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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?

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 09:46:11

Yes, that's why it was unfair lying. To me it was entirely obvious that that wasn't what was going on based on what Folkgirl had posted and it can actually be quite an unhelpful thing to say to someone who may well be going the opposite way and trying too hard to gloss over and compensate for a crappy x. I thought, from what she said, Folkgirl was more on that end than the other. I've taken a similar stance to your other post on other threads because I agree with that sentiment but I don't think it was appropriate for this thread at all.

Logg1e Tue 14-Jan-14 10:05:58

Lying, 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.

But it was unfair because Folkgirl has described her behaviour as being absolutely the opposite of this!

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 14-Jan-14 10:06:19

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.

He's wrong.

My SIL still won't spend any time with her father's OW 20 years after their affair split their family up.

She was slightly older than your son when it happened, maybe 18.

She still sees her father, he was at her wedding and sees her children, but the woman (with whom he is still in a relationship) is excluded from all of it.

And that's not negotiable as far as SIL is concerned.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 10:15:30

I suppose what's just occurred to me is that his age is pretty determinative here in a few ways. 1. Because he is old enough to have a higher degree of autonomy about who is in his life but 2. Because he is on the cusp of adulthood and the gf has no role to play in his life. New partners who step into parenting roles have a part to play in children's lives in their own right and in an established relationship it isn't fair for the x to try to dictate that (not that that is what Folkgirl is doing) but older children who do not need as much parental care have a right to refuse to include new partners in their lives as there's no need or benefit to them in having the new partner involved.

I think what shows most starkly that it is the ds making his own choice is the dd's attitude to taking it all in her stride, which reflects what folkgirl's attitude seems to be and is unsurprising given dd's age. Her ds is making a choice which is different to Folkgirl and dd and therefore it seems more likely to be his own choice for himself rather than anyone's choice for him.

He may come round or he may not but I think how xh is behaving is likely to push him away not draw him closer. There's not too much Folkgirl can do about that and I'm sure it is upsetting to think about standing by and watching ds go through that.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 14-Jan-14 10:35:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 11:29:41

Thanks all.

I had to go out.

All of your replies are really helping me, actually, to see this really clearly. It's hard to not wonder if you're in the wrong or whatever, but I really don't bear any ill will to either of them, I just don't want the children to be unhappy or, in particular, my son to feel pressured.

You've also given me some really good ideas for things to suggest to exh. Lying I think we do have an amicable enough relationship for me to be able to broach it, I'm just not confident about how receptive he will be. It helps to have some responses to the comebacks I know he will have. He gets very defensive when any reference is made to any of it.

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

I think I agree with that, and it sort of puts it into perspective.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 11:41:03

Would he be able to understand it by thinking about what the gf has to offer to ds by being in his life? Why would he want to meet her? What does he expect her to add?

I think it could be tricky for you to get involved with this stuff though by talking to him because of the politics of your relationship with him. It will be easier for him to think you are jealous and not over him and goading ds than it will be to acknowledge he is putting his desire for validation above his ds' relationship with him.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 11:44:38

Unfortunately, we have touched on that briefly previously Offred. He said he thought it would be good for the children to have someone to spend 'family' time with and to take photos with etc. And because we have such a small family, he thought it would be good for them to have someone else to care about them. He thinks she's lovely and expects the children to too. I get that he loves her, I get that he's proud of his children and wants to share them. But he's failing to see that DS has a say in this too.

He's a wally.

Oh and I get what you mean in your last paragraph too. I just wish he could see it for himself. I have explained to my son why it's difficult for me to get involved and have encouraged him previously to address concerns with his dad directly, but he just brings up the fact his dad doesn't react well to not getting his own way.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 11:55:30

Yes, but I suspect your ds is probably feeling she isn't family and it is disrespectful to his real family to say so!

Does h just not really understand how old ds is? She doesn't have to be his family if he doesn't want her to and at 15 he can't really argue that he has to accept her as family.

He'd be vastly more likely to accept her, either as dad's gf or maybe as someone who is family to him, if he stopped pressurising I think....

Says stranger on the Internet!

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 12:08:28

Yes, quite.

No, I completely agree with you Offred and no, he doesn't really 'get' how old he is.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 12:11:28

Eeee... Well maybe he'll learn, can live in hope! :/

enderwoman Tue 14-Jan-14 12:21:58

2 out of my 3 children won't see ex or ow.(He lives with her) Luckily ex realises that he can't force them to see ow and as the person who broke things up realises that any reconciliation has to go at the pace that the kids want. I've just said to the kids that they can change their mind whenever they want and to let me know if they want me to contact their Dad.

turnaroundbrighteyes Tue 14-Jan-14 13:11:09

If your DS is worried he won't get to say everything he needs to because of how his Dad might react could he write a letter and post if so his dad has time to read it and think about it and DS gets to say everything he wants to?

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 13:17:08

That's actually a really good idea. I might suggest that to him. He can take his time doing it too, then.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 14-Jan-14 13:20:34

"He said he thought it would be good for the children to have someone to spend 'family' time with and to take photos with etc. And because we have such a small family, he thought it would be good for them to have someone else to care about them."

confused

er... what?

That makes no senses.

He just wants to force this through and make everybody act as though him going off and getting a new girlfriend while he was still married was the most normal and acceptable thing in the world.

He wants to rewrite history and he's prepared to bully your son into accepting his version of events.

I think you should respect your son's right to think his father is a prick for doing this to the family and wanting nothing to do with the stranger who helped him.

His reaction seems entirely normal for a 15 year old. Of course he's going to think his father has acted like a prick. Because he has.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 13:26:23

The comment about them having someone else to care about them was actually what he said to me when I first found out about the affair.

The spending 'family' time stuff is what he said when he wanted the children to meet her for the first time. We separated in November 2012 but he had a breakdown afterwards and is still having cbt to help him deal with the way the breakdown of the marriage his affair has made him feel.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 13:26:51

DS just has no respect for him. Which is sad.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 14-Jan-14 13:30:41

"The comment about them having someone else to care about them was actually what he said to me when I first found out about the affair."

<snort> grin

Sorry to laugh, but that just takes the biscuit for self-absorbed wankerishness post-affair.

I'm not surprised your son doesn't respect him. He's pathetic.

IME of teenage boys (which is not that extensive, admittedly), they expect A LOT from their Dads.

A man who blew the family apart and feels so sorry for himself because he sees himself as the victim when he's the one who caused all the damage is going to fall WAY short.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 13:30:53

I'm not sure it is sad as much as appropriate. It's sad xh is not worthy of respect but being able to see when your father is treating you badly and respond appropriately is tough. His strength of character is a good sign for his future in that he sounds quite articulate and mature and is still wanting a relationship with his dad just not wanting to play happy families with a stranger who helped his dad hurt him and his real family.

Tonandfeather Tue 14-Jan-14 14:31:25

Your son sounds great. I'm sure your proud of him for being so strong-minded and assertive.

It really bugs me when people give no agency to what youngsters want and even worse try to blame mothers for influencing them.

I can think of no other situation where people would keep encouraging a near-adult to see an adult he dislikes.

Why should he like her anymore than if he met some other friend of his parents?

There are one or two friends of mine my son doesn't particularly like. I wouldn't dream of forcing them on him and I can't see why your husband doesn't have the same views.

Well I can. He's selfish isn't he?

You're great though. If anything, I'd worry that you're feeling so much pressure to be reasonable and the antithesis of the bitter ex-wife, you're in danger of suppressing your own feelings too much.

This is where teens are great. They are selfish too and couldn't care less about people judging them for being angry or for saying no to things they don't want to do.

Take a leaf out of his book. Respect his agency above all. He knows who he likes and who he dislikes. He gets to decide who he spends time with.

If anyone has the balls to accuse you of influencing him, that's more about that person's issues and not yours. Some folks just blame first wives for everything...

shey02 Tue 14-Jan-14 14:43:08

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change, for children to forgive the affair is very difficult, especially if exh never owned his mistakes, nor apologised for them....

You sound like a very caring mother who wants the best for her son though, respect to you!

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