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EXH holidays/weekends with kids and OW

(53 Posts)
Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 11:39:35

First time poster here but have gained quite a lot of comfort and advice from reading others.

I’ve been separated 3 years, but divorced just a few months after a horrific acrimonious divorce, financial and child side. Relieved things are now sorted and I can get back on my feet but it’s been an emotional rollercoaster for me as I was totally blindsided.

Ex has played to the script; the “I’m unhappy” totally out of the blue after 20 years = affair with a known friend that he tried to hide and lied about since - to the solicitors, to everyone, despite leaving a financial trail to her house the week after he left and had to disclose a holiday with his “friend” during court proceedings because I had to cover his childcare duties. OW was a family friend and her partner at the time (also my friend) confirmed their affair early on. Point blank refused to agree to a divorce based on adultery and pushed for all his financial needs based on him being single.

OW has been “hidden” from the children until the divorce came through so I’ve not had to deal with this side until now that she has miraculously appeared. He’s since taken the children to the OW’s parents home, taken them on Summer holidays with the OW and her family.

I am fully expecting him to buy a property with the OW too. Both are high earners.

Not once has he admitted what he’s done (to this day or admitted he’s in a relationship) and been utterly horrific to me since the day he left. Like he’d been wearing a mask for 20 years and i don’t recognise him at all. He came from very (very!) modest background and me and my family have helped him get to where he is today (we even got him his job!). I lost my shine to him I suppose becoming a mum and freelance - OW is in a suited job he admires and I thinks he sees her and her family as the next rung up the social ladder.

I’ve had to swallow A LOT but have come to accept the situation, and try and be thankful for what I have although I’m in a much worse position financially etc.

The issue i’m struggling with is the children 5 & 8 who I’ve kept such a brave face on for. Not once have i bad mouthed Exh and OW to them and appeared happy to hear about their weekends away with their dad (and now the OW). I’m some ways I’m happy the children are having a good time and they don’t need to worry about sharing their experiences with me. I’m happy they are safe and looked after. I want to put their emotional needs before mine.

But my god it STINGS. I’ve just been told he’s taking them away for Christmas. It floors me every time I hear it.

Of course he’s only able to do this as he’s piggybacking onto her family’s wealth, but the fact she is the OW (and known to me) and they seem to have got everything they wanted. She admitted years ago she had a thing for him. The betrayal is off the chart.

She can have my scummy ExH (you don't know a person until you divorce them!) but I’m finding it so hard to accept their happy family weekends and holidays, like I’m being replaced or what i have to offer won’t be enough or can compete with.

How do i cope with this now and what seems like the next 10 years of coparenting?

Sorry for the long post.

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Jsku Mon 05-Oct-20 11:53:46

Op - the only way to cope and deal with it is focusing on your life and your future.
Looking back and dwelling on it won’t help you. It’s not easy to do - but there isn’t really a choice. It’s not a way to live - it’s been 3 years already, and not living in bitterness for 10 more years is the best thing you can fo for yourself.
Have you tried counselling? It sounds like something you may need to help you start getting out of this.

Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 11:59:34

Oh I totally know that has to be the way @jsku and yes i had counselling at the beginning which helped and helped me understand my exH traits as to how & why he left.

And i've been doing well. I have a good, full life.

I suppose because i've been lied to for 3 years and this new phase of introducing the OW to the children and their new involvement with her is recent it feels it is something new i have to deal with and find a way of coping.

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Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:00:38

I'm sure it is something many have had to do and can offer some guidance and help.

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SBTLove Mon 05-Oct-20 12:01:34

It’s been 3 years, stop calling her OW, stop wasting energy on that anger.
My DPs ex won’t even allow his kids to speak to me (I’m not OW) don’t be bitter it’s horrible.
You’ll meet someone else and want your DC to accept them and also be glad he does plenty with them and enjoy your free time.

MyCatHatesEverybody Mon 05-Oct-20 12:04:23

I very much doubt the OW will be truly enjoying the "happy families" weekends and holidays, it can be tough enough with your own kids let alone someone else's! You'll be seeing the Facebook version of their lives, not what it's really like.

It's a cliche but time will heal a lot, if you let it.

workshy44 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:05:51

I don't blame you for feeling this way, it must be a bitter pill to swallow. The only thing I will say is I know someone in your position who 13 years later is still as bitter as the day he left. It has totally ruined her life. She was actually young enough at the time so could have started again but choose not to really and her sole focus and energy seemed to go into hating them. I totally understand this, I think moving on is easier said than done especially when they have seemed to get everything they want and get off scot free. But as they say, a life well lived is the best revenge and I really do think it is. I try to not focus on things I can't change and it has helped me.. nothing will change the unfairness of it all but learning to accept it and move on will make a immeasurable difference to your life

Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:11:40

@workshy44 bitterness is my biggest fear! It's absolutely not what i want and have managed to cope with a lot. The long post was just a bit of back story. Living well has helped. It's just this next hurdle. The kids have been spending time with their father without the emotional issues (for me) of the GF being involved. Had it been a woman not involved in the divorce i'm sure would be difficult but her being the OW and the lies around it does make it harder.

I try and focus on the fact the children are happy, they are loved, safe...but yet...OUCH. It hurts.

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Jsku Mon 05-Oct-20 12:13:40

OP - I am sorry. There is no way around this new phase being difficult. And - if you had counselling before - think about coming back to it? By the sound of your post and rawness of them - you may benefit.

But - maybe in parallel - just try to think if it as something that happened three years ago, not now. You said it yourself - you knew he had the affair. The woman’s partner confirmed it early on. Your Ex hasn’t admitted it then, and he won’t. Fighting it, or expecting to have some sort of apology from him isn’t going to happen, no matter how much you want it to happen.

I am sorry about your long divorce - these things are draining and it’s good you have finally come out in the other side. You seem to think that his (non)admission of affair had some impact on the settlement you received. However - it’s not the case here in the U.K. - or are you somewhere where laws are different?

Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:14:48

@SBTLove that sounds awful. Irrespective of how relationships are formed I don't agree the children should be used like that. i'd rather the children felt happy to speak freely. It's not their fault at all.

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justilou1 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:18:21

God, I hope you have a massive lottery win. Stories like your ex and ow are so cliche and painful. The fallout is always the same. You deserve so much more.

Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:19:04

@Jsku yes i'm on the waiting list for more. I figured out the affair early on, the abrupt change in behaviour was a clear sign it was hard but through the work i've done on myself I do believe i have put most of that to bed. It's just as it's been so contained from the children, now it is all open it has shifted again and given me a different set of problems i have to try and cope with.

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Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:21:26

@justilou1 ha thank you! maybe i'll do my numbers wink. I find comfort, oddly, that this is such a typical case. Some of the stories on here put hairs on your chest.

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3rdNamechange Mon 05-Oct-20 12:24:23

The thing is , despite all his lies , you all know she was the OW. They will find out the grass isn't always greener. Once a cheat always a cheat, she might find herself in your shoes one day. Morally , you're better than them.
Still hard though thanks

Jsku Mon 05-Oct-20 12:24:37

My kids have recently met my Ex’s new GF, and her kids. No affairs were involved.
And my relationship with him was dead for a long and I initiated the divorce.
And yet - it’s still a worry. This is what we do as mothers - worry. What if our kids would somehow be affected.
However - they seem to be totally OK. And so far, so good.

Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:28:58

@3rdNamechange Well indeed. he hasn't had a clean slate those 20 years either. Just a bit of a selfish man. She has had a similar path too. maybe well suited and takes two horrors off the market!

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Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 12:30:50

@Jsku yes i think it would still bring up unpleasant feelings irrespective of the hows and whys. it's just far muckier when they've been involved. But yes, i think they install worry to all new mothers at the maternity ward!

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Whitehorsewaves Mon 05-Oct-20 12:36:40

Start focusing on you. What position are you in now? where do you want to be in 10 years? Set out goals step by step of what you can achieve and celebrate each win. Emmerse yourself in carving out your own future, the more you absorb yourself in that the less they get to live in your mind rent free.

Think of it this way. One day your children will know what happened and will ask how you coped. Think about the story you will tell them and the amazing role model you can be. This may happen to them and they will look back and think what did mum do?

I have a step mum who started off as the other woman. For a long time things seemed happy and positive on the surface, everyone tried to get a long for the sake of the kids. But believe me since having my own kids I look at her and my dad in a very different way now. Sad to say I don't really like her very much or what he did and I don't have much respect for them. I made my own mind up as will your kids.

cheeseismydownfall Mon 05-Oct-20 12:41:20

Christ, OP, what an absolute pair of gaslighting shits. My heart goes out to you, it really does. I can't think of anything very helpful to say other than I'm not surprised you feel the way you do, and you are obviously being very strong for your children and deserve good things to come your way. I hope karma comes back to bite them.

In the meantime, remember that the unselfish love you are giving your children is something that your Ex will never, ever be able to match, or even understand the value of. But I am certain your children will.

MrsStrike Mon 05-Oct-20 12:41:33

don’t be bitter it’s horrible
See I find that sort of comment annoying, Anybody would be bitter in this scenario and OP has every right to be.
Venting on MN is a good idea OP. You must be furious often, I would be. He's let you down massively.
At the moment it seems like they are the 'winners' but that will change as time goes on.
They say the best revenge is to live well. Try to book in nice things for when the dcs are away - put your feet up with a good movie/book, pamper yourself, visit friends or go on a little trip if you can.
Basically, nurture and love yourself. Your conscience is clear and you haven't betrayed anyone.
In time, your dcs will come to see things for what they are, and I'd say that's less than 10 years, one will be a teenager in 5 years.
She's got no prize because he's not a decent man.
You sound like a lovely person. Best of luck OP flowers

FedUpAtHomeTroels Mon 05-Oct-20 12:47:22

I’ve just been told he’s taking them away for Christmas. It floors me every time I hear it

So you won't see your kids this Christmas? Have you agreed to this or is he Riding roughshod over you and your plans?

FrenchBoule Mon 05-Oct-20 12:47:52

OP, so sorry you’ve been treated this way, double betrayal from 2 people you considered to be close allies.

It is shit.

I haven’t been in your exact situation.

Try to extricate your life from them as much as you can. No mutual friends on SM (as they will pop up), contact only indirect- (anybody to help you with DC handover?) and only written contact with ExH only about the kids (email and messages).

Have you got court order for contact? I would recommend it so he doesn’t try having them every Christmas just to get back at you.

Anything to lessen their presence in your life.

Grey rock.

Get the counselling if you can. You will never get the closure why/how they’ve done it to you, they will never admit their shitty treatment of you.

It will be hard but aim for getting indifference to them and move on. You can’t change the past or their behaviour,only the way you react to it.

Flittingaboutagain Mon 05-Oct-20 12:52:55

OP there is nothing wrong with calling her whatever you want on mumsnet!

Venting is good for the soul as long as it is interspersed with practical future focused energy too. I would say that the anger you feel is maybe hiding the deep pain and hurt of betrayal and that you need further support to heal your pain. Also, regardless of it being years since the split, it is often only once divorced people can truly move forward...baby steps.

cheeseismydownfall Mon 05-Oct-20 12:57:21

Also, I'm not sure I completely agree with what seems to be the received wisdom of never, ever criticising the ex. Obviously parents should never offload complex, adult emotions on to their children (I was on the receiving end of that), but I think taking it to the opposite extreme isn't healthy or honest, and may leave children even more confused. Your children are probably still at the age they should be fully 'protected', but it isn't long before the elder one will start to become aware of the fact that adults behave badly.

Personally, I think children should be made aware of at least the bare bones of the facts about affairs, failure to pay child maintenance etc, so they can draw their own conclusions. The trick is to keep emotions out of it, so they don't feel the burden of emotional responsibility towards the badly treated parent. But given that their father has behaved so badly, it hardly seems likely that he will be returning the favour of respectful behaviour, and in your situation I'd want my own opportunity to "control the narrative", as it were.

Cherrypie80 Mon 05-Oct-20 13:01:03

@whitehorsewaves Yes i focus on gratitude a lot. I have a home, interests, a job i love, my kids are BRILLIANT (we’ll overlook the 15% when they are being typical imps) and i have a lovely, kind man on my arm. I’m on the right path to carving out me new life. Yes the financial side is harder and the juggle is real on my own but things are manageable.

Sadly, I think you are right. Children grow and they will know eventually. I just hope I find a way of coping well enough and maintaining a cheery attitude to their weekends away and they look back and know I did the right thing by them by protecting them. My teeth are very gritted at times though and i do have to have a "that's nice darlings, I've just got to check on something in the kitchen" (Silent scream)

@cheeseismydownfall gaslighting should be against the law. It’s horrific and exactly what it has been. Thank you and your unselfish love sentence is exactly what i need to maintain.

@mrsstrike being bitter is horrible. But trying not to be asks a lot of a human once they’ve had something like this “done” to them. I’m mostly ok but catch myself fuming at times which then makes me angry at myself. Such an irritating cycle - Resentmentis like swallowingpoisonand expecting the other person to die and all. But really is easier said than done!

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