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OW and my children(63 Posts)
Need advice everyone.
H left about 9 months ago and has set up home with OW. Kids have met her a couple of times. They are young and accepting and prepared to like her as daddy has told them how nice she is.
I have presented a very cheerful and coping front to my kids as I have been so anxious to keep them feeling safe and secure. I have normalised him no longer living with us, emphasised how much he loves them and what fun they have with them, told them I'm fine and run everything damn well. We are still in our home, he is bought out of the family house.
In return, he has treated me with contempt and disdain. Lied and lied, didn't admit OW, then told children he'd like them to meet her before telling me, then introduced her to them without telling me and every time I try to clarify the situation with him looks long-suffering and says 'I don't have to put up with this'. He is HATEFUL.
After not making much effort in first month or so, he is now keen to see the children. He sees them about twice a week. Quite happy when circumstances keep him apart from them for a fortnight on occasions, no daily interest or contact, but nevertheless does play an active role in their lives.
They've just moved in together. Kids visited and are full of happy chat about the new place. Full of happy chat about OW. I realise this is because I have been so positive about it all to them and made them think everything is ok. He is telling them the set-up is great, she is great. The kids are happy and accepting. This is all good and all down to my strength.
But WHAT ABOUT ME?? My heart is splintering! This woman is moving in on my children, I have to listen to their enthusiasm about it all and I am nearly cracking up. I have filled my life with lovely friendships and goals and activities. My life is not lacking. But these are my KIDS, I do everything for their welfare, I literally cannot stand to hear them talking enthusiastically about her.
What do I do? Just doomed to accept it and keep quiet and smile? They don't even realise daddy's done anything mean to mummy as I have hidden my feelings. I feel horrible H gets to do whatever the hell he wants (oh and he does) and I am disempowered as I HAVE to keep a brave, cheerful face on for the kids. And I've done it! But this latest bit is TOUGH.
By the way, kids are 8 and 5. I have no thought of saying anything to 5 year old. But I just wonder with my 8 year old. I am just finding it hard to perpetuate his lies. But will do anything for my kids obviously.
You sound like an amazing Mum and when your children are adults and join the dots they will realise what happened and they will have nothing but admiration and respect for you. She will never replace you.
you sound like a fantastic mother.
I wish my parents had been like this during their divorce and the years following.
Please do not forbid your children to mention her. I think it is ok to not hide your emotions all the time but please don't burden them or make them feel guilty for liking the OW or their father. It's so hard but if they like and accept her that is what's best for them.
When they grow up they will understand what happened and I expect they will be grateful and love you all the more for making their childhood a happy one still.
I don't think you need to lie to your 8 year old, I think it's ok to tell him that sometimes you feel sad now that you and his dad aren't together, even though it's better this way.
When they are older I expect they will ask questions. Your ex may get to have the children's unconditional love and respect now, but when they are adults there will be no hiding what he did, and they will cast their judgements then.
The things my father did have always prevented us from having an easy relationship as a late teen and adult.
You are handling this with dignity.
You can always have a moan about him on here to us!!
It's fucking hard. But the horrible part about it is that yes you do have to do as you've been doing. Any othe eclipse of action forces your kids into choosing between you and him (and he and her come as a pair now in the kids eyes, unfortunately). And that will be damaging to the kids long term. If you start telling the truth he will imply to them that you are just bitter and it will be a case of you looking like the twisted one who just won't allow their dad to be happy.
You can't trust him not to spin it like that and the worst thing you can do is provide him with any ammunition.
I know first hand how bloody hard this is. I struggle with it daily. The thought of ow (who was also a good friend of mine) being anywhere near my kids fills me with a dark rage I didn't know I was capable of.
But you have to trust that eventually the kids will work it out for themselves. And know that you are their mum. Not her. And nothing will change that. When they are older they might ask questions. When they do you can answer them factually-and let them make their own decisions on how they see their father.
For now you just have to carry on.
It's the biggest injustice of them all.
I was 7 when my mum and dad split and 8 when dad introduced mums ex best friend as his partner.
Yes I was full of happiness as I was just a child but as I got older her acceptance of me diminished and I got to see the real her.
Obviously the older I got the more I learned and then disliked her as no woman should stand in the way of another family.
No real advice but hang in there xx
I wouldn't say anything to the kids if I were you... It'll just make them feel conflicted and like they can't talk to you about the OW and their Dad. I k ow it's hard for you but I was in the same position your kids are and there is no way this woman will replace you but if they start realising how badly you feel towards her and the knobhead it'll worry them. Well done for putting on such a brave face, I'm sure it's hard but shows what a fab mum you are that you can put their needs above yours xx
Well done, intheair, for holding it together so well, I can't imagine how awful this must be.
Hopefully someone will be along with much better advice soon but the only thing I can suggest is that you remind yourself that it is good that the OW is being kind and interested in your children (which I am guessing she is, based on their enthusiasm) and then try and carry on filling your's and your children's lives with good things, as you have been doing.
Have you met the other woman? Might it help you feel in control of the situation? It might give the chance to assert your position as their mother and hopefully reassure you that she is not trying to displace you.
Your husband sounds like a knob, btw. You sound great and like you are much better off without him.
Can't even begin to imagine how painful this must be but the alternative is that they are miserable and negatively affected when they visit there. You sound like a great mum who wishes for her kids lives to be filled with happiness and positivity and it sounds like that's what they're getting.
"I literally cannot stand to hear them talking enthusiastically about her."
That's understandable and human nature but what if they came home and said she was mean, cruel, spiteful? Surely it would be worse to have them feel like that about someone who could potentially play a large part in their lives.
All that aside, maintaining this shouldn't be damaging you in the process, perhaps tone down the platitudes and keep it neutral for your own sanity. But fundamentally, by keeping your animosity to yourself (however justified it may be) you're doing the best thing by your kids. Keep it up and in time it will become a virtuous cycle and you will reap the rewards.
Next time he tells you you are interfering, doing his head in etc SHOUT
"Yes, cos I don't want the kids to think there is anything wrong, Just fucking tell me so I know and don't have to trip over it when they ask - YOU SELFISH TWAT!"
I really can sympathise and I admit I have not been half as adult as you sound about things. Well done keep going xxxx
I have been through something similar when my marriage broke down, my ex-wife told so many lies to me and the children. I decided not to talk to them about it and not to discuss anything that went on when they were not with me. My reasoning was that I want the kids to focus on the time we had together not answering questions about what was going on elsewhere. My EW has told so many lies I think she lost track and my DS and DD just think she is a liar; kids are so much smarter than you think they are and even more loyal. There will come a time when they ask what went on and you can tell them everything when the time comes.
Of course this is just my opinion but from experience.
The OW is currently on her best behaviour, as this is all new. Believe me, the mask will slip at some point.
My 2 kids really liked my ExH new Partner. She was nice at first. But, over time she became resentful of their presence a little bit. She srarted doing passive aggressive things, like if one of them left the sofa to use the bathroom, by the time they got back, their laptop and drink would have been put away.
In the end they didn't like her at all.
Anyway, she's history now, as they have split up.
She will never replace you. She will never love them like you do. They will always love you more. You will be in their lives forever. Chances are the OW won't last. If your ExH was cheating with her, then he's a cheat. He will cheat on her, all in good time. That was my scenario anyway.
My mum did exactly what you are doing and I am so very very grateful for it. For years (honestly until I was about 20) I genuinely believed they just drifted apart and were still great friends. I realise now that I am a mother myself how utterly heart wrenching it must have been for my mum.
But I never saw my parents exchange a harsh word, always thought the best of my dad AND my mum and then when I found out the sordid truth (which by the way my DAD eventually fessed up to me) I realised that I have the best mum ever.
Take the moral high ground. Do what you're doing now and it will get easier. Protect your kids - if he won't do it, you have to. I promise you it'll all come right in the end. You might feel 5 minutes of triumph if you told your 8 year old but it wouldn't last and you'd be wracked with guilt, because you are a clearly a great person.
I read more than once your post. Frankly I do not know what to say. I do not know what to advise. It is tough- and probably only you can know how tough it really is. I am writing mainly to hold your hands. WHat I write below is just a suggestion. I am not sure it is a good one. Maybe just maybe
make him and her understand that contacts with kids must be on a regular basis: each Tuesday and Thursday and each other week end, for example. And they must include sleepover and also trips to doctors, shoe fitting sessions, school stuff shoppings, chauffeuring to social activities etc And they must commit to such an arrangement. They cannot have the kids just when it suits them. Now it looks as if the kids are just an accessory in their life and kind of photoshopped selfies. No wonder they are all smiles and nice when they are around. If kids will be part of a commitment from which they cant get away when they want then maybe they will have a more mature approach to all this. What to say to the kids? It all depends on the context when their father decided to live with this OW. Of course when they grow up a little they must understand that their dad did not approach in a mature and honest way the break up. I am not sure I helped. I think that your post is one of the most moving post I read. One which describes a complex emotional situation, where you have been showing a lot of grace, whilst the others are reaping the benefits of your noble attitude despite their immature and egoist behavior. Life is not fair. Good Luck. Sorry for the rambles.
It's the hardest and the most selfless thing you will ever have to do, but what's the alternative? All you want is your children to be happy - if you tell them that the OW's a cow and their dad's a bastard, then the children will be unhappy. Grit your teeth, don't encourage them to talk about the OW but say "Oh that's nice" etc as necessary.
I don't think anyone who hasn't experienced it can really know how hard it is to deal with, but you'll get through it, I promise.
Gosh I can feel the pain in your post OP.
I hope you are really fucking proud of how well you have behaved and how strong you have been in order to keep things as calm as possible for your DC. Just because we all know it's the right thing to do doesn't make it easy does it?
Simple answer is, you have to keep going. Do exactly what you have been doing. The only change I would suggest that would help you woud be to absolutely minimise the opportunities X has to be "hateful" to you. When you think " I will just text him to ask/tell x, y , z" take a step back and think is this 100% necessary? And if it isn't, leave it.
When my parents split, I was the same age as your youngest. My mother was absolutely vicious about OW (who was really lovely to me and my siblings) and after every contact I had to sit through a lengthy interrogation about every aspect of the visit and their lives. It was really awful and I will never forgive my mother for what she put me through.
I am now divorced myself, and although my DC seem to like/tolerate the current GF, there was one who was really bloody awful to my DS, and I can tell you, if you think your heart is splintering over them spending time with a woman they like, it is so much worse if she isn't being nice.
If it helps, try to think of her as XH male flatmate, even make up a persona for "him" - sorry if it sounds weird but I had a shit childhood and had to create various coping strategies. Then when the DC are saying "Laura bought us all ice creams" you can imagine the big fat hairy housemate, Brian, buying the ice creams
You are doing great. Don't spoil it by caving and "confiding" in your 8 year old. They are too young to bear the weight.
No advice I'm afraid but I just wanted to re-iterate all the other lovely comments. You are clearly an amazing mother. Your kids will realise just how much so when they are older and see the true picture.
You will never regret putting your children and their feelings first. In 12 months time you will look back and be proud of your actions (or lack of!)
Good luck in finding your own happiness OP
As a child of divorced parents who HATED eachother, all I can say is use every ounce of strength you have to carry on as you are. I missed my Dad when he left, I found the change difficult, but nothing compared to the agony of knowing I couldn't talk to either of my parents about each other. When I'd spent time with my Dad I wanted to tell my Mum about what fun we'd had, but I couldn't because she loathed him. And vice versa. It was just awful, I felt so torn and conflicted.
My Dad had 3 wives after my Mum. The first one was lovely, and really kind lady who was the perfect stepmother. But she never came anywhere close to my Mum. So you really don;'t need to feel that you'll lose your kids.
Honestly OP, karma will take over, your kids will understand the truth when they're old enough, and for now you're doing the kindest thing by protecting them for the harsh reality. They need that security and you're giving it to them.
Hi op. I can sympathise it is so so hard. I was in similar situation but mine was confounded by the fact that a month after exh leaving the ow was pregnant and while we were still married he has had two kids with her! My own kids are similar ages to yours and they had to deal with exh bringing a court case against me to force them to meet her when they were still very small and getting used to him having left.
Anyway as painful and soul destroying as it is the only thing to do is carry on as you are and be like oh that's nice that you did xyz at dad's etc. All I can say is it does get easier over time and I at least feel happy that the ow seems to be kind to them and wants to involve them with half siblings etc. My issue is with ex and hopefully as kids grow up they can one day see for themselves who was the one who was always there for them. It will definitely ease in time
Hugs to you
OP, it's hurtful, it seems unfair, but you are handling this very well.
You are putting your kids first.
I know how hard it is to pretend that everything is wonderful when your heart is breaking.
I missed by twin daughters' 18th birthday dinner because they chose to go to a fancy restaurant with their father and OW, when all I could afford was a takeaway. I cried when I saw photos of them with OW on Facebook. But I painted on a smile and pretended I didn't mind.
It's what we do as parents.
End of the day, OW is replaceable, you are constant you are their mum. They will learn for themselves and make their own minds up. They will look back and appreciate the way you've handled this.
Keep on as you are, I know how hard it is, but also remember it was your ex who broke his vows, the OW could only 'take' him, if he wanted to be available. I did this when I felt really resentful of her. I think looking back I blamed her more than him.
The OW is currently on her best behaviour, as this is all new. Believe me, the mask will slip at some point
Why anyone thinks that it's useful to OP to tell her that the OW will definitely end up being horrible to her children is beyond me. Seriously, try and leave your own baggage at the door and just support Intheair eh?
You are an amazing person.
Let it out somewhere else. Cry scream do whatever you need to do.
No advice OP except to say that I know exactly how you feel as I have been in the same situation for the last 4 years. How do I hold it together - by knowing that I am the stability in my children's life. I also know that when they are young adults they will know what their father did and will then make their own opinions whilst knowing that I never bad mouthed their dad or the OW. The only negative is that at the moment I never want to meet the OW. I don't feel that I owe her or my ex that respect. However I'm sore that feeling will change by the time my oldest gets to his 18th birthday or wedding.
Don't worry they will understand what you endured when they are older. They will.
In the mean time you are doing an amazing job.
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