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Telling XH about new partner

(13 Posts)
magentafrog Sat 21-Jan-17 23:12:37

Sorry this is so long but I don't want to drip feed.

I've been divorced about 3 months, separated almost 2 years. It was my decision to end my marriage. XH was and still tries to be, controlling. We have 2 DCs aged 11 & 15.

After we separated I started seeing someone, a year ago XH found out and decided that he had 'discovered the real reason' for me wanting a divorce and that I had been having an affair. This was despite that fact that I hadn't even met the new man when I told XH I wanted a divorce.

He caused an utter shitstorm telling people that I had had an affair including my parents and sister, my adult step children, his mother and sister (who I had been close to) and several friends (two of whom have hardly spoken to me since) though thankfully not our own DCs. He also stalked my boyfriend on social media to 'let him know I know'.

I needed to keep him stable for the sake of the children and to get my divorce as quickly as possible so I downplayed my relationship with my boyfriend and, though we continued to see each other, my XH formed the opinion that he had split us up and I didn't correct this assumption.

Fast forward to now. My XH has calmed down and is starting to move on with his life, things are amicable between us - I have put a lot of things behind me for the sake of the DCs and their relationship with their dad. The DCs are happy and well adjusted to the new set up - they spend half their time with their dad who lives nearby.

My boyfriend and I have become very close, he is a lovely man and we both see a long term future together. My DCs are not aware that I have been seeing anyone but they have both told me that they wouldn't have a problem with me having a boyfriend and they want me to be happy. We have talked about it happening and how it might be. Everything is positive except that my DD is worried about her dad's reaction to me finding someone new and has said that when the time comes she wants me to tell her dad, she doesn't want to be the one to tell him.

Over the next couple of months I intend to let it naturally come out to the DCs that I am seeing someone. Opportunities have arisen before that I have not taken but next time one does I will take it. There won't be a big 'reveal' just something matter of fact and low key. And in due course (probably in at least six month's time) I plan to introduce my boyfriend to them, again in a low key, natural way, there's no rush and we both very much have the DCs interests at heart.

My dilemma is this. How much do I tell XH and when? I don't feel obliged to tell him anything until I am about to/have just introduced my boyfriend to the DCs. However, I don't want the DCs to feel uncomfortable/afraid if they know I am seeing someone and their dad doesn't know. Also, I anticipate a massive reaction once he finds out who it is. I don't want to expose the DCs to this and I don't want XH to try to prejudice them against my boyfriend before they have met him if I forewarn him.

I am torn between protecting my DCs and not being controlled by my XH the way he has always controlled me - emotional blackmail and fear of his anger.

Do I tell XH I am seeing someone (but not who) once the kids know or not?

When I introduce my boyfriend to the DCs do I tell XH immediately afterwards or tell him just beforehand? In both cases I would try to ensure that the DCs are somewhere that he can't do anything impulsive that would affect them.

Or do I tell XH nothing? I don't think I can put my DCs in this position, I am happy to face up to his nonsense, I am not afraid for myself and nor is my boyfriend, we're grown ups and can take care of ourselves. I just worry for the DCs.

SaltySeaDog72 Sun 22-Jan-17 00:02:29

Firstly, congrats on separating from your knobend XH and especially for finding someone lovely, taking it slow and keeping the needs of the dc paramount.

Whatever you decide, kids are very perceptive and it's best to be open with them about how you approach it with your ex, it will give them confidence to deal with what comes after. Your kids are old enough (IMO, depending on personality, maturity etc) to be involved in these deliberations, it won't hurt to say 'dad find this really tough for whatever reason' and 'I am thinking very carefully about what to tell dad and when' and support them through this bit. Hopefully you can all come up with a plan.

Good luck flowers

Ellisandra Sun 22-Jan-17 07:04:15

Ordinarily, I'd say not his business, don't tell him - but I can see your concern about the kids.

I would email him the same day you tell the kids, and make that the start of their block of time with you so he can blow his stupid steam off without them.

Don't make any reference to the previous supposed split. His assumption, you never told him. Don't make any apologies. Don't ask for him to behave himself as it will be red rag to a bull. He's already lied to people that it was an affair - a year later hmm The people you lost after that weren't worth keeping. The worst he can say to them is you're still with the same affair - which is simply not worse.

I would just email: "as a courtesy so you don't hear it via the kids, I'm letting you know that I told them about my boyfriend John today, which they were happy with".

Nothing more. Deal with any shit afterwards - don't try to pre-empt it.


BumDNC Sun 22-Jan-17 10:26:35

I asked this recently and overwhelming opinion was its none of his business whatsoever and I should not tell him and open it all up for him to grill the kids about it,carry on as we are, kids to meet him and they have no desire for him to know either

magentafrog Sun 22-Jan-17 12:11:05

Thanks everyone.

I agree BumDNC that it's none of his business. I will handle it perfectly well with the DCs. It's just that my DD has specifically said she would feel uncomfortable knowing I had a BF when her dad didn't know. She knows how he reacts to things he doesn't like and also she cares for him and would not want to be the cause (as she would see it) of his upset if she were to tell him. I wouldn't want to put her and her brother in the position of feeling they are keeping a secret. So, I see it as my responsibility to take that away from them.

Salty my DCs are both mature and my DD in particular is very emotionally intelligent and 'together'. I really like your idea of including them in deciding how we handle this. I've done this before but hadn't thought of it this time.

Ellisandra I think the timing idea is good, the only issue with email is that I think I'd rather know he knew than be waiting wondering if he'd read my email. Text seems a bit more immediate but still a similar issue. I think telling him face to face is slightly preferable because I'll know straight away what I'm dealing with and I don't want him to think I'm afraid of him. But, it is daunting.

But yes - no apologies, no detail, deal with the shit afterwards is a good philosophy.

Berthatydfil Sun 22-Jan-17 12:25:20

As others have said it's not any if his business if it doesn't impact on your parenting of your joint children.
With regard to your children I think they have been conditioned by him to believe he still has a right to know things about your life outside of issues that impact on your mutual parenting.
Can you try to explain to dd that it wouldn't be a "secret" and therefore keeping it from him wouldn't be bad, it is more like something he has no automatic right to know about like for (a bad ) example if you bought a motorbike it would/ might only be his business if you decided to take the children as pillion passengers or if you decided to go vegan but refused to buy/cook any animal products for the children to eat or wear etc, or if you got a new job or started a new hobby and got introduced to a new circle of friends.

happypoobum Sun 22-Jan-17 12:30:44

None of his business.

Agree with bertha you need to explain to DD that she can choose whether to mention it to XH or not, but you won't be held to account over it.

magentafrog Sun 22-Jan-17 12:42:20

That's an interesting point of view Berthatydfil.

I guess I have also been conditioned to an extent to believe the same. He insisted that I had no right to date anyone before we were divorced and formed the opinion that I had agreed to this (because I didn't want to have a row about it I didn't disagree - I just said nothing). He's the master of the assumptive close!

I do feel that by giving this issue head space I am still letting him control me to an extent. But then I want to protect my DCs - I'm conflicted.

Valentine2 Sun 22-Jan-17 12:44:59

If you feel it's essential to tell him yourself so he doesn't stress his own daughter, you are under his control. I don't think it's any of his business and I think it's about time you discuss it very openly with your daughter that if he finds out and goes mad, she should stand up to him and tell him he is being unreasonable. Otherwise the poor girl will grow up with this kind of emotional abuse from her own father.

AstrantiaMallow Sun 22-Jan-17 12:51:45

I very recently introduced my DCs to my bf, who I have seen for a while without them knowing. Very low key and it'll be like this for a while. I don't intend to tell my ex husband. He's abusive and I'm pretty sure will kick up a stink. Equally I don't think he has the right to know. He is no longer in my life, which he made miserable, and I don't owe him an explanation.
I think the fact your ex stalked your bf online and told lies about you means he'll twist whatever you will tell him and therefore I would say nothing.

magentafrog Sun 22-Jan-17 13:21:53

Yes, I can see that Valentine. My DD is actually far better at standing up for herself than I have been. I am proud of her for that and have learned a lot from her in that respect.

And I can see Astrantia how by telling him I am almost apologising for it. He does twist things and make up whole chunks of stuff that support his narrative, I think he actually believes it himself, it's the only way he can cope with the situation, by convincing himself and others that none of what's happened is his fault.

BumDNC Sun 22-Jan-17 15:48:44

On reflection I too felt that I should tell him but these points are all valid and he didn't tell me when his girlfriend moved in or was pregnant. I'm not gonna to tell him and tell the kids it's their choice what they say but it's not a dirty little secret and if he grills them about it I will intervene

magentafrog Sun 22-Jan-17 16:21:03

It's been really useful to get a variety of views on this. It's so easy to get wrapped up in your own perspective and I've had so many years of pandering to his moods and feelings that it's maybe even difficult to see that maybe I'm still doing it.

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