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When to allow kids to meet his new squeeze?

(22 Posts)
GreenMonkies Mon 03-Oct-11 23:22:14

I'm sure mine is a common enough story. We were together for 11 years, our girls were both planned but after DD2 was born he became distant and eventually had an inappropriately "close" (emotionally, not physically) friendship with a friend of a friend. When this all came out we sorted lots if stuff, but he refused to acknowledge that he was seriously depressed and needed proper, professional help. We muddled on for the next 5 years, having our ups and downs like all couples do, but I became increasingly frustrated with the amount of the domestic 'admin' I was doing compared to him.

He spent massive amounts of time talking to people online, he was constantly on twitter or F1 or tech forums, and when he put his computer away he expected rampant sex my full attention, and if I was shattered from a long day trying to sort the house and look after the girls after a broken nights sleep and didn't have a shag in me the energy for much more than a cuddle and brief chat he'd get all moody and stroppy. A year ago I caught him planning to meet some bint from twitter down in London, and things came to a head. He agreed he needed proper help, and saw the GP, who couldn't write his Prozac prescription fast enough, and we decided to get some counselling as a couple, and he bought me a White gold & diamond eternity ring to show me he really meant it.

We moved from our crappy council flat into a lovely 3 bed, rented house, but he became morose and distant and spent less and less time at home and when he was at home he was detached and argumentative. A while ago I name-changed and recounted my frustrations, and had the usual Slap around the Face with a Wet Kipper that only Mumsnet can dish out, and I decided he had to buck his ideas up or move out.

As luck would have it, in January, I saw a message from an OW scroll across his iphone when he was asleep one evening, and a little research led me to her (on twitter) and they were sprung. He declared that he loved her, and wanted to be with her, despite only knowing her, long-distance, for a couple of months, and I made him move into the spare room whilst we figured out exactly what/how we were going to do this.

Within a couple of weeks this wild, long distance love affair had fizzled out (under the influence of reality) and we started seeing a counsellor to help us either resolve our issues or just separate amicably. He stayed in the spare room, and we talked and talked, and at first he seemed to reconnect with me and the girls and start to behave like he was a part of the family. I threw him a surprise 30th birthday party and got a load of friends & his family together for a meal & night out, even though we weren't together.

Then, his behaviour changed again, and in May he admitted that he'd "developed feelings" for one of his female (twitter) friends, and at that point, seeing that he couldn't, or wouldn't, focus exclusively on our relationship and family, even just to dissolve things as carefully and as civilly as possible without being distracted by another long-distance "love affair", so when he put on his sad face and said "I guess I should go and stay at my mums", I agreed. And he was gone by the end of the week.

Since then I have discovered one woman whom he had a full-blown affair with last Sept/Oct, and another that he had an 'emotional affair' with before that. All in all, from what I can gather, he's had 3 or 4 'relationships', some physical, some purely online, in the last 18 months.

He's still 'with' the friend from twitter he 'fell' for in May, she lives on the South Coast whilst we are up near Liverpool, so geography dictates they don't actually spend much real time together. However, a few weeks ago they spent a romantic weekend in Liverpool (in a hotel, because he still hasn't managed to 'save up' enough to get his own place, so he's still living in his mums spare room) and whilst they were on their romantic weekend break he popped the question and slipped a diamond on her finger. (I can't imagine why he can't afford to move out of his mums, can you?)

Aside from finding this whole bipolar behaviour hilarious in a very bleak, dark way, I'm just concerned about how this is effecting our girls. He's already asked me when I'll be comfortable with them meeting his 'fiancee', but I don't want them getting used/attached to someone who isn't going to be a long term addition in their lives.

I feel like I am constantly putting out fires. Keeping this away from the girls seems important, to me at least. His behaviour is becoming more erratic and less mature, and I'm not sure how to explain this all to the kids.

Well done if you've read all this!

queenofthedancefloor Mon 03-Oct-11 23:48:08

Wow you sound so strong and grounded and well done. I wouldnt let him i dont think just yet. But tbh am having a dilea of my own on that one...well done you though for being so strong. He sounds like a complete ass and you definately better off.xx

queenofthedancefloor Mon 03-Oct-11 23:49:14

I mean a diliemma sorry. Hopefully some more helpful advice come along soon.

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 09:07:08

It is a dilemma isn't it? Obviously they think that they're going to be together forever, the wedding is planned for 2013, but in truth they have been together for about 5 months, and only see each other every other weekend or so.

I just don't want my girls getting attached to someone who's not going to be around for long. It's hard enough for them to deal with their dad not living at home now, without adding to their sense of abandonment by having "step-randoms" that pop up and then disappear.

cestlavielife Tue 04-Oct-11 10:27:14

how old are the dds?
how often do they see him?

on some level i dont think it should be a problem to be introduced to "daddy's friend" - so long as they have stability with you and your support then any mad things dad does will be taken in their stride....

but if the new woman is only on scene every other weeked then maybe she not going to be that interested in them either - otoh is best she knows fully that your ex does have dc in case they do get it together...

i think if they reisding with you and visiting dad then meetijgn a friend o daddy is nnto going to be an issue - she isnt theiir step anything until they get married etc - obvisuly if you think ex and her going to be full on kissing etc in front of dd could be bit yuck... depoends how he intends to introduce etc?

but depends how much time they spend with dad.
if it was you bringing new men in and out of the home - well yes not good for dd.
if they visit with dad but dont live with him as such then meeting his new friend should not be a problem - and yes if next week is a different one, well so be it. if that is how he is they will have to get used to this... and you just need to support them and answer their questions as they arise.

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 10:35:15

cestlavie they currently only visit him as he's staying at his mums and there is quite literally nowhere for them to sleep. As soon as he gets a place of his own they will stay over with him the odd weekend, and now and then in the week (he works shifts so the days change all the time). But he says once he's got a place his fiancé will start coming up here at weekends etc, and will eventually move up here. I think he should allocate some weekends for the kids and others for his love-life.

The problem is he lives in a dream world, which has got worse since he left. He really can't see how ridiculous he's being and is blind to the impact it's having on the children.

cestlavielife Tue 04-Oct-11 12:06:45

yes exes living in a dream world....have one of them.

.but that is the reality - the reality Dc have to get used to.

you can protect them from certain thngs but not others.

how old are dc? old enough to express their views? not that he will necessarily lsiten...

100emotionsin1day Tue 04-Oct-11 12:12:48

GreenMonkies your DC are very lucky to have you, particularly when your ex is behaving like a teenager. I think your instinct to keep your girls out of this right now is a good one, it sounds like this latest relationship may quickly go the way of the others. In fact, it's almost a secondary issue, he obviously needs to sort himself a bit first.

Ultimately you can't prevent him from introducing the girls to his 'fiancee' hmm whenever he wants, but it would be perfectly reasonable of you to ask him to wait until he's got his own place and this relationship is a little more established.

Whatever happens, you continuing to give them as much love and stability as you can from your side will help minimise the impact of your ex's behaviour.

Bugsy2 Tue 04-Oct-11 12:14:27

Not sure you can stop it really. If they spend time with their Dad, then it is kind of up to him what they do in that time & if he introduces them to the new woman, I'm not sure there is anything you can do to prevent that. Been here, got the t-shirt and I really do understand your concerns but I think you probably shouldn't worry about it too much. Many years on, I can say that it all tends to come out in the wash & children get very wise about their errant parent's failings!

chelen Tue 04-Oct-11 12:49:32

Hi, I can see why it is worrying, but as others have said I don't think there is much you can do to prevent him being him.

My SS lives with us. His mum got together with her new boyf, then they split, got back together, split, got back together, split, got back together...

Through it all my SS has been pretty unconcerned, I think he just focuses on his mum. We were very worried he would be unsettled but in reality I think an occasional other half is low on the radar compared to their feelings for/about the NRP themselves.

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 13:04:31

Sorry, I keep forgetting to say, the girls are 5 & 8..

Bugsy2 Tue 04-Oct-11 13:46:19

GreenMonkies, if it is any comfort mine were 1 & 3 when I started going through all of this stuff. They are now 9 & 11 & have a very clear measure of their father. I have never said a bad word about him, or allowed other people to bad mouth him in their presence - but they are under no illusions whatsoever! You are their primary carer & you will set the tone - no amount of nonsense from him will undermine what you do. Keep strong!

notsorted Tue 04-Oct-11 17:19:50

Can hear your concerns and you don't sound jealous, so that is not an issue which can cloud the waters.
Your home and their life with you will be their bedrock. What's his mum like and what is her attitude? If you can chat to her and gauge her feelings that would be great. She may be thinking this is all flash in the pan and also want to protect her GC. So good if they continue to see him at theirs. I'd not mention it unless he brings it up, then if you can be diplomatic and get him on side re how to broach subject and presence of gf. Is she doesn't have DCs she may be in for a big shock and find not having all his attention a come down.

balia Tue 04-Oct-11 17:52:51

Mine was 8 when me and her Dad split - but of all the problems that arose, the new women bothered her very little. There was one who made it clear that DD was not welcome and that was unpleasant for a while but she was soon replaced. Don't show you are bothered, put the ball back in his court. He is supposed to be behaving like a grown up then he has to make his own decisions.

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 18:09:18

notsorted, you're right, I'm not jealous, not at all. As for his mum, she's no use at all. She's caught up in the "romance" of it all, and, as she did the same thing herself (had 3 extra-maritals before finally leaving his dad) she can't criticise him. We've never been very close, and if I tried to speak to her about Ex's irrational overly romantic, unrealistic behaviour she'd think it was sour grapes on my part. She's not an ally at all I'm afraid.

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 18:12:54

Oh, and he's already mentioned it. He asked me last week when I'd be comfortable with the kids meeting her. I told him he had to spend some quality dad-kids time with them for several months to help them settle into his new home and feel secure in that environment before he started bringing her into it too.

He says he'll respect my wishes on this, but I know what he's like, and once he's coming down from this manic phase (I'm convinced he's bipolar) he'll start being stroppy and saying I'm trying to control him.

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 18:14:34

The problem is balia that he's not behaving like a grown up, he's acting like a love-sick 14 year old. So I can't trust him not to do something stupid and potentially damaging for the girls.

balia Tue 04-Oct-11 19:01:03

TBH I don't get the 'potentially damaging' bit? You haven't raised any safety concerns, so even if he decides that he will go ahead and introduce the children to his fiancee, (which in fairness he has every right to do) I'm not sure how this will be dangerous? So the relationship might not work out so they won't see her again - so? My kids have met lots of people they haven't gone on to have long-lasting relationships with, doesn't seem to have scarred them for life. Fair enough, I don't mean boyfriends, but even so, I'd really be picking my battles, if I were you. Aren't there lots of other issues that need resolving without getting bogged down in this one?

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 21:34:47

Balia, my concerns are that he'll introduce her as his fiance, get them all excited about the wedding, and then when (if) it all crashes down they will be left confused and disorientated again. I worry that it is potentially damaging because it's showing them a very fickle, shallow and careless view of relationships, making people look disposable and feelings (and declarations of them) meaningless.

I don't want a parade of girlfriends, each one wearing a rock, to be introduced to my girls, I don't want them thinking that it's an acceptable way for anyone to behave. I don't want them to think that it's ok to leap headfirst into things like this and then hurt people when you realise you got carried away. I want my girls to grow up thinking that peoples feelings are not to be toyed with, and that "love" isn't a word you throw around randomly, but a deep feeling that grows over time as you get to know someone. I want to make sure they have good relationship role models, where feelings are respected and infatuation isn't mistaken for The Love of Your Life.

And, from another perspective, I want to make sure that when the girls are with their dad he doesn't ignore them, and focus on his latest crush. They need his time, and his undivided attention, not to feel like accessories whilst Daddy plays Happy Families with his new bint[s]. I am trying to get him to understand that he needs to spend several months spending normal, day-to-day time with them, to give them a sense of grounding and security with him, he needs to make sure they are convinced that they have a place in his life, and his home, so that they don't feel like they are visitors in a strangers house when they are with him. He needs to grow up and allocate his time between his job, his kids and his new girlfriend, but right now his new girlfriend is the top of his list of priorities, and the kids fight for joint second with his work commitments, and quite frankly, I won't let anyone treat my children as if they are not important.

And that's what I worry about, and what I fear may damage them.

Bugsy2 Tue 04-Oct-11 21:46:24

GreenMonkies, I understand your concerns but I think you are over-worrying this. They are living with you & as such they will be more influenced by how you live your life than anyone else. It is possible that their Dad may well act like an infatuated school boy - but they will see through any potential flakiness so quickly. Your desire to want the best for your kids from their Dad in all liklihood may not happen and actually you can't make it. But you know what, they'll survive and be all the wiser for it. They won't be damaged, because you will be there, as their consistent carer. As someone else said, pick the battles you have half a chance of winning - I'm not sure this is one.

balia Tue 04-Oct-11 21:56:52

Don't think I don't understand your points, or your emotions. But take a moment and ask yourself - how are you going to accomplish these aims? How are you planning to to 'make sure he doesn't ignore them' or guarantee they have good relationship essence, how are you going to force him to grow up?

Because the reality is, you can't. You can't control him or make him the parent you have decided he must be.

And if he is bipolar, then he isn't fully responsible for his actions. And trust me, I have a lot of experience with the difficulties of parenting with someone with MH issues. I know what it is like to fear that someone is damaging a child, and see evidence of it. But children have a right to relationships with BOTH parents. The relationship with their father is important, for what it is, even if it is not perfect or the way you have decided it needs to be.

Conflict damages children, not meeting new people.

GreenMonkies Tue 04-Oct-11 22:18:47

I just don't want him to fuck them up. I want them to have a relationship with him. I'm trying to figure out how to minimise the hurt he'll cause them by making them feel they aren't important to him. That's all.

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