New relationship after divorce.
My ex-wife and I have been separated for 5 years, divorced for 3. We have a good working relationship, and agreed when we separated that we would put aside our personal issues, and do what was best for our sons.
I am out of work due to chronic health issues. Accordingly, I meet my child support requirements with a combination of financial and care needs. Specifically, I pay for my kids private health insurance, and care for them before and after school. My boys live full time with their mum - this is a good arrangement for them, for her and for me. In addition, I take them in the (rare) event that she has an evening out, or needs to go away for work.
The issue is with my new partner. She has the impression that I go 'above and beyond' to support my ex-wife. I have tried to explain to her many times that this is not the case, and on the contrary, I do very little. It is rare that our plans conflict with my parenting duties.
I have suggested that we go to counselling, and if the counsellor agreed that I am being unreasonable, to make changes. She is not willing to agree to the same.
Has anyone else had similar issues?
Thanks in advance.
Great replies here to date,
In 14 years I never missed a payment of child support even though twice I was unemployed. Two daughters 7 and 4yo when we separated, but we didnt have the "work together" ethic you have with your ex. It only takes one to hold a bitter grudge and you lose that.
At any rate when my youngest reached 15yo she needed $15,000 of dental care, jaw realignment etc. I paid it on the basis that medical care is essential and my ex only worked part time. What I didnt know is she also had a large inheritance in the years before. She was also still sour from the split 11 years earlier.
When my youngest turned 18 in September of a given year my ex wrote to child support to insist I pay the last 10 weeks of child support until the end of the school year, something she is entitled to do. I pointed out to her that I'd paid $15,000 towards our daughters jaw and the least she could do is not chase that poultry amount. That's when the nastiness came out.
My point is this- I agree with the members opinions above, but charity begins at home also. In your case, if you suffer any financial difficulty I hope your ex wife will understand and help you pay for that private health insurance. That is my only concern because that amount should be co shared. The same with school fees, I paid them yearly - private primary school when my ex never appreciated it- they should ahve been co shared.
Anyway thought that was important to be aware that you can go over board.
However, these arrangements should not be the concern of your new GF. Her influence and interference is unacceptable. This "control" is the tip of a deep iceberg and when your sons become adults it wont stop there, they will need the odd occasion of support be it emotional, financial or other and she will interfere.
She is unwilling to join you in counseling as she does not want a third party with awareness to witness her techniques.
I'm sorry, I dont think your relationship with this person is suitable. I speak from experience, my ex GF for 10 years never accepted my kids, never wanted them on holidays with us and got angry if I even gave them pocket money. Yet she smothered her own children with gifts all the time. It lasted 10 years, 9 years too long.
I really appreciate your thoughtful response. It's what I've heard from a lot of other people.
The underlying problem (which I didn't mention) is that these problems only seem to arise when she's drinking. When she's sober, she is kind and considerate of everyone. When she's drinking, she thinks only of herself.
I guess the follow-up question is...how long do I give her to get her act together re sobriety? I care for her a great deal, and fear for her if she goes on this way. I have made it clear recently that I can't have her in my life in any capacity until she gets help for her drinking problem. Is that a fair compromise?
I agree with the others that you are being a good co-parent. Even if you were going 'above and beyond' what would be wrong with that? They're your kids, the most important people in your life. Any new partner who comes along has to understand that your primary concern is your kids. If they don't...that doesn't bode well for the relationship going forward.
Now that you've mentioned the drinking I realise there is more at play here. She may well be wonderful when she's not drinking but if she's drinking a lot and/or getting nasty when she does, that is an issue she has to sort out. I think you're perfectly right to tell her she has to get help or she can't be in your life. Your priority is your children. You don't want them around someone with an alcohol problem given the choice.
I hope your partner gets the help she needs. And that afterward maybe, if you love each other, you could start fresh. If not she may not be the person for you.
My on/off partner has some very narcissistic tendencies. We haven't spoken in three weeks, after she left (again) because I won't spend less time with my children, or enable her alcoholism. She lies about me, and to me. I've seen this pattern so many times before. She gets angry and storms off (usually arguments about my children, or her drinking), and I'm left to pick up the pieces. I've told her that the only thing I can do for her right now is to get help with her sobriety.
She called tonight and left a voicemail, wanting to meet tomorrow to "talk". From experience, this means that she's lonely and/or bored, and wants attention. I'm really torn about what to do. I want to see her, but I feel like giving in too quickly will be counter-productive to helping her realise that she needs to get sober, and probably some psychiatric help.
Any advice for how I should handle this?