My fiancé's ex-husband shows up unannounced

he just walks in the house whenever he wants to see his kids. My fiancé tells me it makes her angry and doesn't like it, but she seems afraid to say anything to him about it for some reason. Is it okay for him to do this?

Frank Theus
Frank Theus
MA, LPC, NCC, CSAT

  The short answer to your question is "No" it's not okay for anyone to ever be doing this. There's a lot of unanswered questions and other factors going on here that need attention. Nevertheless, don't hesitate to seek out legal counsel and/or call 911.

    Ideally, your fiancé would be able to speak directly to her ex-husband and set reasonable boundaries that honor whatever legal agreements are in force resultant from the divorce and custody agreements. The fact that she's afraid to say anything to him about his inappropriate behavior, and that she hasn't been able to give you any reason for her fear, suggests possible factors of past abusive behaviors, entitlement, and/or co-dependence.

  I hope things work out well for all and I'm confident a skilled therapist could help all navigate how best to set boundaries and experience greater healing.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Pamela Suraci
Pamela Suraci
Build on your strengths, grow in your challenge areas and improve your life!

The obvious answer is no, it's not okay.  There are other you should be asking though.  You said your fiance "seems afraid" of her ex.  Did you ask her about that?  Is there a reason he still has a key to the  home?  Has there been any discussion of appropriate boundaries?  I work with a lot of people parenting from different households and the stickiest spots are the ones that have not been discussed.  There is obviously conflict there or they wouldn't have split, but your fiance and her ex do need to stay aligned for the kids and that can't happen if she feels fearful or resentful.  If she doesn't have a problem with his barging in, clearly you do (and who wouldn't?  He's not YOUR ex!), so you and she need to have some agreements around his access to the home.  

If she is afraid to bring up the discussion then I strongly recommend that she and the ex get some help with a good therapist.  The kids health, your health and hers, and the health of your relationships in the family depend on it!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Do you know the reason your fiancé puts up with the ex's behavior?

If not, then ask her.

The answer could be anything, from some agreement the two of them made either formally or informally before you came into her life, to residual sense of obligation she feels toward him as a parent, or that she genuinely does fear his physical or verbal anger if she disagrees with what he wants.

Facts are the best starting point to know how to handle a situation.

There is no blanket rule and certainly no law which prohibits what he's doing.   The situation is entirely in the hands of the people involved.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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