Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

My gf of 1 yr is not thrilled that I plan to spend 1-2 hrs on Christmas with my ex in laws. Yes, its unconventional, but it has worked very well for my kids. It's a long story but my in laws live 10 minutes away and are helpful and involved with my kids. They are also very accepting of me and the divorce never changed our dynamic.
My ex wife is a different story. Lives in another state and is less connected with everyone.
Anyways, my kids and I always celebrate part of Xmas with their grandfather and uncle. However, their mom is flying in to be with her dad during xmas. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue to me. The opening of presents is about the kids, not me or my ex. However, my gf is not happy about it at all.
I'm ina catch22, if I go,I make my gf upset. If I don't go, ill be disappointed I could not be there. And my kids will be disappointed too. I don't want to handle this rashly and like a child.
So what can I do to make things less disappointing for me or my gf?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 09:22 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

I'll be blunt. Your children have been a part of your life longer than your girlfriend has. It isn't worth upsetting them to please her. She's an adult and I'm sure she can put aside her issues for Christmas Day. This is for your children. To make it less disappointing you'll have to make a choice and that means someone will hurt for it. I just hope it isn't the kids.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 09:26 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

GF is out of line.
Christmas with a grandparent? That makes her insecure? Remind her this is about the kids, and if she has a problem with that, it is her problem.

In youth it was a way I had, to do my best to please, And change, with every passing lad to suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know, and do the things I do; And if you do not like me so, To hell, my love, with you! --Dorothy Parker
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 09:32 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

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Originally Posted by Houstondad View Post
My gf of 1 yr is not thrilled that I plan to spend 1-2 hrs on Christmas with my ex in laws.
I understand both sides. However, you're only spending 1 to 2 hours with them opening presents. She should be able to accept that. I would assume that the fact that your exW will be there makes her uncomfortable.

Just reassure her that you are not there to spend time with your exW and that you and she will do something nice together once you're back. It's only 10 minutes away. If you say you're going to stay 1 to 2 hours, then don't overstay, however. It would be better to say 2 hours and stay less than say 1 hour and stay more!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 09:43 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

Your gf just needs to realize that this is part of being with you. When you get into a relationship with a man or woman that has children, it's all just part of the package.
These things will come up from time to time. If she can't deal with it then she might not be the right person for a relationship with previous children.

Go to Christmas. She'll just have to trust you and get over it IMO. No one likes the idea of their bf being around their ex but sometimes you just have to deal with it.
She may feel a little uncomfortable with the whole thing but your children will remember Christmas morning the rest of their lives. Children in divorced homes crave and rely on these moments of stability and you are being a great father. I think it's amazing you can go to the ex-inlaws and share these moments together.
Kids come first, always.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 09:47 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

You're not in a catch 22. You're in the wrong relationship. Find a secure girlfriend who understands that her getting the other 22 hours of Christmas is just fine.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 10:10 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

As someone who admittedly is biased because my hb had terrible boundaries with his ex and ex inlaws I'll try not to project, but I do understand your gf's viewpoint here. I reviewed another thread of yours and it sounds like this goes deeper than opening presents on Christmas; you spend a lot of time with them and sometimes leave your girlfriend hanging to hang out with the in laws. Why isn't your gf included? Is there some reason she can't be included, or does she not wish to be included? If she is included, is she also included in the conversations and otherwise made to feel welcome?

Unfortunately when you divorce some things will change as far as the kids are concerned. Your kids might love family vacations but explain that to a new partner. My hb was going with his ex wife out of state to her family's Christmas party and his daughter loved it, but when he met me even he (with his poor boundaries) understood that going on trips with his ex wife wasn't appropriate. I never said a word but our first Christmas together if he'd gone that would have been the end of us. But there's a lot more to my story so I won't threadjack anymore.

You also said on another thread that your gf is ok with you spending some time with these in laws but is struggling to understand how she fits into this dynamic; have you made any progress on that front?

It sounds like you have two separate lives.....one with your ex in laws and one with your gf, and at a certain point you're going to have to find a way to bring these two lives together.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 10:19 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

Ah, I had assumed this was a once a year type thing. What lifeistooshort is saying makes things more complicated. Being together 1 year is a good amount of time to start bringing her into the loop with the ex-inlaws and bringing her with you to visits. Maybe not Christmas this year but maybe plan an outing for all of you that she can be included in, then everyone can get to know each other and next year she can come to the Christmas thing.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 10:43 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

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Originally Posted by SlowlyGoingCrazy View Post
Ah, I had assumed this was a once a year type thing. What lifeistooshort is saying makes things more complicated. Being together 1 year is a good amount of time to start bringing her into the loop with the ex-inlaws and bringing her with you to visits. Maybe not Christmas this year but maybe plan an outing for all of you that she can be included in, then everyone can get to know each other and next year she can come to the Christmas thing.
One thing I've learned is that there's almost always more to the story then what you get in the original post.

Especially when the unrepresented party sounds bat crazy. Not saying it can't happen, just that there's usually more to it.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 11:33 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

Without his back story, this thread doesn't seem so bad but there's more to it than a once a year visit.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 11:41 AM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

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Originally Posted by Pluto2 View Post
GF is out of line.
Christmas with a grandparent? That makes her insecure? Remind her this is about the kids, and if she has a problem with that, it is her problem.
Agreed. To be blunt she is just a Gf. Don't put her ahead of your kids. This is the time to evaluate things like....insecurity for example. If she can't understand this about the kids and not you and your X find a better and more secure woman.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

Of course there are 2 perspectives and more to the story that one can't fit conveniently into a forum. But it's not what you might think, and sure as hell not the same as lifeistooshort. I pick up my kids from their grandfather's after school twice a week thanks to his help and I may spend 5-10 minutes chatting with him before I leave home with my kids. I spend the majority of time with my gf, hands down. If I had to use a percentage, it would be 95% quality time with my gf. Barely 5% with their grandfather. Is that a lot of time with my inlaws? I run into my ex-wf maybe once a year. She lives on the border of Canada while I border Mexico. Why should anyone be concerned we spend a lot of time together, LMAO. I tend to think most people cant say the same when it comes to avoiding their EX. My gf told me she doesn't understand why I can't let go of the inlaws entirely. She understands the kids need to see their grandfather but that why do I need to be there.
My kids and I are with my gf this Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. So 2 hrs with the inlaws I feel is plenty fair to my ex, and my kids.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 04:18 PM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

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Originally Posted by Houstondad View Post
Of course there are 2 perspectives and more to the story that one can't fit conveniently into a forum. But it's not what you might think, and sure as hell not the same as lifeistooshort. I pick up my kids from their grandfather's after school twice a week thanks to his help and I may spend 5-10 minutes chatting with him before I leave home with my kids. I spend the majority of time with my gf, hands down. If I had to use a percentage, it would be 95% quality time with my gf. Barely 5% with their grandfather. Is that a lot of time with my inlaws? I run into my ex-wf maybe once a year. She lives on the border of Canada while I border Mexico. Why should anyone be concerned we spend a lot of time together, LMAO. I tend to think most people cant say the same when it comes to avoiding their EX. My gf told me she doesn't understand why I can't let go of the inlaws entirely. She understands the kids need to see their grandfather but that why do I need to be there.
My kids and I are with my gf this Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. So 2 hrs with the inlaws I feel is plenty fair to my ex, and my kids.
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She is scared that she can't compete with your past life and history. I get that - I married a man many years ago who had been married before me. They didn't have kids together, but they got audited by the IRS for one of their tax years together when we were engaged, so he had to talk to her from time to time. It stung the time I answered the phone and heard her voice on the other end - she had cheated on him and he was still not fully OK with that two years after the divorce (is any of us ever?). It bothered me that he was talking to someone who'd broken his heart.

I let it go. She needs to, also. She's out of line, here. Especially considering kids are involved. And those kids' grandparents, whom you're so fortunate to have in your and your kids' lives! My son didn't get to know two of his grandparents, and lost the other two in the last several years.

Who do you come home to every night? Her, or your inlaws?
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 04:35 PM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

These details are important because they change the picture.

Have you asked your gf what she would be comfortable with? In a ltr it's generally a poor idea to inform your partner of what you'll be doing and expect them to suck it up, especially where exes are concerned, so why don't you try negotiating something with her? Then she might feel like her concerns matter.

Right now you want to know how to make her ok with what you've decided you're doing.

Ask her what she envisions your relationship with your in laws should look like given that you have to interact with them. If you invited her input and made a couple of concessions you might be surprised what she'd be ok with.

Even in my case once my input was sought and concessions were made I became more comfortable. Before I was simply informed that he'd be gone all freaking day for a football game that involved several hours of tailgating with the ex in laws, and this was for every single home game all season, every season. Then he had to email them all week to talk about said games as well as other non related stuff. Just one example of a whole bunch.

BUT, once he negotiated how many games were reasonable for him to attend, which ones would work based on our schedules, and severe cutting back on the tailgating I became a little more comfortable.

So why not try negotiate so she feels that she's part of the equation rather than informing her of your plans and looking for ways to make her less upset?
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 04:51 PM
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Re: Christmas Dilemma with gf, ex and kids

Hi Houstondad,

Didn't you have a similar problem last Christmas with this girlfriend?

Under the circumstances, I think that she is being unreasonable. I get that she is insecure, but that's a problem.

It would be different if you spent a lot of time with your ex-in-laws. But you don't. And they help you take care of your children.

You talking to your in-laws for a few minutes when you pick up the children from their care is reasonable.

1-2 hours on a two day holiday is not a big deal.

How is her relationship with your children?
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