I am not sure of all the acronyms but here is my story:
I am a divorced man in a committed relationship and now engaged with a beautiful fiance. My ex-wife remains in the picture because we have a child together. My fiance and I recently moved in together. My daughter has always wanted to live with me but I have never been able to provide her with that because after I divorced her mother, I moved back into my mother's house.
In order to ensure my ex-wife did not give me any resistance as to having my daughter live with me, I did something that i regret dearly. I had text exchanges with my ex-wife to make her feel she was getting her way. The texts were not sexual in nature or anything of the sort but none the less they could be perceived as flirting.
It started off by me ignoring her but she would get upset and threaten to take me to court. Never stated what she would do or file or ask for in court but just take me to court. So being "nice" to her seemed to work. I also did not want her to get "crazy" and interfere with my new relationship.
For the record, I do not have a passcode on my phones, I do not lock them or anything.
My fiance found my phone one evening and saw some of these messages. She considers it cheating. In my heart, I know what I was doing and it certainly was not cheating. It has brought our relationship to a bad place. It has added a level of stress we did not need along with the normal "blended family" struggles we have.
My question to you all is, how, if at all, can I make her realize that this was not cheating and that I was doing it to protect our relationship?
Is this considered cheating?
Thoughts on guidance (ie counseling or therapy) would be greatly appreciated.
I consider flirting with your ex a form of cheating. Certainly not like getting physical with them, but very dangerous (as you've learned) to your current relationship. Not only because it can make your fiance jealous, but also because it sends the wrong message to your ex who will be in your and your fiance's
life because of the child.
What is an example of something "flirty" that you said to her?
My advice -
1. Come clean with your fiance about why you did what you did (sounds like you have).
2. Don't EVER do it again. You do not have to be mean and nasty to your ex, you just need to be "professional" and keep boundaries up. Do not open that door, even a crack. And if she crosses the line, rebuff her kindly but clearly.
Do not ever stay quiet if she insults your fiance.
Do not discuss things OTHER than your child with your ex.
Do not have long conversations.
Do not send Christmas cards.
Do not tell her she looks good.
Do not hug her or let her hug you.
Do not rescue her when her car breaks down.
Do not loan her money.
Do not EVER put her ahead of your Fiance in any way.
And, when dealing with your fiance, remember my golden rule: If you can't say something bad about your ex, don't say anything at all!
There is one reason and one reason only to communicate with your ex - dealing with the welfare/raising of your child.
Dr. Harley of Marriage Builders has written some things on blended families. Here's the first that came up in my search engine, but if you search around there is even more. Blended Families #1
Also good is the Policy of Joint Agreement, where neither you nor your fiance do anything unless there is enthusiastic agreement from both of you. Including how you raise your daughter and relate to ex wife. http://www.marriagebuilders.com/grap...00_policy.html
Understand that both you and your fiance are coming from very different perspectives. You feel guilty toward your child, and you just want peace. Your fiance wants to be you wife, which means number 1 in your life, but she's already displaced from the natural order of things in marriage by your child and ex wife.
Good luck - blended families are hard under the best of circumstances.