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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I left my ex husband 5 years ago, after 14 years. We have

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I left my ex husband 5 years ago, after 14 years. We have 2 sons, now 10 and 12. The ex has recently (2 months ago) met a lady he wants to marry in 3 months as her religion doesn't let them live together as defacto and she currently lives on the other side of town.

He has asked me to come to the wedding to bring our sons. They have met his new wife and her 2 daughters twice over 2 weekends and although they all get along, the boys aren't interested in being at the wedding. Given their ages, they don't realise the solemn occasion or what it means, just that Dad only wants them every second weekend now instead of every weekend and when they do visit Dad, its not just "the boys" any more. Mind you they are more than happy not to go there at all because he just used to do his own thing and let the boys "keep themselves busy" then complain about their fighting.

I told him I don't want to go, unfortunately the boys don't either. He said it is selfish of me and them not to do this for him, and it shows rejection of his new family.

I then told him he needs to explain to them why it is important for them to be at his wedding, what it means to him and how it will effect their future arrangements.

The boys are miffed at me for telling their Dad they don't want to go because he will now nag them until they do (and he will) - emotional blackmail is his specialty. He thinks they should just do what they are told and be there if he says so.

I don't want to cause trouble and am very pleased he has someone else to tell his troubles to (he used to ring me at least once a day to complaint about his health/work/finances, etc) and I would half heartedly listen just to keep the peace because he sulks and carries on, has even attempted suicide once but I found him and called the ambulance.

I just want it all to stop and am sick of appeasing him, even after divorce. Have I chosen the wrong day to take my stand? Should I morally be at his wedding to take the boys?

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating and confusing this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving and caring mom. You ex seems to be the type of person that is called today as "feeling entitled". In other words, if he wants something or something he wants seems right and justified to him, then everyone else is obligated to make it happen for him.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about.You are not obligated to make it happen for him. You are a good person who is used to people reciprocating: you're nice, they're nice back. Your ex is not like that: he expects that you should do this because he wants this. So, you are right to take this stand.

It is not the ex spouse's responsibility to bring his children to his wedding. He needs to arrange for trusted adults to do this. It is inappropriate for you to go to your ex husband's wedding. You are not friends. Your connection is strictly through the kids. It is in fact not healthy for you to be involved in his wedding.

The kids are going now old enough that you can explain to them that when they were little kids, you could make up stories. But they are now old enough where if they do not want to do something with their dad, it is between them and their dad. You can help them in terms of telling their dad, but you can't lie or pretend for them. They have to have their own relationship with their father. You know how it sometimes can be yucky, but he is their father. You can help them feel better and handle things better, but you can't lie and pretend for them. Why not, mom? Because as they are now old enough to have opinions and feelings that are their own, the lies and pretends grow and grow and it puts mom in the middle of their relationship with their dad. So, you're doing the right thing and stand firm.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX has helped me not feel guilty for not wanting to go.


My question is now, if he arranges for a trusted adult to get the boys to the wedding and look after them during the course of it (my main concern), am I obligated to make them go?


 


All they know about weddings is they will have to be still and quiet during a heap of babble they don't understand, then sit still in a restaurant for 2 hours after they have long finished eating.


 


I was forced to go to weddings as a child as I have many older siblings and found them torturous, no matter how much I loved the people getting married.

No, you have no obligation to force them to go.


You do have an obligation to make them either write to their dad or call their dad to let him know that they do not wish to come. You may want to help them with language of congratulations and they hope it will be a beautiful event, etc. if they want you to.


Then it's up to their dad to get them to be willing to go or not. That's his choice. It's not your issue, it's his issue.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

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