B writes: "Heyyyyyyy! So, here's my question: I have the most awesomely wonderful man in the world. We're talking the type of guy who melts when I burp (errr, other things) because he feels that it's a sign of how open we are with each other. The hang-up is that his first run at love was a miserably failed marriage to one of the most truly awful people on the planet, albeit with two amazing, gifted, beautiful, madly-in-love-with-their-daddy children, who are a shining light in a bad situation. We've been together for more than two years, and it's been up and down. I love him to death, but having the ex in the picture as minimally as she is still so stressful. She uses the children to beat him down emotionally, makes false accusations of abuse, she won't let the kids play the sports we sign them up for (she just refuses to take them when it's during her parenting time), has her attorney attack us with anything her imagination could possibly come up with, and refuses to allow the children to grow up by keeping them in toddler car seats when they're too big for them, refusing to take off training wheels from their bikes, refusing to teach them how to tie their shoes -- anything that makes them dependent upon her, she will force them to continue doing. It makes life hard on us because we want the kids to learn and grow and explore, but their time with her makes them completely terrified of anything new or unfamiliar. BTW - a psychologist diagnosed her with this disorder that basically says that she does things to the kids to try to make them dislike their father (parental alienation syndrome) so I'm not just being the typical ex-hating girlfriend, but the diagnosis is basically useless; it doesn't prevent her from continuing to do all of those things. It takes a huge toll on our relationship, as does her constant, round-about ways to try to stay involved in my man's life (besides child-related issues). I love, love, love him...but does it get better? He deserves to have a happy, healthy, supportive woman in his life, but the ex's charades totally bring me down and I struggle to resist getting angry when he does absolutely nothing wrong. We have tried killing her with kindness and it's no use - she's alive and mean as ever. HELP! Give me some hope!!!! Or at least some relief that others deal with these situations and get past them! Love, B."
Hovercrafty: At the age of nine, my husband's mother behaved exactly like this when his dad married his current wife. She went totally ballistic by preventing him from participating in sports, having a healthy relationship with his father and new bride, growing up to be a well-adjusted kid and adult by going so far as to unnecessarily place him in special education classes. In due time, he wised up. My husband realized what parenting truly was and how it should feel. His dad and step-mom did exactly what you guys are doing now: kill her with kindness and be involved in the kids' lives as heavily as possible. Never talk bad about your man's crazy ex to the kids. That is their mother and regardless of how much you hate her, they will ultimately make their own decisions about her, good or bad. In the end, my husband now has a wonderful, flourishing relationship with his dad and step-mom; she is now the only one he calls Mom. He saw through the crap and horrible childhood experiences to realize who his real family is. Patience is a virtue even though it may feel impossible to exercise at this juncture.
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Janetor: Unfortunately, your only recourse may be to do things through a lawyer/the authorities. Document EVERYTHING and present it to CPS/authorities/etc, and continue killing her with kindness and reasonable behavior. She seems to have legitimate mental issues that are affecting these kids psychologically, emotionally, and developmentally, so the courts should NOT continue to let her have custody.
Found of You: If she's putting them in improper car seats, that's endangerment right there. They should photograph that.
One Ring to Rule Them All: Hiring a Private Investigator is a good idea. It might come up with other things that you didn't imagine. I also wonder if taking statements from previous coaches or teachers might be a good idea. And to look like you're not just trying to make her look bad to a judge, find concrete rebuttals to the allegations she's made. Also, and I'm not a mother, but taking real stock of what you're doing might be a good idea so that you can deflect anything she might say. Finally, if you love him and KNOW he's the one and are super devoted to him and his kids, maybe consider getting married sooner rather than later. If you're looking at his ex and are ready to deal with her forever, it's something to think about. But if you're looking at his kids and ex as a way out of this relationship, then he doesn't need you around.
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