How Do I Feel Good About Accepting a New Job with Ex Husband Bullying?

Updated on February 18, 2019
D.S. asks from Matthews, NC
17 answers

I am divorced and mom to a 12 year old daughter. My ex and I share custody equally. Six months ago my job was downsized to 32 hours and a 20% pay cut, ouch! I've been doing OK financially with cutting back. Along with the cuts came schedule changes that affected the custody was not easy to work through.
Last week I applied for and was offered a full-time manager position in my company. After I applied for the job, I met with my ex to discuss it. He was very upset at this and called me selfish, said it was a choice for me to disrupt the schedule again and that it would affect his new relationship (she is newly divorced with a custody agreement of her own that was arranged to fit the current schedule), that my daughter doesn't want another schedule change.
I need full time work. It's a great opportunity. Why do I feel so awful?? I feel bullied by him and I'm worried about how my taking this job will affect future coparenting. Advice? Thanks!!

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answers from Houston on

First, congratulations!!! This wonderful. I know you will feel much better financially.

Second, explain the changes to your daughter. You aren't asking her permission just informing that things will change and why. She has to know that things have been tight at home with you working part time.

Third, there is a reason he is your ex. You received a promotion, a raise and he's pissed? His girlfriend's custody agreement is NOT your responsibility. Things change and that is life. End of discussion with ex.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You need to do the best for you and your daughter. If that means having so shift around the schedule then that's what needs to happen. You know if your ex had to shift things around because of a change in his schedule he'd do it without thinking about its impact on you. He's your ex for a reason. Don't let his opinion make you second guess yourself.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You are not responsible for your husband's new relationship. This job will provide for you and your daughter, period. There is nothing to feel awful about.
You simply sit down with your daughter and explain the situation, and how it is important and indeed, your responsibility, to provide a financially stable home. She may be annoyed by these small changes (or not, that could just be your ex putting his frustration on her) but she will adjust and ultimately be happy and proud that her mother is providing such a good example for her.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You do what you know is right, which is full-time work. Screw him - he'll adjust, and his new girlfriend's custody schedule isn't your problem. Congrats on the new job! Ignore him and enjoy the new position. Everyone will be fine.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Taking care of your career is taking care of your child and your future.
Do not apologize for it.
Take the job!
You don't explain things to your ex - you inform him you have a new job and changes will need to be made.
Being downsized before was not YOUR choice - you had to adapt to a situation that was thrust upon you.
You have an opportunity and you need to earn the money so you can help pay for your child s college and your own retirement.
Bummer if it upsets the apple cart but people are going to have to roll with it.

Sheesh if your daughter is 12 it's reasonable to think she might be interested in driving a car in 4 or 5 years - if you are earning more money you are in a better place to help her pay for it.
It's not practical to think things would be the same for the entire life of the shared custody.
Sometimes being a parent means not excessively worrying about making everyone else happy.
You need to make you happy.
Congratulations on the new job!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Let go of the guilt. You really don’t have a choice but to work FT unless your ex is willing to supplement your income.

Honestly, I don't understand why you feel guilty. Wouldn’t it be irresponsible if you decided to only work PT and not improve your career and financial position. 🤷‍♀️

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You just feel good about the new job and forget about ex’s opinion. Get out of the habit of thinking or caring what he feels because he is no longer your husband. He sounds like he is going to find fault with you no matter what you do anyway. So be happy and go on with your life. The rest of them will have to adapt to you making decisions that are best for you..

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it sounds as if you're still suffering from the scars of your marriage to this charmer. it's not surprising- the sort of PTSD from living with a narcissist and a bully are not easy to eradicate.

but work on it you must, both for your sake and to model strength and resilience for your daughter.

it will be hard to manage with a busy new schedule, but you should find some time for counseling for yourself, so you can learn how to draw good boundaries and not internalize the selfish whining from your ex. his trouble with the schedule and his relationship are his problems, not yours, and you need to calmly hand them back to him.

your future coparenting will be more adversely affected by you caving into the bullying than by maturely doing what you need to do to create a good life.

remember that your daughter is watching THAT.

good luck!


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Take the job. Explain to your daughter the benefits will greatly outweigh the changes that will need to be made in the short term. Forget about what the ex says and absolutely do not worry about his new fling. If he's as lovely as he sounds, she won't be around long anyway if she's smart. If there are custody issues, go to courts and stop talking to him. Do everything through email and text so there is a paper trail. This is what the courts are for. You would be foolish to not take the position for your and your daughter's future.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Tell him that unless he wants to make up the difference in your pay you need full time work just like he does. You should not feel guilty for doing what needs done and, while she may not want the disruption right now, your daughter will see a strong independent woman doing what is right for her and will model her self after that behavior, and thats a great thing.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

He sounds delightful. Seriously, he's more concerned with his girlfriend and her child than with your need to support yourself and your/his child? Your work schedule should not have been discussed with your daughter by him. That's ridiculous. And it's even more ridiculous that his girlfriend arranged custody with her ex based on her new boyfriend. No mature person would do that.

It's not selfish for you to make more money. Your child will need braces and college and summer camp and whatever else (fill in the blank). If he's a bully in other ways (perhaps that is why you are divorced?) then please work with a counselor to help you strengthen your own boundaries and ways to say what needs to be said without feeling intimidated. A good therapist can actually help you role play and rehearse. You could also try a family counselor (if he'll go) to work on coparenting. Sometimes an objective and neutral person can help you avoid problematic encounters with just him. If necessary, you can get a mediator through the courts and your ex can plan on paying more to fight you.

It would be nice if your daughter were raised to be a strong person who understands that sometimes we have to adapt to life's curve balls and make adjustments, that things aren't always convenient, and that sometimes change is good. Your ex is getting in the way of that. Maybe he expects that everyone will accommodate to what he wants (you, his girlfriend, your daughter, the girlfriend's ex) but that's pretty juvenile.

I have a friend with a real idiot ex (moved to a new state, can't get or keep a job in part because he chose an area with a floundering economy, and now has lost 2 houses and is living in a trailer). He rarely sees the kids but yells at her about her interfering in visitation - even though she offers more time and he never takes it. One child has been in the ER 4 times for severe mental health crises, and the dad has never come. And more. She basically texts or emails him rather than meet with him, so she has a written record of his refusals and rants. On phone calls with school psychologist or physicians, she puts him on speaker so he's included but others can hear what he says. It's not ideal, but you can't coparent with someone who won't coparent. So I'm not sure you can make your ex into a coparent. You may need outside help.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

There’s a reason you divorced this turd. He made you feel bad enough on a usual basis that you couldn’t stand to live with him anymore. He’s doing his dead level best to continue his control over you.

Don’t let him. You need a full time job. Your daughter will be fine. You approach it with her as an exciting thing. Take her out to dinner and celebrate.

Ignore your ex. His new love life is not your concern. If he threatens you, talk to your attorney. If I were you, I would only communicate with him by email so that you can have a record of your conversations for the court. No more phone conversations.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

The previous posts have said my thoughts really well. I will just reinforce what they said. Taking the job is the best thing for you and your daughter. Counseling is a lovely idea to help you keep your balance in dealing with the rather unpleasant ex. About the current situation, it might be worth sitting down with your daughter to INFORM her of the upcoming changes in your job and therefore her schedule. You aren't asking permission to do it, simply letting her know how it will change things a bit. Don't assume her father actually talked to her about it or mention anything he said about it; it isn't relevant. It's fine to ask her how she feels about the changes--and feel free to remind her that any extra activities which had to be cut six months ago due to your job change will now come back! That should help.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia.

You need to do what you have to do to keep a roof over your head, food on the table and clothes on your back. You explain it to your 12 year old daughter that while this new position doesn't work with the schedule - the fact is you'll be better able to provide for her and yourself with the schedule.

Tell your ex-husband that if he'd like to compensate you for the difference in pay and hours? you'll be more than happy to keep your current schedule and pay. However, he can't "bully" you if you allow him to.

If you need to work through the courts? do it. Remind him it will only cost him MORE money. So he needs to sit down and shut up. be thankful that you have a position that is able to pay better and take care of yourself and your daughter,.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm a considerate person in general. However, his girlfriend's schedule isn't relevant.

This is the best decision all around - for you and your family (you and daughter). Enough said.

He sounds like a d!ck.

Don't let him intimidate you. If he was upset, you just hang up on him or if he's sending you texts - ignore them.

Talk to your daughter - I'm sure she will understand that the changes to schedule will benefit her in the long run. She's the only person you need on board, and regardless, we all have to make choices as parents that are in our family's best interests. You're not here to please everyone. Put yourself first - as you should - when making choices that have the best outcomes.

You've got this! He's just a bullying pr!ck. Feel relief he is no longer your problem.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Tell him that the world doesn’t revolve around him. It revolves around your daughter. In order for you to provide for her, you need to do what needs doing and this is what you need to do. You need to work full time. You need to show your daughter what a strong woman looks like - a manager at a company, a good mom, and a strong person who stands up to bullies.
Tell him you’ve had enough of his whining and that this is the way it’s going to be. If he doesn’t like it, that’s just too bad. I’m sure any judge would tell him to shut up and deal.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

He's a jerk. He can't make you feel guilty for this. You need full time work and you and he will just have to figure out a new schedule. Poor guy that this inconveniences him a little (sarcasm). What, is he going to pay you a full time salary so you can agree to a custody arrangement that pleases him? Please let go of your guilt. You have no reason whatsoever to feel guilty. You guys will figure out how to do custody and he will get used to the new normal. My ultimate advice is to stop caring about what he thinks!

3 moms found this helpful
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