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My children's pain

Overcoming2018 posted 12/30/2018 13:39 PM

Hi. Single now obviously after the most horrid of times from 2016 to now. 15 months after separating, things still hurt but I cope. Issue now is my ex forced a new partner onto the kids, far too soon and far to intensely. Now my eldest, of only 12 lives with me and they don't have a relationship. I have to be honest and say I hate her but I do encourage him to try and have a relationship with her. He doesn't seem that bothered or interested. Is this normal?

Adlham posted 12/30/2018 15:06 PM

That's so hard. I struggled with this for a long time with my oldest.

Her biological father is about as useless as it gets. He'd let years go by without so much as a telephone call to her. I wouldn't go so far as to say I hate him, but if I had got a terminal diagnosis before she turned 18, I would have seriously considered taking him with me.

My anger at how he treated her STILL runs very deep!

But I kept that to myself. With her, I supported her choices when it came to him when she was about your son's age. When she was about 14, he really bles it with her and she told him to take a hike.

After that, periodically I would talk to her and let her know that I support her feelings and decisions, but if she very changed her mind, I would be willing to meet with him so she could spend time getting to know him. Because they have no relationship, I promised I would never leave her alone with him. Once she hit 18, she asked me to just drop it, as she was just not interested.

So, I think it's pretty normal for kids to feel the way your son is feeling.

Continue keeping your true feelings about her to yourself and continue to support your son's wishes. I think encouraging him to try with her is good, too, but keep it casual and infrequent. Get him into some counseling if he will agree. Or even just have the school counselor meet with him on a regular basis so he has a safe place to express his feelings.

Don't let anyone make him feel bad for being angry with his mother. She betrayed him, too. His anger is justified.

LilBlackCat posted 12/31/2018 11:42 AM

My eldest, tolerates his mother... but has told me that his disappointment with her is just too much to let go.

I continually encourage him to try and have a relationship.. but that ultimately, it's his choice.. and to at the very least respect her as she is still his mom.

The sentiment is somewhat similar as you go down the line with the other kids.. less and less, as the younger ones are more on the fence and try to be cool with both of us.

WW really expected all the kids to simply go with her on day one when she tried to talk to them about the split.. Boy was she in for a shock.

deena04 posted 1/1/2019 21:01 PM

I'm so sorry for your kids. Mine didn't have to deal with a new partner through his actions, but they do have to deal with divorce and new people around after that. However, it's been on a better timeline than being thrown down their throats while mom and dad are still together or barely divorced.

EEguy1412 posted 1/2/2019 11:32 AM

LilBlackCat, I'll soon face that conversation. WW I am sure expects the 4 kids (7 - 15) to want to be moving/living with her because she had been a SAHM, and I am working full time. I don't think that'll necessarily be the case. How did you approach that conversation? I received some good advice on SI not to overdo the "united front" of parents. WW clearly plans to give the age-appropriate version of "we had grown apart, the marriage was already over".

josiep posted 1/2/2019 12:57 PM

These situations and stories are so painful for me to read, my heart just breaks for the kids and for the faithful spouse. My kids were 40 & 42 when my XWH became a Rat Bastard and it's hard on them and they're adults, presumably equipped to deal with life's blows so I can't even imagine the pain of trying to help young children navigate all this. But keep hanging out with the good people of S.I. because thousands of them have survived that mess and their kids are fine.

I don't think there's a good answer and my suggestion would be for you to follow your heart and just do whatever YOU think is best. You love your child, you'll do fine. Just so you keep in mind that you can't protect your children from the pain; what you can do is help them deal with it and find ways to cope with it.

Maybe say something neutral to him once in awhile, like, hey, we'll be driving past your Mom's place, want me to drop you off for an hour's visit with her while I go to the library/get oil changed/buy new underwear? If he says No, say OK and go from there.

Not to t/j but to EEguy - I strongly disagree with you going along with the "we've grown apart" speech. For a number of reasons and I won't go into them on this thread. But if you want some feedback, you can start a new topic and ask people for their opinion about it.

SorrowfulSoul posted 1/2/2019 15:47 PM

I was 11 1/2 when my dad walked out the door to move in with his new family. This was in the 1960's and I don't know if counselling was much of an option for kids, but definitely not on the budget mom had as my dad cleaned out the bank account and put our farm up for sale. Thankfully he did not succeed in selling the home piece out from under us.

If I could change anything, it would be to have had counselling. Talk therapy, or maybe just someone to listen and maybe understand. I wonder if your child can write his feelings out, put it all on paper and then have him destroy the paper in any manner he wants. (Well within safe means!) Take his grief and maybe anger out physically on the words he wrote. Get it out.

I know I bottled everything up, held onto that pain for over thirty years. If you don't deal with that pain it will manifest itself one way or another. You do have to go through pain, not around. It is a lesson that I have been very slow to learn; to my detriment and to the detriment of my family.

J707 posted 1/10/2019 21:39 PM

My stbxw wanted to separate in February 2018. Nobody could figure out why, she just wasn't happy. A lot more to my story but in April she introduced her "friend" to our kids age 10 and 16 by going to an amusement park and changing my name to his for our season pass. That's how I found out about the AP, from my daughter how was 10. Here I thought we were supposed to work on us and make us stronger, silly me. That was soon and while I hope she doesn't make that mistake again with our kids, her AP dumped her twice and moved out of state, my Divorce should be final in February 2019. I know I don't have control over any of her new boyfriends, I hope she doesn't make that mistake again. I'm not sure how I will handle my future partners once I'm Divorced but it won't be as she has done!

Harriet posted 1/11/2019 01:17 AM

I suppose the right thing to do is keep it an option for your son, and make sure he understands that whatever happened between you and your ex, she's his mom and you support any relationship he wants to have with her.

Secretly, I want my kids to hate my ex. I want them to discover what he did and how much it hurt. I kind of envy those posters who talk about how angry their kids are at the WS, even though I know it must be terribly hard on the kids. In my fantasy, they hear about how he has treated other women as well. Secretly.

But he is their father. *Sigh* I do the right thing. I do take satisfaction in the fact that my relationship with them is very close, and his is much more distant. But they still love him. I guess I'm doing it right. Dang it.

Edited to add: there actually was a time when my son hated his father, but it got better. Give your son time.

[This message edited by Harriet at 1:34 AM, January 11th (Friday)]

TheKarmaTrain posted 1/11/2019 07:25 AM

My 14yo daughter hasn't had a relationship with her father in a year and a half when she found out. I continually encourage her to keep the door open and at the very least be respectful of him, but I don't force anything on her. She is with me 100% of the time. I had her in therapy for a while and now I just make sure she knows my door is always open when she wants to talk about things...she also talks to her friends which I think is so important. Other than that, it's kind of "they made their bed and now they have to lie in it" - unfortunately at the expense of his kids. Just be the consistent and steady rock on your's all you can do.

Phoenix1 posted 1/11/2019 14:15 PM

I suppose the right thing to do is keep it an option for your son, and make sure he understands that whatever happened between you and your ex, she's his mom and you support any relationship he wants to have with her.

This^^ is what I did. This, of course, also includes no badmouthing the other parent. Ultimately, it is up to your child(ren) to determine what kind of relationship they wish to have. Your job is to support that and be there for them. Sometimes IC can help children navigate this and give them tools to cope.

My youngest was 16 at the time of the D. To say she was angry is an understatement. She wanted nothing to do with her father, but I told her I would support her decision either way, relationship or no. She eventually (when she was 17? 18?) came to the point that she wanted to give her father a chance. That chance hinged on whether or not he would apologize to her for blowing up the family. So she agreed to meet him for dinner one night for that purpose. HE didn't know her ulterior motive for the sudden dinner as she didn't want to influence his actions. When they concluded dinner and were in the parking lot she asked him point blank if he was going to apologize to her. He asked what for. She told him. His response, "That is between your mother and me." And that was the wrong thing for him to say. She wasn't looking for an apology for what he did for me. She wanted an apology for what he did to the family as a whole. She looked at him, told him to "fuck off and die," stormed to her car, came racing home, and proceeded to cry her heart out in my arms. I could have killed him for that, and once again, I was left to pick up the pieces. She cut him out of her life (she's now 22) and wants nothing to do with him, and that is her prerogative.

So don't try to force any kind of relationship, but leave the option open for him, and support their decision.

Is it normal?

I would say very likely so, based on how many times we see this type of question pop up on SI.

BrokenheartedUK posted 1/11/2019 14:52 PM

My children have all struggled with the pain of all of this as well. I have three kids and they were between the ages of 13-18 during the divorce. They're now between 16-21. They took it in turns lashing out at their father for all of his shitty behaviors and would all go through phases of not speaking to him for an extended period of time.

They all have had IC and that helped enormously. Now they have a reasonable relationship with him that's not filled with rage and I'm actually proud of that. When I say *reasonable* I qualify that to include as reasonable as they can with someone that they know for a fact is inherently a dishonest coward. But it took a long time for them to get to that place where they could accept his faults, let go of the anger (and tbh, my oldest and the only boy is profoundly skeptical of his father and I think feels the "abandonment" aspect of infidelity the most). It also helps that he lives in another country to us and they have limited contact which I know is a "luxury" not many people can have.

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