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Ask Dr. Meg: “I’m Not Sure What to Do About My Ex”

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Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg,

First of all… Thank you!! I came across your Twitter account about two years ago and I truly enjoy your articles and posts.

I am now a single mom of twin 2 and 1/2 year old boys. I have been raising them on my own with the help of my parents and nannies since they were 9 months old when their dad left us.

As time has gone on he has made it more and more difficult for us to coparent our boys. He moved in with his current girlfriend about 4 months after we split up and the reason I bring that up is I’ve noticed many of his parenting decisions are based off of his current relationship and they are not in the children’s best interest. For example he demoralizes me as a person and as a mother thru emails by picking on anything I tell him about the children (i.e. They are sick with the stomach bug). That becomes my fault because I’m a horrible mother who neglects her children’s and doesn’t feed them the right foods and isn’t around to even know what they eat.

I work very hard as a director of 12 hospitals at the age of 33, my ex husband doesn’t financially support his children whatsoever. Not even a bag of diapers or a gallon of milk. It all falls on my shoulders and has since they were born. He opened a business and is using his girlfriend to hide his income by paying her and not collecting a paycheck.

I’m tired Meg. Very tired. He sees the boys 5 days a month and almost ever two weeks I start getting anxiety thinking about what will the next message say? I walk on pins and needles and double check everything I do because I don’t want to give him ground to harass me about the boys. Most recently he threaten to take me back to court to get the boys 50/50 and start making me pay him child support. The court has ordered him to pay 50% of the work related child care cost but he refuses to pay and hasn’t sent them a dime.

Help!!! I don’t know what to do with him and I know it’s effecting my ability to be an even better mom. I want to give my boys the best life and an honest loving nurturing foundation so they can grow up to be respectful God loving men with integrity and love as the core of everything they do.

I don’t even know if this message will get to you but I could sure use some serious advice because I know what he is doing isn’t right.

Sincerely,

Tired Mom

PS our divorce was due to domestic violence and I could bear the thought of raising two innocent lives in that environment.

Dear Tired Mom-

You are one tough lady. In the midst of great hardship, you are doing a tremendous job.

Let me help you put this all in perspective. Right now, your sons are at the hardest age to parent.  In 6 months or a year, parenting them will be easier so relief is in sight. Second, your work is terribly demanding. Clearly you are very smart and an excellent businesswoman. Let me ask you a hard question: is this job good for YOU at this stage of your life? If you believe it is, then I would see if you can work into your schedule some days off here and there (unpaid) where you can take some time of refreshment and relaxation for yourself.  You need relief and you must grab it. Don’t be afraid to tell your boss or company that you need certain days off. You will be a better mom if you take care of yourself. If you don’t like your job and find it too stressful, then perhaps you should look for a new one. I know this sounds overwhelming but my concern is for your health. Since you have good help with the boys, the job that you have makes no difference to them but may add undo stress to you. This is just a thought.

Regarding the skunk that you married, he will always try to make your life harder because that’s the kind of man he is. You need to refuse to be intimidated by him. Male abusers use intimidation to manipulate victims and he is trying to keep you his victim because he thinks he has control. Take it back. Don’t give him power. The truth is, he’s intimidated by you- most abusers are intimidated by strong women. So don’t get pulled into playing his mental games.  When he threatens to do something, nod your head and go about your business.

Forget about the nonsense he does with his girlfriend. Pretty soon he’ll have another girlfriend that he’ll do the same with. You need to get this man out of your head. Make sure you have a very good lawyer. Because you are doing the bulk of the parenting, paying the bills and he is giving no financial support, the boys are going to stay with you. So quit walking on egg shells.

I know that you are frightened for your boys. Don’t be. As long as you stay the course (and you will) as a good mother, they will want to be close to you- even as they grow older. One thing I have seen repeatedly is this- children whose parents live completely different life styles always migrate back to the parent who is real. You are real and your sons will always know that. So don’t be afraid that they will grow up and go down the dark road with their father. They may for a short while, but you will always be the one they lean on.

You are giving your sons a great foundation because you are a strong Mom. They will learn to be respectful God-loving men who live with love and integrity because that’s what they see you doing. They will catch it because it will be right next to them. If you have a father or brother who are good male role models, make sure they spend time with your sons. But know this- you are doing a far better job than you think you are.

Sincerely,

Dr. Meg

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