Need some advice ...

MissSunshine2012December 28, 2011

Hello everyone!

This is my first time posting and I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts and opinions of my situation.

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 2 years and are recently engaged. I have a 16 year old and my BF has a 7 year old. We do not live together, but are together often - close to 6-7 days a week.

His ex-wife pretty much stays out of my way, although she does kind of bug me, but that's not my issue.

Their custody situation is that his son is with him 3 nights a week (Sat, Mon & Wed) and with the mother the rest of the time.

I feel like I'm beginning to resent the son a little bit and I don't want to feel that way because he's such a good kid and really a joy to be around. Although I will be honest and say that many of the times the three of us are out and about doing something, I tend to feel like the 3rd wheel which is not a feeling I particularly love.

The thing is, I feel like my BF lets his ex have all the control when it comes to drop off times during "the switch" on the weekends which makes me feel like I never get any time with him just to do our own thing.

The son usually comes over either before lunch (11:00-11:30) or after lunch (around 1pm - sometimes even later than that) on Saturdays, but my BF never knows exactly when until almost the last minute. Same for the drop off on Sunday. Whenever I ask, I always get the same answer, "I don't know. Whatshername hasn't called me yet." It just really bothers me because I feel like I can never plan anything for just us to do because he never knows what time she's going to feel like taking him back (or bringing him over - depends on the day). Just the other day, we had to fit in a bunch of errands before noon because he said he didn't want to get caught in a different part of town just in case she were to call and say she was bringing the son over in 10 minutes. I feel like our days are held hostage because he always leaves the timing up to her!

It's just very frustrating to me that he also doesn't really seem to care that we never have an entire day where it's just the two of us. Every once in a while it sure would be nice if he would say to me, "Hey, I'm going to bring my son back to his mom's after breakfast today so we can spend the day together." The only time we get an actual full day together is if we are out of town.

I haven't brought this up because I get this his son is a priority and I never want to question the amount of time they spend together because he is such a great dad, but I just wish that he showed a little more interest in "us" which would make me feel special.

Is this just something I have to live with or is there a gentle way for me to bring this up w/o him getting defensive (which he has a tendency to do)?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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It seems there are a couple of issues going on.

1- It seems your BF is content to put up with the BM's crazy schedule. If he doesn't see the importance of putting his foot down this will never change.

2- The other thing is you don't feel that your BF pays enough attention to you even when the son is there. This is not good. Of course your BF's son is first priority, but you need to feel important too. If the two of you work during the week, the fact that BF's son is there every weekend means there is very little alone time for the two of you. I have a feeling if BF devoted some time to you even when his son was with ya'll, you probably wouldn't resent the son so much.

Here are a few suggestions: ask your 16 year old to watch BF's son for an hour or two while you and BF spend some alone time; Hire a babysitter for the son; Arrange a play date for BF's son.

You say your BF has a tendency to get defensive - is he defensive when you talk to him about his son or just in general? That's not a good sign. I recently broke up with my boyfriend because of issues with his son. Not so much because of his son's behavior, but because my BF got defensive when I tried to tell him anything about his son. You need to be comfortable talking to him about issues with his son.

You ask is this something you will have to live with - well, people don't change unless they want to, and even then it's hard to overcome old habits. Your BF may not want to change the way he deals with the BM, or neglecting you when his son is over, especially if he gets defensive about the subject. While you may be ok now to "just live with this" I have a feeling this is going to eat you up inside. Otherwise you wouldn't have posted on here asking for help.

Hopefully you can have a heart to heart with BF, explain to him how you feel neglected when his son is over, and come up with some solutions to the problem that you both can live with.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 3:29PM
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Thank you, Amber for your advice!

To clarify, it's only when we are 'out and about' that I feel like a 3rd wheel. Like we'll go somewhere, and they will both get out of the car and walk hand in hand while I trail behind. Yes, I catch up and walk with them ,but it just bugs me that it all starts out that way. When the 3 of us are home, it's fine. We all get along great and I don't feel left out at all.

He gets defensive about everything. We actually got into a pretty heated argument the other night which really opened my eyes that we don't communicate well. He goes from not mad to blazing mad in a matter of seconds. I also realized that he doesn't let me say my peace and then I end up yelling because he doesn't let me talk.

My son recently went to live with his father to help him as he was injured in a car accident so he is not near enough to babysit. That said, I can't see him ever forfeiting his time with his son. If we were ever to make plans on a night that he is supposed to have him, he just makes plans with his ex to switch nights. As a matter of fact, in the time we've been together, I don't think a babysitter has ever been involved.

We do have alone time during the 4 nights we don't have his son, but it's basically just a few hours a night where we are both tired after working all day so we usually just sit around and watch TV.

As for the BM's crazy schedule - yes, it drives me INSANE that he doesn't make her stick to more of a schedule. I just don't know how to approach it w/o sounding like I want him to spend less time with his son. That's not it at all. I would just like a little more structure so maybe he and I could make plans every once in a while.

Thank you again for your advice.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 3:41PM
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He goes from not mad to blazing mad in a matter of seconds. I also realized that he doesn't let me say my peace and then I end up yelling because he doesn't let me talk.

I would be way more concerned about that than anything else. People who are like this before they get married only get worse afterwards. Much worse. Do you know what caused the end of his first marriage? And not just from his point of view?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 7:52PM
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You're welcome, Sunshine, but I'm reading through your posts again, and I really don't see what the problem is. I could see if your BF and his son go into the store and completely ignore you the entire time, or when the son is home the BF spends all his time in his son's room, but I don't see the BF holding his son's hand that big a deal. You have to remember it was probably the two of them for a long time before you came along, so they probably don't even realize that what they're doing is making you feel excluded.

Then you say - "If we were ever to make plans on a night that he is supposed to have him, he just makes plans with his ex to switch nights." So your BF switches nights with his ex if the two of you have plans, so the two of you DO have time alone together? Even if it is a night at home watching TV, that's still alone time with him.

So is the issue having alone time with BF - or having an ENTIRE day alone with BF? Because I notice you keep saying you want an entire day alone with BF and I have to say, I think that's a little unrealistic. I mean, I NEVER have an entire day to do nothing but hang out with someone. On the weekend I have to do all the things I didn't have time to do during the week, like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the house, shopping and any other errands I was just too tired to do during the week.

What kind of plans do you want to make that you need so much notice and time for? I mean, if the BF can switch nights around with the BM so the two of you can go out, it's not enough notice for the two of you to enjoy a movie or dinner out? You say he gets his son Sat, Mon and Wednesday, so that still leaves Friday for the two of you to go out, right? Most parents only get a few hours alone a week even in unblended families, and it's usually in front of the TV, LOL.

Also, I'm a little confused with the schedule - You originally said BF gets his son Sat, Mon and Wednesday, but then you said the BM drops the kid off on Sat and again on Sun. The son doesn't spend the night on Saturday nights? I can understand having the drop offs and pick ups a little more structured, 10 minutes notice IS pretty ridiculous. Have you said to BF 'I really need to know when BM is picking son up because I really want to do such and such together, just the two of us.' ? If he can't understand that, well, you're going to have decide now if you can live with the way things are or not, because there are no magic words that will make him change how he's been handling BM all this time.

Regarding your BF's temper - that is a HUGE issue, and a bigger one than him not spending time with you alone. If the two of you can't communicate effectively your relationship is in trouble. I can say that because I was married to a man for ten years that had a bad temper, and I know it was not fun being with someone you were afraid to talk to.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 7:58PM
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First of all -- sounds like the Mom and Dad are pretty good at co-parenting and switching, working out schedules -- word of advice, do NOT force him to rock that boat. If it ain't broke don't fix it. If he starts demanding that Mom do this or that and Mom is like Whoa!? What did I do? Then your statement that mom stays out of your way, won't likely be the case anymore. If Dad is ok with the way things are with his ex and mother of his child, then why does it bother you so much? You guys don't even live together.

Aw... The bliss of having children... My DH and I never get to spend time alone together ... Sigh.. I guess we gave that up when we had kids... And we don't have someone to send our son to four nights a week, it's just us. We do get eow when dd is gone to her dad's but we have our son 100% of the time .... And we have never had a babysitter other than grandma ... It is what it is.

Have you mentioned these feelings at all to your fianc�? Is this recent? The reason I'm asking is you just noticed the communication struggles and the anger from him, you just got engaged, is it possible he is feeling a heavy bolder on his chest? He wants his son in his life, ex isn't causing drama for him but now here you are, the woman he loves and wants to marry and your causin havoc with the one thing he will never give up AND wanting him to make 'changes' to better fit your needs. His schedule seems to fit his needs and trust me... Being able to call on the other parent to switch a night is wonderful! I can't do that ... So don't rock that boat. If your fianc� and his ex are at a point where they are ok and communicate or whatever and you are the only one bothered by 'her' schedule changes or drop off demands, let it go. I can bet you, if you guys haven't moved in together yet... Dad is the kind of dad that puts his kid first and he isn't going to 'change' without a fight. The kid only has 11 more years, why not wait until then so you don't feel resentful and push it off on to the boy? Put him first. He's just a kid.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:27AM
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Thanks so much for all the feedback. You all have made me see that what I'm annoyed about really isn't that big of a deal. I just need to relax a bit, I guess. Like some of you said, I really should feel lucky that we get the alone time that we already do even if it's just us exhausted and watching TV.

Amber, he has switched nights in the past, but it's not a common thing. He doesn't like to ask her favors much on the personal side because he sometimes has to ask her similar favors when he travels for work. I guess my big issues, is yes, sometimes I want an entire day with him where it's just the two of us to do whatever we want whether it's a day filled with running errands or a day doing nothing at all (which I agree, is rare). I'm not asking for this every weekend, but it would be nice to have every once in a while.

The boy does stay Saturday night. He gets him around lunchtime on Saturday and then he brings him back in the mid to late afternoon on Sunday.

Weed, no. I do not know what happened from her perspective. With a few arguments now under my belt, I can only wonder if this was one of the reasons.

As for he and his ex ... there is plenty of drama. Their relationship is cordial at best. Seems that EVERYTHING (and I mean everything) she does drives him up the wall.

Thank you again for all the candid responses. They really are much appreciated. I'm just going to drop this whole timing thing and try not to get irritated when the "I don't know, I have talked to whatshername yet." comments come up.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 1:50PM
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Hey Sunshine, I'm glad you realize that having an entire day together with just the two of you is being a little unrealistic.

If you feel that your day is being held hostage by BM's lack of planning, don't let it. If BF is fine staying home all day waiting for BM to decide when to drop his son off, let him stay home and you go out and do what you need to do. You don't have to do everything together with BF.

I would, however, be cautious going forward with this relationship. I would be much, much more concerned with his bad temper and the drama between him and his ex. Those are a couple of red flags for me.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 3:36PM
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If him and mom are cordial... That's 100% better than my situation. Sure she drives him up a wall.. They have a history that he can't just walk away from. My ex drives me up a wall. It's almost daily and my dh knew coming in to this relationship that there is drama. If dad is ok with the schedule not much you can do to change that. That is like trying to change WHO he is rather than accepting what he is ok with.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 4:16PM
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Yes, Yes, Yes!

"If you feel that your day is being held hostage by BM's lack of planning, don't let it. If BF is fine staying home all day waiting for BM to decide when to drop his son off, let him stay home and you go out and do what you need to do. You don't have to do everything together with BF."

You are absolutely correct and that is what I will do going forward!!!! Talk about a lightbulb moment.

I AM concerned about the temper, but not so much the drama with the ex. I don't get dragged into it, but he does use me as a sounding board and I'm ok with that.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 5:44PM
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Sunshine...let me give you my experiance here as far as him being defensive of his young son thats understandable its when they become adults and it still goes on ..face it you will not stand a chance in hell. him being defensive will continue. his anger will continue even over very small things. his communacation will never happen. i know this from EXPERIANCE good luck to you your going to need it

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:20PM
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This reminds me of my situation, way back when DH & I were first dating. There were no problems with BM... but she did control everything. If she had plans, thought nothing of asking DH to take SD... even at the last minute. He would not say no to her. He wanted to keep the peace. BUT, if HE asked her to do him a favor... um, NO. She was too busy or for whatever reason... she couldn't. Of course at that time, she was always nice about it "I'd love to but can't" but ALWAYS had an excuse & ALWAYS had something come up where she needed DH to take SD when WE had plans. It was very frustrating for me too. Hopefully, your BF's ex is not doing it on purpose to frustrate you... but I can say that the minute DH started doing things differently (due to my suggestions), the gloves came off & fangs shown. She did not want me coming in & upsetting the good thing she had... telling DH how it's gonna be & him answering "yes, ma'am". It has slowly become a nightmare for me, which I wonder if I am going to last in the marriage sometimes. (He is as much to blame as she is because it's how they both handle things that is the problem for me) But, for that reason I would suggest treading lightly on giving suggestions. But, the one thing I might bring up is that it's important for children to have a set routine... they feel more secure when they know what is happening day to day. That includes visitation times as well. Does BF have a set time his ex gets their son back, or does he do the same thing & drop him off whenever he feels like it? Besides YOU being able to plan things, your BF AND his son would probably feel better knowing it's always the same time each exchange day... I mean it's fine to be flexible if someone is running late, but within reason. (My son's father would call police & refuse to give my son to me if I was late ~he would even leave his house so nobody was home sometimes~... or make me sit in my car if I was early. If the order said 6pm, he would not open the front door until 6pm) That is not good for the child. But, it's also not good if nobody can make plans because it changes from week to week. It absolutely irritates me that when DH picks up SD from her mom at 6pm (for a 3 hour drive), sometimes she's eaten dinner & sometimes not. We don't know until she's in the car so if we eat on the way over, we have to stop to feed her (& DH doesn't allow eating in the car so we spend an hour going in to eat somewhere) or if we haven't eaten & she has, we stop to eat & she eats again or sits there watching us eat. The not knowing is the annoying part... at least if we knew, we could plan for it. And I agree, if he chooses to sit home & wait... by all means, don't give up doing things for that. Live your life & enjoy. He may be willing to sit around to wait for his son on his ex's whim, but he may also be allowing that to happen because he has you sitting there waiting with him... albeit annoyed, you are still there with him. He may figure you love him even if you are annoyed but he doesn't want her pissed off at him for saying no... and that is when my DH's ex went off on him, when he started placing boundaries & guidelines... and sticking to them.

As for finding out information on his divorce, you might go down to the courthouse & pull his divorce file (and any other public file with his or her name on it) and get to reading. A lot of what gets filed with the court may be slanted, depending on who writes it but it WILL give you a picture of what things were like & what accusations were being made before you ever got involved. That may be the most impartial information you will find because friends & family will usually take sides.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:46PM
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Miss Sunshine

My dh was this same way when we first got together. He would do anything and everything bm told him to do. My ss was only 4 months old though, so it was only 4 months of her getting her way at that minute. I let it go for awhile. BM was getting more and more demanding. My dh was paying support but BM would ask weekly for him to help pay for extras like daycare, diapers, etc. She wouldn't send ss with any clothes or diapers or formula (that she was getting through wic). She also wouldn't send any medication he needed (RX)... she made us take him to dr. and get our own. She also moved to another city, she made my dh drive 3/4 of the way there to pick up ss, and it also was never scheduled. Heck, it's still NEVER scheduled..... but we have custody so we have a litte more control. She's just usually cancelling on him or wanting to send him home early now. When he was a baby we were supposed to have him EVERY weekend Friday night to Sunday whenever she decided she wanted to meet, plus Wed night. MOST of the time she'd call us and ask us to keep him either from Sunday on till Wed or Wed on till Sun. I never knew what to expect.... and my dh at the time worked nights and my ds is 7 months older then ss so I would be left with 2 babies... and my other older son to myself. I never got to be asked if this was ok, he just never told her no, NEVER. He also didn't want to rock the boat. He didn't want her to take this time away from him having ss. We knew he was better off with us but we were then paying support plus supporting the kid most of the time. Luckily my ds and my ss were pretty much the same size diaper and clothes... or clothes fit ss right after ds grew out of them.

He began standing up to her in little bits over the years. (ss is 11 now) BUT it took many fights between us. We moved to a new town 2 hours away. We agreed to meeting 2/3 of the way. She tried to tell us she wouldn't meet that far.... this is when we spoke some (I refuse to look at her now). I told her I could send her a high lighted copy of the order if she'd like. She agreed. Here's the thing though. We met at a spot that would be a good spot for us, her and my ds's dad. BUT.... she would NEVER agree to a time till last minute and it was always her choice of time. My ds's dad became furious. He needed more stability. So one day he called me almost before the sun was up and told me it'd be 6 that night. I told dh that ds bd called the shot that day first. He'd have to tell bm that's it. No if's no but's nothing. He did. I was proud. LOL!

It took her screaming at my dh that she WAS going to move my ss to another state for my dh to finally lay down the law with her. He confronted her and told her he was not agreeing to this move. That ss could live with us. I could hear the whole conversation because she was yelling loudly. I won't go into the whole story but we now have ss. In the end, she didn't want to fight and she gave up. So sometimes it's not always best for the child to just go with what the other parent always wants. The child will learn either A. To be the a$$ and never give, or B. Become a pushover.

Also, what everyone said about the time thing. My dh and I don't remember the last time we've had much time alone. We went Christmas shopping alone. LOL! But that sums it up. We are hoping to be able to take a trip just the two of us for our 10 year anniversary that's on the 5th. But seriously, we have so much going on, I'm not sure that'll happen. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 7:57AM
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I think the major difference on this one is the fact the poster is not married to or even living with the BF. I think that rather 'changes' the ball field.

BF sits home all exhausted and stares at the tv four nights a week. I'm going to suggest he's quite happy and content doing this. BF also allows Mom to run his weekend. Again, odds are he is happy and content with just the way things are.

In my humble opinion, this may be why he becomes defensive when questioned on it and gets angry when pushed. He likes his lifestyle, sees nothing 'wrong' in the way he desires to do things/live and the poster is p*ssing him off when she wants things differently.

Notice I did not state Sunshine is wrong in desiring a set specific schedule or a Saturday occasionally being just two adults. What I'm saying is BF appears to not WANT to change things. He's happy. He has no problem with the way it is. Perhaps not even an 'afraid' to make waves and/or set Mom off, but sincerely content...he's living his life the way he likes it.

Whether or not this is the lifestyle Sunshine desires does not seem to really concern him. I'm not saying the way Dad appears to 'like' it is right or wrong or even good for the child...but it seems to be working well for Dad and the anger comes when Sunshine questions it or suggests an occassional adjustment.

Seriously. If Dad wanted a free Saturday afternoon or an evening out on Saturday, he's a big boy now. He could do what a most other parents so. Hire a sitter.

It may be time, Sunshine to stand back and really look at if this guy is Mr Right. I'm going to assume you're still fairly young, have a desire to be active and perhaps a bit more exciting entertainment than tv 7 nights a week. It could simply be you're settling instead of pursuing a partner and lifestyle that suits your own desires.

If the BF sees nothing 'wrong' , even gets angry that you do, it's not going to change. It's just going to intensify in fights and your unhappiness. You can't change somebody who does not want to change. On the other hand, why continue a relationship that is onesided or one that does not make you happy.

Before you dig deeper into this relationship or do something like move in together/marry, stop and take a long hard look. What do you picture your relationship like a year from now? Five years? Please do not go into this thinking everything will change just because he puts a ring on your finger and declares undying love.

Sure he might whine to you a bit about this or that now, leading you to believe things will/would change 'if only' but he does not appear to really want to make any of that 'if only' happen. Sure, for a while you can go out with friends. Run errands by yourself, even take mini weekend vacations with a friend...but if you don't think that will be enough for you for something like the next 12 yrs while he raises his son and before son gets up and out as an adult, then reevaluate your relationship and your status in it NOW.

Just something to think about.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 9:06AM
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