Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Thinks I Need His Permission To Care for My Children When It’s My Ex’s Turn”

I have been divorced for five and a half years, and I have two kids with my ex, a 10-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl. I have been dating this guy now for four years, and he’s been living with us. In the last year, his jealousy for my ex has completely blown out of proportion. He doesn’t like that I have a good relationship with my ex and feels that I am only on good terms because my ex has me trained to do him favors. For example, last weekend was my ex’s weekend with the kids, but we were at my daughter’s hockey game and my ex wasn’t feeling well, so he asked me if I could take my daughter after the game for an hour and a half until our next hockey game. I said sure, absolutely no problem, but when I told my boyfriend this, he was upset that, first of all, I didn’t get his approval. I don’t think I need his permission to take my kids at any time that I’m asked, and I believe that having a good relationship with my ex is very beneficial for my kids. I want them to see that we are able to have a good relationship even though we’re no longer together, and I’m sure they will appreciate that when they are older.

I guess what I’m feeling is that my boyfriend wants to be involved in decisions that I believe, as my children’s mother, I should be making without him, and that he wants to be involved in a controlling way. Now, don’t get me wrong: If my ex asked me for three weeks from now to take the kids on a Friday night because he had an event planned, then I would say that I would have to look at my schedule first and then, if I didn’t have anything planned, I would switch weekends with him. But my boyfriend has the mindset that I’m just constantly doing whatever my ex wants when I think that the relationship is give and take and, if I want favors, I need to give favors too. This last weekend was the last straw for him, and he grabbed his stuff and moved out, saying that, basically, if I’m not willing to let him be part of the decision-making, then he can’t be with me. I just want to know if I am incorrect or even crazy to think the way I do. What is the right thing here? — A Desperate Mom

On one hand, I can see your boyfriend’s point about being included in some decision-making regarding your children, since he lives with you, he’s some sort of parental figure to them, and you share a life together. And maybe you regularly exclude him from all decisions regarding your children, in which case this “last straw” might make a little more sense, from an emotional standpoint. I guess? But that’s playing major devil’s advocate, and really, I think he sounds like a jerk for thinking you need to ask his permission to take your daughter for an hour and a half between games when it’s your ex’s weekend. It would be one thing, like you said, if it were weeks away and your ex were asking you to take a whole night or to swap a whole weekend. But this was an hour and a half. It’s not like this was going to disrupt significant plans you might have had. And you knew this. Which is why you didn’t “ask permission” or run it by him before agreeing to do this favor for your ex.

As you know, being a parent requires sacrifice and compromise. Being a co-parent with an ex requires juggling of schedules, compassion, and willingness to put aside personal differences for your kids’ sake. It doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is up for that. He’s not supporting your role as a co-parent. He’s not being compassionate about what it requires from you to perform this role well for your kids’ sake. And so he has drawn his line in the sand and told you he can’t be with you. Good riddance, I say.

From the forums:

I would like some advice regarding an argument I just had with my boyfriend. We have been together for a little more than two years. Things have been going extremely well for us lately; we’re the happiest and feel the closest we’ve ever been and even decided that we wanted to move in together soon. We were super excited to get the process started by looking for places. But then I let him know two days ago that I feel like our moving in together is a huge step and I need more of a solid commitment from him if I were going to do it and feel secure about it. I told him that it would mean a lot to me if we got each other rings to wear. He took time to think about it and let me know today that he isn’t fully against the idea but does think that our wearing rings to show our commitment to each other is ridiculous.

Immediately after his response I felt hurt, insulted, and rejected. I am also pretty angry with him because I feel like he is being a typical stubborn man who doesn’t want to commit “all the way.” I am not ready for marriage or an official engagement, but the symbolism of our having rings showing each other and others that we are committed just seems like the right thing to me. He said he would do it but in his heart it wouldn’t mean a thing–he would just be doing it for me. I’m not the type of person who will accept anything that is disingenuous just to get my way. I obviously would love for him to feel the same way I do, but I would at least settle for his doing it for me if I knew that he understood what it means for me and were doing it because he cared. At the end of the night, we unfortunately decided to put the idea of rings and moving in together on hold, which truly has me so disappointed.

Am I being unreasonable and/or too demanding in this situation? I usually try to compromise and work with him on every issue, but I don’t want to budge on this one. I am 24, he is 33. In my opinion, we have been taking things verrrry slowly this whole relationship. Like at the pace of a turtle, but I am always patient with him because I don’t want to force anything on him. With time, we always end up on the same page, but I’m not sure about this one time and so I’d appreciate some advice. — Commitment Has a Ring To It

 
Yeah, you are being unreasonable. A ring is a symbol of marriage (or an impending marriage). You said you are not ready for that. You know who wears rings when they aren’t yet ready for marriage? High school kids. And they call them “promise rings,” promising to, like, stay committed. Grown-ups, on the other hand, who aren’t yet ready for marriage can show commitment to each other in different ways. Moving in together, for example, is a big way of showing commitment. (I would not advise doing this though until you’ve done these 15 things.)

It sounds to me, based on your attitude toward the pace of your relationship, that you are needing more affirmation of your boyfriend’s commitment to you. Maybe you thought moving in together would be that and then you freaked because it’s not enough commitment. Or maybe it’s too much commitment and you aren’t ready yet. Maybe you’re looking for some milestones to hit so that you can convince yourself that your boyfriend is all in, and the “moving in together” milestone felt too big a leap from where you are currently, in which case a ring would signify some arbitrary milestone you actually aren’t yet ready for (marriage). I don’t know. But it’s obvious you feel insecure in this relationship, in your boyfriend’s intentions, and in his commitment to you.

If his moving in with you isn’t enough validation that he sees a future with you, you are right to put that idea on hold. But, honey, ain’t no ring gonna fix what’s going on here. Only good old-fashioned communication will help. And it may be that, after communicating your thoughts, your needs, your fears, and your hopes, you discover you simply aren’t on the same page. Better to know that now and MOA if that’s the case. At two years in, when the idea of moving in together is on the table, you really need to be pretty much on the same page about future goals and an agreed-upon timeline for meeting some of those goals.

My boyfriend of three years and I broke up about three months ago. We had a great relationship, and his family and our friends were expecting us to get engaged at some point. Everything was going well until recently. Then, a month after we broke up, my ex started going out with this girl who was still seeing someone else. She broke up with her boyfriend to be with my ex. A month after we broke up. I know he still loved me when we broke up, and I found it surprising that he was going out with another girl a month after we broke up. I know people can’t move on that fast; I know I haven’t. He’s been going out with her for almost three months now. Is he using her as a rebound, or is she using him as well since she broke up with her boyfriend recently, too? — One Month Isn’t Enough

 
He’s not your boyfriend anymore and his love life is no longer your business. I know it’s hard and it sucks and it’s painful and it makes you question his motives and, apparently, his new girlfriend’s motives, too. But I’m telling you it doesn’t matter, it’s none of your business, and you will only drive yourself crazy if you continue obsessing about what it all means. He is someone who started dating another woman a month after you broke up. If anything, this should affirm for you that breaking up was the right decision. You say you haven’t moved on yet. Maybe it’s time to try.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

32 comments… add one
  • avatar

    dinoceros February 15, 2018, 9:55 am

    LW1: I think you two need to have a discussion about what his role is and come to an agreement. If you can’t come to an agreement, you need to part ways. You should have had this conversation before moving him in, though. Even if this were the last straw in a long line of situations, he needs to be an adult and use his words. And if it’s only angered him when it involves the ex, then it seems to be less about wanting to be a parental figure and more about being jealous.

    LW2: I commented in the forums, but the ring idea is strange. If you think he’s not committed, then have a conversation about that. But asking him to wear an adult version of a promise ring isn’t going to tangibly do anything to your relationship. Also, make up your mind as to what commitment you need before moving in PRIOR to deciding to move in, and now is the time to talk about it further. Because if you can’t come to an agreement about where you’re going, it’s time to break up.

    LW3: None of your business. Doesn’t matter. He’s not your boyfriend, so the inner workings of his mind and why he does certain things has nothing to do with you.

    Reply Link
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 15, 2018, 10:12 am

    LW1 He was your boyfriend, not the parent of your children and you didn’t need to get his permission to do a favor for your ex. Most parents take care of their child when the child’s other parent is sick. That is pretty basic. You shouldn’t need a boyfriend’s permission to take care of your child. It is probably best that he moved out because breaking up with someone who lives with you is difficult if they don’t want to go. In this case I think you are better off without him. Don’t let your daughter feel bad that he left because you took care of her. Make sure she knows that he was the problem, not her.

    LW3 Men often move on much faster than women. Maybe he is trying to put the relationship behind him by jumping into another one. The reason doesn’t matter though, he isn’t your boyfriend and just because he has jumped into another relationship doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good one or that it will last or anything else except that they are currently in a relationship. You need to take the time that you need and get into another relationship when you are ready for it and don’t let his speed bother you. His fast jump into another relationship can be his method of coping. The people I’ve known who rapidly moved from one relationship to another often had bad relationships because they were so afraid of being alone that they took whoever was available in the moment. You want to be pickier than that. You want to wait until you can be in a great relationship.

    Reply Link
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 15, 2018, 10:15 am

    My comments from the forum for LW2.

    A ring on a man’s finger means he’s married so I can see why he wouldn’t want to explain over and over that he isn’t married and isn’t engaged but his girlfriend thought it was important that it look like he was.

    It’s okay to want commitment before moving in but a ring doesn’t make the commitment. You have to have the commitment inside each of you and between the two of you or the ring is meaningless. You don’t yet want the level of commitment of engagement but you want him wearing a ring to look like he’s married. Ask yourself why you feel you need that look.

    “immediately after his response I felt hurt, insulted and rejected.”

    He considers your proposal and tells you what he thinks. He was honest which is one of those things that is essential in a relationship and you take it as an insult and rejection. Why? Are you insecure in this relationship? Do you think he is interested in other women? Do you think some other woman is chasing him? Do you think he doesn’t see a long term future with you? You need to understand yourself and your concerns. A ring will only be window dressing but it won’t do anything to change the underlying concerns. Instead of focusing on the ring you need to focus on why you felt the need for the ring. What problem are you trying to address? If there are no problems then why the jump to a ring when you don’t even want engagement at this point?

    I think most people would look at these rings that weren’t even engagement rings as either you being insecure or him being untrustworthy. People would see them as a sign of a deep problem in the relationship.

    Is this about keeping up with your friends? Are they engaged or married and you don’t want to look like you have less relationship than they do? If that’s the reason you need to know that the younger you are married the higher your risk of divorce. If your friends are getting married before they turn 25 about half of them will probably be divorced within ten years. They will look at you with envy if you don’t make the same mistake.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Hannanas February 15, 2018, 10:22 am

    LW1: I think your and your ex-partner’s behavior is exemplary! Good on you guys! I agree with Wendy: good riddance.
    Also, I find it weird that he tells you your ex has “trained you for favors”. I may be projecting (had some bad boyfriends in the past), but this feels as though he thinks HE should be the one to have you trained? Again, I might be projecting.

    Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 15, 2018, 10:28 am

      The idea that she needed his permission is way too controlling. This was a decision that needed to be made in the moment and it wasn’t a huge inconvenience and the daughter did need someone to take care of her and dad was sick. It seems like an obviously OK situation and one that a boyfriend should support. If you care about the kids then their care is important. All the boyfriend cared about was that he didn’t give his permission. You never need your boyfriend’s permission to take care of your own kids.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Hannanas February 15, 2018, 10:37 am

        Yeah definitely, that’s how I saw it too.

        Link
      • avatar

        Vathena February 15, 2018, 10:42 am

        “You never need your boyfriend’s permission to take care of your own kids.”

        SO MUCH THIS. You’re on fire lately, Skyblossom!

        Link
    • avatar

      LisforLeslie February 15, 2018, 11:03 am

      That phrase stood out to me too. Sure, we all develop patterns but to accuse you of having been “trained” is insulting. He’s talking about you like you were an animal like a dog or a sea lion.

      Let him go. I’m sure you’ll miss him but you are the parent and you are doing the best for your kids. It’s not that he’s not involved, it’s that he doesn’t need to be involved in every decision – especially those that don’t really impact him. Maybe he just doesn’t like the fact that he hasn’t “trained” you to always check with him or make him the center of your world.

      That his jealousy is escalating is worrisome because even when your kids are grown – you still have a relationship with your ex. Sure, you have less frequent contact but you still have contact. It will be so much better if you can manage those challenges together. College, weddings. grandchildren – your ex will be a part of all of that.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite February 15, 2018, 10:23 am

    I’d be so curious to hear his side of the first letter. I’m wondering what the timeline looks like on when he moved in and when the jealousy increased. Is it jealousy or is it that he thinks you’re being a doormat. Has your ex done any favors for you that you can remember recently? This hockey thing does sound like some sort of straw that broke the camel’s back since it is so minor. If you think your boyfriend is controlling then it’s good he ended the relationship. Going forward with new partners, be sure to communicate fully about the children and expectations with roles. I don’t think either of you was “crazy” but that things built without solid communication and the tension had to be released somehow.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Desperate mom February 15, 2018, 11:53 am

      Thank you for the comments i appreciate them. We’ve had MANY discussions about where i stand with my kids, before he moved in, and many times after he moved in. I truthfully feel that he was just hiding his opinion slash feelings and over the years they got bigger and bigger. My ex is doing me so many favors, for example, i lost my job in september and i told my ex that i will going back to school and will need extra help. He’s taken over all of the bills for tutoring for my kids, and their sports. I had to re arrange my custody schedule so that i could see my kids on the days that i do not have school. My ex was receptive and agreed to my schedule. We are great at working together as a team for the KIDS! Im not a door map, i will speak my mind if im taken advantage of, but he honestly just choses to not see it. And twist and turn every situation he can. Just wanted to give you a bit of more of my situation. Thanks for feedbacks. It just helps to know that the way im feeling is not crazy and its right for my kids!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Sunshine Brite February 15, 2018, 12:37 pm

        Omg, so right for your kids! Seems like the end of this relationship should stay the end. I think you and your ex have built a super solid parenting arrangement especially with the job loss example. Your (ex?) boyfriend is being so unreasonable and the twisting and turning is such a dealbreaker

        Link
  • avatar

    K4 February 15, 2018, 10:34 am

    I agree with Wendy. I have lived with my boyfriend, who is my common law spouse now, for almost 5 years and help him raise his daughter; our daughter. If he was making parental decisions without me all the time and not taking my opinions into consideration I would probably leave too. That is a big deal. It proves he is part of the family. It proves to your children he is a parental figure in their life. It proves how serious you guys are, etc. I also have to say that I would not be ecstatic if he had a close relationship with his ex. Let’s just be honest. No partner is going to like that. But if he put me first, gave me a voice and proved there was nothing to worry about then it would work. So, you need to take a step back and take a REAL look at the situation. Is he overly controlling or have you taken his voice? Do you put him first or do you put him on hold while you take a call from the ex? REALLY LOOK at your actions and if he is just being immature, move on! Good luck!

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Hannanas February 15, 2018, 10:45 am

      She doesn’t say she’s “close” to her ex though, she says she’s “on good terms” – which is ideal. It was a spur of the moment decision about 1,5 hour to spend. I really don’t see how he’d have to have any say in that. I don’t contact my husband for every little thing either. Also, suppose she would have called and asked him – what was he gonna say? No?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        K4 February 16, 2018, 1:25 pm

        No one said not to use common sense. I dont ask my spouse every time I tell my daughter she can go somewhere or do something. I said look at your behavior and see if he doesnt have a reason to be upset. Just because LW said x,y,z doesnt mean she is looking at it from his point of view or not glossing over her own.

        Link
      • avatar

        Hannanas February 16, 2018, 3:22 pm

        I thought your point was about inclusion of the new boyfriend/girlfriend as a new fellow caretaker of the kid. Maybe my English isn’t as good as I thought.
        Also I noticed you called your boyfriend’s daughter, “our daughter”. Then in your next reply you say “my daughter” (unless you’re referring to your own daughter). Is that a thing? Because it’s definitely not in Europe, unless you actually adopt or are married and refer to the kid as a plus/bonus/step kid.

        Link
    • avatar

      dinoceros February 15, 2018, 11:27 am

      Is letting your kid go hang out with their dad for an hour and a half really a “parental decision” in that context, though? Even married parents of a kid don’t ask each other for permission over something that simple. If it’s something like how to discipline the kid for things that happen at their home, then yeah, he should get some say. If somebody decided that not getting to veto my kid spending less than 2 hours with her dad meant they weren’t part of the family, then bye. You can’t use parenting as a bargaining chip for making someone’s ego feel better or proving that you’re a good girlfriend.

      And I think it’s inaccurate that most people would not OK with someone being on good terms with their ex. Life is different when you date someone with kids — you HAVE to accept their ex in the picture to some extent and I hope that most people would put the kid’s wellbeing (which is helped by a good parental relationship) above their own jealousy.

      Reply Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 15, 2018, 11:52 am

        I think it was the opposite. The daughter hung out with mom for the hour and a half rather than dad but otherwise I agree with all you said. I can’t imagine having to ask my husband for permission to do something like that. I’ve volunteered to take a friend’s kids without calling my husband for permission. He’s volunteered to give people rides without calling and asking for my permission. Trivial acts of kindness are the glue that holds us all together. Spending an hour and a half with your kid at an event for that kid when you were going to spend that time at that event is trivial. No need to ask the boyfriend for his permission to have the kid hang out with you for an hour and a half or maybe get them some lunch. It wasn’t like they were going somewhere or had other plans that were interrupted. This was a parent parenting. We all need to be able to jump in and do what needs to be done. Parenting needs flexibility. If the boyfriend cared about the kid he would have thought nothing of this but all he could see was disrespect to himself, not the needs of the child. He made the dad being sick and the daughter needing someone to hang out with about himself being disrespected. Good riddance.

        Link
      • avatar

        dmarie February 16, 2018, 11:14 am

        I would not ask my husband permission to do something for a few hours that didn’t involve him if we didn’t already have plans. Like my mom would call and ask me to do lunch with our kids and I’d say sure if we don’t have plans. He doesn’t have to go. I guess that’s a parenting choice I made without consulting him but it would be exhausting to have to ask about every one of the small choices we make dozens of time a day for our kids.

        I’ve had parents stop me at the beginning of cheer practice to see if I can bring their kid home or keep them for a bit because something came up and again, unless we would have to change plans I don’t ask if it’s okay.

        Link
      • avatar

        K4 February 16, 2018, 1:46 pm

        I think if people would stop and read instead of being in such a hurry to spout their opinion to everyone they would see that we agree. Instead people want to argue. YES- use common sense! You cant always default to your parent to check with them. But on big things you do and if there was already plans made, you do. NO- you do not have to like that your partner is close to their ex. You just need to be mature about it and understanding. And the partner needs to make sure that they arent crossing the line. NO- I am not just going to take LW word for it because she may be doing things she is not disclosing or doesnt see that she is doing. She needs to look at her part in it and be honest with herself before making a decision. That is good advice for her.

        Link
  • avatar

    VeeLee February 15, 2018, 10:59 am

    LW3: I was in a similar situation as you. He moved on within weeks, the only thing is he tried to hide his relationship for months while still contacting me to be “friends.” I didn’t want to be the bad guy, so I accepted his texts, calls and told people we were on good terms. It was very difficult. Once I found out from mutual friends that he was dating someone and yes, he had cheated with her, I felt humiliated.

    My advice, one that I wish I would have done since day one, is to block his phone, block his social media, block everything. It helped me get over him very quickly after the initial BS, and recover a little pride.

    Reply Link
  • bagge72

    bagge72 February 15, 2018, 11:02 am

    LW1: Your BF seems like an ass in this situation so I feel like there must be other more important times that this has happened.

    LW2: “The symbolism of our having rings showing each other and others that we are committed just seems like the right thing to me.” This is why you want the ring. to show other people you are committed. Why do you think other people don’t think you are committed to each other., and why do you care?

    LW3: I’m not sure I get what’s going on here. Are you just jealous he moved on and you didn’t? Does it matter when he moved on? Did you break up with him hoping he would see what he is missing and he would change his ways and come back to you?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    JD February 15, 2018, 11:17 am

    LW3: People can move on as fast as they want or can. You saying matter of a fact that they cannot is YOUR opinion and not reality. He obviously has.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    SpaceySteph February 15, 2018, 12:45 pm

    LW2, when people say they don’t want to move in without a ring they don’t mean a literal piece of jewelry, they mean marriage. I don’t think you should move in with this guy if you don’ feel adequately committed in your current relationship (i.e. without marriage, which wearing fake wedding rings won’t change) and you need to have the big “where do you see this relationship going” conversation because it sounds to me like you are not on the same page as your bf about stages of commitment.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Ron February 15, 2018, 1:12 pm

    LW #3 –

    The strangest thing about your letter is that you are certain that your ex still loved you when you broke up. How can you possibly know that? About the only way that can be true is if you broke up with him, while he was professing love for you and wanting to move the relationship forward and the breakup devastated him. Otherwise, it is just words he used to let you down gently if he initiated the breakup.

    If you did indeed initiate the breakup, while he still loved you — which you have a perfect right to do for whatever reason, including that love often isn’t enough to make a relationship work — then where does your controlling self get off deciding when it is appropriate for him to date someone else.

    If he broke up with you, then despite the ‘still love you’, he likely planned to get together with other woman prior to breakup.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    wobster109 February 15, 2018, 3:52 pm

    LW2 – you can’t feel hurt and rejected whenever someone disagrees with you. I mean, you can, but then you stress out the people around you with impossible demands until they decide it’s too much. He even agreed to wear the ring! Yet you’re still upset. That’s not fair.

    This is like I ask you to watch a football game with me because I have great memories of seeing the home team with my family. You don’t like football, but you’re willing to go anyway. I feel hurt and rejected because I want football to be meaningful to you too.

    Doesn’t that suck? Isn’t that unfair? Instead I should say “thank you for doing me this favor.” Well, I think you should be appreciative that your boyfriend is willing to wear the ring.

    Reply Link
  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkey's mommy February 15, 2018, 9:19 pm

    Lw1- Like one of the others said, I would be curious to hear the other side of the story. I’m not saying that either of you is wrong or right, I just don’t think we have enough details to form a full picture. I do completely agree that you should be able to have your kids anytime you want, and what happened at the game doesn’t sound unreasonable. However, if this happens frequently and tends to infringe upon your plans or your boyfriend’s plans, I could see it becoming a problem. In my marriage, I was the one that brought kids in, so I haven’t been on the boyfriend side, but I’ve been in your place. Is his frustration building because there seems to be an on going issue with you making unilateral decisions? Or is he being an unreasonable jerk? Honestly, since he has moved out and you seem pretty set on continuing the way you have been, I would just let him go.

    Lw 2- I hate to say this, but your age shines through this post. And it is very obvious there is a big age gap, and that you two really are not in the same place even if you want to push it there. The idea that a ring, that doesn’t even signify an engagement or marriage, affirmed his commitment to you is absolutely ridiculous. He is right about that. Hell, I have been married to my husband for 10 years, and he doesn’t wear a wedding ring. We do not even know where the darn thing went. It does not make him any less committed or married to me. No piece of jewelry is going to keep a man committed and faithful if he doesn’t want to be.

    Lw 3- He was probably seeing this chick prior to the break up and long before you knew about her. It kind of sounds like he moved on a long time ago, you should do the same

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Convexexed February 16, 2018, 8:34 am

    LW1: I am in this situation in your boyfriends shoes, to some extent. For me, the frustration is NOT that I want to be asked permission, but that I want communication. I guarantee there have been times our bfs head was spinning from last minute changes to the custody schedule that you didn’t tell him bc ‘you don’t need permission’, and I guarantee they have left him feeling like an outsider in his own household. No, you don’t need to submit a request to him to spend an hour with your kids. But if you are frequently adlibbing the custody schedule with your ex you are telling him, you aren’t part of setting the routines of this household at all. I am not jealous of ex, and I enjoy extra time with the kids. But it is stressful when I am expecting a Netflix and chill night, cooked dinner for two and boyfriend shows up with the kids bc SURPRISE they switched nights and he doesnt need anyones permission. And I would also say he doesn’t do this constantly, or about HUGE things, but it’s still destabilizing to never know who is going to be in the house and when and whether the week is going to suddenly change shape. Parents tend to be very protective of their parental decisions….I get that. And separated parents are very protective of any extra bonus time with their kids. And I get that adaptability and rolling with the punches is part of all this. But you have to ask yourself if you consider your bf a family member, or just a tag along to your already complete unit. I bet it is not the actual ‘favors’ he minds, but feeling he is the last person to know anything that happens with your household schedules. That it’s need-to-know, and you really don’t think he needs to know. But if you want to build a stable home life with any new partner, you have to bring them into the fold and retract the claws a little with this ‘i don’t need permission’ thing. You don’t need permission, but he needs to feel like he matters, and it would be super easy for you to keep him in the loop.
    I’m guessing he was feeling like a tag along, not an essential member, and that’s why he left.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    brise February 19, 2018, 7:34 am

    I understand that you broke up, but I can also understand your ex’s point of view, to a certain extent. Perhaps he didn’t request so much “permission” than being consulted, included in the decision making about your common free time. It is probably a subtle matter of communication, not an either/or situation. But I don’t like his statements about your favors to your ex, this seems a bit controlling to me.
    So he didn’t express himself well either, or he showed too much control to accommodate a divorced mother agenda.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    baccalieu February 24, 2018, 4:00 pm

    I agree with K-4, people don’t seem to recognize any subtleties on this site. You are either for or against the LW and there is no in between. With LW1, I agree that people who are living with people who are co-parenting kids have to learn to put up with a lot disarray and last minute changes and I also agree that they don’t get a veto over where and when their partner sees the kids. However, if the statement, “I don’t need my boyfriend’s permission to parent my kids.” means that the new partner has absolutely no say or involvement, then, at least when you are living with the partner and parenting the kids means bringing them into the home and household that you share, then I disagree. While he may not get a veto, he at least gets a say about the arrangements and any alterations or last minute changes to them. The LW wrote in here for validation of her position and seems to think she got it from her later comment, but I don’t think that we can tell in this situation who was right or wrong. The incident that triggered him leaving does not seem to justify his reaction, and if he was demanding a veto, he was in the wrong, but if she was repeatedly failing to consult him about when the kids were going to be at their house or agreeing to alter the arrangements without talking to him and justifying doing so by saying that he doesn’t get to interfere with her parenting, then she was in the wrong.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      dinoceros February 25, 2018, 11:49 am

      You’re ignoring subtleties too, though, by assuming that “I don’t need my boyfriend’s permission to parent my kids” means that he has no say or involvement whatsoever. You took a very vague, general phrase that seemed written out of frustration and decided what the precise tangible meaning of it was. I don’t really understand how it would have worked in that situation had the LW given a say about it — he’d say, “Nah, I don’t think you should take your daughter for an hour and a half because … I don’t like when your ex makes changes to the plan,” and then she’d be like, Oh, OK, I guess I can’t watch my daughter.

      I don’t really understand why your disagreement with the advice has to include a sweeping comment about the people who post here, especially when you do the exact same thing. I typically just post my own advice and leave it at that.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        baccalieu February 25, 2018, 4:10 pm

        How can you say that I am assuming that her statement means that she didn’t consult him, when I specific raise the question of what it means and suggest that it might not mean that? When someone uses the conditional “If x, then y” they are not saying that x exists, they are saying that if it does then y follows. If x doesn’t exist then y doesn’t follow. This is basic logic (and English grammar).

        My generalization (and yes, I know it is a generalization) in this case stems from a pet peeve of mine regarding the commenters on this site, which that they very frequently misunderstand the other commenters’ points usually by converting a more nuanced statement into an absolute one, thus creating a straw man that they can disagree with. You did this with my statement: I never anywhere in my comment said that I believed or assumed that the LW meant that her new partner should have absolutely no input. In fact, I was complaining that we didn’t know exactly what she meant and that we needed to know in order to decide the rights of the question.
        This whole thread is an example of the same thing. I would say that virtually everyone who commented would agree with the following three propositions:
        1. the specific change which set the boyfriend off was not an unreasonable change and was something of a special case;
        2. the boyfriend does not get to dictate or control when or how often she sees her kids;
        3. while he may not get a veto, she should at least seek his input, where feasible, on when the kids are going to be at their joint home and certainly advise him as far in advance as feasible;
        The whole debate is over whether some or all of those propositions are being violated by one of the parties here, and that mostly turns on facts that we don’t know and have to assume or invent, and very few of the commenters on here seem to acknowledge or even realize that when they criticize the other commenters.
        And I really don’t want to go down that rabbit hole again, but you manage to finish up your comment with a good dose of “I don’t just disagree with you, I think your comment is improper” aka “STFU.” I know you didn’t actually say that but it was clearly implied. What you actually did say was that commenters on here shouldn’t make generalized criticisms of the other commenters to which I would say, “Why on earth not?” It seems like it would be less likely to be hurtful than singling out a particular commenter for criticism.

        Link
  • avatar

    baccalieu February 24, 2018, 4:12 pm

    Regarding LW3, I thought she was going to say that it looked like her ex was seeing this girl before they broke up and thus was cheating, which I thought may well be true (although, since they’ve broken up, while I understand her being shocked, it’s really irrelevant now). But she just seems to think he’s moved on too soon and is being inappropriate and/or disrespectful to her, in which case I totally agree with Wendy. Especially if the reason that she “knows he still loved her when they broke up” is that she broke up with him. In that case, “Really, LW? You think he owes it to you to stay out of another relationship for a period of time? Really?”

    Reply Link

Leave a Comment