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Please Help! I don't know how to handle this.

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BetrayedBroken posted 11/14/2013 10:51 AM

I posted a similar topic a few weeks back. However, today on my way to work after dropping off my kids at school, I passed by her new fancy rental house (since she conveniently moved right by the kids school - also while I am in debt to my ears primarily due to her materialistic needs when we were married, granted I did keep the family home). I saw his vehicle parked out front of her house. The questions I asked myself was...Is he spending most of his time there, maybe even living there, while my two children are with her? I know for a fact they have met him, but not sure how he is presented (as a friend, co-worker, or are they out in the open about it). My kids do not say much about how things are when they are with their mom, nor do I generally ask. Him being with her is completely fine with me. I've realized they are made for each other. I have also come to the point where I don't have the anger I once did towards him because he made me realize what type of selfish, irresponsible, and fake person I was married to. Also, not to mention it took her to commit herself to him and pursue him. I have come a long way and for the most part at peace regarding all of that. She, as I'm sure many of us deal with, is the type that speaks volumes about what a good parent she is, but yet her actions completely show that she, along with keeping her relationship with him, is primary. Let me add, she is closer to 40 and he is barely past his mid 20's with a felony record. Although, I hear he has realized his mistakes and is making things right. I am now divorced, not even a year yet with that status. I have two children with the ex. First and foremost, they are everything to me and putting them first has helped me avoid reacting on emotions and probably getting myself in trouble. When I first met her, she already had two children who I raised from toddlers to teenagers. Initially, they would also spend time with me on the same schedule, which is 50/50. Things have changed and now they live with her, since I had no legal rights. It appears they have made the adjustment, and so have I. A plus for them, is as teenagers, she gives them a lot more freedom than they have ever had and pleases them somehow with anything they want. I imagine guilt may attribute to this, since they discovered her affair back when we were still married (they read explicit text messages, saw pictures on her phone, etc). Therefore, without me saying anything, they know that this person she is with is the same person she was having an affair with. We (me and the older children)still talk and have a good relationship and I genuinely love and care for them just as I always have, however it is different now. After passing by her house and seeing his vehicle there, it in my mind confirmed that he is definitely staying there while the older two children are there, so what is going to prevent him from staying when my younger children are there? I know that there is nothing I can do. However, I find myself with a lot of anxiety, sadness, and am experiencing some anger with the thought that he may be either staying there or being around my children occasionally or perhaps even living there now. Since I am not sure what the arrangement is, my big question is do I address it with my kids? All I want to get across to them is that it is not a secret that their mom's "friend" is coming around while they are there. I would like to tell them that I either know or have known (not quite sure how to phrase it) about it. The reason I want to get that across is that I feel that they may feel pressure of keeping a secret on behalf of their mom and don't think that is a healthy situation for them to be in, nor does it set a good example (but then again their mom's behavior in general does not set a good example). I also want to let them know that as their dad, which I will always be, no matter what happens (if this guy moves in, they get married, etc)one of my many responsibilities is to protect them. Since I am not always able to be with them, I want them to know that if somebody (and yes in my mind I'm specifically thinking about him or their mom neglecting them to satisfy his needs)is mean to them, makes them feel uncomfortable, or they just feel like something is not right to talk to me about it. I want them to know that I am only concerned about them (and I am still concerned for the older two children being around him) and that they are treated good. So do I have this conversation with them? What is ok to say and what is not? I do my best to never say anything negative about their mom (even though I do feel that she does the bare minimum for them and just tries to buy their love...the actions don't match. Do I wait until they mention it or should I be proactive? Do I address it with the ex first although she has proven to not be honest and doesn't deal with reality well, as we all know is the case with cheaters? I also wonder if I have a conversation with my children are they going to go and tell her, even though what I would tell them is nothing that I wouldn't say or tell her). I guess since I just try to keep the spirit of cooperation with their mother to avoid further conflict and because it is better for the children, I do think about the impact of any of my actions. I know I'm full of lots of questions and emotions but any words of advice will be helpful. All in all, I just want what is best for my kids. Thank you.

StillLivin posted 11/14/2013 11:21 AM

This sh!t sandwhich they keep feeding us hurts. I'm sorry for your added pain of having to deal with your kids being around your X and the idiot she is with.
I don't really have any words of advice, but we all know how you feel. Our kids are pure, clean, precious...and for someones so dirty and most definitely unpure to have access to them just makes our skins crawl. There will probably be someone else coming along with advice.
Again, sorry you are dealing with this.

Crushed1 posted 11/14/2013 12:40 PM

(((BetrayedBroken))) I don't know how old your children are, but you could say something like "I just want you all to know that I love you very much and want the best for you. I am here for you and if there is ever anything that bothers you, you can always come to me and we can talk about it."

This way you don't have to mention her or him and they will get the message.

SBB posted 11/14/2013 13:04 PM


Absolutely talk to your kids in an age-appropriate way. All of those things should be said regardless of whether or not she has a BF or not. I had an IC and a children's play therapy resource help me frame these discussions.

My goal was not to assert myself here or have my own feelings known/understood - it was to help them navigate through this quagmire.

I agree with you about the secrets. My girls are little (5.5 and 3) so don't know how to keep secrets just yet which is a blessing. When they first started mentioning OWumpteen I would bristle and try to fake my way through it. They pick up on that stuff and started asking me leading questions "Are you cranky that I played with Wharura?". I worked really hard to stop the bristling and these days it hardly registers.

What they know is that I don't like OWUmpteen and I don't have to spend time with her but its OK for them to like her if they want to. They know that I am their mum and he is their dad and that will never change. They know that I love them and will always be there for them - no matter what.

I've learned a few things in this hellish road.

Surrender. I was a twisted ball of agony for the first few months that that whore was around my precious girls. Hearing her name come out of my babies mouths almost sent me over the edge. The thing is I can't change it - I can't protect them from their fathers fucked up relationships. What I can do is help them navigate through this. I cannot do this is my own feelings around the situation get in the way.

Talking to him is a complete waste of time. Don't expect in S/D what you didn't get in your M. Talking to her will just fuel the fire and will leave you more angry/upset than you are now. If they were normal, reasonable people they wouldn't be dragging their kids into their fucked up love lives. All you'll do by talking to her is make her feel important and point out which buttons to press when she wants to torture you. Don't talk to her. She is well beyond talking to. Co-parenting is a myth in my world - parallel parenting and re-parenting is where I am at.

Care Factor Zero. I don't worry about whether or not what I say or do will get back to him. A part of the surrender is surrendering to the fact that he's just pissed off and to him its all my fault. He doesn't matter anymore - what he thinks of me matter less than he might imagine. I do worry because he punishes the girls for things they tell him I've said. They are learning to not share their feelings with him which makes me sad but is his burden to bear, not mine. They share with me because I put their feelings above my own - I hear them out even when it killed me inside. I'm reaping the rewards of that now - they feel safe with me.

She is but one in a long line of many. My girls have many iterations of 'the one' to come. This relationship will not last (he is 41 to her 25) so she is not a permanent fixture. I do hope she is around for the next few years because "Better the whore you know", IYKWIM?

They will bond with this one and the next and the next only to have them disappear. My guilt over this is unwarranted - all of this is him. Doesn't make me feel better about the fucked-upness he is modelling for them but I have had to surrender to that.

We cannot control their fuckery but we can control how much it impacts our lives and to some extent the lives of our children.

Take deep breaths friend. As I said I was a twisted ball of agony for those first few months but it does pass. I still don't like it but it doesn't burn me like it used to.

BetrayedBroken posted 11/14/2013 14:26 PM

Thank you all very much. It is nice to be able to have this forum to deal with this horrible problem that seems to be so common. My children are 8 and 9. One thing I have noticed is that they tend to shy away from anything that has to do with how her household operates and at times I feel they try to avoid any topic that is relative to that. My son may start talking about something and my daughter will change the subject immediately. I just want to be careful about how I handle the situation and of course do it in their best interest with their feelings at the forefront. I hate the fact that this loser is being placed in their lives but that can't be changed. Hopefully, they will see the differences with time. In the end, I actually hope that one day she will realize that her being a good responsible mother should always come first...but that is probably wishful thinking. The one thing I still fear is that one day they will come home and tell me they have a "new" dad too. I don't know if I can handle my kids ever calling this loser, or any other man dad. I truly believe that any man can produce a baby but to be a have to earn that. I never had a dad so I strive to be the best dad I can be to my kids and it sucks that some selfish person can put their interest before their kids even if they know it confuses them and is not best for them. If she wants to have him around...fine live your fantasy without getting them involved. Why do they have to be dragged into the circumstances? Isn't it enough they already derailed our families, put us in debt, traumatized us, at least I know I feel that I can never trust anybody like that. UGH!!! So frustrating!

Thefly559 posted 11/14/2013 14:58 PM

Diddo your last post brother. I am sorry and I dread the day which is right around the corner , I pray I have the strength at that time to walk away and not lose it ! Time will tell. All the best.

mandan66 posted 11/14/2013 16:36 PM

Brother, I know your pain all too well. Its just another sucky hurdle to jump; but you will. My X introduced my boys to her scumbag 'boyfriend' 2 weeks ago---and they have only been dating a month. She did it at night, in her apt., and they had no idea who the hell he was. And he spent the night.
So what can you do? Not a whole helluva lot. Keep a close eye on things with your kids, and DO talk to them about it. They may be feeling (or told) that they need to keep it a secret from you. Talk to them, and show them how a responsible parent deals with things. Hang in there!

PurpleRose posted 11/14/2013 18:51 PM

I haven't had to ask my son a thing about the Dooosh's COW because my son knows he can tell me anything he needs to and I will just listen and help him problem solve if he needs.

He knows this because from the beginning of this shitstorm I told my kids that I was here for anything they ended to ask me- tell me- show me. No matter what. And that I would not get upset with them for needing to share. Even if they think it will hurt my feelings, they could still tell me.

And then I proved it wih my actions. Over and over, staying calm and non-reactive when they share things with me, even when I was screaming inside they got calm Mom on the outside. I saved my screaming for a friend who understands.

It sure doesn't feel good to know my kids are in pain because of their dad, the man I picked to be their father and thought I could trust. But here we are.

And the worst part is that all of my kids have learned they cannot do the same with their father. He has really shown them who they can count on- and it's not him. This is coming from my kids, so I'm glad I've done something right!

Just keep the dialogue open so they feel safe telling you things. They will form their own opinions about who they trust with their fears and worries.

Gr8Lady posted 11/15/2013 01:50 AM

The high road is the only way to go. Never ever, even when tempted do anything that can be considered parental alienation. Trust me, your XWS will show who she really is all by herself. Your children will form their own opinions and see at some point she sacrificed them for her own personal satisfaction.
You sound, by your posts as a man of integrity with true concern for the welfare of all children in her household. ( even step kids). That my friend speaks volumes. Just be there for all of the children, age appropriate answers with honesty.
Trust me she will fuck up her own relationship with those kids.
You sound like a man of wisdom, empathy and personal responsibility.
It is ok to vent to us and whine here...we all get it. Just continue being a good Dad to those kids, they will appreciate it more than you could possibly understand at this point in your journey. You are going to be just fine.

BetrayedBroken posted 11/19/2013 15:33 PM

I want to thank everybody for their advice and words of encouragement. I continue to struggle with this but reading the posts did make me feel better. It is just so hard to deal with a person who only cares for themselves and doesn't really care how it impacts others, even their own children. I'm amazed at how especially for my older step children that she has probably confused them by bringing a third man, for lack of a better word, into their lives. I'd like to protect my two younger children from that but I know it is not in my control. I will continue to be the best father I can be and hope that my children will be treated well and respected when they are with their mother and the company of who she choses to be around them. If I hear otherwise then I will have to take a completely different approach to protect my children but hopefully that will not be necessary.

Merlin posted 11/19/2013 15:46 PM


In the end, all you can really do is model your values, standards and expectations for your children through how you live your life. Children will see that (and those of your ex) and come to know which is the better way to live.

I have staked everything on the (studied) belief that one strong parent that treats his or her children respectfully and helps them to be happy, healthy, productive people will see them through to a good place. It may take until they are in their later 20s until you know. But that is what I am doing and the early results are very encouraging.

Peace & strength.

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