I don't know if I'm asking for advice, I'm more just needing to talk this out and relate to other mamas who may go through similar things. Read on if you want to or long story short: My abusive ex (who's gf- who he also was abusive towards- left him after 3 years recently) has a new GF, and it's becoming obvious already that his pattern is repeating. Worried for my kids, her, and her kids.
My ex- father of my two older boys who are now 6 & 7- if you've read some off my other threads, the oldest has autism and my ex has a long history of being abusive to women- I left him almost 5 years ago due to the abuse and dealt with the long-time after effects of it- ptsd and depression. He has partial custody and tends to be unreliable for support or providing the boys with 'his share' of contributions like clothing/ school stuff/ school lunches/ etc. He is now in his mid/late 30's, he is 10 years older than me. And my amazing husband, who picks up all the slack, supports my boys/ our family of 6, and works hard so i can be a SAHM until our youngest is older. My ex lives in a friend's partially unfinished basement. I am not here to judge him for being down on his luck (which is hard for me to wrap my brain around- he makes about the same as my DH and only had himself to support and my kids a small amount of the time. Money is tight in our house but we manage, and cover what are supposed to be his responsibilities towards the kids time and again). I am just giving a little background to lead up to the reason I am posting this:
I have also posted about the ending of his last long term relationship with a woman who was amazing- she was a stepmom to my boys for three years. She was his first serious relationship after I left him. I prayed that he would change his ways with her- I knew it was unlikely- but I held out hope because their honeymoon phase was long, although the relationship moved swiftly to them co-habitating (within a month) and her starting to do everything for my kids. Driving them, feeding them, buying their groceries. She was totally isolated, no family. No friends after they dated awhile. She was very quiet and reserved, friendly and super passive. A lot like I was. Towards the end my younger son regularly came home with stories of fights that sounded a lot like my past. About his dad bad mouthing her to my kids- about how she was a bad, selfish woman. When she finally left him- with the help of concerned coworkers- he came to ME crying about it, and even tried to badmouth her to me- that their relationship was 'perfect' and it was all because she hated our son with autism. I know he was trying to hook me with that but I had two stances on that- it was his BS story of why so he could displace blame, or she was having a hard time with my son- which is totally ok- and that just added to all the other suffering she must have been going through. She left but DS would tell me she would visit when they were at their dad's for his weekends. I knew he must still have her under her thumb somehow, so I didn't try to reach out to her.
In the past few weeks my son has been having a hard time. He's moody, especially when coming back from his dad's. He told me recently he hasn't seen his dad's ex (who visited on weekends) in a long time. He loved her, so abruptly not seeing her anymore must be hard. My ex has also been asking me to take them extra a lot with weird excuses, and has been not feeding them some of their meals! The few meals in a week he actually needs to provide for them! He always says things like "they fell asleep before dinner was done" or "they weren't hungry, they had a lot of snacks" or, "they had leftover mexican for breakfast" or something else bizarre. The last straw was that he asked me yesterday if we could rearrange our whole custody schedule so he could "go to church every sunday" (he has them every other weekend, and it coincides with my stepson's scheule so we have them all at once. So we can be a family.). He recently joined a small church that he claims has no Sunday school, and our son with ASD has a hard time at places like that in general. Apparently going every other week or finding help was not acceptable. he also wanted me to take over his Wednesday nights with the boys so he could go to Bible study. If I agreed to this our boys would be transitioning so much between households, not to mention splitting the weekends in half will take time away from seeing their stepbrother and ruin the ease of the family weekend in general.
I figured out what was going on by accident. Ex sent me a long text meant for a new girl he's seeing on accident! It was really intense and I got the feeling they've only been seeing each other a few weeks, about the same amount of time he's been asking me to take the boys/ my son said they stopped hanging out with his ex/ he stopped feeding them dependably/ etc. Knowing his history with me and his recent ex, it gives me knots in my stomach. With his last GF I hoped she was older, stronger, less likely to be codependent/manipulated. She was younger than me- 12 years younger than him- no family- super passive. This time I hoped the same thing- perhaps this one won't get pulled into that cycle. Nope.
The only reason I found out who she was was because an old coworker of mine who knows my mom- and knows my history with my ex because we worked together at the time I went through all of that- told my mom she saw my ex was "in a relationship" with a fb friend of hers- a girl we went to HS with. Who is younger than me, has 2 kids, and is described by my ex coworker as being "extreemely sweet, passive, and the codependent type". She is really concerned about her, and she tends to be an outspoken advocate type so i am not sure if she will say anything to the new girlfriend. I did not recommend it, but it's really difficult to see history beginning to repeat itself all over again. I know it's not my place to go in and sabotage his relationships in an attempt to protect a potential victim, but it's frustrating to watch it happen and see my kids suffering due to his distractedness and new focus. His last GF didn't have kids- and couldn't- Its distressing to think of two children that aren't his being exposed to his behavior. Or, maybe he will try to control it more because of them. He didn't in front of my boys.
My hands are tied, and I'm trying to decide what I CAN do- what i can do for my boys right now, how to handle my Ex's ridiculous requests and irresponsible parenting, and just deal with the sadness of imagining another woman- a mother!- falling victim to him. Maybe she will see it sooner, and ge tout. But it's already moving fast, his texts were intense and semi-controlling already. Not. Good.
Is it possible for you to get his custody totally revoked and limit him to visitation (preferably supervised, definitely without the GF/her kids)? If he isn't feeding them, that's a huge problem and sounds to me like it should be grounds to call him unfit. Of course, I know nothing of the legal system. Is it possible that his latest ex would be willing to testify to what happened, and could that also help your case? Hopefully someone with more experience could offer advice about that.
Watching that cycle is difficult- it does seem better for you not to get involved. If he finds out, it may cause problems for you or your children, and she may write you off as a "crazy ex". Could you talk to the concerned friend, let her know what the cycle looks like, and ask her to just be there for the girl? Isolation seems to be a big part of the cycle- if she has at least one friend who's looking out for her, that may make it easier for her to get out and harder for him to trap her.
I'm sorry you're in that situation and even more sorry that your children are.
Thank you Sillysapling- The question of custody has been brought up before, I have consult many people- family, parents who've gone through it, and those involved in the family legal system as well- And where I live it's really hard to get more custody of your children with details like his excuses about why they missed dinner or my 6 year old saying they didn't eat etc. It happens inconsistently and I have no way to "prove" it. He also is not abusive towards the boys. He focuses on women, and it's nearly impossible to get custody of your children if they themselves aren't abused. My ex is highly emotionally/mentally/psychologically abusive. he's really intelligent and good at covering all of his bases. He's a crazy-maker (I'm sure I, and his recent ex, now rank with all of his other "crazy" ex girlfriends). He's extremely manipulative and entitled, everything is him vs. the world. He is physically intimidating, demanding, and threatening (he chooses to punch holes in walls by your head/throw objects so they smash right next to you/ act like he's going to beat you/ take a swing and "miss"/restrain/throw out of the house etc. vs. actually hitting/beating physically. Because he never literally hit me he always claimed he was absolutely not an abuser because "he never beat me". I have a feeling his recent ex has a lot to work through before she's healed enough to ever say anything in my defense/supporting my case, he always had a wall between us so i never got to know her well. I also know- and you mentioned it- that making the risky move to get custody from a guy like him could have really terrible results. If I threaten him in that way there WILL be retribution. I don't want to put my kids through it. I've been considering trying for more custody for a time, but the thought of his behavior after the fact is really concerning.
And about not getting involved- exactly. I'm sure he's already feeding her the "crazy exes" story. It was just a slightly different scenario before- He met his last GF online and she was not friends with or known by anyone I knew. I knew nothing about her other than what he told me, and there was no possibility that a mutual friend would approach her about him because there were none. I assumed he would keep dating girls in that situation, but this new girl went to school with me and knows people I know. The girl who I used to work with may say something to her, it's hard to tell- or maybe she'll just see what happens and say something to her if she suspects something is amiss. Someone tried to warn me- subtly- about my ex when i first started dating him, too. Guess what? I ignored her because she was friends with his "crazy ex"!