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He won’t create boundaries with Ex


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My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We grew up together and we’re friends since grade school. We dated often on until he got another girl pregnant when we were in high school. His son Jacob is now 29 years old. His son‘s mother who I will call Lisa has been invited to all family functions small or large. I do not like her at all and I do not like to be around her, but I understand that she has a friendship with his family. The problem is Jacob constantly asks him to do things with Lisa. I find this so strange that at the age of 29 he is still asking his father to go on outings with him and his mom. It really bothers me and it causes fights between us. Ultimately, after arguing and getting very upset, my husband will make an excuse and not attend an event with Jacob and Lisa alone. However, it constantly comes up and I have anxiety about it. Now Jacob is going to be turning 30 in October and wants to plan a trip to Las Vegas with just him and his mom and dad. My husband is already saying he’s going to go. To make matters worse a few months ago Lisa asked my husband if he would ever want to get back together with her. She flirts with him and I don’t know what their text messages back-and-forth say to one another but I know she text him often. There’s no need for any of this given that her son is an adult. My husband is now telling me that I am wrong and that I shouldn’t have a problem with him going away with his ex-wife because it’s for his son. No tickets have been bought yet for the trip, but my husband has basically told me if I can’t except Lisa in my life that I shouldn’t be married to him. I feel like if he truly loves me, he would be able to set some boundaries with her and that I wouldn’t have to ask him to. I would love to hear, if anybody else has had experiences like this, how you handled it or any advice you may have for me. 

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I wouldn't be ok with a trip like this (yes for a minor child if the parents stayed separately and if the purpose was to have a family event for the child's special birthday and only if the stepparents were included).  It's totally fine for your husband to tell his grown up adult child "I'd love to celebrate your 30th birthday with you.  I am not comfortable celebrating as a family unit with your mother because although we love you we are not together as you know and my wife would be very uncomfortable with that arrangement. We're happy to take you out separately or you and I can do a father-son celebration [or with the grandparents]

This is especially true because the mother isn't supportive of the father's marriage and that's not ok.  

 

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He so very in the wrong. He should have set boundaries with his ex years ago. Him and the ex don't need to spend time together. This trip, you should be invited or celebrate another way without her... you are a married couple, and should be as a team. As for his son...not his fault for having parents that let him have his way all the time despite the age. Obviously he's immature and was never enabled to be a grown adult. He's a spoiled brat. Not sure if divorce is in the cards, but marriage counseling might be an alternative. He is so thick headed for disregarding your feelings. 

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I'd guess this is more about BS stories from your husband rather than believing his kid has major stunted emotional growth issues. A 30 year old's wish is to spend his b-day with Mommy and Daddy in Vegas? Really? Is he a babyish sort of guy? Have you ever heard him do these invites, or is this all from your husband's mouth?

You can't wave a wand and magically turn a snake into a decent human being. You're wasting your breath to try and convince him his behavior is reprehensible. My advice is to divorce and find a man who knows how to be a good partner.

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I don't mean to alarm but I would consider the possibility that your husband and Lisa are having an affair. 

Even if not, there is something untoward happening and your husband is gaslighting you by saying your feelings are wrong and he's doing it for his son.

What a load of $%&@#!!

This definitely would NOT be okay with me BUT I would not argue about it.

I'd simply begin getting my affairs in order and when he's on his little family vacation in Vegas, I would be gone when he returns. 

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So it is Jacob asking to do these things on his own right? He genuinely wants to spend time with his parents? If so, that's a problem? Why are we assuming it's some kind of cover for an illicit affair. Some families are close. Some want to spend vacations together. It could be as simple as that.

She is his mother. No matter his age, she will be a part of his life. That also means means she will be a part of your husbands life. You don't need to like it, but you also can't expect that they won't include her. And just because someone is an ex, doesn't mean they can't get along and keep in touch as friends.

Also note that your husband has been willing to not attend such events. 

Having said that, what boundaries have been in place? What boundaries are you expecting? It's not unreasonable of you to expect certain things under these conditions. Obviously separate rooms. Each paying their own way. Public spaces. Maybe just say you want to go to. Why not celebrate with Jacob as a full family? If you are reasonable in your requests, he should be reasonable in return. If he is, then you are probably fine. If he isn't, then you may have cause for concern. But if it comes out as an accusation or that you just don't want her around at all, you are more likely to make him feel defensive.

And Vegas is more then wild parties and debauchery. There are shows for all ages. There is the allure of gambling. There is Red Rock Canyon and museums. There is a something for everyone, and it can be good, clean entertainment.

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1 hour ago, ShySoul said:

Some families are close. Some want to spend vacations together. It could be as simple as that.

They are not a family.  Lisa is a girl he had a ONS with in high school and got pregnant.

The OP as his wife of ten years is his family.  Along with his own mom, dad and siblings. 

Lisa is not his family. She is Jacob's family. 

I applaud him for wanting to spend time with his son and being a good father.  I also think it's OK and positive to maintain a friendly co-parenting relationship with Lisa, she is his son's mom after all.  That's healthy. 

However it is completely inappropriate for him as a married man to be taking over-night trips to a big party resort no less with his son's mom unless he and OP, his wife of ten years, agrees it's okay. 

Which she doesn't and don't know of any wife who would. 

The fact he said he would go regardless of her feelings and suggested she can leave the marriage if she doesn't like it speaks volumes!  

Which is precisely what she should do. 

I'm wondering SS, have you ever been married?  If so why not?  Are you averse to the idea?

You're in your 40s, just curious.

You don't have to respond if the question is too intrusive and answering is uncomfortable.

P.S. Jacob is a 30 year old man, not a child.   Please.  There is SO much wrong here and I'm so sorry OP, hope you're okay. 

 

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In my world there is nothing about the words, “…if you don’t like it you can leave the marriage…” that is even remotely okay to say to a spouse, much less following an announcement that he’s taking a trip with an ex.

If this man has ever given you doubts about his love and loyalty in the past, he’s just confirmed them. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

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From the adult son's perspective they are a family unit -mother/father/child.  But the adult parents have the right not to interact on this level as a family unit.  For example if he wanted his parents to walk him down the aisle at his wedding one on either side or wanted both parents to attend his grad school graduation ceremony (whether they were seated together or not) I can't see the current spouse disagreeing because it's too intimate/personal.  That's often what the adult child would want as far as parental involvement but it's totally fine for an adult parent to have boundaries with a child. 

It's fine to say to an adult child "I am not comfortable interacting in that way with your mother [whether it's a trip, high tea or a Taylor Swift concert] and I also love you very much so let's figure out an alternative where you and I can celebrate this milestone.

I had an adult friend who couldn't understand why I would decline her invitation to attend her game night if she invited my ex boyfriend and his girlfriend.  I couldn't stop who she invited but to her we're all adults/we all should get along.  She "wanted" all her close friends there.  But she's an adult so I felt comfortable telling her you can't expect me to be at a game night with my ex and his girlfriend.  It's actually similar -adults should be comfortable with respecting the boundaries of other adults even if it means they can't have their Norman Rockwell picture of the perfect gathering.

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On 7/3/2024 at 2:20 PM, Isthison said:

but my husband has basically told me if I can’t except Lisa in my life that I shouldn’t be married to him

this is everything you need to know. 

I'm so sorry but this man is not a good husband. This statement is very telling. He has made his choice. Now you make yours.  

I would quietly be making my plans and be gone when he gets back from Vegas. 

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On 7/3/2024 at 11:20 AM, Isthison said:

To make matters worse a few months ago Lisa asked my husband if he would ever want to get back together with her. She flirts with him and I don’t know what their text messages back-and-forth say to one another but I know she text him often. There’s no need for any of this given that her son is an adult.

^^How about there is no need for any of this given he's married to another woman - you!  If he were single, not an issue but he's not and hasn't been for ten years. 

To add, when one person continually sends flirty texts wanting to get back together etc, the recipient is allowing it and even enjoying it. 

The fact he's married to you and for ten years makes this entire situation quite appalling including his almost 30 year old son's request that his dad, mom and him vacay together as a "family unit."

I don't agree that the three of them are a 'family unit' and when his dad married you @Isthison, that should have been made clear to him by both his dad and mom.  He would have been 19-20 years old at that time, old enough to understand.

Do you have children together?  I am assuming not but if you did, can you imagine telling your young children "dad is away on vacation to Las Vegas with your step-brother Jacob and his mom."

What? Just because you and he don't have your own children makes no difference, it is utterly inappropriate.

A trip alone with his son, just the two of them, celebrating his birthday would be the appropriate and right thing to do.

On 7/3/2024 at 11:20 AM, Isthison said:

It really bothers me and it causes fights between us. Ultimately, after arguing and getting very upset, my husband will make an excuse and not attend an event with Jacob and Lisa alone.

Please stop arguing with him.  Like @Lambertsaid, he's made his choice.

Now it's time to make yours, including leaving and contacting a good attorney.

Stay strong!  And seek support from friends, family, even a good therapist if you need to.

There is nothing good here for you, I'm sorry. 😞

 

 

 

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On 7/3/2024 at 2:20 PM, Isthison said:

 but my husband has basically told me if I can’t except Lisa in my life that I shouldn’t be married to him. I feel like if he truly loves me, he would be able to set some boundaries with her and that I wouldn’t have to ask him to. 

Your husband is wrong.   You have to accept Jacob, his son, as part of your life.  His baby mamma is not part of the package.   Every time he prioritizes anybody over you, that is him telling you that you are not important.  

I'd point blank say if you go on this Las Vegas trip without me don't bother coming back because the locks will be changed.  

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5 hours ago, TeeDee said:

I'd point blank say if you go on this Las Vegas trip without me don't bother coming back because the locks will be changed.  

While I agree with the sentiment, I wouldn’t say anything to dissuade him from going away. I’d want him gone at this point, and I’d be making my plans quietly with the help of an attorney.

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32 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

While I agree with the sentiment, I wouldn’t say anything to dissuade him from going away. I’d want him gone at this point, and I’d be making my plans quietly with the help of an attorney.

Plus, OP, if he legally owns the property you live in - or is on the rental contract, it (depending on your country/state) may be illegal to change the locks without his consent (and the property owner’s, if rented, for that matter). 

In your shoes, I’d consider this relationship over, even if your husband was bluffing with his statement (which didn’t sound like it was the case); the minute someone introduces break-up language into the relationship, they are creating an irreversible fracture, regardless of whether it was a bluff or not.

I would not appreciate being so inconsequential to my partner that he doesn’t care whether I’m there or not. His marriage and vows were to you, not his ex. His commitment as a parent is to his son, not his ex. If he cannot or does not want to remember that, then the writing is on the wall.

I’m sorry you’re going through this.

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You'll always have to share your husband with his son and the mother of his son.  If you don't like this arrangement,  your husband gave you an ultimatum:  Either accept him as is or there's the door. 

I'm sorry you're going through this.  Your husband has made his stance clear.  Now it's time for you to do likewise.  😒

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OP, you are his wife of 10 years.  You and your husband should come as a package, so why are you not invited to join him on this trip or any other occasion where the adult son's mother will be present?  The fact that your husband is happily participating in this nonsense and calling YOU out as unreasonable suggests he enjoys spending time with his ex far more than he's letting on.

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On 7/4/2024 at 7:32 PM, rainbowsandroses said:

They are not a family.  Lisa is a girl he had a ONS with in high school and got pregnant.

The OP as his wife of ten years is his family.  Along with his own mom, dad and siblings. 

Lisa is not his family. She is Jacob's family. 

Family is what you decide family is, not a matter of biology or marriage. I have two brothers and a sister. None of us share the same set of parents. But I've never viewed them as anything other then full siblings. My brothers have no relation to my father, but they still viewed him as their father. My best friend and I consider each other family, closer family then anyone we are biologically related to.

The post said he got a girl pregnant. It didn't specify one night stand, relationship, or what exactly the pairing was. But regardless, she is the mother of his child. That means they will always have something that ties them together. And I'm sure for Jacob, he would like to think the three of them are a family in some sense. It's different for sure. But families come in all kinds of non traditional forms.

On 7/4/2024 at 7:32 PM, rainbowsandroses said:

The fact he said he would go regardless of her feelings and suggested she can leave the marriage if she doesn't like it speaks volumes!  

On 7/3/2024 at 11:20 AM, Isthison said:

my husband has basically told me if I can’t except Lisa in my life that I shouldn’t be married to him.

He said that she should accept Lisa in his life. Given that she is the mother of his son, that's fair. If she can't accept that she will be around and that they will spend time together, then she shouldn't be married to him. Which is, ironically, what everyone else seems to be suggesting.

Rather then get angry and blame him for his actions, I want to figure out a way to make things work. That usually means compromise. I want to know just boundaries she is asking for and what he is doing. It isn't reasonable to ask him not to do a trip with his son that his son is asking for on his birthday. But there are other reasonable things he should be doing. I agree, he isn't helping things and should be willing to take her feelings into consideration. But he also can't just ignore Lisa. He has also dropped plans to see Lisa in the past. So it seems like he has been willing to do some things.

I wish we had more details and examples. I don't think it's a clear cut case of him being in the wrong, rather a complex situation of how to interact with unusual family dynamics.

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I'm not clear if Lisa is an ex-wife or just someone he knocked up in high school.

Regardless, their relationship sounds inappropriate and his son inviting his dad to go on a vacation without you but with his mom is the very height of inappropriateness and straight-up rude.

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On 7/4/2024 at 7:32 PM, rainbowsandroses said:

'm wondering SS, have you ever been married?  If so why not?  Are you averse to the idea?

I'm an open book, so ask away with any question you want. No, I haven't been married. Actually, that would be my dream come true. But I want it to be right. I want it to be "The One." Life has unfortunately not seen fit to put me in a position where that would happen. Bad timing and circumstances seem to be the pattern. But after watching my fair share of disaster marriages and relationships, I've learned to value love that much more. Should I be in a position to be married, I'd make sure it was right before committing into it and once I'm in it, I'd fight like hell to keep it and work through whatever comes up. Think a lot of times people are quick to blame the other side and let things end without really trying. At least, that's been my experience from those around me.

On 7/3/2024 at 11:20 AM, Isthison said:

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We grew up together and we’re friends since grade school.

Isthsion, I hope you are okay. All of us here have our own opinions and judgements about him and the situation. But the only one who really knows him is you. You've known him most of your life. You know the kind of person he is. You know if you can trust him or not. You know if he is doing this for his son. You know what you are asking for and how you are asking it. You know how he has responded. You also know your feelings and what you can and cannot accept. 

The choice here is yours. The reality is that Lisa will always be a part of both of their lives. There will be times where they around each other- Christmas, birthdays, his wedding, You need to figure out what is an acceptable amount of contact to you and what you expect from him, understanding that contact will happen. Then you need to calmly and clearly communicate with him, figuring out an arrangement that works for both of you. If either one of isn't willing to do so, then you've reaced an impasse that probably can't be crossed. 

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15 minutes ago, waffle said:

I'm not clear if Lisa is an ex-wife or just someone he knocked up in high school.

Regardless, their relationship sounds inappropriate and his son inviting his dad to go on a vacation without you but with his mom is the very height of inappropriateness and straight-up rude.

Right -she can be in his life as the mother of his child, not as a travel companion in a 3 person trip that excludes the wife. And totally fine to express this boundary to the adult son.  Should be obvious.

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On 7/3/2024 at 2:20 PM, Isthison said:

I would love to hear, if anybody else has had experiences like this, how you handled it or any advice you may have for me. 

My youngest (daughter) turned 21 a couple years ago and our family--meaning me and the kids--ironically, went to Vegas.  My kids' dad and I had been divorced for several years at that point.  My daughter did mention her dad and the possibility that he'd want to go, and I was okay with her asking him so she did (he declined).

Here's the thing though: neither her dad nor I were married to others, involved with or even dating anyone else at that time.

Fast forward a couple of years and I am engaged to be married this fall/winter (no date has been set yet, we plan to elope) and if I told my fiance that my kids' dad and I were going on vacation with our adult kids as a family and he's not invited (which I would never do because I would never disrespect him that way), I would expect him to have a serious problem with it and probably re-evaluate the relationship he has with me.  Any self-respecting man (or woman) would.  So how much more so would it be with a spouse of ten years? 

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