Anxiety Support

Relationship question

Looking for some advice. So I been with my fiancé now for a year and he has a daughter with his ex wife. There is so much drama with his ex that it seems to be causing problems in our relationship. There are times we won’t see each other for over a week at a time we don’t live together yet. Even though they have a custody agreement she is constantly calling to drop of there daughter and leaves her for days on end. I have yet to meet his daughter she is 3 and this is another issue I am having since he has been around my kids since we started dating basically. I always get thrown on the back burner because he never says no to his ex and it seems like my feelings never matter but when it comes to his ex even though she constantly causes drama she always interferes with our plans and it’s putting a strain on our relationship. He does not see it the way I do. So question does anyone have baby mama drama and how do you deal with it? I feel like we are never going to be able to move forward like she still has full control of him and she will always give him a problem feels like we will never move into together or become a family. I need help because I don’t know how much more I can take this I cry so much all the time when he’s not here. Mind you we have not spent a single holiday together because she always finds a way to ruin that also. Then he tells me he’s going out with friends for New Years instead of spending it with me!!!

1 Reply

Hi Tiffany1979,

This blog is part of a bigger article written by psychologist and book author Felicitas Heyne.

Partnership ends - parenthood never does

The conflict potential grows where children are involved. Partnership ends - parenthood never does! At least in this respect the new partner will always be linked to his or her “ex”.

Understanding this responsibility I am not permitted to infringe upon or worse, reject it. Numerous studies have demonstrated that despite separation, for children good parenthood is more important than almost anything else. This also means that the “new person” will more or less immediately be subjected to sharing all sorts of obligations and limitations – shared weekends and vacations and with that divided attention when the children live with the other partner or even a complete patchwork family with all of its challenges.

Since especially in the beginning of a relationship one prefers to have a level of privacy with the new partner, that is often not easy to deal with and it doesn’t get any easier because the beloved kids who are also dealing with their very own loyalty conflicts frequently have trouble establishing their personal relationship. It is difficult to maintain the equilibrium between the syndrome “bad step father”/”bad step mother” on one hand and the totally exaggerated engagement often in competition to father or mother on the other.

Whether in every day life or planning the vacations or even in questions regarding their upbringing, one will always have to deal with the ex wife’s or ex husband’s influence on one’s own life. The financial consequences of a previous life on the present are frequently discounted. Unless one managed to catch a Rockefeller, child support and potential obligations vis-á-vis the ex wife tend to cause serious budget cuts. Last but not least endless legal battles also have the tendency to strain the nerves and bank accounts unless the issues involved have been permanently resolved.

With a view of these issues wouldn’t it be smarter to forego a relationship with a second-hand partner? Absolutely not, advise most of the experts. As a matter of fact second hand men (and naturally women) have important advantages. Where I come from we used to have an old saying: “ With the first wife the bench is planed, the second comfortably sits down on it.” A little simplified for sure, but it is certainly true that many whose first important relationship failed have learned from their mistakes and the second time around are better and more considerate partners. Most of all it is important to be aware of the consequences inherent in the existing situation. It is essential to communicate, to tell the partner about one’s own fears, frustrations and wishes without putting blame and together find solutions that are sustainable for everyone. For instance, the psychologist Angelika Fass advises: “Ask yourself why did the previous relationship fall apart if everything was super? That reconciles with the fate of the successor and contributes to the ex’s de-mystification or de-idealization.”

On the other hand, conversely the old systemic tenet applies: the old trumps the new - meaning that it must be assigned the place it deserves and that it cannot simply be swept aside (which is something one prefers to do in certain angry moments!). Otherwise something gets skewed in the final essence hurting the new relationship more than benefitting it. The important issue of having children together should also be openly addressed with the partner. There is always the possibility that for some this subject has already been “checked off” – tough in case that one would love to still have offspring. With all these obligations and activity collisions between the old- and new family, for the new couple time to themselves to give the relationship time and space to develop and grow in this dimension is absolutely essential. Otherwise sooner or later one burns out dealing with the frequently contradictory demands of every day life and looses the battle against the demons of the past.


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