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How do I explain O W staying the night w/ my children?

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Nature_Girl posted 6/3/2013 09:16 AM

(NOTE: I'm posting this for a SI friend who needs to be anonymous due to STBX possibly online stalking)

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Dear SI Friends, Since the juvenile court order in Sept 2012, the OW (who lives with my STBX) is not allowed to stay the night. So, she used to have to get a hotel or now, she is friendly enough with the neighbors where she stays there 1x/week and then every other weekend. I know this is getting old for them. IF we should make it to the mediation table (and who knows because he has cancelled within one week 2 times now), and if I have to cower on this one, how do I explain and teach my kids that this is not ok? They understand that the Judge said it was best for OW to not stay the night with small children because Daddy is still married and OW is just a g’friend and it is not proper. Now, what do I say, if I have to cave on this??

P.S. My kids “love” OW. Really, it turns me ill because I believe in teach by example but this is one I might have to swallow. However, I will stand my ground on the order to states OW is not to come to sporting or school events. Thoughts??

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Her children are ages 7 and 9. I add that because I know the age of children makes a big difference in what we can/should tell them.

Undefinabl3 posted 6/3/2013 09:38 AM

My very first reaction was - if the OW is good to your kids, and they like her...then could you put the hate aside for the kids and try to work this out? Its hard to find an OW that actually likes the kids and vice versa - it could be so much worse.

But then, I got over my stupid and saw this for what it is, manipulation so that your STBXWS can continue to have his cake, eat it too, and get all the credit.

Your kids are in sensory over load right now, and if your STBXH can't see that, then he can stand to wait longer to make happy home with OW and your kids a little while longer.

Until they are married, I dont think that they should be living together - and I would agree to the same thing.

The only extra people that should be in the lives of the kids on a regular basis are the Step parents - not the girlfriends/boyfriends ect.

GreenMom posted 6/3/2013 09:51 AM

I probably don't have good advice because my take is that unless it's hurting the kids, it's not your friend's job to police the ex's behavior no matter how much it's a slap in the face.

Believe me I understand. OW and her kids live with my STBX now and my kids spend every other weekend there. Our divorce isn't final yet. FOr two months I've been listening to my kids talk about how much fun they have with OW. I do the good mom thing and smile and say I'm glad they had a good weekend while on the inside I am swearing up a blue streak over the fact that she is in my kids' lives.

I'm sorry things are so rough for your friend.

roughroadahead posted 6/3/2013 10:32 AM

I have to agree that this may not be a hill to die on unless she can produce evidence of harm to the children (e.g. if there mas a major behavioral issue, or there was depression/anxiety/anything someone could testify about). These clauses are often so very difficult to enforce, and frankly most courts have bigger fish to fry if there's no abuse/neglect.

I completely understand the moral outrage (BTDT), but she is not responsible for ex's poor decision making. Her kids should probably be in IC anyway, even if short term to process all these changes.

SBB posted 6/3/2013 10:36 AM

The only thing worse than my kids spending time with and talking about happy times with OWUmpteen would be an OW who was unkind to them.

I can stand them liking her far more than I could stand someone being unkind to them.

This is one of those pick your battles situations IMO. If the kids are at risk then I'd do everything in my power to stop it.

Otherwise I would make an educated guess as to my chances of success and unless it was wildly in my favour I'd just suck it up.

If it is in the S/D papers and she is not supposed to stay the night then I'd report their arses every single time it happens. Every.single.time.

hoya96 posted 6/3/2013 13:09 PM

My kids “love” OW. Really, it turns me ill because I believe in teach by example but this is one I might have to swallow. However, I will stand my ground on the order to states OW is not to come to sporting or school events.

As much empathy as I have for not wanting OW at sporting or school events, (gently) I have never heard of a final order that would enforce something like that.

In my situation, the OW is my former best friend, and my children's school is my workplace (thanks to my position, my 3 children are able to attend a prestigious pk-12 independent school). OW is at their/my school ALL THE TIME. It's a particularly bitter pill to swallow as I am the reason my children receive this education and ex and ow don't even show me the courtesy and respect to have her stay away...but it is what it is.

Nature_Girl posted 6/3/2013 14:21 PM

FOLLOW UP QUESTION from friend:
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How do I explain to the kids that is wasn't ok for OW to stay the night before but it is now? I'm so stuck. They might not even care I realize but every once in a while they will ask a question that blows me away and I find myself scrolling for an age appropriate answer.

GreenMom posted 6/3/2013 14:31 PM

I'm really not sure the best way to handle it. I don't think that I would lie and say it's okay.

My kids are only 3 and 5, so they haven't asked that type of question.

devistatedmom posted 6/3/2013 14:42 PM

it isn't yours to explain. It's his problem. When the kids come to you, and have questions, you answer the question, honestly.

Mommy? Why don't you talk to OW?

Ow is not my friend, she is daddy's friend.

Hey mommy! OW is sleeping at daddy's house now! Is that ok? I thought only people that are married can live together.

What daddy does at his house is daddy's business. You are right; mommy's belief is that adults should only live together if married.


Other stuff? Like, then why is daddy doing it? You direct it back to him.

You don't bad talk him or OW. But you don't have to act like it's all perfectly ok with you either. You just speak truth.

SBB posted 6/3/2013 16:24 PM

^^THIS.

AppleBlossom posted 6/3/2013 22:22 PM

I think it is perfectly fine to say to the kids at that age "I am not sure why your dad and OW have made some of the decisions they have made, so you should probably have a chat with them about it.".

I also agree that as much as it hurts, in the long run it is best for the kids to see both parents can move on and have relationships other than the other parent.

Kajem posted 6/3/2013 22:57 PM

Courts will allow and even put in the decree a morality clause... but a lot of states have no enforcement.. other than to haul the offender (the clause is for both parties) into court to have a hand slapping.

Morality clause is no overnight unrelated guests of the opposite sex spending the night when the children are visiting unless they are married to a parent.

I feel very strongly about this.. I did not have a morality clause in my decree, basically because X wouldn't sign it.. and he was already living with OW and her kids. It would have been useless.

I try to teach by example. When XSO did spend the rare night when the kids were here. He slept in the guest room. It was the example we both wanted to set for my kids. I wanted my kids to know that not everyone was jumping into bed with one another.

Tell your friend to pick her battles... she knows her kids best. If OW likes her kids and treats them well.... she is ahead of some of us. Although it is a very bitter pill to swallow.

Hugs for you and for her.

K

SBB posted 6/4/2013 07:15 AM

I also agree that as much as it hurts, in the long run it is best for the kids to see both parents can move on and have relationships other than the other parent.

t/j I agree with you except I would add the word 'healthy' in there. Any relationship with an AP is NOT going to be healthy by default.

Holly-Isis posted 6/4/2013 07:46 AM

I would just add, as a child of D who saw mom live with the OM and marry him on the day the D was finalized...

Be available to talk to them as they get older and in their own relationships. That's when the adding facts together really began with me. I was 8yo at the D and I know all the stuff that happened felt bad and wrong, but I was more focused on the fighting and violence in my situation. I sort of assumed that even though it felt wrong, it was ok because the parents acted like it was ok. More mom than dad of course.

Just be ready to work through those issues as they get older...and likely whatever other unhealthy choices he makes with OW or future OW type relationships.

Teach them all along what healthy relationships look like.

movingfast posted 6/4/2013 08:44 AM

Courts will allow and even put in the decree a morality clause... but a lot of states have no enforcement.. other than to haul the offender (the clause is for both parties) into court to have a hand slapping.
Morality clause is no overnight unrelated guests of the opposite sex spending the night when the children are visiting unless they are married to a parent.

I feel very strongly about this.. I did not have a morality clause in my decree, basically because X wouldn't sign it.. and he was already living with OW and her kids. It would have been useless.

I agree with this, only ex's ow doesn't have chidren.

Anyway, I am so against the children spending the night. I know that living together is a typically "okay" situation with most of the population. However, affair aside, ex and I agreed that it was not the message we wanted to instill in our children. We did not live togeterh prior to marriage.

Obviously, it is more my morality issue than ex's, but once the D was finalized, ex did take a moment with just him and the kids to address the situation. He told them it was not the choice we would want them to make and it's not the right choice to make. If, as they got older, they considered it, they should know we would try to talk them out of it. Then, of course, DD1 asked how come he was doing it. He said it "was just the way things worked out" and basically tried to tell them he didn't have any other choice. DS1 saw through that and offered up a couple of choices he saw ex could have taken. In the end, the older kids saw this as a "Do as I say, not as I do lesson" from ex. DD1 said, "He does that a lot, doesn't he?"

So, in the end, I can not control ex living with ow and I can't kick her out of her house (she owns it) when it's time for the kids to spend the night there. However, I can control my behavior and the message I want my children to hear. I will live in a manner tht I would like them to live (ie with no live-in boyfriends) and talk to them as they get older and face choices of their own. It's the best I can do.

Given all the damage that an A causes a family, there is no more "perfect" and all we can do is "the best we can do".

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