Q My ex-husband and I live close to each other for the sake of the kids. I have been in a serious relationship with a man for the past year, and he has recently moved in with me. My son just came home and said his father's girlfriend's daughter, who is in college, had a boy spend the night with her while my son was at his dad's house. I think this is inappropriate and told my ex as much. At first, he told me to mind my own business, but now he won't even answer my calls. I've texted him, as well. Nothing. When we were married, our children weren't allowed to go to certain homes that we felt were not safe or did not agree with our moral standard. Now, his home has become one of these homes. What is good ex-etiquette?
A I see a double standard here, and it sounds like your ex does, too. That may be why he's not answering your calls. Both of you are living with people in the presence of your children, but you are offended by his girlfriend's adult daughter doing something similar.
Perhaps it's the casualness of her hook-up that bothers you. You perceive you are in a serious relationship, but she is not. Truth is, you haven't given me enough information about that. She may be very serious, and it would be interesting if that would make a difference in your perception. You also haven't mentioned the age of your son, but it seems this is a "do what I say, not as I do" proposition.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that since they parented one way
Ideally, that would be great. But usually, while married, one parent was more dominant and, to prevent arguments, the other parent just went along. Once divorced, the less dominant parent starts making decisions that coincide with his/her own beliefs, and the previously more dominant parent doesn't understand the big change.
I suggest you consider ex-etiquette rule No. 9: Respect each other's turf. You can control only your own four walls, and you have to trust your ex to control his.
Your ex most likely knows how you feel, and he has made the value judgment that it's OK at his house.
Your actions say you agree, so I understand the confusion if you are telling him it's inappropriate when someone else does it. Because you are also living with someone, he probably wasn't expecting a negative reaction and thinks it's hypocritical to say anything.
Finally, you can't dictate policy via text message. Set aside a specific time for discussion and hash things out in person. If you are concerned what all this is saying to your son, stop doing it.