But trust me, I'm taking it VERY slow from the emotional standpoint. (Physically, we may have moved a little faster, and I hardly put up a fight at all!)
Anyhow, the boys regularly ask me about my dating life. I told them this woman's name last weekend, but said they won't meet anyone until I'm sure whoever that person is will be sticking around for a while, and I'm sure they're ready to meet someone. This weekend, 10 has asked a couple questions about cheating.
#1 - "Since you and Mom still aren't divorced, aren't you kind of cheating on each other?"
#2 - "Since you and Mom still aren't divorced, aren't you kind of cheating on Ms. Lovely?"
To question #1, I said, "Your mom and I consider ourselves not married anymore, because we are definitely getting divorced as soon as we are legally allowed. You mom has been dating other people for a while (has she ever!), and I've gone on a few dates. So while we may be legally married, we're in agreement that we are not married."
I didn't really say "has she ever!"
To question #2, I said, "I told Ms. Lovely that I'm not divorced yet, but that I will be as soon as it is legally possible. She knows that I don't have any relationship with your mom anymore, and never will. Since I've been honest right from the start, she is okay with that. I'm assuming that your mom has been equally honest with Rig Pig."
I am enjoying Ms. Lovely, I'm being very upfront about my emotions, and like I said, I'm taking it slow. I know I've had this conversation with y'all before about telling my boys in an age-appropriate way that their mom is a lying, cheating misery, but I just can't tell them that. After 10 asked both of those questions (a few hours apart) I've told him that I would never do anything that anyone could think of as cheating, which is why I've been totally honest with Ms. Lovely - I want her to make her own decision about whether that's cheating. I've also told him that I consider cheating to be one of the shittiest things you can do to someone.
I feel pretty good about how I answered these questions, but of course I worry about the effect on his little psyche. Will he grow up thinking that cheating is all in the eye of the beholder, and that I've self-justified bad behaviour?
What do y'all think?
[This message edited by pass at 2:40 PM, January 12th (Sunday)]
The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous
What I think doesn't matter. Also, keep in mind that in PA it only takes 90 days from filing of D until it's final, so I didn't have to wait long.
I wondered why your kids knew about the new woman too, especially if you're taking it easy. I guess I don't think it's appropriate for them to know this sort of thing.
I wouldn't talk about it to them anymore. I think it's hurting and confusing them. I'm sure you meant to be honest with them, but I don't think it's working.
Pass, you are being completely honest with your girlfriend. She knows the situation and is choosing in light of all the facts to go ahead. I wish you happiness.
I'm not going to make a call on whether you should or shouldn't be dating before the divorce is final. I know folks who have done that and others that won't -- and all have their reasons.
What I am concerned with is how much you share with the boys about whether you are dating or not -- if, in fact, you are taking it slow.
You can't do anything about what you WW is doing in front of them. But, I think your son bringing it up and asking you about cheating is pretty telling. HE thinks it's cheating, whether it is your or your WW.
Justifying doesn't work and that's what your explanation was. I don't have any advice on what to do when the kids ask this. If you feel comfortable dating before the divorce is final, that's fine -- but you were basically telling your son that cheating isn't cheating.
Please don't gaslight your son. It's hard enough to deal with parents breaking up and mom bringing her boyfriend around and then have your dad gaslight you must really be hard.
I don't mean to 2x4 you, but not sure that this one was handled in the best way possible.
"Since you and Mom still aren't divorced, aren't you kind of cheating on each other?"
And then you let him express his thoughts and feelings. He feels safe around you and it may be that their interest in you dating stems from their mother pumping them for info or it could stem from fear that if you start dating that they could get replaced.
I think your explanation is too nuanced for him and I suspect that it didn't address what he was really asking.
10 may be young but is a gifted kid with a vocabulary and understanding that blows my mind by times. 13 is the same.
Admittedly, I sometimes forget and confide too much to them. Maybe y'all are right and I shouldn't have told them. I can see how this could be confusing for even the smartest of kids that age.
However, I know first hand what cheating looks like, and this ain't it.
Tesla, you're right. This would have been a good response for me to give:
What do you think?
As far as sharing with the kids ... maybe just throttle back ..
Admittedly, I sometimes forget and confide too much to them.
They're not your buddies. They're your sons, and they will grow up modelling your behaviour and that of their mom who, over the summer (according to your profile) has been acting like a psycho bitch around them.
Regardless of how smart they might be, it's kind of odd to be sharing this much information with them. They shouldn't know anything about what you're up to when you're not with them, especially if it involves a new female who could potentially end up in their lives. Or maybe not.
No wonder they're confused.
In addition, they have been through so much already. Even if you feel they CAN process you dating, it doesn't mean that they SHOULD.
You are not divorced yet. The kids shouldn't know you are dating. Apparently, he's not ready for either one of you to be dating. Sounds like he is still trying to cope with the break up of his family.
You need to be there for the kids, not them being there for you.
It is what it is.
What your DS was really saying to you is "This is too soon for me!" He is literally telling you that he is not comfortable with WW dating and is not comfortable with you dating.
You cannot control what WW does. You can control what you do.
I faced a similar situation after my D. I was trying to date and talking a a few men. DD asked me about the phone calls and then she literally broke down into a crying fit. I talked to her IC and although X was M to OW already, she told me that DD still had hopes that the family would come back together. DD was forced to accept that X had M and moved on, but she was not ready for me to move on. And so I stopped dating.
I know it sucks, but YOU need to be the responsible parent in your children's lives. They cannot control what their mother does and the reality is that they cannot control what you do either. But YOU can control what you do, or you can ignore their emotional health just like their mother did. I know what I just said is harsh. It is not fair. Not by an measure of any stick. But that is reality and it is part of the shit sandwich that a responsible BS is force fed. The unremorseful WS is selfish and only thinks of themselves. The responsible BS is then left to handle all of the hard emotions AND put their personal life on hold until the kids are ready to deal with the fact that their parent will never ever ever get back together.
Your kids will only be kids once. They each take 18-20 years out of your life. You can choose to give them all of yourself during that time. Or you can choose to give them less than they ask of you. Every parent in every generation for the past 10000+ years has faced this decision. Some choose better than others.
It was also very important to me to show my children that marriage is sacred. They could see what the ex & ow were doing was wrong. I made sure I never put them in that situation seeing me date or doing the same while we were separated.
Here the minimum waiting period for a divorce is 12 months separation and then it takes about 4 - 6 months to get a court date, then another month before the divorce is final. So it was a total of 19 months before I was legally divorced. I did not date during this time.
What you tell your kids (or yourself) is your decision. But I would refrain from talking to them about your personal life until a) you are divorced and b) until there is someone important enough for them to meet.
I do, however, agree that your kids don't need to know about your dating life. They are too young, even if they weren't it is too soon. As articulate as they are and as much as they want you to find love again what you do has a major impact on them and it can make them feel insecure/nervous.
My mum started dating 3 years after she left my dad (he was out of the picture). She was 33, I was 13. I wanted her to have someone to love because I knew she was lonely.
What I wasn't ready for was the 'dating' part. I left home at 17 and in those 4 years I met about 5 of her boyfriends. Some platonic, some god knows what. None slept over but it was really unnerving. She became self-absorbed and selfish. She talked to me about her dates. It made me really uncomfortable. I'd start liking them then they'd be gone.
She had us 100% of the time so she couldn't keep her personal life personal, IYKWIM?
I was ready for my mum to have a partner, I wasn't ready for her to date. These guys didn't match the image I had in my head of what her partner would be like. t missed her just being my mum.
I'm not saying this is what you are doing or are going to do. I'm saying that your perspective is different from your boys.
Yes, they want you to be happy. But they are also innately selfish and want you all to themselves. The time isn't just for them to adjust it is for you to work out what you have here before bringing them into it.
You've got a shitshow in hell of them not grilling you about this now that they know there is someone. I don't know how but I'd be trying to keep them out of it. Maybe talk to their IC for how to deal with this?