Anyone have to deal with a step parent who is the person your X cheated with? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I don't know how to phrase this question. I'm asking those of you who had an X who had an affair that ended the marriage, if that person ended up being your kids step parent-- how did you deal with that??

My X reconnected with an old GF and they started an affair some time in 2007. She lives out of state and has 2 kids approximately the same age as our kids. Apparently she was in the process of a divorce when they reconnected and I believe is divorced now. Our divorce was final in November of 2008, and in the last few months I've seen some signs that they are thinking she may end up moving here with her kids. It makes me sick to think that this woman may end up involved in my kids lives. When her name comes up I try to hide my distaste for her. I've never said a bad word about her in front of my kids however. If this happens I am just at a loss to know how to handle it. Anyone BTDT?
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#2 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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No I don't have any experience with this...but happened to see your post and had to respond even if just to say I'm sorry you're dealing with this.
Even if she moves closer that doesn't mean they will marry. But I know you are just trying to get prepared in case she is in your kids life at all.

I hope you get a response from others who can offer some perspective.
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#3 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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*raising a hand* DP's case.

When I came along, his ex was long remarried to the person she cheated with. I always wondered how my beloved could stand the sight of either of them. He tried to explain, and here were his main points:

* heck yeah, it hurt
* I'm doing it for my daughter, because children are the ones that hurt the most when their parents don't get along
* after doing the right thing time after time after time, you get used to it

He is my hero for this and many other reasons.

You would NEVER guess the history if you met the three of them talking, and DSD still has no idea...

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#4 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 10:23 PM
 
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Yup. I've been there.

My ex and his (now) wife connected while I was pregnant and the UAV left me for her. They married shortly after my dd was born.

It was really, really difficult for me at first but I've done a lot of soul-searchingand realized that the ex is the one who is to blame in the situation. He was the one with a committment to me. She knew about me and that I was pregnant and didn't care about the fact that he was involved- in that she shares a tiny bit of blame. But she was not the one who cheated on me... he did.

I do get frustrated when he can't seem to step up and actually be a parent without her. I am the full-time parent while he and his wife are very part-time at best. It's maddening that he doesn't seem to understand (nor will he ever since his wife steps in for him regularly) how difficult it can be to do it solo, withut a spouse to pick up the slack!

I also think if he can magically make time to coach his ss's soccer team, he should be able to make time to show up for important things in his dd's life... but nothing I can do will make him realize his dd needs him just as much if not more than his ss... sigh.
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#5 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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uhh......we have a similar situation here, and I can promise you, being bitter and nasty will only hurt your kids. Oriole gave some great info...you do it cuz it's the best thing for the kids. You get through howveer works best for you..counseling, personal reflection, tequila....*winks*

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#6 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post

He is my hero for this and many other reasons.

You would NEVER guess the history if you met the three of them talking, and DSD still has no idea...
Wow, he really does sound like a prince and an extraordinary dad!
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#7 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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My partner's stepmother was his father's mistress.

He was old enough to know--his father was not at all discreet, and even to this day his stepmother isn't at all shy about talking about it.

My partner and his dad were estranged for several years--most of his teens and early adulthood--as a result. They have a strong relationship now, but it took a lot of work. His relationship with his stepmom is awkward, but decent; that took even longer to get there.

The high road has always been my MO when dealing with situations like that. Kill with kindness, and all that--I've found it actually makes me feel better in the long run.

Good luck--I know this can't be easy.

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#8 of 44 Old 05-04-2009, 11:19 PM
 
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* after doing the right thing time after time after time, you get used to it

...
That's good advice for any blended family situation.
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#9 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It was really, really difficult for me at first but I've done a lot of soul-searchingand realized that the ex is the one who is to blame in the situation. He was the one with a committment to me. She knew about me and that I was pregnant and didn't care about the fact that he was involved- in that she shares a tiny bit of blame. But she was not the one who cheated on me... he did.
Yeah, I hear ya and I tell myself similar things. However this woman has her own "issues" with behaving in a moral way to say the least. And she had my X stay in her house (with her kids there) just a few weeks after her X moved out. I have to seriously question her parental judgement.
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#10 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 10:24 AM
 
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Umm not in the same situation but similar.

My partner cheated on me during a very rough part of our relationship with his ex, mother to my SS, and its made things hell. Sadly its the biomom who refuses to consider how it all is affecting the kids and just let the past be the past.

I can't imagine how it feels for you. If things worked out differently and SO and I had seperated and he had went with his ex my irrational side would have wanted to stop at nothing to make their lives hell and not let *her have any part in taking care of MY children.

All the power to you.
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#11 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That was my dad and my dad's wife. They're married now with two little kids. My sister and I know - not because my mother told us, but because my sister figured it out. It took her two years to figure out (she was five when he left, seven when it all made sense to her) but she did figure it out and explained it to me.

.
Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. You know I really wonder what my kids think-- especially my DD who is 8. They only ever talk about her as "Daddy's friend," but I can't believe that's really what they think. I just don't know. My mother actually told me I should tell the kids the real story, but I don't think that's a good idea. Looking back do you think your mom should have told you?
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#12 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. You know I really wonder what my kids think-- especially my DD who is 8. They only ever talk about her as "Daddy's friend," but I can't believe that's really what they think. I just don't know. My mother actually told me I should tell the kids the real story, but I don't think that's a good idea. Looking back do you think your mom should have told you?

I think this would be hurtful to the children. I am not an expert, but that just doesn't seem like it would even remotely be a good idea. He is their dad. Too much responsibility to hand over to a child (children)--too much of a burden...

Big hugs to you!! How hard!!

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#13 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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This is my DH's situation as well. His ex cheated on him for months before he found out and the guy she was with is now her fiancee I beleive. They have basically been living together ever since DH came home from work to find the guy there.

It was incredibly hard on DH at first. He really hated the guy and hated that he was there with his daughter and he wasn't. I'm not really sure how he got over it, though really on thinking on this, I'm not sure if he is totally all the way over the part that he has to share his DD now...

But he is nice to the guy now. They talk sports and junk like that at drop-off. It really blows my mind, honestly.

But DH has said that he admits now that this guy isn't going anywhere and he is good to his DD, and seems like a pretty decent guy, and he is another parent figure to his DD, so he likes to try to keep the peace.

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#14 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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Actually, believe it or not, when my ex and the woman he left me for broke up, I was honestly very sad. I had already dealt with my feelings about all of it and got over it, but when they broke up, I knew it was going to be harder on my kids then even their father and I breaking up. My youngest cried and cried and said he didn't want her to leave his dad.

Luckily my ex met a new woman and she is wonderful to my boys, but the first woman was the best to the boys, and while I hated her for a while after it all happend, I learned that my ex and I should have never been together (I already knew that) and in the end, I just wanted someone who would treat my boys well.

on the flip side, it did help that my ex's girlfriend that I was over them breaking up, is my sister, so as Jerry Springer as it sounds, at least my boys didn't lose her all together, but had she NOT been my sister, I still would have allowed her to have a relationship with the boys.
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#15 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. You know I really wonder what my kids think-- especially my DD who is 8. They only ever talk about her as "Daddy's friend," but I can't believe that's really what they think. I just don't know. My mother actually told me I should tell the kids the real story, but I don't think that's a good idea. Looking back do you think your mom should have told you?
Dss is 14 now and seems ready for the truth. Dh tries to be neutral and leave the emotion out of it as much as possible. Dss sees his mom doing the same things to his stepdad, so he is now asking questions. It is an extreme situation, but dss is kinda reliving the past as his mom's behavior and lack of judgement that she had when dss's was little is now repeated with his little half brothers. Dh isn't going to lie for her, he just tries to keep the story to the facts. I think you should wait until they ask, and they may never.
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#16 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 03:15 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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Me! In 2004 when exdp and I separated the first time, he went on to date the woman he'd had an affair with. At that time, my dd was only 2.5 so she didn't have a clue who was who, etc.

After many hours of therapy I came to understand that it had nothing to do with me; the healthiest thing for me was to completely detach from the situation. As long as dd was safe & well cared for, it also had nothing to do with her.

Soooo, fast forward to today, and we're separated pending divorce AGAIN. Guess I'm a slow learner Anyway, similar situation, and I'm doing the same thing (hmmm, thank G!d for therapy); whatever he chooses to do has no impact on me.

As long as our two girls are safe and well cared for, what he does on his time and with whom... I stay out of it. Is it easy? Hell no. Am I dying inside? Yup. But that's where the process starts, letting him run with whatever idea of the week he has, and I work on healing myself.

Definitely don't bad mouth anyone to your kids. Rant and wail to girlfriends and selected/trusted family members (my mother is my personal rock), but trash talking the new girlfriend will inevitably paint you as the bad guy. YMMV, but I've seen it time and time again!


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#18 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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Definitely don't bad mouth anyone to your kids. Rant and wail to girlfriends and selected/trusted family members (my mother is my personal rock), but trash talking the new girlfriend will inevitably paint you as the bad guy. YMMV, but I've seen it time and time again!


TOTALLY. My kids know what their dad has done in the past (my oldest remembers everything) but I also tell him that dad made really bad choices back then, and it was because of drugs, but now, he is a GOOD man. I can't deny that my ex did some really crappy things, and if my kids even knew 1/2 of it, it would break my heart, but they will only hear from me what a good job he is doing now. And as for his new fiance, well, I can't say enough good things about her, and the boys hear that a lot too. Even if I didn't like her, I wouldn't tell them, but it is even easier to like her since she is not that one who caused the break up.
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#19 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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#20 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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My XDH's dad left his mom for her best friend. It was like 15 years ago. But imagine our wedding - they were all there. We put my family in between his mom's family and his dad's family, and everyone kept their cool. But it was seriously stressful.

At my wedding shower I asked my then-STBMIL how she had gotten over it.

Me: "You just seem so at peace with this - you two are both here, so supportive. When did you get over it?"

STBMIL: "Honey, I hate the woman as much today as I did back then, but this is YOUR day, and I'm for sure not going to ruin it because of her."

You have to find a way to make it about the kids, which takes much soul-searching and a lot of grace. Good luck mama! What a terrible situation.

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#21 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. No, I have never said a negative word about her and I don't plan to. I think my kids do like her. Last time she came to visit my DD made her a bracelet. She's only seen them on a few visits so they haven't spent prolonged time together, but that may be changing.
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#22 of 44 Old 05-05-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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Sorry, I don't know how to phrase this question. I'm asking those of you who had an X who had an affair that ended the marriage, if that person ended up being your kids step parent-- how did you deal with that??
I personally have not, but speaking for my husband, he has had this experience. (My husband I will refer to as J, his ex wife as H and her lover as L).
J and H were married in '96 and had a son (Little J) in '97. J and H's daughter was stillborn in '99. They already had marital issues, but their loss made those issues worsen.

They went through marital counseling, but H quit going as soon as the counselor suggested she also needed to make some changes. J continued to go to individual counseling. They separated a couple times, and reconciled. During their separations, she (H) was encouraged by her family to leave J and get with L. H's family actually introduced H to L with the intent that she would leave J to be with L. Every time H and J separated, H continued her affair with L, under her parent's roof and with their approval.


Whenever H left J (out of state and across the country), she took Little J with her, since J was active duty Army. So, Little J was introduced to L from the time he was 4 years old. Little J was told to call L, Daddy L and to start calling his dad, Daddy J, instead of just Daddy.

H and J filed for divorce in '02, but it was a very long process. H continued to see L throughout the year of awaiting her divorce from J. While H was married to J, L proposed to H and she accepted. H and L were living together permanently a year before H divorced J. Little J was seeing L more (every day) than he was seeing J (temporary court ordered visitation schedule pending their divorce and final custody/visitation agreement).

October '03 J and H were legally divorced. November '03, H and L were married.


As far as how J deals with it, at first he really hated Little J calling L, Daddy. After a while, he didn't care anymore, knowing that Little J will still know who his real Daddy is, no matter what Little J was manipulated into calling his step father. J rarely ever speaks with L. J has no hard feelings toward L, but also has no respect for him. L is none too fond of J because he only has been told H's side of the story and has no desire to know the truth. I guess the way J deals is by not dealing with any of it, by not getting sucked into H's attempts at drama, keeping communication short and to the point.

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#23 of 44 Old 05-06-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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I think, personally, that if your kids ask, you should tell them the truth. They know a lot more then they let on. 'Yes, daddy and so and so were together while we were married. BUT that doesn't mean that you can - XYZ to them because everyone till loves you very much and they deserve to be treated with respect.'

This is so true. There are ways to state the facts without being dramatic about it all. Children are naturally curious about their parents' relationships. Lying doesn't help anything, and withholding information, especially when directly asked something, is just another form of lying.

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#24 of 44 Old 05-06-2009, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by seriouslyjess View Post

I think, personally, that if your kids ask, you should tell them the truth. They know a lot more then they let on. 'Yes, daddy and so and so were together while we were married. BUT that doesn't mean that you can - XYZ to them because everyone till loves you very much and they deserve to be treated with respect.'
Thanks much. I really appreciate your perspective. Are you sure you're only 16?? You seem wise way beyond your years
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#25 of 44 Old 05-06-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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Thanks much. I really appreciate your perspective. Are you sure you're only 16?? You seem wise way beyond your years

I was called wise at the age of 16, as well, by many, many people. I think there is a certain relationship wisdom at that age. Relationships are so very important at that age.

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#26 of 44 Old 05-07-2009, 02:19 AM
 
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My DH's ex-wife is married to MY ex-husband. No cheating or affairs to speak of, however. But strange none the less.

I hate it and wish things were different, but it is what it is. I am very happy to be where I am, so I've had to let go of old, bitter feelings. I wish often for it to just be DH & I & the girls, without so much contact with our exes on such a weird level. But, due to having four girls between us, such is the nature of the beast. I realize that time will be the best remedy. . .As the kids get older, it will make things much easier. None of us like each other, FWIW, but we manage for the sake of the kids. My motto: Grin and bear it. ('cause i am usually right, I know it and it will come out as such eventually, specifically when dealing with conflict with them, which it seems like we always are)

My two oldest have questioned things a bit, they remember how it was "before" mom/dad got divorced, but they readily accept it and go on. On a lighter note:*I'm nervous about the day they are old enough to look back, scratch their heads and say something to one of their sisters like, "WHOA? Do you KNOW what mom and dad did? I think SHE used to be married to HIM" : : The two youngest will never remember us being married.

Anyway, I digress. Hang in there. You are strong and can take it, knowing you're doing what's right for you and your kids.

Samantha, Student, wife to my best friend (1.30.09) Mama to three beautiful daughters and and a handsome little son
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#27 of 44 Old 05-07-2009, 09:26 AM
 
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My mom dealt with this. I have no idea how.

The only thing she ever said about my stepmom was: "J's a nice lady. If circumstances had been different, we could have been friends." (I didn't know the extent of the "circumstances" until my father told me the truth when I was a pre-teen. TMI then as now.)

For what it's worth, all my stepmom has ever said about my mom is pretty much identical to what she says about her... that my mom's a cool lady and if things had been different, they could have been friends.

I have no idea how my mom dealt with it inside. I'm just so glad and grateful that she did. And that she gave me free rein and permission to actually LIKE my stepmom (who is awesome).
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#28 of 44 Old 05-07-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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[QUOTE=mommyto3girls;13712295]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. [QUOTE]

Very very similar to my situation. I completely understand where you are coming from. Nick (DH) and I met while we were still married to our exes. We immediately clicked, but did not have an affair. I told my EX I had feelings for Nick. . .I was very honest. My EX then fell for Nicks ex, as we had been spending lots of time together. We were trapped in miserable, loveless, suffocating marriages. Very strange how things worked out, but we are very happy. I just wish it didn't have to be "weird", due to history.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Samantha, Student, wife to my best friend (1.30.09) Mama to three beautiful daughters and and a handsome little son
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#29 of 44 Old 05-08-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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*raising a hand* DP's case.

* heck yeah, it hurt
* I'm doing it for my daughter, because children are the ones that hurt the most when their parents don't get along
* after doing the right thing time after time after time, you get used to it

Yep, you do get used to it.

My story is that ex's new wife worked for him (very small business) for about five years. We were all friends. She cross-stitched bibs for the birth of my 2nd and 3rd children. Her marriage started south when my youngest was 2. By the time youngest was 4 they were involved and ex was "headed out" but denied the affair (and continued to . . . ) By the time youngest was 6, they were married. My children don't remember all of that.

Ex and she say nothing nice about me at all. I just keep my mouth shut.

One good thing about the high road is your legs get a major work out when you are constantly taking it!
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#30 of 44 Old 05-08-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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Yes, we deal with this. Due to a difference in perspectives, my DH and his ex would probably tell two different stories, but suffice it to say my DH felt very hurt for a long while. Every once in a while, the circumstances crop up in his processing, but for the most part we have a good relationship with them.

I love what Oriole had to say. I will add that it's my belief that, in general, people are not bad but can sometimes see a justification for their actions that no one else does. Sometimes, in the long run, it works out. That doesn't make it hurt any less, but it helps to think that there may be a point where you say "ok, now I see why the universe has brought us here."

And the kids have no idea and likely never will. What's important to them is that their parents - all of them - love them and take care of them. It doesn't matter how everything came to be.

Mama/stepmama of 4 goofy girls (7/99, 11/00, 4/03, and 12/08) and co-parent with my favorite husband. We do this stuff - : : : : : :
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