My Ex is Messing with Me and our Son

Question: Dear Luise: I need very serious advice. My ex who is my son’s father is having lots of problems in his marriage and he keeps telling me about them and how he regrets rushing into marriage. My problem is this is the very same man who cheated on me with this girl. After we were engaged to be married he disappeared, deserting me and our son in early 2004. He made sure he changed all his contacts so that I can never find him. I found out through rumors last year that he had gotten married to her. I never interfered with his life, made peace with what happened and told myself that I cannot hate him for not loving me the way I deserved, although it doesn’t excuse the way he treated me. I dedicated my life into raising my son and made a life of my own. Then late last year he resurfaced, said his apologies and I allowed him back into my son’s life. I kept minding my own business. With the recent bickering about how bad his wife is according to him, his friend told me the reason he wanted to make peace with me is because of the problems in his marriage and the truth is I hate the way he is putting me and my son in the middle of his problems. During the weekend he was supposed to have spent time with our son but due to his constant fights with his wife he cancelled the visit and decided to work. Mind you this was not the first time it happened and I am getting tired of him putting our son in the backseat whenever he cannot sort out his problems. He always looks so untidy, unhappy and tired, which makes me feel sorry for him whenever I want to tell him about how bad his behavior is doing to our son. So, how can I tell him this gently without being insensitive to his feelings? He is recently saying he knows he can talk to me because I am the only one who understands him. I know it’s emotional black mail. He had been diagnosed with stomach ulcers because of eating disorder. He has lost lots of weight. He is like a walking stick. Please help. Confused

Answer: Dear Confused: You don’t sound confused to me. You’re telling me what accepting his apologies is costing you and your son. I don’t see any confusion there at all. It’s very clear. The truth is you once loved this guy and it’s never easy to set boundaries under such circumstances. That’s what you’re up against.

This man has been grossly insensitive to your feelings and your son’s and yet you don’t want to be insensitive to his? Look at that more closely. Why? He gave you a raw deal some time ago. What is he giving you now? He’s unwell, unhappily married and unreliable. Whose fault is all of that?

This is a situation where you need to look at the consequences that come with letting him back into your life. The price is that you have to put up with his dysfunction if you want him even at the edge of your world. It sounds to me like you do. Please remember that it’s a package deal. You can’t change him or how he lives his life. And he’s affecting your life and your son’s in a negative way.

You need to look at the chaos that he creates and see if he offers enough that is positive to make it worth your while. You are responsible for putting yourself into the “middle of it” when you talked with him, and also with his friend, about his marriage. It’s time to face the fact that no one but you can decide whether to end his interference, modify it or let it continue. To call it confusing is to reinforce a head-in-sand attitude, when it’s actually your call. Blessings, Luise

3 Responses to My Ex is Messing with Me and our Son

  1. confused May 16, 2007 at 1:20 am #

    Hi Luise
    thank for a quick response. i have written to you few times and you have always shown a lot of wisdom in your responses thats why i trusted you will give me some guidance. however i dont think you understood what i was asking of you this time. maybe i should give you a little background.
    the truth is i did love this man one time in my life we were together for 9yrs i never dated anyone but him
    the reason i accepted his apology was not to get him back or a wishful thinking that the latter would happen, i was trying to allow my son an opportunity to get to know his father. so this move was not for me it was for my son’s sake. i am not sleeping with him or have given him a hint that i want him back because i dont. the truth is he is in my past and he will forever stay there. i have forgiven him but didnt forget.
    when he deserted us my son was distraught and confused he didnt understand why his father can vanish like thin air, i tried to explain to him in a way that could give him hope for a future with a possibility of living without a father he came to understand that after a year i could tell he made a lot of progress and that did made me happy, believe me when my son was going through all this pain i wished i can take his pain away i wished his father will just appear and be part of his son’s life as i didnt want him in my life anylonger, i made peace with the fact that he didnt love me although i felt angry and betrayed. the love that i had for him turned into hatred, i hated him more than i ever loved him, and the more i hated him the more i couldnt move on with my life because i couldnt trust anyman who come near me. i was so confused that i didnt know what to do with my life because of the humiliation he had caused me and my family, everyone i know felt sorry for me, my friends pretended not to be happy in their relationship but i knew they are just trying to make me feel better because they felt guilty to be so cheerful around me.
    one day i decided to just document my life when i was busy doing that tears were streaming down my cheeks i typed everything i can remember from the age of 6 until that day. i went to sleep the next day i went through that document when i realised how much i have allowed anger and resentment towards this guy controlled my life, i forgave myself for all the stupid mistakes i had done and i stopped blaming him and took responsibility for everything that happened in my life. so the only way i new i can move on was to lift this grudge that was weighing over my shoulders and take back the control of my life and in order to do that i knew i have to forgive myself and him and believe me i felt so relieved and alive, and everyone thought it was a phase and it wasnt it was a beginning of a new era in my life.
    thats why even himself he doesnt believe that i can just forgive him so easily and i told him straight that i didnt do it for him it was for my sanity, i cant keep ruining my happiness by holding grudges while he is busy enjoying his life God knows where.
    the friend i referred to is his best friend who is also my cousin the fact that we ended up discussing his marriage was not because i was prying he was just being concern asking me how am i coping with my ex because he is always so depressed this days if he is not giving me any problems or trying to worm his way back into my life and i innocently reminded him that he is married thats when that he told me what i said previously. so it wasnt intentional and that was last year a month after he had reconsiled with his child.

    please dont get me wrong,i feel sorry for him as a human being at the same time i want him to be a father to this child not behave like a spoilt brat as if he is my child or something. i am not that kind of person who just screams and let everything out like an idiot but i like to be firm with him so that he stops his whinning and behave like a father should. my boyfriend thinks he is remorseful and i must just be patient with him but honestly it feels like a burden to me. i am a very soft person who wants to see the best in people thats why i am asking for your insight in this situation, how i can handle him without my son feeling like i am chasing his father away or i dont want him to bond with him, i grew up without a father and i dont want that for my son. however i dont want him to have a useless father who continues bringing misery into our lives. by the way my son is 9yrs old thats why i feel he still need my protection and the challenge is that he is excited his father is back which scares me if i dont handle this well my son might loose it again.
    i dont want to change him and dont expect him to, but if he is saying he had changed and wants to be part of his son’s life, who am i to stop him? he is a lawyer and knows his rights as a father but i believe that as a mother i can put boundries so that my son and i can have some peace right? so please help me to handle this as civil as i can, i know he had treated us badly but if i behave like him and do the same will this war ever ends? for my son’s sake and my sanity i need your wisdom please.

  2. Luise May 16, 2007 at 7:35 am #

    Answer: Dear C.: I wish I could offer you more. The dynamics of your situation involve your having to work closely with a man who is very diffucult and in many ways, broken. Of course you feel sorry for him. Boundaries are very hard to set and even more so, I would expect, with a legal eagle. Your son wants and needs stability and consistancy…a role model. His dad would probably give those things to him if he could but he doesn’t have the personal resouces to do it. It sounds like this guy is being chased through life by the consequences of his own poor choices and has no idea how to change anything. His marriage isn’t working, he isn’t well, he doesn’t feel able to give his son what he would like to and he sees you in a different light than he did when he left you. This is all about him. He’s the only one who can modify any of it. Your job is to help your son love his dad no matter what kind of monsters are snapping at his heels. As a result, at nine, your son has to learn to take his promises with a grain of salt, and have back-up plans. You can help with that. Learning compassion is a life-lesson worth addressing. You can teach it to him by example and you can teach him how to cope, which you have done extremely well, the same way. Blessings, Luise

  3. confused May 21, 2007 at 2:56 am #

    Thank you Luise for all your insight, kindness and patience, I guess I will have to continue being a mother to my son, if his father decides to change for better tahnk God, if he doesnt tough luck. like u said i just need to equip my son with what i can so that if things dont turn-up the way he wish them to be, he will be ready to face anything. Thanks lot.

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