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Is my relationship with divorced dad disfunctional?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I'm 25 and have been with my partner for two years, known him for three, we met at work. When we got together I didn't expect things to become serious, neither did he. We got on great had fun together and I couldn't be without him. I knew he was separated form his wife and divorce paperwork was on its way, I also knew he had two daughters, 7 yrs old and 2 yrs old at the time, what I didn't know was how difficult things would get.

I met the children after 4 months; the four of us would spend a bit of time together, but not much at this point. He used to stay over his ex's house Tuesday and Thursday nights looking after the children while she went out, he would also stay over one night at the weekend for the same reason. I'd pop over some evenings when she was out and would play with the kids most of the time, while he cooked or used the computer. This was fine - I needed to get to know the children, and it was important to me that we got along because I envisaged their father and I having a long relationship.

In December 2007 I was in a car accident and off work for a month, I couldn't do much for myself, so my partner moved in to the house I shared with 3 friends who we both worked with. He stopped staying over at his ex's and instead came back to mine and stayed with me. When I got better he continued to live there with me until May when we moved in with my sister (she has a large 10 bed house). When we worked together I saw him everyday, we were in the same team for a few months. We have now lived with my sister for over a year, it was supposed to be temporary until we saved enough money for a deposit. No money has been saved as my partner has a fair amount of debt and spends roughly £700 a month paying it off (some of that is child support) then on top of that there is rent to my sister, food for the month and diesel for the car. If he runs out of money during the month then the remainder of my wages after bills, rent to my sister etc is shared between us. Since moving in with my sister the children have stayed with us for one night every weekend, and if that's a Saturday night (which it tends to be), we have them most of Saturday and Sunday too. He still goes to his ex?s on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he takes my car and drives himself home around 11.30pm. Or if I need the car in the evening, I go and pick him up from her house. He had a scooter, but it got stolen from outside his ex's house last summer. I loaned him £1600 to pay for his bike test and a motorbike when he passed. The bike needed headlights to be fitted so he could ride it at night, he began work on it but it remains unfinished.

We use my car to pick the girls up at the weekends and drop them home again, the ex does nothing to help, my partner's answer when I asked if she could share the driving was "I'm the one who moved 13 miles away, so why should she do it." There seems to be very little compromise where the ex is concerned. We live together but I only see my partner properly twice a week, and at the weekend which isn't quality time because the children are around. I have never had a problem with the children, I have never been jealous of them for the time they have with him, I think he is a wonderful father and gives more time to his children than a lot of other divorced parents (including his own, which is why I believe he tries so hard). On Tuesdays and Thursdays he goes to his ex?s after work and gets there at 4.30pm, sometimes the four of them have dinner together, unless she is on her way out, and then she goes out, he puts the girls to bed at 8 and stays the rest of the evening till she gets home. I have asked him before whether he could come home after the children are in bed? Their grandmother (her mum) lives four doors away! And he said no as it is written into the divorce that he has to have the children twice overnight during the week, and the ex is actually doing us a favor by coming home. I'm not familiar with divorce paperwork or custody agreements, but does that sort of thing happen?

Anyway I suppose the long and short of it is, we don't get much time together as a couple, and I suppose I feel his ex wife comes before me on his list of priorities. We don't really do anything during the time we do get, usually because there isn't enough money to go round. I don't get a say in when we spend time together either, him and the ex sort that out, I have asked to be included. For about 3 weeks he asked me whether there were plans for the weekend and what day I?d prefer to have the girls over to stay (Friday as it means we at least get Sunday together), but then that all went out the window, I mentioned it again, the pattern repeated so I gave up asking. Recently I asked whether we could have one weekend a month where we have the whole weekend to ourselves, his response was: "why do we need a whole weekend, and it could be inconvenient for Sophie".

Plans we've made in the past to do things, even when we have the money, end up getting cancelled. I booked a table at a restaurant for our anniversary (which he said was silly to celebrate as we weren?t married), but last minute he wanted to take the girls to Legoland that day, so by the time we got home we had an hour to get ready, but were too tired to go, so I cancelled the booking. Even on my birthday we didn't spend time alone together, it was sweet because the children wanted to see my on my birthday, so they stayed over the night before and woke me up in the morning with a room full of pink balloons a present and cards. Then we all went out for an evening meal, again it was nice, but not really how I wanted to spend my 25th birthday. I know presents aren't important, but my partner didn't get me one, or a card. He said he was going to take me to London to see a show. It is now June and we haven't been.

He told me he loved me roughly a year ago. I'd said it to him a couple of times before, and said I didn't expect him to say it straight away. But it?s something he's said about three times, actions may speak louder than words, but I think it's important to tell the person you love how you feel for them. He says it is difficult for him; from what I can tell he didn?t have very loving parents, his mother was never around, and his Dad left, I suspect this may have something to do with it. Is it expecting too much that after two years he?d be comfortable enough to tell me?! I sometimes say it, his response is "good", but in truth it got to the stage where it was upsetting not getting the response I expected, so I stopped. I wonder whether he was like this when he was married, I asked him but didn't really get an answer.

There was a period between November (my birthday) and New Year where I felt I may as well be alone because even when we were in the same room I felt lonely. Christmas was particularly upsetting for me, and I feel perhaps I was being selfish, which is something I try not to be as there is no place for it in this situation. In 2007 he spent Christmas Eve with the children till bed time and then he came home to me and we went for a few drinks with my sister and her husband. Christmas morning he was back with the children and came home at lunch time. We spent Boxing Day with his family. In 2008 my family decided to go away at Christmas from the 23rd-26th December. My partner could not come with us as he was seeing the children Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning as usual. My older sister and her husband joined us on Christmas day after lunch, my partner was invited to joint them, and to stay at the hotel too, but he declined. I spoke to him a couple times while I was away, but he never contacted me, and told me I was being stupid when I said I missed him. I suppose it was this which made me sit back and look at the life we would have, that we'd never have a Christmas morning together, well not for several years at least. We?d never be able to have plans just 'for us'.

We separated briefly in March becuse I was unhappy, I said to him that I needed more - more affection and more time with my partner.The plan was for us to give each other breating space so we could decide whether the relationship was what we wanted. He decided that it was right for him, and continued to text me, and email my brother-in-law and sister until I gave him an answer, I know he acted that way becaus he was worried, nobody likes waiting to find out if it's good or bad news, so after a mere three days of being apart we talked, got back together and he moved back in the following day. I know it shouldn't have happened, and we should have perhaps continued seeing each other but not living together. I was happy when he came hime though, because I thought things would get better, and they did, but before there could be any real change, things got back to normal, he gives me more hugs now, but all the big problems are still there.

The ex-wife can be difficult, I'm not sure whether she does it on purpose, but, she has never liked the fact that we are together, even though until recently she was in a relationship herself and had been for nearly two years, but she has apparently said that she is glad the children get along with me so well. But this doesn't stop her from causing problems. My partner and I pick the children up from her house at the weekend; normally I'd stay in the car, once I got out of the car as he came out carrying a lot of things. The youngest ran up to me and hugged me. The following week, my partner told me not to get out of the car because his ex had seen Lucy hug me and it really upset her. I was hurt when he said this because I felt that he was putting her feelings before mine. I asked him later if he understood why I was upset, and he said no because he isn't in my situation but I should understand how difficult it is for a mother to see their child run to another woman. He didn't understand my feeling, yet he expected me to understand hers. Even though I did understand I thought my partner could have called a middle ground. All I have done for the past two years is be understanding and flexible with time and arrangements, but Sophie doesn't change her plans to accommodate us like we do for her.

The thing is, as well as we get on, and as sweet and as well behaved as they are, I've noticed over the last couple of months that I dread the weekends and I feel agitated when the children are over. I don't let it show, I still care for them, but it?s becoming more difficult to cope with children being around, especially if I haven?t seen my partner much. I suppose the four of us do have a life together, but I don't feel like it's my life. My best friend is getting married this weekend, and my other sister and I have been very involved. The wedding has given me reason to leave the house, I don't see my friends often, but if I do I try to make arrangements for Tuesdays and Thursdays so I still get time with my partner. It has also provided an excuse to get out of the house at the weekends, and it means I get a weekend without seeing the children that much, or at all. I feel mean and cruel for thinking and feeling this way about two little girls, but I feel trapped and like life is passing me by. I'm only 25! I'm not sure if my partner has picked up on the reason why I've not been around, but even then, I only spent two Saturdays shopping for an outfit, I went out one night with a friend, and then I went away for a night for the Hen Party. He has been saying lately that he doesn't get to see me, as I'm 'always out, (I can count on one hand how many times I've been out since New Years), he took up golf with his best friend, and for a month went to the driving range every Wednesday evening, I never complained because I know he doesn't get much time with his friends outside of work, even though it meant another evening on my own.

I probably should mention that I have previously been on anti depressants, during college and university, to cut a long story short, I felt overwhelmingly lonely, despite having freidns and a boyfreind (not the one I have now). For the past year and a half I have been on anti depressants and anti anxiety tablets, initially because of the stress of work. I changed jobs a year ago, but I am still taking the tablets. I noticed an improvement when I left my old job, but around Christmas things changed. Some days are of course worse than others, and if I forget my medication I notice a difference. The past two months I have noticed a decline in my mood, and I feel on the brink of tears almost daily. I can't help but think that if this was caused by my pervious job, then I should be recovered by now. He said when we move out, which is due to happen before August (my dad has a house which we will rent from him); the girls may stay over ours Tuesdays and Thursdays too. A year ago I wanted it that way because it meant he'd be at home with me those evenings and not at his ex's, but now, after a year of having the girls to stay every weekend, I'm not sure I'd be able to cope having children over during the week as well, at the moment I'm finding weekends increasingly difficult. I suppose nothing is stopping me from going out of the house, except I think my partner (whether he is aware of it or not) sees me being tied to them like he is. I also don't want to have to leave my home every weekend, and it's not a permanent solution.

I do have thoughts about what my life would be like if we broke up, I?' miss him very much, I know he wouldn't stay in contact with me. He has been part of my family for two years, everybody likes him. But they aren't 'raising' his children. I imagine what life would be like if it were just the two of us, lazy weekends, trips out just for the two of us, money to go round for the month, no restriction on our time together, our whole lives ahead of us to plan for and experience together. But we'll never have that will we. I envy my friend who got married last weekend, I have known her and her partner since college; I have watched them buy a house together, helped them do it up, seen them get engaged and plan a wedding, everything in their lives is about each other, their future plans are for themselves and the family they will have together. My boyfriends birthday was the day before, he has been 'joking' saying that his birthday was ruined and it's my fault . I knew I'd be busy on his birthday helping set up the tables, and I had to go to the rehursal at the church, so I arranged for us to go for a meal a couple days before his birthday with some of his friends. On his birthday I was home by 7pm and we then went out for the eveing with my brother-in-law and sister. He has continued to make comments, but I think it is just his sense of humor, but should I defend myself he gets stroppy. At night I'll be trying to go to sleep and he'll agravate me by poking me or even spraying water on me with a handheld plant sprayer, at first it might be funny, but I say I've had enough, but he continues, then when I get annoyed and tell him to stop it he gets stroppy saying things like "God! you're in a bad mood.....is it that time of the month.....take a joke will you" he then rolls over and goes to sleep.

Sex doesn't really interest me anymore, in fact I find myself making excuses, usually I am tired in the eveings, but at the begining of our relationship I managed to overcome it, but not at the moment, I can't remember when things changed, I think it was around Christmas. He tries it on and even if I say I'm tired and say no, sometimes I even shout, he still persists. He'll pin me down and I'll say no, sometimes I laugh, but it's in disbelief that he is still continuing, of course that makes him think it's ok. He doesn't force me into it, we're a couple and sex is a natural part of a relationship, so I give in. He also keeps on about me doing other things to him, but I get nothing in return, which is ok as I'm not interested, but having to touch him etc when all I want to do is cuddle and watch a movie does take it's toll. If I don't do it he gets into a strop and says "oh you never do it anymore"....."makes me think you don't want me...." To start wityh I think I lost interest because there wasn't any affection being shown so whn he made a move on me I felt like an object and not a person he cared for, now I've lost interest all together - I know this is a bad sign. I've lost interest in boyfriends before towards the end of a relationship, it's always been a big part of relationships for me and when things go cold I know it's over. The thing is I always felt repulsed by my previous partners and couldn't stand to touch them or kiss them in any way. But with my current partner I still want to kiss him, even if it isn't a full blowen propper kiss, (that usually leads to other things), and I definately still want to cuddle up with him, but as soon as sex comes up I don't want to know. I don't think I've lost my sex drive, I still find men attractive, and I do feel frustrated, I just don't want to do those things with my partner. It's this which makes me think I see him more as a friend and a companion rather than a romantic partner. I still find myself getting jealous if he mentions other girls that I don't know, maybe it's a case of too little too late?

My friends don't know why Iim holding on to the relationship, they see me as being unhappy and unfulfilled. I saw a counselor for a month during January, and she told me that as a counselor she shouldn't say such things but shae said to leave him, that he sounded horrible and uncaring, and she said the ex-wife had too much power. He isn't horrible, he isn't cruel -he is just unaware and can be inconsiderate at times. My older sister says I should wait it out till we live in our own house together as having our own house will improve the situation. I worry though, if we do move into the new house together and set up the spare bedroom for the girls as intended, won't it disrupt them even more if we break up after the move and after they have stayed round? I also worry about what my partner will do; he'd have to go back to living with his Nan, and I think he'd be devastated by a break up because, despite everything, he has a good heart; a father as devoted as he is wouldn't have anything else. My brother in law thinks the world of him, but thinks he can be selfish when it comes to spending time with me, and he thinks my partner puts too much into the children. My brother in law said if he and my sister divorced he'd make time for my niece, but he wouldn?t devote his life to her like my partner does, as he?d need to have a life too.

I'm terrified I'm going to make a mistake, I could give up someone special or waste years of my life in the wrong relationship. I feel utterly confused, and then I have moments of clarity when I think I can do this, I can be in this relationship, but then I have moments when it's all too much and I see my life passing me by and I'm not willing to settle for a compromise - So what's stopping me? Sometimes I recognise that I'm not happy, and that this relationship is never going to be what I want it to be, but I can't seem to muster the courage to break it off. I don't want to hurt him, I know it will, and staying with somebody just for that reason would be wrong and unfair. I feel lonely as it is, but if we break up, I'll really be on my own, and that scares me, not just because I'd be single, but on some level because I don't want my depression to get worse. Is this relationship disfunctional, or is it me??

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    get out, while you can, too much baggage on His side and it aint going to change. You are young and can still have a good life, dont become a downtrodden drudge just to keep a man in your life, hell there`s millions of them out there Girl
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks

    Hi Joolz, thanks for replying, I know I wrote quite a lot, which I know can be off putting, I just needed to get it all off my chest.
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