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need advice exP (and dad to DS) has split with GF

(13 Posts)
nobutts Thu 05-Sep-13 20:58:39

Hi, this is a WWYD. ExP has split with GF of 3 years she was OW, very young but also a v good Stepmum to DS. ExP and I are civil and always focussed on DS and he said we will discuss before he tells DS. So what do I do? DS and SM have a relationship and I feel it would be weird if she just dissappeared (for DS i mean).. any ideas on to break it? should I make a point of allowing contact still with SM? if EXp doesnt want that should I do it anyway? any advice appreciated

NotYoMomma Thu 05-Sep-13 21:36:24

how would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot, if you broke up with someone and your ex kept up contact with him despite your wishes.

what if he gets another girlfriend? it will just make things more complicated surely for him and her?

I wouldnt get involved

eslteacher Thu 05-Sep-13 21:46:10

Do you know if your ex's girlfriend has asked to keep seeing your DS? That would be the first thing to find out. If she wants to make a complete break and your ex does too, there's nothing you can really do about it.

needaholidaynow Thu 05-Sep-13 21:59:35

NotYoMamma has made a good point- what if he meets another partner? And then what if he splits with that one, and then another? There'll be numerous stepmums in his life and that wouldn't be good at all for him.

This is something you cannot force. Like riverboat said, if she wants a complete break from your ex, she may not want to carry on the relationship with your DS.

And do bear in mind, that depending on how they split, she may well want to stay away. If they don't have any children together of their own then she might not see any reason to stay in contact. Even if she did stay in contact with your DS, there will possibly come a time where new commitments will come along and she will no longer see your DS as a priority in her life. It does sound awful that, but it's a reality so be prepared for it.

brdgrl Thu 05-Sep-13 22:00:14

I agree with riverboat - before you can decide anything, it would be good to know what the SM wishes/intends. Also, what does your ex want? Was it an acrimonious breakup? How old is your DS? Does he love SM?
I don't think there is any simple yes/no answer to this, frankly, surely it depends so much on what the relationship between your DS and the SM was like.
I know that if things ended between DH and I, I'd want to keep a relationship with the kids, they are my family, after all. And I think DH would be sensible enough to do what was best for the kids, even if it made things a bit awkward for him.

brdgrl Thu 05-Sep-13 22:04:40

Yes, but...
The SM is not just someone the dad dated briefly, but a part of the kid's life for three years. Living in the home and involved with DS, I assume, based on the OP saying she was a good Stepmum. I think it's a bit dismissive of the relationship a child can develop with someone over three years, actually, to suggest that she'd just be one in a string of women.
It isn't good for a child to see someone that has meant a lot to him just walk out of his life, either. If I left my DH, one of my biggest worries would be the kids, and them feeling that they'd been abandoned, or lost another relative, or feeling guilty that they'd been part of it...really, many of the same issues facing kids when it is their parents splitting up, at least potentially.

nobutts Thu 05-Sep-13 22:14:56

I take all your points and understand what you're saying, thank you, you've really got me thinking... some things I know are: DS loves SM, SM loves DS..i wouldn't imagine she could stay as a significant part of his life (she did all childcare at theirs and facilitated EXH to have the ample contact he has) but I feel that knowing she hasn't dissappeared off the earth and maybe is a 'friend' over the years would probably be best..i am of course guessing.. DS is 7 so I need to hear what his thoughts are.
If the show was on the other foot and EXH insisted on maintaining contact with SD after a split if I didn't want it..i would think I was probably being an idiot putting my needs above DS's unless SD was abusive or a bad influence.
I guess the issue is I don;t trust exh to put DS needs first in the instance of contact..i know him very well. But I also want to hear his rationale (and maybe he will support the relationship..who knows). I think I have a lot of context to get sorted before I react .

How can I minimise DS's sadness though i wonder.

purpleroses Fri 06-Sep-13 07:38:09

I think you can make it clear to the SM that you'd be happy to facilitate her keeping in touch with DS if she wants and suggest how this might happen - eg she could call round and take him to the park or come round for tea or whatever you're up for.

Then it's kind of up to her (and your ex) how things go. She might keep in touch though as she's v young her life could move on in other ways.

Just lots of reassurance for DS. Maybe a playdate for the weekend - as much as you can that's normal and not changing for him. He will cope. Children who have nannies see them leaving all the time and they cope. One of my DD's friends was telling DD the other day about her 5 different SMs over the last 10 years and which ones she liked best....

StillSlightlyCrumpled Fri 06-Sep-13 16:04:05

Brdgirl has a good point. If DH & I split up or something happened to him I couldn't imagine not staying in touch with his children. We have been together for a lot longer but I would have felt the same after 3 years.

It can't be good for a child to suddenly lose contact with someone they love. Even if you arrange some contact etc & it gradually fizzles out as he gets older then at least it dies a natural death iyswim.

You sound fab btw smile.

nobutts Fri 06-Sep-13 22:39:17

Thanks for the advice. I'll speak do exh to sound out how they feel they've left it and in a short time reach out to exSM and explain that should she want to be a kind of friendly face over time then I'll be happy to help that happen..I think it can only be good for Ds not to have a sudden loss so to speak.
And then I guess I can only emphasis how much exh, me and SD love him. And reassure that SD isn't going anywhere. Just hate the thought of him feeling sad. He's had to deal with so much more emotional stuff than i ever did at 7.

daisychain01 Sun 08-Sep-13 06:19:52

Nobutts, you are doing a brilliant thing by being sensitive to your DS's needs and acknowledging the role his SM has had in his life. There are some complexities which other posters here have astutely picked up re any future relationship your XP might have, as it might cause tension if any new person in his life were to be unsupportive of your DS having contact with his SM. They may not place the same priority over the situation as you are.

It is a difficult one. Perhaps the best approach at this stage, with you and his DF remaining the 'constant' rock in DSs life, is to handle the immediacy of the situation on a day to day basis, answering any questions DS may have in an age-appropriate way. It does shake that little person's world when someone close to them effectively disappears, without them understanding why. Importantly, just like a marriage breakdown, he needs to know that it isnt his 'fault' as children do sometimes feel that. Unfortunately, it may open a can-of-worms to get too involved in the SM contact situation, but you have magnanimous intent so that is far better than minimising her role and making DS feel he cannot mention his feelings towards his SM to you.

My DSS's mother, I am sad to say, would have done nothing to further any relationship or contact with my DSS, were my DP and I to split up during the early years of our relationship and bonding process as a family she would have been doing a 'happy dance' Thankfully we have ridden out the storm and fought to remain a strong family unit, DSS is much older now and our relationship is so much part of life, he is more autonomous and his mother's ongoing negativity is something he is adept at handling tactfully in his own way.

Had we split up, she would have done the reverse of what you are doing, so I admire your magnanimous approach as regards keeping an open mind and not being against future contact, if things work out that way. Your DS will be the richer for that.

nobutts Sun 08-Sep-13 21:32:07

Daisy thank you. So nice to hear from another perspective and thanks for your words. Exh appears pitiful and hasn't told DS yet although her absence was the first 'announcement' made on his return this wknd...sounds brutal but I need exh to suck it up and ( though obviously its OK to be sad in front of D's) demonstrate that he's fine and still that 'constant' that you talk about Daisy. You are of course right about future partners of exh and that's why the 'friendly face' type of contact is best...although tbf theyll need to simply accept whatever situation they come in to.

daisychain01 Mon 09-Sep-13 08:52:56

The sad fact is that we none of us have the control over situations such as you describe, nobutts, and all you can do is to mitigate as best you can, which is what you are doing.

Unfortunately, your DS is seeing first-hand, that adults do split up and people can disappear from our lives. What he will experience is the supportive relationships around him, people who love him, and this will become his reference point from which to become a strong and emotionally sound adult.

As a child, I experienced what they used to call "a broken home" and I never remember anything ever being explained to me, so it was awful, painful and confusing. Thankfully, adversity made me strong and tough (but thats only a 'front' grin. The big difference these days is the received wisdom that it can make a big difference if you give helpful explanations and support to the child according to how they feel at any given time (after all, it is all about "the immediate". at that age).

I agree, it is critical for your exH to put on a brave face, and to 'frame the situation' from DSs perspective and yes, you said it, suck it up. He is the adult, and thats what happens in adult relationships, but DS is still a child so the focus ought to be on his needs first. But, I recognise thats easy for me to say, I am sorry I dont want to be harsh to your ex's situation, it was a long term relationship. Hope things pan out OK for you all.

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