I finally lost it!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2006
I finally lost it!!!
11
Wed, 05-23-2007 - 4:57pm

I really need to vent here. The other day my exe’s wife called again to change the visitation schedule. My ex has his wife talk with me because he says he can’t stand to talk with me. Since she came into the picture my DH and I constantly have to change the visitation schedule to accommodate things that “come up” with her and my ex. We have changed the visitation schedule 7 times this year alone. I understand when things come up…an illness, a special engagement, a concert or sporting event on a certain night that can’t be changed- things that just can’t be planned on any other day but they use any excuse to schedule errands and things on their visitation nights AND they give last minute notices constantly causing my DH and I to have to cancel plans, not to mention what it does to the kids. One time it was well we have to get our paperwork ready for filing taxes. Ok and why can’t you do that on another night when you don’t have the kids or do it at the table while the kids play? Another was their daughter’s graduation they didn’t want my kids at. Another it was well I think I need the doc to look at my leg but didn’t want to go on Monday or Tuesday so I will go tonight and not have the kids. Yet another was her daughter’s birthday party they didn’t want my kids at so they said we can have them next weekend but not this weekend. They act like they are babysitters, not parents and my kids get in the way of their errands. I, like any parent take my kids with me because, well I have kids. I get my parents to baby-sit from time to time when needed but not for everyday things. I go to the bank usually on my lunch hour as well as go to the doc and dentist on my lunch hour. I schedule things like closing on a new house, have our accountant do our taxes, etc when their dad has visitation. Why can’t they do the same?

When the exe’s wife came into the picture and they would cancel a Saturday visitation because he had to work (she wouldn’t pick up the kids and have them all day) and I would say well why don’t you guys have them after work on Saturday and all day Sunday they would say well we have plans. Exe’s wife says the visitation schedule should be flexible and she doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She also tried to get my DH and I to change our visitation schedule to match the one she has with her ex so that her and my ex would have free weekends without kids. I’m sorry but this visitation schedule was set forth five years ago during our divorce and works well with not only our schedule but my DH’s visitation schedule with his children. DH’s ex and her new husband work out their visitation with his ex to coincide with ours so that’s 3 couple’s schedule that would have to change. Just because you marry a man who is divorced with children doesn’t give you the right to come in and demand a visitation schedule change to fit your visitation with your ex and your kids. Well I lost it on the phone and started a text war. Immature, yes but I lost it. I can’t stand talking with exe’s wife on the phone because she is rude, blunt, tactless, has an attitude and a chip on her shoulder and she talks down to me. She criticizes my kids all the time. I have tried and tried to be civil lest I be cast as the witch ex wife. In the meantime her and my ex have walked all over me and I just refuse to play the game anymore for the sake of peace. My DH got into it and told the exe’s wife not to call me, not to badmouth my kids (which she did the week before on the phone). Then my ex called him and they went at it. This is the last thing I wanted to happen but I’m tired of being lied to and being jerked around. How can I get these irrational changes in visitation to stop? How do I get my ex to stop having his wife discuss our children and instead have him grow up and discuss things with me?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-2004
Wed, 05-23-2007 - 7:00pm

Hi Dazed,

I can't blame you, we all have our limits! The ex here likes to squint and say 'that doesn't work for me...", which would be great, but it is not ALL about her, now, is it!? Hmpghhh!

The visitation schedule you have is a LEGAL document.This cannot and Will not change, unless you allow it to. It can't just be changed to suit her(ex's new wife) needs, or at her will. She knew what the schedule was when she met your ex. It stands. I would say that makes this a 'non-issue'. If she or your ex bring it up, tell them that is not available for discussion,and move on with the conversation. If they continue to badger you, just say "If you have nothing more to talk about, have a good day. Bye".

Take and keep control of these conversations. They are verbally badgering you, to hope you will change things, 'just to make them shut up'. They don't Have to shut up, but YOU don't have to listen to them, either!

Also, drop the drama. Again, if you have something to speak to them about, do so. If they get 'off task', ask them to stick to the subject at hand, and if they can't do that, ask them to call you back at another time, when they can. This is a game for them. there is NO game, if two won't play...so Don't play.

I can understand your being flexible per the children. That is you being thoughtful and loving. But, if the changes don't work for you, and they are contrary to the Court ordered visitation, then DON'T change things. Like you, I was always the negotiator, I always flexed and was reasonable and accomodating. That is is wonderful, IF it is appreciated, and if it works for everyone involved. When it is not that way,and they never accomodate you al and Your needs, you become a doormat. Don't feel bad about doing what is best for the kids, but keep in mind that you all have needs and schedules Too...and they Matter!

I know this sounds simplistic, but sometimes the best solutions Are. Mainly, their conversations and Their needs are causing a lot of stress and problems for you. You can't control Their actions, but you can control Yours. In that, you can control the amount of this manipulation and badgering you have to hear each time. With less of it, there is less stress--which you deserve!

You are not being selfish; after all if you are stressed and bothered, what kind of mom can you be? So, do this for you all, and do this for your children. Ex and his new wife won't mature and be reasonable, as this is Working for them ,and they are enjoying having the upper hand. Just because you get older, does not mean you mature,and they are prime examples of that. Don't try to reason with the Unreasonable. Just do what is best for you two and the children.

Hope this helps, Big hugs to ya, I know how hard it is!

very sincerely,
Pepper

Pepperjack7

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 8:32am

D and C, I agree with Pepper. Can you email your ex, and lay out the "rules"? It is well within your legal rights, to "insist" they stick to the visitation schedule. If that means the kids see their dad less, so be it. If he doesn't care, then they will become aware of that. It is not your job to protect them from his neglect. Continually changing their schedule is not good for them either. Children thrive on consistancy. My ex, in the beginning did the same thing. It upset B, because he liked our "alone" weekends as well. We discussed it, how it was affecting me, and our relationship. I explained to B that he had 18 years with his daughter. There was never a visitation schedule or weekends "away" during those 18 years. I was missing half of my time with my boys, so when their father would cancel, I wanted to rejoice in having them that much more. Fortunately for me, B understood and agreed.

So for the next year, everytime their father would cancel, I would respond with joy at spending more time with my sons. I stopped getting upset. Once they get to a certain age, they have their own things to do anyway. It was a complete turn around. I am not saying it would be for you, because I didn't have a 2nd wife to deal with. He would call and say he couldn't see the boys. I would be happy, but it meant he didn't get to make up the time. He lost out. After about one year, he stopped. He has been very good about sticking to the schedule ever since. Because of that, we have been able to become much more flexible when "special" things come up. I had more time with my sons, and their father and I are very amicable.

The other thing you should tell him, is that you will only discuss the children with him. That should be a given. If she can not be civil and respectful, then you don't have to talk to her. My ex and I ONLY communicated through email. It removed all emotionally triggers and worked, because we are both on email every day at work. We also screen all calls, so an emergency VM handled any last minute stuff. Overall though, he has learned to be better at advanced notice, better at holding to the schedule.

Set your boundaries, and stick to them. It's hard to change the dance, but you need to do that. The kids do not need a stressed out mom, they need a "happy, healthy" mom. Do what you need to do to provide them with that.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-15-2006
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 9:10am
I totally understand where you are coming from. I USED to be in your shoes.I also would accomadate my ex so that he would not "miss out" on any visitation time. Well, one time he told me that he was unable to keep the kids his weekend because he was going fishing!!!! I told him that was fine but I would not change with him. Needless to say, he did not go fishing that weekend and got his kids. You have to stand up to him. You do not need to bend over backwards for him. He does not do that for you. He is clearly taking advantage of you. Congratulations on keeping your cool for so long!:)
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2006
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 11:31am
Thanks Pam. I agree with everything you said. One positive is that often when they change the schedule they try and make up the time but it isn't about that. It's about them choosing to do things on nights when they have visitation. It's their screwed up choices that upset me and I hope I don't sound selfish but two nights a week to have some bonding time alone with my husband or alone time for me to go for a bike ride or read a book is important to me too. Sometimes them making up their time on a different day works and sometimes not. If we have a fun weekend planned with all our kids when they decide they want them then I say no, we can't change weekends since we are taking all the kids to a special event. I think I need to have the attitude you have and rejoice that I get to spend that much more time with my children. My youngest can't stand going to visit with her dad anyways and cries. We divorced when she was a baby and she has never bonded with her dad. I think he has always made a HUGE difference between her and her sister anyways. He bonded with our first child and she adores her dad. The youngest bonded with my dad, her papa, who became her surrogate father. He used to change her diapers, feed her, rock her to sleep. I'm glad that my parents have bonded with her and given her the love that her father never has. My DH and I have made the most of our additional time with my kids....taking them to the park, swimming, movies, out for a special dinner, etc. It is my ex who is losing out and he is choosing his new wife and her kids over his own which brings up a whole can of worms for me. He wants to be more involved with his step children when he can't even be involved with his own. His loss. It makes me very sad that some day the girls will know what kind of dad they have. I will not tell them....the youngest is very smart and already knows. Her dad is too selfish and chooses other things above his children. Enrages me....but I am the buffer between it all. I provide for my kids and my family and I give them all the love and care they need. Their dad will regret the decisions he is making later.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 12:58pm

The way to reconcile all this with your DH and the alone time is, picture the situation as though you two married each other, first and only, and these children were products of your marriage. Who would be your every other weekend babysitter then? In the "ideal" marriage, that is happy and healthy, the partners are interdependent, and they have children, their "alone time" has to be worked into being full time parents.

Having B look at it that way, helped him to be thankful, really thankful for the alone time we had, when we had it, and not "expecting" to have it. We have created a life, like I said, where we connect physically three times a week, on a specific schedule. Those times are when the boys were "expected" to be at their father's house. But sometimes it just doesn't work out. We still go up to bed, and are maybe a little more discreet, but we stick to the schedule, because if those children were ours, we would do the same thing.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 1:37pm

IMO, everyone "loses it" every now and again. In my case, it usually means that I am over-tired or over-burdened, and I need to take a little time to do something very fun and relaxing.

When you are happy and rested again, then you will be able to say, "More time with my children? Yay!" In my case, my Ex chose not to commit himself to any schedule at all. He was not interested in seeing our child regularly, and never keeps her overnight. If he didn't want her, WELL I CERTAINLY DID! His loss and all that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2007
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 3:45pm
My ex delegated the task of negotiating schedules and other issues to his wife, and she was a nasty B---H. When I had enough, I sent him a letter saying that I was only willing to communicate with him in writing, either email or letters. Calls from his wife would not be accepted, and if he put her on the phone I would end the call. This GREATLY reduced the conflict and actually was the first step in improving the relationship. The wife in the middle makes her feel empowered, and she only became more determined to control the ex's relationship with me and the kids. Once I took her out, we got back to building a co-parenting partnership that works to this day. Now that there is no conflict with my ex, over the years his wife has calmed down and we are actually friendly.
Think of this as a step toward having a better co-parenting partnership with your ex, not as a refusal to be nice. First level communication is always best.

Cat 

Mom to 5: DS-17, DD-16, DD-11, DD-9, DS-7

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Fri, 05-25-2007 - 9:36am

Hi D and C Mom,

First of all, is your visitation schedule court ordered as to the dates/times? It doesnt seem that way, but if it is, then you need do nothing. They have to follow it unless you agree otherwise, and you have absolutely no obligation to do otherwise, and based on their lack of respect/civility with you, if I were you I'd just stick to the schedule. If they dont'/cant take the kids on weekend, well, it's their loss. Youre not changing your schedule to give them compensation time on a different weekend. You have plans also, and your plans are JUST as valid and important to you as theirs are to them...sorry!

Even if you DONT have the dates/times court ordered, you still apparently have an agreement to this schedule, and they are aware of it, and same advice remains, ....you are under NO obligation to change for them, and I would not even discuss it. If they cant take the kids that weekend, then they stay with you. BUt there is no "changing" because you have plans also. Dont even discuss.... say "sorry, we cant change" and put your thumb on the button that disconnects the call...

It sounds to me as though this woman would be HAPPY if your exH NEVER had your kids...and your exH is being badgered enough by her to allow this to happen....HIS LOSS....sad for your kids, but I think its better to let it play out so dad realized HE needs to be the one to change, to advocate to spend time with his own kids.

Q: " I go to the bank usually on my lunch hour as well as go to the doc and dentist on my lunch hour. I schedule things like closing on a new house, have our accountant do our taxes, etc when their dad has visitation. Why can’t they do the same? "
A: THEY WILL, if you stop allowing them to change dates.

Q: "How can I get these irrational changes in visitation to stop?"
A: Say , "sorry, we cant change", and put your thumb on the button that disconnects the call.

Q: "How do I get my ex to stop having his wife discuss our children and instead have him grow up and discuss things with me?"
A: Say, " I'll only discuss this with ExH, have him call me"...then put your thumb on the button that disconnects the phone.

You are under NO obligation to co-parent with a step parent, BELIEVE me, as a "step parent" I have been put in my place more than once by exW biomom....I am to have NO role in her kids lives....

If exH "cant stand" to talk with you, that's his problem. You "cant stand" to talk with exH's wife, but have been going beyond the call of duty by doing so.... STOP!

" I have tried and tried to be civil lest I be cast as the witch ex wife. "

Believe me, whatever you do, they will cast you in this light regardless. STOP! Honor yourself and your feelings!
You need to stand up for yourself....why is exH entitled to not talk with person he "cant stand", but you are NOT entitled to not talk with person you "cant stand"?

The childrens parents are the only two that need to have agreements between them RE: children, and that takes the two step parent/spouses out of the equation. You have a visitation schedule already set, so just follow that, and refuse to talk with exH's w.

HE owns these problems....you need to be clear what the rules are:

1. you dont talk with anyone but exH re: parenting issues

2. you dont change visitation dates (but you can just say "no" on a consistent basis...he'll get the idea!...you neednt provoke an unnecessary argument right now...just politely say "no" everytime he asks....do NOT get into discussions on "why" no...the answer is "no".... you are NOT required to give any "reason"..he has his dates and he knows what they are.....)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2006
Fri, 05-25-2007 - 10:39am

I would agree with the other posters. You are under no obligation to change with them.
You should only talk with your exh not his wife. Do not talk to her, tell exh to call you.

I don't have these issues, fortunately, because my exh does not get the kids on a regular visitation schedule. About 2 years ago the kids decided they weren't going with their dad anymore and because we have a supervised visitation schedule in effect, there wasn't anything he could do. The kids call him when they want to see him or do something with him, which doesn't happen very often.

If your visitation is under court order, you don't have to change days and times with them and if you do, you don't have to make up the time to them, they are just out. Stand your ground with them and don't change every time "it doesn't work for them". They will soon stick to the order I think. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2006
Fri, 05-25-2007 - 1:31pm
Laurena, i agree with your post and yes, the visitation schedule is court ordered and all parties agreed it upon it 5 years ago. Everything was fine until step mom came into the picture and now we are supposed to have a fluid schedule to meet her needs. Much of the time it is to accommodate HER plans with HER children. That is what upsets me so. Step mom thinks she can come in and change it because she doesn’t like it. They continually schedule things on visitation nights/days and they need not to do that. Give them an inch and they will take the proverbial mile. My kids live with me and I have them the majority of the time and, like I said, if I need to do errands I either take them with me or I schedule things for times when I don’t have them. I do a lot on my lunch hour. When they are with me I would rather spend my time with them doing fun things than running here and there doing errands. But, like most parents, I will take them with me because I’m a full time parent. I don’t get this idea of being a part timer whenever it is convenient. I agree with all the posts that I do not have to change the schedule, that all communication needs to be between the dad and myself, and that I don’t need to be a doormat. I just don’t understand why they are so unreasonable and irrational. They think we are the weird ones because we won’t bend ourselves around backwards and just reschedule our plans. Amazing! I have 13 more years of this!

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