Posts tagged ‘ex’

April 23, 2008

My ex asks for money….

by Rod Smith

My ex asks for money all the time and it upsets my husband when I give it to him. He (my ex) is always going to pay me back to me but he never does. I find this very hard because I don’t like to see him down and I feel responsible for him since he is the father of three of my children. What can I do?

This issue is rooted in misplaced, distorted loyalties. You are not responsible FOR your ex while you are responsible TO your husband.

When you and your husband share the details of your finances in an open and honest manner you are being responsible TO each other. When you are buying your ex out of his financial woes you are being inappropriately responsible FOR your ex, and irresponsible TO your husband.

Turn off the tap. Give your ex not a penny more. Write the debt off to poor judgment. Learn from the experience, then move on in an open, honest manner.

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February 2, 2008

My ex-wife tries to dominate me…..

by Rod Smith

“My ex-wife still tries to dominate me and interfere in my life. I have moved on and have a new woman. My teenage daughter and I have a very good relationship but whenever my ex-wife is around I am reminded why I divorced her. How do I get her to understand she is divorced and must get a life of her own?”

Your mutual connection, the daughter whom you co-parent, will remain integral to both of your lives. It will therefore be to the advantage of all concerned if you remain kind, forthright and strong in all of your dealings with the woman whom you once loved enough to marry.

Include your “new woman” in as many interactions with your ex-wife as possible. This will serve as a constant reminder to your ex-wife that you have, in fact, moved on.

As an aside, I’d suggest that while your ex-wife’s behavior continues to elicit a strong reaction from you, you may not have “moved on” as much as you might think.

You remain as powerless over your ex-wife as you were when you were yet married. I’d suggest you take time to evaluate the reasons she can so effectively get under your skin. What is it about you, that her behavior so gets to you?

December 18, 2007

First year of fourth marriage has been “down”…

by Rod Smith

“I have been married a year and it has been so down. My husband prefers drinking with his loser buddies than being around any positive people. I hardly see him. I feel like we are in a very early stage of a relationship. I have been married four times, and I think I am crazy! First, I was a teenage bride and my husband abused me, then the next had an affair. My new husband spends his days drinking after work and I get left out. He wants a mother. I am very intelligent except when it comes to love. I forgive and then I get shafted. I need some friends.” (Letter edited)

Intelligent is, as intelligent does. I’d suggest you get some individual, personalized, help about how to find out who you are and what you want. Clearly you are searching for something and are possibly looking for it in a few unwise places. While it is easy to place blame on all the “loser” men in your life, you are the one, common, factor.

November 25, 2007

His ex doesn’t want to meet me and he wants to remain friends with her….

by Rod Smith

A few readers have asked what letters look like BEFORE I publish them. Here is a FULL and UNEDITED letter. My response is in BOLD. (Since newspapers limit columns to 220 words, this will not run in any paper “as is”…..

“I have recently started going out with a man (5 months ago). He has a female friend (K) who also happens to be a recent ex of his. They dated for approximately ten years with a break in between of about 3 years where he was with another woman (L). After breaking up with L he then returned to a sexual relationship with this ‘friend’ (K).

[Clearly this is a very deep connection between the man and K. Ten years, you will probably agree, is a long time to be together.]

“He had not been seeing K sexually for over a year when I started going out with him, but had continued to see her very regularly (3-4 times a week) on a friendship basis. This has continued even after I have started seeing him.

[So you knew this going into the relationship and this was something about him no one was hiding from you. Yet three of four times a week is a lot of time with a friend, even a “best” friend. Most people would suggest this is more than a friendship even if it is not a sexual connection. Be sure, if there was anyone in my life I was spending this amount of time with other than my immediate family others would expect it to have more meaning than simply a good friend.]

“Once I started going out with him I requested to meet K.

[This is a healthy and legitimate request and I commend you on making it.]

“She said that she did not see the need.

[She did not make the request. You saw the need and you made the request. You did not ask her because of what you thought she needed but based on what you need.]

“She says that as the ex she does not want to meet the present girlfriend.

[Correct. She is the ex and she doesn’t want to meet you, BUT you want to meet her and she is important to HIM and therefore meeting her is important to you. A good friend to HIM will also want to be a good friend to YOU if she knows YOU are important to HIM.]

“By chance we met her twice at two different restaurants but the meeting was very strained and uncomfortable.

[Of course it was. I trust you were friendly and gracious since they are only friends. If you see where the discomfort was coming from you will know where the issue is.]

“I do not have a problem with him continuing a friendship with her but I do not wish this to be exclusive of myself.

[So you DO have a problem if it excludes you but you do not if it somewhat includes you – this is perfectly reasonable.]

“I trust that he is not engaged in more than a friendship at the moment with K but would still like to understand more about the dynamics between them and to feel more secure in my position in his life.

[Your security in HIS – life – whatever this means, has nothing to do with their relationship. I am more interested in your security within YOUR life.]

“I feel that at the moment she has the benefits of both the anonymity of an ex and that of a friend who can see him at any time. She refuses to come to any functions when groups of our friends are going to be there. Rather she chooses to see him with her own friends or on her own. I feel excluded from a part of his life and this is creating conflict between us. We rarely fight about much else.

[You are correct. She is getting what she wants but is not concerned with its impact on her friend or on you – she says she is a friend of his but is not behaving as one.]

“To be fair to him, he has requested that she meet me and has explained that it upsets me to be excluded from their friendship. However, as she has categorically stated that she does not wish to meet me and sees no need, he feels that one should not force her to do so.

[Bingo! She sees no need! It is not her needs you are talking about or trying to fulfill. It is your need to meet her and this is the issue. If she were just a friend to him she’d willingly comply. I go out of my way to meet people my friends really like. This is normal friendship! You are trying “to be fair” to him and he is trying to be fair to HER and it seems to be at the expense of being fair to YOU.]

“He feels that his friendship with her pre-dates me by a long way and that he does should not have to sacrifice this friendship for my benefit.

[Well that is something each of you gets to decide for yourselves. You get to decide if you can be with a man who hangs onto past relationships and can’t seem to move on or include past people in his new life. He gets to decide which relationship he really wants. You get to decide if you can share him in this way. If he wants a long-term relationship with you – like marriage – believe me he is going to have to give up a lot more than friendship with a former girlfriend. When you have children the children will demand he give up a whole lot he perhaps thinks he can hold onto. Here’s the essential truth: love means making choices that help each other live more fully and he is helping an ex at the expense of helping you. You get to decide if you can live with this or nor.]

“He often reads the Natal Mercury (Independent Newspapers) South Africa, and has often commented that he thinks your advice is very sound. I wonder whether you could provide us with some of this wisdom in how to proceed with our relationship from here.”

[I am delighted he reads The Mercury and I am very grateful for all the readers in that part of the world. I trust you will share my thoughts with him and with her. I do not seek to be RIGHT – just helpful and I trust this helps you. You get to decide how you will be treated and therefore you get to decide where this relationship goes from here. It is up to you. Not him. Not her. It is up to you.]

Have a great day,

Rod Smith, MSMFT

November 20, 2007

We’re engaged but she and her ex still lean on each other…

by Rod Smith

“I met a woman a year ago and we are engaged. She very good friends with her ex-husband because neither has other family. Although he is very good to his daughter, and because my fiancé and he are still close, I find it hard to feel appreciated. They are used to having each other to lean on and help each other. Why does that make me jealous? We love each other but the ex husband is used to helping her and making the decisions. Now that I am there, I feel he should only be involved when it something concerns his daughter. I feel like I have no say in the decision-making for my new family for everything is run by the ex husband so that he will not feel left out. She says they are friends and I do not fear any cheating.”

I’d suggest you place matters on hold until this woman defines herself to her ex and rids herself of her need to rescue him from loneliness. While your jealousy is your issue (something you perhaps might look into), playing second fiddle to an ex, while you are engaged, is cause for concern. I’d suggest you step out until he does, or until something shifts. While you cooperate and compromise yourself and your engagement, nothing will change.

October 16, 2007

I am stuck…

by Rod Smith

Dear Stuck:

Note I have broken my own rules about keeping every entry to fewer than 250 words! But Stuck – I wanted you to hear from me, even if you might not like what I have to say.

Your letter appears below with my comments in BOLD and italics. I am sorry it took me so long to get to your letter:

“My best friend and I have known each other for 8 yrs. I have been in love with him for 5 years. He knows how I feel, but when I realized how much I cared, he was in a relationship. They even had a child together. They ended the relationship about 18 months ago and she is dating someone new yet continually professes her love for him still. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with her in that way.

I understand “in that way” but what is he doing about parenting and supporting the child they share? If he is not supporting his child – you have not said where the child is – I would move on no matter how much love you feel.

“He also began working with me and even relocated to living with me to get out of a bad family living situation.

I trust he is paying his way while living in your home?

“His ex has actually moved with his family since she lost her job. So he is living hours away with me while she is down there living with his sisters. He says he loves me but he is not ready for a relationship.

I’d suggest this is true. He is not ready for a relationship when he has a child from whom he is separated. I must assume he is busy being a dad (driving back and forth to see his child) while also trying to earn a living.

“We are not intimate (good – this would not be good for your long-term health and friendship) but we are together basically 24/7.

“Occasionally he will try to get me to go out on dates (how valiant of him) since he says he is not ready yet and doesn’t know when he will be. He doesn’t want me to wait for him. I feel really stuck.

The feeling is appropriate – you are stuck and it is not about him or your love for him but about you who seems to refuse to move on from a man who has declared he doesn’t want an intimate relationship with you.

“I have tried to tell him that while I have feelings for him I cannot remain friends with him if we never go anywhere simply because as long as he is in my life I feel as though I will never fall in love with someone else.

You got it. You don’t need me to tell you these things. You already know the answers. So have him move out. Today.

“His ex really broke his heart. He honestly felt that it was forever and he gave himself completely to her. However she cheated and lied and destroyed him. Now I am the only woman he trusts and talks to. He hasn’t even been with anyone since her. My dilemma is this. Do I try to wait to see what develops? Do I walk away? What do I do?? I am so confused. And every time people see us together they always think we are married. It doesn’t help that he is very affectionate with me, arms around me, flirting with me, wrestling with me and so forth. But that’s how its been for 7 yrs. what do i do? Please help.


Wow – this guy’s got you eating out of the palms of his hands and he has you believing he is so hurt and such a victim to his ex! Move on….. He doesn’t have what you are looking for. Send him on a journey to fend for his child.

From Stuck – sometime later…..

“So I haven’t seen any reply from you regarding my situation. Did I do something wrong? Am I not doing this correctly? I see others leave comments and you respond. I leave one and get nothing. Am I supposed to leave money somewhere or something to get you to respond? Or is my situation not valid enough for your response… confused… and still…STUCK.”

I am pleased to respond to you but I do not OWE you a reply. Yes your issue is VALID but you already know what you need to do and I am not sure you will hear anything from me anyway! You will continue to be STUCK until you change directions and meet some new people and move in the circles of people who make wiser choices than the man with whom you are currently involved.

November 23, 2006

When your husband says he doesn’t love you anymore or want to be married anymore……

by Rod Smith

dsc_0642Of course you are going to fall apart, and mourn the loss of the future you thought you’d have.

You will feel like death itself and even welcome your own.

Then, when your mind somewhat clears, you’ll wonder what really occurred. You will question what you might have done to cause the marriage breakdown and wonder what you might have done to save it.

Then you will bargain with God, your husband, even your children, or with anyone who will listen as you urgently try to get things back to normal, and get yourself back into his heart, head, and bed.

And, when things somewhat settle, and you’ve gotten some rest, and you emerge from the initial impact of what has occurred, you will see that this is not about you, or what you did or did not do. You will see there that there is no real power in bargaining with him, or real value in your becoming whatever you think he’d prefer you to be.

You will see that, quite apart from whatever he decides to do, there is great power and value in picking up your life, one emotion at a time, and doing what is best for yourself and your children.

Call Rod now…..