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Trials and tribulations of dating a divorcee...

(43 Posts)
BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 10:04:05

...or is it him making a mess of things?
I found out that DP was going to sleep on his ex's couch on Friday night as he couldn't stay where he normally stays (or so he says) when he's going to see his children. She sent him a text in the middle of the night asking whether he was still coming up. He initially claimed that he had no idea why she was asking that but seeing that I wasn't buying it, he eventually told the story about the sleeping arrangement.
On the basis that I was introduced to the ex when I met the DC, I am not entirely sure I have anything to worry about with regards to the couch itself... However, there was the lie. It feels that I am not being treated with the respect that I deserve to be honest. I wouldn't go to sleep on my ex's couch, I would get a room somewhere. Or I would at the very least talk to my DP about the situation. And then sit there lying to your face???
We've been living together for a few months now, I've met his children once but it seems odd that whilst I am sharing and opening my life to somebody, I only found out about his DCs' birthdays accidentally. One of them he was obviously there for the weekend but never mentioned what they had done, how they had celebrated or even the birthday itself! This weekend was the second one's and again only heard about it on Thursday.
I can't make much sense of what is going through my head at the moment. Most of all, I feel that we (DS and I) are excluded from that part of DP's life. I've always been very opened and these are surely day-to-day things which you at the very least mention to each other: "It's DS' birthday on 00/00 and he's all excited about his party bla bla bla...".

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 10:06:26

'very open' not 'opened' - duh!!! blush

JemimaJones Sun 16-Feb-14 10:12:05

How long have you been together smile

Farrowandbawl Sun 16-Feb-14 10:13:07

You are living with him but you still know sod all about him and his kids?

* DP was going to sleep on his ex's couch on Friday night as he couldn't stay where he normally stays* - If he lives with you - why they come and stay with you both?

there was the lie one of how many?

It feels that I am not being treated with the respect that I deserve to be honest That's because you're not.

I've met his children once but it seems odd that whilst I am sharing and opening my life to somebody, I only found out about his DCs' birthdays accidentally. WTF? Only the once? You didn't even know the kids birthdays before he moved in?

Most of all, I feel that we (DS and I) are excluded from that part of DP's life. That's because you are.

I'm sorry but I can't see how many other ways I can point out to you that your relationship is more to you than it is to him. He's not that bothered about you or your son and isn't bothered about having you both in his life at all - if he were he would have made much more of an effort and actually told you stuff for a start.

Get rid.

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 10:27:39

JemimaJones just over a year. His DC live on the other side of the country and he goes there every other weekend. Otherwise, I've been introduced to friends from that area as well as from around here, taken to work and social events, everyone knows we are together and he couldn't do more for DS and I - he has always wanted to be fully engaged and has really put himself out there. It's only when it comes to that part of his life that he discloses as little information as possible. He has mentioned the DC coming down but not actual dates and I have no idea whether there is an issue with the ex or just the practicalities of it. I have explained that this is something that he needs to drive. I feel that given a choice, he'd rather keep the two parts of his life separate from each other for some reason.

Farrowandbawl Sun 16-Feb-14 10:29:29

No he's not.

It seems to be he's keeping you as back up.

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 10:35:09

Farrowandbawl sorry but how so?

JemimaJones Sun 16-Feb-14 10:36:53

Have you told him how you feel.?

Farrowandbawl Sun 16-Feb-14 10:41:59

You are still asking me that even though I've already pointed it out to you in my first post?

He's not telling you anything because he doesn't care about you and isn't bothered about having you in his life.

He is just using you because he doesn't want to be on his own or as somewhere to stay when he's working. Goes to see his kids every other weekend and lies to you about staying with this ex?

Can you really not see any problem with any of this?

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 10:50:13

Yes, I have JemimaJones. I can't see how I can possibly be a 'back up' seeing that he seems to keen for us to set up a life together. His eldest DS (who is an adult) came around quite a few times and even went abroad with us (and my DS) a few months ago. We are not a secret and all I can think is that he's afraid that his 'convenient arrangements' (convenient for him) to see his younger DSs aren't going to go down particularly well with me, hence the lie. Say, for example, thinking that he is sparing my feelings by not telling me about the family day out they had for the other DS' birthday - which is probably what they did. It's commendable that they have such a civil relationship but none of this is particularly easy as far as the 'new person' is concerned and it's aggravated by this secrecy! And unfortunately, I don't know how it feels to be in that situation as exH has chosen to be a very hands-off dad.

Thymeout Sun 16-Feb-14 10:52:21

You've only been living together for a few months. I think he just wants to take things more slowly than you do. It's a big thing to blend families. He might be a bit apprehensive about how it'll work out. (Read the stepparents' board. Not always plain sailing.)

He's had to adjust to living with you and your ds. Easier to do that if he keeps his old life separate for a bit. And it's not as if they live just down the road.

I wouldn't read too much into it. I can see it might make you feel more secure, but I don't think you piling on the pressure will help the situation.

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 10:56:54

Farrowandbawl No, I still cannot see it and I know it's difficult to convey an accurate picture here. When we were there, he introduced me to the friend he normally stays with (who was very nice, talked very frankly about DP and asked me lots of seemingly genuine questions about my DS - it was your normal household, home environment), took me around to see where he goes and what he does while he is there. We event took one of his DSs to his football match on Sunday morning. Not only that, but he had his home and life all in place where we are long before we started dating so he didn't need a place to stay or an extended family!!

JemimaJones Sun 16-Feb-14 11:05:33

How did you get together? Was he still with his wife at the time?

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 11:06:41

Thymeout that's how I see it and I've always said that it's not my place to drive that. It's the 'secrecy' that bothers me, not the actual contact or presence. I am certainly not in a hurry either and if anything, I am terrified as it means more relationships and expectations to manage from all sides! However, I don't feel it's normal not to be told that it's a child's birthday - so that I could at the very least get a little token or a card (if DP felt it was appropriate!!!). Or just knowing it because you come home and you talk about a co-worker who has infuriated you or traffic etc so, in my head, I cannot see how you'd fail to mention that your DS' birthday is coming up or what you did with him when you went up to see the DC. As far as the DC are concerned, I am happy with the pace and have no set timescales or agenda. However, I felt deeply uncomfortable when I met them and one of them mentioned that it had been his birthday a few weeks previously. I sat there thinking "Why on earth didn't DP mention it at all or what they had done to celebrate it???"
But then there was the deceit about the couch arrangement, followed by the lie.

JemimaJones Sun 16-Feb-14 11:07:58

Sorry you said you asked him ....what was his reply? smile

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 11:12:23

JemimaJones No, they've been divorced for a number of years and he's been living in this part of the country (far from the DC) for almost as long. He wasn't with anyone when we met (at the cafe where we are regular customers) and was I.

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 11:18:10

JemimaJones about him not disclosing information? He said that he had mentioned before that the DC's birthdays were around this time of the year but didn't say anything about not telling me how they had celebrated the birthday etc. I think it's because they did something with his ex and other DC and he thought it'd create a problem between us if he told me that.
As for the couch situation...he said he just wanted us to have a really special day on Friday but that there was no excuse for the lie.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Sun 16-Feb-14 11:19:50

You don't need to analyse this in depth:

- Yes, all of it is out of order.

- The crux of the matter is that he's a liar who prefers lying to you rather than even have what he might fear is an awkward conversation

- so what do you think might happen one day when there's REALLY a big issue?

'When someone tells you who they are, listen.'

You are getting a veritable SEA of red flags here telling you that he's a coward, a liar - at best, and at worst someone who's using you and still in an inappropriate relationship with his ex. Either way, he's just not keeper material is he?

Let him go.

angel1976 Sun 16-Feb-14 11:26:29

Banana Sounds to be you both have VERY different ideas and expectations of how things SHOULD work and you due to you both having very different experiences with your exes. You really should be communicating with him properly about your and his expectations.

I'm dating someone who is separated (I'm separated too, both our exes left us and we have met each other's ex so no issue there...). There have been times where he has done things I'm not happy about i. e. he has stayed at his ex's overnight several times in order to see his daughter when he first moved out as he had not got things set up to have his daughter at his and his daughter's school is near his ex's so it's easier that way. But that's because my ex and I live just 5 minutes walk from each other and there's just no need for us to EVER stay at each other's for childcare reason and I wouldn't want to but I can see why your ex do it...

However, my boyfriend (argh,I hate that word!) has stopped staying over now cos he has realised it wasn't a healthy arrangement and he has set up his place to have his daughter overnight and either to take his daughter on a school day in a cab or to her childminder. The difference is we do recognise that this is the difficult bit of our relationship in that we don't live together but that eventually when we do live together (if it does end up that serious) we will fully integrate into each other's lives.

We have had some serious full on chats about what that means for us as a couple and as a 'blended' family. I want to make sure there's no mismatch in our expectations of it does happen. Sounds to me you didn't have any the clear expectations/boundaries chat before you moved in and just expected that once you moved in together, things will 'automatically' blend together and you are finding out now that's not the case. You clearly need a serious chat now! Good luck!

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Sun 16-Feb-14 11:31:15

Text in the middle of the night asking if he was still coming up? Was that as in coming up to her room?

He doesn't see you as important enough to have you fully engaged is his life and that is a problem if you think he is loves young dream.

JemimaJones Sun 16-Feb-14 11:31:25

It would seem like he is trying to spare your feelings and also maybe he is still keeping his ex family life with younger children slightly separate for the time being. It's early days of you living together and if everything else is good then tell him how you feel but I wouldn't make too much out of it.

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 11:38:22

angel1976 hi angel, it's not as much about the blending itself but I do find it most bizarre (odd, suspicious???) when information is not shared. THAT is the real issue here. I didn't expect us to blend families etc any time soon and I wouldn't have felt comfortable with it either. There are people's feelings and expectations to consider so one step at a time. However, I'd still want to be made feel part of it (not physically) through a healthy exchange of information - I talk about DS' life etc so I expected to hear about his DC's children, how they are doing, birthdays and so on. It's not the actual integration that is the problem but this notion of secrecy...???
And the lie... BrunoBrookesDinedAlone now THAT bothers me and it's what is going through my mind: if you lie about something like that, what when it's something much more serious??? And what are you basing your relationship on? He may have had the best of intentions (somehow): conveniently stay at ex's as it's convenient, don't tell DP as I wouldn't be happy if she was to do that so same goes the other way, have a happy Valentine's. And he would have got away with (effectively) having done nothing wrong as he didn't go up on Friday night anyway, hadn't it been for her text in the middle of the night. But then he tried to talk his way out of it by lying...

WhateverTrevor83 Sun 16-Feb-14 11:43:36

I think some of this advise is very harsh!
Don't think on the face of this he is using you as a back-up and there's no evidence that he doesn't care about you.

However, covering up staying on couch is probably because he knows it's a bit inappropriate? It was silly to fib but probably didn't want you to get the wrong idea. I imagine he just really misses his kids and feels guilty about not seeing them very often. I guess this is why he is keeping that part of his life separate.

I'd maybe say that you would like to get to know his children at some point - is he protecting them do you think? They already are going through their parents divorcing maybe he's just trying to keep things as simple with few many people as possible involved?

What are the circumstances of them splitting up? That May shed some light x

JemimaJones Sun 16-Feb-14 12:14:53

Whatever I agree. Very harsh.

BananaPassionFruit Sun 16-Feb-14 12:51:28

Whatever I agree that he's probably trying to protect not only his DC but me too. I did express at the start that I found the number of people involved (and consequently, the number of relationships that would need to be managed at different levels / stages) very scary: 4 DC (two already young adults) by 2 mothers. My life is simple: DS and I, exH makes an appearance once every six months or so and calls once a week.

As for the divorce, all I know is that they had grown apart and that the youngest was a baby. Guilty feeling very likely too but then it was his choice to move away from them in the first place - long before we met. I find it hard not to judge as I personally really resent exh's decision to move away from DS - both because I've had to juggle work and parenting but also the impact on DS.

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