So, I found out through Facebook that my Ex (DS1 & DS2's dad) eloped & got married at the courthouse yesterday. Like, totally unexpected.
This evening my boys (ages 6 & 7) go back to his house for 5 days, They have no idea yet. Recently- right before Christmas- their dad unexpectedly moved to a new apartment over a weekend I had the kids and "surprised" them by just taking them to the new place! They didn't have any time to mentally or emotionally prepare, and they didn't have a chance to say "goodbye" to their old place. So this is a second major "surprise" for them in a month.
I have posted in the past about my ex- Some of the most recent issues being he was continuing the cycle of abuse with his GF of 3+ years, who lived with him and was like a mom to my boys- did EVERYTHING for them- and she finally had courage & help to leave. She got a new place, a new car (ex had taken her nicer big car when they lived together because he "needed it for work", while letting her drive his horrible old sketchy car- when she left- like a MONTH later- she got her car back and traded it in for a small car). She got a dog, and seemed to be getting out more (she was really isolated with him). Months passed and he started going to church. Being a somewhat "changed man" he got back together with her, they started going to church & bible study every week together (he has always considered himself Christian, I am not, but I think it's been good for him), AND they go to couple's counselling through said church. It's only been about a month and a half since they got back together, they still live in separate apartments, and this was totally out of the blue and in a non-religious ceremony.
I think my areas of concern go without saying, I'm not angry or upset with him for "getting married" (although I AM worried for his new wife), but it's yet another thing he is going to spring on my kids, and DS2 has already been having a rough time since they moved, and since my Ex got back with his GF (the breakup was really rough on the kids).
Any advice on how to deal? How to help my kids process?
I don't think there's any way to make it easy on the kids, this will likely cause a lot of confusing and conflicting emotions (they love the woman, but are afraid she'll leave again, etc). I imagine they may be hurt that they weren't able to be there as well. It seems like it would be a good idea for you to tell them and help them process the emotions and get them so they can be happy for their father and new stepmom, but I imagine that if you ruin the surprise it'll anger your ex, and you also don't know enough about the situation to be able to answer all their questions. They may end up more confused and upset than if you let your ex handle it.
IIRC, your ex isn't abusive towards the kids, right? If he is, or may become abusive towards them, that really changes things. You'll have to decide whether the surprise being ruined or the kids responding badly to the news would set him off more.
That just sounds like a timebomb and I'm sorry that your kids are stuck in it. I would just try to relax while he has them, read a bit about how a parent remarrying can effect kids, and be ready for a roller coaster when they get home.
Thank you sillyapling- You're right, ex isn't abusive towards kids. I chose not to tell them because I figured it would indeed anger him, as well as the fact i learned the information secondhand so he hadn't confided it in me personally. I've just been worried already since he moved/ got back with GF, because DS2's mood and personality really took a nosedive after it happened. He either is overly fixated on something, or overly aloof. He sounds really bummed out a lot when I talk with him about anything. He is having trouble focusing on anything, so things he used to spend time doing (building legos, drawing, reading, even playing minecraft & watching movies!) he has been disinterested in! My DH have been talking about this change in him a lot and how to help DS2, and then I find out ex gets married out of the blue (which i assume also means new stepmom is either moving back in or they will be moving yet again!).
Are either of your sons in therapy or counseling? If not, it might be a good idea to look into it. I'm sure they have a LOT of emotions going on in there and it may help to have a professional help them process it all. Something like play or art therapy would probably be enjoyable at their age, too.
I hope that it will turn out to have been a misunderstanding or a joke or something. If they did elope like that, given the history, that seems really concerning to me. I agree with being worried for the woman.
The best thing you can do is just support them and be as stable an influence as possible, they certainly need it.
My older son (DS1) has autism, and he hasn't been showing the same emotional downward spiral- he usually manifests stress in other ways. While I am concerned for him as well, and watching him closely, I am really concerned for DS2 (6.5)... Counselling might be a good idea. sometimes he gets choked up talking to me (even in the years past) if it has to do with his dad or his then gf/now wife, I think maybe the sense of betrayal? telling me they were fighting and all that? He talked with my mom- who he adores- a lot more about it. She's been a great support.
It isn't a joke, there are public photos on facebook of them at the licensing dept. & with paperwork etc, and others. She changed her name to Ramirez. It especially disturbs me because of my history with him- I left him after 4.5 years (her 3.5, but they don't have kids- I was told she can't have kids). I left for 5 months but didn't get any formal help, and he kind of kept his hooks in me and convinced me he had changed etc when I was at a really vulnerable/low time, 5 months later. We were back together for 2 months and it was a nightmare, then I left for good/ got help. SHE left for about 5 months! and it's only been 1 1/2 months! It's just freaky to me that he pinned her down (with marriage) in such a short time. Why couldn't they wait? I feel sad for her, because she is such a sweet and kind and selfless person, she has no family, and if he had really changed I feel like he would see she deserved more than a shotgun wedding! Even if it was still just them in the spring or summer, outdoors getting married by their pastor or something. A pretty dress, flowers. I KNOW not everyone wants that or cares about that (I had a very simple wedding myself). It's not that "stuff" is important, it's- in her case and with their history- showing that she is worthy of being honored & celebrated. This kind of reeks as control disguised as serious devotion through an urgent-romantic shotgun marriage. Of course I don't know all the details, but I do know a lot of their history, and of his behavioral patterns and tactics from my years with him.
I wish them the best, that is out of my hands. But I want to do what's best for my boys, so I hope to support them in the ways they need. Thank you for listening & your thoughts :)
If nothing else, she deserves to be married with the kids there- as a sign that she's joining their family as well. It sounds like she really loved your kids as well and I would have thought she'd have wanted them to be there. I can't help but be worried that she may have gotten pregnant since they got back together and he's talked her into getting married quickly to try and make it less obvious/make sure she wouldn't get married with a visible bump. I hope that's not the case, though, for everyone's sake. If he hasn't changed or regresses, she doesn't deserve to have a child tying her to him. Whether or not he's changed, your children have faced enough changes and emotional whiplash without having to deal with a new sibling. Even if it's a wonderful thing, it is a huge change and it sounds like they aren't coping with the changes that have already happened.
I agree with you, I'm really concerned that she thought this was a good idea. Even if this didn't fit his previous pattern, one month of dating simply isn't enough time to know he's truly changed. That could be the "honeymoon period" that's a common part of the cycle of abuse. Whether or not she believes he's changed, she should be demanding a lot more time for him to prove himself before agreeing to marriage. Hopefully a miracle has occurred and he's totally changed and will never hurt anyone again.
I do agree that it is probably part of their "honeymoon period". I think they are thinking this new devotion to church and going to counselling means their relationship has changed.... I would get that if a year had gone by, but less that 2 months?? I remember being in her shoes, with no one to turn to, being lonely and confused. I believed him, so it shouldn't surprise me. But a huge part of it was having kids with him, I always wondered how he held her down so long. And I'm worried he used their new devotion to church/god/christian community to twist her arm- he always used to say he needed "to get right with god" as an excuse to pressure me to change my behavior (dress more modestly, be more like him, etc).
I'm pretty sure she isn't pregnant because they've stated a few times it's not possible. If she is, I'm sure she would have mixed emotions about it- even if ex isn't a sure thing, having a baby when you thought you couldn't is a big deal!
& I agree, I feel like if he really loved and respected her he would have made a longer effort to "prove himself"- And to make the moment more special. In their marriage pictures she is just wearing normal clothes I have seen her in a hundred times before. It just looked really unplanned, like some people go to the courthouse but they still dress up? Just weird. And a bummer the boys didn't know about it.
Hmmm maybe the new church WAS supportive? I watch DS1 on my ex's sundays for a few hours so he can go to said church- It's a new, small church with no Sunday school and it kind of focuses on heavy stuff, from what he's told me. DS1 goes (I've offered to keep him too), But DS2's issues with sitting still/keeping quiet were apparently an issue. And going to church every other sunday (when he doesnt have the kids) apparently didn't cut it. So he brings DS1 to my house this morning and STILL doesnt address the fact he got married but tells me he is going to be longer because his church is "Throwing a party for him and new wife" after the service. Huh. So DS1 is going, but not DS2. Didn't even bother asking questions, didn't want to argue with him before his special day!