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He lives with his ex (it's "complicated")

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  • He lives with his ex (it's "complicated")

    After searching for something similar to my situation and not finding it, I decided to ask. My new partner of 10 months lives with his ex. They split over 10 years ago after she cheated, but about two years ago he took her and her 10 year old autistic son in when the relationship she was in ended. Her partner became abusive towards her son. She asked to come back and my bloke agreed. They also have a son together who no longer lives at home.

    I think it says a lot for his character that he took them in. But, I find it challenging sometimes feeling like the "other woman" in this situation. When we first got together he took a couple of months to tell me the facts, however my understanding of their relationship has grown since then. It appears to me to be more than just a convenient arrangement. She and her son are dependent upon my bloke for their home. They share domestic life, chores and co-parent her son, and I found out regularly go on family holidays together because they have always done it. In my mind, that pretty much adds up to a wife - although his attitude is that they were never married so it's nothing of the kind. However, he helps her out in many ways and she calls on him in emergencies. He also makes sure that she gets birthday and mothers day cards. There hasn't been any suggestion that this is a temporary living arrangement.

    Ok, some of this may sound like me being jealous or paranoid. Add to that that he has told me he doesn't have access to his phone when he's at home because the youngster takes it to play games etc. That makes me feel like I'm being told "don't phone me at home". Also, I have to fit in with their domestic arrangements when it comes to days that my bloke and I can see each other - that is presented to me as a done deal, eg I'll see you Wednesday cos I've got childcare on Tuesday.

    When we first got together, she was seeing someone, but that relationship has since ended. I don't know the reason why.

    I'm really confused about all this. He says he loves me and I'm his priority. He took me away for a surprise romantic weekend. I love him and want to make things work. Am I doomed to failure, or should I hang in there? Worrying about this is beginning to affect my health.

  • hmmm, this sounds similar to a new TV show about to start
    they are splitting up but going to live together to raise the kids

    it's supposed to be a comedy but in your situation it seems anything but


    • Thanks amy40 - definitely not a comedy from my perspective. And not living together to raise the kids directly after splitting. There was at least an eight year period when they didn't live together.


      • there are a lot of complicated living arrangements today
        if you two keep dating and decide to move in together or marry, then definitely will be something to discuss

        she's been there for 2 yrs so doesn't seem like she's going anywhere soon (i.e. didn't end up being temporary)

        tough for you when it's on your mind so much


        • So this isn't his son that he's taken in and caring for?

          Do you ever go to the house and hang out, sleep over or is that also off limits, like the phone?


          • The younger one isn't his son. I have been to the house a couple of times and have met the kids and the ex, so not off limits. He usually comes to my place when he's free. Perhaps it is just my problem that I can't cope with the situation. But if I can't then that doesn't bode well for the relationship, and that makes me sad as well.


            • If they have a grown son together, they were together for a long time. If they were brother and sister, it would be equally uncomfortable but more understandable. The questions are: does he have romantic feelings for her and are they having sex?

              I could see them getting back together to have a household even without those things. They each know their roles and are comfortable with them. It is cheaper for them to live together and her son has a role model and protector. The grown son is also probably happier about the situation. He gets a woman's touch around the house.

              What will happen if your relationship progresses? Is he willing to leave that arrangement for one with you?
              I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
              Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

              From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia


              • Well, I would have a difficult time with this as well honestly. I would be open to it, but as you say, you have to work around their domestic arrangements. That wouldn't work for me really. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't try, but that's a tough one.

                I have to really wonder if he doesn't have some residual feelings for her, since he's willing to basically put his relationship with you on hold for this woman and her child. While it's admirable on the surface, over time this child is going to be let down again, when/if she moves on to another romantic relationship, and marriage. Is he considering that?
                Is she paying rent? Financially is he really doing well enough to sacrifice so much?
                Seems like a lot for someone he has no obligation to.

                He says you're priority, but, you really aren't at the top of priority, if his arrangement comes before your plans and time together.

                Have you actually really told him your reservations about this? You're 10 months in, so it's a new relationship but, it's long enough that I think some thought for the future must be coming to mind, for both of you. I would have a serious, sit down, heart to heart discussion and get all the cards on the table. I'd wanna know before I invested more time with him.

                I have a fair number of male friends. I am not sure any would complicate their lives with this sort of lifestyle with nothing in it for them. I did date a man who'd taken in one of the children of his ex wife, and kept him to raise, even after the divorce. I cannot imagine even in his kindness and compassion he'd have taken her back in tho, even though they were cordial. So, he kept her son, she left...to be absolutely clear.
                That's an example.

                My point is, what's in it for him? Is he really just that good of a guy to sacrifice his life for her and this child?
                Maybe I'm a pessimist, but I think there's much more to this.

                Are you certain it isn't his child, and they just don't want to tell people for some reason?


                • Thanks jns and atskitty, I think you have identified my reservations pretty well. I don't know the answers but I also think there must be something for him in this arrangement. Best of both worlds? The younger son does have a dad who he sometimes stays with, but my bloke also acts as a father to him. Not absolutely clear to me all the reasons for that. I need to get my courage together to have this conversation


                  • I think that you feel like the other woman, is indicative of something. What, could be tricky to pinpoint exactly. It could just be a feeling of being second, or it may be intuition trying to tell you something.

                    Have you considered that they have an open relationship, and just haven't let you in on that? It took him 2 months after all, to tell you this.

                    I feel really negative in all my comments. I think this could be a completely reasonable situation. I don't think it's likely tho...and the fact that it bothers you is enough to need some focus.


                    • As Amy suggested, this sounds like a comedy, but without the laugh track. Are you sure he's not still sleeping with his ex, at least occasionally? You say you visited his house; what would happen if you suggested an overnight visit?


                      • You're caught in a impossible situation: you love your man, but he cares for his ex. I don't think it takes intuition to figure out there's something deeper going on. I'm NOT saying they're having sex but there is emotion between them. I'm afraid I would be out the door 10 months in. I don't know how you take it. You need to ask yourself what you're staying for. Loving him isn't enough. Now, I can understand him wanting to look after his ex and his son - that is wonderful - BUT it is at your expense. You can't break them up and I think feelings may well develop between them. I am not trying to be horrible, but I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel for you, if you stick around.


                        • Sometimes what you think is the light at the end of the tunnel just turns out to be the train's headlight...


                          • Thanks for your replies. We have since talked over some of this and he assures me that there are no left over romantic feelings and that they don't sleep together. His words "I don't feel the same way about her as I do about you" didn't completely reassure though. It also seems that she is seeing someone new again.
                            He also says that the arrangement is temporary and once she gets a suitable job they will go their separate ways. We'll see. It is very challenging for our relationship to flourish under these conditions and I've made that clear but also that I want to try to make it work.


                            • Originally posted by HaggisBasher View Post
                              We have since talked over some of this and he assures me that there are no left over romantic feelings and that they don't sleep together.
                              He also says that the arrangement is temporary and once she gets a suitable job they will go their separate ways. We'll see. .
                              that must have reassured you a little
                              although, the temporary has turned into 2 yrs already

                              good luck



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