I may make myself unpopular so I apologise in advance. Nothing personal meant at all.
There is an on-going issue with contact which is being dealt with by the courts. There is a new partner on the scene (you) and you say that the ex is accepting of this. Swimming is a problem - I agree with this - mum has played games and made life difficult. Dancing seems different, on the face of it. An opportunity has arisen and she took it, on behalf of her children. She may have taken it because she could and knew it would spite her ex. More likely, she had to make a quick decision about it and so did - because she knew in all eventuality, dad wouldn''t mind (you have said as much). Mum has re-organised the weekends so that dad still gets his full time with the children. But she is now under-fire because that somehow means dad is missing out. Dad can turn up, on his own (or with you if he really wants, I guess) at the dance thing as it''s a public place and his children are there. He''s as entitled to turn up as the next person. Mum is not going to kick off in public and if she does well that would be great ''cos you''d have a bunch of witnesses for court! I fail to see a real problem here.
You want mum to treat dad as an equal. You want her to consult on what you consider to be important. She may not see it that way - deliberately or otherwise. You have refused to accept that there is a possibility that mum has tried to do the right thing with re-arranging the weekend,despite several people making the suggestion. You see her only in the negative and refer to her in deeming terms (''narcisistic psycho'' and you suggest she has a ''personality disorder'' - is either you or your partner qualified to diagnose that?).
CJ - are you part of the problem? Are you so caught up in being supportive and wanting your partner to have the best relationship he can with his children (fair enough) that you are adding fuel to what is clearly an already burning fire? Are you winding your partner up with your indignation that he''s not being treated properly and in turn, causing on-going negativity between mum and dad? Can you take a step back, do you think? If you take a step back, or try to redefine your relationship with your partner and his ex (passive bystander and supporter rather than an active supporter?), would there be any positive change?
I say it regularly - I hate new partners posting here. I hate it because it always feels like the new partner has got a bee in his/her bonnet about the ex and is trying to get support - fuel for the fire - which in turn gets the partner riled up and ready for a fight that perhaps otherwise wouldn''t have happened. It''s great to have someone on side, it''s great to know that someone thinks the same as you, and that helps turn small things into big things and bigger things into enormous things and then we''re at full scale war....
I am not suggesting that mum is ''right'' here - I get the ''back'' story and I get that this has been a long fight which is far from over and it''s the children who are struggling in the middle of it. I am trying to offer a different perspective. What is they say - something about not being part of the problem but being part of the solution? can we turn this around to something positive and work with it, rather than against it? can we be supportive of mum (and surprise her) and talk to her positively and think about her positively and try to ensure all interactions with her are positive? can we praise the good stuff and ignore the bad stuff - like the naughty toddler and the naughty step? Would being positive about her yield a different response from her?
No offence taken but I must admit that I am taken aback as to why you have decided to create a new thread about me that in turn appears to be an excuse to attack or belittle ''new'' partners.
Firstly, I don''t class myself as a ''new'' partner as my fiance and I have been together for almost 3 years and we get married next year.
Yes mum has tried to shift weekends but did in such a way that she''s tried to convince him that he''s got his dates mixed up rather than just being honest. Mum offered him the weekend before the dance show but wants them returned early. Also the weekend prior to this one he''s agreed to return the children early again so she can take them to a BBQ so for a whole month he''d rarely see them.
We are not talking about just these issues, the ex''s behaviour in relation to contact has not improved. My fiance had problems with conact before he even met me.
Despite this, Mum has offered both myself and my partner a ticket to the show, more as an appeasment really because she knows she''s changed and reduced quite a bit of my fiance''s time.
I also don''t have any input in my fiance''s dealings with the ex. I merely come on this site to help find advice for him because he works shifts and I just want to try and help him where I can. I have met mum and we went for a coffee once but once she got my mobile number she started sending me texts and I started also getting abuse from her mum. My fiance could not have reiterated to his ex that I am to stay out of any problems. I don''t wish to be a part of this ongoing problem nor compete with mum over the children. I am a bystander and just because I come on this site it doesn''t mean I''m an interferring fiancee trying to stire between my fiance and his ex. We are both desparate for a quiet life and I''d love for my fiance and his ex to be amicable.
With regard to speaking about her in a negative why - do you have any other suggestions?! She keeps breaking contact orders and frustrating contact. I can''t think of any nice words but plenty of swear ones!!!
My fiance and I have always encouraged the children to speak about their mum and my fiance is always polite to mum in front of the children. However, the sad thing is that this is not being reciprocated and the children are revealing things to us that leads us to believe that its not the case from mums end.
With regard to your suggestion about changing our perspective on mum, we have been giving her the benefit of the doubt for 3 years but it''s been a classic case of my fiance giving an inch and her taking a mile. I only wish that the ex could change her perspective of my fiance.
I would just like to point out two things - and also hope that I don''t cause offence.
First, however long you are with your fiance you will always be a new partner. I was with my ex for thirteen years compared to just over four that he had with my stepdaughters'' mother, but I was always his new partner, and that is just how it is. It''s a difficult position to be in. My ex used to complain regularly about his children''s mother and accuse her of withholding contact, arranging things at times when he wanted to see them, etc. but to be honest it was never as simple as that. You do need to try to see it from her point of view. I found that much easier once I had children of my own. I also have a much clearer view of things now that we are divorced and also now that my stepdaughters have grown up and told me their side of the story.
Second, I know you feel that she does this all the time, but believe me, these dance shows are a real pain for all concerned, and more or less unavoidable. All dance teachers run them, and all children who go to classes are expected to take part. It''s not something you can easily say no to, either to the teacher or to your children. There is usually a lot of dressing up involved - in my stepdaughters'' case they always had to have several changes of costume which some friend of the dance teacher made and which parents were expected to fork out for. There were also numerous rehearsals which were also charged for. But the girls really wanted to do it, all their friends were in it, and as far as I can tell every girl in our neighbourhood has taken part at one time or another. So your partner''s ex will most likely have been landed with this just like all the other parents of children at the dance class. She may also think of it as an imposition, but she has to go along with it or the children will feel excluded. I think in this case you just have to be laid back about it, go to the show and tell the girls how lovely they are and how well they dance.
I agree CJ. I had no idea about the uphill battle that some (mostly) dads face to see their kids once the divorce battle lines are drawn. It seems incredible to me that a man can be considered good enough to donate the sperm (thus giving the kids half his character), look after them on his own, do night-time feeds, school runs, etc. yet as soon as the relationship breaks down he can be portrayed as a negative influence, a person who the children would not benefit from being around.
Fortunately I get to see the picture from both sides - I am the PWC of my daughter from my first marriage and the wife of a nrp. I think this gives me a much more balanced view. And I too resent this idea that ''new'' partners should have no voice. I have as much influence over my step-kids as my husband does, I cook for them, help them with homework, get up in the night when they are sick and use my money to buy them things. My step-kids wouldn''t have a relationship with their dad today if I hadn''t supported him and held his hand as he considered walking away from them after his ex made contact and any agreement so difficult and unpleasant.
There was never a doubt in my fiancés mind that he wouldn''t be going to the show.
As for new partners I feel like we''ve been put on trial here and I''m the first on the stand!
I''m also proud to admit that if it wasn''t for me my fiancé wouldn''t be seeing his children right now. I''ve been the rock he needed to help pull him through all the court hearings to date. He''d have walked away if it wasn''t for me nudging him along. I did it because he and his children deserve to have a relationship.
Interferring?....no. In love with my fiancé and want to see him happy...yes!