Need Advice!

Hoping for some advice here! I’ve lived with my boyfriend for 5 years. He has two kids with his ex-wife - a son (18, who lives with us full time) and a daughter (12, he shares custody). His son was disowned by his mom and has lived with us full time for 4 years. Hasn’t seen or spoken to his mom in that time. The 12 year old is at our house even when it’s not our visitation time. I understand that he had these kids before I was with him BUT the ex will text and ask if she can stay on HER weekend of visitation and my boyfriend says it’s fine. The ex is living a great life with her boyfriend and I’m helping to raise and care for their children. There have been many times when we have made plans on what is supposed to be her weekend and cancelled because on a Thursday the ex needed her weekend to do something else!
I need a kind way to discuss this with my boyfriend. I have 4 children of my own and 2 grandchildren so I get it! But I say either go to court, get sole custody and get child support for her or MAKE HER MOM ABIDE BY THE CUSTODY ARRANGEMENTS!! It ends up costing us child support and food while she’s with us so it takes additional money from our household!! HELP PLEASE!! AND THANK YOU!!

I’m not sure there’s a kind way to discuss this, but I feel your pain. When I first started dating my husband, his ex wife always had some reason why he needed to take the kids on her time. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time), explained that she felt “overwhelmed” by being a mother, but she was the one who demanded she have full custody, she is also married to a stay-at-home husband, so it’s not as if she’s just trying to do everything on her own. I made it clear to him that I was not the type of person who would just drop everything and change my plans, simply because his ex wife couldn’t be bothered to plan in advance (and no, these were not “emergencies”, she was going away on last minute trips with her husband). I told him that if he thought he wanted to live with me, then he needed to get out of the habit of accommodating his ex wife’s every demand. I carefully plan get-aways and other adult-centric activities on our weekends when I know we don’t have the kids and decline invitations for things on our weekends with the kids and feel that she can do the same. I honestly think it’s a power thing with her and I also think that it’s not my job to make up for the fact that she feels overwhelmed by being a mother. Right before he and I got married, she told him she thought we should take the kids for the entire summer once we had a house. He actually considered it, but I told him that there was no way that was happening without a change in their parenting plan. I pointed out to him that even if we took the kids for the summer, he’d still legally be required to pay her child support. I also pointed out to him that the parenting plan stipulates that she is financially responsible for all child care costs, so our taking them for the summer, would also be relieving her of that burden as well. That doesn’t even account for the fact that now that I’m officially stepmom, I become the parent in charge while the kids are here and my husband just acts like fun-time dad. Because of all of this, taking them for the summer was not even a topic of discussion this year after we bought our own house. I honestly think his ex wife might have changed her mind because she was worried the kids would like staying with us and then would want to live with dad full time, so again, it’s all about power and control. When she thought she could control him and use him as a babysitter, she did, but now that the kids might actually have a home with us, she’s starting to feel as if her position as primary parent is threatened. I think you’re in a difficult position because your boyfriend seems ok with the arrangement and you’ve been putting up with it for so long. My advice to you is to be direct about your concerns, but be ready for blowback if your boyfriend doesn’t see the need for change. All significant others who arrive on the scene after children are at a disadvantage when it comes to being a primary actor in your relationship. Any time you bring up something about the children, you can easily be painted as mean or just out to get the children. The same discussions would not provoke such feelings if the significant other were the parent of the child in question. I’ve stopped trying to get my husband to understand my point of view in many situations, because I know he thinks I’m just being mean to his children.

Okay, I am going to be the commenter that you hate and I apologize for that. While I understand your frustration… I feel for the child. She is the one that is made to feel like she isn’t as important by her mother. I could not imagine doing this to my child and it is unfortunate that anyone does. But, your boyfriend is her father and is trying to be there for his child not accommodate the mother. I applaud him for that. I am from a different situation than yourself, though. My children only go to their fathers for visitation weekends every other weekend and there is nothing more. He has a wife and her children and now their children too. I know he loves his children… all of them. But, dear ole step mom finds it difficult to be kind and hospitable to my children when they are there. She often times tells him they aren’t my kids. Or calls them “Her F****ING kids”. Her kids get things but his and my children don’t because they are not hers. He fights her and tries to defend the kids but knows there isn’t much he can do about it in the end. I don’t send the kids in the nicest things because their stuff does not come home with them and then they have to go without. All the negativity has left a huge impact on these children and has alienated them more from their dad and leaves me feeling helpless as I try to console them. So to me seeing a parent stepping up to the plate for their child regardless of plans, finances, or anything else is wonderful and refreshing. Regardless, I do agree with you also in the terms that he should try to get full custody so the child has the stability and is sheltered more. It would also help you both to establish a better foundation to help structure the child’s life so to hopefully be minimally impacted by her mother’s inability to adequately take care of her during her parenting time. You are a mother. How would it feel to you to know your child was going through that? What can you do to show your boyfriend that you support him and his child? Words alone doesn’t always relay the support as much as actions. If you are wanting things to change for a reason that is supportive to him he will listen to your sage advice and appreciate your input especially when it is in the best interest of the little girl.