The problem is that Ian cannot comprehend how or why my ex and I are so amicable. He says it’s not normal and he’s never seen anything like it and that he just doesn’t know if he can be on board with it. I’ve informed him that my ex will be spending 4th of July with my family and our daughter just as he will Christmas morning and NYE and all of the holidays peppered in between because neither of us wants to be away from our daughter or for her to be split from either of us. Ian says what my ex and I do is weird. He comes from a very broken home, with his dad leaving when Ian was young and his mom remarrying into a high-stress, high-anger marriage. I don’t understand how someone who comes from that environment would want to see another child grow up in the same manner. How, if possible, am I able to show him that what my ex and I are doing is healthy? — Healthy Co-Parenting
Honestly, I wouldn’t bother. He’s trying to mansplain to you why your functional, amicable, healthy co-parenting relationship that allows your daughter to spend every holiday with both her parents is “weird” and he doesn’t know if he “can be on board with it”? Fuck that noise. It’s not his board to be on. And any person either you or your ex dates who can’t appreciate that the two of you are family and that you, along with the daughter you share together, are, in a sense, a packaged deal isn’t the right person for you. If you have to try to convince someone that prioritizing your daughter in this way is healthy and normal and ok, you’re wasting your energy, especially when the other person is trying on convince you of the opposite rather than approaching the situation with an open mind and an open heart. In short, Ian is waving a big old red flag, and I hope you will take heed of this warning and let him fuck right off.
The first thing you should do — well, not do, actually — is do NOT move in with him when you don’t have any idea how to handle or deal with your boyfriend’s mental disorder. Please, please do not do that. And don’t get pregnant!
Does your boyfriend see a therapist? If not, please insist he start going before you take any further steps in your relationship, and please also attend therapy with him, so that you can get professional guidance from someone who understands your boyfriend’s issues and can give you some sense of whether and how you can handle them. I would also suggest seeing a therapist on your own who can help ensure that if you continue this relationship, you remain committed to honoring your own boundaries and your own needs, including the need to vent to someone about the unique stress of being romantically involved with someone who has multiple personalities.
Finally, I urge you to really consider whether you’re happy with your boyfriend. You mention how things “will be fine one minute and then it’s hell.” How often and how long does it feel like hell? “Hell” is not a descriptor most people who are talking about moving in with a significant other would use to describe the state of their relationship, even some of the time. At least, it shouldn’t be. It’s ok to walk away from this relationship. It’s ok to decide you love your boyfriend but don’t want the kind of life being with him entails. You don’t have to sign on to this, period, and you sure as shit should not go any further until you feel much, much more equipped to handle the unique challenges you’ll face together.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.