DEAR DEIDRE: MY partner’s ex might as well be lying in bed between us. Her destructive presence has seeped into every part of our lives.
I’m beginning to think I should end the relationship simply to get away from her.
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From the moment she found out about us, she made every effort to punish my partner — though it was her that finished things.
A month after we got together, she moved their children two hours away and refused to tell my partner where she’d gone. He was distraught.
My partner is 36 and I’m 34, while his children are eight and six. It took months of him begging until she finally allowed him to visit.
He was heartbroken to learn she’d told them he was too busy with his new girlfriend to see them. We’ve been together for three years but nothing has improved. She won’t take the kids to the dentist or the optician. She lets them eat lots of sugary food and we found the eldest needed fillings and hygiene work. Instead of thanking us for sorting it, she went mad. I feel like I’ve had a good week if she doesn’t scream at me down the phone. But it’s always hanging there, waiting to happen.
Lately she has been stringing out the divorce proceedings by not responding to solicitors’ letters, which is increasing my partner’s costs.
We now have a court date but she refuses to confirm she is aware of it.
And she won’t respond to the financial terms either.
She has started sending me nasty messages directly but I don’t want to put a foot wrong while the divorce is going through.
Part of me wants to block her and walk away from this awful situation. But I love my partner and don’t want to abandon him.
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DEIDRE SAYS: Don’t walk away. That would give her exactly what she wants: To push you out. His ex is acting up because you and your partner have fallen in love – something she can’t handle.
But the psychological damage and long-term effects of her behaviour on the children will be significant if they are allowed to continue.
You need help to communicate with her and set out clear boundaries.
A ban on directly messaging you would be a good start.
Family Lives will understand the issues here (familylives.org.uk, 0808 800 2222). You might also need mediation. National Family Mediation (nfm.org.uk, 0300 4000 636) helps families in turmoil.
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