21 August 2020 at 5:39 pm #43135
I am really in need of some sound advice. I will try to keep it short. My ex and i have been seperated just over 2half yrs. We were together for 8yrs. We have a 9yr old he has a 13yr old and I have a 14yr and 12yr old. So my two are very close with him. We have remained close , spending Xmas, bdays and holiday as a family. Even though I found that hard because I still loved him.
He has had a female friend who he hangs out with and were friends before we seperated. He became sneaky and deceptive and lied about being in a relationship. Which caused fights as he has mentioned reconciliation between us a few time. At the end of July 2020 he tells me he wants to move on and wants a serious relationship with her. She will be sleeping over. My concern was the kids. He didn’t think it necessary to talk to them as they know her because she is was a friend. I expressed the fact it has to be done properly and as parents.
Couple of weeks ago I find out she has been sleeping over for months with her kids and he has told our 9yr old and his 13yr old to keep it from me. So our 9yr old has had to lie to my face when video calling him at his dad’s!!!! Better still my 2 are on holiday and no nothing of this . So they will come back to find step dad has a new family!
I feel so confused by it all I really don’t know what is the best thing to do. So would really appreciate some advice.
Thanks21 August 2020 at 8:20 pm #43141
Children should never be told to keep secrets as this is such a dangerous thing to teach them and is damaging to them. While I get your ex maybe was trying to spare your feelings about his new partner sleeping over the way he has gone about it is so wrong and not just hurtful to you but as I said it is damaging to your children. Your ex needs to understand that if children are encouraged to lie or keep secrets then they might think this is normal acceptable behaviour and could end up keeping more secrets or telling bigger lies later down the line. Not to mention its setting a poor example to the kids of how to handle situations and what appropriate behaviour is.
While I understand its always hard when an ex moves on and a new partner is around the kids unfortunately, unless there is some danger to the children, there’s not much you can do about who yout ex chooses to spend his time with while he has custody of the children. Therefore if he chooses to have her spend the night or even move in with him thats his choice. But he absolutely should have had the courteousy to sit down and discuss it with you and the children and allow you all a chance to adjust to the news.
This is a very difficult situation. It sounds like you and your ex really need to sit down and hash some things out. Try and have a constructive conversation to set some boundries for everybodies sake. If he isn’t willing to do this and this kind of behaviour continues then you could seek further advice about what options are available to ensure the childrens needs are being met.23 August 2020 at 12:29 pm #43158
I could not agree more with Bunnyhop.
It’s wrong for either parent to expect the child to keep secrets from the other parent, and it’s wrong for the child to feel that they should keep a secret of their own accord to avoid upsetting the other parent. Both parents need to be mindful of this and it’s wrong to put the child in the middle, or have one parent grill the child about the other parent’s situation or relationship Ghestapo style (which is what happened about a year after I split and my ex saw my son as an information gathering tool). It’s wrong, it does damage, it destroys whatever bond there is already with the child and the parent that they are keeping a secret from, and while as children get older it’s good to reinforce the need for privacy…. it’s dangerous as Bunnyhop said for a child to keep secrets from any parent, it’s not their fault you split from each other, and they should feel they can speak to either parent about anything.
There are obviously some exceptions to the above where the split is to do with an abusive relationship for example and there are other safeguarding issues but when it’s just a split, and both parents rightfully have custody over their child – it’s a case of get a grip, focus on the relationship with your child and don’t let any new relationship or any other thing that is purely your business affect your child, or make the child feel responsible in any way for keeping a secret from the other parent even if you have not told them to because if they feel they have in order to avoid anger or upset from the other parent to that can be just as bad and you should feel equally responsible (voice of experience).23 August 2020 at 1:20 pm #43160
Thanks for replying. And i appreciate your insight and opinions.
I couldn’t agree more with you both. Life has taught me to always look at the situation through the other persons eyes before acting or responding. And i have. Yes its not nice knowing someone else is in your children’s life as parenting figure but I’ve known this was going to happen and had time to prepare my feelings for it.
I have tried talking. I have pleaded to sit down and have an adult conversation. He just won’t and avoids it at all costs. Same thing when we seperated. We have never sat down and talked about it. It’s like the elephant in the room situation except we have got a collection of them going on.
I understand he want to keep that part of his life private. All i wanted was for him to have given me the heads up. Not because I think i have the right as an ex but to know what’s going on in the kids lives. Some find it difficult to adjust and I would want to support them.
l have really had to balance my emotions with this and not react. But watching it unfold and knowing the outcome . I’m not prepared to sit back and hope that when they reach adulthood they will be stable humans. I need to do this the right way and go about it carefully because I dont want an ugly war . The kids don’t deserve that. He won’t talk about it. Me and the kids are not to speak of it. It feels unnatural. So I feel tied up . How do I go about this??23 August 2020 at 1:58 pm #43161
There is obviously an ideal world, where we all tell the truth and each of us always has the best interest at heart. And then there is reality.
I had this problem a few times now and our boys had more than their fair share of it. My way, but this is my way, so no offense here if you don’t agree, I told them first of all, we all lie. There are no people in the world , who I know, who don’t. I can not expect you to always tell the truth and I can deal with the odd lie. I will trust you and know sometimes I will be disappointed. But I generally want you to aspire to tell me the truth and not lie because it hurts when my trust in you is broken. For not knowing what is going on in the other household, I need to trust their mother’s Instinkt and of course as at this particular instance I will see if she agrees to give me his name and birthdate, so I can look him up, to see if there is any danger for the boys. Otherwise it is non of my business.23 August 2020 at 10:23 pm #43187
I think it’s great that you talk and discuss things with your kids. It’s really important. I’ve always expressed to my kids they can come to me about anything and I encourage them to speak up if they feel a certain way about a situation. Definitely the best way forward.
You are right . Life isn’t all roses and fluffy clouds and I wouldn’t want them to think that. I myself am not perfect. I’ve got angry. I’ve got angry at them when I shouldn’t have. But I apologise and chat about it.
As a child I was in a situation from a very young age until I was in my teens. Lies , secrets and manipulation. I cut ties with my mother along time ago because of it.It’s damaging and it doesn’t always show untill adulthood and become parents and have all these issues come to the surface.
I hope the ex settles down a bit and see’s that I’m not interested in the ins and outs of his relationship. Just the welfare of our kids. I haven’t sat our son down and grilled him for hrs! If not then I will have to find another angle. Avoiding the official root at all cost.24 August 2020 at 12:42 pm #43200
yes parenting is a very demanding job ;-), why is it so easy to make them and so hard to bring them up. should be the other way round.
One of my constant reminders is, no, you don’t want to be like your mother. I know how that feels. And I try to avoid the mistakes she made but of course….
I am facing the third stepfather in just under four years and it’s the same roller coaster again. All this cushion talk, where my most kept secrets are laid bare to a complete stranger, things I myself might not even know, because she never told me, the photos taken being sent to a complete stranger instead of the boys father, the constant attempts to include him and exclude me. And, and , and… But that’s how it is. One day I will make a reunion and set them all down at a table. It will be like walking barefoot through fire. That will be fun.
Being open with the boys really helped a lot and mostly I am very proud of them. It is always a fine line and I try not to talk bad about their mother. But as a family we bicker. A few weeks ago she picked up little one when eldest ones girlfriend was here and we were just going through all his childhood movies and photos on our plex server ( a sure-fire way to embarrass your 17 year old and I couldn’t miss that one ). She stayed and watched with us. We all had fun in pulling each other’s legs. And even in working families it is not always, yes, my dear and how can I help my dear.
I will keep trying to do my best and I am sure you are doing it as well. There are no easy answers and ever more complicated questions.
All the best.