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ExH splitting from his wife

(12 Posts)
chocoraisin Sun 26-Jun-16 19:36:57

Hi, not sure if this is the best place to post. My ex left me while I was pregnant, to be with his new wife. Our eldest DC was 17months then, so we have 2DC together. Since our split 4.5 years ago he went on to marry the OW and they now also have a child, 18months old, together.

It was (unsurprisingly) not a happy split and challenging at the time. But despite that I have always encouraged our DC to have a positive relationship with their dad and his new wife, who they call their step mum - they have never known anything different and have uncomplicated love and affection for their dad and his family. Frankly that is largely as a result of bloody hard work at my end, keeping their wellbeing in mind.

For the record I'm glad that my kids love their step mum and their brother, and don't know the reasons for my relationship ending with their dad. For context, I've since met and become engaged to my DF, and harbour no secret affection for my ex. I gave up wasting energy on resenting him and his wife a long time ago too.

So I'm just looking for advice really. After all that we've been through to get to this point, he told me last week that his wife is leaving him and moving away with their baby. He didn't give me any reason (and I haven't asked). He announced by email he now plans to relocate to live much closer to me (now over an hour away) and wants to spend more time with our children instead. Frankly he seems pretty cheerful about the whole situation which makes me very uncomfortable. He seems to assume that our children will fill the gap now his new wife and other child won't be around. Never mind if it disrupts their lives, or that they may have some grief/sadness/struggle over losing contact with their SM and DB.

He's not telling our DC about the split for another month or so (they are 4 and 6 this month). When he does tell them, it will be a fait accompli that their step mum will no longer see them, and he will move out of the house they have been visiting for a year to live with his mum (their DGM). He doesn't seem to think our children need any preparation or explanation or opportunity to say goodbye to their SM or brother.

Has anyone been through this or similar? I don't know what to do to support the DC. They will be devastated. It's not my place to tell them but I will inevitably pick up the pieces.

Potatopie3 Sun 26-Jun-16 21:01:21

I've not been through this, but it is a bit 'yuk' - I'd feel very cynical if I were you. Not much you can do, except be cautious about giving loads more contact to your Ex just to fill in the gaps. Try and keep things the same as they have been, you know your children need stability and security, even if he doesn't.

justbogoff Sun 26-Jun-16 21:06:16

Oh your poor kids.
I know it mustn't be easy, but could you keep the lines of communication open with their stepmum?
If not then they are young and will forget her.

throwingpebbles Sun 26-Jun-16 21:13:48

Could you ease the path for them by finding ways for them to stay in touch with their brother and step mum?

TwentyCupsOfTea Sun 26-Jun-16 21:24:56

Can you talk to the step mother? Your children are siblings, and if the two of you could arrange for them to see each other - without their father there if easier - that would be good for them I think.

It might seem odd to envisage yourself and this woman meeting with your kids but you do have a common interest in them. I know of women whose children are half siblings in the same class at school and the father is absent from all their lives. They arrange play dates frequently so the kids have a brother-sister relationship, not just classmate one.

I also know of a girl who went through her entire school life not knowing that a boy in her year was her half brother. They found out at age 16, and as adults resent their parents for not facilitating a relationship for them.

Obviously if this woman is moving neither of these scenarios will be yours, but there are ways to keep their siblings in their lives in unconventional ways.

chocoraisin Sun 26-Jun-16 21:41:41

I have zero contact with her (remember she was OW when I was pregnant). I cannot form a friendship with her. She also lives in another city now, and is relocating I don't know where. I get your point about facilitating the kids relationship but it's not possible - not for either of us - to go there.

I think I need to hold the line with contact and keep their lives normal in every other respect. I just don't know how to explain this to them. I'm also worried they will lose faith in me and their step-dad getting married next summer, as they know I used to be married to their dad, he then re-married, and now that has ended too. I can see my eldest especially getting very anxious about people leaving him again (he suffered with anxiety for ages and has only just recently been on an even keel).

It's just shit frankly.

newname99 Tue 28-Jun-16 11:03:35

I remember your posts at the time! Life does have so many twists and turns doesn't it.

This has happened to my dsd, she was older however and I thinks that makes a difference.It's actually harder as conflict was very evident to her.

Firstly whatever your ex says won't be the whole truth, he's likely to be in 'spin' mode.Secondly there is likely to be hostility with his 2nd wife so he maybe painting the worse picture.Actually I would encourage him to reflect and not make rash decisions about moving.He seems impulsive.

As your boys are young it's helpful and you and your ex can provide stability.Whilst they may feel close to step mum she is (as I am) a bonus adult and children can accept change.Could you make your sons school aware of it so that they can handle any issues? I suspect over time their half sibling will be around, maybe for holidays rather than regular weekends.Its a shame for them but children do cope.

We flagged it to dsd's school and they kept an eye on her.

At the time of the 2nd divorce it was as if a bomb had exploded in Dsd life, however it has settled down, she has got through it and we regulaly offer counseling.The conflict rather than the separation is what is distressing to her.Her mum storms with her 3rd husband and she fears that more than another divorce.

One thing to mention the 2nd divorce and new bf meant the ex through out all of our stable court defined arrangements so that it suited her new life.This was stressful to dsd and us.Hooefully your ex won't be such an idiot to muck up arrangements

timbershakes Thu 30-Jun-16 20:55:52

If I was you, I'd be asking myself in an ideal world how would I want the children's father to be handling this situation? Then I would look at what I could do to try and help him achieve this. All the time remembering he's likely to over sensitive and emotional right now, due to his marriage ending.

Is it possible your ex and his wife have discussed a way to manage the children's emotions about the split and have come up with a plan to phase out her contact with them? Maybe he feels unable to talk about with you, as clearly her presence in their lives may not have been welcomed by you.

I don't think you have anything to lose by having a chat to him about it. Either, he will have considered it and you'll be reassured by his answer, or, you'll highlight it to him and you can come up with a plan together?

chocoraisin Fri 01-Jul-16 10:34:04

Thanks for your replies newname and timbershakes. I think ex seems to be fine right now, but I will ask him today at pick up (before the kids are with him he gets their bag from my house) what plans he has to share the news/phase out contact.

I think most of all I don't want our arrangements to be changed unless utterly necessary, so the kids at least keep their routine even if the place they stay and who they see changes quite a lot for a while. That way the majority of life stays familiar for the changeover period.

I hope that it's as painless as possible. From a purely practical point of view, I'm trying not to be worried about the impact on things like maintenance due to him leaving his job and moving house etc. It's one of those things that I may just have to cope with but the ripple effect, like it or not, is going to affect not just the kids emotionally, but practically on a bunch of levels too.

timbershakes Fri 01-Jul-16 12:41:43

How do it go with your ex, have you managed to have a chat and come to an agreement with how you'll move forwards?

chocoraisin Fri 01-Jul-16 12:52:52

he just left. We did have a chat - apparently they are going to phase out contact with SM and still meet up with all the kids. It's not acrimonious as far as he's concerned, which is good, so it'll just be a case of seeing how things go. I suppose in an non-ideal situation, this is about as good as it gets. He's being open and letting me know what's going on, they seem to be working it out as well as these things can be worked out... beyond the impact on my DC it's really none of my business, so I will just have to wait and see and give them space.

Life is indeed always full of unexpected stuff brew

WellErrr Fri 01-Jul-16 13:02:28

He announced by email he now plans to relocate to live much closer to me (now over an hour away) and wants to spend more time with our children instead.

How nice for him to have a handy little back up family...! hmm

I'm not surprised you harbour no affection for him. You sound like a lovely thoughtful mother though flowers

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