Sign up for the Dr. Phil Newsletter
Twitter Facebook YouTube


Dealing with an ex when you have children together can be difficult, especially when negative emotions are involved. Are you sharing a child with someone who doesn't live with you? How do you handle the situation? Are you amicable, or is it a challenge? Share your stories and advice with others.
Replied By: ceisenh4 on Sep 19, 2015, 6:55PM
watch your show all the time I am a fan and this past Friday September 18th, 2015 show I can truly relate to. I am a mother of two and a step mother of two. My husband has 2 children with 2 different women. He has one girl and one boy. My husband has always tried to be active in both his children's lives. We both get along with his daughters(Emma) mother (melanie) you can even say that we are on the level of almost being friends.. We communicate and talk almost every day as parents and my husband co parents with her. Now that being said my husband has a 10 year old son (Dylan) and his mother (melissa) and my husband (chris) really don't get along. It's not that my husband hasn't tried and as for me communicating with her well there's none. I don't communicate with her because in the past and the present she says that I am the root to all emir issues and I control my husband I don't control my husband not one bit. When I say I don't communicate I mean I don't talk to her I don't message her I don't call her email or Facebook her. There's NO contact with us. To be honest I would love to keep it that way because she is totally full of drama. Now this being said my issues are that there is a 10 year old boy involved here and Melissa decided to marry a man in the military and she decided to up and move to Georgia. We did fight her the first time in court and we tried to keep Dylan here because his entire family is here and his roots are all here in maryland. Well they recently moved again to Texas. This boy has been to about 5 to 6 different elementary schools. To me that's a bit extreme. We get visitations every Christmas every spring break and ever summer. Melissa is the one who has to pay for all the transportation which is only fair because we didn't ask her to marry someone in the military and move from state to state to state. We recently got told by someone that she and her husband plan to move again to Oregon. Every Time  that she has moved I have found out that they were given the choice to move back to maryland and each time the have chosen to move further and further away from Dylan's father my husband. The past couple years have been ok with our visitations with Dylan except this summer was REALLY REALLY different. We noticed so,e changes in Dylan big changes. Like if he would get into trouble and we would reprimand him he would kinda shell up and not communicate and he would hide in his room and sometimes cry. No we don't believe in smacking our kids butts or any other parts of their bodies. I believe it is considered abuse to a child if you put your hands on them. Well Dylan was caught cursing and my husband sat Down and talked to him asked him where he is learning these words. Dylan's response was that mommy and George do nothing but fight all the time in front of him. He than went on and told my husband all kinds oft hints that have been going on at his mommies house. He told us that George calls him gay boy, faggot, and bitch boy. He told us that one day mommy and George were arguing in baby Georgie's room and mommy was on the floor and Dylan got scared and hid in his room and mommy was yelling Dylan help me Dylan. He also told us that George gets mad and throws things SOMETIMES... That when they lived in Georgia George threw a glass cup so hard that there was a piece of glass stuck in the floor and after cleaning it up there was a hole there.. He also said that one time George was yelling at him and he got upset and ran to his room and shut the door and George came in after him and he smacked his butt. He's also told us that mommy has told him that he needed to enjoy this summer with us because she plans to take us back to court and have him taken from us because we are terrible people. He's also said that mommy always talks bad about us and it hurts his feelings.. Melissa has even told Dylan that she's going to punish him as soon as he gets home. Since June we have been taking steps to try and fight for him to protect him. He has also said to us that he didn't want to tell us about these things because he likes to come here and forget about the things that happens at mommies. So in words this is kind of like a mental vacation for him because he don't have to deal with me and his daddy fighting and screaming and yelling and throwing things and cursing.. And NO NAME CALLING OR BUTT BEATINGS. Finally Dylan has also told us that when he play wrestles with George, George gets to rough or serious and he puts him in a choke hold and wrestles him to the ground and don't let go when Dylan asks him to. Dylan has claimed that he has him in such a hold that he almost passes out. These are things that a 10 year old boy is telling his daddy. Chris tried to talk to Melissa about these things he tried to co parent with her to find out what is going on but she didn't want to hear it she just said Dylan needs to toughen up she also has said that when Dylan gets put in a choke hold its his fault because he started it by jumping on Georges back and than when Dylan's had enough he over exaggerates and say ohhhh ohh George is hurting me ohh and starts crying. So our first step was take him to a therapist. Step two was call child protective services. Step three get a lawyer to fight for him to protect him. The therapist also contacted child protective services in Texas... It seems as though they didn't believe these accusations and stories they believed melissa and her husband. From my point  of view as to why they don't believe these things must be because George is in the army and since he's fighting for our country lets brush it under the rug. Than also I contacted his ex wife because she has a daughter with him I felt like she should know about these things because her daughter visits them and who knows she might be going through these things too and not saying anything so I told her what Dylan has said and that cps was told about these things. So now Melissa and George are now saying that we are lying so that we can change our visitation orders... And she claims we are doing this so we don't have to pay child support. Please I don't care about child support nor does my husband he's paid child support since day one and has never been late and has never under paid. He made it so it all comes directly out of his check so we don't even see the money and could care less about the money. If it were about the money we would have taken her back to modify it along time ago because we still pay for Dylan when he's with use for the summer Christmas and spring ... We just left it alone because that's Dylan's money... Anyways my husband kept Dylan when it was time to send him home because we were worried and he didn't want to go he was scared to go. Reason being is because he finally opened up and Melissa no George now know because cps was involved and he was so scared to go home and he would be in deep trouble for telling us any of that stuff. We enrolled him in school,and let him join a bowling league. He was happy he said he loved going to the school here better than Texas. He was HAPPY... We knew she would come and get him when she could but we didn't know when so my husband put her on the do not release to list.  Sure enough she showed up at the school on a Tuesday. If you were there dr. Phil you're heart would be broken into pieces. The school was fighting with us they were on our side they did not want her to take him. There was an officer there. Dylan was so upset he was crying and dry heaving he was yelling for daddy he kept saying please don't let her take me daddy daddy daddy. I want to stay with you. Please. He even tried to run but Melissa grabbed his shirt. And of course when chris and Melissa were in the school Melissa's sister was outside and her sister kept looking at me and laughing and lipped fuck you at me and than when she got word that the police were going to give Melissa Dylan she than cheered silently at me. It was like she was taunting me to do something but I left it alone because to be honest this isn't a game this is a child's life this isn't something to sit there and cheer or taunt about. How can you cheer and smile and laugh when this child is being abused. Mostly mentally but mental abuse is still abuse and it still hurts just as much as physical abuse. The whole sense was so heart breaking my husband was numb we tried to protect him as best as we could we had filed the modification of custody and we had a therapist and a lawyer. But it wasn't enough to keep him here it was the most heart wrenching thing. Chris and our lawyer went to the court house to try and get a protective order on Dylan's behalf but was denied we even have a letter stating that there IS abuse in that house by the step father from Dylan's therapist. But the judge didn't want to hear it because the abuse was happening in Texas not in maryland. We barley could afford the lawyer there's no way we could afford a plane ticket and car and hotel and food to Texas to go to a court room and possibly be turned away... Maryland does have jurisdiction over Dylan because the custody agreement was started here and child support is through here. But since the abuse is happening in another state maryland can't open another case the only case that can be reopened is modification of custody because that's in maryland. Chris is now being charged with contempt for breaking the custody agreement. She is so selfish she's asking that all visitations be cut until the modification of custody happens . We have tried everything we could here in maryland there's nothing else we can do but play this sit and wait game for a court date and by that time Dylan is going to have to stay there and we feel like he's going to shut back down and not open back up about anything ever again. I feel so bad for him. Melissa is saying everything is a lie..we even have recording of a phone conversation it's proof that she does nothing but scream cuss and don't communicate also proves that George has put Dylan in a choke hold but it's Dylan's fault. We also have recording of Dylan's reaction when she showed up and took him. She's also saying that we didn't tell her we are keeping him which is a lie chris told her he wasn't sending him because of the abuse. She lied to police told them he didn't tell her but his plane was suppose to leave early in the morning and she was having him flown into Oregon and Oregon is three hours behind us well she called the police and told them 930 am our time.his plane wouldn't have landed there by than yet so how did she know he wasn't on there. It don't make any sense. So if anyone is the liar it's her. Also they have punished him because a stupid PlayStation remote was left here. They won't allow him to play any videos games until we mail the remote to Texas I mean really the way he was taken of course this child didn't say oh wait let me grab my PlayStation remote. I know we aren't famous and we are in the headlines in the news but we want your help for Dylan's sake we want to help him we want to protect him. We have plenty of evidence messages pics texts and maybe two or three recordings. 
Thanks for taking the time to read my long story and I hope to hear from you to help us with what to do next. 
Replied By: jarirismom on Sep 18, 2015, 8:13PM - In reply to courtneys1s
people always think your crazy when your friendly with your ex or that one of you is still in love with each other. What people fail to see when these judgement are being made is yes there is love and it's the love we both share for our child. No child should ever have to choose between their parents. And guess what people I no longer have to live with persons faults or he with mine so let the anger go and remember the person they were before the problems started between you and be friend with that person. My ex cheated on Me not my son for two years. I am going to make every effort to make sure my child has the best childhood possible
Replied By: nancjay on Sep 18, 2015, 3:24PM
Dear Dr Phil, 

I am feeling so enraged about your show today that I could not stand by and say nothing. I finished watching it here on the east coast about 20 minutes ago and I am still upset. 

I know this is a bit outragues but we need one of you in every town across America so you can council couples with children, before any judge grants another divorce!

Thanks for listening

Replied By: onemommahere on Apr 22, 2015, 9:47PM
I just joined and have no idea what I'm doing,so be kind.

I have been divorced for four years. We have three children, two aged out of visits and the drama involved in that. One is 15 and still getting visits every other weekend with his father.

The stress of co parenting with my immiture, narcisistic ex is getting to me and our children.

He had multiple relationships since the divorce, all women he met and quickly moved in wihtout knowing them well,much less our children knowing them.

In two years there have been three women, the last he married after knowing her for 3 months.

Who he has dated or moved in is none of my buisness, but the ups and downs of all these women in and out the door is hard on our children.

The biggest issue is how he acts now with the new wife.

He has an established pattern of getting along with me when he's single and being weird and unreasonable when he's not.

With the new wife, things are awful.

One minute he wants  me to text him, the next e-mail him, sometimes I can call him, but it's spotty.

I have been prevented from talking to our son during his visits, then other times he'll call me and ask for concessions when it comes to our son.

The latest thing is he is refusing to come to my house to pick up our son if his wife comes with him for his weekend visits. He will pick him up at our house if he comes to pick him up alone.

I'm tired of the crap, the inconsistency and what this is doing to me and especially our children.

I told him flat out that I'm not making our child walk to meet him just because the new wife is with him.

He then threatened to call the police and have me arrested if I don't force my child to walk to meet him because I would be stopping his visit.

I have NO desire to stop his visits, I just want consistency and cooperation without all this drama.

Should I make my child walk to meet him?

Is asking him to pick up our son at home unreasonable?

I don't see how him refusing to pick him up at home equals me violating the visit order.

I just want to do what is right for our chidlren, but I am SO sick of trying to do the right thing and being screwed anyway.

Replied By: helpimlosingit on Apr 6, 2015, 9:20AM
My ex has never been interested in the kids, we have 2 together.  Even when we were married, he worked and then sat at his computer playing lord of the rings online the rest of his time at home, if the kids made noise i had to take them somewhere so he would not yell.

I left him, he put me in debt so far i had to file bankruptcy, he does not call his kids, reply to text messages or come to events unless it means he gets to punish, yell, or force them to do something they dont like.

My son has anger issues, i took him to therapy for, hes got anxiety, adhd and self worth issues, i explained this to my ex and the very next visit he pulled him to the side and told him everyone leaves because they dont want to be around him.  My son called me crying begging to come get him

My daughter at 5 would not get ing the shower, so he took her updstairs held her upside down over the toliet and threatened as she cried to wash her hair in the toliet, he never has beds for them and says he has not money to help them, that child support is all thats needed.

My children fight and dont want to visit him, he accuses me of a ton of stuff but i now know his gf step daughter 17 yrs old had done pot with my 14 and 16 yr old in the room and drank and offered it to him

so yeah i cant get along with him,, i have a box full of rude hateful messages from him.  i am now on anti depressants and cant even afford a attorney after my last go around

Lord help me
Replied By: courtneys1s on Mar 20, 2015, 1:47PM
My ex husband and his girlfriend are two of my closest friends. Myself, my boyfriend, my ex and his girlfriend hang out together... when the kids are with grandparents. No, were not in some sort of hippie commune, we don't have some sort of twisted "love square" and our kids arent buried in confusion. My ex and I loved eachother enough to have three children together- the most wonderful kids in the world- and we respect one another and are good enough friends to provide our kids with a true teamwork based approach to parenting. This summer we are all going on vacation together.

The hard part... other people's judgements. Friends of my boyfriend saying that my ex and I must still be involved in order to get along so well. My parents inferring that I am doing damage to my children by confusing them. And the general look of disgust I get from peers when I proudly say I set my ex up with his new girlfriend. "That's just so weird." I hear that all the time. 

I can't understand why others are so put off by our parenting style and friendship. It seems as if others would be MORE accepting of a hostile relationship. One, in which, our children were raised by two seperate kingdoms altogether... kingdoms battling over time, money, property and the childrens' love. Who wins in that situation? Certainly not our kids. 

In our arrangement, my kids have the opportunity to have special time with just mommy and daddy, nobody misses Christmas morning, everyone they love is present for big life events and neither one of their parents will miss seeing their eyes light up at Disney or their first time in the ocean. 

Our arrangement could not work for everyone. I understand that some divorces don't end on an amicable note. But divorce does not NEED to be a tragedy. For us, it has been an opportunity for our childrens' and our own support systems to expand. 
Replied By: mwilcox2004 on Mar 5, 2015, 12:47AM
I have one bioligical son and take care of my stepson that my husband has custody of. Being a stepparent ican be extremely hard and emotionally exhausting as well. My stepson' biological mother has been in and out of his life. He goes for visitation with his mom's parents every other weekend. 

My husband works late most days so I'm the one that takes care of the kids. I get them ready, do their homework with them, and cook dinner. If my husband makes it home before I start on the homework and dinner, he very rarely helps me with any of it. He usually takes a nap on the couch, which I'm understanding most of the time until he falls into the weeks where he will nap everyday. My stepson has trouble reading and with math. Ive been working with him to get him caught up. (He got behind in school prior to his dad receiving custody of him.) 

Anytime his son does something that gets him into trouble, I'm ostracized and his dad will argue with me taking his side right in front of his son. I'm at the point where I dont want to tell his dad when he gets in trouble because I know he is going to get upset with me, raise his voice, then my stepson will hear and make me go above and beyond to prove it while my stepson is watching.  He makes me show him the emails from the teachers and will question me like im on trial if its something i seen. He buys him something everytime they go out & will forget to get spmething for our youngest son that stayed home with me. He is 4 and it hurts his feelings. He will leave the youngest son out by playing video games with my stepson amd not letting my youngest play too. I know a part of his dad feels guilty because the transition from moving into our house was rough on him. I think he tries to overcompensate for that and the fact that his mother is in jail and he is having a hard time adjusting to it. I have been taking him to counseling every other week to help him get through these rough times. He is 10 years old now and if I tell him not to do something he gets smart with me. His dad never says anything. 

I failed out of nursing school last semester. I have one last chance to try again this fall. My goal while I am om break has been to get my stepson to stop lieing and to put more effort into his homework. (He tends to huess on some of it) Ive tried talking to my husband numerous times about helping me more with the homework and issues with lieing but everytime I say something he raises his voice to the point the kids hear ane once again,  I'm outted be the evil stepmom.  He doesnt respect me at all. I think most of that was brought on from how he sees his dad treat me. Anytime I make a comment that he needs to include our youngest son usually ends up with him yelling his voice. It gets the kids upset. He has learned with time if he raises his voice I will stop talking about it to prevent getting them upset. 

Im miserable and very unhappy.  I feel like I have poured my all into our relationship and our children. Ive sacrificed so much to be where I'm at now. I dont feel he puts much effort into our relationship.

Does anyone else have this problem? 

Thanks in advance 
Replied By: momchoices on Feb 19, 2015, 2:45PM
I left my husband/relationship of 10 years as he never wanted to change or make the effort to fix himself, as he had a crack problem, drinking and cheating.... it took alot of strength to leave this marriage as i thought staying was best for the kids. he attacked me once he found out i left and stalked me for month and hired PI. He then decided to start new relationship with a women he has an affair with. now my children spend every second weekend with them and they are out to prove i am horrible mom and dont want to co parent. they put the children in the middle of adult issues, his girlfriend believes my children would be better off raised by her. so they continue to try and take me to court to gain more time with them but the court as not apporved it, as he is breaking court order by continuing to drink while he has them. he also does not pay his child support. he is 15 g behind. now in canada , child support and visitation are seperate, if he doesnt pay it , he still sees them. i do believe my children need a relationship with him and i am happy he does see them but co parenting is so hard as he doesnt see i am doing everything i can to provide for them and he doesnt do it at all. the hardest thing is to keep myself from getting angry at him but if i do get angry then he will see that what he is doing is bothering me and that would allow him to feel like he is in control so i do not say a word and work hard for my kids, i spent ten years in his its time to take my life back.
Replied By: jeni867 on Jan 26, 2015, 10:21AM
I have lived this situation with my husband and step daughters. We have raised his daughters for 10 years and they have said everything and done everything that these girls have done except the mother was a already felon and didn't take them away. She lost custody when they were 6,7 and 13. It was like I was watching my own story. They accused my husband of abuse, sexual and emotional. They ran away, they hooked up with people on the internet and had an online predator come to our house and when we addressed it they said we were to harsh and they ran away to their moms when she didn't have custody.. We've had the police called on us several times because we raised our voices at them. The have never ever been touched.  Everthing that came from Brittany's mouth was said by our eldest! The three of them would also post everything on twitter and facebook about how mean we were. We also had them shut the computer off at midnight or had one or two hours of computer time. I block unappropriate sites and music when they were in Jr. High and I was a monster. When they would get punishment, it would be we would take their phones away. They would call their mother crying and she would call the police and make up some story about my husband. The mother also bought them another phone so in High School they had two phone each. One we paid for and one they paid for. This is not abuse, this is PARENTING! To Brian in this situation, it's not worth it, it's not worth the fight, the girls will always put their mother on a pedestal and hold you accountable. Our girls are over 18 now and only come around when they want money. I just wanted to let Brian know he is doing what is right for those girls whether they think so or not and I totally support him and his wife!
Replied By: howiedennison on Jan 10, 2015, 8:25PM - In reply to stayathome1974
Sorry to hear there is somone trying to keep you out of your children's life.  This sounds like it might be classic parental alienation.
Showing 1-10 of total 54 Comments