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Separated but I have a girlfriend

(23 Posts)
Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 15:37:15

A year ago I separated from my wife and moved out. I wasn't the greatest dad as I didn't really do anything with my children, although I spent as much time with them as I could. About 6 months after I moved out I asked my 2 girls what their thoughts were if me or their mum got a boyfriend/girlfriend. They both said no because they didn't want a new stepmum/dad. After another few months I started talking with a rep from an electrical company and we got on really well. Well enough that we actually became an item. Everything was going well until I made a mistake. I told my youngest daughter that I would take her xmas shopping and would she mind if we went for a coffee with a friend of mine, my daughter seemed fine with this. After we finished at the café, I took my daughter home without going shopping as I thought I had enough to go on for her presents. My ex had taken my eldest daughter on a trip while this happened so when she got back my youngest told her what we had done. Skip to the part when they found out that I have a girlfriend and now my ex and my girls are telling me to end it with my girlfriend or they wont see or speak to me again as I'm not putting my girls first. I have assured them that nothing will come between my daughters and my girlfriend. I haven't had a real reason from my girls about why they want me to end it with my girlfriend and their answer is "because we don't want you to have one and it makes me upset". I feel like I'm being held for ransom on this............Any comments are most welcome.

OP’s posts: |
ohyesohyessyyesyes Tue 15-Jan-19 15:41:54

How old are your girls and how often do you see them?

Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 15:45:42

12 and 8 and I used to see them during the week and Fridays and Saturdays.

OP’s posts: |
Bombardier25966 Tue 15-Jan-19 15:51:43

You can maintain your relationship with your girls and have a new partner. I take it you've not ever cancelled arrangements with the children to spend time with the girlfriend?

I'd be speaking to mum separately about this, she needs to assert to the girls that your relationship with them is not changing and they will still see you as normal. If she is difficult then you know where the girls are getting their view from, and unfortunately you'll need to take it to mediation.

Bombardier25966 Tue 15-Jan-19 15:52:05

(take it to mediation to formalise access arrangements).

ohyesohyessyyesyes Tue 15-Jan-19 15:52:18

Hmmm does sound a bit early to introduce them to a new partner and expect them to be onside.
I had this with my ex husband. I wasn’t jealous but cross that he introduced the kids to a new partner (who didn’t work out in the end anyway) too soon and without talking to me first.
We talked about it and he apologized to me and the kids.
Maybe you could try that and promise not to have her around anymore (when they are there).
They won’t know what you’re up to the rest of the time.

Spanglyprincess1 Tue 15-Jan-19 15:57:24

It happens but you are their father and your ex shouldn't restrict access. More adults who like the children and care about them is good, as is seeing a healthy relationship.
Maybe a sit down and explain it didn't mean you love them less and they will see you on their own most of the time as you are taking things slowly with your gf. Maybe limit time to a day a month eg rest of time jsut kids and you and one day a month when you go out together even just cinema. That way it's slow for them and gets them used to the idea.
Mediation may be nessisary though if the ex isn't helping with positive co parenting

Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 15:59:36

@Bombardier I've tried to explain to them that my private life will not interfere with my time with the girls, it never has. Their mum also wants me to leave my girlfriend because she says if I don't I'm not putting the girls first.

@ohyes I have already apologised to the girls and their mum for doing this but to no avail.

OP’s posts: |
Bombardier25966 Tue 15-Jan-19 16:02:54

Do you think this is the mum putting ideas in their heads?

My partner has similar aged children, but their mum (and dad) have always been open with them that they will move on and meet new people. Their mum is still single but has never caused an issue, and of course dad never misses their agreed time together.

Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 16:05:39

@Spangly I've had this conversation with the girls but again to no avail.

OP’s posts: |
Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 16:07:12

@bombardier I do think it is. But when I say this to the girls they tell me its them not their mum saying it.

OP’s posts: |
Spanglyprincess1 Tue 15-Jan-19 16:11:22

Mediation it is then, they are not old enough to make a decision like this.
You need to demonstrate how important they are by fighting for them

Wrybread Tue 15-Jan-19 16:20:30

You shouldn't be suggesting to them that it's their mum causing the problem! That's really not going to help you and they'll see it as criticism of their mum. Do you often do that?

Why did you mention the bit about not getting presents with your dd, but your Ex getting some with your other dd? Is that part of this too?

Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 16:35:42

@Wrybread when my daughter (8yo) rings me to say "I don't want to see you this weekend and that's me saying it not mummy telling me to" And I get the same answers from them as my ex gives me, plus the fact that my ex never discusses anything unless she's in earshot of the girls of course I'm going to say it.
My ex was away with my other daughter to Amsterdam for her 12th birthday, they weren't shopping for pressies

OP’s posts: |
Wrybread Tue 15-Jan-19 16:51:39

Ah ok.

I find it really hard to believe that you're 8yr old said that unprompted. Dc tend to say things like that if the parent talking to them has accused their mum before.

The only way to deal with that kind of thing is to:

1. keep saying that you love them very much and nothing and no one will change that.

2. Refuse to discuss things with their mum in front of them. If you know she phones you when they're there, then refuse to discuss it and ask her to email you.

3. If the dc try to raise issues that should just be between you and your ex, then simply tell them that it's adult stuff and you won't talk to them about it. That's hard to do sometimes, especially if you're wondering what she's saying to them, but it's really important. They need to know that your won't put them in the middle, even if she does.

4. Get to mediation. And bear in mind that an 11yr old would have their wishes taken into account in court, if it were to get to that point.

Be really honest with yourself. If you have :

- Bad mouthed their mum in any way. Even in a passive aggressive way either to them or when they could hear.

- tried to pressure them to accept your gf

- dismissed what they've said

Then apologise. An genuine apology can go a very long way. Don't do the "I'm sorry if you feel" thing. Do a real "I'm sorry, I've done [fill in blank]. I'm going to try hard not to do it again. I understand that you're hurt and I'm here if you want to chat "

Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 16:59:20

@Wrybread sorry, whats DC?

I have made the mistake of badmouthing the mother whilst on the phone and my girls heard it. Which I regret.
Never pressurised the girls into seeing or accepting my girlfriend.
Never dismissed what they've told me.

I've sat with the girls and apologised to them for what's happened but they don't believe anything I try to say.

OP’s posts: |
Wrybread Tue 15-Jan-19 17:18:48

Dc = dear/darling children

It's really good that you fessed up and said sorry. The only way forward is for your actions to match up with your words.

It can be tough parenting during separation and divorce. Expecially if you're negotiating with your ex. Things feel really personal. And the dc are likely to pick up on that

You need to be careful with your expressions and tone of face when they mention her, or when you do speak about her. Dc pick up on it all.

They're with her most of the time and they'll be protective if her...even though she's an adult.

And right now they're unsettled by you having a gf. Chances are that they were hoping you and your ex would get back together somehow. Maybe your ex hoped for that too.

So they're dealing with loss. Not only the loss of you not living at home, but now the idea they this could be permanent.

Not only that, but you made the mistake of asking them what they thought about you having a gf. So because they made is clear they didn't want that to happen, it probably looks like you didn't care what they thought.

This will all hurt them a lot. And they may also feel that you've chosen your gf over them.

Also, you haven't said how long you've been separated, or hire long you've been seeing your gf. It may just be too soon for them to cope with.

Polkajazz Tue 15-Jan-19 17:37:14

We separated in Dec last year. Been with my girlfriend since October. I didn't deliberately set out to find one it just kinda happened.

OP’s posts: |
twattymctwatterson Tue 15-Jan-19 17:37:24

It sounds like there's probably quite a backstory here, given that you felt you should state you weren't the greatest father

Itrynottobutsonetimesifail Wed 16-Jan-19 12:42:33

As a man, a father and a single RP with full child arrangements order to 2 dds the same age as yours.

If I was in your shoes mate, being me and what I've experienced looking after the emotional well-being of my dds day in day out, with the tears and heartache it has caused them.

Take a good look at your own behaviours, think, if the same was being done to you as a kid how would you feel?

You may not have been the greatest father when you were all together, but you can be now, by putting the needs of your dds first, their emotional needs, not toys,sugar and party fun. But their actually emotional needs

Think about how the things they are experiencing will affect them later in life.

The support they will need to help them through the next few years, which are really really tough ones for girls. How will you handle it when one starts to self harm because her non resident parent is seeing someone. If the other one develops an eating disorders because the non resident parent focuses more on the older child than the younger one. And both have to deal with toxic parenting statements from the non resident parent said during contact.

The thing is as well, they have NO CHOICE, in this, during contact time you can force your own whims on them because that's what you want. What they want us quality caring time in the few hours that you are all together. Your focus needs to be only on them, no one else, only them.

You may not have deliberately set out to do anything, but when a decision point occured you made a choice.

From now on I suggest all your choices be for the current and future well-being of of your dds. It's only a maximum of 10 years until your youngest is an adult, perhaps you could do some deffered gratification and put stuff off until then.

SnackingRevolution Wed 16-Jan-19 13:24:05

Just keep them separate OP. If your GF really cares about you she will give you space to see her and your girls separately for a while longer. Your exW has no jurisdiction whatsoever over who you see when the girls aren't with you and I'd tell her that. Don't be seen to be giving in, just being a responsible parent since your DDs are clearly upset. Might be worth reading up on parental alienation through, which seems like might be going on here. The family courts aren't keen on that.

It will be interesting to see what happens when she meets a new partner hmm.

lifebegins50 Thu 17-Jan-19 20:59:17

The 12 year old would be deemed old enough go have feelings taken into account.

I think you did make a big mistake introducing a new girlfriend and you have broken their trust. You may have acted differently when with her.

All you can do is keep lines of communication open and try for mediation but he aware it will only be with your 8 year old.

Itrynottobutsonetimesifail, excellent post

SkinnyPete Thu 17-Jan-19 22:27:18

Either your ex is a nutter or you've scorned her bad. There's nothing wrong with you having a girlfriend, and the only thing I can suspect is going on here is punishment from your ex (and transferred through the kids... Which is a big no no, but it happens).

You need a word and support from your ex and things should move on nicely. Assuming she's not taking something to the grave about you.

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