About a two years ago I started dating a guy who I had a great friendship with. Relationship was pretty great - until little "blips" started happening with his son and ex wife.

He has been divorced for about 8 years, and his son is 12. His son is also (functioning) autistic. When he and I first started dating, I would go to the park with them, we would all go out to eat; it was the normal beginnings of a stepmom situation. Then the sh*t started happening!

The ex has full custody of the son, with my BF getting the son every weekend. Within the first few months of our relationship, her relationship ended, and her partner kicked her out of her house. The ending was so tumultuous that she was not "allowed" to go back in the house to get her and her son's belongings. Here comes my BF to save the day - he went out there (about a half hour away) to get her and their son's belongings. Of course, this was "not for her" it was "for his son", according to my BF. Somehow, I don't agree with this - does anyone else out there agree? I expressed my concern over this, he kept pushing that it was for his son, and we moved past it.

To spare you all the miniscule details, in the past year, his son has had 4 different homes under her care, has tried to move into a shelter with a domestic partnership to "work the system" (at this time my BF was giving her half his paycheck to "help her out") which didn't work out, and all this time she has not held down a job at all. At some point during this process I had had enough and expressed to my BF how much of a disgrace this situation is and tried to pull myself out of it. I chose to go back despite all the BS. Oh, and did I tell you that the person who she had a domestic partnership tried to take my BF to court for child support? Mind you, her and her partner were no longer together. And when I spoke to my BF about it - he says, "this is my problem, not hers (the ex's)" WHHHHATTT?? WTF!

So while this is all going on, I have moved myself further and further away from his son. In the beginning I wanted to and made strides to have a relationship with his son. However, when all the drama and irresponsibility happened, I completely removed myself from the situation. I am 30+, a corporate professional, have my own place/car. My BF is in his mid 30's and his ex is the same age as me.

Finally, flash forward to this summer. He and I were planning a vacation and two weeks before we are supposed to leave, she gets kicked out of the place she was staying, and my BF finally decided to intervene. However, this was at the expense of me. He takes in his son (he does not have his own place - still lives with family). When it comes to our vacay, all he says to me with a laugh, "I guess I'm not going with you." And I went on vacation by myself.

Sometimes I feel like a brat whining about going on vacation alone, but then I think, he only needed to make himself available to me for one week. He tried to say that his not going on vacay was for his son, but I can't wrap my brain around it. Had she had her crap together, we wouldn't be in this situation. And he glamorizes her! Before I left on holiday he says, " I told her thank you for having my son" WHATT?? I didn't know how to feel about that.

After all the instability and reckless behavior, he continues to have a friendship with her. It is definitely not a coparenting relationship. When I ask for time for me and him, he says, I have my son. I say, what about his mother, his response is, she's busy. Oh, I see. Every time I do see him, it is because she has planned something and has taken the son, to which the byproduct of that is me spending time with my BF. I have expressed how this makes it seem that I come second, third, eighth, whatever, he says no, that's not the case. But that's how I feel! When she decides to take the son, then I can see him. So, my spending time with him is pending her schedule.

All in all, this has affected my feelings for his son - I have not seen him since there was snow on the ground. And, that doesn't bother me either. I prefer it that way. But I am now realizing I can only do this for a limited time. I realize his irresponsible ex wife will always be a part of my life should I choose to continue to be with my BF, and that is something I am not okay with. I get I am not a parent, but I am a responsible adult. To not have a place to live in over a year, to not have a job, and you have an autistic son?? And my BF is telling her thank you?? WTF is that??!?!

I have chosen to remove myself from the situation entirely; he and I broke up. I will never and do not want that a part of my life. It is sad and frustrating, but the truth is, it will never be just he and I. He will always make her present in our relationship, and I will not be a third wheel.
Starfish50 Starfish50
31-35, F
3 Responses Sep 1, 2014

If you had not broken up with him, I was about to tell you RUN! DONT WALK!!! You are in for a life of hurt & dealing with his ex. You will NEVER have a life! Know how I know? I'm living it!!!! After 12+ years!!

You are sooo right! You truly don't have a life and don't matter. It's like being tied to the bumper and drug along on a trip that you had no say in and don't belong in anyways. Some people can live with the hurt and pain, others cannot. It only gets worse most of the time...

Exactly!!! I hate it!!

When I start to think about all the little incidents that happen during our time together (him not showing up to a work event I invited him to) all because of the ex, it really, really ****** me off! And each time the reason is, "it was for my son". Ahuh. Is there ever a time when we get a say so? This woman put her own son in danger yet my schedule is pending hers? NO. Ugh it just makes me so angry!

I can see why you are so angry. I know that his son needs to come first but when there is a mother (the ex) that is alive and well and able to take him, she should be taking him and he should be asking so you and him can do things together and build a relationship. This is something that people don't understand unless they've been in our shoes. It's not that you want him to put his son last or fight with his ex. You just want him to stand up to her and do everything in his power to share his time and make you a priority too. You deserve to be important also. These divorced fathers feel so guilty and are so manipulated by the ex's because they hold the power. The ability to see the children....They need to stand up for themselves in a calm, non aggressive, matter of fact, consistent manner when dealing with the ex. It will be rocky at first. She will call his bluff BUT eventually things may calm down and be better. I think the men equate standing up for what's fair to equal "fighting". There is no need to fight with her, just be calm and "handle" the situation. The only thing he may need to fight for is your love and respect. Unfortunately by this stage it is usually gone....

It's not that I no compassion for the men in these circumstances because I do. It's not fair to them or their children. I think they take the path of least resistance. That path is usually the most hurtful one for you though. There is nothing wrong with deciding that it's not the life for you. I'm not trying to be negative, I promise. I always try to encourage people to work things out if possible and see things from both sides but I know from personal experience that if you feel this way now, it will only get worse. Don't listen to people that tell you that you are selfish or whatever....they have NO clue. Those people would never tolerate even a smidgen of the crap that you have to. I really wish the best for you. Try to forgive them and forgive yourself. You made a mistake. Everyone does. You learned from it and have become a better person from it.

Why, thank you Cargirl! That's a spot on perspective: they believe that standing up to them is fighting with them. They can be very manipulative, especially by using the children as a means to get what they need.

I don't even see your perspective as negative - not in the least. At some point we realize what we can and can't accept, and this is no exception. The truth is that I have been tolerating it up until this point because in actuality, I managed to keep myself out of it (besides not seeing him on weekends). However, the little fires she was creating in the past two years slowly eventually crept up on me. It was not until the vacation situation and one other incident that I had had enough.

2 More Responses

It seems to me that you made a good decision. If you can't possibly imagine a future with him (them), and there is no mutual love, respect and understanding, then you are doing the right thing. I know that right now you might be feeling hurt, sad and millions of thoughts go through your mind, but this too shall pass. Once you clear your mind, you will see you made a good decision. You are a smart and successful woman and you deserve to be treated with love and respect. Take this whole experience as a valuable lesson and live your life to the fullest! good luck! :)

Believe it or not, I understand exactly how you feel. I was in a very similar situation. You did the right thing by breaking up. You would have never been happy and you don't deserve to come last all of the time. It would have never changed.

My so called "husband" was the same way. He also used to tell her that he was thankful for her having the kids for him, even though she couldn't and WOULDN'T take care of them. One of them was severely disabled and she used that to make people feel sorry for her and took all of the credit for raising him when in reality, she never had him. I caught him doing personal favors for her behind my back all of the time. I was held to a much higher standard of behavior and morals than her, yet I always came last. I don't believe it was for the kids because he had nothing to lose. He already had them most of the time and she didn't want the disabled child anyways, so why kiss her ***?

We also had no time to ourselves, as the ex dictated our time together. He would suck up her butt to get her to watch her own kids. He had no problem standing up to me but would fall over himself for her. That is no life for anybody. I'm sure your husband does what's best for his son but he goes way beyond what is normal and appropriate. Maybe he isn't over being a family with her. He should have never gotten involved with another woman until all this drama is resolved. You shouldn't have to settle for this. There are men out there that will make you feel like the one and only woman for them and there are men that don't have all these problems and face things head on instead of doing what's easy.

I wish you luck in your future relationships. Remember, next time, RUN!!

Hi! Thank you for your response! The thing is, I'm not the first person he has been with since he ended his marriage. He is a very forgiving and beyond understanding man, and he always trying to find the "why" in people's actions, instead of the end result. There comes a point when it doesn't matter why someone did something, it is WHAT they actually did that is the issue. I have been with men that realize maybe the mother is not the best person to raise the kid, and they have taken full custody. I have seen this woman put my BF's son in danger, yet he does not see it that way. He sees it as keeping the mother in his son's life - and that is a twisted concept in their situation. I explained to him that this ambiguous situation needed to have some boundaries. If he wants to continue a life with me, then he and I would do it together, but he and I would have to operate as one. If he was going to let her be the custodial parent, then he needed to leave it that way and be a supportive father. Not running to her every beck and call under the idea pretense it is for his son. Let me tell you - this situation angered me beyond belief. Its hard, but I know me and I will never be okay with having her in the shadows.

I had to come to that realization also. I would never be okay with her presence and not being the only woman.