BF and ex-wife are always chatting. How much is too much?

Hi there, I’m new to the group but am looking for some clarity and advice.

I have been with my BF from a year now. He has a 7 year old boy with his ex wife with whom he shares care. He is very protective of his son and so I have only recently been allowed to meet his son, albeit introduced as a friend and no PDA’s allowed a rule agreed by his ex and him) which I have been fine with as I respect his desire not to cause any upset to his son or rock the boat with his ex.

He and his ex message frequently about their son, and in general I don’t have a problem with this. I do find it a bit intrusive when we’re lying in bed for example and he’s messaging her but I figured if its about child care arrangements etc then fair enough. However the other evening we were out for our anniversary dinner and he was swapping photos with her. This made me feel really put out and when I told him how it made me feel and asked him if he could not do it when we’re together I was told in no uncertain terms that his son would always come first, that he has a great relationship with his ex and he has no intention of stopping messages with her at any time, ever. These messages were not essential info, just cute photos they were sharing.

So my question is - am I being a princess by asking him to restrict non-essential messages to times which aren’t our close times together, or am I onto a loser here where my feelings will always be ignored. My problem isn’t with him texting his ex per se, but with his refusal to consider my feelings.

@Superted No you are not being a princess! There should be some ground rules around the texting and photo sharing that take you into account.

To give him the benefit of the doubt… From his perspective he may be very nervous about the changes a new woman will mean to his relationship with his child. You may spend some extra time reassuring him before making any kind of request that affects the child. Just the fact that he took a year to introduce you to his child is telling of how protective he is of keeping the status quo. I understand taking it slow but a year is really slow. Usually by 6 months you know if your new paramour is a flight risk.

Keep in mind people do what they want to do. The battle cry of ’My child comes first’ is a stance taken by many a single parent. While there is some truth to the fact that raising a child is all consuming. It is also used as a lazy way of putting off a confrontation he doesn’t want to deal with. You say your relationship is only a year old. I’d heed this behavior as a red flag. It only gets worse from here. The fact that he was unwilling to listen to your concerns in a way that validated you is the real problem here. He may be still hoping something with his Ex Wife will pan out and is keeping you on a string. You really don’t know for sure.

After the first couple of years of divorce people attempt to communicate with their Ex the same way they did during the marriage. They want to be friends, go on vacations together, etc. Or on the toxic side of things they want to argue, control and bicker like they did while they were married. Those parenting approaches leave little room for anyone new. The reality is if you want to include another person in your life you have to be willing to make room and negotiate an arrangement that works for all parties including kids.

Asking someone to put some boundaries around when they text a photo to an Ex is not unreasonable. As you get deeper into a relationship there will be a lot more demands made of you including parenting his child eventually. You might seek out some step parenting forums specifically. Read through the issues people face so you can see what’s in store for you and if your love can weather the storms ahead. This forum has some good examples in the co-parenting section.

I’d ask the boyfriend for a serious heart to heart. Tell him how you feel. Be ready for him to break the relationship off or rage at you for wanting to explore the topic at all. Be ready to stand by your convictions and to walk away if you must. If he does either of those things it will hurt but it’s better to know than not know. You can make an informed decision about where you stand in his life and whether or not you want to share it with him. You will respect yourself and he will also respect you if it works out.

All the Best and good luck!

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Thanks for your response & advice. As I don’t have kids myself I worry that I’m not able to see his point of view.

What your boyfriend is doing to you is not too uncommon. Many women wait and see if things will work out. But really it’s up to you to tell him what you are willing to accept. The difference between you and another woman dating a man with kids is how much sooner or later she drew her boundary. It’s a fine line you walk. Talk to him too soon before there’s much of a commitment and he releases you off the line. Wait too long and you’ve trained him how to treat you poorly.

Hi,

so it turns out the texting between him and his wife is not a topic for discussion. Non-negotiable. We broke up.

@Superted I ran your situation by my husband as well to get a male perspective and he agreed that what Boyfriend is doing is just flat wrong. Boyfriend is still in an emotional relationship with the Ex no matter how he is trying to characterize it. Sometimes it takes a breakup to get that message to him. You actually are doing him a favor and the next woman to come along will benefit. It’s too bad it had to be on your watch. I’m sorry - ((big hugs))!

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Thanks for that. It’s a shame but at least I learned a lot & get to keep my self respect :confused:

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Non-negotiable

At least you got out fairly early. I just had this same problem in my 2.5 year relationship and we broke up. Boyfriend and his ex-wife had constant text communication all the time, not to mention he stayed at her house sometimes on the weekends for visits, and went places with her and their 8 yo daughter. His ex-wife was very intrusive and controlling. I tolerated it for as long as I could and, sadly, I discovered he was still leaning on her emotionally and bending over backwards for her. He had been revealing our personal relationship issues to her and treating her like his therapist. Of course, she was more than happy to get this gossip and make him feel like he could trust her so she could keep controlling him. Big no-no for anyone who is divorced. It was very hurtful and I felt betrayed. He acted like it wasn’t a big deal and called her his friend. I realized he wasn’t going to change his ways no matter how much I objected. He didn’t care about my feelings.

You should only care about the content of the conversation instead of being put off by just assuming or feeling they talk too much or share photos, you should just try to be sure they are after the kid or there may be other string’s attached and it’s until you are sure about that before you can judge you or your husband and you can only do that without access to his by hiring someone who is a professional in hacking to anonymously get you access to seeing his chat content’s and shared medias and call records without his knowledge and you’ll be able to track if he visit’s her on other days i think that will help make the situation clearer to you. here’s a contact if you’ll take that step just contact Thomas via email.
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