Marriage Builders®
This is a second marriage for both my husband and myself. I have read many of the posts about the dangers of friendship with the opposite sex, especially former lovers. In 2012 when I married my second husband I explained that my first marriage ended because of serial cheating and I needed him to promise zero contact with his exwife and the girlfriends he had since his divorce from her. I also insisted that there was no room in my marriage for opposite sex friends.

He enthusiastically agreed with no contact with former girlfriends, but insisted that contact with his exwife was necessary because she lived with his alcoholic daughter and 2 young grandsons, and she could provide him updates about the condition of his daughter's alcoholism. His daughter is 39, has been drinking since about 16, and has had a lot of instability in her life. She tends to be the center of drama in the whole family.

I have 4 adult children of my own and I cannot imagine dealing with an addiction. It seemed harsh to cut off this important source of information for him so I enthusiastically agreed to make an exception that "his exwife could call him in an emergency situation regarding his daughter."

Fast forward 5 years, 2 suicide attempts and multiple other things. Only once has his ex contacted with concern about their daughter being drunk. She didn't tell him about suicide attempts or the resulting rehabs, CPS, or arrests. Instead what is happening is she asks for money, requests he does a honey do list, and tells him things about friends from the past. He also wishes her happy birthday, includes her in group texts with his kids about sentimental things from their past (I was excluded), and shows concern about her health. These are just communications I learned about. After discovering some of this, I went snooping on my phone bill and discovered 2-3 attempts a month for the last 18 months to contact her. He initiates more of these calls/texts than she does. When we are in town, his daughter invites him to her apartment where his ex also lives and I stay home by choice because I get very anxious being around the ex.

I have tried to explain to him that their behavior is intimate, excludes me, makes me feel disrespected and humiliated when his children see their father show preference to their mother over our marriage.

I do not believe they are sexually involved because we fulltime travel in an RV, but I am very threatened by his preference to value her feelings over mine.

It feels like I gave an inch in a spirit of generosity, and he has taken a mile to soothe the feelings of his ex wife.

We are taking a month to park our RV and come to enthusiastic agreements in an attempt to avoid a separation.

I am uncertain whether I should use Dr. Harley's advice to insist on no contact with his ex (no enthusiastic agreement needed) or to try to find another way to enthusiastic agreement.

What would you do?

Posted By: MelodyLane Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 05/24/17 11:36 AM
Brenda, the solution is for him to stop this contact immediately. The POJA rule is that nothing is done until a new agreement is reached. If it were me, i would insist he end all contact immediately and that his daughter visit you instead of him visiting her.
Posted By: brenda777 Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 05/24/17 12:19 PM
Melody,
Thanks for good advice. He will counter with well thought responses describing why it is unreasonable to cut off the one contact he desperately needs. he will also tell me that inviting his daughter to our home isn't an option because of our limited space.

Here's my problem as I see it:
1. I don't know how to answer these objections so I say nothing, giving his responses more validity.
2. I am struggling because I trusted him and he has blown it over and over. we try to brainstorm, he wins because I can't answer his objections. I understand Dr. Harley would tell me to insist on transparency on the phone, email and facebook to rebuild my trust. I am not sure how he will react to that.
3. He tells me I don't understand his predicament since I don't deal with addicted children. He doesn't understand why these "innocent" contacts bother me. So he sees his contact as NECESSARY and my objections are not legitimate. It's like we have hit a brick wall.

I have suggested we get professional paid help, but he doesn't want to do that.

I feel like I just need to tell him to make a CHOICE and he doesn't have to understand why I feel the way I do. It's either me or her. Just make a choice.

But then I tell myself that I should try everything else first, just don't know how to approach it.









Posted By: MelodyLane Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 05/24/17 12:32 PM
Originally Posted by brenda777
Melody,
Thanks for good advice. He will counter with well thought responses describing why it is unreasonable to cut off the one contact he desperately needs. he will also tell me that inviting his daughter to our home isn't an option because of our limited space.

Here's my problem as I see it:
1. I don't know how to answer these objections so I say nothing, giving his responses more validity.
2. I am struggling because I trusted him and he has blown it over and over. we try to brainstorm, he wins because I can't answer his objections. I understand Dr. Harley would tell me to insist on transparency on the phone, email and facebook to rebuild my trust. I am not sure how he will react to that.
3. He tells me I don't understand his predicament since I don't deal with addicted children. He doesn't understand why these "innocent" contacts bother me. So he sees his contact as NECESSARY and my objections are not legitimate. It's like we have hit a brick wall.

I have suggested we get professional paid help, but he doesn't want to do that.

I feel like I just need to tell him to make a CHOICE and he doesn't have to understand why I feel the way I do. It's either me or her. Just make a choice.

But then I tell myself that I should try everything else first, just don't know how to approach it.

Brenda, the beauty of the POJA is that you don't have to win a debate or even give him a reason. He just needs to stop it. The fact that he knows this troubles you and won't stop is very troubling. A spouse that refuses to use the POJA won't stay married for long.

I would ask him to stop all contact and if he won't, then plan to separate. Anything that comes before your marriage will eventually come between you and that is where you are headed now.

My suggestion would be to email Dr Harley at the radio show and get his advice. He could also speak to your husband. Send him an email at mbradio@marriagebuilders.com. He might be able to persuade your husband to stop it. [it is free]

Quote
I have suggested we get professional paid help, but he doesn't want to do that.

I would caution you about doing this, because most marriage counselors are destructive to marriages. You are more likely to get a MC who will validate your husbands marriage wrecking behavior and you will be worse off than before.
Posted By: BrainHurts Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 05/24/17 01:22 PM
Are you and your DH is Alanon?
Posted By: brenda777 Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 05/24/17 01:49 PM
BrainHurts,
No we aren't. I've read books but she isn't my daughter and he has been dealing with it so long he doesn't have much interest in Alanon. I will ask why he doesn't go.
Posted By: brenda777 Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 05/24/17 01:53 PM
Melody,
I believe you about most MC. I should have written clearly that i want to contact the counselor on marriage builders to get help. We spend money on every thing else and surely it would be good to contact the counselor here.
Posted By: MelodyLane Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 05/24/17 04:55 PM
Originally Posted by brenda777
Melody,
I believe you about most MC. I should have written clearly that i want to contact the counselor on marriage builders to get help. We spend money on every thing else and surely it would be good to contact the counselor here.

gotcha! Did you see my advice to email Dr Harley? It is a fantastic free resource. If he can persuade your husband to get on board, we can coach you both to a good place.
Posted By: brenda777 Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 06/06/17 04:49 AM
Melody,
Here�s more information and I hope you can help me see more clearly.
Last December my husband enthusiastically agreed that he would not contact his ex anymore. Without telling me, he told her face to face that I was offended by their conversations and he respected my feelings and wanted her to stop contacting him. I was foolish enough to believe that both of them would respect this boundary. Then in April she contacted him by text acknowledging the boundary but telling him she was going to bust it anyway. At that point I started going through my phone bills Jan 2016-May 2017 and discovered that there were calls and/or texts almost every month between them. I also knew that he had been to his daughter�s apartment where his ex also lives. He had had other conversations at dinner with her.

I realized that the EA we established in December was merely to appease me rather than a genuine effort to restore my trust. I would like to know why I could be so naive. I suspect that they have had this chummy relationship the entire 5 years I have been married even though I made it clear that I required no contact with previous lovers. Then I went into an emotional meltdown when he acted as if I was overreacting. He felt at the beginning of our marriage my request was unreasonable and therefore he would contact her whenever he wanted. I decided to leave for a personal retreat for 2 weeks and sort what this meant for my life. It was during this retreat that I shared my first post on marriage builders forum.

At the end of the 2 weeks, I returned to my husband and calmly told him he needed to a final choice about his loyalties. He must choose between me and her. He had also been seriously thinking about our conflict and he said he chose me. I explained that this 2nd EA must be respected and I would be verifying.

We also decided to rank our individual love needs and choose one we felt the other person could easily fulfill. I gave him specific things to do for housekeeping support. He gave me a list of affection he wanted to receive. It went well and was incredibly encouraging.

Today was a setback. I learn that he has recruited his daughter to tell her mom not to contact him. His daughter says that her mother would never bust the boundary he set in December. The daughter disrespectfully judged me to her father saying I was paranoid and out of line to even think her mother would bust his December boundary (the daughter doesn�t know her mother already busted the boundary). Her daughter also doesn�t know the pain I have been through over the 5 years of contact her parents have maintained so she is making a disrespectful judgment based on the little information she does have. So I insisted that he never discuss our marital problems with his daughter again. I told him it was unhealthy for her and destructive to our marriage. He agrees but I suspect he is merely appeasing me again. I will contact Dr. Harley about this one.

So here I am again, wondering what good it does to establish an enthusiastic agreement if it is ignored? What is the process for having private counseling? I have a problem that is more troubling than this one and I don�t want to share it here. Thanks for your help
Posted By: apples123 Re: co parenting alcoholic adult - 06/06/17 11:01 PM
You mean extraordinary precautions EPs. These are a prerequisite for a happy marriage.
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