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Help me answer a text from my ex

(220 Posts)
southernharp Thu 02-Nov-17 04:49:38

My ex h left about 18 months ago. It then transpired that he had an OW. Same old, same old script. She was a casual friend of mine and his work colleague. I detest them both for all the deceit and for their casual treatment of me after a 25 year relationship. She doesn’tt even have the good grace to look even remotely sheepish if I see her and looks at me with utter distain.

He wants to take the kids away for 10 days in January on a multi day river kayaking trip. My kids are 11 year old twins. This will involve a significant journey there and back, requiring en route stays in hotels, motels, whatever. She will be going too. It makes me feel physically sick to think of her sharing a room with my kids, eating dinner with them every evening, having breakfast with them every morning, sharing a kayak with one of them, basically acting like she is their Mum. It feels like she came to my home as a friend, looked at my life and thought “that’s what I want”.

I know that I can’t outright refuse the trip and. I have to let them go. I have been stalling and largely ignoring his hectoring texts but I will need to give an answer at some point. I am so reluctant to say that’s fine, as I am not at all fine with it. I don’t want him to be any under any illusion that I am cool with this and that I condone his relationship with this woman. Can anyone help me word a text in reply?

Supermagicsmile Thu 02-Nov-17 04:55:02

Just tell him the school won't authorize the time off so they cannot go. Speak to the school if you have to and explain, they might right a letter to you refusing it and you could send a pic of said letter to exdp.

southernharp Thu 02-Nov-17 05:10:23

Sorry I haven’t been clear. I am in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the school holidays.

Annoyed5678 Thu 02-Nov-17 05:10:34

You have to put your children first, you have issue with this woman I'm sure they don't. It sounds like a lovely adventure for them to go on she isn't trying to replace you at all but as long as she's nice to the children all that matters. This is about what your children want not you, him or her

HollyBollyBooBoo Thu 02-Nov-17 05:20:15

I’d answer it in the most pleasant way possible, it’s all about the kids not your feelings.

So keep the text practical, who’s picking them up, when, what to pack etc.

Don’t let him know he still has the power to provoke any negative feelings in you.

Skittlesandbeer Thu 02-Nov-17 05:20:57

I really feel for you- it’s kept me from splitting with my partner a couple of times, my worst fear. I just know I have the worst possible personality type for this situation, even though it’s hardly likely anyone would be fine with it.

I suspect you know you’ll just have to go along with it, but you should start building some strategies for yourself. I’d need counselling, something fun booked, a clear commitment of how/when I was going to talk to the kids, water safety rules, etc.

That’s the mature, adulting side of me.

The other side would invent an elaborate lie regarding parent/teacher conferences and the need to book one twin into intensive summer school that clashed with dates. Can’t really take one and not the other, right? Plus the kayaks would be unbalanced. I’d also fake being quite put out, because I’d booked a Bali break with my new Tinder friend for the same period. But that’s just me!

Changedname3456 Thu 02-Nov-17 05:24:16

I’m not surprised he’s now “hectoring” you if you’re ignoring what was originally a perfectly reasonable request.

Yes it hurts (try being in a situation where OM moves himself into the FMH - before finances are settled! - and proceeds to see your kids as frequently as you do) but you have to grow up, grit your teeth and get on with coparenting.

As PP said, this isn’t about you. If the kids will be safe you don’t have a valid objection. Answer his text with a simple “yes” and then stop thinking about the betrayal, which is also very hard, but it’s doing you no good to keep thinking about it. Consider getting some counselling to help you process the grief and anger.

KarmaNoMore Thu 02-Nov-17 05:25:07

Don't drag your feet on this and send the reply as soon as possible. The longer you stall, the more the animosity, which would be ok if you had no children, but once you have split, the best thing you can do for your children is to ensure you can talk to the other parent and discuss things related to children in a reasonable way. Even when you feel, rightly, like the offended party.

One thing I can assure you is that nobody else is going to become "mum", that's you and no one else. When kids are very young, they can take a new partner as a secondary parent but being 11 years old, I can assure you they will see her just as a friend of their dad, not a mother replacement.

It is incredibly difficult, but sometimes you just need to let go flowers

southernharp Thu 02-Nov-17 05:46:07

Ffs I have already said that I know that I have to go along with it. And I don’t need a lecture either. But I am not sending some pleasant friendly reply as if I like the cheating fucker. Nor do I need to be told to grow up. I’m not posting in AIBU. I just wanted advise on wording a suitably icy text giving him permission despite my feelings.

DoubleRamsey Thu 02-Nov-17 05:49:59

Controversial but I would say no, do they even want to go? Genuinely? How would they have handled split?

Personally I would have rather stayed in a tent with my mum than a dream holiday with dad and ow who blew up my family 18 months ago. I would have felt unbelievable loyalty to my mum. I would have felt guilty and conflicted the whole time. Especially if this is the first holiday without my mum, and OW 'being mum' at that age. I know what I was like at 11, I would have gone all 'parent trap' on the ow and made her life miserable.

Tbh it sounds like you all need more time to heal a bit. And if he really really wants to take them on holiday he can leave the ow at home.

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 02-Nov-17 05:51:27

Before you answer, do the twins want to go?

southernharp Thu 02-Nov-17 05:53:41

They don’t know if they want to go. And I don’t want to ask them again and put them in a tricky spot. I have suggested that he takes them alone but he is absolutely opposed to this I would be more than happy for them to go alone.

RainyApril Thu 02-Nov-17 05:57:21

I have been in your exact situation op, and it still hurts now despite being several years further on than you.

I can completely understand that you are still devastated by the betrayal, by seeing this awful woman stepping into the role of stepmother and to know that she will be making wonderful memories with your dc.

But you know that you have to let them go, both legally and morally, and they do not sound the types to be sympathetic, or to feel guilt, about your distress.

Consequently I think you have to pretend that you are completely indifferent. Do not give them the satisfaction of knowing that they have upset you. Do not make your dc feel guilt for wanting to go on a fantastic holiday with their dad. Fake it until you make it.

You will annoy ow more by being reasonable, successfully co-parenting and having your dc spend the holiday saying lovely things about you than by sending a stroppy email that confirms whatever skewed view she has of you.

Send something like 'Sorry for the delay in replying. That sounds like a fabulous adventure and I'm sure they'll love it. What day will you be collecting them, and please let me have a packing list'. Then go and book some lovely things for yourself because you will need to be busy.

Notevilstepmother Thu 02-Nov-17 06:04:57

Maybe you need to meet him somewhere neutral and discuss this.

This doesn't sound like the best holiday for them to do with dad's new partner because there is no escape on a trip like this, if they aren't getting on they are stuck in a boat together all day.

I can't imagine it being much fun for her if that's any consolation.

In any case, she isn't their mum you are. A holiday won't change that.

rizlett Thu 02-Nov-17 06:08:00

Put your amour on op as you might not like my post as I don't feel anyone has given you a 'lecture' op. I thought everyone had given really good advice.

Are you using your dc in this situation to 'hurt' or 'get to' your ex? This will be a great adventure for them - of course it's hard that you will not be there in person but they will not be able to wait to come back and tell you what fun they had - without you showing your negative feelings. I know this is hard but it's what your dc need.

Holding onto anger and hostility honestly wears you out and may stop you being the warm and wonderful mum you really are. This will impact on your dc too.

Forgiveness is all about letting go of the hurt - please forgive yourself and begin to move on. There is no need for you to keep yourself in this place of pain. Consider reading 'From stress to stillness'. Set yourself and your dc free.

Charolais Thu 02-Nov-17 06:08:40

I would be beyond angry at this. This is what I’d do;

I’d tell him my nerves are shattered since he tore my family apart and I can't stand the thought of my 11 children taking part in a dangerous sport. I’d tell him I couldn’t eat or sleep with them so far away from me for so long. If he kept it up I’d whisper in his ear that if he didn’t back off I’d tell the children what he and his bit-on-the-side fancy-lady did to their family.

Some times you have to act unreasonable to unreasonable people. It’s all they understand.

FV45 Thu 02-Nov-17 06:21:53

If this is about the kids then you can get a court order in place stating he can't take them. I have one stating my ex cannot take our 8 yo to India.

If this is about you then it's more tricky I'm afraid.

I have a mental post-it note in my head saying "put DS first". It helps me to keep things black and white when I am simmering with resentment, upset and anger. Your children will thank you in time for putting their needs first.

OhWhatFuckeryIsThisNow Thu 02-Nov-17 06:27:45

How about saying "The delay is because the boys are undecided whether they want to go away with you. Personally, I think pressuring them would not be a good thing. I have left the decision entirely with them. If they do choose to go with you and that effing bitch please give me a list of things they need. hope you both break your legs a week before

OnTheRise Thu 02-Nov-17 06:28:32

That's terrible advice, Charolais.

OP, I don't blame you for not wanting this but so long as your children want to go you have to allow it and with good grace, too. It's the right thing to do, and yes, it will be horrible for you but you can do it, and it will be ok.

I'm so sorry you've been so betrayed. I hope things improve for you soon.

swapsicles Thu 02-Nov-17 06:29:13

Tell the truth, tell him that the kids are still unsure and that's why you haven't replied yet. Hopefully his reply with either give you some reassurance or maybe rejig his plans so that the twins are happier going along in the trip.

pictish Thu 02-Nov-17 06:30:53

Charolais that is terrible advice! OP if you want to have a hellish feud surrounding your own needs that your children are pulled in all directions in the middle of, follow it.

If you would rather not issue petty threats and make clear your neediness while your kids remain unscathed I would reply, "Fine. Send me the details." and nothing more. That's icy.

There is nothing you can do about it as you say...so keep your replies factual and as brief as possible. Don't reveal yourself to them whatsoever...the bloody woman will thrive on it and you don't want her to have the satisfaction.

RainyApril Thu 02-Nov-17 06:31:29

I don't think the posts telling op to let go of her anger, or to find forgiveness in her heart are particularly helpful. Both of those things are a process, largely brought about by time, and can't be genuinely done through force of will. I'm sure she's already aware, and doing what she can to achieve personal happiness but it is still early days.

And she has said several times that she will let them go. She is putting dc first. We've had no indication whatsoever that they're even aware of her misgivings.

Angelf1sh Thu 02-Nov-17 06:32:36

If your kids are telling you that they don’t know if they want to go, I’d assume that this means that they definitely do want to go but they feel guilty telling you that because they know it will upset you.

So, you’ve said you know they have to go and you just want an icy reply. TBH, I’d have thought “yes” and nothing more was pretty icy. He’ll be expecting something semi-abusive/passive-agressive Back too. Just yes shows that you really have nothing to say to him and he’s not worth your time. I know you want to say something deeply cutting about the OW and show how much pain they’ve caused but he won’t be hurt by that and nor will she, they’ll just laugh at you together. I’d avoid that possibility if I were you.

Good luck op and definitely book something fun for yourself whilst they’re away, even if it’s just cinema tickets.

windowSong Thu 02-Nov-17 06:33:38

You’re doing the right thing in letting them go OP. I highly recommend starting some good counselling - I think it will really help with the strong negative feelings that you’re having.x

DaemonPantalaemon Thu 02-Nov-17 06:34:35

I’d tell him my nerves are shattered since he tore my family apart and I can't stand the thought of my 11 children taking part in a dangerous sport. I’d tell him I couldn’t eat or sleep with them so far away from me for so long. If he kept it up I’d whisper in his ear that if he didn’t back off I’d tell the children what he and his bit-on-the-side fancy-lady did to their family

If you do follow this simply dreadful advice OP, please make sure your children have a very good therapist or child psychologist. They will need one.

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