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I feel I shouldn't move in til he sorts his children's visitation issue.

Tagged as: Big Questions, Dating, Family, The ex-factor<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (21 December 2017) 21 Answers - (Newest, 19 March 2018)
A female United States age 41-50, *neasy writes:

I have been dating my bf for 2 years now. we live separately for the moment he has his home and I have mine. He has asked me to move in his home but, I have declined at the moment for this story I will tell. he has 3 children 9,10 and 18. I have two 5 and 10 we do not have children together. He has been separated from his ex for about 6 years now and I going into the relationship did not see he was some what emotionally attached to his ex . This has been a quite an experience ..its been stressful for the fact that he had not set boundaries with her til the later part of this second year that ive been with him which has now caused her to stop sending his children she states they do not want to come and when he does show up on his visitation time the children again state they do not wish to visit with him. I feel she has brain washed them . He is not in any way a threat to his children. its been 8 months now that his children have not been over on their visit times. he has also, insisted on lunch or dinner and they have declined. So heres where I come in.. I do like his children and his ex I have never met her . he pays his child support faithfully weekly. He is good with my kids as well ..He has asked me to move in .. in the near future but, I feel he needs to get an enforcement placed on his child visit court order so his ex knows who the boss is ...the court paper.. he has seeked advice of an attorney but has made no effort to document nothing on his calendar as asked by the legal secretary. I know its on his time and if he wants to persue this matter but I don't know how to feel about giving this relationship more time if he doesn't put all pieces to this puzzle in order

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (19 March 2018):

One thing for certain, they love him and they were going to miss him eventually. I'm glad they came by too. Kids tend to get-over these things in their own time. They're stand-off couldn't hold forever!

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A female reader, uneasy United States +, writes (19 March 2018):

uneasy is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you once again for your great advice. I wanted to add that finally, my boyfriends three children showed up to his over the weekend . The oldest daughter drives and brought her siblings over for an hour. I was not there and I was so thankful the oldest brought them by. I don't know what the intentions were ... since they don't come on their scheduled visits with their dad.. I don't know if these visits just randomly will continue ... I'm happy for him they came by

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (6 February 2018):

The children are taking a stance to make their father come home.

I think this is going to get even worse as time goes on. The emotional-blackmail is being conducted and orchestrated by the older-sister and their mother.

At this point, they have been completely brain-washed; and assume they have some sort of power in this situation. As it seems, they have somewhat succeeded; but children at that age are not that resolute. Kids in their age-group do know something about manipulation; but they would normally miss their father and give-up. Unless they were being coached.

The objective is to make him stay with them, if he wants to see them. They will not come with him unless he takes their mother back.

I standby my previous advice. You would only be inviting this messy drama into your life and over your own family. This dysfunction is toxic and will only permeate through your relationship. Like the nasty roots of an invasive weed. His frustration would only become your frustration. It's already causing you angst and distress. You're competing in the background; and he's in an emotional tug of war.

For such young children, they are awfully stubborn. In-time, they are only going to hurt themselves; and the estrangement that has been placed between them and their father will backfire. For now, they are forcing him to choose between you, or them.

Once they realize he's not coming back in spite of their efforts, they will resent both their parents. Then starts a new phase of family-dysfunction. They will start to act-out in other ways, and become rebellious and get into trouble. That's one way to get your parents together, get into bad trouble. That would require both parents to be there; if they get kicked out of school, or get into delinquent mischief.

Keep your home and stay there. Continue to date him if you wish; but expect things to continue to get progressively worse. The children may require some family-counseling and therapy to help them cope and deal with the separation of their parents. I predict the mother will not allow that.

You're dealing with a very harsh and manipulative woman who is using her children as a weapon, and her daughter is her co-conspirator. Teenagers have great power and influence over their younger siblings; and can turn them against their parents with ease. They are excellent actors, and will appear to be disassociated with what's going on. Trust me, that girl is in it up to her neck!

You're a mother, you know how kids are impressionable; and so easily adapt or resort to a "gang-mentality." When facing-off with adults, they learn there's power in numbers. That's why it's so hard keeping them away from bad kids or gangs.

For now, you're losing the battle.

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A female reader, uneasy United States +, writes (5 February 2018):

uneasy is verified as being by the original poster of the question

hello again... thank you for your response . Just another update my bf went for his children this past weekend visits started on Friday at 6pm. they declined to come this day again they are 8 and 11 . The ex will not force them as she has said many times . He attempted on Saturday and again kids declined. I think my boyfriend will not pursue the attorney enforcing her . I think he thought the prior letter sent from the attorney in the beginning would help but it did nothing. So can I trust to move in with him and be Happy now. {MY BF DOES AND WILL CONTINUE TO PAY HIS CHILDSUPPORT} THANK YOU FOR READING.. ITS BEEN VERY FRUSTRATING..

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (30 January 2018):

Ciar agony auntI don't see anything here that would cause anyone to change the advice already given.

Your boyfriend has made some mistakes and he's going to make more and he's eventually going to learn from them. The same applies to his ex. Now that they have lawyers in place and are going through official channels, they will over time adapt to a better way to communicate with one another. This takes time.

You are still hovering and even when you don't say anything your opinions and feelings are the ever present elephant in the room and your boyfriend cannot think or act effectively if he's got your ongoing disapproval hanging over his head.

My advice is to keep your advice and your opinions to yourself unless specifically asked for them and when you do give them, keep it brief (but not curt) and stick to the facts. It might also help if you told your boyfriend that you have faith that everything will work out.

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A female reader, uneasy United States +, writes (29 January 2018):

uneasy is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hello again and I want to thank you all once again for all your advice. I am here again just to give an update and ask for your continuing guidance I know most say butt out and wait on the sidelines .. listen I will for the most part give this much when my bf does exercise his child visits I will stay away from his home and them him and his children bond. as of right now I wanted to give another update as to how the attorneys letter played out as she the ex finally received the enforcement . First thing my bf's primary language is Spanish and so is his ex's {please be nice} so of course the letter of enforcement was sent in English and she right away texted him stating that was it the children or her that were going to serve jail. His attorney is a Hispanic attorney {does not speak Spanish} his paralegal is bilingual .. I did get somewhat frustrated at my bf for him not insuring the letter get sent in Spanish. So continuing she texts he texts her back I'm sure

almost immediately texting all he wants is for her to follow child visitation agreement and that is what the letter is stating. She basically texted back and said your making your children hate you and if I go to court I will let judge know its their decision not mines. so this coming weekend he has another child visitation coming up and he informed me that he will call her again sometime this week to let her know AGAIN that he wants her to exercise the visits and that he will take baby steps to having kids stay over night like schedule states for a couple of practice weekends .. meaning he wont keep them

all weekend till they are ready to stay with him the full

weekend on his scheduled times {his schedule before was a

verbal one they never followed visitation schedule till I

guess I came in the picture he normally had them every week

from 3pm..thursday thru Saturday til about 11pm no stay overs per their mom } I just feel his attorney has already contacted her with the letter stating she needs to comply .. she can seek and interpreter to understand the letter or a trusted friend whom speaks English. not my bf

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (9 January 2018):

Ciar agony auntI agree with Honeypie, especially with the last sentence.

His lawyer is not going to go in guns blazing because YOU'RE annoyed and anxious to move forward. These things can be VERY nasty as he well knows. He has only just become involved and will proceed accordingly.

I think inserting yourself in this is only going to cause everyone more stress. Remember, OP, the only thing keeping you there is your feelings. You have no legal ties to him or kids in common which his ex does. It's not your place to take a tough stance here. They are going to be involved with one another for the rest of their lives so this is about ultimately resolving this, not satisfying your anger.

Butt out.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (9 January 2018):


"They know he wants to see them; and feel they are exercising their own authority by refusing to see him."

"They are pre-conditioned and stung by his first separation from the family."

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (9 January 2018):

It's very apparent that the 8 and 10 year-olds are being influenced and manipulated by both their mother and older sister. They're totally convinced you're behind everything their father is doing to their mother/family. They refuse to see him; as long as he is seeing YOU! You and your kids are forming a new family; while pulling theirs apart.

You have to see it through their little eyes.

The 18 year-old is their contemporary. Being closer to their age, she can convince the younger children that if they hold-out; their parents will be forced to get back together.

I don't think the mother alone could poison their minds so easily. Kids start to get suspicious when their parents turn on each other; but older siblings know how to reach their sensitivities and speak to them in a totally different language. They will do whatever sis does or says.

They've all formed a band of resistance; and have a small army to save their dad from YOU! They just want things back like they were.

Unless a lawyer is working pro bono; you get what you pay for. The attorney might want a larger retainer, if he takes on a full-blown court-case. First he's going into the bargain-bin and offering written-threats. Sometimes that's all it takes. Your boyfriend is purposely being careful about lowering the boom on their mother. They've been through a divorce; and the kids went through it with them! They're still traumatized! Before you showed-up; at least they were all getting along.

Be mindful. If she shows them letters that he's on the attack; it will only convince them to be even more adamant about refusing to see their father.

Younger children can refuse visits if they show signs of stress; or seem distraught over visits. They are definitely being coached, and fed misinformation; so they will invariably refuse to see him every-time he seeks visitation.

The problem now is the children are mind-poisoned. He should do everything behind the scenes with his attorney; but he should physically back-off a little on the kids. They know he wants to see them; and feel they are exercising their own authority by refusing to him. If he has to take it to court; it's what he has to do. I don't think your boyfriend wants to go that route; and if it weren't for you, he probably wouldn't have to.

I'm going to speculate that much of this is on your boyfriend. You yourself said he was acting pretty chummy with their mother. This planted the perception in the kid's heads that they were on the verge of reconciliation; until you came along. Then their mother and older-sister went into attack-mode. Younger kids do have their own minds; but unless their father is terribly mean to them, they don't turn on him so easily. Certainly not solely based on what their mother says. They go by what they see. They eventually start to miss him. They're too young to keep this up.

Don't forget. Unless they are abused or antisocial; very young children don't just turn on people without being hurt or frightened by them. To turn them against their dad, they have to be coerced.

Their innocent young minds can't hold-on to vindictiveness. Freezing-out their own father; unless they were given a daily-dose of poison from mom and Big Sis. They are per-conditioned and stung by his first separation from the family.

Mom is not acting alone! She has a co-conspirator who knows how to get into their minds using her youth to her advantage. Stop and think-back to being a kid. How one kid in the school-yard could turn nearly the whole school against another.

He was their father. They were happy and altogether once upon a time. He and their mom were starting to be civil to each other following their divorce. He was buttering her up and making her feel he still loved her; mainly so he wouldn't look like a dick for divorcing her. According to you, he still has a thing for her. Well, the kids think so too!

This baby-mama drama is going to take a toll on you and your kids. If you're stressed, your kids will be stressed too. My opinion is it would have been better to have met this man a few years after his divorce. At this moment, he's right smack-dab in the middle of family-drama leading to a court-battle over visitation-rights. He seems too broke for a good lawyer, and not really eager to hurt her anymore than he has to.

I hate to suggest this; but you might have to give-up on this one.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntThe lawyer might go a certain route - a "let's try and do this in a gentle way" before pulling out the alienating of the dad. That part is more for a judge to hear.

The thing is that the kids at 9 and 10 (the 18 year old can do what she/he wants technically) but the two younger ones are CLOSE enough to the age where they CAN decide certain things themselves. BUT they can not ( I think at this age choose NOT to see their father unless there is a VALID reason, the whole - "we don't like what he did to mom or we don't want mom to be upset or we don't like dad's new GF and her kids" none of those are valid reasons.

If (or should I say when) he starts having visitation again I think the BEST you can do for HIM (and his kids) is to LET them have these visits UNINTERRUPTED by you and yours. HE needs to re-bond (in lack of a better word) with his kids. As much as I get that you want to support him and support the kids - my advice to you is to LET HIM and the kids get time together WITHOUT you and your kids. At least to begin with.

Why do I say that? Because the mother can not use YOU or YOUR involvement as a reason for them to not visit.

And I get it's annoying to not move things along faster or in a way YOU would like, you need to butt out and let him and his lawyer work this out.

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A female reader, uneasy United States +, writes (8 January 2018):

uneasy is verified as being by the original poster of the question

my bf finally made it to see an attorney and I am not satisfied with the out come . first and for most he finally did get to visit with an attorney which was the best decision in getting the mom to possibly comply with their child visitation agreement which just :in brief he has not had a visit with his kids 8, and 10 its been 10 months NOW plus many prior where shes withheld them she really has a lot to do with this she has been really bitter since I have known my bf its been two years now his children not respect their father. okay why am I not satisfied.. we spoke a day prior to him seeing his attorney and went over just a brief review of why children don't come and in all honesty it is because the mother has kept them away for not only these 10 months but at times prior as well she is in control . so this is what was going to be talked about at his visit with the attorney I did not go,, when all was done later in the evening we met for dinner for he was to tell me all about the visit with the attorney, lawyer for 200.00 will send her a letter in the mail stating that he will hire an attorney if she doesn't comply with child visits .. I felt this is a slap on her little hand , I think if she declines she is able to hire an attorney and they will go to court .. but lets say she complies we still have a long road ahead of with his ex playing her games with their childrens thinking. y bf stated the lawyer did not pay no mind to her alienating their children from their dad... or I don't know if my bf went in strongly

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A female reader, holeymoley Australia +, writes (5 January 2018):

holeymoley agony auntI still stand by my first post. Let him and his lawyer sort through it as best they can. You will be made a target and scapegoat pawn in a messy situation. Living together you simply cant get away from it and it can be taxing, VERY taxing on a relationship and your overall wellbeing. Preserve your own sanity, be supportive but not involved and especially from under the same roof. Good luck I hope the road is very short to a happy ending, if that is at all possible

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (4 January 2018):

You need to support your boyfriend but you should stay out of it. You say he is seeing an attorney. Let the mouth piece advise him.

And it still applies; do not move in with him until all of this is sorted.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (4 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntHonestly?

I think you need to stay out of it.

I get that you are on the side line watching all this but HE needs to DO this and HE needs to work through with a lawyer on what is BEST for the kids.

It does sound like she is using the kids and alienating their dad in the same stroke. But I also think after a certain age the kids SHOULD have the choice if they want to see the other parent, for me though it really comes down to WHAT is best for the kids.

I really don't understand people who do this to their kids. I really don't.

All the mom is doing, is making the kids insecure, distrustful and doubting, not only in their dad but they will bring that with them into relationships, friendships etc. And that is just freaking sad.

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A female reader, uneasy United States +, writes (4 January 2018):

uneasy is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you all for your responses I'm very thankful for all the helpful advice. I need your opinion please. I wanted to give you an update.. my bf is finally going to see a lawyer this week however, mind you he has not had an actual visit with his children as of april 2017. but has tried to have visits with them but they decline each time with their older sister having the control to say no and their mother allowing them to decide . he finally was advised by a legal assistant at the attny generals office to start video taping his visits starting in September 2017 thru December 2017 then with enough evidence he could seek an attorney for enforcement of child visits each time the children have again refused the visit with their dad and their mother agreeing with their decision there is no written clause in his child visitation agreement that he is a danger to his children or are their any restrictions.. before, I started dating him he had them every week they never stayed the night .. per their verbal agreement so coparenting times with his kids were .. thurs.. fri and Saturday from 3pm til about 11:30pm. then, during these times as I and my boys grew close to his kids .. it seemed she was getting abit uncomfortable with the idea I was now in his life she would then send cell phones with the kids which she texted often and called wanted to know at all times where they were..there were times the kids asked ... my mom wants to know if your my dads gf or just his friend .. my mom SAYES My dad cant discipline us.. my mom said they were never married so he has no right to get on to us mom calls my dad an old man {she is 12years younger than him] my dad drank a lot when they were together .. I said sweety your dad is a better person now and he loves u all.when the his oldest daughter graduated from high school this past summer her mother posted a picture of her in cap and gown on her fb and it said I'm proud of you and I want you to know your dad said you would not amount to anything..i was furios for he bought her ..her senior ring and his gift to her was money...he stayed silent . my bf when I met him was bent over backwards at their school programs weekly it seemed or at Walmart picking up prescriptions or valentines gifts or ect for his kids. it seemed she was never involved.. and for the same reason idk if he did these things for his kids or to please his ex .. he never put his foot down till finally a year later he decided I'm in a relationship now and I will introduce using the child visitation schedule and she declined and this is where we are now. my question should my bf just present he has not seen his children since September thru December 2017 or should he show she has done parental alientation. thank you

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (24 December 2017):

Honeypie agony aunt1. I think you are smart in using some common sense here.

2. You don't know what REALLY went down that resulted in the divorce.

3. Paying Child support is GOOD, but it doesn't mean he was a good husband and father to his family. Just saying. There are ALWAYS two sides to a story.

4. It's not uncommon for kids (at any age) to side with the parent they live with. Doesn't always mean that the mom is talking smack. doesn't mean she isn't.

But Yes, HE needs to sort his drama out and MAKE it work for a good long while before you should even consider living with him.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (23 December 2017):

Sadly A clear case of parental alienation. Started by the fact that he has moved on and she hasn’t.

You’re right not to move in until he has this sorted. The stress would not be good for you your kids or your relationship with him.

I know you didn’t ask but assuming he gets things worked out and you move in together you might want to discuss living somewhere that is not his place or your place but a place the two of you pick out together.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (23 December 2017):

Please excuse my typos and grammatical errors. I'm using a new laptop, and I'm trying to get used to the keyboard. I have made some edits below.

I meant to say:

"It is likely she is playing mind-games on the kids; because they are at the most impressionable ages. They have some concept of the family-unit and relationships. They will naturally side with their mom; because they don't want her to be lonely. Kids in divorces often live for the hope their parents will get back together."

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (23 December 2017):

You are very wise. He has to get his child-custody and visitation in order before you get yourself and your kids caught-up in his baby-mama drama. It is likes she is playing mind-games on the kids, because they are at that most impressionable ages. The have some concept of family and relationships; they are siding with their mom because they don't want her to be lonely. Kids always live for the hope their parents will get back together.

If he butters her up to stay on good-terms; he's giving her the false-impression he's still emotionally-attached. He should have set the boundaries the first year. If he wasn't quite sure about you and keeping one foot in the door with her; he was playing you both. He wanted options!

Stay put. Don't move-in. Set yourself a time-table. If he doesn't get his ducks in a row by a certain deadline; don't move in. You'll be in the midst of his ex-wife drama, and that will carry-over to the children.

The fact you two women have never met is a bad sign. He's keeping you two separated, and being the rooster in-between.

The kids may turn on each other choosing sides. If you move-in, and he hasn't gotten his ex and visitation-schedules legally situated.

The 18 year-old has a lot of influence on how the younger kids think and behave. It might not be his ex-wife entirely. If the 18 year-old is female, she could be influencing things between her parents and the younger kids. Boys tend to just go with the flow, or just stay neutral about dads and their new girlfriends. They will be protective of their moms, but they won't rile the younger siblings. Unless their dad is a total dick. Then it's on!

Just a side-note. I wouldn't give my heart to someone who still feels heart-tweaks for his ex. For me, it's all or nothing.

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A female reader, holeymoley Australia +, writes (22 December 2017):

holeymoley agony auntI wouldn't if it were me. It all sounds a bit too messy atm. Stress and unfinished ex business is not a good start to living happy under the same roof. Relationships can work just as well from not living together.

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (22 December 2017):

Ciar agony auntI wouldn't give it any more time.

For one thing, you don't know anything about their marriage or it's demise other than what he tells you. You've never met the woman yourself, never sized her up and don't know what she's had to put up with. I suspect you and she have more in common than you realise.

For another, you've never lived with him and never had to really rely on him. You have your own home, presumably your own money and time and space away from him. His family know him better and have known him longer than you ever will. He's nice to your kids. That's good, but he's not raising them, he doesn't see them round the clock. How difficult can it be to 'be nice' to them?

You know what he tells you. They have seen him in action (or inaction as the case may be) and maybe he's learned from some of the mistakes he made with them and now you're seeing a better version of him. I suggest you re-evaluate your judgments.

He's got unfinished business elsewhere and seems disinclined to sort that out. So, I agree you might want to consider moving on. And, in future, don't be so quick to believe what a man tells you about his ex.

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