What do you do when other parent is not on the same page?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dashcat, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I am posting here instead of PE because I think this is a problem many can relate to, regardless of the age of your difficult child.

    Backstory: difficult child is 19. I have posted about her latest antics in PE. The short story is she left on Monday (she was living with me) to live with a guy she'd met on the internet less than a week before. They had met in person - once - and are now in love and planning a life together. There's way more to the story than this, but I'm shooting for the short version.

    I assured her that I loved her and supported her, but would not lend any kind of support to this situation. She managed to get a friend to pick her up, pick up the guy (P) and then got her dad to pick them both up to "talk".

    Now, would most dad's not be going ballistic at this point?

    To his credit, he did not allow them to stay at his home, but he did drive them to a motel. (I would have told them to walk)

    Last night, he picks them up fromt he motel and takes him back to his house for dinner. P's mom has thoughtfully sent a doggie bag with- her son and X justifies picking them up to eat "their" dinner. He goes to a meeting and allows them to hang at his house - with his home theater and internet access. He then returns them to the motel.

    They want to use his car today to look for apartments. Does he say "no"? He thinks he does. He says "I need my car today". difficult child makes $7.30 an hour and P does not work. Neither has car. The motel is six miles from town.

    She is off today and works 2-10 tomorrow. They will spend today in their love nest and perhaps X will pick them up again tonight for din-din. They ahve to be out by 11:00 tomorrow.

    I am livid that he's enabling them. He sits down with this dude and talks to them as if this were perfectly normal, then makes excuses about driving them insted of just laying down the law.

    His passive/agressive personality is one of the main reasons we are divorced. He sets some limits, but will not take a stand.

    How do you handle a spouse/parent/so/X who enables or refuses to set limits?

    I a ALWAYS the bad guy. Always. I would take a bullet for my daughter but I also love her enough to REFUSE to allow this behavior in my home.

    well, I guess this isn't short after all.

  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Based on what you said, it sounds like exh is taking a stand. He has set up the boundary of not allowing them to stay with him personally. He is not allowing them to use his car.

    From where I sit, it sounds like he feels that it's okay to offer them a ride & dinner because then he at least can see his daughter and how she looks can be an indicator for him whether or not she is in immediate danger. Talking with this internet guy also gives him an opportunity to get a 'feel' for him, get to know him while also still keeping an eye on his daughter. I think by taking a hard line, you are letting her know that neither you nor exh accept this relationship, but the truth is you're not ready to let difficult child just disappear into the sunset with this guy. It's a very precarious situation.

    I think it is important to realize that the relationship you had with exh is not going to be exactly the same or have the same circumstances and results as with your children. I would continue to maintain contact with exh just so you know what's going on. Be sure to reiterate to exh how important it is for him NOT to provide anything more than a meal and/or a ride. It sounds like exh just wants to maintain contact with your daughter, which in my humble opinion is a good thing at this point.

    Based on your description of her past relationships, really, this internet relationship could go completely bust in a matter of days or weeks and difficult child will be more apt to get out of it if she knows she can fall back on dad or mom. As long as he remains resistant to her manipulation, I think he is taking the only stand he can right now. I would have a hard time not doing the same. I'd want to have contact with her also without enabling her by providing lodgings and money and a car. You can be the bad guy this time around and try to trust that he won't enable her further.

    Personally, I would want to continue to keep the lines of communication open with difficult child without enabling her by providing a place to stay or have access to my personal vehicle, making sure she gets at least one decent meal a day while getting to know this new guy in her life.
  3. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Thanks, Jo. I, too, believe X thinks he's not enabling. And, if he was being honest about the car instead of making excuses, I'd probably feel better. When he dances around and makes excuses, it just seems to prolong her behavior. This is the SECOND internet dude she's run off with. The first time, she ended up back at X's for awhile (long, long story) and he was actually going to let her use his car to drive to North Carolina (we are in Ohio) to visit him. He was using the carrot and stick method (according to him) and ended up telling her she couldn't use his car -not because this was a seriously bad idea - but because she'd overdrawn her checking account. It's baffling to me.

    I am in contact with her. We talk on the phone every day. I tell her I love her every day. I've made it very clear that I will pick her up any time of the day or night. I just won't pick up P. Will not. We have pact that I will pick her up - anywhere - no questions asked. She's employed this twice and I've kept my word.

    I AM very grateful to my X (and have told him so) for not allowing them to stay with him. We have a decent relationship, but he does shut down sometimes when it comes to difficult child. I honestly believe she WANTS the dad with the shotgun, but he just isn't that dad.

    We know she's not in danger with this dude, but as long as she continues this behavior, she is likely to be in danger with the next one - or the next one. That's where I wish her dad would take a stand.

  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    That is the dad that my exh says he is (and that difficult child always hoped for), but really he's always been a lame duck and I've ALWAYS been the one to handle things when they go haywire. I could never rely on him in any way whatsoever. I tried to incorporate him into situations to act as a backup, but he always fouled things up more than helped. The one time I thought he was taking a stand and backing me up, he didn't last much more than a month and then she was back home with me driving H and me slowly insane (till we kicked her behind out...and till she finally dumped Monkeyboy - I shudder at the memory). After my difficult child was assualted my current H said he just wanted to kill the guy and I thought difficult child would pee herself with excitement over the idea of it. As if H killing the guy would help anything or anyone. It's just a phrase we say when we're frustrated, right? difficult child never understood that. And her difficult child-bio dad once sent her a picture of him holding a rifle and a dead deer and told her to show it to any potential boyfriend's - which she did, but he's full of BS. He is such a pip squeak, I could take him. Hahahahaha~

    Anyway, just keep things open without enabling her. Someone once said something about just giving them more rope...

    Maybe I'm burnt out or maybe because mine are 22 and 20, but I just don't have much empathy anymore for the antics of a difficult child. Hang in there and many hugs - it ain't easy.
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Some good points here. My husband would be similar if we were divorcee. I have always been the bad guy. We are now pretty much on the same page but it always takes him time to catch up because I just think this stuff through more.

    Given that you are divorced you are each going to have your own relationship with your daughter. You can give your ex suggestions about not enabling but he is going to do what he is going to do, there is no way you have any control over his relationship with her even if he is messing it up big time.

    Keep doing what you are doing, keep your boundaries clear, do what you are willing to do for her and dont do those things that dont feel right to you. As much as possible keep the communication lines open.
  6. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    What a tough situation Dash. I have to say I really admire you standing your ground. How open and honest you are with difficult child is great. Letting her know up front you love her but will not support her impulsive decisions. I hope DEX will follow suit someday soon. ((((HUGS))))
  7. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I've made more peace with this as the day has gone on, in part thanks to you guys.

    i'm so glad I found this site. I have a lot of in real life support, but nobody understands and can relate like you.

    She texted me today and asked me to drive her and P to two appointments to look at apartments. I called her (saying I can't text about important things) and said, very gently, "I'm sorry, but no." I told her i loved her and I would call her tomorrow. She was crying and said "ok" in this tiny voice that broke my heart. I called DEX after I hung up and I told him it was harder than I thought to just tell her "no". I gained some understanding about how he must be feeling and I told him so.

    you are right about us having different relationships with her. I guess that can be said about most adult kid relationships - esp. with divorced parents.

    You are right that I cannot control his reactions. What a huge waste of my energy. I'm trying to let go of that.

    It could be worse, as far as DEX is concerned.

    It's just that thisis so hard and I'm so scared. I want a quick resolution to this (ain't gonna happen!) and I think I was focusing on DEX hoping he'd think just like me.

    Sigh. Thanks for the support and the wake up call.