Seeking Advice - Talk About Marriage
Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
Abe
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Seeking Advice

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.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 04:56 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abe View Post
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 Feel for you, I am worried about this exact same predicament in the future and not sure how I would handle it either.

Unfortunately I don't really have any advice for you but I hope everything works out for the best for you and your daughter.

M - 12
Kids - 2
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 05:17 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abe View Post
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.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 05:28 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Cheating is whatever a couple defines it as. If the couple do not agree on what constitutes cheating, there is a problem. Most people assume the other half of their twosome thinks the same way they do about what cheating is, but this is rarely the case. It's the discussion no one wants to have.

If you texted stuff to your ex that "could be perceived as flirting" then you DID do something wrong. Whether you think it's cheating or not is totally irrelevant.

Asking US what you can do to make it up to your fiance is pointless. Ask your fiance. And then DO WHATEVER SHE SAYS. Cheerfully and in good faith.

You may want to make sure she doesn't carry it too far, though. As in, doesn't make you pay forever and a day and bring it up every time you do the slightest things wrong for the next ten years. You also might want to evaluate whether you and she are on the same page with things like porn, phone passcodes, facebook friends, girls nights out, etc etc etc. All those slippery things that many women seem to assume their man will never do but he assumes are perfectly fine, and that she has always done with her single friends and assumes he is fine with.

People don't get a free pass to cheat just because their marriage sucks.

Our R
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 05:58 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Kinda depends on what you said.

Virginia: "Why can't you kids leave well enough alone? Everything was fine until you started digging around."

Burt: "You sound like a Scooby Doo villain."
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 06:12 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Can you give us some examples of what was said between you and your ex?

"Thanks so much for buying new play clothes for daughter last week!" is FAR different than "You looked HOT last week when you dropped off daughter's new play clothes!"

So which was it?

"Love is chemicals masquerading as choices!"
~ Sandfly
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
Abe
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Re: Seeking Advice

WOW! I posted on several forums and this is by far the best responses I have got. So to be clear, The action is done and I admit I did something WRONG.....really WRONG. And I am certainly apologetic and have apologized. I will never do that again. It was an idea I thought was for the better good of my situation and I never intend to jeopardize that again with something so hurtful.

Now I ask for guidance because I am stuck and was hoping that perhaps someone may have had similar experiences and could provide and share those experiences on how to make this better.

Thank you all for the words of encouragement and for the time it took to write out these thoughtful content filled responses. I am very glad I came here.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 06:29 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

If you share some of the "flirty" exchanges with your ex, this forum will give you unbiased and frankly blunt feedback on them. It really depends on the language and tone of your exchanges IMO. There is playing nice, and then there is flirting.

I have a similar situation with my gf of 5 years and my ex. I have to play nice with my ex for a variety of reasons, but it irks my gf. Understand that there is a natural 'side competition' going on between your ex and your fiancee.

Your fiancee also has to understand in no uncertain terms that your child comes first, even before your fiancee (if that's how you feel, and it should be). You will have to make sacrifices for your child from time to time. Just the way it is.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
Abe
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Re: Seeking Advice

I would just be generally nice...and a few times I bought her a bottle of alcohol. I figured to do this to keep her "quiet" from taking me to court and stuff.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 06:53 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Abe,

Alot may depend on your Fiances experiences, for example if she had been cheated on by ex'es then there is a reasonable chance your Fiance found out by observing some kind of messaging. You may have stepped on a trip wire.

However beyond that all contact with females should be open to your Fiances examination, so that you there is not even the appearance of wrong doing. Beyond that you should be honest with your Fiance about your sexual and romantic past, if she can't handle it then it's ok if you don't get married.

Tamat

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 07:11 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

If your communications with your ex are nothing beyond what you would exchange with a coworker whom you are friendly/jovial with, then your fiancee needs to chill and work on her self esteem.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 09:53 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

You cannot cheat unless there is a rule against it. Was there any vow that you would not text your ex about your divorce? If you have not broken any rule with your fiancee, it does not meet the definition of cheating. I do not know why you are worried about this if it is as innocent as you say.

Many prefer to drown in a pool of their own morality rather than seek the safety of a different morality when the choice is monogamy or your marriage.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 11:04 PM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Dealing with an ex due to children is the worst part about new relationships. It's been the only issue my recent fiance and I "argue" about. You just have to make sure you tell her she's #1 in your life and you have to prove it. Women are something else! lol.

So, what exactly did your fiance see in the text messages?
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 10:06 AM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Open up an tell your intended everything you did and why. It seems that you were trying to manipulate you Ex-wife which rarely turns out the way you expect.
Just be honest.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 10:51 AM
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Re: Seeking Advice

Abe, for me the issue is around your privacy walls.

Imagine that a married (or engaged) couple builds a wall around the two of them. The two of you inside, everyone else - outside. Inside that wall, you have secrets that are just between the two of you. Outside that wall you can have other walls appropriate for family and friends. But, when you interact with anyone else, you NEVER build a privacy wall that excludes your spouse from your relationship with that other person i.e. no secrets that exclude your spouse/fiance.

I don't know what you said to your ex. Maybe it wasn't even that flirtatious. But, whilst you may not have overtly "hidden" it from your fiancee, you didn't openly share it with her either. I haven't had the stress of being in a second marriage with managing my kids and ex from my first; but if I was in that situation, I imagine what I'd want to be certain of is that my fiance's first loyalty lay with me and vice versa.

I'd suggest that you first discuss future interactions with your ex, with your fiance. Don't just keep her in the loop, but actively engage her in how you are managing your relationship with your ex right for the start. It probably isn't always practical, but where possible, ask her opinion on important messages you send to your ex before you send them. You're not asking her permission, but you are giving her insight into what (and more importantly why) you're saying whatever it is you're saying. You're also giving her the security of knowing that she can never be surprised by anything that your ex may claim you said/did.

It may be necessary for you to seem "nicer" (although this should have limits) towards your ex than you actually feel. If your fiance knows firstly, that you're doing it and secondly, why you're doing it, then (if I were her) I'd feel completely secure in your priorities.

I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.
― C.S. Lewis
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