His ex filed a restraining order (sorry, a little wordy for the sake of the full picture)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2013
His ex filed a restraining order (sorry, a little wordy for the sake of the full picture)
8
Sun, 04-14-2013 - 7:12pm

I’m dating a man whom I reconnected with last year. We met several years ago and he was upfront about a having a young daughter. On our first outing, either he or I mentioned his daughter (it was so long ago, I honestly can’t remember the convo verbatim). But I do remember that he told me that he had been married to the mother, it was shotgun wedding and a disaster. Fast forward to when we reconnected and started dating seriously. When the topic of the mother came up again, he described her as snobbish/shallow and said that they wouldn’t have gotten married had it not been for his daughter (they divorced after a year). He was again upfront about when he has his daughter and spends time with her. A month or so later, he called me late at night because he couldn’t go to sleep, and he told me he would be in family court the next day. I let him vent, in which he said she was being vindictive because he petitioned to adjust his child support based on his decreased earnings. I told him that I didn’t know his ex so I wasn’t going to badmouth her, and that at the end of the day, their daughter is the priority. The next day he left me a message and I called him back during my lunch break. He told me all went well and that the judge dropped the filing for a restraining order. I told him I didn’t know a restraining order was involved (an alert was sounding in my mind) and he said he just found out about it that day himself. Later on, he was frustrated about her boyfriend apparently living with her and his daughter and picking the daughter up from school, as they agreed they wouldn’t have significant others spend the night when they have her. He said when he brought this up with his ex, she texted him saying he could speak with her lawyer. So he’s a very involved father, but needless to say things sounded volatile.

A while back, he invited me to have dinner at his house with him and his daughter, and I voiced my apprehension given what was going on in court. But I did go, and his daughter was one of the most polite young ladies I’ve ever met - she warmed up to me quite quickly. I got ready to go when he was putting her to bed, and he said he wanted us to just hang for a bit. I was wary, but he willingly paid for my cab ride home. I told him later I would gladly hang with them, but just won’t be at his house after her bed time.

A month or so ago, we were getting ready to meet each other, and he said he had to stop by his ex’s, as she needed him to talk with the daughter about lying about her grades. I said it was good for him to talk with his daughter, and that this was a long ways away from a restraining order. He said his ex is on a power trip and likes to feel in control, but that in reality she needed him. Just today, I stopped by his house to pick up some things. I knew this was his parenting weekend, so I didn’t plan to stay. He said he was on his way to meet his daughter and her mother to go for a bike ride and that they all do an activity together once a month. This confused the hell out of me. I can understand him stopping by to talk about her grades, but I don’t understand how someone goes from filing a restraining order to meeting up once a month. I said “well, let there be peace,” to which he replied something, but I didn’t hear it and didn’t ask him to repeat because I was somewhat shocked. I respect that they’re trying to keep a normal happy environment for their child, but I feel there’s a good deal of unanswered questions. So…..I plan to ask him my questions, given that he brought up all the information about his ex and I really feel he’d have questions if the tables were turned. I’m certainly not expecting him to stop these family outings, so I had thought about waiting until he brought his ex up again. But I’m thinking it’s best to air this out before too much time passes and more confusion possibly builds up. I'm in my 30s, and would like to be married and have kids one day, and when we reconnected, he said he wanted to start a family, so I feel like this is something to think about when entertaining thoughts of a future with someone.

Again, sorry for the wordiness, but feedback and responses are appreciated!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I do agree that it's strange going from the woman wanting a RO to then doing activities together.  Assuming that the RO was not warranted (since the judge didn't grant it) and she was being vindictive--why would he then forgive that and want to hang around with her?  I got divorced when I had young kids and for a while there was pretty mad at my ex for wanting a divorce, but eventually I got over it--but generally we did not do family activities together unless it was a special occasion, like we would both be there at our kids' birthday parties.  I guess everybody has their own level of tolerance but in some ways I think it confuses the kids to say that mom & dad aren't together any more, but then they do things together--I think if the kids are young, it keeps them hoping that mom & dad are going to get back together.  I think the only thing you can do is ask him about it and see if you can accept what he wants to do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2013

Sorry Music, your reply isn't showing?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Strange.  I hate the problems I am having with these boards.

I think that doing a family activity together is actually bad for the kids cause it gives them false hope that mom & dad are going to get back together.  however, that is what they have chosen to do.  So it's up to you to decide if it's something that you can live with.  I would ask him how he would handle the situation if he got serious w/ another woman--would he still continue doing things w/ his ex?  When would he think it's a good time to introduce his kids to his new GF?  I would be he hasn't even thought about these things.

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

LoveNPeace128 wrote:
<p>I’m dating a man whom I reconnected with last year. We met several years ago and he was upfront about a having a young daughter. On our first outing, either he or I mentioned his daughter (it was so long ago, I honestly can’t remember the convo verbatim). But I do remember that he told me that he had been married to the mother, it was shotgun wedding and a disaster. Fast forward to when we reconnected and started dating seriously. When the topic of the mother came up again, he described her as snobbish/shallow and said that they wouldn’t have gotten married had it not been for his daughter (they divorced after a year). He was again upfront about when he has his daughter and spends time with her. A month or so later, he called me late at night because he couldn’t go to sleep, and he told me he would be in family court the next day. I let him vent, in which he said she was being vindictive because he petitioned to adjust his child support based on his decreased earnings. I told him that I didn’t know his ex so I wasn’t going to badmouth her, and that at the end of the day, their daughter is the priority. The next day he left me a message and I called him back during my lunch break. He told me all went well and that the judge dropped the filing for a restraining order. I told him I didn’t know a restraining order was involved (an alert was sounding in my mind) and he said he just found out about it that day himself. Later on, he was frustrated about her boyfriend apparently living with her and his daughter and picking the daughter up from school, as they agreed they wouldn’t have significant others spend the night when they have her. He said when he brought this up with his ex, she texted him saying he could speak with her lawyer. So he’s a very involved father, but needless to say things sounded volatile.</p><p><span>A while back, he invited me to have dinner at his house with him and his daughter, and I voiced my apprehension given what was going on in court. But I did go, and his daughter was one of the most polite young ladies I’ve ever met - she warmed up to me quite quickly. I got ready to go when he was putting her to bed, and he said he wanted us to just hang for a bit. I was wary, but he willingly paid for my cab ride home. I told him later I would gladly hang with them, but just won’t be at his house after her bed time.</span></p><p><span>A month or so ago, we were getting ready to meet each other, and he said he had to stop by his ex’s, as she needed him to talk with the daughter about lying about her grades. I said it was good for him to talk with his daughter, and that this was a long ways away from a restraining order. He said his ex is on a power trip and likes to feel in control, but that in reality she needed him. Just today, I stopped by his house to pick up some things. I knew this was his parenting weekend, so I didn’t plan to stay. He said he was on his way to meet his daughter and her mother to go for a bike ride and that they all do an activity together once a month. This confused the hell out of me. I can understand him stopping by to talk about her grades, but I don’t understand how someone goes from filing a restraining order to meeting up once a month. I said “well, let there be peace,” to which he replied something, but I didn’t hear it and didn’t ask him to repeat because I was somewhat shocked. I respect that they’re trying to keep a normal happy environment for their child, but I feel there’s a good deal of unanswered questions. So…..I plan to ask him my questions, given that he brought up all the information about his ex and I really feel he’d have questions if the tables were turned. I’m certainly not expecting him to stop these family outings, so I had thought about waiting until he brought his ex up again. But I’m thinking it’s best to air this out before too much time passes and more confusion possibly builds up. I'm in my 30s, and would like to be married and have kids one day, and when we reconnected, he said he wanted to start a family, so I feel like this is something to think about when entertaining thoughts of a future with someone.</span></p><p><span>Again, sorry for the wordiness, but feedback and responses are appreciated!</span></p>

 

I, too, would be confused with someone who went from having a restraining order to deal with to someone going bike riding with the person who swore the restraining order out.  That doesn't make sense.  I definitely would ask him about it.

I do agree that putting on a show to hoodwink a child is a bad idea because of the false hope it may give them for their parents to get back together. Seems to me that there are other ways for him to show his love and support for the child without having to submit to a vindictive ex.

It also seems to me that he needs to come clean about exactly what is going on between him and his ex and how does he plan on incorporating you into his life on a full time basis to deliver on your expectations for marriage and family.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

 This sounds like super dad syndrome to me.  I would drop him if you are not the priority.  Children need to know their place and it is not priority #1!

dragowoman

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2001

Well, as crazy and illogical as it is,  I can relate to two issues here:  spending time together with the kids after the divorce and hanging out with an ex after filing a restraining order.  Years ago, I filed a restraining order against my husband due to his anger and  control issues immediately after the divorce.  After some time, things settled down, we became friendly, and starting doing things together with the kids, including taking a couple of vacations.   Later, the issues did resurface and we are once again not talking.  Late last year, I filed a restraining order againt my ex-boyfriend due to his abusive and unpredictable behavior related to drug abuse.  Over the last couple months, we began talking and have even spend time together on a couple of occasions.  Although I realize this is probably not a good idea, these types of emotional ties can sometimes be very hard to break for some of us.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2012

It sounds to me like he's pretty controlling. I don't know many lawyers who would file a restraining order as a response to a petition to lower child support (right there says there's something he's hiding, even if it's a habitual issue paying child support). Her response to him criticizing her and her boyfriends relationship, was for him to contact the lawyer; that makes me think there's more to his communications than he's letting on. It sounds like he plays the victim card with you, "she's vindictive", but think about how he described her to you when you don't even know her. It's a lot of insults. There could be a lot more behind his interpretation that he ex "needs him" than her "power trip".

It might be easier to talk about this while it's not a conversation he brought up. If he says he's making plans with his ex, and you bring up being confused by the dynamic of their relationship - he may respond more defensively than he needs to. Keep it a relaxed conversation.

I know it wasn't the advice you asked for, but I strongly urge you to pay attention to the insults about the ex while you're talking to him. It might end up telling you more about him, then it does about her. Another thing, if he wants to have a healthy relationship with his ex for the sake of their daughter, wouldn't he want his current girlfriend to give his ex an open mind?  Instead of starting off with trying to get you on his side that she's all sorts of bad characteristics. ESPECIALLY since you have said things to him about not judging her, your boundaries with the daughter ,etc.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

  I would say yes.  Often the children are used in these battles for good reason.  Each person is continueing the fight.  With the current ideology being "the best interest of the child" it leads to a lot of bitterness.  Joint custody fights are bitter.  The woman is often prevented from moving out of an area even if they have a better job offer or more resources elsewhere(family,business etc)   So the fight continues.  Child support is not only about the child it is an emotional and a county financial deal.  The county is involved  so that the welfare roles are not effected.  Many non custodtorial ex find that even when they have lost jobs the county/state expects them to pay the same amount even when there is no income.  (one reason you find so many men as homeless.)  Restraining orders are just tactics. In the fight.

Goldfish