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Divorce is final..but still issues

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BetrayedBroken posted 4/23/2013 17:39 PM

Divorce was final last week. I feel very relieved about that but I am still stressing over "the right thing to do." My ex-wife was having a blatant affair and basically living life like she was single and acting like a part-time mother. Basically, based on her actions, being able to maintain her much younger boyfriend is top priority. We have two younger children together and I raised her two teens since they were toddlers. As per the divorce, I will have my children 50% of the time. I have historically been the one to shuttle the older kids around and go to parent teacher conferences, etc. She has always been "too busy" to do that. I was going to continue status quo and keep the same schedule as with my younger children but with the pressue of my family telling me that I need to let her take some responsibility for her two oldest. They tell me it is not fair that I have to do everything and if I continue what is the difference between when we were seperated and now divorced. Although now I have no legal relationship with her two older children, i want to remain a "father" to them and for my home, the family home, to continue being their home. The only thing I suggested was for her to keep her older two kids during the week and when her and I alternate weekends with my children that they be included and stay with me. I call them every evening to see how school was and tell them goodnight..still intend on providing for them however I can..assist in their upbrining..still be there for them...even though they are not mine. I also realize that no matter what... they are the brother/sisters to my younger two and I do not want to create any tension and hinder their relationship. My ex-wife is furious and stating that I am making all of them very sad by doing this and that it is not what is best for the children, please rememember she is the one that broke our family apart by having the ongoing affair. She claims I am doing this in spite. It is know and a fact that her boyfriend stays with her whenever the children are not with her. By the way, she has already introduced this loser to her family and to our children as a friend. Her two older teens had seen pictures and on their own know that this is the guy she has been having an affair with. Am I wrong by suggesting that she keep her older two children during the week? Basically, no matter who has who, all four are together 5 times out of the 7 days in a week when it comes down to it. The older two know I am not their biological father and call me dad. I want to continue to be that person for them as long as they allow me and be ther fore them. However, I believe the way she told them makes me look like the bad guy and she tries to lay a guilt trip on me for changing their schedule. As I said, I was so relieved with the divorce and now I am stressing and gettign depressed over this situation. It is a dilemma for me. Thoughts, advice...? I definitely need prayers. One more thing, my family says I am running myself down because I am constantly stressing and running around while she lives it up. They keep on telling me I have to make time for me and to keep myself healthy...and sleep. Thank you.

Kajem posted 4/23/2013 17:58 PM

BB what do you want to do?

Your family is not going thru this, you are. Do you want the kids together or not?

Is the older kids dad in the picture at all?

If you have never made the distinction between the kids, why do it now? Those kids do not deserve to be treated less then your bio kids.

I understand wanting your XW to step up and be responsible.. I wanted my XH to do the same thing. But we can't make them be the parent our kids need. We only have control over how good a parent we are.

Be the best dang parent you can be.



LifeIsBroken posted 4/23/2013 18:08 PM

I agree with Kajem.... what do you want ? Your extended family isn't living your life, you are and the kids are. The two older kids probably know who is the better parent (that being you). Have you asked the two older kids what THEY want to do ? Do they want to be separated from what has been their family every other week ? Why punish them for their ignorant mother's stupidity?

GabyBaby posted 4/23/2013 18:13 PM

I agree with the previous posters.

In this situation, you should do what feels right for your family (ie you and all of the kids).
My concern with the current plan (only taking the stepkids at the weekends instead of during the week with your bio kids) sends the message that they're not as important to anymore.

If you decide to decline being the driver for the older kids, you should have a conversation with them yourself, outlining that its so that their mom has to be more responsible; schedules, etc change due to the divorce and custody...not because you dont love them.

BetrayedBroken posted 4/23/2013 18:25 PM

So is it best for me to talk to them and tell them now that your mom and I are divorced, this is what we've been doing in the past, what would you like to do? There are a few realities such as I am not legally able to sign any of their school paperwork as I did in the past, my employer is making me remove them from the insurance because i did not adopt them...the funny thing is im the one that stresses out about all this while their mom just continues making sure she keeps the interest of her younger boyfriend. The oldest has had a few instances where he doesn't get his way and gets upset and has told me more than once that he doesnt like being there, with me. The reason this happens is because when they are with her she lets them do and go anywhere they want. I don't. I operate under the same rules we have always had. I am also battling that. She undermines me and allows them to do more and then when they are with me get upset because I don't give them complete freedom. I just have this problem with the older two. I didn't think it was that big of a deal initially to suggest that but I am having second thoughts. I want to do what is right and I want for all of them to come out of this ok...that is my priority.

Must Survive posted 4/23/2013 19:29 PM


I think it is great that you are concerned for the older teens. I would ask them what they want. Have an honest discussion with them stating that even though their mom and you are divorced, that does not stop your feelings towards them. If its good for you and your youngers to continue to have the teens then go for it. You should explain to them that house rules have not changed, you will still act like the adult and they will respect your house rules. If they decide they want to run "free" with the mom, that is their choice. While you don't want a revolving door with them, make sure they know you can be counted on to if they need adult guidance.

Hope that make sense. The teens probably have mixed emotions. Want to be loyal to their mom, but they know if she is not putting them first. I have a 15 year old son, I can't imagine introducing him to anyone I was involved with for a long time. I don't want him to think not only is he not important to his dad (my STBXH), but me also. Just wrong.

homewrecked2011 posted 4/23/2013 20:48 PM

Don't worry,, it won't always be like this. Your teens don't know what they really want now, also. They are probably freaked out a lot!

Just keep being consistent.
Just keep being consistent.

MovingUpward posted 4/23/2013 21:37 PM

What is the right thing? This is such a complicated question for your situation. I have a similar situation except that I adopted my xWW's DD and the fact that she pushed me away for the same reason as your older ones are complaining about. I was consistent.

What is right? What is right for the younger two? What is right for the older two? What is right is one of the kids rebels?

If your ex will let you co-parent the older ones, then I would encourage you to stay involved with them since you already have a dad relationship. If she isn't going to help in co-parenting the older ones you might quickly find yourself if a situation where they are rebelling and sapping your energy and affecting the younger ones. Then it might be time to cut the ties with the older ones. It isn't an easy decision. It might actually be the right thing to do.

Keep listening to your conscious about was is right and follow it.

AppleBlossom posted 4/23/2013 22:01 PM

I think you are a wonderful person for loving and caring the teens as you do.

I would have a discussion with the teens and ask them what they would like to do. If you have been a big part of their life and you were all a family together then it is going to be more harmful to them now to try to convince them that this family exists no longer.

You can couch it in terms of still being a family, just in another way.

The teens are old enough to let their mother know their needs.

If the teens are then not given permission to follow out their needs, you know you have done your best, and they will know what you want for them too.

Pass posted 4/24/2013 02:03 AM

I don't have any advice to offer on this. I just wanted to say you're a hell of a good shit for asking the question!

Bluebird26 posted 4/24/2013 05:50 AM

I would give the older kids the option of what they want to do and explain to them that "legally I am not your father but I still want to be" the kids will appreciate having a 'stable' parent in their lives as they get older. This is a tough spot to be in, but please don't cut those kids out of your life or treat them differently to your bio children, they really need you right now.

BetrayedBroken posted 4/24/2013 16:21 PM

Thank you very much to all of you for responding. After reading all the posts, I decided that I was going to talk to her two older teens and be honest about the divorce with them and what this means and what it doesn't mean. First of all I told them that we are now divorced and since they already knew that I was not their biological father discussed some of the smaller changes such as me not being able to sign schoold documents, etc but that one thing and the most important thing did not change that I still see them as son/dauther and I hope to be involved in their lives to the extent they allow me. I told them that since their mother and I have been seperated over a year I have had time to make peace with the situation and my only and primary concern was for them, all of our children to come out of this ok. I also stressed that me and their mom may not be together anymore but we, meaning me them and my younger two children are still family and will always be family. I also stressed how they are all still brothers and sisters and the divorce should not change any of that. At that point I told them that I wanted to know what they wanted. I told them I'd be more than happy to continue with the same schedule as my two younger children have but at the same time I would understand if they chose not to, either way that my feelings would not get hurt and that there was no pressure either way. I told them it should be what they would be more comfortable with. I did explain that the way I see it I will continue to be an influence in their lives. If they choose to continue, just because we are divorced, that I will be the adult in the house and the house rules apply and don't change. I told them they didn't have to give me an answer right then and there that they could let me know when they are ready. I received word today that one of them wants to continue the other does not. The one who does not is not saying he does not want our relationship to continue but he would rather stay with his mom, and I do think that he knows he has more freedom, chores, less expectations, etc. However, I am not taking offense to it. I am going to continue being the best father I can be. I will not change. I do feel better for asking them what they would like. I know my situation is different and definitely no manual on how to handle these various issues but I feel with the help of everyone on here that I was guided in the right direction. I was also concerned that my two younger children who are in elementary school understand and do not think that I disowned or turned away their step brothers/sisters. I am at a loss for how to explain to them that one of them chose not to continue with the same schedule. I definitely do not want my children to think they can also elect to go where they want to go because I'm hoping that I can have them 50% of the time as per the decree. I've never had a problem with that but I'm just saying that just because they see that one of their older brother/sisters choose to not maintain the schedule. I am so relieve the divorce is final but issues continue to present themselves. I feel like she turned our whole world upside down and I'm just cleaning up all the collateral damage while she continues to live in her little fantasy world.

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