Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families.
I think you have all done a wonderful job in working together to suit the needs of all involved.
you have been through a lot together as a couple and as an extended family unit.
I think because you have done a wonderful job of all integrating so well with each other that he may find it easy to say yes without checking with you first, but I see it as more for the children than to placate his wife.
I don't view you as the outsider or second best at all....you sound like a terrific woman who has helped heala lot of things and bring this family together.
I can understand that it feels slighting and i do believe there is a way to talk with him about it without it erupting into big blow outs.
I might also suggest that since you have worked so hard creating such a great dynamic for all that you extend a little leeway to all. I dont believe you want the dynamic that you have worked so hard to build to fall apart over these "minor" issues.
I dont see you as unreasonable but it may just be a matter of changing your framework about it all.
tell me your thoughts so far
thanks for the advice so far. I feel betrayed that he has let me down on a promise yet again , and doesnt seem to think it is a big deal. I have asked him to either cancel the arrangements or allow me to come with, to show that although he has made a mistake, that he puts me first before his ex. I have also sugessted that we pick up the kids together but she make her own way home from the airport. she is a grown woman, how has she not arranged travel home from a holiday? I know i sound angry but i am, it's the principle at stake here. I feel that if i just let this wash over that he can use the same excuse of 'i forgot' for the rest of our lives. I am not overly comfortable with him having a little road trip with his ex girlfriend (not wife), and kids, but had he had the courtesy to speak to me about it first i would at least have felt respected and valued and we could have worked something out. as it is i feel he has gone behind my back and excluded me from the 'family unit' and therefore needs to now rectify the situation by putting my feelings first.
I understand all of what you are saying i truly do. sometimes we create things that i call internal constructions...meaning that we give meaning to something and it remains true for us....so in this case you feel that if he does this that he puts his ex first and not you. That meaning lingers for you and causes these terrible feelings. the other way you could go on this is to say, what a wonderful Dad that he does this for his kids. Remember that he is with you and not her! I am not saying you dont discuss your feelings with him but maybe in a different way....such as...
"Honey, I love you, i think you are a terrific Dad, we have built a great relationship with all of us. I know you say you forgot to tell me, and i accept that, but when you do that I feel second best. It may sound silly to you, but that is how I feel, so please next time think of me too. Can you do that for me?"
yes, I agree, but the problem is that we have had that conversation so many times, that i feel it has become meaningless. when he says 'sorry' but does the same thing over and over, how long do I take that for? I know that he is not the best with memory, but feel that it is his responsibility to manage that effectively and not use it as an excuse. to use an extreme example, its like me being unfaithful to him and saying 'sorry, i forgot i had a boyfriend... don't make a big deal out of it' (not that i have ever been unfaithful). I don't want to split up over this after everything we've worked for, but also don't want to have the same arguements over and over. do you think it's unreasonable for me to ask him to make a gesture in this situation that shows it was a genuine mistake and that he puts me first?
your extreme example of you being unfaithful shows me how deep this wound is for you because clearly he is not being unfaithful but that is how heavy it feels for you.
Do I think it is unreasonable to ask him for a gesture? I wouldnt say unreasonable, but maybe unnecessary because it feels more like punishment.
you are his number 1 and these things exist ALL the time when there are kids involved.
not easy for the one who always has to accommodate and I feel for you, but I dont want you to throw it away over this.
I would keep talking to him about it with love and understanding rather than arguing.
I am all for you advocating for your needs around this and yes it is tiring because it is the same old thing but I think at those moments when she asks him these things his natural reaction is to say yes first..also not uncommon
in terms of the gesture....I might say I would love to go with you and I hope you will consider that.
I did sugesst that but also said that i did not want to sit in the back seat making small talk with amber....i would want to sit next to him. I realise that seems petty, but this is part of the problem. where i once was on friendly positive terms with amber, i now feel threatened and jealous of her by the way he puts her first. He insists that he wants one of the children in the front seat. I understand that but have said that therefore its either me or amber in the car, his choice. he chooses her
Your feelings are not petty i am just offering some views for you to feel secure in your position. They are not together and you are.
either way now you are going to feel slighted...if you go you feel slighted being in the back seat and if you dont go you feel slighted.
so how can we help you to let some of this go and continue working on the larger issue of his giving you the respect that you desire and deserve around this?
then surely he should cancel? it was supposed to be amber's partner dan picking them up, but he is now 'busy'. Surely he should not be making other plans when he has arranged to be picking them up? why sould our relationship have to suffer yet again to accommodate them?
I understand that and i can only answer that by saying because they are his kids.
your feelings and your position is not uncommon and i just want you to feel secure in things no matter what he decides for his children as the two are unrelated.
yes, they are his kids, but she is not his girlfriend any more. he has a responsibility to them and to me but not to her. as i said, we can pick up the kids together and she can make her own way home.
ah that sounds a bit harsh, no? That would have the kids feel awful.
why cant i sit in the front seat then?!
if you were saying to me that she was on vacation without the kids and dan couldnt get her and he was going that would be a different story.
she is so irresponsible. I'm sorry for venting but that's why i came to this page as i felt i had no one else to talk to.
You do not have to apologize at all. I truly understand what you feel and I am wanting to soothe that for you.
sometimes we all find ourselves fighting against things that end up still hurting us.
these relationships can be very complicated
but remember you built a friendship and understanding with her so let it continue to flow.
she booked this holiday then said she couldnt afford it and mat gave her £400, when he just borrowed £500 from me for the rent! not that that's really part of the issue but it still grates...as long as he continues to placate her she will continue to take advantage
and that is above and beyond and awful for you to deal with.
If it gets too much for you then you have the option to leave this relationship.
but if you decide to stay then these issues will most likely always be there and it will be up to you to continue to advocate for what you need.
well that's just it. how many second chances do you give? how many times do you accept sorry without any change? when do you say enough's enough?
when you cannot take it anymore...when you know that your tolerance has been used up. When you feel like you just cant do it anymore.
we all have a limit and you will know when yours has been reached.
Its that 30 something conundrum, after 10 years on and off, I want children myself, if we end this now i feel i have wasted all these years on him and lost the opportunity to have children
You still have time to have children but I understand that pressure. You are in a tough spot for sure and the best thing is to keep advocating for what you need around it....it may just need to be that this will be the hot button issue.
what does hot button issue mean?
it gets old but it just may be that way...this is a tough one for him clearly and whatever choice he makes "hurts" someone.
hot button meaning that it will continue to appear and continue to stir these very deep emotions for you.
but I dont see you as second best.
so why is it always me that is the one that is hurt? that's how it feels, that he would rather fall out with me/end our relationship, than risk an arguement with her
so common when there are children involved...easier to hurt the girlfriend rather than upset that balance.
but it still doesnt mean you are second best it just may tap into something in him that he wants to be the good guy and the good dad.
so why have a girlfriend then, thats what i don't understand. if his loyalties will always lie with his ex, why bring another person into the equation?
his loyalties lie with the children, but that doesnt mean he doesnt care and love you.
he may feel caught at times and wants to do the right thin by his kids and in these situations there is the potential for hurt feelings so my goal for you is to advocate for what you need but also gain some undrstanding for the complicated situation.
so do you think i should just let them have this little road trip together without me and swallow the hurt yet again?
I think the best thing is to give him the road trip but never swallow how you feel. So I would let him know you are hurt by him not discussing it with you and you hope things change moving forward
and if this stuff continues then you will know when you cant take it anymore.
come to me anytime for more support.
I am here to listen and help as best I can.
can I support you further now?
thanks for your time and advice
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