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Am I having an innapropriate relationship with my ex husband?

(47 Posts)
ThePoloHole Sun 27-Nov-16 00:30:45

We were together for 18 years and have 2 DC (teen and a 9 year old). Divorced for 4 years (he had an affair and I divorced him).

The first two years were hell. The next year we mended bridges, both found new relationships and moved on. We're now 5 and a bit years on from the split.

If you were to ask me how our relationship is I would say we are good friends. Access to the DC and money have never been an issue between us. If he is working nearby he will call/text and drop in to see the kids for 10 minutes on his way past, we'll have a cuppa and then he'll go. We keep in regular contact about the kids (we've had some issues with teen starting school and discipline stuff) there are also lots of extra curricular stuff that needs regular sorting out around our working hours which change week on week.

The issue is that his partner knows nothing about any of this. She is quite uncomfortable with us being together alone and (in her own words to me) feels like she is competing against a lot of history. We get on very well on a surface level (keeping up appearances for the DC) but that's about it. Ex and I have discussed this and he says he understands why she feels that way but isn't prepared to stop dropping in on the DC or maintaining a friendship with me.

Some other examples are: something in the house broke and needed fixing which is his trade. I didn't tell him as I knew he would offer to fix it and I knew his Dp wouldn't like it. The DC ended up mentioning it and he asked why I hadn't told him, he then turned up and fixed it anyway and said it wasn't my problem if she didn't like it. I said I was uncomfortable basically lying to her and he said he understood her position but didn't agree with it, it's his DCs house and there's no point in paying someone to fix something he could for free.

Something in my house broke (kitchen appliance) ex bought us a new one off his own bat (he has more money than I do) but I'm under strict instructions to not tell the DC that he paid for it as he doesn't want his partner to know. FWIW I didn't know he had ordered it until it turned up. I would have told him not to buy it if I did. He says nonsense this is where his DC live.

If the DC have a school play we all have to go on different nights as she doesn't want to be there whilst I am there. Again, it seems a bit silly but it's her choice. In a few weeks DS has a play and we will all have to go on the same night due to work schedules. She is now not coming and has text me asking if I'm sure I can't change?!

I really am looking for objective outsider opinions on if I am colluding with ex behind her back (to the extent that she has no idea how often ex comes around or we are in contact) or if she seems a bit over the top and is being pandered to.

I personally wouldn't trust ex an inch so I can see why she may feel that way even though I know we were over and done with years ago. I am no longer in a relationship as of a year ago which I think makes her worry even more.

Opinions?

ChipIn Sun 27-Nov-16 00:47:51

I don't think you are doing anything wrong. It sounds like the relationship you now have with your ex is great, even if only surface level friendship. The children will really benefit from having parents who get on so well even though they're not together.

What isn't appropriate is your ex's behaviour. Although he isn't doing anything wrong with you, to keep such an innocent relationship secret from his partner will obviously only fuel her mistrust of him. He needs to have a frank discussion with her and he needs to be honest moving forward. His partner obviously has insecurities about you and ex having such a long history and they need to work on it. Although it's very thoughtful of you to want to help his do, It's not up to you to manage their relationship or push your ex away considering your children are the ones benefiting from how things are currently.

ImYourMama Sun 27-Nov-16 00:50:35

YANBU, his new partner is being unreasonable as she is expecting him not to have a relationship of any kind with the mother of his children- carry on as you are

fuzzywuzzy Sun 27-Nov-16 01:01:10

Your ex DP sounds demented, not 'allowing' you all to go see your DC in a show at the same time? She sounds controlling and mean. What does she think you and your ex will do in public?

Step away from your ex's relationship it's not your concern. So long as you keep behaving in a normal kind way and get on with your ex even on a superficial friend level it's fine. Your DC need positive parenting role models in their lives and they need the love and support of both their parents.

Your ex can deal with his relationship, ignore texts from your DP's girlfriend unless they're about the DC specifically.

7SunshineSeven7 Sun 27-Nov-16 01:15:25

I understand where she is coming from a little...why can't he tell her where he is? If she doesn't like it then tough, find someone else because he has every right to be there. But at the same time he shouldn't be keeping things from her, I'd be wondering why he would need to keep it a secret (obviously this has nothing to do with you but rather him).

The play thing is weird. Can't you just sit across the room from eachother? Its not just about him being alone with you, its also while she's there; you've been broken up for so long she shouldn't really be too bothered - its not like she was the OW or anything confused

CouldIHaveIt Sun 27-Nov-16 01:25:52

Well, if she was the person he had an affair with (?) she put herself in this position by choosing to have an affair with him when he was married to you, her insecurity is her problem. If she wasn't, but knows he's had an affair, same thing really.

She should NOT be sending you messages asking if you are sure you can't change nights etc. It's totally out of order. If she's that bothered she can choose not to go to YOUR child's performance. Daft mare.

Please don't let her spoil the relationship you have with your ex. It sounds nice & comfortable and definitely in the children's best interest as well as yours & his. He's right too that things that need fixing in his children's home, he might as well fix if he can and if he can more easily afford to replace things that have broken then that's nice too (as long as you don't feel he's intruding). It's great you both feel comfortable with him popping in to see the kids, it's brilliant for them.

It would be different if you were trying to get him back or having sex with him, but you aren't. Enjoy the relationship you have created and let her/him/them deal with her paranoia.

Bogeyface Sun 27-Nov-16 01:51:43

I would be pissed off about the play message, how dare she ask you to change what night you see your own child so as not to upset her, who is no relation to the child at all?

Its got nothing to do with his history, she is one of those people who hates the idea that there was anyone in their OH's lives before them and want them to disappear. My ex's wife is like this, and succeeded in making me and DD disappear as he was a spineless twat. A friend of mine had a BF who was also like this, he would make a huge fuss and storm out if an ex of hers happened to be in the same place as them, as if she had done it on purpose. He would be raging that she would expect him to be in the same room as an ex of hers. She dumped him eventually but pandered to it for far too long, avoiding pretty much anywhere in the local area for fear of seeing anyone he took against. He even got stroppy about her seeing old male school friends.

Stay out of it, let him do what he wants regarding his kids and his friendship with you and let him get on with it with his GF. But I would make it clear to him that a) you wont be lying for him if asked directly and b) she is to stop texting you, about anything at all.

SENPARENT Sun 27-Nov-16 01:56:59

You have a great relationship with your ex which can only benefit your children and help them grow into secure and well adjusted adults.

If his DP has issues with that that it is her problem not yours. She knew he had children when she embarked on a relationship with him. She needs to grow up a bit and stop being paranoid. If she can't bear to be at the play on the same night as you - tough, she doesn't have to go. Don't let her spoil things as your children will be the ones to lose out.

stolemyusername Sun 27-Nov-16 02:06:06

Was she the OW? I could almost see her point about not being comfortable watching the 2 of you being a family with her kind of on the fringe (I absolutely don't agree with her, I'm just saying I see where she's coming from).

But somewhere in public? That's controlling and completely out of order to ask you to not attend your own children's school whilst she's there!

Cricrichan Sun 27-Nov-16 02:28:10

He shouldn't be keeping all this secret from her. She probably senses or knows that he's keeping secrets and is paranoid.

She shouldn't be sending you messages and stopping you from going on the same night. You could always have a chat with her and make it clear that you wouldn't be interested if he was the last man alive, that you get on because you've got children in common and it's a lot easier this way.

To answer your op, you're not having an inappropriate relationship at all.

Emmageddon Sun 27-Nov-16 02:52:42

Nothing inappropriate at all, it sounds like you have a healthy relationship with the father of your children!

It's the girlfriend who is being inappropriate and your XDH should be open about his friendship with you. You're doing nothing wrong. She's guilt-tripping him out of insecurity and envy.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 27-Nov-16 04:17:49

If you're having an inappropriate relationship with your exH then I am with mine because it sounds very similar. And, I believe it's great for the kids.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 27-Nov-16 04:19:06

I should add that the only difference is that exH's DP is very comfortable with it and we also get on well. My DP is also happy with it.

Enough101 Sun 27-Nov-16 08:03:13

Not inappropriate at all, healthy for your kids. I think she's got a cheek asking you whether you can change your night to see your own children in a play! Some ex-wives wouldn't allow her to be there on any night (not saying that's right either, but it's true). Sounds like she needs to grow up.

ThePoloHole Sun 27-Nov-16 08:12:38

No she wasn't the OW.

The play is a bit of a red herring TBH, I debated if I should add that bit at all. She's playing it that it's nice for the DC to have an adult there both nights so maybe I could change.

It's not unusual for us to text each other about clothes, uniform, homework etc. Ex is quite capable of doing all that stuff but she says she enjoys doing it and seems to have taken over the role.

I know what it's like to be lied to about where ex is etc. I don't really want to be part of that as I look guilty by association. But a part of me thinks she needs to get over herself and ex needs to stop pandering to it.

ThePoloHole Sun 27-Nov-16 08:16:43

There is some other stuff. Ex owns a holiday home (he inherited it after the split). He offered to let me take the DC there on holiday and we had a great few years of cheap holidays.

I'm no longer allowed to use it as it makes her feel awkward as it's "their" holiday home. Ex isn't bothered about me using it at all. I can see her point (in that she has decorated it etc ) and sees it as her home too. However they aren't married and it's exs home.

I don't know it's all a bit of a mess really.

SENPARENT Sun 27-Nov-16 09:12:50

So you are no longer allowed to use the holiday home. What about your children?

category12 Sun 27-Nov-16 09:20:00

I feel sorry for her, she can't trust him an inch, it's driven her batty.

You're well out of it, op. I think just carry on doing as you are, and don't engage with him about his relationship.

jeaux90 Sun 27-Nov-16 09:25:12

OP it sounds like a great co-parenting relationship to me and a good example to others who struggle. It's his issue to manage his DP. Crack on the way you are, she sounds ok to me. I also think that the longer the arrangements go on the more she will relax about the other things that seem to bother her. Xx

dunfightin Sun 27-Nov-16 09:26:33

Can you talk to your ex-H as a friend would i.e. explain why situation is iffy and also why if he doesn't stand up and be open it'll go pear shaped.
If she knows he cheated, and presumably she does, then she will feel that every time he is late or not straight about where he's been, he's at it again.
You are the easy target for her insecurities, but it's up to your ex to draw boundaries and to provide her with the reassurance she wants

PerpetualStudent Sun 27-Nov-16 09:29:21

While you have a positive relationship in many ways, it sounds to me like he's potentially playing you and his new DP off each other a bit? If his civil relationship with you was important & also innocent to him, why wouldn't he just be honest with his DP?
I don't mean it isn't innocent, but only thst it sounds like he's almost getting a kick out of building this sense of rivialry and resentment between you & his new DP. Perhaps rather than dramatic & secretive gestures to keep you apart, he could be looking at ways to bring you together (particularly if she wasn't the OW)

juneau Sun 27-Nov-16 09:30:48

I also don't think you're doing anything wrong. What your ex is doing is between him and his DP. You aren't asking him to keep things from her - you're actually trying to make him be more honest - yet he chooses not to. And given her suspicious attitude I can see why.

I think this situation is actually pretty common. My aunt and her ex were divorced 30 years ago and remained friends behind his second wife's back, not because anything was 'going on', but because they were friends and she completely misunderstood that. So they continued to speak on the phone and it was done behind her back. Now she's dead they have continued to be friends, nothing more, but at least they can go and have lunch or a day out, chat on the phone, etc, without having to sneak around.

I don't think you should feel guilty. You're not doing anything wrong. You're actually respecting his new relationship. He's the one who is choosing to keep a foot (just a friendly, helpful, supportive one), in both camps.

2sCompany Sun 27-Nov-16 09:55:35

Very interested in opinions on this. I am in almost exactly the same position. My ex and I are good friends, still do things with the children and help each other out when needed (for example I did washing this week for him as his washing machine broke).

I was told by current partner that "not a lot of people would put up with that". And ex has dated a woman who , in his words, "got funny" about us going on an outing together for one of the DC birthday.

I always thought it was good for the children to see us getting on etc. Especially given the arguments we went through when splitting a few years ago. Similar to you I get the impression OP. It's hard to know if you're really acting 'appropriately' if you always seem to be fighting/disagreeing with other people over it!

How did your recent partner feel about it when you were in a relationship?

tigermoll Sun 27-Nov-16 09:57:23

I agree with Perpetual -- do you think maybe he is getting a kick out of triangulating the two of you?

He is clearly doing nothing to reassure his partner that his relationship with you is platonic, and in fact, enlists you to help in keeping secrets from her.

It's great that he has a good relationship with you, and it is perfectly acceptable for him to have a cup of tea and help around the house. What isn't OK is that he seems unable to stand up to his partner, and instead 'secretly' sends you appliances and so forth. I can see why she is going slowly crackers.

This sounds a bit like he is still playing two women off against each other -- plus, we don't know how he speaks about you to his partner. My guess is that he presents himself as much more unwilling and you as much more demanding. So she gets the impression that you won't leave him alone and is stepping in to 'help' put some boundaries in place.

For example, with the holiday home. Do you think he told his partner 'it was my idea, and I want my children to use it with their mother'. Or do you think maybe he said something like 'Polohole seems to assume she can use my holiday home. It's a bit awkward to say no to.' His partner then got the impression he didn't want you to use it and spoke to you. While he passively sat back and looked like the good guy to both women. Grr.

(I'm not saying 'once a cheater, always a cheater' but if he is cheating on his new partner, you are providing the perfect cover...)

SVJAA Sun 27-Nov-16 09:57:53

It does sound like she's being very unreasonable. I get on very well with XHs new partner, not so much him because he's an arsehole, but she is lovely and we get on great.
I don't see what her issue is? Surely he's being the dad that any divorced/separated parent would want for their child?

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