Can't change him, so how can I change my attitude about this?

lovehadleyJanuary 26, 2010

I got into a terrible fight with DH last night. We really don't fight/argue much at all, but the one persistent issue is his behavior/attitude towards BM; I feel like he is not supportive of me, and doesn't send her a clear message that WE are a team, and that he backs me.

Ok, so last night, right before we went to bed, DH tells me "oh, we are probably going to pick SS up from school and have him for a few hrs tomorrow afternoon." (Mondays/Tuesdays are BM's days.)

Issue #1: "we" means ME. But that is the lesser of two issues here. If I truly had something going on, DH would do it. So this is not the issue at hand.

So I said "oh really, why?" And he tells me that tonight at 7 pm, it is DH & BM's parent-teacher conference with SS's teacher. He then goes on to tell me that it doesn't make sense for BM to have to drive all the way (about 30 mins) from her house to pick SS up from school at 3:30, then drive home, and then come BACK to the conference at 7 pm. (I am assuming that if she did so, SS would stay home with his stepfather and baby sister.)

I just kind of gave DH a dumbfounded look and said WHY would you do her a favor like this? I truly don't understand! I asked him why it was HIS problem that BM had to drive back and forth, why he would volunteer ME (because let's face it, that is what he did) to go out of MY way for BM.

What kind of message does that send to her? I don't care if he is telling HER that he's going to pick SS up, she knows the truth, she knows who picks the kids up from school and you can bet your bottom dollar she knows it would be ME doing it.

I balked at this and told DH I thought he was rude to do this without a)consulting me and b) given the way things are.

And then he launches into this whole tirade about how HE is the bigger person than me; I want to "punish" BM, and I'm being "petty and immature" and this is just "common sense, common courtesy." It doesn't "make sense" for BM to have to do all this driving.

THEN he has the balls to tell me that BM didn't even suggest this idea and that it hasn't even been discussed yet!!!! I guess HE was planning to suggest it to HER today. AUUGHH, that set me off even more! Not only does he want (me) to do her a favor, but he is going to SUGGEST IT? Then he backed off of that and said that he won't bring it up but he just KNOWS that she is going to ask him to do this when she thinks about all the driving back and forth.

Needless to say, everything he said really ticked me off and we got into a MAJOR fight about it. I told him I feel he doesn't back me up, I don't trust him to set and enforce boundaries with BM, etc. He said I was being insane and over-reacting, that this had nothing to do with me having any contact with her, that he doesn't ask me to do anything like that. His main argument was that this is a "reciprocal thing" and it's the "right thing" to do.

THEN he goes on to tell me that she doesn't drink anymore and seems a lot more rational than she ever has been. I reminded him that she has had LONG periods of being "sane" befre and look where it ended up? She tried to be my friend for a good year and a half, and was friendly/rational that whole time. I don't trust this woman AT ALL and I feel like every little gesture DH makes towards her, she feels more comfortable. And comfortable with her leads to BAD THINGS.

OOOH, I am p*ssed!!!! I mean, seriously, I am really, really angry. Actually, I am more hurt than anything.

So whatever--DH and I can go round and round about this; the truth is, he does NOT see my perspective and I don't see his.

So what can I do to protect myself?

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The one that got me is "she doesn't drink anymore" ... well hopefully while pregnant she doesn't .... Isn't that just "common sense".

I was feeling used by both hubby and BM .... hubby would agree to do things for bm but in reality it was me doing those "favors" since they both worked (at that time till after 5ish) if one of the kids needed to be attended to before 5 pm of course it was ME doing it ..... I told hubby that if he was doing BM the favor he would be the one doing her the favor not ME. It took several times of hubby being inconvenienced for doing BM a favor before he decided to tell her he couldn't accomodate her requests ... also took a couple times of him calling her and her denying his request for a favor.

Besides she (BM)does like driving as she drives by your home to see if your car is there for her to drop off sh!t at your home and then she has even driven further to his work to drop off same sh!t. Maybe she enjoys long drives without her DD.

I don't know how to get him to see it your way .... other than being a total hitch every time since he doesn't support you.... and saying stuff like:

Oh you're getting out of work early tomorrow?

Did you forget my self-defense class is tomorrow afternoon?

It is going to cause a lot of turmoil in your home and you will feel like a total hitch for not doing for the kid but


I am sure others will have more words of wisdom for you .....

but I do have to ask .... do you really want a child with HIM? or do you just want a child? sorry if that sounds insensitive but my hubby atleast backed me up to my face (hahahaa) see my hubby was telling me what I wanted to hear and telling bm what she wanted to hear it took a long time to get him to pick me over her (easier to keep her happy and it didn't matter who it hurt it is now at a point where my happiness is more important than his ex-wifes.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:01AM
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JUST SAY NO. It sounds like DH is trying to smooth the waters, grease the wheels, make it easy with BM on this little thing along with just trying to generally get along with BM. He is not wrong for making compromises/deals with her, that is a good thing and smart. He is wrong for making you execute the same compromises for him.

If you don't want to be used this way, just say no. Don't drag the BM in to it, his loyalties, who should come first etc. He will NEVER understand, let me repeat, NEVER UNDERSTAND. For him, he is working things out with BM without realizing that you are the work-out plan.

Next time, and Dear, there will be too many next times, if his new planning with her includes extra work for you, gently, nicely say someting along the lines of "Great idea, I'm so glad that YOU are handling this." Then don't back him up, help him out or her. You will feel better, BM probably as well since like most mothers she really wants the father to be involved, not you, Dh will be pissed the 1st time but prepped the 2nd, 3rd and so on.

Trust me, draw this boundary around yourself and all will appreciate it. #1 YOU.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:21AM
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No, I do want a child with HIM. He is my husband and I do love him and I know he loves me.

(I also already DO have a child, my daughter, so it is not just a case of wanting a child.)

I know he sounds like a terrible person when I write about this stuff on here, but really, he is not. In almost every other area of our lives, we have a great marriage and communication. He adores my daughter, and, while he is certainly not a perfect parent, no one could doubt he loves both his son and DD.

In so many ways, he is wonderful. He would give me the shirt off his back in almost any situation, save for this one. I think that is why it is SO FRUSTRATING for me, because in every other way I feel cared about and respected---so the fact that I DON'T when it comes to BM is upsetting.

No one can make me laugh like he does, he is the first person I run to with ANYTHING and he really does have my back on anything OTHER THAN THIS ISSUE.

I know it sounds bad because I go over and over this issue on this forum. But it really is OUR ISSUE, our bone of contention. In pretty much every other "area" of our marriage, I feel I am given respect and understanding.

I don't think he thinks he is being a jerk or uncaring. He TRULY believes that I am being irrational here.

I just don't know HOW to address this because it is a BIG issue. And the fact that he DOES react so strongly to it shows me just how big of an issue it is for him.

In other areas, when we have a disagreement, we are almost always able to talk it out, work through it and come to some sort of resolution. But for SOME REASON, when it comes to BM, he just cannot do it. But the thing is---like I said---he THINKS he is handling it great! And therein lies the problem.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:28AM
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"Don't drag the BM in to it, his loyalties, who should come first etc. He will NEVER understand, let me repeat, NEVER UNDERSTAND"

I think this is it in a nutshell. I can't MAKE him see things from my perspective on this issue and if I try to do so, it makes me feel CRAZY. What's the def. of insanity again? "doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results."

I think I need to be DONE with trying to get him to understand my feelings about this issue. He is clearly codependant with BM and while I might be able to see it, he is not.

Thanks lamom. I do need to just say no, which I pretty much did last night, which is really what prompted the fight. He said fine, he would have to leave work early, didn't want to "inconvenience me" yada yada. I think my mistake was engaging in the fight. I should have just said "Good, glad you got it worked out" and left it at that. If he wanted to be p*ssed, so be it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:34AM
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I know you have your DD sorry didn't mean to upset you .... that was not my intention .... I guess my point was if he puts BM before you ... if you had a child with him where would he draw the line ....

And I understand about having a good marriage other than BM issues ... hahahah if she stays out of my marriage it won't end up like hers :)

Again sorry not my intention to hurt you or make you feel like you have to defend your marriage or anything of the sort.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:55AM
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The problem is he wants to do things to make BM's life easier and it is NOT reciprocated!! She does things to make YOUR life harder. And by him being super helpful to her while she has made things harder on you shows a messed up loyalty to her.

And I would be upset too by the fact that this was his idea and he was going to present it to her!! Wish I had advice but all I can give you is sympathy!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:11PM
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You didn't, pseudo! I knew what you meant. That is actually why we took a break from trying to conceive for a good 6 months or so. When sh*t with BM hit the fan, I said "clearly, this is not the time for us to be trying to have another child" and we let the dust settle for many months before slowly resuming things.

It is just hard to explain on here because you hear all the bad---and this one bad issue is a BIG issue. But it just totally goes against DH's overall nature, which is so frustrating. If you asked anyone of my family or friends to describe him, they would say he is caring, good with children, kind, considerate, helpful. People genuinely like my DH because he really has a big heart.

Even people who would be my biggest defenders (ie---close friends and even my mom) are flabbergasted at his weakness when it comes to BM. My mom thinks he is totally codependant and has pretty much said what lamom said, that I can't change his way of thinking and just need to set my own boundaries rather than wait for DH to do it for me. I guess that has to include saying NO to him and letting him deal with the consequences.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:14PM
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He isn't going to understand your perspective because he hasn't been in your shoes.

When you are both calm, I'd have a sit down conversation... well, you talk ~ he listens.

Tell him to close his eyes & imagine this:

Your DD's father shows up... DRUNK. Your ex is upset, yelling & upsetting your DD.. she's crying. Your DH, who loves DD tries to reason with him, but ex doesn't want to hear that so he hauls off & punches DH in the mouth. Two weeks later, ex is 'sober' and calls you to ask a favor... a favor that will require DH to fulfill or inconvenience you or your family plans. But, hey! He didn't punch you... and he IS your DD's father... your DH should suck it up & go along with keeping things smooth with him... who cares what he's done in the past? right?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 1:27PM
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Good suggestion Ima --

A cheerful "I have other plans" followed by a quick exit is another effective tactic.

Then there's also simple logic --
If you're on one side being calm and kind and rational and understanding,
and BM's on the other side screaming and crying and raving like a lunatic --
Who's going to be easier to disappoint?
We all know the answer to that one --
And of course, Hubby does too -- though perhaps not at the conscious level.
Could you point out to him that he is actually REWARDING BM's tantrums by giving in to them,
and punishing your good behavior by always siding with her?

If that doesn't sink in, you could mention to him that you know of two solutions to that:
- 1) He changes his behavior. Or
- 2) You change yours to be as bat-sh!t crazy as she is and make his life living he!! if he takes her side instead.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 1:47PM
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Well, the GOOD news is that I talked to DH about an hour ago and he said that BM had (indeed) asked him if he/we could pick SS up from school and keep him until the conference. DH told her NO, that he couldn't!

I asked him what made him say that and he just said "well, I can't leave work early today." WOW. So I guess in his MAN MIND that is his way of acknowleding that I wouldn't do it.

Then he told me that BM just rescheduled the conference for herself.

So I said "good, glad it was worked out."

But AUUUGHHHHHHH. WHY do we have to go through absolute h*ll before he relents and does the "right thing" by US and our marriage???? I don't get it.

From now on, my answer is just going to be a simple NOPE, SORRY and if he wants to be angry about it, whatever. He can do or not do for BM, but I'm not allowing myself to get sucked in.

Thank you all for your words of wisdom :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 1:55PM
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only one solution and you can avoid arguments: oh tomorrow I am meeting with my dad for lunch, oh tomorrow my sister asked to babysit, oh tomorrow my mom was going to stop by or tomorrow is a book club meeting whatever you can come up with. stay calm. he wants to do BM favors he should be the one doing them, not you. sorry, how frustrating.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 2:15PM
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Isn't this the same song he's been singing all along?

even when this woman beat you up?

I remember his accusations that you were "over-reacting" then, too, & the whole nine yards about how she "wasn't drinking" & so forth.

Change your attitude if you want, but the only attitude that'll stop the fighting is the attitude of fatalism:
If she gets you, she gets you.

I'm so sorry.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Sorry to say this but you are right, the wrong thing you did was letting yourself be drawn in to an argument about it. since this is usually my biggest mistake I feel empowered to tell you.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 5:38PM
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LoveHadley, lots of good points...

I love Sweeby's, point b) !! "bat $hit crazy"

"Insanity is repeating the same actions...
and expecting a different response."

I have that PRINTED out from the internet and ON THE FRIDGE. I look at it daily, sometimes even

I also point to it for my DH on occasion...when he needs to have his memory "refreshed"... :D

I think Lamon is so right, your DH will never understand and I think part of the reason he is doing this is
-in some way, he probably feels sorry for BM because she plays the "victim" role so well
-he also maybe can't take "controversy" so he looks for ways to "solve the problem", before there even IS a problem. He possibly did this in their marriage ( I know I did this in mine, when you are with someone very "unstable", I know others know what I mean, you can gauge the "temperature" of your SO - ie. uh oh, that'll make him mad, he will yell, don't say that!! -or "Come on kids let's go out and play so daddy can "nap" and we won't bother him" - you're constantly trying to make sure that they won't blow their gasket!!)

At least now you have lots of good ideas, on how to manage the situation if/when this happens again....!! (((hugs))))

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 8:45PM
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"I can never understand why he would want to do her any favors as it is NEVER reciprocated."

I think shannon has some good points on why they do it... I'd like to add:

-because SOMEONE has to be the bigger person and do what's in the best interests of the kids.

It's hard to see that when the B*tch is making your life h3ll but really, sometimes it's easier to do things because it will make the child's life easier or better. (as I recently learned through the situation with my DIL & DS) of course, I was able to look at that situation more objectively than my situation with DH & BM, but applying the same philosophy really does fit.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:40PM
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I think it is important to avoid arguments with ex for the sake of the kids. I also see nothing wrong with being flexible and accommodating as long as kids benefit. I always did it IRL and advocated it on this forum.

But the difference is that i did it myself, but love;s DH asks her to accommodate, pick up SS and do stuff. the one who wants to accommodate ex should be the one doing it.

"Being a bigger person" works perfectly when exspouses do not delegate their responsibilities. otherwise who is being a bigger person here? he wants to look like one but in reality his wife does all the work.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 5:45AM
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"I think it is important to avoid arguments with ex for the sake of the kids. I also see nothing wrong with being flexible and accommodating as long as kids benefit"

I completely agree with this theory.

The problem with this particular incident (and there are many others like them) is that there was no real benefit to SS in DH helping BM.

In the fall, there was an afternoon/evening when SS had a 7 pm soccer game, but it was BM's day/night to have him. She didn't want to pick him up at 3:30, drive 30 mins home and then have to drive all the way back at 7 pm, and then all the way home AGAIN.

In this case, I did pick SS up from school and he was at our house in the afternoon and for dinner; then DH took him to the game at 7 and then SS went home with BM.

In THAT situation, I believe it was the right/flexible thing to do because it kept SS from spending the majority of his afternoon and evening in the car. But that was for HIM.

In this current case, where it was ONLY going to be BM who had to drive back for the conference, I think DH shouldn't have felt obligated to help.

There is a fine line between being flexible and enabling. And IMO someone like BM, who time and time again has proven that she will not change, only behaves worse when she is enabled.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 9:35AM
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My prior post was in response to that one question in general...

I think in each circumstance, the situation should be evaluated to decide if the 'favor' is going to benefit the child (or more importantly, if not doing the favor going to cause the child to suffer in any way)

Last year, BM had driven to her mom's house, which was 45 minutes from our house. Instead of telling us that she was closer & we could pick up SD from her mom's, she sent DH a text to tell him he will have to pick up SD later because she is out of town. (neglecting to tell him where she was) and when he protested that SD already gets home pretty late as it is, she said fine.. she'll be home on time. And she was there on time... but she was angry at DH because he wouldn't 'accommodate' her being late. When SD got in the car, she informed DH that her mom was very mad and yelled all the way home about how unreasonable DH is being. She said they had to leave grandma's early to get home on time. DH called BM to ask why she didn't just have us pick SD up from her mom's... she said "why would I do YOU any favors?" So, she would rather make her daughter spend 7-8 hours in a car that day, unnecessarily? She put her daughter through listening to her rant for two hours about how awful her daddy is being.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:32AM
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Love, I am on your side. That's why i said it is important to be flexible and accommodating under normal circumtances. Normal circumstances are when there is no RO against exspouse. also when exspouse, DH in your situation, is doing accommodations himself.

If he wants to avoid argument and does extra driving or switching it is fine, but if he wants you to be accommodating to his ex, then it falls into a completelly different category.

it is important that you and DH help each other, but you didn't have children with her and weren't married to her, you are not obligated to be flexible with her. When i was flexible and avoided arguments with ex it was between him and me, i didn't have anyone to delegate anything and there is not RO against my ex, so it is very different.

You don't need to do anything for that woman, nothing, zero. she is nobody for you.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Love - You said "He said fine, he would have to leave work early, didn't want to "inconvenience me" yada yada." and "I asked him what made him say that and he just said "well, I can't leave work early today." WOW. So I guess in his MAN MIND that is his way of acknowleding that I wouldn't do it."

The way I see it is this was his way of making you feel guilty for being a SAHM, but unwilling to help him out with his kid. Don't give in!!!! Be strong in that HE needs to do what HE needs to do for HIS kid, and it wouldn't have to be this way if the (in the words of Sweeby) bat-sh*t crazy b*tch hadn't come in your home and punched you.

Pseudo said "....I guess my point was if he puts BM before you ... if you had a child with him where would he draw the line ...." This is totally what I have been thinking for a few months now, but could never get the courage up to say anything. Where will he draw the line? Your DD has already been subjected to so much from this woman, and he's not even her father! How much would he put a child of his own through?

Example: my friend has a DD with her DH who has 2 DDs with a crazy BM. The DH is a SAHD to the little one (DD with my friend) and would take her with him to pick up the other DDs on his weekend. It became a habit that the BM wouldn't be home at p/u time and wouldn't answer her phone. He would wait around for them to return (afraid that if he left he wouldn't get to see his DDs). One time, the little DD was in the car and carseat for 4 hours while he tried to track them down and waited for them. 4 hours! My friend finally said "You can wait around for 4 hours if you want, but you will not have MY daughter sitting in a carseat for 4 hours while you sit in your car outside their home." Basically, he had no problems putting BM ahead of his new DD.

Remember...the squeaky wheel gets the grease. You just have to start squeaking louder than her.

Jupiter said "I think that they need to see their ex's as good mothers (even when they clearly are not) maybe to somehow reassure themselves for when they are with her." So, so, so, true. My DH knows BM is a back-stabbing liar. But then he says stuff like "well, BM says it's SD's decision and she asks her all the time if she wants to visit". So why would he believe that one statement when he's caught her in so may lies before? The only thing that makes sense is he NEEDS to believe she's a good mother.

Jupiter also said "I too run into arguments where he lets her slide on things that he wouldn't with me..I try to give him the example that if it was anyone else in his life he would have told them to go to h#$% because normally in life you don't do favors for people who don't do for you let alone someone who puts him down as a father..." and Love said "But it just totally goes against DH's overall nature, which is so frustrating." This is the issue. Which personality is the REAL one? I have this same problem with DH and I'm starting to think the way he is with HER is his personality when he's vulnerable and that scares the crap out of me because I guess I rarely ever see him vulnerable.

I agree with FD. When I am flexible and accommodating with X, it is usually in the best interest of DS, and I do the work. I rarely (if ever) ask DH to do anything for DS, although he would be willing, because I feel like DS is my sole responsibility since I am the parent.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 11:30AM
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When my husband first got custody of his children, our situation was so similar to how yours sounds. I'm not quite sure why they feel like favors or little things need to be done here and there to switch things up....especially when they're not even the ones that will be doing all the switching around! I understand your frustration completely because I feel like in my situation it gives BM disgusting satisfaction knowing that he's doing her a favor then you give her an inch and she'll take a mile. She won't leave him alone for weeks asking him to switch around times and provide the transportation because she supposedly hit a deer...come to find out she actually had her license suspended! The only thing that has gotten my husband to the point he is now, which is not providing anymore favor ideas, is because of how many times BM has lied and manipulated not only him but their children. She has periods of what seems like civility and trying to be nicer but he knows better now, it's usually because she wants something. He has dealt with her tantrums in front of the kids and would rather not deal with that or put them into that situation so now he goes completely by the court order and it makes life a hell of a lot easier. When I was put into a sticky situation before, I would definitely tell my husband my opinion on the whole thing, but if he wasn't budging, then he could take care of his idea. If it was his idea to change schedules, I would tell him it was his responsibility to pick them up or make sure he was here to greet them. If he wanted to provide transportation because she couldn't, he would use his car and his dime for gas. There is probably not much you can do to change his mind unfortunately, but I definitely agree with pseudo mom, his kids, his problem. His decision to switch around the normal routine, his problem to make sure it works out smoothly. All you can do is just try not to make a big deal out of it so that first of all the kids don't get put in the middle and secondly so that BM doesn't catch on knowing with strange satisfaction that she is causing a rift between you two. Just let her make her mistakes and hopefully he will see soon enough that she can't change.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 10:17AM
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