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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?

KirstyJC Tue 14-Jan-14 07:31:52

That your ex understands that his actions broke up his family and that his DS doesn't like it. He needs to accept the situation is of his making. Presumably your exH thought this might happen when he cheated?

If they don't live together then surely they can figure out DS coming over without her being there? He may soften in time, he may not.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 07:34:12

Just to add. He does love his dad and wants to spend time with him, but last night he relayed a story to me and put on the end of it, "I know it was a lie though. This is dad, you'd hardly call him 'Honest <name>"

This was to do with something in relation to his dad's gf.

He just doesn't respect him. His dad complains to me that DS doesn't respect him. He doesn't think it's right. He doesn't get that he lost that respect and that trying to play happy families with this woman is not the way to earn his respect back.

My exh has told me that he thinks that if DS spends time with her, he'll realise what a lovely person is and understand how happy he makes her. DS will understand then why he cheated and it will all be ok.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 07:35:23

kirsty yes they do see him without her at the moment, but exh is keen to include her in their 'contact' weekends.

No, he didn't think it would happen when he cheated. He didn't think he'd get caught... hmm

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 07:36:11

Oh, and he won't accept the situation is of my making because he still maintains it was my fault he cheated in the first place. So if anyone's to blame, it's me.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 07:38:12

And my fault I found out, and my choice to kick him out. In fact, all roads for splitting up the family lead back to me!

Would grin if it wasn't so bloody ridiculous.

JeanSeberg Tue 14-Jan-14 07:39:35

Fast forward 3 years and my friemd's son (18) now won't see his dad at all because of a similar situation. Dad now remarried.

You reap what you sow.

AtrociousCircumstance Tue 14-Jan-14 07:41:17

Seems like your son has the right idea about his father. He can't be trusted.

If your ex explained it to him in a way which accepted responsibility, maybe your DS would regain respect for him or at least a little.

As it is your ex will have to deal with the very real situation that he himself created.

gamerchick Tue 14-Jan-14 07:45:06

He's 15 he can make his own mind up.

Sounds like you had a lucky escape from your ex.. what a bellend hmm

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 14-Jan-14 07:51:35

I think you have to take the lead OP. Your DS is being loyal to you by taking the attitude he does and that's quite understandable. He needs your permission to like his Dad's new DP, as it were. He needs to know that, if he spends time with them. you're OK with it.

Lweji Tue 14-Jan-14 07:58:01

The only thing I can tell you is to stay out.

Don't defend him, don't try to explain, don't mediate. Listen to your son, but try to keep your opinions to yourself.

Your ex should be the one talking to your son and if he digs himself into a hole, it's his problem.

I know it's not so easy smile, but do try to stay out.

Drasticpark Tue 14-Jan-14 08:01:58

Folkgirl, I'm in the same position. My ds age 12 refuses to have OW's name mentioned let alone meet her. He unknowingly witnessed the affair as his dad would take him on play dates with OW and her dd. We even went on holiday together (with her H aswell). It was very fucked up.

XP rents a grotty flat and has ds there 3 nights a week. He spends the remainder of his time with OW. He's had this double life for 3 years. Very odd. But thankfully it's not my problem. Your ex has a cheek expecting you to try and sort this out for him. Your ds will make his own mind up.

beachyhead Tue 14-Jan-14 08:05:47

Chances are, that if your ex persists that he won't end up seeing your ds at all. I'm not sure why he can't see that.

I agree that it's not your battle. Just support your ds and encourage him to speak his mind to his dad.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:18:32

Hi

Thanks for the replies.

yes, I think the only thing I can do is stay out. Unfortunately, I feel like I ought to try and mediate because DS isn't going to address it because he said the last time he tried to do that his dad sat looking sorrowfully at the floor for 10 mins saying nothing until DS relented. That wasn't gf related, that was about stopping overnight when DS didn't want to.

My exh won't address it because avoiding difficult conversations and not being able to hear things he doesn't like without getting cross are partly what contributed to the situation in the first place.

I have told him I'm happy for him to see them both but DS said that, with all due respect, he didn't care what I thought about it wink and that he didn't want to.

He's just come into me and mentioned it again. He said that when he sees his dad there are times when he forgets what he did and he's just 'dad' but that when she is there, and even the thought or mention of her, makes him feel very angry and he doesn't like his dad or want to be anywhere near him. He just wants to see his dad.

It's sad to hear that others have been in a similar position and the dads have pushed it to the point where the children don't want anything to do with them. I have warned exh that this could happen and he said he's prepared to give DS some time but isn't prepared to have him dictate how he lives his life or his choices as an adult.

It's hard to stay out of it though when I can see what's happening and ex can't. I didn't agree with the timing and circumstances for introducing to the children in the first place. We talked about it and I explained how the children might react, he said I didn't know what I was talking about and pressed ahead. I don't know what happened, but that was 2 months ago and this is the first time he's mentioned them meeting again. The worst thing is, the reason he wants them all to go out for the day soon is for DS's birthday!

LilyBlossom14 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:18:38

your son is 15 and is perfectly capable of making his own decisions - contact is with his father, not with the ow. Why does she need to be a part of it at all. Can't he put his own son first for a few hours?

My daughter refuses to meet the OW of my ex also - because of this her father won't see her at all. I cannot see it ever changing, my daughter is now 17 and knows her own mind.

And btw - please never ever take responsibility for what happened. Your ex was unfaithful because of his failings, none of it is your fault or responsibility. How dare he blame you.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:24:22

Just to clarify in case it looks like I've contradicted myself - DS met her very briefly in the summer when he was somewhere with his friends and she came to meet exh there.

He said then he didn't like her. Then he spent the afternoon/evening with her, his dad and DD. And he still didn't like her.

DD did.

But then DD is desperate for me to have a boyfriend, she's 7 and just likes the idea of love and romance and having "someone else to play with."

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:25:50

Thanks Lily. I know it's not my fault. Getting my ex to see this, though, means he'd have to take responsibility. Whenever I've tried to explain, he just accuses me of trying to upset him and make him feel bad!

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:30:30

I also think that he still feels guilty for what he did (well he tells me he does) and I think that having the children accept her would validate his actions and take away some of the guilt.

I personally don't think that's the children's responsibility. But what do I know?

KirstyJC Tue 14-Jan-14 08:31:15

It sounds like you have had a lucky escape getting away from your ex - FGS how on earth can he make you responsible for his actions?!?

Thankfully you seem to have an extremely sensible and mature 15yo who knows exactly what happened and who was responsible, and is now acting accordingly. You can't force him to have a relationship with her, just don't get in the way (which it sounds like you're not). Don't let your ex push him, that's not fair and will probably end up with reducing contact, which no-one wants.

If ex doesn't like it, tough. He caused the problem, he lives with the fallout.

FrontForward Tue 14-Jan-14 08:31:45

It's tricky this because I think the best situation for your son is to feel free to like this woman or tolerate her and spend time with his dad without tension.

However your exH should put his son first and keep the woman away until your son is ready.

At 15 he knows his own mind and no one should try and push or influence him because that will cause him stress.

The person at fault here is his father who betrayed his mother and broke his family up. He can't hate his father easily so he's punishing him and making a protest against the woman. Your ex should suck it up as he was at fault.

Time does heal. The ex should recognise time is needed to heal the wounds he caused

Drasticpark Tue 14-Jan-14 08:33:48

He will blame you and continue to refuse to respect your ds feelings because if he doesn't he will have to face up to what he did and that he alone is responsible. It's about how he feels about himself. He's trying to justify what he did and avoid accepting the responsibility. He wants your ds to approve to ease his own guilt.

Also, your ds may be doing what my ds does - projecting all his anger and disapproval on to the OW because it's just too painful to accept that someone you love very much is actually capable of being so deceitful.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:34:55

FrontForward That's exactly how I feel. On every count.

I think I've probably been guilty of trying to let him know I'm ok with it (I'm not) so that he doesn't feel he can't out of loyalty for me.

But perhaps the best position is to be an impartial (as possible) sounding board for him in order for him to clarify his thoughts, but then to encourage him to speak to his dad.

Which I do do, but he's resistant to it because he doesn't like the way his dad reacts. I don't want him to feel coerced in either direction.

LilyBlossom14 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:37:03

no it isn't your children's responsibility to validate his life choices. Cliche but your ex is now reaping what he has sown - it is not up to you to fix it, just to support your children in any way you can. Your ex, putting it bluntly, is no longer your problem.

Like I said to my ex, he wasn't thinking of his children when he was being unfaithful, why pretend to be father of the year now. Doesn't work like that does it.

Your ex sounds exactly like mine - can't live with the guilt of what he has done, and the pain he has caused, and expects our daughter to make it all ok by accepting him and his ow - I doubt it will ever happen. My ex cannot cope with our daughter having an opinion so refuses to see her unless it is on his terms - he just looks like an inadequate bully and my daughter just cannot be bothered any more and has no respect for him at all.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:38:29

Yes Drastic I think that's exactly what's happening.

It's so annoying.

I have been in my son's position. My exh has not. I have insight into how the children feel. My exh does not. From things he has said, I think his gf has a better insight into it (she was also the child in a similar situation) but when he tells me what she has said, it's clear he's only hearing what he wants to.

So the children are unhappy but eventually they just have to deal with it rather than the children are unhappy. Iyswim.

FolkGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 08:40:09

Yes, it does sound similar, Lily. How can these men be so emotionally inadequate that they can't see it, or accept it as a possibility.

I tried the "you weren't thinking of the children" line, but that didn't go down at all well...

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.

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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