you lately how much I love you?

BrokenHeart2

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 03:02:59 AM »
Hi CW, your post reminded me of when I started dating DH.  Back then there were no cell phones but his ex would phone and pick a fight with him.  She wanted his attention and it didn't matter what kind of attention it was.  He would be arguing with her on the phone and it was supposed to be our night.  I remember asking him "why are you still arguing with her.  Didn't you divorce to stop the fighting?" It was like a light went on.  I guess it's what they had done for so long it just happened.  He realized this and the arguing just stopped.  He stopped engaging in the battles and giving her the attention she was seeking.  Maybe this isn't the same since it was your BF's text that started the barrage of text fighting that time. What is he getting out of this?
I have to agree with Portside, in my opinion his post nailed it.
Best of luck to you, it's not easy that's for sure.
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I don't want it to be his legacy that his death destroyed me.
I need to honour his life by rebuilding my life.

Captains wife

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 08:24:45 AM »
I don't 100% agree on the one point made - I DO get to draw the line and have tried to. But he doesn't 100% seem to get it. (Although I can see he has tried to make some adjustments to keep his divorce issues out of my space - there's been improvement along the way). This is one issue when you try and blend a relationship between a widowed parent and a recently divorced parent. I have been trying to be supportive throughout this relationship given he is dealing with a difficult ex and I am very cognizant of the fact that the last thing he needs is another woman bitching at him - HOWEVER, its also not fair if I am expected to continually tiptoe around to appease him since he is dealing with a difficult ex situation. Its not my problem that he married a nightmare person and I should be permitted to be upset when it seeps into our relationship. I love some of the points made here - including the question of why he would start such an argument and why he cant just walk away from the argument (in my presence) AND the point about divorcing to "stop the fighting".

He is a wonderful person and Ive been hoping that things will calm down more on this side + I can get more used to dating someone with another parent in the picture. So time will tell. But I appreciate the ability to vent and get feedback here.....

Mizpah

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 10:17:55 AM »
now they are text fighting while we are on dates, while we are hanging out with my son....

until I firmly asked him to put his phone away while we were supposed to be on our way to a romantic dinner.

The nonsense I dealt with because of NG and his son's mom was so bad in the beginning that I now (years later) have a Pavlovian gut reaction (literally) every time I even hear her name, every time she calls or texts, every time she's mentioned.  And that's the problem with this, and why you DO get to draw a line - it infects your relationship, your life, your emotional landscape.  It adds so much stress and hostility and negative emotions.  Not everything needs to be fully aired, and certainly not while on a date with you.  For us, it became clear really quickly that the main goal was to limit interaction, limit depth of conversation, limit responsiveness, to the point where he only engages if it involves major parenting decisions or emergency situations.  I'd say he probably responds to only about 5% of her text messages.  Anything beyond that is just asking for trouble, in our situation.  (And keep in mind that our situation is a bit extreme - his son's mom is really really awful and has done terrible, completely abnormal things.  Her craziness also isn't solely directly at him - it's part of her interactions with most people.  She's just a very unhealthy, malicious individual who thrives off of hurting and causing problems for people.  I didn't believe people like this existed, but then I met her.)  I think you need to be really clear and maybe even repetitive if you've said something and he doesn't seem to get it.  Keep it simple: I don't want this kind of ugliness in my life, in our relationship, in my kid's life.  It needs to be limited and kept at bay and not dealt with during quality/together time unless absolutely necessary.  It's a little concerning that he keeps engaging in the hostility so much, that he doesn't seem to recognize how toxic and pointless it can be - you'd hope he'd mature past being so drawn in to the disputing.  (As for worrying about seeming like her by demanding normalcy and peace in your life, that happened in my relationship.  He told me I was being like her once.  I was infuriated.  I had never been so insulted.  Over time, I stopped holding the grudge (he apologized), and over time, he realized that while I may have been similar in that I was someone who was addressing a problem with him (oh no!), my goal was peace and goodness, while hers was malice and toxicity.  You need to do what you need to do to create a life that you want, and allowing this to go on doesn't seem like something you can (or should have to) tolerate.)  IMHO
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 10:34:45 AM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

serpico

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 10:30:33 AM »
Since you've noted an appreciation for feedback I'm going to give you some more...

Its not my problem that he married a nightmare person...

I disagree completely. If you're in a relationship with him it IS now your problem. It doesn't mean you caused it or you're to blame, but thinking it's just his problem is not realistic.

and I should be permitted to be upset when it seeps into our relationship

You are 100% correct about this.

As for who actually draws the line, that's just semantics. Portside says you can't do it, and I see his logic, because you aren't the one with the ability to sever communications with his ex. On the other hand, you DO have the power to draw a line, as in "um, if you don't curb these exchanges with your ex that make me very uncomfortable, things aren't going to work out between the two of us and we should probably just say our goodbyes". An ultimatum, if you will. And if that's how strongly you feel about it, by all means go that route. I'm not sure I could put up with that level of engagement, but of course your mileage may vary.
'I think I got some of your pickle'

BrokenHeart2

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 03:14:44 PM »
CW you are so right about this "HOWEVER, its also not fair if I am expected to continually tiptoe around to appease him since he is dealing with a difficult ex situation."  If he's not curbing his interaction with her you have to wonder what he's getting from it.  Not responding sends a loud signal to her too.  If he chooses to continue doing this you have choices to make too.
Hugs and peace to you.
I don't want it to be his legacy that his death destroyed me.
I need to honour his life by rebuilding my life.

tybec

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 04:55:26 PM »
Very good points made here and to consider.

CW, I think you have read a bit of my dilemna of dating a divorced man with young kids and a controlling ex he is battling with for custody.  NG doesn't fight with her when I am around. He is so logical, it is precise, emailed generally as he saves it all for documentation. 

But, I still had issues with the time and growing a relationship if I am always the consolation prize.  I had a deep conversation with him NY Day.  And I did tell him I would let him go if it created too much turmoil for all of us. I told him I was not going to beg him to spend time with me but we had to have face to face time, too.  I was prepared to say good bye, and I will if need be.  Life is too short to have him thinking I am a nag for him and his time.  If I have to "beg" for time, we are " not there."

NG has stepped up, and we are spending time when we can, and it is more.  But I also am strong enough to let him go if need be.  Not a manipulation on my part but a truth. 

Good luck with deciding how best to handle it for you.  I have gained some insight and strength from the readings shared here.

Sugarbell

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 08:19:59 PM »
That's rude in my opinion unless it's an emergency. Etc.

But he has to be the one to shut it down. Sometimes yes it's necessary..especially with kids involved...

But outside of that..he owes her nothing. They are divorced. They both financially went through the nightmare of divorcing. Only to argue via text? In your presence??No no no.

But make him think it's his idea to shut it down...
B.W.H. 9/24/2007

StillWidowed

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 02:32:03 PM »
I dealt with the same thing with my ex-boyfriend.  They'd been divorced for 12 years!  My Mom told me one day that she thought he still had feelings for his ex-wife.  I was like....no way!  They hate each other.  They fight all the time.

Down the road he made a comment about how he had invited his ex-wife and her son that she had with her new husband, to go on a day trip with him and their two children they had together. The reason being so their two children together could have this experience with their little half brother. 

He said she never responded to the invite. 
Evidently she really did hate him. 
Him, maybe not so much.....

I was never invited on that trip.

I always knew my Mama was no dummy.......


Captains wife

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 04:27:54 PM »
Sigh....
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 04:39:12 PM by Captains wife »

kjs1989

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2018, 11:40:47 PM »
Ugh, CW,

So tough. For the almost five years we have been together, NG's ex has been a real loose cannon; just have never known what was going to set her off and when. NG has only very rarely engaged with her first, and most often just ignored her texts. They rarely, rarely have talked on the phone, thankfully. The themes of her rants usually involved insulting his parenting ability. And yes, usually she would light up his phone when we were traveling or doing something fun. She always seemed to know. Occasionally, she would even stoop so low as to insult me, whom she has never met. Once she told him in a text that I was just looking for a replacement for my dead husband, which is why he drinks coffee now and goes fishing. ( WHAT??) Yeah, she's a peach.

As I stated, he rarely throughout our relationship has engaged with her unless absolutely necessary or if she pushed him over the edge. In fact, I have often  been left wondering how much contact they had because he never mentioned communicating with her unless I specifically asked, which I guess was good on his part but always left me feeling a bit curious and left out. ( Weird, I know)

Her latest insult to his parenting was back in September. It was so over the top that he texted a rare comeback  that seemingly put her in her place and left her speechless. He has not heard a word from her since. And really, since his daughter is 23 and his son 16, there is actually no reason they should have to have the typical back and forth texting over parenting.

To address what is happening in your situation, yes, that constant back and forth bickering on my time would make me absolutely nuts. As others have said, this does infect your growing relationship with him and it is not healthy for your son, either. And also as others have said, it makes one wonder what he is getting out of these hostile exchanges. You are 50% of this relationship.  Semantics or whatever, you have the absolute right to draw a line, respectfully of course, in what works for you and what you need and want in a relationship. It is not fair to you, bottom line. As you said, emergencies and necessary communication is one thing, but constant interruptions, disruptions, and distractions, are not cool, and even much less so when these interactions are hostile.

It is probably time to have a heart to heart on where you both are with this issue. I can't imagine he would be ok with the situation if it was reversed and you were the divorcee constantly bickering with your ex on HIS time.



« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 01:06:22 PM by kjs1989 »

tybec

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2018, 01:21:43 AM »


Quote
It is probably time to have a heart to heart on where you both are with this issue. I can't imagine he would be ok with the situation if it was reversed and you were the divorcee constantly bickering with your ex on HIS time.

Good point.  Trying to walk in someone else's shoes.   ;)

kjs1989

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Re: Where to Draw the Line ??? With Exes
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2018, 01:19:30 PM »
I want to add a thought to what I wrote above. I questoned what  your NG's reaction would be if you were a divorcee in constant communication with your ex. Well, you are not, but you ARE a widow who lost the love of your life.  So, what if you propped up your husband's picture between the two of  you as you were driving down the road on the way to a romantic date. What if you propped up his picture between you on the sofa every time you sat down together to talk, What if your husband's picture peered at  the two of you from the bedroom wall every time you had a romantic encounter. I think NG would be justified in protesting a bit.

So, yeah, go ahead and draw that line, respectfully and kindly, of course.  Good luck!