BM needs help w/Ex-Wife...

ladyflutterNovember 18, 2008

I've looked all over and most the topics are Stepmoms dealing with Biomoms. Mine is a different problem it's my ex-husband's wife. Long story as short as possible while married 12 years he was never involved in much of the child rearing. Partly the reason I wanted a divorce. We have 3 children together. His involvement remained about the same once divorced. I made the decisions, Dr.'s appt. rides from school, planning so on and so on. Then he meets a woman who has two kids. After awhile his behavior starts to change and he starts making changes with the kids schedule and so on. Ok I think he's finally starting to take part of this parenting thing. Well long story short, it was the new woman who eventually became wife pulling the strings. I was getting child support which he and I had agreed on to keep the kids in the house they grew up in and as much of a stable environment as possible. Well soon after they took me to court to ask it be dropped as we had equal custody. Coinsidence..she was moving in with him with her two kids all about the same time. At some point her and I began speaking and working thru all the issues that parents do together. School, homework, attitudes, schedule changes etc. all went thru her. I hardly ever talked to my ex, which was fine because he was very bitter towards me anyway. My kids didnt care for her kids and felt like dad spent more time with SM than them when they were there. So it was a very rough start for all of us. Once they were together about 2 years she kept bullying me to change the custody schedule which I totally did not want to do. Then things became heated. My son(16) decided one weekend that he just didnt want to be there anymore. I told him he had to go. He said if I made him he would run away. I told his dad, and he said its court ordered he had to. Basically his father tried to force physically my son to go with him by shoving him down the driveway. Sooo..restraining order and now full blown court. The kids have had counseling, each family has had family study done by a professional to assess the problems. Oh yeah and somewhere in there her daughters were inappropriately touching my daughters. I took my daughter to the Dr. which reported it to the local officials. There were guidelines put in place to keep the kids safe. Which were never followed by the dad and SM as they were in denial. However I am the crazy mother for taking my daughters to the Dr. and crazy to think that her daughters would do such a thing. That's all normal kid stuff according to SM. Anyway thru alot of court and gritted teeth, here we are today. My ex and I were doing all the communicating and arranging, but she was always in the background pulling the strings. Example....he and I would make plans about the kids, or I would ask for a change and everthing would be "yeah, ok no problem" then he would talk to SM then he would change his mind. ALWAYS! Then my youngest wanted a family birthday party. So somehow SM and I coordinated and planned it.My thought was it was just easier to deal with her directly because she was calling the shots anyway. (of course he denies it but I was married to the man I know how it works) Anyway its been a year now of her and I working things out. Whats happening though is she is a complete control freak. Her emails sometimes make my head spin. Every simple little thing is to be planned, coordinated, detailed etc. etc. It's very exhausting and draining and God forbid I should ever have an opinion different than hers. These are my kids, yet somehow I have to defend my parenting to her. I have really bitten my tongue alot so we can maintain the "peace" because it really has been better for the kids. She doesnt know her boundaries though...she told me today how I needed to arrange my morning routine to fullfill a ride obligation for a kid that she (SM) made to another parent. Which has absolutely nothing to do with me. She is coordinating my son's phone calls while he's in basic training. Dad one week then mom the next. I think he is old enough to figure that out for himself. My current husband and I just spent the whole, WHOLE weekend with him and her at my son's AF graduation weekend, we really are trying to make it work. I'm exhausted with her controllingness though and if I say anything I am the crazy psycho ex wife. How do I continue "keeping the peace" and dealing with her controllingness at the same time? We are both very strong women which lends some weight to the problem, but at what point is enough enough and a person realizes that they have crossed the line? Help..please....any advice is appreciated.

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It is sometimes impossiblbe to keep the peace, and where there is abuse going on is likely to be one of those. Most of the people on this board are SMs, and quite a few are those with minimal contact with their own children's fathers -- so they may not see this side of the problem. I think you are going to have to tell your DDs no more family parties. Dad and SM can do their own if they want. If you do not have sole legal custody, I would contact lawyer and get it, and then have laywer notify Dad and SM that any more inappropriate touching, there will be notification of child welfare and lawsuit.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 4:22PM
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I'd suggest, as soon as possible, encouraging your kids to make as many of their own independent decisions without her input as possible. I don't know how old they are, but why not start the process early? Encourage them to be proactive. It's a good human trait, and without them to use as pawns, her totalizing control will swiftly diminish. Once they are of an age where she not only doesn't HAVE to control all aspects of their lives but it becomes ABSURD to do so, you and they will not have to "go thru her". Encourage them to get good grades and independently get their chores done & out of the way so that ---among other reasons--- they will have earend the right to be less micro-managed by her (you don't have to tell them that's the reason you're encouraging it). Encourage them to decide for themselves where they want their birthday parties, how many school pictures they want to give to whom, as many choices and actions that can be pre-emptively done without her control as possible. Encourage their responsibility for booking the venue themselves, sticking to a budget, sending invites themselves by the mantra: "with freedom comes responsibility" (and vice-versa).

Be more proactive yourself. You sound like a nice and perhaps overly accomodating person. Don't clear everything with her, it gives her too much power. She seems to have no problem dictating "how it's gonna be" to you, who says you can't sometimes take charge yourself? Go ahead and get things done independently, until your kids can do so themselves. Take the reins on some of these decisions and be the final arbiter. For example, take the lead on planning the next party. Inform HER where it's going to be and how she needs to plan HER schedule to adjust to it. Inform her what you expect from HER in the way of how she can be of help. Why does SHE have to be the one always having the final say on all these things? Final say should be a shared and variable right, depending on the circumstance and a spirit of give and take, not always one person's way. Hopefully she will see that as she realizes she cannot always control every aspect of everything. Becasue NO ONE can.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 4:24PM
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Hi Ladyflutter,

I'm sorry you're going through this...

Just to clarify:

Married 12 years
Three kids

He remarries woman with two kids
Tries to renegotiate CS once she moves in because she is caring for the children more, thus they are at his house 50/50 as opposed to when you first negotiated.
Her kids molest your kids
Your ex is physically abusive to your son
You go to court and resolve everything

We are now, one year later, in the present? And your question is "How do I continue "keeping the peace" and dealing with her controllingness at the same what point is enough enough and a person realizes that they have crossed the line?"

I just want to make sure I understand what you wrote. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 4:27PM
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With all due respect I do not understand why the kids are continuing to go over to ex's house if there was an "inappropriate touching" situation. That has to be explained a bit more in detail for me.

My DS16 refused to go and see his dad 3 years ago. The courts were never involved. I figured that he was old enough at 13 to make up his own mind. I would never have watched him pushed down the drive way to visit his father. Come what may, it never would have happened.

I also would not have become involved with the ex's wife. I figure that the relationships with my ex and his kid's are up to him. If he chose (which he did) to let those relationship's go by the way side then so be it. I would not have been able to have a relationship with his wife and have her controlling my life or trying to. If all parties concerned get along well and there is no friction or ill effect due to merging everyone one together then by all means go for it but it seems to me that in your case that is not the case. I would not be planning "family" birthday parties even if my children had requested it. My kids know/knew that it was never an option. I did my thing with the kids and my family when birthdays came and ex did or did not do his thing. To have ex's wife dictating and scheduling son's phone calls from basic training is ridiculous. Why in world would you allow that? Who in h3ll is this woman anyway?

I don't think that you are doing any one except ex's wife any favors here. I don't understand why you would hand what is your ex's responsibilities over to her. Let him be the father that he wants to be and if he falls short of that then the kids need to deal with it. This arrangement has set up a false sense of who their father is IMO. Enough was enough a long time ago. The line was never drawn from what I can see.

I would sit my children down and have a heart to heart talk with them about things. I would tell them that dealing with SM is not an option for me any longer unless their dad is ill or unavailable. I would tell my kids that I was sorry if their father let them down or hurt their feelings but there was a reason for the divorce and his lack of involvement was a large part of it. I would tell them that I had been working with his wife to try and save them from being hurt but that I was no longer going to do that because I needed to build a life that did not include her. I would tell them that although you would always treat sm with respect, you and she are not friends and that I felt allowing her to run the show was not the best choice. It is now time for you to move away from having that kind of relationship with her.

You don't have to have a fight with her or tell her off. You just have to live your own life and do your own things with the kids. It isn't one big happy family. It is your happy family and then it is his and whatever he makes it. I told my ex that his relationship with the kids was his responsibility not mine. He could make it what he wanted to or not. He chose not. That is too bad but it is the truth and I believe in living the truth, however difficult it may be at times.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 4:44PM
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To clarify, the inappropriate situation did not go further legally or with CPS due to the age of the girls as they were close in age and it happened only a few times. I guess these things make it okay and not a chronic problem. Not in my eyes, but the courts. Sooo..we had no room to move on this in court. Secondly since my son was 16 at the time of the altercation with his dad it was considered a domestic dispute according to the law. Although judge did grant 1 hour visits per month and counseling for my son and ex it wasnt enough to get full custody. The ex wore down my son to drop the TRO and continue the custody arrangement again. I guess only extreme cases of abuse get any weight at all in court. These were very difficult times and I feel like we have moved past all that junk. Or should I say we have tried anyway. I feel like the comments I have gotten thus far are very helpful. There really is no easy way out of this. My kids are 18, 13 and 10 and they are old enough to understand why I cannot continue this relationship with their stepmom. I had a conversation with my 13 year old tonight about this. I told her that I just cant have SM interfering in MY everyday life anymore. During the course of the conversation she pointe out that her dad does everything stepmom tells him to. That just really validated what I was trying to tell her, that I cannot and will not be controlled by her as I did not marry her he did. I tried to make it work for their benefit and it just isnt working. This was a difficult talk to have as my 13 yo and I butt heads often. This problem stems alot from what SM allows and what I do not. Therefor me being uncool with too many rules. Whereas SM is the "Stacey's Mom" type. No lie that's what she calls herself. So another issue come up today by email (which she emails me daily by the way) which prompted me to seek advice outside my normal group of friends in search of some magical answer that I havent heard. I've been depressed all day about this. I really wanted to keep the peace, but it apparently is just not possible with her. She does not know her place as their stepmom nor does she respect my opinions or thoughts as their mother. She is always trying to cram her point of view or plan down my throat and I just cannot take anymore. It's like I've been giving an inch, another inch, and so on and now I have nowhere to go. I think in the back of mind I knew this day would come but wanted it to last as long as possible because my kids were reaping the benefits of some times without chaos. Their sets of parents in the same room and actually speaking to one another like real people. I just feel sorry for them is why I have put up with it. If you knew me and my personality, you would know that allowing all that I have is a huge deal for me. It's time for me to do this. We are currently in the heat of an issue, so tomorrow will probably be the day I tell her no more. Wish me luck and thank you for all the words of wisdom.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:07PM
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Hugss and take your life back.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:10PM
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You should be commended for doing what you have thus far. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty, all at a great cost to you. My best friend did much the same as you until she just couldn't take being treat with such disrespect. I, myself, could never have done what she or you have done.

Please know that in your children's hearts you will always be their mother and it sounds as though you are a good one. No one can take away their true love for you. SM may try to "bribe" them or influence them to her side but as long as you are doing what a mom should then you have nothing to worry about. If she treats them well and tries to make up for her hubby, your ex and his lack of parenting then perhaps that is good. It just shouldn't involve you. You are so right, you did not marry her, the children's father did. There has to be a line drawn somewhere since she is the person that she is. Some adults may actually be able to work with each other but I think that the number is few. I would expect things to be a little bumpy at first but after she and the kids get used to your decision it should calm back down. I would not engage in conversation with sm about it after you tell her what you have decided and I would limit the talks with your kids about it once all is said and done. Make your plans with them and pretend that the rest does not exist. I wish you the best and hope that the transition is smooth.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:25PM
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I'm going to come at this from a different perspective - the custodial SM who has tried for years to be the peace keeper and people pleaser, and usually the one to deal directly with bio mom, though she and I have a, shall we say, interesting relationship.

So my first thought is, you need to take the kids out of the equation - I don't care how old they are. You and SM not being able to get along, her being a control freak, you being tired of giving in ARE NOT THEIR ISSUES. These troubles exist between the adults and should be kept there. Why should the kids inherit the burden of trying to be peace keepers between you adults? This board is great to vent to when you need - your 13 year old is not.

Second, it's time to establish some boundaries. I think it's good that SM is trying to push her husband to be a better father, and it's good that she enjoys your kids and wants what's best for them. She just needs help understanding her wants may not always be best, and at the end of the day it's not her right to make the final call, no matter how involved a SM she is. The fact dad lets her run the show at home is not a issue you can control, but what happens in your home is.
So, you need to outline how things will run from this point on.
*SM and dad do not have the right to tell you where you will be and when. They do have the ability to ask if you could please be at X at Y time, if it works with your previous plans. You have the right to do the same with them.
*SM (and or SM through dad) may email you once a week, preferably Sunday, with any upcomings matters during the coming week. Matters like custody and child support will not be addressed in these emails as those are matters between the parents and the courts.
*You do not all have to see eye to eye. It would be nice if you could all sit down and set some guideslines or rules and consequences that carry between homes. We did this with bio mom and step dad when they were have behavior issues during Sd's visits and it worked really well. Not only did SD know what to expect at each home, she knew what the consequences would be. This also cut down on the back and forth issues about what we did wrong or what bio mom did wrong.
*If SM would like to implement a new 'rule' or schedule (such as son's calls) it can be DISCUSSED betweent parties and then set if all agree. No rules or schedules between the homes will be followed until they have been mutually agreed upon.
*I see no issue with joint events (I slept on a hide a bed with mom at SD's party I through last year!) but they must be joint. This will likely only happen if you make it.

That is what I believe will be the biggest issue. You have to find the pleasant but firm voice within that can stand up and say "You know, SM, I think a pool party is a lovely idea. But no, I don't like the idea of a Hawaii theme much as I don't thing young Sally likes Hawaii. Let's keep thinking of other themes." Lather, rinse, repeat until SM gets the idea - you will not be walked on anymore. You aren't mean, you are appreciative of her interest in your kids, but you are the mother and you have more than a say in this. It will be an adjustment as it sounds like SM is used to wipping her feet on peacekeeping you, but it is needed. What you have to remember and she needs to learn is that you can't win every time though - there are some agreements that can't be reached. At these times, honestly, I think bio parents have to win.

As far as the Stacey's mom thing goes, if you let your kids know how much she bugs you it will get worse. Just stay firm, let the "Well SM lets us do that" things roll off you with a "Hmm. Okay." and continue on as you were. If it doesn't get them what they want, they will likely knock it off.

I hate to ask, but what is the latest issue?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 1:17AM
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I do believe that I have finally discovered another SM like the one that I have had to deal with for the last 11 years. I have recently had DS move in with the ex and SM because I was more strict than they were. Everything that has ever caused DS to be mad at ex and SM through the years is suddenly remembered differently, the blame is entirely off of both of them, and DS will never let them know that he is mad at either of them. I also continuously worked hard at keeping the peace through the years. I have had to deal with SM entirely. I have never figured out if it was a control issue for SM or jealousy since ex is the lying cheat that he is. But I have found that the minute that I have ever stood up against SM that DS pays for it and now SM has learned to make me pay for it by playing mind games with DS. I have learned in counseling that usually when a person does not stand up to someone repeatedly and more or less lets them walk all over them that the minute they do decide to stand up for themselves that it is considered wrong or out of line. I am very much a people pleaser until I am pushed too far and it truly has only happened a couple of time but this time has turned out to be the worse and the longest that I have not kissed @$$ to make peace once again usually for DS sake. I do not know how but ex and SM now have DS turned against me even though I am not even the one doing the parenting these days. I have done nothing more than what they have done for years which is turn everything over to me when DS has done something wrong so that I could be the bad guy. Somehow I am still the bad guy for playing the exact same role they have had for years which DS always got mad at me for being the one to punish him and never blamed them for turning him in to me. Suddenly I am viewed as this evil ex-wife that is just trying to keep DS from ex by making DS hate ex and SM. I have always tried to watch what I have said about ex and SM in front of DS but I did have the occasional moment of truth with DS that I realize now that I probably should not have even though DS is aware of everything that I have ever said to him because SM and ex have shown their true colors to DS repeatedly. DS has began to defend SM and ex with these distorted views of happenings that I know did not happen as DS is now remembering and defending them. These are things that both he and I have seen and experienced with SM and ex. One thing that I have realized now that SM, ex and I pretty much stay out of each other's way is that SM has caused A LOT of drama in my life that I was not even aware of until I was not living it anymore. I do not know the SM in your situation but I know by cutting off the SM in my situation that it has not made things better for me but worse--especially the close relationship that I had with DS. I have had to put my foot down and have lost all communication with DS in the process but SM and ex now have DS playing the same games that they do and I am not going to keep playing the games. I figure that eventually DS will see the light and realize what is going on when this living situation/relationship is all not so new with DS living with them. The waiting is the hard part.

I don't know if the SM is the same type of woman that will lie, cheat, and play games with your children if you cross her but I would think long and hard before crossing a woman like her and her need to remain in control. Even though I am more of a people pleaser, I believe in honesty and that is one thing that I have learned that the SM and ex do not in my situation and it sounds as if the SM in your situation is a lot like the one in mine. I did learn that to just back off for awhile helps also. The emails still came daily but I learned to keep my end more about DS arrangements that needed to be made and not worry about all the other stuff. I would be in a hurry and busy constantly and ignore the little stuff with excuses of no time to chat about the drama stuff. It was not the perfect situation but it was better and it was not the extreme that I have now. I wish you the best of luck because it is not an easy situation at all.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 9:40AM
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Wow, this is a great forum. I really thought about my approach today with SM and how to incorporate some things you all have said. Of course when I got to work I had an email from her which I knew I would. That let the door open for me to tell her how I was feeling about things. I think my email was very diplomatic as I played both sides. I appreciate what you do for the kids so on and so on. But......there are boundries. We need to simplify, get to the point, she doesnt have to control everything, some things need to happen naturally. She needs to remember her role and where the line is and I need to stop worrying about keeping the peace and do what I beleive is best for my kids. I do beleive like you ALMOSTSTEPMOM that it will probably get worse. I guess if it does then she truly does not respect me as their mother which means I do not need to work with her anyway. I sent their father a note telling him the same thing I told her. The ball is basically in their court. I have tried previously and stated "lets agree to disagree and move on". That works maybe for that moment, but inevitably something else comes up. Like them getting my 10 year old a cell phone. I TOTALLY disagree with this move. Said my peace to them and they got it anyway. I dropped the issue. Even though inside it burns me up. ALMOSTSTEPMOM, I am sortof in the same situation with my oldest son right now. All these years he has not really had a relationship with his dad. Hence the whole physical altercation. NOW....all the sudden my son is leaving to go into the AF and his dad wants to spend all this time with him. Which of course my son is eating up. What kid wouldnt. I popped off one day when they were planning something (on my time) and said "well I guess better late than never your dad wants to spend time with you". My son decided to share that with his father and SM which of course he knew would start a fight. The same conversation he tells his dad that he realizes now what a good father he really was all these years. Yet out the side of his cheek he complains about them all the time and how his dad is the puppet and his SM is the puppet master. Those are his words. I have wanted for years for him to have that special relationship that dads and sons have. Begged and pleaded, cried with my ex because I saw how my son was hurting. Now.....he's been the best dad all along. Wow where did that come from? Don't get me wrong, my son tells me what a great mom I am and how he wouldnt be where he is if it werent for me, but still. After spending the weekend with the ex and SM I realized the kids like them because they act like kids themselves. They do not discipline or call the kids out when they are acting up. SM actually told me once (when we jointly took her girls and my girls to see Hannah Montana) that she actually likes the way my 13 year old acts around me. That my daughter respects and listens to me. I on the other hand do not like the way her kids behave. Geeze the stories I could tell. When we were with them that weekend I found myself telling HER 10 year old to behave. Dont get me wrong, I am not a tyrant or overly strict by any means and can have fun too, but I still think that kids and parents need to behave a certain way. They (SM and ex) think itS cute that a 27 year old woman is hanging out with my 18 year old son in Tech School. Yes she may be nice and all that and yes my son is very handsome, but there is something kinda weird about it. Plus, I know my son. He's not just hanging out with her because there is no one else. There is something else he isnt telling yet. He will come clean soon with me about what is really going on with him and her as it is his nature to tell me eventually. The annoying part is that SM and ex are playing it off to my son as its all cool(they went and visited my son this past weekend with the 27yro too) So of course SM and ex are the cool parents because they arent questioning this relationship and think its cute. I on the otherhand will not sugar coat it to him and tell him what I think of the situation. Just like all the other times and eventually he will say "mom you were right" just like all the other times. It's just soooooo frustrating in the meantime. I'm always the bad guy. Seriously, I am the bad guy with my ex and SM and at my house with my hubby. I am the one who says no, and corrects them. My hubby doesnt feel like it is his place to discipline the girls so he does it thru me. Complete opposite of SM. I secretly wish hubby would start sending my ex emails about the kids and the routine etc. Boy howdy I would love to see my ex react to that. He is a hot head and that would just make him explode. Then he would know how it feels on my end. Anyway it's been a few hours since I sent the email and haven't heard back. Waiting just waiting for the bomb to drop. Thanks to all again. I know deep down what I am doing is right, I just needed some constructive criticism and reassurance(outside my normal support) to keep my thought process in check and make sure that my line of thinking isn't way out there. . I will check back when I hear something.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 3:23PM
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27 year old and 18 year old does not sound right to me. I don't care which one is the girl and which is the boy. There's a world of difference there.

Your son sounds like he's suffering from cognitive dissonance.

According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions). When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behavior.

So your son is rationalizing the thought that his dad is a good parent now so therefore he couldn't have been one before.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 3:32PM
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Silversword, are you saying that my ex was always a good parent but my son is just now realizing it? I'm confused but very interested in what you are saying.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Sorry Ladyflutter!

I mean that your son knows that your ex wasn't always a good parent. But that conflicts with his feelings that now he is being a good parent. His rationalization is that he must have *always* been a good parent because it's too hard to explain why such a *good* man like his father (is now showing himself to be) would not have been a *good* father before. So he changes history to fit his experiences now because it's more comfortable that way.

It's really hard for me to explain. I feel confused now myself. Does this make any sense to you?

It's like, you smoke cigarettes, so you tell yourself that it helps you lose weight because you don't want to think about getting cancer. Since you know they are harmful, and that conflicts with your want/need to smoke them anyways, you rationalize their harm and make them good.

BTW, the mind does this. It's not a conscious thing that your son is doing.

Please let me know if I can explain further. It's amazing to me because sometimes I catch myself experiencing it- which really throws me. It takes a lot of courage to admit I'm lying to myself and change my behavior.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 4:55PM
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I think sometimes also, children want the illusion of having good parents. Its very difficult for children to live with an absent (mentally or phyiscally) parent. So they have selective history. All you can do is your best -- which you have been doing.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 4:59PM
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I get what you are saying now. I think I do the same to myself. Like I've known all along this "relationship" with the SM was a sham but went along with it thinking that it would all be okay. The more I have thought about things today the more I have realized other instances where she has manipulated me into doing what she wanted me to do. There were times I fell for it....for the greater good and then times I didnt. I'm still waiting for the bomb to drop. It's been silent which could be a good thing, but most likely its about to turn into a war. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this....heeee heeee....heee breathe!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 5:59PM
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It's only a war if you participate. Keep breathing, remind yourself what your goals are and how you intend to act regardless of her behavior.

Keep breathing. I was telling my DD the other night that I was so tired of stuccoing (sp?) the window box, I didn't want to be doing it, it was boring, etc. because she always tells me how things are boring and I tell her to power through it. She looked at me and said, very seriously, "just like dorrie said in Nemo mom, just keep swimming"

So I'll pass that on. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Lane. All you need is a mantra from a 6 year old!!!

And ignorance isn't bliss. When I wake up from a self induced sham in my life it takes twice as long to recover. It's good to recognize patterns and how people treat you and how you want to be treated. It makes me stronger, anyway.

You seem to have it under control- just don't let her get under your skin.

BIG hugs and best wishes,

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 12:43AM
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From a SM point of view I can say that it sounds to me like you have been very nice. In fact, too nice. It sounds like she is very controlling and I agree with some of the other posters when they say you need to tell her that she is stepping on your toes. She should definitely back off! Good luck

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 8:34AM
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I agree with the others, however I suspect that you've set a precedent in tolerating her behavior and it's going to be difficult to take back control of your life without feeling like you're in a war zone for a while... hopefully for just a while.

Stand your ground and remember, you teach people how to treat you. Remain cordial if you want her to be cordial (but that doesn't mean she can step on your toes) "No." is a complete sentence.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 11:33AM
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SM should not ever be emailing you or calling for no reason. never. your X should, she should never ever have any cotact wiht you (unless she is nice, but she is not). next, if children of certain age such as starting age 10 do not want to talk to a parent or see a parent they should not be forced. your X and his wife and her children should not be allowed around children due to molestattion issue. i am sorry you are in this situation.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:33PM
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Well I have yet to recieve a response from SM or my ex about what I laid out. Very she always has to have the last word. Sooo funny as I was typing this post her email came thru. Like I said she has to have the last word. She just doesnt see that she has overstepped at all. She is only trying to help me and make things easier on me. yeah right! Somehow what she is doing "for me" benefits her and her plans. Ugh! I do have to tell you though that I felt such a sense of relief yesterday after I sent the email. I felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I was still worried about the "war" but felt a huge relief. Her email back wasnt as bad as I was expecting and she did agree to try to simplify her contact with me. Yeah! word from Mr. Wimpy pants. It's kind of sad that he is doing this to his wife. She's told me some stories that are extremely similiar to parts of my marriage to him. On one hand I feel sorry for her because I was in her shoes once...then on the other hand I'm like "thank God I'm not married to him anymore, poor her." Anyway.... having all these different points of view has really helped. Thanks for reminding me not to participate in the "war" and to keep swimming! It really helps and I'm so glad I came here. Will check back take care.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 5:59PM
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Yay Ladyflutter!!! What good news! ***cheering***applause***

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 9:59PM
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Good for you Ladyflutter, remember boundaries & limitations.

You've received some very good advice here. I'd expect some drama coming from ex's wife to "test" those boundaries. Stay calm. you don't have to respond to anything on her timetable, think through any repsonses prior to zipping an email to her. It's ok to let her stew on thigs before responding.

Kudos to you for taking back your life!


    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 10:31PM
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Ok, first update on my son and his 27yo "friend". SM was emailing and making weekend plans with her regarding their visis with my son. Like they're BFF's or something. My son was annoyed by that. But as I suspected my son and her we getting a little too chummy. As I expected (I really do know my son) and so then finds out she is not only married but has 2 children. As "friends" she somehow left out this minor detail. Luckily one of her Gf's ratted her out before anything got too serious. Of course this was my opportunity to point out to my son that this is the kind of woman I warned him about. Don't latch yourself to someone who will willingly cheat on their spouse as you could be walking in that spouses shoes someday. No to mention get your dumba@@ shot for messing with another man's woman regardless who instigated it. I Knew it though! Mother's intuition I guess.

So as I suspected....the you know what hit the fan with SM. It's been ongoing endless emails and pointing things out blah blah blah. An incident occured last night and I requested to speak to EXH. Found out my kids are not allowed to tell me when they are in trouble at EXH. If they tell me then they get punished. Yeah, I have a problem with that. Their side is it's there business. I can see that maybe to some degree it is, but telling the kids they arent allowed to tell me or they get in trouble. That is just wrong. They are known for not being very fair and have some pretty stupid rules. Which of course on occasion I have complained about in an effort to stick up for my kids. The kids will never speak up because they are afraid their punishment will get worse. I usually find out by accident and the kids beg me not to say anything to their dad or SM. I had conversation with EXH today "its my house and its my rules and none of your business" When you are being unfair and treat my kids like the stepkids and hers like they are queens, yeah I do have a problem with it. So back to last night, EXH as I'm questioning him about why DD is in trouble and what theyr doing is silly, hands the phone back to DD. Won't talk to me. So I call SM and she immediately starts blah blah none of your business won't let me even speak. I finally had to scream in the phone can I ask a question? So the jist of it DD texted or emailed SM daughters ex boyfriend. So my DD got her phone taken away. It's against the rules to contact another sisters ex bf. My daughter has a BF already by the way so I dont think their was any serious intention behind it. But I havent got to talk to her about it so don't know her side. So phone taken away til Wed. and since she complained about her punishment (which she didnt I questioned her about calling me from hm phn and we discussed other issues) she got an extra week tacked on. Their rational just doesnt seem right to me. Or is it just me? So anyway ended up hashing out issue with SM and their freakin dad.

Is anybody here a counselor or have any kind of knowledge about phsychology? These emails I'm getting are just unreal. Trying to figure out how to deal with this person.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 6:02PM
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Okay, I am really confused. I have read over and over that the OP objects because dad and SM are "the cool parents" who never discipline, and then I read that OP is upset because " They are known for not being very fair and have some pretty stupid rules. " Which is it?

I think that OP just has problems with the way things are done at Dads house, which is a separate issue from SM controlling visits, etc with the kids. Where do you get off, calling up to complain that you think their rules are stupid? their house, their rules. I am sure you would be upset if they tried to set the rules in YOUR house by calling and complaining.

No one can MAKE you interact and set up things with SM. You dont have to do it. You are choosing to do things like go together to Hannah MOntana ( why on earth would you do that with someone you totally dislike), and you are refusing to let things be left alone at the other parents house. Its none of your business how they discipline, or what they do with the kids when they are there, and , just because dad isnt parenting the way you do, doesnt mean you are a better parent and he is a worse one. You are just different. Your complaining about it means that you also are trying to control.

As for your sons relationship...well, he is 18. He is grown up, and presumably can decide for himself whom he wishes to be friends with. The fact that you "wont sugarcoat it and tell him what you think of it" says to me that you are a bit of a control freak yourself. Its not your place to comment on your adult sons love life. You dont have to agree with it, but you really shouldnt be negative about it to him.

I wonder, if your daughter were 18 and seeing a 27 year old guy she met in college, would you be objecting this way? Probably not.

You are way too involved in Dad and stepmoms house. You dont like dealing with her, or so you say. So dont. Its not that hard to do. I am willing to bet you are just as annoying to them as they are to you.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 8:44PM
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My DD is 17, I guarantee you if a year from now she were dating a 27 year old, I would go nuts. I might not be able to do anything, but I would talk to her, re now is a time for her to focus on college. yadayadayada.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 8:54PM
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I'm not saying your ex or his wife is 'right', but it really is none of your business what the rules are in the other parent's house. It's none of their business what your rules are either.

Sticking up for your kids can be sticky because kids will learn quickly that if they don't like one parent's rules and they know the other parent will pitch a fit, they will 'tattle' on the parent with the offending rule and hope the other parent can fix it for them. There is usually one parent that is more lax in the rules and that is usually the one that is 'sticking up for the kids'. And falling into that trap only teaches some kids how to manipulate the situation.

I agree that your ex's rules sound a bit strict. The kids should not be getting in trouble for telling you things, but maybe he felt he had to make such a rule because he gets calls every time the kids don't like what happens in his home. I know that in my situation, my husband's ex would call up every week, the day after her daughter left here & there were all sorts of complaints. She didn't get to play a video game she wanted, she didn't get to stay up & watch TV, she didn't get to eat her favorite food, she didn't get to have soda with dinner, etc. etc. When the complaints are over things that you have no right to complain about... then when you have a valid complaint, you're likely to be tuned out and in your ex's case, he probably thinks a 'what happens here, stays here' policy would keep you from bugging him. I don't agree with his method, but I do understand why he might feel that way.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 9:11PM
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well I guess it depends. My mom was dating somebody that older than her when she was 18. she ended up marrying him at 19 and it is my dad. and my mom finished college. so sometimes it might be something worth pursuing and turns out to be life long. although i have to say that my parents still remember how openly devastated were my mom's parents.

most certainly I would be pretty upset if DD got involved with someone that much older at age 18.

but I don't see age as much of an issue. What is a more serious issue is that a woman is married and has 2 children. so OP's son puts himself into a situation where he might get in all kind of troubles wiht her husband etc

nothing much can be done but OP certainly should talk to a kid.

as about why OP gets involved wiht SM, i totally agree wiht kathline. i do not udnerstand why she gets so engaged wiht them, why answering emails or even read them etc.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 9:16PM
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I think OP getting "involved" with SM started with dad not communicating. I think a lot of SM/mom problems develope from dad not being 100% there.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 9:24PM
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kkny, I agree but there are also situations where dad won't get involved and mom & SM are the only ones that talk. It is fine as long as they get along and are working together for the kids, but if they are not getting along, then it's no better than mom & dad arguing, actually it's worse. I also agree that dad & stepdad can sometimes deal better. Whatever works to diffuse conflict... every situation is different & to each his own, but shifting conflict from parent-parent to parent-stepparent is a terrible mistake.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 9:38PM
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I absolutely hate kids being told they can't communicate with one parent about the other parent's home. My SD's mom would tell her things were a 'family secret' and to not tell Daddy and JNM . . .so she'd run straight home to me and tell. We tried to talk to mom about that not being healthy several times, and SD's counselor even told mom if it happens to SD it's HER life and she can talk about it with anyone, but it didn't seem to matter. Our thought was if you don't want the other parent to know, don't say/do it.

That said, everyone is right. You can't make it a mom's house/dad's house issue or the kids will abuse it. If a parent is doing something dangerous or abusing the other has every right to but in. If they just set different rules than you - tough. Like I said before, perhaps you could all get together and try to set one set of rules for both houses.
If you don't want 100 emails about everything, don't complain about 100 little things.

It's starting to sound like this is more about 'winning' than the kids, IMHO. But what do I know?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Ok, to clarify, my issue is not what their rules are. Its the dont tell or your in trouble policy. This goes back to the inappropriate touching issue. My youngest DD in trouble for telling me that the step-sister had touched her inappropriately. Yes, call it nosey, call it controlling whatever, but when I get the "I'm not supposed to tell" speech that's when I get upset. THere is a history of I'm not supposed to tell stuff that has gone on. Getting in trouble specifically, the girls will figure that part out, and stay under the radar eventually. The kids are not allowed to call the OP and whine about being in trouble. That goes for both houses, so we are on the same page. Even if they did call their dad, I have nothing to hide and will not prevent them from telling their dad they are in trouble.

TO KATHLINE, to answer you. Funny because as I was responding back to SM yesterday as she asked me what I thought of her parenting style. My thought was...well on one hand you are too lineant (sp) and then on the other have some really unreasonable strict that's how it is kind of rules. So how do you decribe that parenting style? Two complete opposite sides of the spectrum. She allows the girls to dress like tramps....that's not strict. But then has a rule that step-sisters cant be friends with each others friends. That doesnt make sense to me. They are all close in age and we live in a very small town. Too me...just doesnt make sense. Why can't they all be friends? Not that I'm gonna go discuss this with SM just my thought on the idea.

Secondly regarding my son and his older friend. I never said anything while it was going on.... but after the fact, yes reminded him she was the one I warned him about in life before I sent him out on his way into the world. No I do not need to control my son's love life and havent. I will however tell him if I am concerned about something. Sometimes he listens, sometime he doesnt. As in the past I will always be there for him regardless if his choice is one I agreed with or not. He will eventually figure it out and luckily we have that type of relationship we can talk about this kind of stuff.

Yes, I have been forced to deal with SM because EXH cannot take care of anything. Sooo this is the only way as parents we have been able to coordinate crap. I realized the other night how angry I actually am with EXH when he wouldnt talk to me. He's letting his wife handle everything, just like he let me handle everything when we were married. So her and I are left to deal with each other. I resent that a little bit I guess because he is still not being responsible for choice making, again! Yes, I do need to make some changes and that is what I am working on and hence the whole reason I put my foot down with SM. It really shouldnt be this difficult EVERY day!
I am a very strong woman and for the sake of peacekeeping have turned the other cheek and bit my tongue more than you could imagine, I have tried to build a relationship with this woman which I thought was in the best interest of my children. Instead I have become the mat for her feet wiping and I'm done. Call it controlling if you want. I am taking my space back. Believe me, the less I have to hear from the otherhouse the better. I have a wonderful life right now with my husband, our new baby girl, my job, and my relationship with my kids. Everything else is great! I just have this rash....and it won't go away. So.....this forum is my venting space and I will not engage with her any longer other than one liners. I have too many wonderful things going on in my life to let this black cloud ruin my sunshine.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 11:17AM
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