More of a WWYD than an AIBU.....

(89 Posts)
Howhardcanthispossiblybe Wed 06-Apr-16 17:03:44

Name changed again as (IMO) a weird one and fairly identifying.

DP and I have 2 children together, DD(3) & DS (1), been together 6 yrs, usual family dynamics - all fine, so far so good. Now the dilemma...

DP has another child from a previous relationship - they will be 7 this year - who he hasn't lived with as father since they broke up when the child was 1, and hasn't seen at all since they were 2.5yrs. This has been at Ex's insistence, and although the details are not particularly relevant to my post it definitely wasn't anything sinister (ie abuse, neglect, etc) she just felt strongly that it was the best thing for the child, and DP (who instigated the breakup) felt too guilty to object too strenuously; additionally, by this point Ex was already living with another man (who the child was calling daddy) and pregnant with his child, so DP felt the best thing all-round was to agree to her insistence and content himself with waiting until, in her words, she had decided the time was right to tell the child the truth and go from there.

The issue I personally have with all this (although where to start!?!) is that although DP and ex are clearly OK with lying to one of their children about each other's existence, I don't want to have to lie to My children about the fact that they have an older sibling.... But I don't know what to do! Essentially, the relationship (& agreement) between DP and Ex is none of my business, but then where it's definitely my concern is that although it's not my child it's definitely my children's sibling.... I believe when the child finds out the truth they will be devastated and furious; if i lie to my kids they will surely feel the same... But what can I do, or at least say, to my kids about this child? DD is definitely aware of what family is and means and would almost certainly understand the relationship, but obviously she wouldn't understand the reasons behind the never seeing them? Or never having met them, even?
Please advise!

Won't be able to come back to post till this evening but very keen to hear opinions (although please no flaming on past decisions, it's not really constructive...).
Thanks!

EatShitDerek Wed 06-Apr-16 17:08:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Farandole Wed 06-Apr-16 17:09:11

So you were the OW, OP?

This is an all around awful, horrific situation for that child.

I think I'm going to bow out now because I cannot imagine loving a man who abandoned his baby. So whatever I say would be very harsh on you and your DH.

emotionsecho Wed 06-Apr-16 17:20:30

I'm firmly against lying to children, how can we expect children to tell the truth when we lie to them and deceive them?

Your dp's child deserves to know the truth, when he finds out in the future he is going to be devastated and the fall-out could be dreadful for everyone.

Your children shouldn't be lied to either, even a lie by omission is not acceptable.

In your position I would have a full and frank conversation with your dp about his child and how uncomfortable and wrong it is that this child is effectively being hidden as if he is some dirty little secret. Your dp should speak to his ex and insist on access to his child and go through the Courts to get it if necessary, his child has the right to meet/know his half siblings. It is high time this poor child was told the truth.

Also, I would insist that your children are told the truth about your dp's child, again, they have a right to know about and meet their half sibling.

What an horrendous mess and how awful for all the children caught up in it.

Personally, I would have no respect for a man who made the decision your dp did.

potoftea Wed 06-Apr-16 17:21:19

I won't comment on the parenting aspect of your situation, but I do think you should be honest with your own children from the start about this older child. Just say they have a brother/sister who lives far away and they won't see until they are older.
I think you have to tell them sometime, and letting it be something they always know and grow up with is best.

Howhardcanthispossiblybe Wed 06-Apr-16 17:22:35

I understand how it looks Faran .... The thing is, the child wasn't abandoned - she refused DP contact and essentially replaced him with another man (they are now married and apparently the whole family is very happy). With hindsight I completely agree DP should've said No but she was very persuasive, implying that to continue to try and see the child was needlessly upsetting the child and hence v.selfish of DP. She said she would let him know when the time was right, when child was more settled. .. Apparently the child was incredibly sensitive and only seeing Dad sporadically was traumatising...

DP last met up with Ex 2 yrs ago (without child) and admitted she may've made a boob but now the family was to settled to come clean. It's horrible and sad. I want to try to move forward....

Howhardcanthispossiblybe Wed 06-Apr-16 17:28:16

potoftea that's vaguely my plan but wondered if I'm missing something...

I know DP has been an arse of the highest order - we can't change that, he is now father of my children and trying his best. I'm not abandoning him or condemning him, it's too late for that.

WeAllHaveWings Wed 06-Apr-16 17:28:18

OP could you ever walk away from your child? Think about that seriously, I would die for my children and you probably would too, then look at your dp. Are your children together as easily forgettable? Is he even paying maintenance for his child?

The minimum you dp should do (and should have done years ago before he went off to play happy families with you and abandon his child) is contact the ex and tell her he wants contact with his child and wants to take responsibility and pay maintenance for him/her. If she doesn't agree go to a solicitor and make it happen.

If he wont do this, don't be part of a mess of lies from an inadequate man. Your are right to say these lies will impact your children in the future.

Howhardcanthispossiblybe Wed 06-Apr-16 17:30:10

potoftea that's vaguely my plan but wondered if I'm missing something...

I know DP has been an arse of the highest order - we can't change that, he is now father of my children and trying his best. I'm not abandoning him or condemning him, it's too late for that.

Pinkheart5915 Wed 06-Apr-16 17:34:22

So the child from his previous relationship is being lied to about who there dad is? I am always saddened when I hear of children that don't know there true Dna, I believe every child has the right to know. Imagine being that child finding out years later in there teens or such like that his been lied too.

I also question how your partner walked away from the child and happily let another man jump in to the dad shoes.

Pinkheart5915 Wed 06-Apr-16 17:36:23

I do think you should tell your child about the sibling they have, you can just say something like potoftea suggested keep it simple

Howhardcanthispossiblybe Wed 06-Apr-16 17:37:24

wings yes I've thought a lot about this.... sad

She didn't want maintenance. They had a property together which he waived right to as part of their agreement. We put some away when we can for the future.

I need advice on how to handle this with my own children in mind.

Advice only on future please, condemnation on past is not helpful!!

saoirse31 Wed 06-Apr-16 17:40:02

Agree with pot of tea re telling ur kids. Difficult situation re his oldest child, at what age will telling him/ her do the least damage? Is he envisaging never telling child? Don't have any advice really

WorraLiberty Wed 06-Apr-16 17:40:04

It's going to be very difficult to explain to your children that their Dad considers children as disposable, once a relationship breaks down.

Actually, I think he should have to explain it to his kids.

Farandole Wed 06-Apr-16 17:40:57

OP, you have children that age now. Can you imagine abandoning them just because someone is trying to guilt trip you into doing so? Would you not fight for your right (and theirs) to be together? How would you feel about not seeing them for the next 5 years? Missing out on imaginary friends, milk teeth falling out, first day of school, nativity play, first playdate and sleepover, birthday parties, learning to read, doing jigsaw puzzles together, chickenpox, learning about frogspawn and the names of flowers, the funny tantrums, Lego obsession, and everything else?

Yet somehow you and your DP have accepted this in relation to his son, as otherwise it would have upset your newly-in-love and happy family life? And you somehow accept he was right not to fight for his right to see his son and be acknowledged as father?

I'm afraid I find this really callous. And even now, your concern is centered around the lies to your children. Not this poor boy's situation.

Does he pay maintenance? If not why not?

I know you said no flaming on past decisions, but if you want to put this right you will need to accept your conduct (both of you) has been ... I'm struggling for a word here. I just find this unbearably sad.

Farandole Wed 06-Apr-16 17:43:50

Slow typer and lots of X-posts.

emotionsecho Wed 06-Apr-16 17:44:38

Sit your children down and tell them the truth.

Speak to your dp and, bearing in mind his ex has said she feels she made the wrong decision, he should do something now to correct this ghastly situation. His child needs to know the truth, needs to know who his real father is and that he has half siblings. It may be necessary to involve some outside agency to help with telling his child the truth and your dp and his ex should look into this as a matter of urgency.

I suspect as this child grows up he will feel something is not quite right and the longer this is left the harder it will be for everyone.

FantasticButtocks Wed 06-Apr-16 17:44:49

I'd tell DP your thoughts on the matter. That you are not going to tell lies of omission or otherwise to your dcs.

You only need to say the basics to the dcs, Daddy has another son/daughter called Bernard (or whatever) who we haven't met yet. He is your half-brother and he lives with his own mummy. Then see if you get any questions, (which may not happen until they're older) and answer them simply and honestly. Then tell your husband what you've said.

BackInTheRealWorld Wed 06-Apr-16 17:47:20

i would be absolutely disgusted with my 'dip' in that situation...and I can see why he wants to keep that one quiet. Doesn't put him in a very good light at all does it.

BerylStreep Wed 06-Apr-16 17:55:47

FantasticButtocks gives good advice.

bakingaddict Wed 06-Apr-16 17:59:48

I'm afraid it played rather well for your DP didn't it. Gave him all the time to pursue his new relationship with you without the tiresome trouble of keeping contact with his child.

BluePancakes Wed 06-Apr-16 18:00:49

She didn't want maintenance. They had a property together which he waived right to as part of their agreement. We put some away when we can for the future.

Do you have anything in writing that she used the property instead of maintenance? (If I'm understanding correctly?)

I've a friend whose OH had a similar arrangement with his Ex (he left her property as well as giving ad hoc sums of cash), until his DD from that relationship got to about 12yo. At that point, Ex decided she hadn't received anything, and went through the CSA, and he owed her thousands backdated. Because their previous agreement was verbal, there was nowt my friend and her OH could do (even though there was obviously a previously shared house, and bank statements of money transfers).

Unfortunately, I've no personal experience in the matter, but always kept in mind to keep everything in writing as even an amicable split can turn for the worse.

Gazelda Wed 06-Apr-16 18:04:21

OP, I think you should tackle both of these issues separately - firstly the mistakes that have been made in the past and secondly how you let your DC know about their brother.

Your DP should start court proceedings to get access to his son. He should start making regular payments, even if that means into a savings account rather than directly to his ex.

And you should tell your DC something along the lines of fantasticbuttock's suggestion. No need for a big announcement, just subtly let them know and then answer their questions as and when they arise.

PalaceGirl Wed 06-Apr-16 18:04:30

How can your partner even be sure what the ex is telling the child? One day when the child eventually finds out the truth it may not be surprising to hear that their mother said their biological father (your DP) didn't want to know. Your DP would have no way of proving otherwise.

TheWrathofNaan Wed 06-Apr-16 18:11:41

Blue pancakes

They only backdate to the time when the application was initiated.

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