Out of town ex staying at my place for a weekend.

Peter - posted on 10/20/2014 ( 11 moms have responded )

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Here's the scenario... I'm I've been a single dad for the past 7 years. My kids are now 17 and 13. Their mom is a nice person and loves her children as they love her, but she is not the "hands on" type. I love the role of a single dad, the kids are being raised well by all accounts, there is no animosity, the arrangement works for all parties involved.

A little over a year ago I moved with the kids from Florida to DC area. My ex had no objections. She keeps in touch withs the kids over Skype or text or phone. My communication with her is limited to me sending kids' pictures and updating her on news from their lives.

Since we moved, the kids went back to see their mom once. It was this summer for her wedding. My ex came to see the kids with her mom last fall and again this fall. Those were the only three occasions since the move.

Here's the conflict... My "on again, off again girlfriend" who does not live with me, but lives in the same condo community found it "unacceptable" that my ex and her mother stayed at my place for the two days and two nights they were here. I did not want to make them stay in a hotel while they were in town for several reasons. They were here for total of 40 hours. They would also need to arrange for a rental car or I'd have to drive them back and forth. This would severely disrupt their time with the kids, as short as it was. It wold probably cause resentment from both the kids and the visitors. It would not work for anyone involved, except my girlfriend. Also, letting them stay at my place and disappearing myself would not be workable without a rental car. I proposed that I rent a car for them, but this too was "unacceptable" to my girlfriend who feels I'm too easy on my ex. I don't even collect the child support from her. (There is about 10-income disparity between us, I don't need the money and it would be hardship for her. Her husband has a good income, but I don't feel it's his responsibility. Also, I thought out alimony/child support arrangement before she married was generous for me.)

My girlfriend in a text said this "I am very hurt. I never raised an issue that your ex wife is visiting the kids. I completely understand that. I asked you not to commit the whole weekend socializing and have your ex wife stay in your bedroom. Is that too much to ask? Ask anybody on the street! But you didn't care how I felt. I truly believe you did not and will not care."

After dropping my visitors off at the airport, I went to her place to listen and comfort her. It did not go well.

What should I have done?

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The - posted on 10/21/2014

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If you are going to be in a relationship with any woman you need to set boundaries of what is and is not acceptable for you both from the start. This would have ended the issue of difficulty from the start.
Examples:
Just Dating:
I would like to get to know you but there is something I need to explain. I am a single father and the needs of my children are high on my priority list. This will include visits from my ex who may if needed stay at my residence, while I am also there, in a guest room when visiting. This will only change when there is someone that I become engaged to and marry. There is no physical relations between my ex and I. We have children together and whatever it takes to insure that my children have both of us in their lives and they grow to be healthy and well adjusted is my main goal as a father. If you are in any way uncomfortable with this boundary I understand and feel that we should not pursue a relationship other than a friendship.

This will tell the woman you are dating that:
1. You are not in any way going to have a physical relationship with your ex.
2. Your children are your highest priority at this time
3. That there is no room for jealousy or comments on how you should relate to your ex in a friendly manner in supporting your children's needs unless they are engaged or married to you.
4. This also gives them the opportunity to accept your boundaries or not before there is any issues in the future.

REMEMBER: You are the only one that can make the choices for your life and you need to set boundaries before there are any issues in the future. That way you can better insure your and your children's happiness with a future woman in your life.

As for suggesting to stay at your on and off again gf's place while your ex was in town is not a good role model for you to give your children. It would in the future cause more issues with jealousy on her part and her wanting to manipulate you with guilt. Those are things that a immature person uses that does not know how to look past ME ME ME ME ME. Do you really want that in your children's lives? Someone who will eventually even be jealous of the attention you will give your children should you both marry? OH and Also what if you did marry and you both had a child? Would she make you feel guilty about what you do financially and other wise for your present children and how it takes away from her and your new child with her??? Think about it. I have been there on the receiving end from a step mother who was so jealous of me and all I wanted was a woman in my life that could be a mother to me since mine was not. When I later was sent to my mother and my mother married my step father I was in fear that I would be hated again. But he was very different from my step mother in how he treated me. He treated me like I was one of his own and he also had children before marrying my mother. He did not choose his children over me in a matter. To him it was a matter of who was right or wrong, was it a need or a want, if there was a way we could do some chores to gain the wants ourselves. He gave me the balanced life I needed and in the end the father that rejected me due to my step mother did not matter anymore. I had a DAD not just a father in my step father. So learn from what I am saying and be careful and wise in who you choose to be in your life. IT WILL AFFECT YOUR CHILDREN GREATLY.

I do not speak to my father very often and have tried over the years to gain closeness to him but he would rather choose his wife's needless jealousy over being a father to his own child. DO NOT LET ANYONE MAKE YOU CHOOSE THEM OVER THE BETTER LIFE FOR YOUR CHILD.

I think you did the best thing by showing your children that you will be a caring and loving father and a friend to your ex even if it is to provide them with the greatest gift of sacrifice on your part.

Also now that she has shown she is jealous I suggest you give her the example speech and see where she stands. If she goes off mad you know she is not the one for you. If she continues to show acts of jealousy and manipulation you know she is not the one for you. Because you are not only you.. You are you and your children and all has to be considered before bringing in a woman into your home life.

Aimee - posted on 10/20/2014

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My guess is the OAOA girlfriend doesn't have children of her own? Or if she does the relationship with their father isn't as amicable. She needs to understand that you were doing what was best for your kids. Since you did mention that she lives in the same complex, I'm guessing the idea that she had and likely didn't share with you, was you staying at her place while mom and grandma where at your place with the kids.

Sounds to me like she needs to be a little more trusting of the situation. It isn't like this is an every other weekend arrangement. No it may not have been the first choice for everyone involved - but if it made the most sense, provided the least inconvenience and was best for most - you made the right choice.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/20/2014

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It sounds like you've been an excellent co parent! You never said that you AND the ex slept 'in your room', and it sounds as if your 'on again off again' girl feels a bit insecure...which is probably why she's 'on again off again', right?

I think that your consideration in planning things so that the kids could have optimum time with their mother and grandmother was extremely nice, and that, if more parents could get along the way you and your ex are, we wouldn't have the drama!

All in all, if the girlfriend was a true commitment to her, I'd have talked with her in advance regarding the arrangements. Since she's of the 'on again off again' variety, she's being a little pushy, imo.

Dove - posted on 10/20/2014

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I think you gave your answer when you called her your on again, off again girlfriend... Yes, discussing these things ahead of time is a good idea, but you sound like you are being very helpful and reasonable to the mother of your children... and if she can't handle that it's better to know now.

11 Comments

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Erin - posted on 10/20/2014

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I agree with what others have already said. BTW, co-parenting is not easy and it sounds like you are doing a really good job at it. Keep it up! Your kids need that. Blessings to you!

Raye - posted on 10/20/2014

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I agree with a lot of the comments. You seemed to be doing the best thing for your kids. I'm a step-mom with no bio-kids, but I understand the value of having both bio-parents in the lives of the children. I trust my husband, and I am not threatened by his ex. Your ex was in town for a short time. The easiest way for her to spend the most time with the kids was to offer your place. All very rational. If you had paid for the rental car, that might have been overly generous... but still it was your call to make, not your girlfriend's.

Your girlfriend needs to grow up, or you should find someone that is emotionally mature enough to handle the situation. She probably did want you to stay with her, and was (maybe unintentionally) playing head games trying to get you to offer that solution - then was upset that you didn't. I don't know why some women think guys should be mind readers and just know what the girl wants without her verbalizing it (or she drops subtle hints, when subtle just doesn't work). A strong relationship needs good communication.

Tell her it was not your intention to hurt her, but that your kids will always be a priority in your life. Maybe if your relationship grows past the casual "on again off again" stage, you will move her up the priority scale, but she should demonstrate she deserves to be there.

Peter - posted on 10/20/2014

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Aimee, you guessed correctly that she does not have children. And right again, she has not invited me to stay at her place, it would have been fine with me. I should have suggested it, not sure why it did not occur to me.

I regret not asking "what I should do" on this forum last week. What made me to post today is her insistence that my choices were out of line. As she prompted: "Ask anybody on the street!". I wanted, and got, a sanity check.

Peter - posted on 10/20/2014

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Your suggestion that I should have talked it over before is a sound one. I let her know of the impending visit as soon as I my ex made the request, a week in advance. We spent many hours going over it. I was was willing to compromise in that I'd rent a car for them and thus would not have to spend all the time with them. But I insisted that I'd pay for the rental. You are right that playing the role of a good host to my ex was important to me for the sake of smooth relationship between all parties involved. Having my kids not see me as being a jerk to their mom was important. My girlfriend thought me paying for the rental was "unacceptable", so I dropped that idea.

Chet - posted on 10/20/2014

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Okay, that was what I figured. You sounded like a very reasonable person in your post.... like exactly the sort of person who would give the two guests his room, and who would sleep on the couch.

Your girlfriend isn't alone. Lots of people wouldn't want their boyfriend to host his ex in any capacity. And some people might be weird about the ex setting foot in the boyfriend's bedroom. And some people might want the boyfriend to just give his ex a place to sleep, and to not spend the weekend playing the good host. That doesn't make it right though. Those people are often some combination of possessive, insecure, controlling, suspicious, immature, petty, etc.

What you did was reasonable and logical.

All the said, you could have talked to your girlfriend in advance and tried to help her understand. It probably would have been better to sort things out in before rather than trying to do run damage control after the fact. Maybe it would have helped to include her during the weekend. I don't know.

So many kids from divorced families feel incredibly torn between their parents, and they have parents who do a really terrible job of putting their differences behind them (or aside at least). Your kids are lucky, and it would be terrible of your girlfriend to spoil that for them.

Peter - posted on 10/20/2014

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Thank you very much for your comments. To clarify, I let my ex and her mom use my bedroom suite during their stay, while I slept on the living room couch.

Chet - posted on 10/20/2014

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Your kids are fortunate that you and their mom are on such good terms. I don't see anything wrong with having them stay with you, or with your weekend being consumed by their 40 hour visit. Your reasoning makes sense. Again, your kids are fortunate that you can all get along so well.

I don't completely understand the text from your girlfriend though. Who slept in your bedroom?

I don't see anything wrong with you sleeping on the couch and giving your ex and her mom your bedroom if that's what happened. If you and your ex shared the bedroom while the mother in law slept on the couch it would be fair for your girlfriend to be upset about that. That looks a little too friendly.

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