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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5578
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am in love with a very decent, honest man who has an ex wife

Resolved Question:

I am in love with a very decent, honest man who has an ex wife who rules our life. We have been together 8 years and our only source of conflict is the ex. She goes from man to man, out all the time, and every plan she makes, changes it 2 or 3 times, which change OUR plans due to the kids. She goes out of town for days, last minute notice, and he never says no. He is an excellent father yet over protective and claims he says yes because he doesn't want to take a change that the ex tells his kids "your dad's a jerk because he won't take you this week" therefore, SHE rules our life. I love him, he's a great guy in every way except giving in to the ex on everything. HELP?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

How old are the children?

 

 

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
13 year old girl, 17 year old boy. The 17 year old boy is developmentally delayed slightly but they both are able to be alone during summers, etc....I might add that he babies them quite a bit. For instance, tonight he is taking the boy at 7pm to drivers ed and feels he must pick him up early to FEED HIM because he doesn't know if they have food in the fridge. This mom is a teacher, makes good money, always shopping, pedicures, etc....and there is food. It is more that he feels if the boy won't PREPARE something, then he won't eat. His obsession with his kids is a bit overwhelming at times. But again, he is a good man, honest with integrity and dependable. How can I get past this one issue that I cannot see will ever change? Thank you so much.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Tried to reply but it isn't going through. Please let me know if you got my answer to your questions. Thank you.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

It sounds like to me that your boyfriend is putting his ex and his children before you. I can understand your frustration with his behavior.

 

He is trying to keep the peace and make sure everything stays calm. It does support your feeling that he does not like conflict. However, he is creating conflict with you by acting the way he is. He is putting you last on the list in this situation, which is not where you should be.

 

The children are old enough to understand that their father is not a jerk. So your boyfriend's fear behind his ex convincing the kids of this is incorrect. The issue here is that he is not willing to stand up to his ex and set down rules. If he fears her retaliating, then he could talk with his attorney about his options before he confronted her.

 

The focus here should be between the two of you. Your relationship should be primary. Do you feel he is willing to see a therapist with you? You may want to suggest it. Your relationship is long term, and you have a good relationship that is definitely worth working on. Talk with your doctor for a referral or search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/.

 

It also sounds like your boyfriend might be a co dependant. You are getting a glimpse of what his wife might have been like when they were married. He may have felt controlled and she probably imposed a lot on him. He may have been the glue that held the family together until the divorce. If he has co dependency issues, he will have to be willing to realize it so he can get help. Here is a link that describes co dependency:

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/codependency

 

Let me know if this information works for you, or if I can help in any other way,

 

Kate

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I thank you for your response. There is no way he would consult an attorney because this woman would get even by way of the children. He cannot risk this because those kids mean the world to him. I love him and would not want him to risk this. I guess what I am really asking is this: is there any advice you can give ME to help ME deal with this until the children are older and are not in need of care thus limiting our contact with her? I am 52, divorced after 27 years of marriage to a man I really never new, didn't talk to me, etc...THIS man listens to me, I mean really LISTENS, he is so funny, keeps me laughing a lot, he is a Christian and we attend church together, talk about religion, sports, you name it. He is my lover, best friend, companion, etc....all wrapped up in one. I don't want to leave over this one thing, yet I don't want to be wrapped up in knots all the time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I thank you for your response. There is no way he would consult an attorney because this woman would get even by way of the children. He cannot risk this because those kids mean the world to him. I love him and would not want him to risk this. I guess what I am really asking is this: is there any advice you can give ME to help ME deal with this until the children are older and are not in need of care thus limiting our contact with her? I am 52, divorced after 27 years of marriage to a man I really never new, didn't talk to me, etc...THIS man listens to me, I mean really LISTENS, he is so funny, keeps me laughing a lot, he is a Christian and we attend church together, talk about religion, sports, you name it. He is my lover, best friend, companion, etc....all wrapped up in one. I don't want to leave over this one thing, yet I don't want to be wrapped up in knots all the time. Is there some advice you can give to help ME deal?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.
I understand. Thank you for telling me more about your situation. It helps me to give you a better answer.

Yes, we can focus on you. It is actually a very good thing that you want to do that because often times, people will try to change their partners and that is very difficult to do.

How do you feel about leaving the situation whenever your boyfriend needs to deal with his ex? For example, when she is supposed to get the kids or have contact with your boyfriend can you have something planned like a couple of hours out with a friend? Giving him space to deal with his issues will keep you out of it and therefore you will feel less stressed.

Take some time with each other that is special and away from the drama of the situation. If you feel it would work, try going on a short getaway. This is for the intimacy as much as it is to deal with the the stress of coping with his ex.

There are also some books that may help you. Although they are mostly for someone marrying their boyfriend, they have good tips and ideas for your situation as well. One is called Ex-Wives and Ex-Lives: Survival Guide for the Next Wife by Paula J. Egner. Another is How to Marry a Divorced Man by Leslie Fram. And another one is The Single Girl's Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids, and His Ex-Wife: Becoming A Stepmother With Humor And Grace by Sally Bjornsen. You can find these on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

Be as supportive as you can, but also find ways to help yourself with the stress. Go out with friends, get a massage, see a movie, take a day off and just go for a drive, learn yoga or meditation or other things you find that help you feel relaxed and happy. It is hard when things are out of your control, but remember, this too shall pass. One day (very soon!) the kids will be adults and the ex will no longer be in your life as much and will no longer have any control over your schedule. Take a deep breath and keep in mind that you have a wonderful boyfriend, a great relationship, and much to look forward to.

Kate
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

I haven't heard back from you. Do you have more questions or need clarification?

 

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry, having computer issues. First, this will not be published on the site, will it? She would know it is her I'm talking about.

I appreciate the advice. It is so difficult to not get upset after dealing with her for 8 long years. He swears he is not putting HER first, but that he does this for the kids. We went to counseling a while back with our Pastor who didn't give us the best advice. I doubt he would go again, nor can we afford it. In your first email, you said he was putting her first. If this were actually the case, I don't want to stay with him. But since he swears it's about the kids and not pleasing her, how can I be sure? He is honest and never causes me to mistrust him but....

Thanks
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

No, this does not get posted on the JA site. Your question only shows up on my account.

 

I mentioned that your boyfriend might be putting his ex first because it might be a possibility.

 

Because I cannot see you or him face to face, I was putting that possibility out there just in case you felt that was accurate. From the information you gave initially, it seemed like it might be.

 

But after talking with you, I realized that your boyfriend might just be trying to survive this situation and keep the peace. If you have talked with him and that is what he is telling you, that probably is what he is doing. If he has never given you a reason to mistrust him, then I would go with his explanation until you have reason to believe otherwise.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5578
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
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Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.