Mom Fights with Ex Over New Husband's Expensive Gifts to Their Kids: 'It's His Love Language'

The original poster (OP) felt her ex's issue with the gifts her new husband gives their kids is less about "spoiling" and more about jealousy

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  • The original poster (OP) was divorced from ex-husband Kyle for four years before marrying husband Jeff

  • Kyle is unhappy with Jeff gifting their three kids expensive gifts like Nintendo gaming systems and is worried he's trying to 'buy' their affection

  • OP explains she feels Kyle's concerns are driven by jealousy and insecurities

A pair of co-parenting exes have differing opinions on what appropriate gift-giving looks like.

A Redditor took to the social site's AITA subreddit, where she explained a situation between herself and her ex-husband, who she refers to as Kyle throughout the post. The mom of three — 5, 8, and 11 — explains that she and Kyle have run into some issues co-parenting since the original poster (OP) remarried to husband Jeff, four years after their split.

"I was a stay-at-home mom and primary caregiver for the kids, so I petitioned for and was granted primary custody while Kyle gets visitation. He's been trying to get 50-50 split custody, but due to living over an hour away, he has only been granted extra time with the kids," she explains of their situation prior to her remarrying.

OP explains her current husband is an old college friend whom she reconnected with after her divorce, but Kyle has questioned if that was the case. She noted that when she got wind of those questions, she shut them down and told him to "stay out of my personal life because that's not his business."

Though Jeff is "an amazing stepdad" who "loves and dotes on them as if they were his own," Kyle expressed that he's not comfortable with Jeff "buying expensive items," such as two Nintendo Switches, for the kids.

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"It started an argument because Kyle made them put them away and not play at them [over at his house]," she shared. "Kyle said that he's not comfortable with Jeff spending large amounts of money on the kids like that because he feels like Jeff is trying to 'buy' their affection and put too much emphasis on consumer items."

OP defended her husband, explaining that, "Gift-giving is Jeff's love language and how he prefers to show he cares about someone."

The mom shared her belief her husband could "spend his money however he likes" and says that it hasn't posed any issue with the kids, who "don't argue with each other about taking turns on stuff like that."

OP told her ex that "he's coming off as jealous," but conceded to "make sure the kids don't bring things like that to his house." She then shared her opinion that her ex "needs to work on his insecurities about Jeff because he's going to be in the kids' lives from now on. I told him that Jeff is not trying to replace him and that buying a few things for the kids isn't a big deal."

Kyle allegedly lashed out at OP for being "condescending" and told her it was inhibiting them from "actually having constructive conversation about his concerns."

OP shut down the talk at that point and asked Redditors if she handled the situation well, which some felt she did.

"Yes, you married someone who is apparently better off than Kyle. That must suck for him. I feel for him and his relationship with his kids even more if you initiated the divorce, less if he's the reason. Either way, it happened, and he needs to figure out his own place in his kids new lives," one commenter wrote.

"You agreeing that the kids will keep their things at your place is a good compromise. Not one that will work out well, I think, for Kyle in the long run, but one that shows your willingness to compromise now when co-parenting your kids. Him yelling at you for five minutes doesn't help."

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However, others think OP escalated a situation that could have been a "constructive conversation," as Kyle noted.

"It's not about the money or the gifts, it's about respecting boundaries. Kyle is the children's biological father and has every right to voice concerns about his children, especially if he feels like someone is using material items to build a relationship with them," another commenter noted.

"Instead of addressing his concerns with understanding and trying to find a compromise, you immediately went on the defensive and belittled him. You should work on effective co-parenting rather than escalating the situation."

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