Home > Negotiation > Resisting the Temptation to Compete With Your Ex

Resisting the Temptation to Compete With Your Ex

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 10 Nov 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Ex Compete Parent Presents Buying

When you have been used to seeing your child every day and that is taken away from you, you are left with a huge void in your life. You may worry that your child won’t remember you, will resent you or be influenced by your ex. Because of this you may feel the need to start competing with your ex. It may also be a way to get back at her for taking your child away. Whatever the reason is, it is not healthy for you or your child and you need to change your behaviour.

Why Do You Want to Compete?

The two main reasons why you feel the need to compete with your ex are to get back at her and make your child love you. Although it may not feel like it all the time, your child already loves you and you do not need to compete for their attention. Also, using this behaviour to get back at your ex will only misfire, as it puts them in a stronger position to counteract your behaviour.

What Are Common Ways of Competing?

There are a number of common ways that you may feel the need to compete with your ex. The main one is by Buying Your Child Gifts, toys, days out – whatever you choose to try to get them to see you as the ‘favourite’. Another way may be to be more lenient with them – letting them stay up late, overlooking bad behaviour or letting them eat what they want.

What Effect Does it Have on Children?

Competing with your ex only has a negative effect on your child. They are already in an unfamiliar situation and your change in behaviour will only confuse them even more. They need structure and routine to feel secure – not lots of new toys or lax boundaries. They are also much more likely to act up or play you off your ex for attention as they see that this is something that you are willing to do and they want to please you.

What Can You Do Instead?

Instead of trying to compete with your ex you need to work together with her. It may be difficult, but you want to present a united front, reinforcing boundaries and showing that you respect each other. Your child wants to know that life is still the same and that they can feel happy and safe. Show them your love by spending time with them, listening to them and being concerned about their wellbeing, rather than trying to prove you are the better parent in other ways.

However tempting it may be to compete with your ex to be the ‘favourite’ parent, it's not good for you or your child. You need to be working with your ex, not against her and concentrate on the happiness and security of your children. You cannot replace time and love with material possessions or a lack of structure. Your children still love you and the best thing you can do is be a good parent to them.

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Mr B - Your Question:
Thank you. Also what can I put in place is she plans to move my daughter to the other side of the world (Oz) as she has talked about that before but I am not willing to have her move my daughter away as I will never have a relationship with her or get to see her if she does that. I just need to know my rights and have all grounds covered.

Our Response:
You're welcome. If you have parental responsibility, you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A PSO, is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to have the child returned. While there is no guarantee you would be granted the order, if you are concerned that your ex may take your child abroad without your permission, it is certainly worth seeking professional legal advice about.
SeparatedDads - 10-Nov-16 @ 2:48 PM
Thank you. Also what can I put in place is she plans to move my daughter to the other side of the world (Oz) as she has talked about that before but I am not willing to have her move my daughter away as I will never have a relationship with her or get to see her if she does that. I just need to know my rights and have all grounds covered.
Mr B - 10-Nov-16 @ 12:04 AM
Mr B - Your Question:
Mi started a new relationship 6months ago and when my ex found out I haven't been allowed to see my daughter since. I have missed her 2nd birthday.In the 6months she has my daughter calling her on / off partner daddy, she has denied me seeing my daughter through my solicitor I have asked for supervised access through a contact centre just so I can see my daughter but she has denied me this too. We are just starting family mediation but I am not hopeful this will work and I think she is doing this as if it doesn't work and I have to go to court it will be even longer before I get to see my daughter. This process is so slow and painful. Is there anything else I can or should be doing in the mean time to be able to have a relationship with my daughter as I fear she won't remember me and my ex has her calling someone else daddy

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, this is the process you have to go through if you are separated. With mediation, both parents have to attend with an open mind and be willing to discuss things maturely and without wanting to provoke confrontation, please see link here. If the process fails, you may be able to seek an interim contact order through the courts, please see link here . You may wish to seek legal advice regarding this.
SeparatedDads - 9-Nov-16 @ 12:53 PM
Mi started a new relationship 6months ago and when my ex found out I haven't been allowed to see my daughter since. I have missed her 2nd birthday. In the 6months she has my daughter calling her on / off partner daddy, she has denied me seeing my daughter through my solicitor I have asked for supervised access through a contact centre just so I can see my daughter but she has denied me this too. We are just starting family mediation but I am not hopeful this will work and I think she is doing this as if it doesn't work and I have to go to court it will be even longer before I get to see my daughter. This process is so slow and painful. Is there anything else I can or should be doing in the mean time to be able to have a relationship with my daughter as I fear she won't remember me and my ex has her calling someone else daddy
Mr B - 8-Nov-16 @ 11:36 PM
si - Your Question:
Parenting on its own is challenging at the best of times, To remain a positive influence and make good decisions for your children when you have many natural obstacles that you have to navigate is hard enough.Then throw in a co-parent who decides that your enemy number 1, every decision you make is considered wrong, it takes a strong character to survive emotionally.and you know any minor slip up can have serious consequences for you and the children, for what purpose does being difficult serve?with no real emotional support as its such a personal private relationship, you quickly alienate friends when your life is consumed by the woes of a family break up.I put my children first and focus on providing a positive life in the time we have, trying to not take the bait when its thrown, hoping that one day the penny will drop and the ex will stand up and acknowledge the negative behaviour and do her best to be better.I made a decision to not mope about the loss and fill our time with activity, we always do something every day together, by remaining active we explore the world around us and this has had a positive effect, both for me and I think for them, I would be criticised, " your doing too much and they only ever have fun with you" those comments would make me smile.I would partly hope that she would be influenced to do the same on her end, and she tried but lacked the energy or desire to do it as part of her routine.Children need their fathers, and nothing is worth fighting for as much as your child.No matter how difficult the ex can be, always be there, those little ones need you.Support the fathers who support the children.

Our Response:
Many thanks for your objective and interesting comments, which I'm sure will be a help to all of our readers.
SeparatedDads - 16-Sep-15 @ 9:53 AM
Parenting on its own is challenging at the best of times, To remain a positive influence and make good decisions for your children when you havemany natural obstacles that you have to navigate is hard enough. Then throw in a co-parent who decides that your enemy number 1, every decision you make is considered wrong, it takes a strong character to survive emotionally. and you know any minor slip up can have serious consequences for you and the children, for what purpose does being difficult serve? with no real emotional support as its such a personal private relationship, you quickly alienate friends when your life is consumed by the woes of a family break up. I put my children first and focus on providing a positive life in the time we have, trying to not take the bait when its thrown, hoping that one day the penny will drop and the ex will stand up and acknowledge the negative behaviour and do her best to be better. I made a decision to not mope about the loss and fill our time with activity, we always do something every day together, by remaining active we explore the world around us and this has had a positive effect, both for me and I think for them, I would be criticised, " your doing too much and they only ever have fun with you" those comments would make me smile.... I would partly hope that she would be influenced to do the same on her end, and she tried but lacked the energy or desire to do it as part of her routine. Children need their fathers, and nothing is worth fighting for as much as your child. No matter how difficult the ex can be, always be there, those little ones need you... Support the fathers who support the children.
si - 15-Sep-15 @ 12:10 AM
I have been separated from my wife for about 6 months, she still lives in the family home (joint names on mortgage) with our two children and I am renting a room from a friend. She is saying that if she doesn't want me coming going into 'her' home then she is allowed to ask me to respect 'her' home as she would mine and I am not allowed to go in without her concent. Is this correct as it is in effect 'our' home and my children live there? Also, she has said that If i want to see the kids at times other then my weekend (I have them stay over with me every other weekend on Friday and Saturday night) then as she is the 'main career' It is up to her to set the parameter as to how this is done. I will be allowed to go to the house and collect the kids but i will need to ensure they are dropped back home at the time she says and that this is especially important if it is on a school night. Does she really have all the say with this matter after all they are my kids as wells. It is such a case of double standards on her part to be awkward and be in charge, she has been and consistently gets home late with the kids after visiting her family during the week 'a school night', so it is fine for her to keep the kids up later when it suits her, but not for me too, how can this be right. (she always has been a control freak, so she is loving this. Only to be encouraged by law if this is indeed the case). What can I do so I am in more of an equal position and have as much say as her where the kids are concerned? Last of all, she is also treating me like a nobody and laying down the law with what I can and cannot say and do with our kids. Does she have any right to do that, she has also been this way towards me in front of the kids, which obviously undermines the fact that I am their dad, and as far as they are concerned, a important person in there lives and that they should look at both their mum and me in the same way as equals. Is there anything that I can say to her or do, so she would see what she is doing not only to me, but more importantly our kids? (Please bare in mind that she is so wrapped up in her own new found importance and hasn't listened to reason from me, so if there is anything I can do it needs to be something that she cannot argue with! Please help me to achieve a better standing and to be a father to my kids, your help would be very much appreciated. Thanks. Mr Lee Turner
Dave - 22-Jun-14 @ 9:29 AM
Absolutely agree with this article.Even when its easy to compete with the ex, this must be avoided.My ex bought tons of presents for the kids when we first split up nearly 4 years ago and I didn't want to compete.It takes courage though.
Dr David - 30-Mar-11 @ 1:12 PM
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