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Divorce Issues/Inappropriate relationship

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Question
I have been dating my boyfriend for about 3 yrs now, last year we bought a house together and moved in. Well I always knew he and his ex wife got along but not to the point that I know now living with him. They have a 6 yr old son, he goes back and forth from both houses every other day. She will contact us through group text messages 2-4 times a day telling us how their son is doing or wants to ask how he's doing at out place. I've recently felt like I am in a relationship with their past relationship. I don't feel its appropriate to discuss everything about their child on a daily basis, am I wrong to feel this way? Sometimes it's messages about previous friends, or something she wants to share with him. I am having a hard time establishing a relationship with their son so her everyday involvement doesn't help me. Am I wrong for feeling like this?

Answer
It's an old story you've told.
I'm sorry that it's news to you.
The relationship between divorced parents of a 6 year old will be quite intense and complex.

And it makes good sense to ask, "why are these people divorced?"

I think your reading on the situation is quite accurate: "I am in a relationship with their past relationship."
Actually you've minimized it.
You are in a relationship with their current and future relationship.

Not sure about your feeling that it's not "appropriate to discuss everything about their child on a daily basis."
After all, that's what parents do

I suspect that the reality is even more complex than you've described.

They have a rich and complex relationship as co-parents, old friends, old lovers, ex partners.

If their son seems to exclude you from that family, that too is probably an accurate reading of the situation.
It makes sense. Often children are more protective of family boundaries than parents are.
It might even be the case that you are in a rivalry with the mother, your partner's ex for the primary position in his life.

I suspect this as long been the case and that the situation you've described isn't at all new.
I'm curious what gave you the confidence to buy the house with this man.
Did you then discuss his relationship with his ex, with his divorce.
How long had he been divorced at that time?
My best guess (without speaking to you further) is that you had an intuition about this arrangement and
for some reason you set it aside, or thought it was workable, or maybe just underestimated it.

But my hunch is that many more cards are on the table and you see what you have to deal with.

I bet it nagged at you for a while before you finally decided to ask someone about this.
I'd be curious how many others you spoke to and what they said.

My own sense is that you are seeing the reality of this and now you have to decide how to respond.
Also, there is a good chance that his ties to his ex and their child are as strong, or stronger than his ties to you.

I'd need to talk to you to help you figure out how to play this hand.
Let me know what you think and whether you want to talk with me.

Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D.  

Divorce Issues

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Philip Belove, Ed.D.

Expertise

Divorce is the beginning of a life review process. For many people, it`is the first intentional decision they make about their lives. The transition into the next stage of life is difficult at first, but it gets easier. The questions I can help you with: What happened? How do I take care of our children? How do I get over my anger? How do I plan a future for myself?

Experience

I am Philip Belove, psychologist and coach. My specialty is helping people do their midlife transformation work, a psychological project that creates a foundation for happy and satisfying second half of life.

Midlife Work, because it involves so much careful attention to inner truth, is notoriously stressful on marriages and on dating relationships.

The challenges of the midlife project are echoed in the typical questions asked me as a dating-at-midlife expert:

?Learning to reconcile what you say with what you do. This challenge is echoed in questions like: Why does he say this when he does that? What is really happening?
?Learning to create your own dreams instead of being the victim of someone else's. This challenged is echoed in questions like these: How do I say that I don't want to xyz? I've been lying about some things and what should I do now?
?Learning to live a life that suits you. This challenge produces questions like Is what I'm doing normal? What if my kids think I'm crazy? How can I say that this is starting to bother me?

A person doing Midlife Transformation Work needs to develop 1) A Working Vision, 2) Skills and Strategies to realize that vision, and 3) External sources of support for the project. My role for people is to be part of the support system. I help people clarify their visions, develop the strategies and skills they need, and I help them review their progress.


Education/Credentials
M.A. Counseling Psychology
Ed.D. Counsulting Psychology (Family Therapy)

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