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Everything has changed because DP's exW is seriously ill. I'm absolutely stuck.

(281 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

PonytailStyle Sat 01-Mar-14 17:48:01

DP and I met 3 years ago. Both our previous relationships broke down the year before that. It was a rebound thing for both of us in many ways but we did genuinely fall in love. We had 2 lovely years together during which time he was very clear that he was not going to tell his exW about me because he didn't want to hurt her or their adult children. His decision to leave - nobody else involved but he felt incredibly guilty and said that he wanted her to meet someone else before he introduced anyone to them. I accepted this and it suited me at the time as I didn't want that level of involvement. He and his ex remain on extremely good terms and he loves her as a friend. His family mean the world to him.

DP and I parted a year ago but remained in touch. We dated other people but since Xmas we have been considering getting back together. We never stopped loving each other. We both said that this time round his family must know because we are now considering a future together. He actually raised this before I did. I was adamant that I must not be a secret. He said he couldn't lie to his family any more. We were absolutely on the same page about that part. He has said all along that he would only ever introduce a partner to his family if he intended the relationship to be permanent.

We were discussing how to do this and all the other practicalities of being together properly when his exW was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer. Their children are devastated. Everyone is devastated. Hopefully, she will make a full recovery but that could be many months away. Now is not the time to introduce me to his family. But realistically I'm not sure if I can last indefinitely in this sidelined position. I'm not sure our relationship will last under that sort of pressure. DP has promised to help his ex in any way he can and I admire him for doing that. I know that he wouldn't think twice about mopping up sick or comforting her if she's upset because he's that sort of person. If she asked him to stay over to help her he would. That's one of the reasons I love him. He's a good man.

I've told him that I'm finding it hard and he's trying to reassure me. I feel such a bitch because I'm hardly battling for my life like she is.

I don't want to leave him. I love him and I want to be there for him. He is very frightened for his ex and also his children and trying to put on a brave face for them, rallying everyone round and trying to make sure his ex always has company etc. He only has me to open up to because everyone else is floundering whereas I'm removed from the situation. It's not a burden because I love him but it is very stressful.

I definitely don't want to meet his family right now. It would be too much for everyone involved, including me. His children would see me as a stranger intruding into their lives at a very difficult time. His ex might feel she couldn't ask him for help when she needed it, to say nothing of all the other possible dynamics as she considers her own mortality. She doesn't want to hear that her ex is planning a happy new life with someone when she doesn't even know if she'll be alive this time next year. I don't want to add to anyone's sadness.

I feel so selfish to even think that I've got a problem when she is battling cancer. And I'll feel even worse if I walk away now. I can't walk away. I told him today that he could end it before it goes any further if he felt it was the right thing to do. I think he could do that just on the basis of letting me go to be happy with someone else. He is that selfless. But I don't want anyone else.

We are being very very honest with each other and talking loads. We go to bed wrapped round each other every night but every morning I wake up full of doubts and sadness. I don't know what to do for the best.

landrover Sat 01-Mar-14 17:51:03

You don't have to meet his family, but I can't see why he cannot tell them that he has started to go out with someone after all this time? Surely nobody would bat an eyelid?

PonytailStyle Sat 01-Mar-14 18:04:26

It's the timing. If his ex wasn't facing months of cancer treatment then it wouldn't be an issue. Although she's his ex they are very close in terms of helping each other out practically and generally just being good friends. Maybe she'd be relieved he was seeing someone, pleased that he was happy but he doesn't want to risk hurting their children or making her feel sidelined when she's at her lowest ebb. And I don't want to meet them when they're going through this. I'd feel like an intruder. If he decided to tell them about me I would be ok with that.

Logg1e Sat 01-Mar-14 18:13:04

I think he should introduce you to her, and then everyone else. She's his friend, will want him to be happy and has other stuff on her mind.

MrsMiniver Sat 01-Mar-14 18:18:12

Am I right in thinking that your partner and his ex separated 4 years ago? They behave as if they're still together from your description. It's hard that she has cancer but I don't think that's a reason for you to be side-lined. She'll be going though months if not years of treatment, are you prepared to be persona non grata indefinitely?

Actually I don't think the cancer has much to do with it and it doesn't really sound as if he's actually available for a relationship. As for upsetting the children, that's crazy - they're grown-up. I'd let him go if I were you, tell him why and watch how he reacts.

HermioneWeasley Sat 01-Mar-14 18:20:44

Sorry, another person who doesn't see the timing issue with him at least telling the family he's met someone and it's serious.

You weren't involved in the break up of their marriage and their kids are adults.

Meglet Sat 01-Mar-14 18:22:31

After 4yrs he should be able to introduce you to his family. His adult kids need to grow up if they have a problem with it.

It sounds like he's just messing you around.

RhondaJean Sat 01-Mar-14 18:23:30

Are you absolutely sure she is actually his ex?

JohnFarleysRuskin Sat 01-Mar-14 18:23:34

Agree with pp. there is a middle way between lying about your existence and you rolling up and taking over.

They've been separated for four yrs and he can't bring himself to say, 'I was at my friends last night' etc etc?. it sounds v odd.

PonytailStyle Sat 01-Mar-14 18:24:02

Yes. I am persona non grata. Thing is, first time round it suited me. Then we split for a year. Only back together since Xmas.

If I tell him I'm ending it I think he will accept it. That's not what I want though.

SauceForTheGander Sat 01-Mar-14 18:24:38

Are you absolutely sure it was a clean break for him and his ex and he hasn't been hedging bets with her too?

JohnFarleysRuskin Sat 01-Mar-14 18:25:41

If he accepts it then he's either a coward to there's more going on...sorry op.

AtlanticaBlue Sat 01-Mar-14 18:25:42

I hate to ask this OP and do forgive me for doing so but do you know for a fact that his ex-wife is in fact facing this diagnosis?

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 01-Mar-14 18:26:24

You're not his partner. You're a bit on the side. A grubby little secret.
I'm guessing he wants ex wife back. If she wanted ho he'd drop you like hot shit. He's actually not a nice man, he's using you. Walk run away with your dignity.

PonytailStyle Sat 01-Mar-14 18:27:20

She is definitely his ex. I've seen the divorce papers. Heard them on the phone. He stays here most nights. I occasionally stay at his when I have a child free night.

FabULouse Sat 01-Mar-14 18:28:27

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ThePinkOcelot Sat 01-Mar-14 18:31:10

Sorry, I don't see the timing issue either. His children are not children. They have been separated 4 years. Or, have they.?! What will it be next time he is going to tell everyone about you?!

PonytailStyle Sat 01-Mar-14 18:32:12

I haven't any hard evidence about the diagnosis. I've heard him ask one of his daughters if she is going to the hospital with her mum. Surely he couldn't contrive a phone conversation like that?

Gigondas Sat 01-Mar-14 18:32:59

Wasn't there a similar thread where op had a dp with an ex with cancer where there was a strong suspicion she was making it up.

The cancer is a red herring - your dp has either moved on or he hasn't. I can tell you as someone with cancer that it isn't an excuse(or shouldn't be) for life not to go on.

It is perfectly possible to support ex as a friend and be open about you.
There is really no reason not to tell her in circumstances, unless he doesn't want to rock the boat.

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Sat 01-Mar-14 18:35:13

I'm struggling to see what the cancer diagnosis has to do with anything?

Why would she or the children be upset or even surprised that someone who has been single for four years is seeing someone?

Obviously it might be insensitive to try and jump straight into playing happy families but it is very very strange that he won't even mention you

PonytailStyle Sat 01-Mar-14 18:36:47

So a fairly unanimous reaction - he's not being honest with me to one degree or another....

I wasn't expecting that. I trusted him.

blowsygirl Sat 01-Mar-14 18:37:19

You post is very 'explainy', lots of why you can'ts and how you'd love to and wish it wasn't etc. It sounds very like this is what he has sold you.

You and your feelings are no less important than any other factor in this scenario. Everyone has different stuff going on in their life.

They divorced - that made it clear to them that they were choosing not to be together. The issue is, why would his wife and grown-up children be so upset if she knew he has a girlfriend? He needs to be honest with you about the status of their relationship.

whattodoforthebest2 Sat 01-Mar-14 18:37:23

4 years is a hell of a long time to think that someone won't have met somebody else, isn't it?

I suspect he's afraid she won't mind at all - that would be a bit of a knock-back, wouldn't it? It sounds as if he's deliberately putting obstacles in the way - I'd encourage him to get over it, tell her and then work towards introducing you. He's making a mountain out of a molehill IMO.

FabULouse Sat 01-Mar-14 18:38:31

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whattodoforthebest2 Sat 01-Mar-14 18:40:03

Gigondas - I remember that thread - very dubious situation.

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