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Need advice re: stbxh introducing new partner to children, who is also the OW

(41 Posts)
TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 06:51:10

I've NCd for this, I've recently directed someone else here and this would make me identifiable.

We have 2 children: 15 and 7. He wants the children to meet her. Now DS has met her very briefly and after doing so said "Well she seemed like a nice young lady".

Stbxh was overjoyed and told me that it was wonderful that DS had like her and waxed lyrical about how well they'd got on. I thought it an odd turn of phrase for a teenage boy to use about a woman in her 30s.

I was right. DS said he had been polite for his dad's sake and that there had been nothing 'wrong' with her, as such, but because of the way they got together, he has no respect for her at all. He doesn't want to see her.

Yesterday I had an email from him saying that he wants her to start being involved in their lives. They don't live together.

He is just being an absolute idiot. His reasons for the children needing to meet her are:

They will like to see him happy and in love because "it's good for children to see their parents are happy and in a loving relationship"

There is always an intrinsic benefit to meeting new people.

She has CRB clearance.

It will be good for them to have fun with someone else and have someone else to take family photos with.

I said to him that it might be meeting his needs to have the children meet her, but it isn't meeting theirs. DS doesn't want to have anything to do with her, but he is accusing me of criticising the OW to him. I haven't. DS is 15 and capable of making up his own mind! However, he's wary about telling his dad he doesn't want to see her because if he rejects one of his dad's suggestions of this nature then his dad just sits there in silence looking glum until DS feels guilty and says something along the lines of: "well um, I mean, I suppose it won't be that bad..." and then his dad perks up. I've been there and seen it for myself. It's all about him.

He had a breakdown after the impact of his affair, and spent the whole email saying "I'm depressed, you know how difficult things are for me, don't make this harder by standing in the way of my happiness" and issuing thinly veiled threats as to what he could do if I refused. And "I'm having 16 sessions of NHS funded CBT to help me deal with how I feel. That's the maximum they offer and they only give that if they think you are at risk..."

To me this suggests that he's not in the best place to be making big decisions anyway.

I work with children who've been damaged by just this sort of situation. But he refuses to consider that it might be anything other than "really lovely" for the children. and is convinced that seeing him happy and in love will offset any upset they might initially feel.

Is there anything I can say to make him see it from their perspective?

beachavendrea Thu 03-Oct-13 07:00:46

This makes me mad just reading it! This is exactly how my dad behaved with his girlfriends. Good for you for standing up for your children my mum never got involved.
It's really tricky but I would say something like I've discussed it with the kids and they don't feel comfortable meeting the ow yet. They are still very upset about our break up. Could we re-assess the situation in 6 months time. I will discuss it with them again and let you know their feelings. I would make it clear that this is the end of and there is no further discussion. Sometimes this works with my dad sometimes it doesn't but I know I have to be very firm when dealing with him or the manipulation starts and I'm 37 and I find it difficult to deal with as a 15 year old it was impossible.

calmingtea Thu 03-Oct-13 07:06:31

Sounds like it is all too soon, although you haven't said whether his new relationship is 2 weeks or 2 years on. I think that does make a difference.

To be honest, it sounds like your ex is going through a selfish stage and I would rather spend time reassuring the children and enforcing (without being negative about your ex or ow) that the boys are allowed to make decisions and that they are important. And that it is ok for them to have some control over the situation. But I do think that it is not ok for you to influence them, even if you think it is for the best, just empower them so they can deal themselves with the situation in a way which is comfortable for them. Your ex's behaviour is likely to bite him in the proverbial at some point regarding his relationship with his 15 year old.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 07:08:14

Hi Beach thanks for your reply.

Sadly, we've already had that conversation which is why he's waited until now (about 5 months) before insisting on it. He had an affair with her, they then split up when he had his breakdown and got back together about 5 months ago.

I've tried the "they are still upset" but this is where he thinks that seeing him happy with someone else will make it all ok. He thinks that him being happy with help them to get over the upset of our breakup hmm

He also keeps focussing on how she is not a risky adult and so doesn't pose a risk of any kind to the children, so she can only be good for them.

I don't feel like I really am sticking up for them though. I can't stop it from happening because they are his children too and he can do whatever he likes with them when it is his time with them.

He remains very calm and just keeps saying "I'm not your parents, I'm determined not to damage the children, you can't control me or what I do"

He doesn't see that I don't care what he does, but I do care if it's going to affect the children.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 07:11:20

That's the thing calming I don't want to influence them.

I don't have an issue with them meeting another woman, there's just something about the way he's trying to do it now which is making me uncomfortable.

The fact it's about making him happy, the fact he refuses to acknowledge that the children might not be happy about it.

I'm not sure if the youngest is too young to really understand anyway, but the eldest is quite definite. I've told him he doesn't need to avoid her to protect my feelings and that if he wants to meet her he can, and that he's allowed to like her, but he's not interested.

meditrina Thu 03-Oct-13 07:14:29

Although I agree totally with your thoughts and feelings about this, the bottom line is that you can't stop XH from introducing his DC to whoever he wants.

I doubt there is anything you can say that will persuade him to do anything other than what he decided.

The only thing you can do, horrible as it is, is stand well clear. Do not get drawn into discussing XH's new GF. If DC ask if they have to see her, you have to tell them it's not up to you and they need to discuss it with their father. (You can hope, but not say out loud, that they point out how little they like it in the extremely uncompromising terms common to thwarted teens).

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 07:28:32

I know meditrina sad

I suppose I just find it frustrating that he keeps telling me that the children are his priority, that he wouldn't do anything to unsettle them, that he just wants them to have a good relationship with him... and then he pushes for something because it's what he wants and not what the children want.

They are discussing it at the moment. Oldest is adamant he doesn't want to meet her; normally very vocal youngest has said nothing and is just shrugging shoulders and looking at the floor.

I don't think he'd reconsider even if he saw them like this.

sad

AnyFucker Thu 03-Oct-13 07:31:10

Your STBex sounds like he has the emotional intelligence of a dead haddock.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 07:37:33

I shall carry that one with me today AF! grin

The problem is, he thinks he is highly emotionally intelligent, when in fact, he is just very emotional.

I just wish he'd discuss this with his therapist or his mum, or anyone other than me or her, who might just tell him to hold back for a little while.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 07:38:54

He just can't see that children's needs trump parent's wants. And that they aren't the same thing.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 07:40:06

Why are so many men like this?

These boards are full of women like me with similar concerns.

Why can't the men ever just see it?!

Hissy Thu 03-Oct-13 07:44:33

He's still manipulating you, and the children.

Tell him in the absence of HIS sound mind.. seeing as he's such a serious counselling case hmm, that YOU will listen to the children and if they don't want to meet her, and he's making it all or nothing, that you'll allow the kids to stay home.

A real dad would understand that kids don't deal with issues on their parent's timetable. If he pushes a 15yo, that 15yo can and very will tell his dad to FTFO and he'll leave him to it. The younger one would just follow his bigger brother.

Tell your ex to come back when he's thought about someone else instead of himself, that you recognise that he's never done it, so it'll be a tough ask.

Tell him it's down to him, but you won't hold your breath.

Put it this way, I wouldn't want my child associating with the kind of twat that'd cheat Lie, betray his family, just for a leg over/ego massage.

He's not good enough an example for a young man(men) to learn from.

mumsforjustice Thu 03-Oct-13 07:50:29

You might like to post in lone parents or stepparents where there are lots of threads on this from all sides.
I fear for your kids here especially as parental conflict is what damages children in divorce. So don't get drawn in to critising exh or ow, expressing your views etc as it just be so damaging for your dc. Sounds like you are trying, so good for you.
Is there someelse who could speak with exh? He sounds in a fragile state. His mum sounds like a good choice if they get on well. But what a partner does post divorce is really out of your control and his decision. ultimately you need to accept that.

theboutiquemummy Thu 03-Oct-13 07:51:37

Meditrina hit the nail on the head you can't stop this from happening instead empower your sons to be resistant to his manipulations but also be aware that they are still teenagers caught in the cross hairs of this situation that in its self must be awful

Just be ready to support your sons should it all go wrong

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 07:56:15

Hi mums

Ex and I generally get on well - we make parenting decisions jointly and I don't keep anything from him or have smug "hm, well if you'd hadn't done what you did you'd have been here..." type moments.

It really is his fragile state that's concerning me. I said to him yesterday that I just wanted to be sure that he's making the same decisions now that he'd be making if he wasn't in this state.

I wouldn't criticise either of them. I'll stick to the facts. I've told the oldest that it's up to him and that he doesn't need to worry bout protecting me, but he's not interested.

I completely get that it's up to him what he does, it's just frustrating that he keeps saying the children are his focus and doing what is right by them is his priority... except when it suits him to do otherwise.

heidiwine Thu 03-Oct-13 08:40:54

There are two things you can't control:
1) what he does (introduce OW to children)
2) what he says (that he's doing it for the children)

The best thing you can do is support your children. In my experience (as a step parent (not OW) and as a child of divorced parents) the worst thing you can do is let the children know that you're not happy about it...and this includes your behaviour, not just the words you use.

I would say:
Encourage the children to meet the woman and then they can decide what to do. As painful as it is for you she might be good for the children and a stabilising influence... You'll never know this until the kids have met we a couple of times. I know that this will crush your spirit but don't show the kids. They need to believe in their dad (and find out for themselves if he's a dick).

Don't ask too many questions of the children but always listen to anything they say about visits etc if they're unhappy they'll tell you as long as they don't feel you're prying (or secretly pleased that it's ended up the way you said it would).

I don't mean to sound harsh here but the concerning thing for your children is not whether or not they meet the OW but whether or not your ex is 'at risk' and if so whether that impacts his ability to care for your children.

On a personal note, I didn't meet my DP's children until we had been in a relationship for over a year. At times during that year DP was severely depressed and at times that hampered his ability to be the dad he needed to be (but he couldn't see that). Having me around would actually have improved things for the kids during those difficult few months.

I really don't mean to offend and wish you all the best for dealing with the situation you're in.

Changednameforthistoday Thu 03-Oct-13 10:35:45

I know this probably goes against what people think is right but tbh, if the OW was instrumental in breaking up the family home then she didn't have your DC's best interests at heart, just like your stbexH. Why should they get to chose the timings. They don't deserve that right. For me, it goes against the grain. It is completely different meeting a new partner that got with stbexH after the split than the affair OW.

Changednameforthistoday Thu 03-Oct-13 10:38:30

ALso, they broke up, then got back together. He should wait until he know the relationship is stable before introducing DC's.

lunar1 Thu 03-Oct-13 10:48:13

Not helpful I know but the comment about having someone else to take family photos with would have me ready to throw him in the bonfire.

In what way does he think an OW is family to your children!

Anniegetyourgun Thu 03-Oct-13 11:01:11

Excuse the tangent but... what the fuck has a CRB check got to do with anything? You never suspected her of being an axe murderer. You just said the children don't feel ready to play happy families with their dad and the woman he left their mum for . Adultery isn't a crime, but that doesn't mean it causes no emotional fallout.

Your ex seems to have some difficulty at the moment in seeing his children as independent sentient beings who might possibly have different views to himself. If he is in a genuinely fragile state it may be that he has to hold onto the belief that he is doing the right thing, because he can't deal with the possibility that he isn't. Understandable maybe; but no easier on the children, at this point, if he's behaving like a selfish fuckwit rather than actually being one.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 12:57:27

Hi I only have 5 mins so I'm going to be quick!

Annie the CRB is, I think, because it 'proves' she isn't a bad person - in his head. I should be satisfied that she will act in their best interests because she's never been convicted on an offence that suggests otherwise.

lunar we have no family. My children have me, my brother and his wife and child, we lost both of my parents last year. They were both only children so no aunts/uncles/cousins on my side. I think he's having a little dig at me by suggesting they 'need' her.

changed that's my overriding feeling.

heidi that's really good to read and I get what you mean about her possibly being a positive influence in that respect. If that is the case, then that would be great. Unfortunately we had a bit of an issue at the start of this week when he emailed to tell me she would be attending the same social activity/hobby/group that I go to hmm. She couldn't see why she shouldn't go or why it might not be appropriate for her to go. Apparently they had a 'huge row' because even he could see that wasn't entirely appropriate and told her not to go. She was defiant. She didn't go in the end, but it was only after a 'long discussion' that she agreed to not go at all (and take several of her friends with her)

So she's clearly not a particularly nice person...

FrancescaBell Thu 03-Oct-13 13:34:50

Lordy, this man sounds like a whiny-arsed, self-absorbed twunt...

I don't think adults always understand how differently kids feel when their parents' marriage has broken up because of an affair. I also think some adults attribute very adult emotions like altruism to children, when fact is most kids are selfish and put their own happiness and comfort first. That's normal isn't it?

So any buffoon who thinks a 15 year old and a 7 year old are altruistic enough to want to spend time with people they don't actively like because of the warm glow of seeing dad happy, needs his head testing.

To be honest, it doesn't matter what your ex thinks, or what his new partner thinks. They'd probably accuse you of being the bitter, vengeful ex-wife what ever you did or said.

Your priority is your children and you.

As others have said, you can't control who the children meet when he's with them, but you do need to support your children's rights to spend their time as they wish and for them not to be manipulated or pressurised into situations that make them uncomfortable or unhappy.

So maybe try an 'all-bases-covered' approach where you try to reason with your ex and at the same time, support the kids in telling their dad what they want to do and who they want to spend time with, when they see him?

IME, most kids want the NRP to themselves in the early months or years. They certainly don't want to see Love's Young dream being enacted before their eyes.

MsBlouseyBrown Thu 03-Oct-13 15:46:39

grin at the CRB comment. I have an enhanced CRB, so can I take your children away for a weeks holiday, op. I mean, it will surely be beneficial for them, no? He is bonkers.

I hope your dc do what my ds does and dig their heels in. They shouldn't be cajoled into doing something they don't want to. Your ex is being very selfish.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 17:34:32

That's the thing, FB, he can't see that the children won't want to see him all loved up with someone else.

I really think he thinks the children will forgive and forget the angst and heartbreak he has caused if they see him in love with someone else. Like they will think that it must have been worth it.

The other thing that he keeps saying that grates is that they have no intentions of pushing me out or trying to replace me with the OW. "You will always be their mother" he reassuringly told me... hmm

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 17:34:43

He is a dick, isn't he?!

temporarilyjerry Thu 03-Oct-13 19:09:57

Your STBex sounds like he has the emotional intelligence of a dead haddock.

^^ this

He's not good enough an example for a young man(men) to learn from.

^^ and this

He is a dick, isn't he?!

^^ and this

Hissy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:17:41

I think if this guy trots out the fecking CRB again, calmly point out that Jimmy Bastard Savile would have passed/had a CRB cert, as would Harold Fecking Shipman.

Not having a CRB is no indication that someone is a bad/morally bankrupt/deceptive cow, but fucking a married man sure is!

Hissy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:24:53

My dad cheated on my mum, 18m.

She Always was a bitch to his kids, and he let her be.

I have no contact with any of them, and it's been 20 years. Would/do I forgive him?

No. Nothing he ever could do makes up for what he did, and continues to do by letting her be a bitch.

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 19:26:00

Why don't you tell him that it's not "all about him" and that, frankly, none of you gives a flying fuck whether he's happy, settled and 'in love.'

Oh, and what hissy said about CRB checks.

Wanker.

Hissy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:26:22

She being the OW.

I'll not ever introduce her to my DS, because she's just not good enough a person for him to know.

I want him to meet good people, not ones who treat me like shit and show him that they think that's acceptable.

tessa6 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:28:18

At least six months is a good guideline. I'm sorry you are so hurt and he is so seemingly uninterested in your pain and their well-being.

I think you might have to accept at some point that your children are going to be totally aware of how hurt and angry you are and were about his deception and break up, and want to portray themselves as loyal to you.

The greatest pain I have observed in a child was in my sister's stepdaughter, who would come over to hers at the weekend to be with her dad, my sister and her kids. She would have a good time, as a young child, and then return to her mother to say she hated it and hated having to spend time with them. She knew she wanted to be on her mother's 'side' in all this, and she thought the greatest pain would be if her mum felt they had built a new family without her.

The split she had to enact psychologically, trying to keep everyone happy was way too much responsiblity for her. And I don't think you can discount an element of something similar here. Of course they are going to feel that way about OW, but they are going to feel that way partly because of the way that you feel.

I would suggest asking politely to put it off for another month or too. but since that does not seem to be an option, and you have no control over it, the real horrible truth is that the best thing you could do for your children, is to be or fake happiness and nonchalance regarding the new situation so that they do not need to feel they have to present a certain truth to you, or feel guilty and shamed if on occasion they do have a good time. Neither you nor your ex will get the full truth from them. Only their friends and siblings probably truly know what they feel, and that may change. It is a credit to you as a mother that they can talk to you anyway about it and that they want to stand up for you and take your feelings into account.

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 19:54:07

I'll not ever introduce her to my DS, because she's just not good enough a person for him to know.

I want him to meet good people, not ones who treat me like shit and show him that they think that's acceptable.

I think that sums up how I feel, tbh. It's not that I never want them to meet a new girlfriend, but how can anyone who has shown such little regard for them and their family possibly have anything positive to offer to them.

She doesn't deserve to sit in the same room or breathe the same air as them, frankly!

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 19:55:07

I would ask to put it off for another month or two, but the original date suggested was an event he wanted them all to attend at the end of November.

He's now saying that's too far away and the beginning of October is quite long enough sad

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 20:38:22

Oh and I did tell him that the children didn't need to see him happy and in love. He told me he understood that I'd feel threatened by this.

No. Talking. To. Him.

Albert27 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:55:05

I've not read all the posts - sorry iPhone on train home. Can you sit down together to discuss it so your DCs don't feel they have to please him and say what he wants to hear.

He sounds like a selfish teenager. And the OW should recognise she can only be part if their life when they are ready!!

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 21:30:58

Sadly Albert the position we are in now is the one we have arrived at through discussing it together!

He wanted to introduce her straight away!

TroublesomeEx Thu 03-Oct-13 21:52:15

But yes, I've said I think we should sit there together so that they children can see we are presenting a united front, but it's also so I can make sure that if the children say they want to meet her it's because they really said it, and not because he emotionally blackmailed them into it!

redundantandbitter Thu 03-Oct-13 22:20:14

Least he is discussing it with you... My DCs came home one Sunday saying they had met their DDs girlfriend (complicated setup - we were seperated but still living together) .. I had asked him to Wait a bit longer but was ignored...Would have been nice NOT to have heard it from the dcs first.., but I have said that line before about other things... Expect I will say it again ...my DP waited AGES (years) before I met his DCs on his EXWs say so... All fine by me. They didn't need me in their life... Just their DD. we certainly didn't do LOVED UP in front of them. Just sad that my DCs really enjoyed my DPs company and now he's upped and left. I said I would miss his DDs .. He never me mentioned mine. Thanks! Personally my DCS like their StepM but their father is their focus . It must be hard on your DCs ... Your DS sounds nice and sensible

sugarandspite Thu 03-Oct-13 22:38:29

Ahem OP - possible name change fail?

Think MN can sort it out for you if you report your post and explain.

Stepmooster Fri 04-Oct-13 00:14:11

OP, my DH had to cope with his ex having an affair, having to move out of his home (because all his ex's kids weren't his and he knew they all had to live together with mum) and be replaced next day by the OM. His boy was 7. He didn't get a choice and it stung like fuck for him. Completely unfair to his boy, DH would subconciously and probably not so subconciously pass on to his son how he felt about OM. He was banned from mentioning him. So not only did DSS have to cope with upheaval of situation, he also now had to consider dads feelings whilst trying to process his own.

Now some years later DH has moved on, apologised to DSS, told him its ok to like and even love OM his now stepdad and mums new husband.

DH never expected his ex's relationship to last, because most affairs rarely do, so his conduct in the beginning was not as it should have been.

If your ex and his OW do marry then she could be in your children's life for an awful long time.

You have a choice, try and encourage your children not to pick sides because of the affair and hopefully your dim ex realises his mistakes and improves his parenting and remains a permanent part of your children's life.

If your ex doesn't listen to his kids, or help them adapt to the relationship in their own time with your full support, then he only has himself to blame. And that's important, because he's not blaming you to your children and they won't be taking in those messages either.

frogslegs35 Fri 04-Oct-13 07:15:38

He is a selfish delusional dickhead!

*"it's good for children to see their parents are happy and in a loving relationship"*
Maybe so but under healthy circumstances, NOT with a person responsible for causing their parents break up and causing their mum so much pain.

*She has CRB clearance* hmm
I wouldn't care if she'd been personally recommended by Mary feckin Poppins - she's NOT a nice person with normal morals nor does she have your DC's best interests at heart.

You've done the right thing in saying that they are 'allowed' to like her, that you won't be hurt etc.... However your eldest seems to know what he wants and if his Df keeps pushing forcing then it's his own fault if Ds decides not to see him.

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