This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
I need to find a way to deal with ExH’s GF(21 Posts)
We split 2.5yrs a go and he was caught having an affair. He destroyed me during the time between me finding out and him eventually leaving (6 weeks) as ‘he couldn’t make up his mind whether to stay or not’. By the time he left, I was a wreck physically and emotionally.
We then went through a very messy divorce which came through just before Christmas just gone. It was hell, we went to court 3 times and culminated in us having to sell the marital home and myself and the children moved to a new house. The DCs are 11 and 9 and have suffered the most in all of this, their Dad left, they had to leave their amazing home (and it truly was, they had acres to play in/ride bikes etc and we now live in a house with little more than a courtyard sized garden), they are still insecure and although they are beginning to settle there is no denying the effect it has all had on them. They see their Dad every weekend and one night during the week (this is mainly for childcare reasons as I work shifts and can only fit it in when they are with him). 11yo doesn’t particularly like going to her Dad’s, it is chaotic there, filthy and untidy and he often doesn’t do much at all with her, preferring to do activities based around 9yo DS.
Anyway, I have been aware that he has been seeing someone for at least a year and have always suspected it was the OW and that it has actually been ongoing since he left me. I have no issue with him having a GF, I have actually been hoping she would be someone lovely who would give him the kick he needs to organise himself and his home for the childrens’ sake. And quite frankly, I am firmly of the opinion that they are welcome to him. There really is no jealousy going on here at all.
So, the children were introduced to her this past weekend. Not as his GF, they think she is just a friend. Luckily, they say she is very nice.
I however, have known her since I was a child it turns out (I worked out who it was and ex has confirmed it). I am certain she was the OW. I cannot stress enough what a nasty, spiteful woman she is. We actually used to be friends for a while as teenagers but fell out spectacularly when she made a play for someone I was seeing (oh, the irony!). I am not proud to admit we actually got into a physical fight one night over it.
I do not want this woman anywhere near my children, however I know I have no grounds to actually prevent it. I feel physically sick at the thought of her being in their lives. I am so angry with my ex for putting any of us in this situation, he knowingly got himself involved with someone who could only make matters so much worse. It’s bad enough entertaining the thought of being at future events such as the childrens’ wedding with him, let alone the thought of her being there too.
How do I deal with this? I fell so humiliated all over again, just like I did when I found out about the affair. This woman has known about every detail of my life for the past 3yrs now and it would’ve been so much more relevant to her than if I was just the ExW she had never clapped eyes on. Yet it’s all been such a secret to me who she even is. I feel they’ve both been laughing at me and can only imagine the bile that has come out of her mouth regarding our divorce etc.
I have had to deal with so much already and I do know deep down that I can deal with this but I don’t yet know how to. My DD often cries when she has to go to her Dad’s and I felt terrible enough before packing her off there. How do I do that now, with the knowledge that she will be spending the weekend with this woman? How do I keep my feelings for her separate? I haven’t told the DCs any of this, I just said I was glad they liked Dad’s friend
As you say, you can't prevent contact because of who she is, and you mustn't let the kids know how you feel - it could be very damaging to them to feel caught in the middle.
With all due respect, a "courtyard sized garden" is more than many people have, and your kids can just go to the park if they want to ride your bikes.
Do you think counselling would be helpful, perhaps? It's important you have an outlet for your feelings so the children don't pick up on them.
To be fair, I only mentioned the size of the garden to illustrate the massive change to the childrens’ Lives due to the affair and the subsequent breakdown of our marriage. It’s been a huge adjustment for the children and it is me that has had to deal with the fallout from that every step of the way. The children don’t talk to him about their feelings, they save it all for when they are with me. My heart has broken for them on countless occasions yet my ex firmly believes everything is rosy and the children are fine, purely because he never sees that side of them. FWIW, I bloody love my zero maintenance garden but when my youngest just wants to kick a ball about and I’m too busy with other things to take him to the park it’s hard for him not to feel a little resentful at the situation we are now in compared to this time last year, for example.
I would never want the children to pick up on how I feel as they are the ones who have to actually spend time with this woman. They don’t even know my ex had an affair, I have tried to protect them and their relationship with him all the way through this even though at times it’s been so hard. I feel disappointed that he hasn’t offered me even a similar level of respect.
Yes I probably do need counselling (again). I feel like I’ve been sent backwards by the latest turn of events and I’m trying so hard to deal with it.
You’ve been through a tough situation.
But... you can’t dictate who the dad introduces the kids to.
Like the above poster says, some counselling might help to deal with your feelings.
OP, sounds really hard and also sounds like you're doing really well prioritising your children in all this. Despite it being really recent. It must still all be quite raw for you.
You don't know this GF was the OW for a fact and really does it even matter? I mean, it's horrible obviously but whatever they are saying behind your back shouldn't affect you (or you shouldn't let it affect you). Like you said, they are welcome to each other. And you'll never get a full picture.
In the same way, her behaviour as a teenager is not really relevant here. It's how she treats your children now that's important.
It sounds a lot like you are transferring your feelings on to the children a bit (and of course we all would). The big garden isn't important. And children are far better than we are with some changes. Being loved and supported emotionally is all that matters.
No advice, just wanted to validate that this is a horrific "My God" situation that your ex has created and you have every right to feel shocked and nauseous over it. It's absolutely appalling.
I don’t feel it’s fair to say I’m transferring my feelings on to the children. I have jollyed them along all the way through all of this, have taught them to look for the positives in everything that they have struggled with. I’m not perfect but we actually have a happy household in general yet it would be unrealistic for me to paint a picture of us all carrying on as if nothing has happened. I felt we were pretty much settled now we’ve moved and overcome a lot of the changes. Now it feels like he has twisted the knife.
No I cannot be 100% certain she was the other woman but from what he disclosed/admitted to me at the time she has the same name, age and hair colour. Coincidence perhaps, very unlikely I would have thought though.
I was with my ex for just over 20yrs. Since the age of 17 in fact. He well and truly pulled the rug from under my feet when he did what he did and I have worked damn hard to rebuild our lives since then, and pretty successfully too. I have no family support with the children and I actually have 4 DCs but the eldest 2 are grown up (one at Uni, the other lives with me but works full time). That’s not a drip feed but I didn’t mention them as this doesn’t affect them directly as much as it does the youngest two, the eldest don’t really see their dad much. I pretty much brought all the children up alone as he was an alcoholic workaholic. I can’t help but feel the sting when I think of him now playing happy families with someone I actively dislike. If that makes me a bad person, so be it 🤷♀️
For those fixated on the size of my garden; I agree it isn’t important. To me. To my son, however, it is as he misses the freedom and space he used to have. But that’s not the issue here, and I wish I hadn’t mentioned it!
Thanks you PicsInRed, you seem to understand
I will make arrangements to see a counsellor through work.
And just to add - I am not judging her behaviour purely on what she was like as a teenager. We live in the same town. We have mutual friends. My best friend lived opposite her for a number of years.
I am judging her on what I know of her now.
I understand what you mean, I also have a teenage hated woman who is nasty and manipulative and my god if my husband left me for her my blood would boil at the thought of her having any influence in my child's life. You have every right to feel pissed off, he has fucked up your life and changed your children's lives beyond recognition compared to what they have been familiar with their whole lives, it's very unfair. I literally have no good advice because if it was me I'd go fucking apeshit on him, but I know that's not the right way to go about it. You have my sympathy op xx
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
So sorry OP, posted on wrong thread - have reported and asked for it to be deleted.
No real advice, it sounds very tough and your feelings are entirely understandable. However, you cannot control what your exH does, the thing you can (try) and control are your feelings and responses.
Try and pity her instead - you are free and she is deluded enough to be spending time with the twat, more fool her.
OP you are being very mature and restrained. If most women imagined their DH having an affair and THEN it turned out to be the bitchy girl you knew from secondary school of course it makes it even worse.
I’m not sure why you need to see a counsellor. All of your feelings seem rational, reasonable and natural. Nobody who has had their husband of 20yrs cheat, abandon them and bugger off with someone who has been really nasty in the past would seriously sit there serenely and not worry about their dc in the clutches of a chaotic father and mean OW, with the dc crying about going. If you felt like that, then you really would be needing counselling. I have no idea why people are suggesting counselling for you.
Because the OP's question is how does she learn to deal with this. And because it's a really shit situation that is largely out of her control, it would help to talk it through with someone who is objective. The OP talks of keeping it together a lot, of hiding how she's really feeling for the kids. Another outlet might help?
You cannot control what you cannot control. You need to:
A) get used to the idea
B) do the best thing for your children
C) keep contact between yourself and the ex polite and formal.
That's it. If you cannot do that, you should get support to manage your feelings, either professionally or via your network of friends and family.
You appear to be conflating the feelings you had during the divorce with your underlying issues with the ex partner from your previous knowledge of her. You should try to compartmentalise them and realise they are independent of each other.
Plenty of people have more shit divorces (I'm a bloke btw):
- i got falsely accused of domestic abuse and got contactedby police and social services (no charges or action taken)
- i had to go to court 5 times for financial remedy and child arrangements, costing tens of thousands of pounds
- i had to move out of the fmh with a large mortgage while my jobless exwife stays there mortgage free
- i was denied access to our son for months on end (but eventually got 50-50 shared care via the courts)
- i am bypassed by the school and other services despite having equal shared care.
I cannot over-emphasise that you cannot control what the other person does. He could be dating the most vile woman in the UK and have no influence (assuming there are no welfare issues). All you can do is grit your teeth.
Good luck! This isn't meant to be negative, it's just a sanity check
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you or your kids missing your old, bigger garden. Good grief some people like to be offended. Of course the kids miss the space and it's a good example of the practical, day to day ways in which their life has changed as a result of their father's actions. Don't feel that you shouldn't have mentioned it.
You already know that you cannot allow your feelings to affect your DC and that you cannot stop them from seeing her; that's in your OP, so I'm unsure as to why PPs have left finger-wagging and frankly patronising replies to this effect. I think possibly it's just going to take time to get used to the idea of this woman being on the scene. This raw feeling of betrayal and hurt will fade. It sounds childish, but it might help at times to focus on some of his worst traits (was he controlling? Selfish? Shit with money? Harped on for hours about his boring hobby?) and remember that the OW is now dealing with them.
Just ignore the poster claiming his divorce experience is worse so you should "just get over it." This isn't divorce top trumps! Worst. Advice. Ever.
You're in a realy shitty situation and it sounds like you're handling it really well.
As the children get a bit older they can make their own minds up about where they want to be and they won't want to be with s chaotic father and bitchy stepmum (if she turns out to treat them that way).
It sounds like the pair of them deserve each other.
You sound like you are doing amazingly. All the feelings you have are completely normal. Your children will grow up and realise what an amazing mum they have growing up.
Th OP has asked for help because she is struggling. So whilst she does need reassurance we must also listen to her and give her the help she is asking for.
The pp is absolutely right there are things you cannot control in your life. That applies to everyone. We weaken our mental health and waste our mental energies by trying to change these things, letting them affect our feelings and behaviour and just by thinking about these things. Trite as that sounds it is right. The difficulty is knowing how to do this and that often requires therapy.
OP your feelings are normal, as is having the insight to want to know how to deal with them. Counselling, time and good friends will help.
Wow. So the OPs ExH does a truly vile thing and it's OP who needs to work hard at making everyone else's lives easier
OP I'd be beyond furious, and the fact you know the GF and have always thought she was a tit would be very hard.
I can only say I'd have to work very hard at not letting it eat me up, but I'd try not to give those arseholes the satisfaction.
I personally wouldn't care if my DC knew I didn't like the GF but I wouldn't talk nastily about her iykwim.
Terrible situation OP, for you and your DC
Thank you to the last few posters - I had stayed away from the thread as I felt most posters had misunderstood where I was coming from but it appears there are some that get exactly how I’m feeling!
I am feeling better about the situation, although a lot of that is because I am used to just shutting down my mind when things become unthinkable.
My best friend gave me some good advice the other day too - it could be a case of better the devil you know. At least I know something about her. It could have been a complete stranger that I knew nothing about that was going to be spending time with my kids. Ex will never volunteer any info. I am trying to see the positives here but I don’t think I’ll ever be happy. I absolutely accept there is nothing I can do about it though and my ex has made me miserable for long enough.
To the poster who said to focus on my ex’s worst traits... the best thing about this is that I know she hasn’t struck gold by getting with him. He really is the most boring man alive, something I only came to realise when he left me and I started meeting other men. She is so welcome to him!
Please login first.