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Ex is bringin him around my kids

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BetrayedBroken posted 10/21/2013 10:44 AM

Here is a summary of my situation. I am now divorced as of early 2013. To make a long story short, ex was having an affair for a lengthy period of time. Her affair partner is 10 years younger, lives at home with his mommy and daddy, drug record...a real class act. Anyway, recently I finally got confirmation that he visits at her new home when my kids are with her. I knew all along that when that day happened I was going to have some real issues. I know...nothing I can do about it. My kids have not said a word about it, they are 7 and 9. A few strange things have happened to arouse my suspicion that he is in the picture, even when she has the kids. I'm sure they don't say anything in an effort to protect my feelings. Although, to be honest I do not have any feelings whatsoever for her and am numb to the fact that she is with another man (for lack of a better word). However, the thought of another man around my children and hearing all the news recently such as Adrian Peterson's baby momma's boyfriend beating his 2 yr old son...really makes me worry and does make me angry. My big concern here is that I do not want my kids feeling like they have to keep secrets from me. The other day I was supposed to drop off a few things for my kids at her house. In talking to my daughter, when I told her I was in the area, because I was literally down the street, she hesitated and I felt gave me an excuse for me not to go at that time. Again, I know she is just trying to protect my feelings. My fear is that the ex is making them feel obligated to keep secrecy..although we all know it is not a secret. How do I approach this? Do I need to have a conversation with my daughter and son? If so, what do you say? All I want is for my kids to not feel pressured to keep secrets at the same time I don't want them to feel like I am trying to get information from them about her personal life because really all that matters is them. I want to make sure that when they are not with me that they are being cared for properly and that nobody makes them feel uncomfortable. I also want them to feel like that can talk to me about anything, especially is something is bother them. I never tell them things like..don't tell your mom about this. I run my household like an open book. What we do, what I say, etc....if they choose to share it with her it is completely fine with me. After thinking about this, I think that in a way, she may be inclined to encourage them to keep this a secret to make it seem like this is a new relationship she is in since we are now divorced...when in fact this relationship is the reason we are divorced. Any thoughts? Any advice on how to deal with this type of situation? I've been doing good aside from the financial stress of divorce...until now with these issues that are arising. Thank you all for any input.

LearningToRun posted 10/21/2013 10:55 AM

You could have a talk about no need to keep secrets and all, but then - you know - you get what you ask for. Do you REALLY want to know how much he is around? Its so out of your control.
Mine dont tell me and i dont ask. They bring her up occasionally and i never react negatively but i appreciate the radio silence. As long as there are no signs of ill effects towards the child, i'd just bite my tongue.

SBB posted 10/21/2013 11:10 AM

I agree that you don't want secrets but I don't think they need to tell you everything.

The sad clown grills my 5.5 and 3 year olds about everything. So much so my big girl has taken to making things up. When I ask her why she says because it makes him happy.

This is the hard part BB. The shards of glass in this shit sandwich. It is one of the things I still feel anger around.

Your kids will pick up on any bristling you do about XW or OM. Kids also have an amazing talent for blaming themselves for our negative feelings.

If XW is telling them to keep secrets there isn't a lot you can do except re-parent them when they are with you.

I wouldn't confront them. If your decree states he isn't to spend time with them then I'd be pursuing this legally.

I'd tell them your kids that you love them and will always be there for them. They have a rough road to navigate ahead.

I'd show them by being loving and supportive when they do inevitably start mentioning his his name.

If they are in IC the IC can really help with this - they can help you and them navigate this new territory.

BetrayedBroken posted 10/21/2013 11:20 AM

Thank you LearningToRun. I've come a long way and completely detached from her and actually feel he did me a favor by taking such a dishonest, selfish, and untrustworthy person out of my life...well I guess technically they are never completely out of your life because you have children together. I really thought I was passed all the bs and the rollercoaster of feelings but learning he is around my kids has been stressing me out and keeping me up at night. I completely understand your point of view. I'm not sure I do want to know everything. I already sit and think does this guy try to play with my kids and if they talk what do they talk about. I guess deep down inside I also hope that in no way do my children look up to this person. Of course, I want her boyfriend to treat them right and with respect of course but what these two people did was completely wrong and I just hope that my children do not grow up thinking this is normal. I know they are small and still a long ways to go but I worry about them so much...both in present time and the future. I guess I just have to take it one day at a time. Again, thanks for the advice and I apologize for rambling. I just have a lot on my chest right now.

ButterflyGirl posted 10/21/2013 11:27 AM

The one year anniversary of me finding out my kids had known OW all along was yesterday. It's the most painful part for me. That my kids lied to me and were forced to keep secrets from me. And forced to do so by the man I promised to love forever. It sucks so bad. Eating a shit sandwich filled with glass sounds about right..

I wish there was more I could *do*. For now, I'm just taking them to counseling, loving and supporting then, and trying not to feel like they betrayed me too..

Ashland13 posted 10/21/2013 20:09 PM

I have to figure this out, too.

I don't want DD around strangers, or "those people" , but her father is choosing to exercise his ...rights...about this.

And earing anything about OW/A is a massive trigger for me and I don't know where middle ground is here.

I just give her a small smile right now and offer her a cookie or put the tv on to distract her.

coldshot posted 10/21/2013 21:25 PM

We are in the same boat brother. Our stories are almost identical. My STBXWW has no qualms about letting her POS AP into my 6 year old daughter's life... he too is a live-with-mommy, criminal-record-having (no felonies yet, cold comfort) walking turd. My daughter was open about him with me, but said "it was a secret Mommy is keeping from Daddy". The confused look on her face when she mentioned it and then fell silent sent me into a rage (internally) like I had not felt through the whole ordeal... I squatted down next to her and told she could always tell me everything she felt like she wanted to because I am her Daddy and I love her. She seemed reassured. I had a brief but quite to the point talk with my STBXWW and made my expectations crystal clear. I think I may have scared her actually. Since then my daughter has been more comfortable with mentioning things about this POS, all of it hurtful to me but apparently harmless. My STBXWW has stopped contact between them for now, but it will change. I know her all too well now.
Nothing galls me more than this situation. I will put up with it as I kind of have to right now, but I told my lawyer to get aggressive with a morality clause, which I know is a double-edged sword as it will apply to me too... This really is the one thing that will forever stick in my craw and if something were to happen to my child... their funerals and my trial. Stay strong, you're a good dad. Your kids will know the difference between your undivided attention and love and whatever goes on in the other household. The fact that your daughter is protecting your feelings says a lot, and when she gets older I imagine there may be a little anger at the person who put her in that position.

[This message edited by coldshot at 9:26 PM, October 21st (Monday)]

Thefly559 posted 10/21/2013 21:32 PM

Brother I am in the same boat and I wish I had some great answer for you but I don't. only that I am here along side you with the exact same feelings and problems.sorry

Heal&Deal posted 10/21/2013 22:21 PM

It seems the best we can do is be encouraging when they do open up and respond positively to stories that include the AP. This requires a lot of healing and self control on our parts.

During dinner, DS and I have a couple of permanent topics. The first is the best and worst part of his day. The second is what he hopes happens tomorrow. I also answer the questions about my days. My hope is that we are setting a pattern of setting aside time to share about our days and that DS learns that he is safe to share with me.

The last thing is that we read a lot of feeling word books. I want to be sure DS has a wide vocabulary can fully express how he is feeling, so if he is uncomfortable he can tell me. Appropriate touching is also an ongoing conversation.

stronger08 posted 10/22/2013 02:52 AM

Unless the court finds that having OM around constitutes a dangerous situation for the kids. There's not much you can do. My XWW exposed my young son to all of her OM to the point it was affecting the poor kid. When I tried to speak with her about it I got a big FU. Perhaps it helped because soon after she finally found herself a single guy and has been with him for the last couple years or so. He is good with/to my son and I thank God for that. I have never met the guy in person and he seems to respect my parental position. So that's all I care about. Get used to the fact she is going to bring guys around. Just hope that the AP heads for the hills one day. But as far as other men being in their lives. Its going to happen like it or not. Try and make the best of it.

homewrecked2011 posted 10/22/2013 03:15 AM

In my state -SC - the usual divorce decree states no overnights with gf/bf.

I was able to enforce this with an email to POS XH, he verified with his atty, and so although she is around them, they come home every night. YAY!!

Ok, here is what I told my children: they do not ever have to worry about what they do with Dad and OW because they are children! I told them they are not responsible for what dad does/does not do, and I genuinely want them to have fun with their Daddy. I told them, when OW is around, when they do things with Dad and OW, that they have no control over this, it's on Dad. I told my children THEY are not to feel guilty about their time with dad.

My counselor said I need to show them 2 distinct ways of living -- here, reality, kindness, honor, integrity, happiness, no drama, serenity, etc. The kids will see another way to live at the other house, and hopefully they will "model" me when they grow up.

She also said that I can talk to them when they are getting married about "don't ever do this this this in your marriage"..but, really the lifestyle I live will "show" them, I believe.

I do have friends that say spending time as a child with the both parents helped them to see who they did NOT want to be when they grew up. This was a big consulation to me.

Bluebird26 posted 10/22/2013 04:53 AM

The only thing you can do is keep reinforcing with them that the only secrets that you can keep from Daddy is a birthday/Christmas gift or party.

Make sure they know they can tell you anything.

It hurts as you can't protect your babies when they aren't with you. You have to let go of this and realise that you can only do what you can do. It's on them (ex & AP) for the damage they do to our kids you can only love them.

lost4now posted 10/22/2013 08:41 AM

I am in the same boat and I suspect each and every one of us at some point will eventually get to the point where our EX is dating or living with someone. My 15 year old daughter has met my STBXH's five year long affair partner who broke up our marriage. She does not tell me anything!!! She keeps secrets. Like you children, I think she does it to avoid hurting me. But honestly, SECRETS hurt! I lived with secrets for 5 years. I am done with secrets.

I don't ask questions but I did tell my daughter that I realize her dad has another life now and that it involves the OW. I explained that I knew all along that this would eventually happen and while it is painful I certainly don't expect her to feel any blame or obligation to keep secrets.

Honestly, she was keeping secrets and it was driving a wedge between us. I think she felt like she was making friends with the enemy and she began feeling awkward around me. I never said a word to her about it. I think she just felt it in her heart because she understands how cheating hurts. But to have a relationship with her dad she needs to accept this woman. It's very hard on kids.

I think you should talk to them in an age appropriate way about this. I believe honesty is ALWAYS the best policy!!!

Good luck!

BetrayedBroken posted 10/31/2013 16:42 PM

I want to thank all of you for replying and providing advice. I've been having such a hard time with this. Ever since I drove by because I was going to drop something off for my kids and saw his vehicle out there, I've gone into this mode. I find myself questioning myself thinking maybe it wasn't his vehicle since I was looking from far away. I just don't want to believe that he may be around my children. This past weekend I had my kids, and I found myself preoccupied with the thoughts of how often do they see him..if they do, do they know he is her boyfriend or does she portray him as something else...etc. Wondering whether its best for me to address it with them that I know about the situation (however I don't know for a fact how often and again how he is portrayed to them because now he works for her). I don't want them thinking dad has gone crazy. Is it better to wait until it is solid that he is around them substantially? Do I wait until and if my kids ever say anything or do I make a preemptive strike? I have addressed in general how I know there mom takes good care of them (believe me this was very difficult to say because I think she does the bare minimum and everything revolves around her schedule), but I worry about them when I am not around. I told them that all I want is for them to be safe and treated good, wherever and whoever they are around when I am not around. I also reinforced how they know right from wrong and just because they are away from home, meaning with me, that the same rules apply and they are to carry themselves as they have been taught. I stressed how they were good boy/good girl and if anybody ever makes them feel uncomfortable or is behaving in a way that is "wrong" or mean to them to please talk to me or her...I stressed how they could talk to me about anything..ask me anything..i would always answer them honestly. I did slip a clause in there saying I cant guarantee you I know all the answers but its important for you to talk about anything that is bothering you. In general, that is what I believe I got across to them. They are 8/9 so it is very sensitive. I hope as time passes I will not stress myself out so much over this but I sit and think and have even started having trouble sleeping again. That along with the financial stress of divorce is just not a good combination. It is amazing how these cheating selfish people leave such a mess and they just go on with their lives appearing unaffected!!!

Dadtryingtocope posted 11/1/2013 06:57 AM

BB - This is maybe the worst part of all of this. I had similiar problems right out of the gate. Shortly after I filed for D a little over a year ago she introduced the kids to him. My kids who were still trying to just even understand Mom and Dad weren't together now had another person to deal with. For me it was just another dagger. Fast forward a year later and they have gotten engaged and married. My youngest gets a new step sister which she has always wanted. My oldest is not all that happy with things and never wants to go to her house. So I have been in your same boat for some time. I just try to go about my business with my life and try not to be concerned with what goes on there.

I do leave the door open for my kids to talk about things. Sometimes I do admit I probe a bit to see what their weekends have been like. But for the most part I don't ask and they don't tell much. It was not always this way. A year ago in the beginning as I was trying to just recover from the intitial blow of the A I had a number of occassions I said things to the kids that probably would of been best not said. I would tell them her boyfriend is this or that. I was angry and the kids knew it and saw it. Not proud of it. But I know the type of guy he is and like many of us it is very difficult to know he is around my kids. All I can say is do your best to control your emotions. If your kids want to talk, let them talk. Certainly make sure they know that if something not right is going on, they should definitely be able to talk to you about it. Otherwise we are stuck just letting things run there course, whatever that is going to be. All we can do is concentrate on us and the time we do get with our kids. Good luck brother.

[This message edited by Dadtryingtocope at 6:58 AM, November 1st (Friday)]

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