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Any advice from anyone who's been in a similar position would be great - son not wanting anything to do with dad's gf/OW

(71 Posts)
FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 07:27:37

My son is 15.

He doesn't want to see, or spend time with, his dad's girlfriend (who was the OW). His dad has told him that he can't make this decision forever and that he will have to spend time with her at some point. They have met, my son said he found her insincere and didn't like her. I told him she was probably just trying harder than necessary to make a good impression on him but he said he doesn't like her and he doesn't trust her and doesn't see why he should have to have anything to do with her. Exh and gf don't live together yet.

I have explained to my son, and my exH, that it isn't really the case that he can't make this decision forever. She's nothing to do with DS and he's of an age to decide for himself, but I understand why this makes things difficult for my exh.

I've also mitigated that by saying that the same would be true of any boyfriend I have - that he wouldn't have to see him. My son has said it would be different anyway because I didn't have an affair and cheat on anyone with the man I'm seeing.

So this isn't about him not wanting to spend time with his dad's gf, but about her being the OW. He doesn't respect his dad for doing what he did and reading between the lines from things he has said, he separates his dad from his actions, but having to see them together makes them inseparable and he doesn't like his dad when she is there either. He's met her twice.

Any suggestions?

FrontForward Tue 14-Jan-14 08:40:43

Tell your son you feel the same way. He'll respect some honesty. You can tell him you have exactly the same anger but recognise that going forward things will hurt less and it's ok. It's also ok to demand that the ow is not forced upon him NOW. It's for a small period of time, not forever and his dad should respect that. If he doesn't respect it...it says a lot.

Allow your son the right to control this. It's a small ask

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 08:49:54

Sounds as if your son is more mature than his father.

It's a very tricky situation.

I agree with everything you have said about how xh is behaving and how all it will do is damage his relationships with his children.

I agree with others that all you can do is take a step back really although I'd be concerned if your xh was managing to successfully emotionally blackmail ds into doing things he didn't want. That's not ok. Your ds sounds like he's been firm in articulating his boundaries but your xh seems to want to push through them just to make himself feel better.

Poor ds, I think it's just so obvious that what xh should be doing is rebuilding his relationship with ds not pushing him to accept his gf that either he's stupid or he's just irredeemably self-absorbed or both!

LilyBlossom14 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:50:14

Folkgirl - you are doing the best you can in horrid circumstances. You did not ask for this situation, nor did you create it.

Our lives have been made complete and utter hell by the OW so I don't think there ever will be a time she is accepted by anyone. The accusations that have been thrown at me are horrendous. My daughter has no interest in her father or his ow - she has moved on and no longer wishes to know anything about him. Is happier without him.

What does your ex expect you to do - you cannot force a 15 year old to see his father, and if you told him to he would just rebel. If you told him not to see his father he would go against that too. You really cannot win. You just need to sit back and let him make his own informed choice and always be there to listen and talk when he wants to. So bloody difficult I know. It would also be nice if your ex would support you as a parent but sadly I doubt he will do that either.

Logg1e Tue 14-Jan-14 08:51:38

I think you should tell your son that you support his decision but also suggest that his feelings might change in the future and you'll be ok with that to.

I don't think you should do any problem-solving for your husband, just non-committal, "Hmm, that's tricky... how are you going to sort it?".

Thirdly, I love your daughter's view of future boyfriends as something to add to her toy collection.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:59:27

Thanks all.

It's almost good to hear that there's actually nothing I can do, other than be supportive of my son.

I would rather she didn't exist, but she does seem to have treated the children well on the couple of occasions she's seen them. She bought them Christmas presents that have returned home with them I said I thought were pretty cool (because they were) and because I don't want the children to feel they have to hide anything from me.

I don't want him back, I think he was a coward (I think telling him I was surprised at how unimaginative he'd been and that shagging a woman at work was so pedestrian offended him the most!), I think she should have been a bit stronger... and shown more solidarity to the sisterhood... but she just fell for a man, I don't hate her, she hasn't behaved in an appalling way (beyond the initial getting involved with a MM). I'm not jealous, I don't want revenge, I'm happier now than I've been in a long time, exh and I actually get on pretty well and things are generally very amicable.

I just want him to take a step back and listen to what his children are telling him (verbally and otherwise) in this respect.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 09:01:05

Logg1e I know, she really made me laugh!

I wouldn't introduce anyone to her for their own benefit! wink

Logg1e Tue 14-Jan-14 09:01:28

reads FolkGirls's post at 08:59 and thinks, "you're fantastic"

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 09:02:25

Offred it's the emotional blackmail bit that's getting to me, to be honest. If my son was happy with her being around, that's fine. It's the thought that he might agree to it for an easy life that bothers me. I've been there, after all.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Tue 14-Jan-14 09:02:45

I was a precocious four year old when my parents split. I told my dad what I thought of him (I remember ending a clear statement of what I thought he'd done wrong, "What kind of man does that, Daddy? What kind of man?") but he would never believe it was what I thought, just that I had been trained like a parrot by my mother. I hadn't, ever. We stopped speaking when I was 21.
The problem is the man was a cunt and I was intelligent enough to spot it.

Parents always say it's between them, Daddy loves you etc but you always know that he'd rather have been shagging around than having a happy family life with you, so yes, you were cheated on too, because that was your life and now it's gone.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 14-Jan-14 09:03:36

FolkGirl... I think your son has picked up the message from you actually. Your hurt and pain, unless you have the face and countenance of a seasoned poker player, isn't something that you can hide.

You make reference to the fact that your son has said that a boyfriend of yours would be different because you didn't have an affair. That is really something that comes from you and it's perfectly understandable.

Yes, your son can refuse to see his father's partner but ultimately, it will lead to a strained relationship as his dad, having made the decision to leave the home, will not have done so without real thought of the likely consequences. He still chose to do it so he must have felt compelled to.

Your son is 15, he can do as he pleases. He may regret his stance later on. If it were my son, I would be telling him to think carefully about his choices because ultimately, it's HIS relationship with his father at stake, nothing to do with his dad's girlfriend.

This is a tough question, FolkGirl but have YOU forgiven your ex for what he did? If not forgiven, then at least come to terms with it so that you're at peace? If so, then tell your son this because he may be clinging on to the notion that it would be disloyal to you somehow to accept his dad's girlfriend in any format and it must make him feel very torn. He needs to know that there are no 'sides', only relationships with family and those matter.

In the interim, I suppose that father and son will make the effort to get together when they can.

Logg1e Tue 14-Jan-14 09:07:58

Cross-post! Glad I put the time stamp in my last message.

Logg1e Tue 14-Jan-14 09:10:22

Lying I think that message is incredibly unfair. You're blaming folkgirl for the behaviour of two men who I'm sure are perfectly capable of making their own decisions.

mrsoh79 Tue 14-Jan-14 09:17:42

At 15 he is more than capable of making his own mind up and in the long run could completely cut his dad out if he doesn't understand his feelings on this issue.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 09:21:54

Yes agree with logg1e, lyin that's unfair. It isn't his dad he doesn't want to see.

My view is that because his dad is pressuring and pressuring him to accept the gf before he has rebuilt his relationship with his son, and because he wants to feel better about what he has done, his son is reacting to that by feeling territorial about his dad - eg not wanting the gf to take him from him because it is quite rightly making him feel insecure that his dad is not recognising their relationship as more important than his reputation/guilt. There is also probably a bit of stubbornness like a normal teenager. If it was just the stubbornness then perhaps there might be more of an argument for forcing it but I don't think it is.

It is a standard approach to break ups that you secure your relationships with the children in the new context before you start asking them to build relationships with any new people who may be around LT.

Folkgirl - Also think logg1e's approach of telling him you support his decision and it is ok to change it is good too.

IDontDoIroning Tue 14-Jan-14 09:23:25

Your ex is living in his fantasy life consisting of the following cliches
star crossed lovers /soulmate/ nobody can make me as happy as she does/ if you really loved me you would want me to be happy etc
He is projecting this onto his adolescent child and is sulking when actually he's not thrilled his dads "in lurve" can't see how happy she makes me etc etc etc.

Your x is the adult here your son is not - he's seen his family split up and is trying to come to terms with it. It's a difficult age and he probably misses his dad and wants to spend time with him not having him moon round like some star crossed teen lover (

Your ds wants a relationship his dad - and yr x sulking won't force it to happen.

Keep out of their relationship - encourage ds to see his dad. You can validate ds's feelings it's ok for him not to want to spend time with her but he might have to if his dad moves in with her etc.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 09:24:14

Lying I was hurt and upset in the early days, yes, but I did try to keep it from the children.

To begin with he didn't even want to see his dad because he thought it was being disloyal to me, I explained that he was still his dad and he still loved him (although I'm inclined to agree with Biscuit's last point...)

I know that my son felt very protective towards me, and still does, but not to the same extent. I don't think that came from me though, I think that's fairly natural under the circumstances. His dad and I are pretty amicable when we see each other. I don't run him down to the children and I believe him when he says he doesn't either (ds has said he's said a couple of things, but that reflects badly on him and not me). We still present a united front as parents to the children and support each other.

We weren't really happy. Some of the reasons we weren't happy were due to issues personal to each of us and resulting problems between us. But also because there were other things happening that were beyond our control and we eventually just ran out of juice as a couple. My feelings now are that life is too short and I've told him that I don't bear him any ill will, that if she makes him happy then good for him. And I meant it. We've swapped contact weekends when it suits us, including so he could celebrate his gf's birthday. I'm not petty or bitter.

I want him to be happy, I want to be happy, I want the children to be happy.

So yes, I am at peace with it and have been since before he mentioned introducing the children to her.

I don't think my son would want to exclude her forever, I'm sure she's not a nasty person. I just think that my exh is trying to move things at his speed rather than DS's and that there is already evidence of him being more amenable when exh backs off (he accepted her Christmas present for a start).

I just keep thinking of the Hare and the Tortoise, slow and steady wins the race. I just wish he'd think more Tortoise and less Hare in this matter.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 09:29:45

I should make it clear, we separated just over 1 year ago and he didn't mention meeting until after 6 months. Which he feels is half a lifetime and I feel should be a minimum.

Apparently, the internet told him that most men introduce the OW/gf immediately, so he thinks he was very reserved in waiting that long.

DD is clearly fine with it. She's too young to understand all the implications, but she is fine with it. So that's ok. It's DS who is the issue. He wants his dad, but just not her with him.

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 09:30:05

I would give it more time, I didn't see my father for about two years after the whole thing blew up and the first meeting with his OW was awkward to say the least even though I'd known her before (family friend).

I think this type of reaction is typical, I have a friend whose mum did the dirty and he didn't speak to her for a while. It's partly anger, partly defensiveness for the parent left.

In the end though, I did see them and the OW has been part of my life for about 15 years- she's a family member really. I think your ex is cutting off his nose to spite his face if he insists on pushing that right now, in a few years it will all look very different. I think he needs to suck up the anger your son feels and is directing at the OW (safer than directing it at dad who may strop off or stop contact).

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 09:30:20

I think I have told him it's ok to change his mind. But it would have been a while ago, so I might have just thought about telling him.

I will do.

Idespair Tue 14-Jan-14 09:31:36

Your ds feels like he has been cheated on as well because he is 15 and sees the situation as it is - essentially his dad did cheat on the family. I expect his dad thinks he just cheated on you and can't see what he has done. Depending on your ds personality, there may be no way back. My brother was 13 when my dad walked out to live with ow and he still (15 years on) sees my dad's wife as some sort of intruder (they went back to live in our family home which probably makes it worse).

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 09:32:43

That's it tower.

Apparently, exh keeps telling DS he hopes he and gf/ow can be friends. He just said to me this morning "I don't even want to hear her name, I certainly don't want to be her friend"

I know exh is just reassuring him she isn't going to be another mother.

We have a tiny, tiny family. If she ends up being part of DS's family and by virtue, her family treat him and DD as part of their's, I don't really have a huge problem with that. As long as the children are happy with it. And that's what it boils down to every single time.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 09:33:27

Your ds feels like he has been cheated on as well because he is 15 and sees the situation as it is - essentially his dad did cheat on the family. I expect his dad thinks he just cheated on you and can't see what he has done.

Yes.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 09:36:29

Thing is though it isn't about time. It's about effort. He can't expect to put no effort into making ds feel secure in the new situation and his position in his life and then say "time's up now you do what I want so I feel better". Unless they're living together I can't understand why the dc even need to spend time with her.

I had a similar feeling about my xp's new gf who was also ow. She was a fantastic carer to my dc and I was glad to have her around eventually but not before he had secured his dc's feelings because that would have confused/hurt them.

There's something he isn't dealing with with his relationship with his son. If he sorted that ds' feelings might change... Or they might never change and as ds is 15 xh has to accept that as a valid choice and respect it:

Enelya Tue 14-Jan-14 09:38:03

Hi FolkGirl, I just wanted to give you a bit of perspective from my veiwpoint. I was 30 years old and 37 weeks pg when my parents split, my Dad moving out of the family home while my mother was visiting me to move in with the OW.

I have chosed not to aknowledge or engage with in any way the OW. My father is probably hurt by this, but we are maintaining a low level relationship at the moment, and I am keeping doors open. I realise that I will probably have to meet her in the future, but I dont want to now and dont see why I should. Part of this is to do with the fact that I have been my mother's principle source of support and I know she would find it unbearable. It is very difficult for me to seperate my feelings from hers.

I'm not sure any of this is much help to you, but I think I wanted to say that because I am an adult I am allowed to make my own decisions and very few people have dared tell me I "have to" meet her. I dont see why your son shouldnt be allowed the same courtesy.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 14-Jan-14 09:42:02

Logg1e... I didn't think it was unfair, there are many women who've posted on this board and in RL who are so hurt and bitter because of a break-up that the children - who should be kept out of it - are dragged in and forced to take sides.

I don't know where 'blame' comes in though? That's such a 'female' thing, it really is - taking an awarding blame where none is due because it's irrelevant.

FolkGirl has since posted another post which explains the situation and presents it in a different light. My earlier post was in the thinking of your son being younger than 15 when all of this transpired. So, whilst he's now 15 and has more control of his life and the direction of it, I pictured him as a younger boy when it all happened.

I think that you're very far-sighted, FolkGirl in the way that you're handled things. It's not easy to foster good and amicable relationships with exes, children or no children and the fact that you've done so is really a tribute to you.

Do you think your ex would be amenable to a chat to talk about this with you? Reminding him that your son is probably at a 'black and white' thinking stage and that whatever decisions he (your son) makes now, shouldn't be held against him or considered to be permanent. You're obviously closer to your children now than your ex is; that happens often, I think, but you're doing no damage to them or to your ex's relationship with them and your ex should recognise that.

I know it can't have been easy for you, FolkGirl and you do seem very measured and fair in spite of it all.

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