What Should DH Do?

lovehadleyOctober 22, 2010

Things have (shocker) escalated with BM lately. We recently went on a short trip to Colorado with my family (me, DH, SS, DD, and my grandparents and mom) and BM flipped out. It's just jealousy, pure and simple.

Arrived back home to nasty messages from her for me--about how my fmaily needs to back off, SS will not be going on any more trips with us, I need to back off, realize I am not his mother, etc.

Then the next day she texts me to "talk and clear the air." Then, of course, when I ignored her, she got all angry again and told DH I am being mean and ridiculous yada yada. B/c all she wants to do is explain her feelings to me.

BLAH BLAH. I'm way past any of that.

DH knows how serious this is--I told him that if nothing changes in his relationship with BM (ie--mult. calls a day is unacceptable) I will be leaving when my therapist advises.

He's been working really hard as of late---in the last month or so--to draw clear boundaries with her. He told her he will not take her calls anymore, and that any communication, unless it is an emergency, can be handled via text or email.

SEVENTEEN MISSED CALLS he had from her two days ago. And assorted nasty texts, as well.

She does not do well with his boundaries. But I'm impressed b/s so far, he's been holding firm.

But the last two nights, here's what she does: she talks to SS at night to say goodnight, and then she says, "Put your dad on the phone, I need to talk to him."

SS: "Daaaaaad! Mom needs to talk to you."

She does this all the time and the problem is, SS is so in tune with the drama between them that if/when DH says, "I'm busy, I'll call her back," he gets all upset.

"But DAD, she needs to talk to you! Don't be mean to her." And he waves the phone in DH's face, and gets all sad/upset/angry if DH won't take it.

It happens frequently---probably 1 out of everty 3 nights that SS is with us, but the last two nights, it's been b/c DH has been holding firm. He had five missed calls fcrom BM yesterday----no messages, no texts---and then, of course, she's gotta use SS as a means to get through.

What should DH say? Being direct is an option but THAT won't make her stop.

It's tricky b/c he doesn't want to make SS feel bad, nor does he want him in the middle---but it is BS of BM to use her son as a pawn. UGH.

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SS is in the middle. BM is putting him there & DH should probably tell his son that he's sorry if it upsets him but all he needs to worry about is telling his mom about his day & his life. He should tell his son that he will call BM when he needs to & it's not his (SS's) job to worry about it. It may make SS feel bad because he wants his parents to get along and if DH talks to BM, he can tell himself that they do. We can't always tiptoe around their feelings because they deserve honesty. The honesty SS deserves is that it's not his job to worry about whether mom & dad talk to each other, just reassure him that they both love HIM.

Or DH can take the phone, walk into another room & hang up on her. Or he can take the phone, listen to what she has to say & choose to not engage... or tell her he's really busy but if she can put it in an email that he can mull over, he'll get back to her. Or YOU can have SS call her when DH is not home... but that won't take care of when she calls to say goodnight, unless he goes to take a shower or goes in the bathroom while SS is talking to her. But, you cant' do that every night & it affects your nightly routine. How frustrating!

And unfortunately the only way he will be able to prevent her from using her son as a pawn is to get inside her head & make her realize that it's wrong & hurtful to her son... and that isn't possible. He could ignore her calls or take her to court & ask for an order to prevent her from communicating with him except for text or email, unless it's an emergency... of course, then everything would be an emergency. As it is, those kinds of women will make everything about the child when you place the boundary around them that you will only talk to them about the child.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 9:49AM
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I know this is frustrating, and I commend you and DH on not answering calls (no matter how you want to defend yourself) and sticking to the boundaries.

I agree with Ima. It's time to get "real" with SS.

Unfortunately, I've had to do that a lot with DS about his dad lately (maybe I'll start another thread). It's difficult, but boundaries really are better. And they are better when they are set in times of peace rather than times of war. DH is doing well now, but things would've been much easier if the boundaries had been set when there wouldn't have been as much opposition to them. Does that make sense?

That's what I am dealing with right now and I am kicking myself in the butt not having enforced the boundaries years ago. I'm trying to now, but it is being met with rebellion on the parts of X, GF and DS.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 10:13AM
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I agree with Ima and Ashley; it's unfortunate but SS may need to be told (some of) the truth. It's really unfair for him to be put into the middle of it but you and DH are not the ones who put him there. SS is already being taught by BM that it is now his responsibility to jump through hoops (chase his Dad down and beg him to take her call) for his BM, and that is not acceptable.

I also like the walking into the other room and hanging up immediately without a word (and shutting the ringer off at that time) idea as well. One way or the other, BM cannot be allowed to continue to try to use her son as a go-between.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 10:51AM
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I like that idea, too, Mattie.

Good thinking, Ima!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 11:39AM
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what should he do?

he should go see his lawyer, 17 missed phone calls is harassment. excessive calling his child is also disturbing child's routine and emotional well-being.

If my exDH called me 17 times in one day, I would print phone record and go see a lawyer and then inform my ex that I am filing for harassment. I bet you it would stop it right there.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:44AM
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Boundaries! Boundaries! One of my favorite words, seriously. But in addition to creating and holding to boundaries, BM needs to be informed and then see that there are consequences to not sticking to those boundaries. That has been a big problem for my BF. He'll set boundaries, BM crosses them, and then nothing is done. Not anymore. He told her he only wants to communicate about their child, anything legal or financial needs to be put in an e-mail where there is a record of it. If she chooses to cross that line, for example by sending him nasty texts about me or disgusting pictures of herself (both of which have been done), well then BF will be changing his number and she will have the privilege of having it when she can adhere to that boundary (she'll still have his home phone and his mother's cell phone number for emergencies, she just wont have access to his personal cell phone number).

It's the same for me too. I have created firm boundaries with her and simply refuse to engage when she attempts to cross them. There's really no "punishment" I can enforce seeing as how I'm a state away and she has never had my personal cell phone number, but you better believe if the time comes where those two things change, I will definitely create a new set of boundaries and consequences for not following them.

DH needs to be firm about not harassing you, OR SS. How awful to put a child in the middle. I definitely agree that it's time to get real with SS that it's not his responsibility to help his BM cross boundaries. Maybe sit down and explain what the concept of a boundary is, why it's there, and why people need to follow it. I know you can't deny her contact with her son, but I wish there was a way you could tell her that if she refuses to cooperate about not putting SS in the middle, then her number of phone calls will be limited.

All in all, keep doing what you're doing, and make sure BM sees some consequences for her idiotic actions.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 1:07PM
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Another vote for more disclosure... Yes, we try to protect our children, but sometimes that false protection puts them in more stress than telling them a painful truth in carefully-couched terms.

The painful truth is that Dad will only communicate with BioMom through text or email because BioMom has gotten 'crazy' on the phone, and that Dad has told this to BioMom. But BioMom is trying to use Sonny to get around Dad's rules, and that's not fair to Sonny. You will ask BioMom to stop, and if she keeps asking Sonny to put Dad on the phone, Sonny will just have to tell BioMom that "Dad says No".

Yeah -- It's more than we want to have to tell our kids. But how much easier for Sonny to deal with than the current uncertainty?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 2:11PM
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