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to blend or not to blend - that is the question!!!!!

(37 Posts)
8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 12:32:24

brief background or will bore you all to tears.......
I seperated 2 years ago and divorced 10 months ago - very long marriage of 25 years with three children 17,14,10.
my new partner and I have been together 1 year. However we have known each other for nearly 20 years. He seperated from his wife 6 months or so before we got together and they are now going through a very messy divorce. he has 3 children too aged 13,10,6.
My partner and I live with my 3 children APART from when he has his children then he goes back to the rented house that he moved into when he seperated.
His STB Ex is the issue. She knows that we are together and does not want me to see their children. His boys do not even know that we are a couple or that their dad even has a GF as he is concerned about how they will take it and is frightened that they will not want to see him anymore. Each time that he tries to talk to his Ex she flares up and threatens to not allow the boys to see him.
I understand that it is perhaps still early days for her but they have been split up for 18 months and surely life for my partner must be allowed to continue. Surely she cannot dictate to him when he may be free to see someone. I understand that it was he who chose to leave the marriage and I know that like me he fought for a very long time to keep the marriage together for the sake of the children but eventually he thought the same as me "you only get one life - and what sort of messages are we showing our children about living in a loveless marraige" so he finally left. He was distraught at leaving the family home as he is really close to his boys and they adore him and love spending time with him.
However we are so desperately wanting to start the blending process of introducing me to the boys and then mixing the children together. We have empty bedrooms waiting for them for them and my children are so looking forward to meeting them.
How do we do this when their mother is so anti this????
We are both so upset at living this double life.
We are a couple yet when it comes to family/friends get-togethers/children's birthdays/my partners birthday/weekends/holidays we can't see each other or share these events as for us it's a NO GO situation. We have two lives going on really - one with my children and then him with his own ...........
interested to hear anyones thoughts/advice on this please.
Thanks

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 20-Jul-13 12:56:15

I think your partner has left it quite long enough and should now tell his exW that he will be introducing you to his children, rather than asking her permission. For your part, I think you are also entitled to demand that you are no longer some kind of shameful secret. There's a limit. Go ahead and do it, handle telling the children intelligently and sensitively and should the exW decides to be difficult about it then cross that bridge when you come to it.

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 13:35:39

Yes I do feel like a guilty secret - some glorified mistress at times :-(
It is starting to cause me real heartache and despair!!
My partner has been telling me for months now that he is working on it trying to sort it but it still hasn't happened.

I am getting so sad about this double life.

We make plans to go to his families gatherings etc as they all know about me and then at the last minute he bottles it and says the times not right for me to go.

Even have to go alone to my friends and family things when it's his weekend with his boys as obviously can't all go together.

When he takes them away on holiday next week I won't get to even speak to him for 2 weeks :-(

In all other ways we have an excellent partnership with lots of fun, love, laughter. He does just as much as me in the home. My kids love him and our life when he is with is is good. It's just this is becoming a big barrier between us.

We have spoken about it and he keeps saying he is sorry and sorry for hurting me it's just he is scared of his ex and what she keeps threatening :-(

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 20-Jul-13 13:43:02

"My partner has been telling me for months now that he is working on it trying to sort it but it still hasn't happened."

Then he's making promises that he's not keeping .... 'deceit' putting it bluntly .... and that's not a good character trait in anyone. Appreciate that he probably feels guilty and maybe doesn't know what to do for the best but he has to locate the courage of his convictions and, if you're important to him, be assertive. Otherwise you can add 'cowardly' to the poor character traits.

Don't be frightened to tell him enough's enough. Time to get rid of that fence-shaped dent in his arse, I think. hmm

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 13:58:02

Cogito - I have read a lot of your comments on other threads and you always speak words of wisdom and make me laugh too !!!
My partner and I are very similar in a lot of ways especially with the fact that it both took us far too long to escape unhappy marriages to partners who ruled us both in so many ways.
I suppose that is the baggage we both live with now and carry around like a lead weight.
Both lack conviction to stand up for ourselves. Both are people pleasers and do anything to keep the peace. Neither of us like confrontation.
He fears losing his boys and fears what she will do to ruin their relationship. I fear pushing him away and making him choose between his children and our lives together.
I will never issue that ultimation. Children come first. I just want to try and help him "man up" and just tell the boys about us. I just want him to "man up" and deal with his ex who still very much controls him in so many ways!!!!
I just don't know how to do it :-(

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 20-Jul-13 14:28:21

It's tricky, I'll grant you. All I know for sure is that 'man up' won't work while he's more frightened of her than he is of you.

Twinklestein Sat 20-Jul-13 15:01:24

He may be worried that she might restrict his access if he doesn't play along.

Unfortunately there are women who 'punish' their ex husbands this way...

I've never been divorced myself but I've seen two good male friends get very shitty divorce deals from angry ex wives (one of latter had cheated on her husband several times).

stepmooster Sat 20-Jul-13 15:15:01

I think before you do blend your families, the pair of you have some open and potentially difficult conversations about how this blending will work.

It may be that the children will just hate you and your children because daddy is being shared, and maybe with a difficult ex this could be made worse. So you need to be prepared for that.

Your DP may want to disney dad his children, I.e. Not punish them for bad behaviour and go out of his way to make them feel like little princes/princesses. It is a very common problem where non-residents dads just want to be fun dads and then they expect their partners to be bad cop and do all the proper parenting.

Maybe you've already had this discussion but sometimes knowing what difficulties potentially lie ahead can stop things before they start.

Blending will never work either, if your DP continues to bow down to every demand of his ex, and trust me they can become very demanding and strange. He has every right to a new life but its up to him to stand up for himself and tell his ex 'no' a few times.
Good luck!

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 17:02:46

Stepmooster you make some valid comments.......
He is no Disney dad which is good and does a lot of the running around/discipline/homework/dentist trips etc which is good.
however he is worried boys will resent him being with me and not their mother and may well resent him living with my children. he then is worried about them being nasty to me and my kids :-(
and yes I feel threatened by his ex-wife who very much still pulls his strings. He allows her too as that was the sad pattern of their lifes together and also he allows her too to avoid her wrath and to avoid the risk of her not allowing him to see the boys.
basically it is all a mess and one that is really getting me down. he is having a BBQ right now with the boys and our joint friends and his family who just keep quiet around the boys and dont mention US..............I am not there - just sitting typing and feeling frustrated and trapped and do not want to end up bitter and twisted lol

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 20-Jul-13 17:13:10

I'm worried that you're still in the mindset that you have to fight to keep things together, you don't deserve happiness, and that your needs are not high enough priority. This man may not be a bully in his own right but I'm struck you have escaped from a bad marriage only to be bullied indirectly by his exW. I don't see how that is an improvement. Nice though he is, perhaps he is not the one you should be with if - albeit unintentionally - the 'package' he represents doesn't make you happy?

I do think you have to stand up for yourself, risk some confrontation, risk some bad feeling but just assert yourself. At least then you'd be living rather than just waiting

Twinklestein Sat 20-Jul-13 17:35:02

Surely once the divorce is through & the access terms are set, he'll be able to relax? She could still cause difficulties even then, but the law would be on his side...

One male friend of mine was cheated on multiple times by his wife & when he finally filed for divorce she was so furious that she managed to get the house, the children, the car, the dog & £100,000 a year & he gets his children one weekend a month.

Another male friend who was walked out on by his model wife as he couldn't afford boarding school for all 3 children and 2 4x4s and 3 holidays a year. Her parents told her she could get better & to screw him for everything, so she did. Despite never having taken much interest in the children previously... They now spend a lot of time with nannies while she 'networks'.

Equally, I know women who've had really disadvantageous settlements from arsehole ex husbands.

My point is: your partner's fears may be justified, and it may be a question of placating his wife until his rights are set. It may be less lack of positive commitment to you, and more fear of what his wife may be capable of.

Also I think he's right that his boys may resent him being with you & thus be difficult, all the more so if his wife is being poisonous about him. But it's up to him to make sure that his boys behave in your house

Finally, some women do find the fact of their children spending time with another woman very painful, even if they were up for the divorce. She will get over it eventually...

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 17:46:46

Once again you are all right and I know that!!

She is very bitter and blames me for their marriage breakdown.

I can understand that as we got together 6 months after he left her.

No-one here knows me but I can assure you that despite knowing him for many many years there was absolutely nothing going on between us apart from friendship before hand.

However she does not believe that and is currently trying to fleece him for every penny.

She does not know we live together!!!

She knows that we are together but not that we love together.

He told her about us as soon as we got together as he does not lie. However due to her dominant personality and her constant threats about access to the boys he has kept our full position from her!!

Shit I know - but that is where I feel trapped.

Part of me wants to say just go - just leave until all this is sorted. But then I feel I will be doing just what she has done all his married life. Telling him what to do. I do not want him to feel that I am making him choose me or his boys!!

I want the full package - him and then his children to stay here when he has them. I want to be part of his life completely and not just for him to be part of my life if that makes sense???

Am I being unreasonable here ??

Please tell me if I am???

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 17:48:00

Oops that should read "live together"

Not "love together" lol .......

laeiou Sat 20-Jul-13 18:34:13

I think that allowing him free access to your children's home is a mistake. You talk of leaving your marriages in terms of showing the children that it's not right to remain in loveless marriages. What about having a secretive semi-step dad who has children who may at some point, come and live in your house, but none of you can meet them? Is that better? Honestly I think the whole thing is arse over elbow. Go back to dating this guy and don't move in together until his family situation and contact is sorted out.

laeiou Sat 20-Jul-13 18:39:03

* should say go back to dating .... and your own children are happy to have the dad and his boys staying in their house.

agree with laeiou - you are letting him stay in your home and be in your children's lives and homes WITHOUT him having actually committed to you and your children in kind by allowing you into his life. that's not only unfair on you but i think unwisely unfair on your children. they are getting attached to and thinking intimately of a man who isn't doing the same in kind in reality. that's not fair.

either he moves in with you or he doesn't. he doesn't secretly stay at your house whenever he hasn't got the kids then go home.

incidentally is he paying half of your rent/mortgage as well paying his own?

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 18:53:23

Again all good points thank you :-)

Yes he is paying half of the rent here and half bills and food etc.

Also paying bills and rent in his house

Also paying mortgage and huge amount of maintenance to ex who doesn't work.

I work full time and I must say that the money issue in terms of what he pays her pisses me off too!!!

She has never worked since kids and has no intention of doing so!!!

My ex pays next to nothing for my kids and sees the very rarely ..........

You are all right and I know it.

He is not doing this intentionally I know - but you are right he needs to move back into his rented house and we need to go back to dating.

That way I won't feel like I'm making him choose between kids or me as I would never ever do that.

However for whatever reason he still hasn't "manned up" and yes I don't like it.

Me thinks I've compromised enough!!!

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 19:57:37

Me again - home alone lol as my kids all on sleepovers and me banished to hell!!!

So question - how long is long enough to wait b4 you are introduced to a new partners kids??

How long b4 you expect your partner to tell his kids about you??

Can you tell this is eating me up??

Possibly baggage from my previous physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually abused marriage clouding my mind ....

BUT when when when ......

It's been a year -surely that's long enough??? ???

Twinklestein Sat 20-Jul-13 21:29:11

Great advice from laioeu & swallowed.

It's different in every situation.

In this situation, once his kids know, they will tell their mum, she will kick off & what will the consequences be...?

I think he needs to have his divorce through before you meet them.

That's crap in terms of your relationship I know, but the possible outcome of her going ape-shit, restricting access & trying to turn her kids against their dad - it's too disastrous.

That's my take on it anyway...

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 21:41:03

Yes twinkelstien that's wot u think but his divorce will take ages literally. She won't do mediation so now trying co-lab.
Doubt that will work either as she wants half his business!!
So probably will go to court.

That took a friend of mine 2 years plus so wot do I do in the meantime???

She uses their children as a weapon :-(

He loves his boys not her but she calls the shots!!

I just do not know what to do as my heart tells me one thing and my heart the other !!!

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 21:43:03

God crap typing on my phone as I meant that's what "I think" saying what "you" think makes me seem blasé and arrogant and that is not what I meant to type!!

Twinklestein Sat 20-Jul-13 21:48:11

Oh I see I thought it would further along. I have no idea what I would do in that case...

If it's going to take that long, you may as well take the bull by the horns now... or rather your partner...

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 22:04:32

Twinkelstien what do you mean?

What do u think I should do??

laeiou Sat 20-Jul-13 22:17:04

Ok so none of us get butterflies about this guy (and it sounds like you do) so we're less invested in this relationship.

I suggest while the relationship is secret-
He lives in his own house
No sleepovers at yours
You can stay at his (without any children there)
He doesn't see much of your children

Once his boys know about you, I'd have their overnights at their dad's house until all DC are happy with them staying at yours.

I expect you're reading this thinking "no! that'll be years away"

Also , if access were blocked, can he not sort access independently of the divorce?

8isgood Sat 20-Jul-13 22:27:15

Yes once again I agree. We have discussed this.
But he would do anything not to drag his kids into court.

It's not about the money it would cost him. It's about his boys.

He is scared of losing them and causing them any more pain.

I've known him a long time. He is the most decent, honest,loving, caring, hardworking man. I get that none if you know him but I do. He is not someone I've just met. I do not have rose-tinted glasses on.

He just wants to have his boys and me and my guys in his life.

I am just so messed up with my baggage and his that I really don't know what to do.

For the both of us we know our kids come first but at what price???

allaflutter Sat 20-Jul-13 23:07:04

I don't understand why would he lose his boys - surely they are grown up enough to WANT to see him, and that they love him, so if their mother wouldn't allow access, they'd kick up a fuss? I think she's bluffing re access.

Twinklestein Sat 20-Jul-13 23:32:44

He's been separated for a year and a half already (that's why I thought the process would be further along), wouldn't it be easier for just to accept he's going to have to go to court & get it over with?

I totally get that he wants to protect his kids, but their lives & yours are all in limbo until the divorce is settled.

I agree you can't wait another 2 years to meet his kids.

When I said you might as well take the bull by the horns I just meant - you can't wait 2 more years to meet his kids, & if it's going to have to be done before the access terms are set, it doesn't make that much difference when it's done.

I agree with laeiou, I definitely don't think he should be living with you in the circumstances & I think her boundaries are excellent.

I have a friend who went through something similar, she has 3 girls & her now husband had 3 kids of his own. Her ex & his ex were nightmares about the divorce (her ex was abusive) - it took a long time of waiting, but now they're married & happy. I hope that gives you hope!

Kaluki Sun 21-Jul-13 00:24:19

If he's letting his ex wife rule his life now he will let her forever and she will end up controlling your life too.
I'd find it hard to respect a man like that - Fair enough he doesn't want to lose his kids but he should grow a backbone and fight his corner for both of your sakes.
I agree with cogito.

savemefromrickets Sun 21-Jul-13 05:05:28

You could try seeing a Relate family counsellor with your DP to talk though the situation and how to progress it.

I feel for you. My DP has always been controlled by his ex who is a genius at emotional manipulation and has been known to withhold access by disappearing for a few days, but even he stood up for himself, despite her threats, and I meet his kids about six months, when he met my boy. They also stay over at mine regularly but it took three years to reach that stage!

His children know their mum hates me - she's screamed at me in the street in front of them - but they still want to see me/DS every weekend. It hasn't - god knows how - affected our relationship. I think they know that the situation makes everyone sad and I try to make it easier for them by being very pleasant whenever they talk about their mum. I never, ever criticise her in front of them and never will and DP does the same.

PM me if you want to chat further, as there are details which I wouldn't want to share on a public forum!

this is what i think needs to happen. he needs to introduce you to his boys. not in 'i'm living with this woman' bombshell way but in a casual normal way. next time he has them you arrange to bump into each other somewhere and he says this is my friend so and so. then you do things together now and then when he has the kids, let them get used to you and the idea that you two are dating. yes they'll tell their mum but realistically what can she do about him dating? they're not tiny kids - they will have a say in whether they see their dad and whether they think their mum is being unreasonable and she surely won't want to look like a bitch to her children?

the only problem with all this is that your children already know him and are attached to him and know he's been staying at your house so his kids are going to find out this has been going on for ages and it's been kept secret from them and their dad has been living another family life without them and that is going to hurt and be scary. he has really screwed up basically by going about it this way. he may think he's protecting them/doing it for them etc but this secret keep is going to be hurtful for them and damage their trust in him. the longer he lets it go on the worse that will be. i think you may need to present that reality to him.

newbiefrugalgal Sun 21-Jul-13 11:55:54

What a nightmare OP. I think if you give it a bit more time it will all come together.
My thoughts are waiting until the divorce is done, once that is out of the way you can blend your families.
Surely in this day and age he wouldn't lose the boys, if he has a history of the hands on dad he is wouldn't all of that be taken into account? Make sure he keeps evidence of all of this too.
Maybe the ex will eventually calm down.

8isgood Sun 21-Jul-13 12:48:01

Hi thank you for your replies - I totally agree with all your comments.

I am going to use this time when he is away to get my head straight and actually grow a backbone myself!!

It's awful when you get into your 40's and have both lived a life of fear of your partner. You lose that skill of communication as it always ends up in a fight. You basically withdraw into yourself and keep your feelings to youself for fear of the result of letting them be known.

I think that is a big part of what is going on here.
We are both trying to please. I am trying not to put pressure on him. He is trying to keep the peace for fear of losing his boys.

The end result is a twisted spider web of lies and deceit that grows thicker every day.

I can see that if he doesn't address this urgently then the damage to all 6 of our children and to our relationship could become irreparable :-(

antimatter Sun 21-Jul-13 13:45:37

how would he loose his sons?

surely - once divorce is over he can arrange to see his kids through the courts

also - you weren't a fly on the wall so don't know exactly what it was like
it must have suited him his ex not working etc so that argument is not really valid
he walked out on her - so she is upset

I think what others said - you should go back to being not live-in partners so that he has space to sort himself out

Good time to start when he is 2 weeks away.

BTW - stupid argument that he can't call you in those 2 weeks!
is he going to be welded to his kids so he can't have 10 min in private????

I think there's more going on you don't know and he is just using feeble excuses not to put things right.

Viking1 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:14:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

8isgood Sun 21-Jul-13 22:54:25

I know my partner really well as have known him as a friend for twenty years before we got together so I know I am not being naive here.
It is purely his fear of losing his boys that is preventing me and my guys integrating in his world. He is intigrated in my world and my kids love him and love him living with us.
But I have made the decision that he will have to stay in his rented house until this is sorted.
Maybe that time alone will give him the space he needs to gain the strength to face up to his ex.
I do know what she is like and how much she controlled him as she is one of my sisters close friends. I think that connection is the main reason that she does not want me involved in the boys lives.
She has told my sister that she is happier now, that she does not love him and hasn't done for a while. She said that she was only with him for the money, nice house and nothing else. She had said that she doesn't care who he is with but not me as "it's too close to home"......
So in answer to those of you who feel that he is hiding something and indeed doesn't want to move things on then I can tell you that is not the case.
She is bitter, angry and as they say "hell has no fury like a woman scorned" :-(

trouble is that THIS is what will lose his boys trust and respect. having a new girlfriend wouldn't i believe - knowing your dad has snuck around for a year or more, lying, hiding, building a relationship with other children would break your trust and confidence in him.

Notagaindamnit Mon 22-Jul-13 08:58:42

Have to agree with the trust issue raised here.
Exw a bit deranged in general, but had no problem with me as the person who would spend time with her dc.
Dsd, however, was very angry with her dad for not telling dc that he was in a serious relationship. She was angry with him about a lot of issues which has thankfully stopped now, but that was a specific point she made (she was 12 at the time and felt cheated I think, because she and her brother were particularly close to their dad, just like you say dp is close to his kids).
Your partner should come clean ASAP.
Btw, 8, you sound a lot like me when I set up home with dh.
I weigh up the pros and cons of staying in this relationship daily (issues with dh, dsc, etc.) but the best I got out of this was that my confidence and courage have increased 10 fold! I find I can deal with a lot of problems at work, neighbours, etc a lot better and have taken to battling with dh on misogyny and other misdemeanors (he was also a coward re exw).
Good luck finding your inner strength and courage!

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