Explaining that Dad isn't coming back and has new relationship

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    My b/f moved out of his family home 9 months ago.  His wife is aware of our relationship and that it was a factor in his deciding he could not remain in his marriage.  She asked him not to tell his sons (12 & 13) about us until she said so and to limit any further upset he agreed.

    They are hot and cold with him and this often coincides with their Mum getting upset and angry if he has tried to discuss financial/parenting matters – she turns the conversation or message thread to their relationship breakdown and they possibly overhear these or her relaying them subsequently to her confidantes. He wants to make regular arrangements and is in his own place just 5 mins away but their Mum ignores his messages or just tells him to “ask them”.  If he asks them, they often say they’ll think about it and either not respond or will refuse with excuses like they want to stay at home or go to a friend’s or don’t want whatever he proposed to make for tea. When he does spend time with them they seem to be comfortable with him and they haven’t rejected him outright but it does seem like they’re calling the shots. Maybe they are angry that their Mum is upset, or feel they’ll make it worse if they leave her too in order to see him.

    I’ve read that you shouldn’t involve children in reasons for breakups or rush into telling children about a new partner but it’s clear he’s not going back home though maybe they have to hear it from him along with his view of his future.  They may even have picked up that knowledge from things they’ve overheard at home and are angry that nobody is being straight with them. If they are angry with him at least there’s a starting point for repair rather than sword of Damocles dangling overhead.

    He is struggling so much with this and fears further rejection as he’s a hands on type of Dad and he just wants to share the responsibilities and enjoy time with them.

    Does anyone have experience or advice about how to be honest and open whilst being age appropriate and dealing sensitively around this issue?

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