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Thread: Caught in the middle

  1. #1
    Silver Member BecxyRex's Avatar
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    Caught in the middle

    Hi, first of, happy Fatherís Day to all the dads on this forum!

    I got myself in the middle of a custody battle, know I donít want to be in it and am removing myself from it, but still am unsure how I feel and would appreciate some advice.

    Some of you remember I just recently got some messages from my neighbor who had issues with her babyís father. I ended that conversation quickly and we are still on good terms, but Iím not talking to her about any of those issues, since I donít want to be involved. Anyway, now thereís yet another couple my fiancť and I know from our daughters daycare, who are having awful custody fights and we got caught in the middle of them.
    We know both parents from our daycare and have met at their house for last years july 4th celebrations. At that point there were no marriage issues we were aware of. We donít know them well by any means, and they arenít a part of our regular friend group. They separated last fall and the woman reached out to me for 2 coffee and play dates since then. They were enjoyable for the most part. The kids get along great! She did start telling me quite a few very personal things the ex husband did and I felt it was a bit much for me to hear all of this. I stayed friendly and sympathetic but didnít engage her any further about these issues. Sheíd reach out a few times and instantly turned these conversations we had to bash her ex, sending screenshots of really private messages between the two of them. I told her Iím uncomfortable with this info and I hope for them to find their peace, but donít need to know all of this. Since then Iíve kept my distance to her.
    The ex husband, who got along with my fiancť really well last year reached out to us last week asking if we wanted to come over to the house for a play date and a swim. We agreed and all had a great time. The kids had a blast and we never even once spoke about the divorce or her.

    This morning I got a message from his ex wife with a photo of our car in his drive way, asking if we were there yesterday and if her and I are ok. So apparently the guys neighbor is keeping tabs of who comes and goes and sends the ex wife photos of cars parked at his place. Including ours. I told her I donít want to be under surveillance and weíre not taking sides and like them both. I donít need to ask her if itís ok to go anywhere. I know this and we are going to keep our distance to both of them until things have blown over, but a part of me still feels like Iíve somehow betrayed her. Iíd love to hear opinions. Btw all the things sheís mentioned to me do not involve abuse or anything. As far as I can tell itís mostly about money and child support. He makes a good amount and this seems to be about selling the house, him not paying her etc.

    I know logically we didnít do anything wrong and will remove ourselves entirely. I feel bad for their kids, but even that isnít my issue. Thereís still a tiny part of me that thinks because i met her alone twice before and know dirty details of her divorce somehow should make me her ally... I just feel sort of guilty and angry to be dragged into this, when I just wanted a happy afternoon with my family and my daughters friends.

  2. #2
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    It seems she wants you to pick sides. I would tell BOTH to not bring up their divorce issues again or you canít see either one. I hate it when people drag you into their drama.

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    Silver Member BecxyRex's Avatar
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    Thanks Seraphim! Iíve told them we canít be involved in their divorce and we are open to play dates if itís just that. But are also uncomfortable going over there if it involves being video monitored and questioned. Itís a shame because I genuinely like them individually, but for the sake of my emotional health I need to stay out of this.

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    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BecxyRex
    Thanks Seraphim! Iíve told them we canít be involved in their divorce and we are open to play dates if itís just that. But are also uncomfortable going over there if it involves being video monitored and questioned. Itís a shame because I genuinely like them individually, but for the sake of my emotional health I need to stay out of this.
    I would not be comfortable with surveillance either. I probably wouldnít bother with either person.

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    Platinum Member smackie9's Avatar
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    You did the right thing by making things clear with them. I agree if it's this bad, it is better to step away for awhile until things settle down.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Tough situation.

    I think you handled things excellently after the strange text about the car. But, hey, people can get pretty weird and off-kilter during breakups, so it is what it is. In your shoes? I'd see if your exchange allows for a Switzerland-like neutrality in things, which of course will be predicated on her own behavior moving forward, along with whether you can feel, well, genuinely Swiss in your spirit while interacting with each of them. If not, you retreat a bit, to give them space to work through what needs to be worked though during these fraught days.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I'm a mother so I think like a mother just like you, BecxyRex.

    I would tell your friend that it's all about the kids and their right to enjoy their childhood friends. I'd tell your friend that as mothers, it's about being selfless and thinking of the enjoyment of the next generation as opposed to getting caught up in adult drama which is immature and senseless. Divert the focus onto the children when you explain your reason for being at her ex's house and anything to do with her ex. Tell her that you will remain neutral and their marital concerns are between them and NOT you. Tell your friend that both of you will practice enforcing healthy, respectful boundaries.

    As for her sending you photos and sharing too many personal details regarding herself, her ex and her discord with her ex, respectfully let her know that you will no longer accept her PMs and screenshots. Give her fair warning and tell her that if she continues to be relentless, you will resort to blocking. Be gentle yet firm.

    There must be mutual respect and if not, then you must enforce it.

    You have no control over the neighbor spying on where you park your car.

    I agree, you don't require your friend's permission to do anything.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member LaHermes's Avatar
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    Becky.

    Definitely step away for the time being.

    Believe me you do not want to be caught in the cross-fire in this custody battle. Such battles can escalate horribly and the O.K. Corral will seem like a an afternoon tea party by comparison.

    Their lawyer is the only person who needs to be involved and to whom she (or he) should be disclosing information.

    The surveillance thing is most distasteful, and as for the amateur "spy" s/he is headed for crossfire territory!

  10. #9
    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    You absolutely did not do anything wrong. She's the one who attempted to drag you into her drama, and you clearly told her you didn't feel comfortable hearing all the intimate details. There's nothing wrong with accepting a swim date with her ex husband.

    Don't feel guilty about this. It was wrong of her to even confront you about it. What you do is none of her business. Continue to be friends with both of them, if that's what you want. Don't let her drag you down.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    What did she say after you told her you don't want to be under surveillance?

    I don't think there's any need to get openly irritated with her (not that you have). You handled it just fine. Just stay as calm as possible. Sometimes people go through their own turmoil and personal struggles to the point where they don't recognize themselves in that difficult situation. If you've never been through a divorce yourself or one involving young kids you have no way of knowing what's going through her heart and mind.

    She will eventually understand that regardless of her opinions or her struggles, it won't affect the way your kids interact with hers or the way you and your husband choose to interact with both parents.

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