Starting to Wonder if I'm out of Line

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Starting to Wonder if I'm out of Line
9
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 8:57pm

Hello! I hope everyone is well - just popped in for a sanity check here - and I'm not familiar with all of the chat lingo (DF, everything else, I need a dictionary for all that..haha) so I'm sorry if this seems long 

we just moved from one state to the other for my husband's two kids, and I already lived really far away from family but at least in our last location I had some family and now - none - we are closer (physically) to his family and we live literally 5 mins from his ex and his kids. While I was excited to come here to spend more time with the kids, we only had them twice a year, maybe three times, before this and we have only been married for a few years. It's quite an adjustment! His kids want nothing to do with me (14 and 12, 12 y/o is a girl and she is ALL about daddy which I get - she is at that age) but she won't even let me near him. She was not like this before. I feel like an outsider in my own home. I hate that feeling and I honestly don't know how to make it go away and how to feel more involved or at least like part of the family - and I get offended pretty easily lately (moody I guess) but my husband saying "we (he and his kids) try to include you" and that just makes me feel worse....

my husband travels a lot for work and he has been gone 4 days out of every 7 for the past month and his ex expects him to tell her every single time he leaves - on one hand I understand (what if something happens to the kids? but he also has a cell phone) and on the other hand - she leaves town, doesn't say a word to him about it and leaves the kids with her live in boyfriend. It doesn't make any sense to me! She has way too much control (she recently told him we shouldn't lock our bedroom door at night so guess what? we don't anymore) it just frustrates me to no end that she has a say over what happens in our home! I dont have any children of my own, and I try very hard to be understanding but this is driving me nuts! She also sent him a text saying "are you traveling this week? " he wrote back and told her the dates and stuff and she said "if you dont want to tell me when you are out of town, fine. Just nice to know in case but I get that you may not be "allowed" to tell me" which I took as a jab - he just recently yelled at me in front of his kids when we weren't getting along (I was trying to not say anything in front of his kids, I don't think it's fair to argue with him in front of them, besides, no matter what, I am the bad guy because I am not a parent, but yelling at me in front of them seems to give them a pass to disrespect me as well and that just irritates me and makes me feel awful) 

The marriage hasn't been going great anyway, to be honest, but all of this is definitely not helping - thoughts? suggestions?

Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2013
Mon, 06-24-2013 - 6:49am
I'm sorry it's been such a difficult time for you. My kids are grown, but my ex remarried when they were young. He traveled a lot, too. I always liked to know when he was out of town so that I knew I needed to be on call for any potential emergency. Cells were not as commonplace then, and I wouldn't want his wife making decisions for my kids in that situation unless their dad and/or I could not be located. It was a vigilance thing for me and not a nosy thing. I am now remarried, and all four of our daughters are grown and independent. In spite of that, it is still complicated. I think when a man communicates to his daughter that she is his number one girl, it creates huge problems. I think daughters are precious, but your spouse is your partner, and there should be no chink in that armor. When kids think they can work a wedge between the married partners, they work it! When they know that's not happening ever, that whole stressor is removed. I grew to really care for my Ed's second wife. She was very good to my kids, and ultimately, I felt I had no right to expect anything more, but at first I resented her. It was like she stepped into what was supposed to be my life, and she was playing house with my kids. Even though that was an illogical train of thought, that's where my emotional response was at the time. My ex also lied to her about our marriage and why it failed. He cheated multiple times, but told her he didn't , so to her, my frustration was unfounded. It took me a long time to let go of what happened between us that was making my life so hard. It's been 20 years since we divorced, and in that time I've found that many men lie to seconds about their firsts in an effort to win them and keep them. However, I would not allow my Ex's wife to determine what happens in our home with her children's father. You cannot lock your bedroom door? Yes you can, and I recommend you do. That is your only sacred space and time with your husband when they are there, and he should honor that time with you. He should not be giving her that power. The children should be taught to knock. That's appropriate and respectful. I went to a parenting seminar back then, and asked the speaker about managing discipline when consequences were interrupted by visitation. He told me flat out, "You cannot control what goes on in someone else's home. Spend your efforts on your own." Boundaries are good! Hope it gets better for you. It sounds like your husband is trying to make everyone happy. I hope he will remember to respect his wife first.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 11:18pm
I'm trying to not bug him about it too much -we have had a rough year, a rough few years to be honest, and we haven't been married all that long. I'm trying so very hard to be patient but it gets difficult. Thank you for your words of advice - I tried to explain to him why I felt she was too involved today - he seemed to at least listen, and that I can appreciate. I'm sure he and I will talk about it more, especially in our counseling sessions. I suggested to him that he get some counseling on his own today - I think he is struggling with a lot of this stuff too
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 2:35pm

The picture is becoming more clear.  Oh my, I hate to hear these stories.  

It sounds like your DH has already done the right thing by filing for a new parenting plan and review of CS.  Very, very wise of him!  

Although I usually bring up my SO being the "odd one out," there have been occasions where I have been frustrated regarding his kids and/or xW.  And yes, sometimes just as frustrated with SO as with any of the others.  

I don't know how ya'll do it when it is constant.  

All I can really add is that at our house, it just took time.  It took time for xW to stop the inappropriate phone calls and it took time for SO to realize that it was inappropriate.  In fact, it has been so long that I almost forgot about all of that!  The details of my situation were different, but I understand the overall issue at hand.  

I have been fortunate that overall, the xW has respectful.  We don't see eachother very often, but when we do it is all good.  We can visit at events, etc.  I really feel for those who are unable to do that.  My SO can also be okay around my xH, etc.  

Oh, I wanted to add something: I used to use statements like "I don't understand, can you explain...." "this make me uncomfortable....", "I am not saying this is right or wrong, but this is how i feel (or my perception)"

Point being, I always tried not to point fingers, or say "You make me feel..."   My SO can't make me feel anything.  But I can share how the situation makes me feel.  Even if he didn't agree, he always acknowledged how I felt, or my perception.  99% of the time, eventually it would "click" and he would stop doing what ever it was I felt was inappropriate.  But he had to have that moment of clarity on his own.  If it was "because Serenity said so," there would just be resentments.

Enough out of me for one post.  Keep us updated!

Serenity

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 12:52pm
Lauren, Thank you so much! I needed to hear a lot of that. It's just so frustrating - he doesn't see any of this from my point of view. I mean she called last night asking if she could come pick something up and she was at our house in 4 mins (nothing is within 4 mins of our house!) He is in a difficult spot though, we don't have a parenting plan that allows us a set-schedule aside from summers and holidays) (since we moved we have filed for one as well as a decrease in c/s because my husband makes significantly less than he did before) she was LIVID about that....so she started using the kids against him. She does that and takes them away or doesn't let us spend time with them and she also most definitely buys their affection (DSS added it up over the weekend - they received over $1400 each in Christmas Presents from their mom - we didn't spend near that, we don't believe its about the money) and not that I want to bring it up but I make a decent salary and it's quite a bit more than their mother and she expects to get part of that for c/s too because I'm married to her ex! Ugh! This woman is...special. I don't even know what else to say about that.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 11:24am

Hi Alliecat--

I remember your name/situation from previous postings.....but it's a little vague in my mind what was going on at that time, other than the move....

ANYHOW---WELCOME!

Glad you are back posting more! ----well, actually I'm NOT glad that you have (negative) reason to be posting.....but nice to keep in touch---

ANYWAYS>>>>>> NO!! you are NOT out of line!

The one who is 'out of line" is the exW----but , YES, *exactly* as serenity pointed out, this is VERY common for exW's...........( my exH's new wife thought that of me re: some issues as well.....none of us are perfect , lol ) .....

However: what the REAL issue is, from YOUR perspective, anyhow, is your DH's reaction/behavior in regards to these behaviors/snippy remarks of exW.

NEITHER one of you have any direct control over exW's behavior....................however:

1.  Your DH can tell her what he finds acceptable/unacceptable behavior (like my exH did over that issue we had)----she may or may not respect this (I did.....many wont).......

2.  Your DH can/SHOULD determine what behaviors he will tolerate/what boundaries he will set.  THIS is COMPLETELY in his domain.  .......*and*.......(really!)....what should be motivating decisions here is what is best for his relationship with YOU, not her...........

Yes....I "get" that HE THINKS that he has to kowtow/be a doormat(clue: he doesnt view it that way:  he sees it as  just "keeping peace" to see his kids)  to her in order to "keep" a good relationship with his kids........but he doesnt.  He merely needs to be civil .

One thing he could should do is NOT be showing you all of these snippy things she says(eg:  "if you're "allowed" to...", etc) and he should be ignoring all of her contact except what's necessary.

HERE's a POSITIVE thought for you, Allie----and I went throught the SAME thing with my SO's exW----

the fact that she's making the issue to him re: him being "allowed" to do (blah blah) means she (personally) is LIVID that he would "allow" someone other than the exW to tell him what to do----she is TRULY jealous of you----so, as annoying as that is.............it's actually quite a compliment, in it's own backwards way, KWIM? 

My SO was divorced 2 years before I met him.....in that time, the exW ran his life 24/7 for her benefit---basically, she wanted all his $$, and his time doing house repairs/yardwork/etc for her.......she wanted him at her beacon call re: pet-sitting/house-sitting, etc...................basically she wanted a "husband" that she didnt live with.

And.....he accepted all of this, thinking that's what a "good" father did "for the kids"............because , BELIEVE ME,....these types of exW's coat ALL of their demands as being "for the kids".  (and, NO, he has NO obligation on keeping his EXwife informed of his whereabouts 24/7 when he DOESNT have the kids---it's HIS CHOICE if he wants to do so, and absolutely NOT required in ANY way/shape/form......gag me on that one , lol :) ).

Anyhow, I can recall hearing many an episode of my SO's tirading exW lambasting him re: "she" tells you what to do (me)---in response to decisions HE had made re: not kowtowing to exW's demands-----she was *LIVID* that he would put his life/time with ME ahead of HER wants/desires/requests------she would scream to him :"You let her run your life for you!"----and I would think, " WTH?  instead, he should be letting his EX WIFE run his life for him?"-----because that's what she really MEANT/was angry about......that *she* was no longer able to control him...............

And the funniest (most ironic?) part of it, was that this reached its peak truly when HE was the one making these decisions----it was NOT me telling him......HE had had it with her, and was making these decisions all on his own....

So, I understand and can empathize with your plot-------

Tell me, ....do you think being available to do things for exW played a role in his choice to move back?  Or, rather, should I say, in exW's encouragement of him moving back there?  (eg, she dangled the carrot of "more contact with kids" to get him there......but now is using the big stick of "needing" to do things as exW demands "for the kids"...).......... (FWIW---I was personally ASTOUNDED by the degree of *entitlement* my SO's exW has............my personal mantra, for many years, when seeing/hearing her behavior, was, "who died and left her as queen of the universe?"...........geesh.)

Oh well, enough rambling of my rants.......lol....good thing this is mostly in my past now......he really did FINALLY learn to stand up to her and ignore her "demands".

ANHYOW----

You mentioned counseling---do you go to these sessions with DH?  If so, I would encourage you to bring up some of these situations---the locked bedroom door is NOT a concern of his exW-----that is WAAAAAYYYY off base (and---lol---Frankly, ....if you DIDNT lock the door, and the kids walked in on you two and told her about this----she would be even more ballistic! ...so,...honestly,...this is your DH/your decision 100% with what you two do in YOUR home..............plus, JMHO, but if door is unlocked, and you go and then lock it, and your DH is unhappy about it............I think this is a HUGE issue that you need to discuss in marital therapy---my kids accidentally walked in on me/SO once, and I felt HORRIBLE about it..........dont let this happen to you)

((((((((more hugs!))))))))

BEST WISHES---

Keep us posted :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 6:42pm

Honestly they do all sorts of stuff without me - I know his daughter doesn't want me around and my husband will invite me and more often than not I find myself saying no and being at home - alone. A lot. He travels - so he's gone. When they kids are here - he may as well be gone, and I'm often alone. I work from home (business developer) and travel for work so I don't have a lot of friends here (one...and we have been here for six months) so I know that some of this is due to my own personal issues but...this does NOT help. She is constantly emailing and texting him "are you buying dance pictures?" (when she doesn't need to know, he can buy them online without her knowledge and it's honestly none of her concern) the kids don't stay with me when their dad isn't around - they don't want to and have made that quite clear and his ex has repeatedly said "well I am the mother of his children and you are not" it's just so frustrating! He won't say anything bad about her but the second I do anything wrong it's awful....we have tried counseling but it hasn't been about the marriage - it's been about the kids and how he is handling his kids and the adjustment.

Serenity - thank you for the dictionary :) I appreciate it!

The kids don't have to like me - and I don't expect them to, they are sweet kids and I'm trying....just need some support....thank you! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 6:29pm

  I commend you for moving closer to your stepkids, but agree with everyone else.  You and your dh might benefit from counseling.  Being a stepparent is NOT an easy task and there are definitely boundaries that have to be watched.  

I, too, live near dh's family and have none of my own here except for my DD21 who goes to college 45 minutes away.  The rest of my DDs and my family are plane rides away.  I made the difficult decision to marry yet another man who lives here knowing I'd still have no family here.  So, I really do commend you.  It's not easy and I totally understand about feeling like an outsider in your own house.  Dh's DS20 still lives in our basement and it is totally uncomfortable for me.  He's a slob and has no ambition, but dh doesn't push him like I would.  

Serenity IS correct...the children don't HAVE to like you, but they do need to respect you and if they see their father not respecting you, they will follow suit.  

Keep in touch.  We care.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 1:14pm

Hi Allie!  I only have a minute, but wanted to welcome you to the board.  A few of the most used accroynms are:

DH Dear Husband

DW Dear Wife

SO Significant Other

DD Dear Daughter

DS Dear Son

(note: add an S to make it Step Daughter or Step Son)

DF Dear Fiance

BM/BD Bio Mom/Dad (usually used when the mother or father of the children are not an xW or xH)

IMHO In my honest opinion

But back to you....

The kids should be respectful, but you can't make them like you.  Kids need some time alone with dad, but good to have things you do together, also.  The xW is being too intrusive, of which your DH will have to be the one to make those boundries with her.  But, as an xW myself, I can say that we often try to keep the upper hand.  It is not uncommon. 

My SO often feels as you do.  An outsider in his own house.  I won't lie, it will take a long time for things to slowly change. 

At the end of the day, it sounds like this is really between you and your DH.  The marriage has to come first.  When it does, most things will follow suit and fall into place. 

Keep us posted and again, welcome!  Please stick around.

Serenity CL Making a Second Marriage Work

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 10:15am

I have a few questions--how much time is he now spending w/ the kids?  When he goes out of town, do the kids stay with you?  If not, I don't really understand why his ex needs to know he is out of town if he is not going to be with the kids anyway.  What specifically is your DH (husband) and the kids doing or not doing that makes you feel excluded?  I am thinking that since my kids were little they visited their dad & his wife 2-3 times a week--many times she wasn't there cause she's a nurse & works odd hours, or I'd say most of the time he did things w/ the kids w/o her.  she has her own older DD and I guess she didn't feel she needed to be involved w/ our kids all the time--yet they all get along very well, it's not that they don't like her.  What I'm trying to say is that I think that sometimes the kids should do activities just w/ their own parent.  but of course that doesn't mean that they shouldn't respect the stepparent and treat her nicely.  If they were at your house eating dinner it would be rude not to talk to you at all & direct all conversation to their dad, but I don't think it would be terrible if he wanted to take them to play minigolf or something and not take you along.  The thing about not locking the door is odd--to me that is intrusive & not the ex's business--and aren't they trained to knock on the door anyway before they barge in?  I also wonder if the combination of the move/spending more time with the kids/not having any of your family around is making you more sensitive to things or making you unhappy.  You & your DH could probably benefit from some counseling if you have other problems going on too.