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Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › please please

user 36092052
Madison, WI
Post #: 5
This is the story.

I have a restraining order against my husband that will be in effect for 4 years. It has been just over a year now since I got it. Divorce still going on.

I have just started seeing a therapist, who has been seeing my ex for a year, and she seems to think that I should consider removing this restraining order or maybe altering it in order to have better communication regarding the children. So far the only alteration I have made to it is to allow him to send me emails through a 3rd party (one of his friends).

I understand why she is suggesting this. Communicating with each other through emails or through the children makes things extremely complicated. In an ideal world I would love to be able to to talk with my ex freely, even get together with him with the kids around, show them that we can get along and are a united front regarding parenting issues. Alas, this is not an ideal world. This man is a bully and is extremely intelligent and manipulative. I was with him for 18 years and put up with an awful lot of abuse.

My worries are these. If I give him an inch, he will take a mile. It scares me to think of letting him back into my life. I am seriously considering altering it to allow phone communication, but this scares me. I left him over a year ago, and am just starting to gradually build up my self confidence. I feel like I am in a good place right now. This man was, and still is toxic to me.

So should I bite the bullet and allow phone communication, knowing that I can hang up at any time I want and that I don't have to listen to him :) Or does anyone out there have any other suggestions?

I encourage any and all opinions. Thanks.
A former member
Post #: 22
Hello, Yasmine,

It was a pleasure meeting you last night. smile

I understand that good communication is very important where the children are concerned. I am guessing that since you are asking that you must not be very comfortable with this idea. If you are not comfortable, then do not do it and tell the therapist why.

Why are you seeing the same therapist that your husband is using? Can you find another therapist for yourself only? If this guy is as manipulative as you say he is, how do you know he isn't manipulating the therapist? It could happen. Just my thoughts.


user 36092052
Madison, WI
Post #: 6
Thank you Linda.

This particular therapist was court appointed to my ex. She also has seen my children a few times. The GAL suggested to the court that it would be a good idea for me to go and see her also, since she has been involved with the rest of the family for a while now. My lawyer also thought the same.

As for manipulating the therapist, that is a very good question. None of his friends knew what he was really like at home, probably still don't, he was/is extremely fake in public. But I have spoken with her about how manipulative he is, she is aware of this, and I am hoping by her years of experience, she has dealt with many other people with this same kind of personality, and can see through it. But you never can tell.

I just want to do the right thing where my kids are concerned. I know communication is very important.
A former member
Post #: 23
I am so sorry that you and your children are going through this. I recommended this book in another thread but I think it could fit here, too. I suggest that you read Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. She hits the nail on the head for this type of relationship.

Optimistic C.
Madison, WI
Post #: 82
Hey Yasmine,

First of all it was a delight to meet you the other night at the Great Dane. I look forward to more at the Pentathlon. Incidentally, there is another Brit in SP-DA... Tina B. We should have tea and digestives some time!

My thoughts...
It seems as thought working through a third party is making communication a little complicated. That is completely understandable, but I'm not sure you want to be opening the door so wide, so fast. It would seem to me that your STBX be able to handle himself appropriately via direct email before dealing with him over the phone.

If it were via email... there would be a record of all interactions. That may be valuable if things go south and it gets ugly. At least via email you would be able to show a Judge why the need to reinstate a restraining order.
If it were by phone... you got nothing! He could call at all hours of the day. Sure you don't have to answer, but why bother with the hassle/inconvenience?

My opinion... offer to take out the 3rd party email part with the option to put it back if he's naughty!

See ya soon!
A former member
Post #: 133
I am with OC, let him email you directly. I am a little perplexed with the counseling situation though. I always thought it was a conflict of interests for them to see family members in this situation. I know my therapist won't see my daughter because she sees me. I would definitely do it if the court is recommending it, but I would probably also go get my own independent therapist to bounce stuff off of. Definitely forcing a written record communication ensure a little better behavior and if not, well, there is a record of it! Good luck!

and it was nice meeting you Friday night!
user 36092052
Madison, WI
Post #: 7
OC, if they are choc. digestives then count me in...or even better choc.

Thanks for the advice OC and Sara, I think I will allow direct email, as it does seem like a safer solution for now. Maybe I will just give it some more time before I go with the phone communication.
Madison, WI
Post #: 28
This may be after the fact, but I wanted to make another point as well. I have to agree with Sara and OC- start with direct e-mail so you have a paper trail. But please be very careful about opening the door to telephone conversations. This man has proven over the years how well he can manipulate you if given a chance. He sounds like he can twist people's minds and make them second guess decisions. You gathered an amazing amount of strength to move out of the relationship and get the restraining order in the beginning, don't give him the chance to erode the confidence you are building any more than you have to.
I tend to be very CYA (cover your a$$), so I would probably print the emails on a regular basis so I knew I had copies somewhere. And take them to the therapist if they get even slightly manipulative. If this person is seeing your kids, too, it can't hurt for her to see what they are dealing with.
user 6540411
Group Organizer
Madison, WI
Post #: 180
Yasmine, first, I'm so glad to have met you Friday night. Sorry we did not have more time to chat. But, hopefully, now that the ice has been broken we will see you at meetups more frequently!

Second, I totally agree with Chris and Sara. Direct email communication is great for the paper trail it leaves.

Finally, I understand why you might want to keep the therapist you have "in the family", so to speak. However, I have a GREAT therapist to recommend if you are interested in getting a different perspective. If you're interested, please email me individually.

Good luck!
user 10992199
Madison, WI
Post #: 36

I agree with the others about not talking to him.

I would add: consider defining when he can send an e-mail, perhaps to just once per week, and always on the same day (this is important). That way, you don't have to cringe every time you check e-mail, not knowing if something is waiting for you. If you pick Monday, for example, then you have the other six days a week emotionally and mentally free from him.

If weekly is too much, try once per month. Or whatever you think is best. You can always adjust it later.

I hope this helps.

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