When my ex calls he will ask to drop off gifts for the kids but does most of the talking when he comes by. He always wants to catch up or talk about old mutual friends or weird coincidences that reminded him of “us.” He says his girlfriend is aware of the love he feels for my kids and if she doesn’t accept the situation she can leave. (He and his girlfriend are to be married this year).
I didn’t have an issue with him being in my kids’ lives at first, but at this point I feel he’s overly attached to them and that he needs them in his life more then they want him in theirs. I also feel he’s just holding on to the past and having trouble moving forward with his new blended family-to-be. I want him to move on with his life and be happy.
Am I over-thinking this? — My Kids, Not His
You are not over-thinking this and while it’s nice that you’ve tried to remain friendly with your ex, he’s taking advantage of your friendliness and overstepping his bounds (probably because you have not made the boundaries clear). These are your kids, your family, and you have every right in the world to tell him that you’re uncomfortable with the situation. You were only together two years, you’ve been broken up for almost half as long, he’s engaged to be married, and most significant of all: your kids don’t seem interested in maintaining a relationship with him.
Nevermind how truly effed-up it is that this man would ditch his fiancée if she so much as voiced concern over his continued interest in the kids of his ex-girlfriend — that’s honestly not your problem to worry about — it’s more than enough that you feel uncomfortable with how attached he is to your kids. You’re the mother and if your intuition says that your ex’s interest in your kids is weird on any level, that’s enough. You’re not over-thinking it, but even if you are, so what? The welfare of your children is one place where it’s perfectly acceptable to put in some extra thought and care!
I’m not suggesting that your ex is dangerous to your kids, but it does seem that his presence could potentially be confusing — possibly even annoying. Like, “Why is this dude Mom dated a while back still bringing us stuff? Why is he still hanging around? Is he using us to try to get back with Mom?” If your kids loved having him over and had a strong bond with him that was hard to let go of, that would be one thing. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. And to be certain, you should ask your kids. The teenager is certainly old enough to express himself, but I would think even your four-year-old should have enough comprehension of the situation and the language to tell you whether he enjoys seeing your ex and whether he would miss him if he stopped coming by.
If your kids confirm your intuition that your ex’s presence is superfluous at this point, tell him to stop with the gifts and the drop-bys and focus on his new relationship because your kids have moved on and it’s time for him to as well. If your kids give you reason to believe they actually want your ex in their lives — at least for the time being — then you need to decide what you’re comfortable with, set some boundaries and make those boundaries clear.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.