I set up this blog a year ago. I had been dating a really great guy for a month and I wanted somewhere I could record my thoughts. Somewhere that was private. My ex-husband was stalking my blog and I wanted to set up something anonymous that was just for me. In a way it worked, I had a space where I could record my thoughts. However it kinda didn’t work either because as soon as life got difficult or complicated I didn’t even know where to begin, what to write down or what I wanted people to read.
So I kinda abandoned my blog and relied on WhatsApping friends instead. That’s great but what about when you want to sort things out in your own head first?
Let’s talk about exes. By the time you get to my age we have all had them (most of us anyway). My partner has always had a tenuous relationship with his ex and it wasn’t until we had been together around 6 months that I really started to notice this. Ok, I did in the beginning when he would talk about her and I found it weird that we’d be together and he’d reference her. I pulled him up on this and he generally stopped.
Fast forward a few months and whenever his daughter was with us he’d start quizzing her on his ex: ‘does Mummy eat this? does she cook this? Is she dating anyone?’ etc. A bit weird considering he and his ex have been apart for 12 years. Eventually I said something and he stopped.
Over the last year I’ve learned that his ex is very controlling. He is scared of her and he will do anything to keep her happy, even if it means making me unhappy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a controlling, insecure person but this was out of the ordinary stuff. He’d decided he would be moving in to my house, then he was letting his ex dictate what could go on in my house, his daughter would have her own room (meaning my boys had to share). He has his daughter 6 nights a month, I have my boys 20 nights a month. Then his daughter had to have a lock on her bedroom door. Something that made me intensely uncomfortable and unhappy and he went ahead and did it anyway because it was what his ex wanted. Eventually this fell apart and his ex demanded he moved out, so he did.
We rebuilt our relationship, albeit with the ex still a heavy factor in it. She plays a lot of games as well, saying she needs to talk to him about their daughter then leaving him to sweat for a week before talking to him about it. She changes arrangements without a care for his arrangements and she can generally just be vile to him. Still he puts her happiness before mine.
We’ve worked so hard on our relationships. All issues we wouldn’t have if he had the guts to stand up to his ex, but he just doesn’t. I’ve tried to help him to be strong with her. He says that he’s finding it challenging to change his behaviour and reclaim power. I view it as he just doesn’t want to.
Thing is, this also rubs off on his daughter, who is lovely but has split loyalties between her parents and does not like sharing meaning she can be difficult around my children and whilst not difficult with me in person, can be difficult about me. I’m not surprised, it must be confusing for her when she hears her Dad quizzing her about her Mum and comparing her to me whenever we sit down to eat.
Tonight was the last straw after a very difficult week, controlled by his ex and his daughter. He came over with his daughter as she wanted to see my Goddaughter. So far, so good. Everyone stayed for dinner and I worked hard to quickly make something nice that would feed 6 of us. We sat down to eat and his first words were ‘this looks almost as good as the garbage they serve at work’. I know he was joking but it was fucking embarrassing in front of my friends. Then as soon as we were all served he asked his daughter, in front of everyone ‘does Mummy eat meat?’ When she said no he then drew it out with ‘I know she was vegetarian for a while, then started eating meat. Is she really not eating meat again?’ His daughter confirmed and before he could carry on, my friend started a conversation. The whole meal he was talking about his daughter’s babyhood. Something that I wouldn’t usually find isolating, after all we all have our own stories of when our children were little. But when it’s monopolising the conversation, a conversation which started with ‘my food is garbage’ and a comparison to his ex, it’s not good.
At the end of the meal his daughter proclaimed that she didn’t like what I’d cooked. In front of everyone. Great.
I know I’m having a bad day. Hell, I’m having a bad week. Twice this week my partner’s changed plans and dropped me like hot sh*t because his daughter’s wanted to do something else. Right now I’m feeling very unvalued in what is usually such a great relationship so sorry for the crappy, feeling sorry for myself posts. There have been a few of these I’ve wanted to write and then stopped myself. Once on the internet, never erased eh? But I thought it would be good to have some sort of diary where one day I can look back and see how far we’ve come from the dark days with his ex and his daughter. I should start writing about the positive stuff too – we have a great relationship. He’s a great partner and for the most part we have a really loving relationship, full of joy. But when his ex gets involved it takes over the entire week and this week I’m feeling really fed up. Perhaps it’s because I don’t bring this crap to our relationship. I have an appropriate relationship with my ex (as appropriate as it gets when we share children and therefore don’t have the option to never see each other again) and I don’t let my kids dictate our plans or let people down because of them.
Back with something (hopefully happier) soon.
Image credit: the unbounded spirit Facebook page.