I am not going to be a popular person here, but I have been honest with everyone about how dh and I started our lives together.
DH and I started as friends. We were both in marriages that were unhealthy for us emotionally, but were tyring to "stick it out for the kids." At first we would bump into each other at the park, pool, or library, with the kids. There was an instant emotional connection between us. The kids became friends and we started setting playdates. We both confided in each other and supported each other as we dealt with trying to make happy family lives for our kids, while in a loveless and emotionally abusive marriage. As time went on our emotional affair turned into a physical affair. We never ever had physical contact in front of the kids, not a hand brush, a kiss or anything. They just knew we were good friends. Shortly after that my ex was physical with me in front of the kids (pushed me down on the couch and held me down while he screamed at me, all the while both kids were on the couch with me) It was ten days before Christmas, so I stayed so the kids Christmas could be sort of normal, but I was making plans to leave (and had cut off all physical contact with both my ex and Matt). I left with the kids on New Year's Eve after my ex almost became physical again and went to stay with friends who had offered us a place to live for a month. A few days later Matt left his ex.
We rented a house and moved in together a few weeks later. Within 6 months boh divorces were final and DH and I got married. I am not proud of the fact that we started our relationship this way. I know that we were both in marriages that needed to end and were not healthy. I know that we should have ended the marriages before we allowed ourselves to become emotionally and physically involved. However, we can not go back and change things. What happened happened and now we all need to work together to raise the 3 beautiful children that we share and love. our ex's can hate us and be angry with us for the rest of our lives, however, when the children are involved, everyone needs to put adult issues aside and focus on the needs of the children.
DH's ex would not allow dsd to see me at first, she had originally said a year, but within 6 weeks she was allowing dsd to stay every other thurs-Sun and every thursday (divorce was not filed, no legal seperation) She still refered to me as C*nt Julie, but never in front of Madison. She wanted to move an hour and 15 min. away but could not sell the house because of the current market(deed and mortgage were in her name so dh could have walked away with no legal obligation. Matt agreed to allow her to move (court said no, the boundry line was about 45 minutes away, Matt signed off) and I bought her house from her to make it possible for her to buy a new house in the other city. I did not want to buy her house, but I knew that to Matt it was never a home and that we could make it our family's home and start new memories, while still giving Madison the comfort of still having her room and house. She has a very very had time thinking of us as a family (and I understand) at first she would get irate if Madison talked about Maia and Sage as her sisters, would get angry about us going to family type things (zoo, art museum, church) and did not want me acting in a motherly role towards Madison (bathing, dressing, playing with her, painting her nails, reading to her, etc) but I did not change the way I treated Madison, she was 2 ¾ year old when we first moved in together, she is ten weeks older than my youngest. How could I not act motherly towards her when I was doing those same things for my other two daughters. We were trying to build a family and all of the girls are treated as our daughters when they are with us. I always tell her that her mommy loves her and misses her and I let her know that I love her and miss her when she is not with us. I would never attempt to replace her mother, but when she is with us (school year is every other Thurs morn-Sun night and every Thursday, summer is every other Wed morn – Sun. night, and every wed morn-fri morn) I am the mom figure in the family. To treat her like a babysitting kid (which at one point was said by her mom- not that I did that, but that I should be no more than a babysitter to her) would be setting us up for years of resentment IMO. I play with, take care of, love, look out for, etc. her just as I do my other two girls. I know I am not her mommy, but I am the mom in this house and will treat all of the children living here like they are mine while they are with me. Very slowly she dropped the c*nt label from my name and started loosening up about things. I make sure to Madison's birthday was in March and Madison asked that we all celebrate together, it took her mom a few days to think about it, but in the end agreed to Madison's wish. We all were able to get along to celebrate her birthday and it really broke the ice. She will now talk to me if I answer the phone, will meet me to pick up or drop off Madison, etc. We are about a year and a half into things and although we have bed patches, things have improved much faster than I expected.
Can’t keep typing (I actually typed this out in a word document over a few hours time!)
My ex has been really bad as well, actually told the girls that Matt is a bad man and that I am a bad mommy. Even though we promised that we would never involve the kids in grown up issues. I just continue to never say bad things about their dad, though I have started being honest when their dad deceives me and it results in me missing out with the kids. He is the principal at my oldest’s school, I picked her up after school one day (after she had been at her dad’s for 5 days) and she was upset that I hadn’t been at the awards ceremony to see her get an award. Instead of making something up, which is what I had been doing, I told her that I did not know anything about it because her dad had not told me. I had been covering for him not telling me things or not letting the girls do something extra fun (church event, birthday party, or something like that if it was during his time-like would not switch time) but in doing this I was making myself be the fall guy everytime. I keep it short and try to stay unemotional and just say “I would have loved to, but your dad didn’t let me know it was happening” or “It would be fun to go to the church festival, but its your dad’s weekend and he wants you to stay with him.” The youngest broke her arm pretty bad last week at her dad’s. She had to have surgery on it last Monday, Sunday night my ex, his fiancé, Matt and I all stayed in her hospital room together. It was awkward, but she needed the adults in her life to all be there for her, so we set aside the adult issues and focus on the child.
And really, that is what it boils down to, as adults we must keep the children out of the adult issues and feelings. Our ex’s can hate us as their ex spouse, feel betrayed, or whatever else for as long as they need to, however, those feelings must be set aside when the children are around or affected. As parents DH, myself, and dsd’s mom must work together to raise this beautiful amazing child together. As parents, my ex, his fiancé, dh, and myself must work together to raise our other two beautiful and amazing daughters. And our ex’s must also remove the hurt adult feelings from their actions and allow Sage, Madison, Maia, Matt, and I to live and love and grow as the new family unit that we are.