Ex wife difficulties
7 January 2020 at 6:22 pm #35023
I am divorced coming up 2 years, separated for nearly 3 years after finding out my ex wife was cheating. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I am now glad to be divorced from her. I came to realise she was difficult to communicate with and was quite controlling. This issue has arisen again tonight and I am wondering if anyone has any views on how best to deal with things. A week or so ago I was informed my ex wife and her new partner were looking at a holiday to Italy in May. I had no issues with this and booked the week off work so I could look after our son. We share custody 50:50, 7 nights out of 14. He is 4 this month and spends most of the week days either at nursery or my exes parents. My ex has appointed herself as ‘main carer’. Primarily this seems to be based on the fact she claims the child benefit and her parents help out so her family seem to do a bit more overall. Unfortunately my mum is dead and my dad lives 1.5 hours away. The issue tonight was my ex informed me the holiday to Italy was booked and I was given a rota of when I would have my son. It seemed to only be about half the time I booked off work which seemed a bit pointless given I’d booked the time off specifically to look after our son. When I questioned this tonight I was met with a defensive almost verbal attack where she said she’d spoken with her parents (in their late 60’s) and her sister and they wanted to spend time with our son. I have no issues with this in general but she has made such arrangements without consultation. In addition as soon as I started questioning why I’d booked the whole week off work she completely shut down the conversation and said she had to go out. I was then ushered out of her house with our son as I have him tonight. It leaves a sense of frustration as it seems almost impossible to have a conversation with her as if things aren’t as she has planned in her own mind she shuts down communication wise. The one advantage is I see this was a pattern while we were together, so makes me glad I am away from this. It amazes me I was blind to this whilst we were together. How do you deal with someone who is a poor communicator and is controlling with their constant plans without consultation?8 January 2020 at 4:45 pm #35052
Looks like noone know the secret to that particular mystery, I’m sure lots of us are struggling with this.
If I can play devil’s advocate here, I’d say you yourself might actually know the answer to your question. You were with her/married to her for a while and will at the very least know what doesn’t work. Looks like the current approach doesn’t work. Maybe you need to set up designated meetings? Or communicate in writing, so she can’t back out of it? My ex now has me confirm everything to him in writing, as he forgets all the time (that’s what he says, anyways, and it works so far).
If little changes won’t do the trick, what will she respond to? Carrot or stick? Stick probably being you insist on spending the whole week with your son, not sure what the carrot would be. Try to think about what has worked with her in the past. I really do hope things get less frustrating for you, best of luck.
C8 January 2020 at 7:47 pm #35057
Thanks for the reply. I think you are right in a way, I do sort of know what works and what doesn’t. It is just frustrating having to adopt communication methods and strategies that are at odds with what I deem usual. I think the problem is my ex wife can be very sensitive and what I would think is just having a discussion gets almost too much for her. She shuts down and almost goes into a shell. It’s frustrating when you want resolution. I think she needs almost several days to think about things. Often she then comes around to my way of thinking. I just don’t understand why people are like that. I think I just need to learn patience. I think the lesson relationship wise is I’m better off with a straight shooter where you know where you stand and someone who isn’t afraid to say things as they are rather than someone like my ex wife who avoids all confrontation at any cost, but thinks heavily without communicating those thoughts. It’s knowing how to co-parent with such a person for the next however many years until my son is more independent and I need to liaise less frequently with her.
Adam13 January 2020 at 11:13 am #35447
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner! I know exactly what you mean, we shouldn’t have to “manage” the way we speak to somebody. It shouldn’t be like this is one of the sentences that got stuck in my head a lot and still does whenever things aren’t working very well. But it is like that and it’ll make it easier for you if you adapt your ways for a while, and making things manageable is what’s important right now.
What you describe re her behaviour sounds to me like she’s realising she messed up and is shutting down rather than admitting that, although I might be projecting here because it sounds like something I would do and am trying really hard not to anymore. Either way, it’s hard to communicate with anybody over something as important as your son, especially when there is so much emotional baggage attached to it, as well as you both communicating differently. I hope you find a way forward that works for you, at least most of the time.
I on the other hand have just managed to pluck up the courage to think that maybe my son can stay with his Dad for the first time in May so that I can go to a wedding abroad without having to drag him along. Seeing as his dad has been talking about having him to stay over and putting in a sleeping area for him etc. for months, I thought the idea would go down well (it of course being all my fault that he hasn’t stayed over before). Not so much, he thinks the little one isn’t ready (he’s just turned two) and anyways is informing me that he is looking for a houseshare because he can’t afford his place anymore. With that bombshell all talk of weddings and staying over stopped! Here I am, gobsmacked. More fool me, shouldn’t have seen it coming, there is always something happening whenever I’m trying to take a step forward. Sorry, rant over. Didn’t mean to hijack your post.
All the best
Carol13 January 2020 at 7:08 pm #35467
Thanks for the reply. No problem on sharing your issues, that does sound very difficult. It must be hard not getting much spare time to yourself as makes planning things rather tricky I would imagine. It amazes me that so many of us have issues that drive you around the bend. It’s crazy how it ends up that way with people life was once good (or at least OK) with. It’s strange how things change.
Adam14 January 2020 at 2:24 pm #35508
Thank you for your kind words, it is very hard, but getting easier all the time, as my little man is still so young that he develops and becomes more independent all the time. When I became a single mum a year ago I was still carrying him most of the time, now I have a job to get a hug when he gets home! 😉
I agree and found that one of the hardest parts of the break-up and finding a way forward, how things used to be so different and I really haven’t a clue how we ended up in as bad a place as we were when we split up. At least things have improved from there, so I’m grateful for that. I really hope you’re managing to find a way to resolve the holiday issue in a way that works for everybody. As a side note though, I’m really not sure if you share your son 50:50 that she can claim to be the main carer, I have no legal background though, that’s just my opinion.
Carol14 January 2020 at 3:26 pm #35514
Just a thought ,and as you have so rightly identified, I think some of us as parents do need a bit of space and reflection time to think and possibly also change our minds.
I think you are doing well to recognise this dynamic. I do. it is not easy to find the patience for it. But probably will be better in the long run to do this.
After all most of us have ex’s as it were and we need to navigate it.
jj14 January 2020 at 7:40 pm #35550
It is best to try and be patient and adapt your strategy to cope with dealing with the other parent but not always easy. Things have improved a little but I’m sure there will be other bumps in the road in future. I think the lesson I am learning is when I am analytical using logic in thinking how best to deal with my ex things work. When I react in an emotional way to something things go badly. You have to be quite clinical in your dealings and out think them sometimes. For me I have to rise above things but not always easy as it feels like you have to act in a false way but its the most effective way I find.