Do I cut contact with my parents whilst they're going through divorce?

(12 Posts)
totalblamblam1991 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:56:08

There is an awful lot to this complicated situation, I apologise for the length of the post but I'm trying to place everything into context.

I'm now 24 and have a brother (now 22) and both our parents are getting divorced. They officially split about 8 months ago but are now moving forward to make it legal and official. Mum left Dad after years of financially supporting him through several failed businesses and his refusal to suck it up and get a normal job.

The most recent business was a family one, which myself and my brother worked at. We chose to do this as the business was focused around an industry we had both studied and wanted to work long-term in and my Dad had previous experience running a successful business of this type. We all got on brilliantly and wanted to make something successful that would last for years. However, this decision lead to us all living under the same roof to save money and be more productive (my Dads suggestion) but the financial and emotional strain this situation placed on the family unit was almost incomprehensible. The business didn't take off as we had expected and although we were working our backsides off, we weren't even bringing enough home to cover mobile phone bills. It has since come out that my dad was paying other staff member wages but myself and my brother were expected to work for practically nothing as it 'would all be ours one day' and we had to take the rough with the smooth, 'the things most worth having are the ones you have to work hardest for' etc etc. It is worth mentioning that we were not partners or directors or anything like that in the company, just staff members who worked significantly more hours than anybody else. This inevitably lead to my Mum financially and emotionally supporting everyone, running the entire house and all its costs. Due to repeated bad luck (most of which wasn't actually my Dads fault) after 2 years this business folded with hardly any outstanding debt or complications and he was given an opportunity to start a fresh. God knows how, but although there were building tensions and serious strain had been placed on our a family, we somehow managed to survive it.

Fast forward a few months... Both myself and my brother got other jobs and started to support ourselves instead of having to rely on the family business to pay us fairly and honestly. This was when I moved in with my other half to a town 20 minutes or so away and began taking anti-depressants for my anxiety. My brother initially moved out but had a lot of problems with house-share and landlords and ended up having to move back in with parents temporarily. My Mum was pleading with my Dad to just get a normal job for a while, help to clear some of the personal debts she has accrued supporting all 4 of us for nearly 2 years and bring some normality back to the house and our lives.

This was when my Dad messed up big time.

He decided to re-do pretty much exactly the same business and business model again. The whole idea of what the business was meant to originally be (independent, family, tasteful) was what my Mum had supported in the first place. But now myself and my brother were out, he was doing this all on his own, his own way. The type of business is one that targets 18-30 years olds and requires an awful lot of social media presence (and most likely some 18-30 years old working there who understand the market!) Without that it would totally fail. This was one of the many roles I performed whilst working there, but now I wasn't anymore, how would he even get it off the ground? He had no money to pay anyone else to do it, he couldn't do it himself and he couldn't depend on me doing it for free anymore.

Fast forward another few months, my Dad has re-opened the business, its not making any money and my Mum is still paying for everything for the both of them. Final nail in the coffin came when she noticed he wasn't wearing his wedding ring - he claimed to have lost it and promised to get another but just never did. This was not a financial issue as both my brother and I offered to lend him the money to buy a new wedding band but he didn't take us up on it. His whole focus was now on the business which we'd left and I think as now weren't involved anymore he saw what we were doing as meddling instead of trying to be helpful. So my Mum left. She continued mortgage payment and water/electric payments on the house so my dad wasn't left homeless, but she moved in with friends.

Then Mum started seeing someone (an old friend of both parents) almost immediately - in fact I have strong feeling she was seeing him before she left my Dad. Although I do not know this man personally, he is strongly linked with my profession and the social circles and scenes in which I move locally, and I'm aware that my friends who have always known me as part of family unit have seen them out together, all over each other and acting like teenagers. He seems to make her happy but I've heard so many stories about this man - he doesn't have a good reputation around our area at all. She has now decided to make me her 'ally' - telling me all sorts of details about her new relationship and the relationship she had with my Dad that I've made clear I really don't want to know (financial, emotional, sexual - literally everything!) As we've never really been close, even though it is almost the only thing she speaks to me about I've not wanted to break what little connection we now have, even if its over something that makes me wildly uncomfortable.

Dad (57) has played the victim to both me and my brother since the split, and we have felt really bad for him and tried to support him - and I now see that we subconsciously 'took his side' because he was left on his own. But he has recently started going through what can only be described as a mid life crisis. He's out drinking all the time (never been a big drinker before), has started posting flirty photos of him on nights out on Facebook of girls my age and who I know kissing his cheek. And I've just found out he's been on several dates with one of my good friends ex girlfriend (in her late 20's). As he now thinks he's totally on his own, I have a very strong feeling this behaviour is only the beginning and will get worse very quickly.

This now means that both of parents love lives are entangled in my life, my social circles and the place which I call home, and the impact of the whole thing is really starting to effect my emotional wellbeing. I'm trying to be independent and get away from them and lead my own, normal life but it seems almost impossible.

I've stopped wanting to go out with my other half, when we do we can't go to the places we normally would as I'm worried that I will either bump into one of them with their new boyfriend/girlfriend. I hear stories and see things shared on social media that concern the two of them. I'm embarrassed as to what other people will think of me and my family. For years both parents were so keen to put on the show and let everyone know we were happy and solid and well off and now neither of them seem to care what other people think at all. Problem is, this is how I've been brought up and to see them both act so differently to to the values and morals they've taught me and my brother is just so confusing, painful, upsetting and embarrassing.

So much has happened and I can't change any of it. The hurt and pain they're causing to me and my brother is going to be so long-lasting and damaging and neither of them even realise it, they're just in their own worlds and expect us to 'get on with it'. Add into the mix that I have become very close with my other halves parents who are lovely people who have a happy, healthy marriage and support their kids magnificently. Due to this, I'm starting to hate spending time with either of my parents or even speaking to them on the phone. I can physically feel the resentment building as I'm talking to them and the understanding of their lack of care and consideration towards me and my brother it absolutely horrible. And I'm the luckier one as at least I'm not living in the house anymore, brother is still stuck there.

So.....the question is, do I cut off contact with them for a while? And if so how do I go about doing that? Do I simply ignore them and wait for them to get the message or do I write something down to explain how I'm feeling? They're not the most reasonable people and are both in weird places as it is anyway and I just have no idea what to do, but I know I can't carry on like this.

If you've managed to stick with this stupidly long thread until now, thank you so much and I would really appreciate your advice.

memyselfandaye Mon 18-Apr-16 17:08:30

I think its time your Mother had some support. I'm not suprised she left, she had to house, feed and clothe three fully grown adults, that between them didnt earn enough to pay the phone bill.

No wonder she had enough.

I would tell her to give it a rest about her sex life, thats grim, but really try and see it from her point of view.

redshoeblueshoe Mon 18-Apr-16 17:10:21

I fell exhausted just reading that !
Just leave them to it for a bit. Your Dad sounds like hard work !

lilydaisyrose Mon 18-Apr-16 17:21:19

Can you deactivate social media? That would help I think?

lilydaisyrose Mon 18-Apr-16 17:22:44

What does your brother think of the situation? Could you support him by offering him a room with you and your OH?

ImperialBlether Mon 18-Apr-16 17:29:47

I think your mum needs a bit more consideration than you've given her, as a PP says - she was supporting three other adults (and obviously herself) and it's clear your dad wasn't listening to a word she said. No wonder she's gone off the rails now.

I'd block them on social media but otherwise just carry on living a normal life. You can't stop going out because of them. Be careful not to switch all of your affections to your ILs - I'm sure they're nice but you do have parents of your own, even though they are going through a difficult time.

whois Mon 18-Apr-16 17:46:28

I would tell her to give it a rest about her sex life, thats grim, but really try and see it from her point of view.

^ This exactly.

No one wants to hear the sex life details but you poor mother has supported you and your brother and that useless lump of a dick head father for YEARS and now you want to cut contact with her? Poor woman :-(

I fucking HATE dreamers who think they are above getting a job and expect people to pay their bills for them. I would have cut contact with my dad if he had treated my mum like this.

magoria Mon 18-Apr-16 18:13:53

You are right not to want to hear about your mother's sex life.

However your mum has been left in a shit load of debt supporting you and your DB for 2 years and you are not interested in hearing her financial problems? Now that you are fine and dandy supporting yourself you don't really care any more than your dad did for your mother.

Where is the care, consideration and thanks you have for your mother for supporting you as an adult despite her misgivings?

You have no evidence your mother was seeing this man before she left.

Your dad didn't give enough of a shit to replace his wedding ring. That's how much care he really had for your mother.

Janecc Mon 18-Apr-16 19:32:37

Your mother needs some support and to vent - it's about time. You must have been aware of the financial situation to a certain extent even if not consciously. You weren't getting paid and it was naive to think the employees were working almost for free, which would also be illegal. I get you and your brother were being sucked in by your father to a certain extent even though you knew previous businesses had failed. I think you should consider cutting your mother some slack. And just ask her to stop with the sex life stuff. Maybe she couldn't talk to you in the past because she thought she wouldn't be able to stop herself. Well now she deserves a bloody good rant!
Your father is a complete dreamer - that's me being pleasant. It all sounds pretty grim and if you want to cut contact with him, I don't think many people on here would have a problem. He disrespected your mother for years (and the two of you by association) then you and your brother directly.
As a pp said you have no proof she had an affair and even if she had, it's 200% understandable. Your father clearly didn't care for her very much if at all. He's just lost his meal ticket that's probably why he's acting out. If I saw him on an evening out, leaching over some girls my age, I think I'd ignore him.

Gide Mon 18-Apr-16 19:42:30

Unfollow people on social media. I think I'd want to support mum and dad, they're leading separate lives so no point cutting contact with either. I would make very clear to mum that you absolutely do not want to hear about her sex life, omg, I'd puke, sorry, but it's weird!

For your own mental well being, distance yourself, but there's no need to avoid going out. If you see a parent, move pubs, don't become a hermit just in case you see one of them, you're cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Bogeyface Mon 18-Apr-16 22:29:55

Are you giving your mum any money towards the bills she ran up when you were working for the business?

I know that you didnt choose to not get paid but the fact is that she supported you during that time and I think that you and your brother owe it to her to help pay off the debts.

squeezed Tue 19-Apr-16 14:21:26

I think distancing yourself from your dad is a good idea given how he has acted. No wonder your mum left him and it is a good thing then that she is happier with someone else.
I don't agree that it is fair for your DM to talk to you about her relationship with your Dad or new partner. She's your mum not your friend. You can just mention to her that it makes you feel uncomfortable to talk about it and get some boundaries back into your relationship.
It's not surprising that you are gravitating towards Dps parents as they are acting how you would like your own parents to. They could just be reacting to the separation and may settle down soon. The thing with divorcing with adult children is that some parents seem to struggle with the boundaries with their children.

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