Earlier today was parent/teacher conferences, and I met STBXH at our son's school. Our son was out playing with friends as they only had 1/2 day today and it's STBXHs week with him. After the conference, I was talking to him on the playground, and he wanted to come home with me. His dad was going to take him to a kids' science place that he usually LOVES, but he said he wanted to go 'home' -- meaning my little rental (that always gets me right in the heart). I could tell that STBXH was getting hurt, because he also didn't want to do our Tuesday night switchover after school. He wanted to come to my Tuesday night abuse support group and play with his friends in the kids room. Before this, he's been fine about only going every other week. This week, he begged his dad to let him stay with me til it was over, and was 'YAHOO'-ing when STBXH said OK. So, I'm wondering what's up. Well, I found out tonight.
When I called to say good night, there was no answer so I left a message. About 10 minutes later, my son called me. I asked how the rest of his day was, and his answer was "I was with [OW] the whole, entire day, except for during conferences." I was stunned. I was already off-balance because of my dance class (another post), and all I could say in reply was "Why are you telling me this?" Not angrily, just truly confused. Why wouldn't he answer with 'fine' or 'ok' or 'it sucked'? (or the equivalent) I think the sum of all this is that he's already tired of his dad's now-in-the-open relationship. My son's known her for about 1 1/2 years as part of his dad's gang of grad school friends (so have I, for that matter), and he's never seemed to have a problem with her. After we started splitting custody, I know he spent time with her and the gang when he stayed with STBXH. I don't know what to do. Should I tell him to talk to his dad about not spending all their together time with her? I think he has the right to do that, but I know STBXH will probably think I'm instigating him to feel this way. I'm not.
I think STBXH is being a real azzhole in how he's handling this, but knowing him the way I do, it's par for the course. He's deep into infatuation mode, and this time, there's no wife around to cramp his style, so he's living it up. He's not thinking at all about our son. I'm sure he thinks our son should have no problem with the idea of Daddy being romantic with someone other than Mommy, because "millions of kids go through this every year. He'll be fine." (which is what STBXH told me last fall when I was crying about his having to have his birthday with us separately for the first time, and how much it hurt not to be with him on his b-day.) I hate to think my son is miserable, but he's never been so adamant about NOT wanting to be with his dad before this. Even when his dad comes to see him at my place after school or drops him off with me, my son is kind of pushing him out the door right away. They've been really close all our son's life.
Sad to say, but I think STBXH is in such a selfish, sex-driven fog that he'll just take it out on our son and pull away from him. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised. How have any of you handled this?
I don't have much advice either, I'm sort of going through the same thing. I've met my ex's g/f before they started dating, when they were friends. She's "ok", obviously has some issues to get into a relationship with a man who just separated from his wife and has 3 kids..custody issues etc., and we're not at the point of introductions to my kids. I've asked that he be respectful and wait until mid summer. I think he's understanding in this regard, but an ass in every other respect...lol.
I would have a conversation with you ex and just explain that your son was not happy about spending time with his gf, and see what he says.
I have a couple of books about Divorce and kids, I know they have how to do step parenting and blending families, but I haven't found anything about when dating how is this handled. I think it definitely needs to be mentioned at some point. Remind me, how old is your son?
He's 9. Extremely bright, but also very sensitive emotionally and to changes in routine (I've actually wondered if he's a high-functioning Aspie at times -- and STBXH is aware of these things, too).
I think I'd say something to him so that you are protecting your son or have it to where he understands that when your son calls or tells you he doesn't want to be there right now he doesn't have to be at least until the D is finalized.
I am going to look up about introducing ppl to kids because from what I have seen unless it's serious it's a no-no - unless they aren't acting like "a couple" but just a bunch of friends hanging out. I just really have to wonder (for myself) I just don't know how to go about it (if I ever date again).
You can't tell him how to live his life anymore, but you can say you how it is hurting your son. He maybe totally blind to how it is effecting him. I would even text or email it to him so you have some proof in writing. Then when custody etc is mentioned you will have that to use if needed.
Well, it was kind of taken out of my hands. I went to see our son after work on Friday, and before he came down from his room, STBHX asked to talk to me. He started telling me how his relationship with our son was really deteriorating, he wasn't being respected, son was misbehaving and being really critical and blaming of STBXH, refusing to help around the house, etc. (I wanted to insert a 'Welcome to my world with you!' here, but I bit my tongue ) STBXH starts to tear up, like he usually does in self-pity mode. Proudly, I sat there on the sofa, leaning back, staring coolly at him with arms AND legs crossed. (normally not a good thing, I know). THe upshot: It's my fault. STBXH triumphantly told me that DS told him that I said STBXH mistreated me, and he's mistreating DS now, too. I never used that word with DS. I told him I didn't like the way his father treated me. We had this problem before, and I found that it was a difference in definition of 'mistreat.' Obviously at 9, DS does not know the particulars of an abusive relationship, so he thinks 'mistreatment' is making him do something he really, really doesn't want to do, or getting really mad when he 'accidentally' does something wrong. Or getting to the point of using a swear word.
STBXH said he cleared it up by telling DS that plain and simple, he never mistreated me. No 'in my opinion,' or 'i don't think I mistreated your mom.' No, it was stated as a fact. This made me really angry. I told him that I state my feelings as my feelings and I expected him to do the same when it came to talking to DS. He said, as my XH, he had no responsibility to validate my feelings. And guess what? By this time, there were no more tears on his part! Amazing! The contemptuous smirk came out when I mentioned that I might as well tell him about DS's feelings about the new GF. He laughed and thought I was putting him up to it. I tried explaining about DS and feelings about Mommy & Daddy vs Daddy & someone else or Mommy & someone else, and I'll tell you, for someone a month away from a MA, STBXH is a dumb-ass. This is all so common sense to me, and I can't believe that this person needs so much spelled out for him. I used to think he was so tuned in to other people, and I wasn't alone in that. What happened to him?!
He also wanted to let me know he didn't like me violating his boundaries with his mom, sisters, and friends. WTF? His sisters and I all have winter b-days, and we exchanged brief emails or FB messages and cards. That's it. His mom and I talk to each other every few weeks. STBXH thinks that everyone that disagrees with his actions does so because I tell them untrue things about him. No, dumb-ass, it's because they don't like what you're doing, either! At the end, he admitted that I wasn't really doing anything wrong, and I wasn't even sure what he was asking me to do!
But, he did say that his therapist is starting to hold his feet to the fire based on what I told him two months ago. This is making STBXH very uncomfortable, and he is, of course, blaming me. I simply answered the therapists questions. I guess this will prove how much STBXH wants to get better. I don't regret anything I said to his therapist. He had a very skewed vision of STBXH. It really surprised him to learn that I have been in IC for over a year for abuse and depression, for example.
But I do think I was able to get across the points I wanted to in terms of DS and the OW. That even if STBXH didn't think they all spent excessive time together, he needs to ask DS what he thinks. He comes first, or else STBXH will have to deal with the aftermath to their relationship.
Maybe unpopular and not at all defending your stbxh in any way, but fwiw I don't think either of you should be talking about "mistreatment" from the other -- opinion or otherwise -- to your 9 yr old son. It puts the boy into a mode of having to choose sides, and he can't win. You've both got to keep your feelings about the other to yourselves and rise above for the benefit of the child you both love.
I didn't use the term 'mistreat' to my son. My son and I rarely talk about his dad and I -- usually only when something major happens like STBXH starting to be public with his gf. I ask him if he has anything he wants to talk about, but usually, the answer is no. That's why I was so angry that STBXH thought it appropriate to talk to our son about the issue of 'mistreatment,' ie, abuse.
As many people around us, and family members who have been in similar situations at my son's age have noted: he has seen a lot for himself, and he's a smart kid. My mom used to make me literally choose sides when she had fights with my dad, when I was younger than my son. I am especially sensitive to not wanting to do that. I will not lie, however, and confuse him by telling him everything was wonderful, then suddenly his family went 'poof!' I focus on the fact that things changed, his dad said he didn't want to be married to me anymore, I didn't feel the same and I didn't like his treatment of me during the break-up, but we will be OK. And as I've mentioned, the actual talking about it doesn't really happen very often at all. The two of us just seem to be focusing on moving forward.
I didn't get into any details of how his dad treated me, good or bad, during our marriage. I've always been careful to state my opinions as opinions. OTOH, I don't think I necessarily needed to. My son sees me laugh more and cry less, get sick far less often, do more and be more relaxed with him, than I ever did living with his dad. I used to live in a constant state of stressed-out fear, never having fun and never able to relax because of the eggshell-walking.
I am in a very similar situation with my children and stbxh. He is now bringing her and her child to my kids functions/sports activities. When I mentioned it affects them he told me they are big (teenagers) and its been six months they will get over it. we are not even legally separated yet.
I realized what he is thinking with (and it is not his brain) and since my kids are older, they will hopefully one day realize the kind of a-hole he is and how he has no feelings for other people. He is also damaging their relationship as my daughter is not fond of spending time w/him and my son has become very protective of me. My friends at these functions think he is a loser. I am sad for the kids that people now have a low opinion of their father and I am sure it hurts them, but not sad for him as he deserves what people say about him.
Children are smarter than you think, they will form their opinions.
how do you know your son is upset about spending time with the sl*t, i mean gf? i mean i agree it sucks that he is but if he stated it the way you wrote, i don't see where he's upset. is it more that he doesn't have one on one time with his dad? maybe it could be phrased like that to azzhole, i mean stbx...
You're right, cabbage65, he hasn't actually come out and said he doesn't like it, but he's known for being a really happy, social kid, and has never (AFAIK) said he spent too much time with anyone (except kids that give him a hard time at school), and had never openly tried to get his dad to leave or asked to spend extra time with me prior to the sl*t, I mean gf. His dad is taking it that way, too.
Sorry to hear what you're going through, Razberry. Your STBXH is being very nasty to your kids, no matter how old they are. I've seen studies that show that parents' divorce still really does affect kids even when they're college age or married themselves. My dad divorced my mom when I was out of high school, and my brother was in jr. high. A few years later he remarried (we weren't having very much contact with him at that time), and she had a son my brother's age. It really hurt to hear him talk about this guy as if he were just as important in his life as my brother. Kids don't just 'get over it' at any age, it takes time. And you're right, because they're older, they've been able to see how he's become, and if anything, he has nobody to blame but himself if they turn against him.
What pi$$es me off so much is that the OW/OM seems to use 'caring' about the kids as a tool to look good in the eyes of the WS. They don't really care about the kids at all. But if the kids come to believe they do (even just as a 'friend,' not a step-parent), it's just another hurt for them when the OW/OM and the WS break up.
Yes in the end, it is always the kids that suffer. It is hard when one parent tries to do the right thing and the other does not. I still encourage them to see him and to call him this way they see I am not telling them to stay away. I tell them they may have to work on the relationship with him and if they want to spend time with him w/o her they are the ones that have to tell him def not me. They will grow tired of the situation and see where his priorities are soon (if they haven't already). He rarely calls them, but only texts them which is wrong on so many levels. Again, kids form their own opinons and will eventually realize, unfortunately they get hurt in the process. Your son is young so it is all very confusing for him. Hopefully you stbx will realize what he is doing before too much damage is done.