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oldtruck posted 8/7/2020 12:18 PM

Here's basically the script I came up with:

"We made a decision a couple of years ago that unfortunately you can't have play dates with ___ . We know that's confusing and we feel bad that it's confusing. That's our decision and we don't want to be mysterious about it, but it isn't going to change. So we need to talk about it now, and then we're not going to continue to talk about it over and over. If you have questions that might pop into your head about all of this, you should ask them and we'll do our best to answer. We want you to be able to be friends with ___. so nothing should change about that as long as you want to be friends. The reason ____ can't come over is ____'s dad and your mom had a relationship that broke the rules of the marriage between mom and me. It hurt me and also hurt ___ 's mom. When I see _____'s dad it causes me pain, because he broke my trust. When ____'s mom sees your mom, it hurts her because your mom broke her trust too. It's like having a friend who really broke your heart. You wouldn't want to see that person over and over. This has nothing to do with you, nothing to do with ____ and the two of you did nothing wrong. But it's just the way things are. This is not your fault, it's not your problem, and it's not your problem to fix. You should continue to be friends with ____. But play dates are not something that can happen."

This is lying.
Lying by commission and omission.

It does nothing to make your son clearly understand the
"why" of why they cannot be friends.
Saying they can be friends but cannot have play dates is
just an empty offer.

What to tell a child when his parents are divorcing:

Married people do not have BF/GF and go on dates with
them. Well mom had a BF and went on dates with him. What
mom did is know as cheating, having an affair and being
unfaithful. The BF/OM name is __________.

Yes you friends dad is the OM. This is why you cannot go
to your friends house or for him to come to your house.
Mom's affair has made it to painful for any of the adults
to have contact with any of the other family's members.

thatbpguy posted 8/7/2020 12:29 PM

Thumos, it certainly appears you gave R a chance with 3.5 years since dday. Needless to say, do what you can to make this as amicable as possible.

As to the kid at home, a 50/50 split is fine, but try to be the custodial parent. The one who legally makes decisions on their behalf (what dentist/doctor they see, when they get their driver's license...). IMHO, betrayers have a messed up decision making ability and the better decisions are usually made people who are trustworthy.

Aside from that, losing a marriage is a grieving process. I would seek out now a good coping mechanism for moving forward. I found that times alone were harder than I expected... so I tried to minimize those times.

I wish you well.

Thumos posted 8/7/2020 12:48 PM

Married people do not have BF/GF and go on dates with
them. Well mom had a BF and went on dates with him. What
mom did is know as cheating, having an affair and being
unfaithful. The BF/OM name is __________.

Yes you friends dad is the OM. This is why you cannot go
to your friends house or for him to come to your house.
Mom's affair has made it to painful for any of the adults
to have contact with any of the other family's members.

This is lying.

No offense, but it's not lying. That's silly.

We're not ready to tell him we're getting divorced. That is inappropriate at this time and I intend to walk my son up to this rather than springing it on him in a sudden rush of drama. Talking to him about his friend situation in a respectful but gentle way is an opening to begin that process.

Parents who want to traumatize their kids and antagonize a spouse they're going to have to deal with the rest their lives do what you're recommending. It's churlish and immature.

I won't be finalizing the divorce just as he is starting a new school after pandemic lockdowns with an entirely new set of kids and as my older child is beginning her first semester of college. I just told my wife THIS WEEK I want a divorce, I have no intention of filing preemptively and I'm going to work through it with her if I can. So far she is showing no signs of hostility or lacking in cooperation.

There's a lot to do: We need to get this house ready to sell. We need to meet with a family attorney and start discussing amicably the best arrangement for everyone.

Frankly, I think the boyfriend/girlfriend talk is more vague than what I scripted and at some level it seems childish and churlish. I've done research and no child psychologist would recommend what you've laid out. Your script lacks emotional intelligence and is a thinly veiled way of lashing out.

I've had lots of time to process this. I'm not divorcing for revenge. And I'm not going to change who I am. I am a kind, faithful, loyal man. I have no intention of turning this process into a childish, vengeful, spiteful game.

I am looking for an amicable divorce with successful co parenting. Starting off talking about affairs and cheating isn't age appropriate, nor is it any way to successfully co parent and keep the divorce process amicable.

So I won't be following your script. Thanks, but no thanks.

And my wife (correction: STBXWW) are doing this together. As a united front. Weíre going to sit together and tell him.

[This message edited by Thumos at 2:01 PM, August 7th (Friday)]

Butforthegrace posted 8/7/2020 14:03 PM

Frankly, I think the boyfriend/girlfriend talk is more vague than what I scripted and at some level it seems childish and churlish. I've done research and no child psychologist would recommend what you've laid out. Your script lacks emotional intelligence and is a thinly veiled way of lashing out.

I've had lots of time to process this. I'm not divorcing for revenge. And I'm not going to change who I am. I am a kind, faithful, loyal man. I have no intention of turning this process into a childish, vengeful, spiteful game.

Well said.

Thanksgiving2016 posted 8/7/2020 15:04 PM

Thumos I think the script you came up with for telling your child is perfect.

Unsure2019 posted 8/7/2020 17:31 PM

Thumos.

I too think your scipt is a very good one. The fact that WW is on board to deliver it with you is just an added bonus. However, I think you both should be prepared for a question or two from DS that could include him asking directly if WW had sex with the OM. You may want to think about how you would answer these types of questions. You don't want to be that "deer in the headlights" and then have to come back later to clean it up. Good luck, you certainly deverve a lttle.

M1965 posted 8/7/2020 19:02 PM

Thumos,

I think your priorities are right. The priority is protecting your son from as much pain and unpleasantness as possible. The divorce will turn your son's world upside down, and that is more than enough for him to have to deal with.

To hit a ten year-old with the realities of infidelity would be cruel. Who would benefit from that? It wouldn't change anything. When he gets older, and develops an understanding of relationships, he can ask you whatever questions he wants to ask. And if he does not want to ask questions, why force the answers on him?

Vilifying and shaming his Mom, or doing anything that would damage his relationship with her, has to be at the bottom of the list of priorities as you prepare to explain the divorce to him. He is going to need to know that both parents love him, and he needs to feel love for both parents.

Any issues about what the lad's Mom did, and how likely she is to be nominated for sainthood any time soon, have been dealt with by Thumos.

A divorce is happening. The errant wife is not getting away with anything. But why ram the lad's face into the worst of it? Even if he came away from it thinking, "Boy, Mom really wasn't who I thought she was", he is also going to wonder why his Dad put him through that unpleasant revelation.

Sometimes adults have to be human shock absorbers, taking powerful gut-punches so that the people they are standing in front of are not knocked to the ground.

It may not be right that people have to take on that role, but if most parents were made to choose who should take a punch to the face - them or their kids - I really would not want to talk to the parents who let their kids get clobbered.

This is not about holding a wayward spouse accountable. It is about protecting a ten year-old kid from being any more hurt than he is going to be.

That is noble, decent, and the way things should be. Whether a wayward spouse gets off without being tarred and feathered is utterly irrelevant and devoid of any significance when the goal is to protect a child from being hurt any more than they need to be.

You know what you are doing, Thumos. Our thoughts are with you.

Thumos posted 8/7/2020 19:46 PM

Vilifying and shaming his Mom, or doing anything that would damage his relationship with her, has to be at the bottom of the list of priorities as you prepare to explain the divorce to him. He is going to need to know that both parents love him, and he needs to feel love for both parents.

Thank you M1965. So wise.

I have no intention of trying to ruin my STBXWW's life. I want her to continue to be a good, functioning mom. And I genuinely hope she figures all this out and has a happy productive life.

Striver posted 8/7/2020 20:10 PM

I am a few years out on my divorce.

I don't think you will have any problem getting 50/50 and a reasonable financial settlement. Your kids are old enough, and your STBXW works. Those are the two big things in your favor that I did not have.

Someone suggested sole custody. You probably won't get that and really don't deserve it. The courts don't care about adultery, so if your STBXW is a competent parent you'll share custody.

I would personally caution against expecting complete cooperation from your ex on disclosing to your kids, etc. Frankly, she doesn't have to. You're divorcing her, that is your ticket out of infidelity. It also ends the marriage.

She's getting divorced. She can hook up with another guy that you don't like. She can hook up with OM if she likes. She can have play dates with OM's kid if she likes. It's going to be her household. I don't know what your dynamic will be like, but expecting that she's going to be the ashamed ex for the rest of her life, pining away for your marriage... the only time I have ever seen that happen is when the BH moved very swiftly towards divorce and moving on, which is not your situation, nor mine.

I just want to caution you to expect to have to forge your own path. If she goes above and beyond the call, better for you, but you might not get it.

My ex left me for someone else. They got married. She knew him before she knew me, always preferred him to me. Them's the breaks for me. My kids were younger than yours when it went down. I didn't get into detail at the time. When they ask, I make it clear that she was 100% the instigator of the divorce and left me for her current husband. And that I am their father and he is their step father. They refer to his parents as additional grandparents. I can't control that.

One of my kids wanted to draw a picture of her family, chain paper dolls. Six people and a dog. Me, the three kids, their mother, and their step dad. She liked it, gave it to me, and it's above my fireplace. Such is life.

Butforthegrace posted 8/7/2020 21:27 PM

the only time I have ever seen that happen is when the BH moved very swiftly towards divorce and moving on, which is not your situation, nor mine.

I've never seen it happen if the WS is a competent, functioning adult, which I believe Thumos' WW is. At some point she gets through the stages of grief/loss, comes to acceptance of her new life as a middle aged single woman, and begins to seek happiness in that role. It's what anybody would do. I think it's what Thumos would want her to do.

Thumos posted 8/7/2020 23:21 PM

She's getting divorced. She can hook up with another guy that you don't like. She can hook up with OM if she likes. She can have play dates with OM's kid if she likes. It's going to be her household. I don't know what your dynamic will be like, but expecting that she's going to be the ashamed ex for the rest of her life, pining away for your marriage... the only time I have ever seen that happen is when the BH moved very swiftly towards divorce and moving on, which is not your situation, nor mine.

I don't expect her to pine away for me. I certainly don't expect shame at this late date since frankly I haven't seen as much as that as I would expect of myself if I were in the same position. I keep making the mistake of projecting how I would react onto her. She's a different person from me, and I don't think the kind of shame I would feel is within her wheelhouse.

I also doubt very much that she'll take up with OM. It could happen, but the odds are pretty slim. I think she has a kind of visceral loathing for him now. Of course that could be an act on her part, but not likely.

She's an attractive woman. Some man could easily grab her attention at some point (I mean it happened before so easily and within a matter of weeks he was cupping her ass!) So, come on, of course men are going to approach her in a parking lot (after all, she once bragged to me how often it happens) and somewhere along the way she'll reciprocate when it's in her best interests and the mood strikes her.

And I'm sure I'll feel a twinge of regret. She'd make a great quasi-trophy wife for an older wealthier man. I kind of expect this actually. Whoever it is, I wish him the best of luck. And best of luck to her, too, because when she's about 70 she'll find herself this hypothetical man's nursemaid.

As I've said on other threads repeatedly, people need to wake up and realize we're not the special snowflakes we think we are. We're unique beings with unique DNA codes and (I believe) unique eternal souls. But we're also humans with vast commonalities carrying out fairly repetitive behaviors that are set down in proverbs and legends and myths and narratives because they are so common. So it would be no real surprise to wake up one morning and learn she's marrying an older, somewhat well-off new 60-65 year old bachelor who wants a comfort bride and a "new start."

Beyond making sure our kids are being taken care of, I don't care. If she's running the household on her end of the deal responsibly and not exposing our son to an unhealthy environment, I don't have a stake in it after we divorce.

Really. I feel very detached.

I know that makes me sound cold. I don't know what's happened, but I feel quite neutral about her. It's weird. Weird for me at least.

I can objectively say that I love her, or feel some kind of affection for her one might identify as a kind of love, but it's not the strong pair bond we had before.

I certainly can look at photos of us as a family, look at photos of our kids younger and as babies and appreciate those times. And I do. But I haven't gotten all snotty and weepy over them. Maybe I'm all wrung out like a sponge emotionally right now, and I'll have a reaction later, I have no idea.

I have some fear about going out into the world, living in a crappy apartment as a 50 year old man, etc. Some. Not as much as I would have expected. I'm also looking forward to seeing what other women might be out there for me. That's kind of cart before the horse, and maybe I'll get divorced and there won't be any. I doubt that.

Again, I don't know what's happened with my emotional state the past several weeks, and I can't place my finger on it.

But that's how I feel.

[This message edited by Thumos at 11:35 PM, August 7th (Friday)]

Stevesn posted 8/7/2020 23:56 PM

Thumos

Iím sure you thought of this and perhaps rejected it for various reasons but I thought Iíd ask just in case.

Is it not possible for you and the OBS to meet at a park with the boys and let them hang out every now and then? Keep your WW and the AP out of it.

Would that be too painful for both you and the OBS to have the boys together?

You can still explain why if you want, but this would still give innocent children the chance to spend time together and you and the OBS, if she is willing, can use the time to stay informed with each other.

Once or twice a month May be ok. This is all under the shadow of Covid Of course. So either requiring the kids to social distance or waiting until the risk is eliminated is probably prudent. But pandemic aside (a phrase I never knew Iíd be saying) perhaps thereís a safe and not hurtful way to get the boys together every now and again with the cheating spouses out of it.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 11:58 PM, August 7th (Friday)]

Thumos posted 8/8/2020 00:04 AM

That might have been even a good idea in the beginning, Stevesn, but we're well beyond that now.

My son is moving to a new school next week. The other boy is also moving to a new school. The "friends group" is essentially breaking up bc of irregular school openings from the pandemic. Before the lockdowns they played regularly at school every day of the week.

Also, the OBS is ... well ... I don't know. She had an affair with the OM in her first marriage and that's how they became husband and wife. So my wife's AP "stole" the OBS from another husband.

Yeah.

After OBS found out about my WW's affair with her husband (she shouldn't have been surprised right?) OBS response was to get recompense in the form of a new luxury home built with AP's daddy's money.

She's a fairly shallow person, and AP is also shallow. They seem made for each other.

She doesn't want to talk about the affair at all, and the few times I've reached out to her about the boys and birthday parties and the like, I've gotten very little response.

[This message edited by Thumos at 12:23 AM, August 8th (Saturday)]

Bigger posted 8/8/2020 08:06 AM

Keep in mind that child support isnít money intended for the person receiving it. Itís money for the children. The person that getís paid CS has a role as the guardian of that money and an expectation to use that money for things the children need.

If you ask your attorney then he can probably find a description or list of what is expected to be paid from CS. In my neck of the woods CS pays for food, housing, clothes, normal activities and so on, but itís stipulated that medical costs such as orthodontics, cost of mutually agreed on and expected events such as confirmation, Bar-Mitzvah, graduation, driving license and such are paid equally by the parents. If I was paying CS then my ex could not hit me for extra money to pay for school-books because $ of the $$$ I paid monthly was intended for that cost.

If you want to minimize CS you usually need to accept the cost of one or more of those factors.

If you fear that your co-parent is using CS for other non-child related issues then there is a procedure for that.

Regarding OM and his kids. Irrespective of your case then it's EXTREMELY rare that an enforceable clause is placed in a divorce or custody agreement limiting what the other parent can do beyond what is already stipulated by your state. So she might not be able to take them out of state without an agreement, but chances are she could let them play with Luciferís brood as long as they play nicely.

One of the big problems here on SI is that although we agree infidelity is based on fantasy then we often forget that our responses are also based on fantasy. Keep it real because otherwise you will be spending large amounts of money chasing wind-mills that wonít get caught.

Striver posted 8/8/2020 09:57 AM

CS money is thrown into the family pot. IMO it would be quite difficult to prove that money isn't being spent on the kids. So, as in my case, you can have households that are considerably unequal, but it is still "fair" in the eyes of the law.

Thumos, in your case, you may have no more than a one time hit on the disposition of assets. Which is significant, but once you settle that you might be in reasonable shape. Go for 50-50, which means no CS based on placement. If your wife earns as much as you, no CS on income either. Alimony is going away, so you may be free of that as well. Again with the income, hard to see how she would be due anything there.

thatbpguy posted 8/8/2020 10:05 AM

Really. I feel very detached.

I know that makes me sound cold. I don't know what's happened, but I feel quite neutral about her. It's weird. Weird for me at least.

I can objectively say that I love her, or feel some kind of affection for her one might identify as a kind of love, but it's not the strong pair bond we had before.

I certainly can look at photos of us as a family, look at photos of our kids younger and as babies and appreciate those times. And I do. But I haven't gotten all snotty and weepy over them. Maybe I'm all wrung out like a sponge emotionally right now, and I'll have a reaction later, I have no idea.

I have some fear about going out into the world, living in a crappy apartment as a 50 year old man, etc. Some. Not as much as I would have expected. I'm also looking forward to seeing what other women might be out there for me. That's kind of cart before the horse, and maybe I'll get divorced and there won't be any. I doubt that.

Again, I don't know what's happened with my emotional state the past several weeks, and I can't place my finger on it.

That was me.

Moved, ended up with a so-so job, living in a small apartment, spending all my spare time on the coast (lived an hour away) and just felt detached from her, myself, the world. Were it not for my daughter, I probably would be still there.

But, I stumbled upon my now wife and we have been great friends and she is a comfort to me. I can't help but think the same will happen to you.

You like to quote from one of my favorite books, Proverbs. Someone once said "I am never alone with the book of Proverbs in my back pocket".

I wish you well.

Thumos posted 8/8/2020 11:41 AM

Thanks thatbpguy, Iíve been reading Psalms and Proverbs a lot this past year.

Thumos posted 8/8/2020 12:59 PM

Here's a little niggling detail that I'm thinking about this morning only because it happened yesterday.

I'm not picking on my STBXWW here or trying to pile on her, I just want to provide this bc it might help some other members who are teeter-tottering on the R vs D spectrum as they think about what's right for them.

So during her affair, my STBXWW for some reason thought it might be beneficial as part of her gaslighting of me to recruit a friend of hers into the idea I had unfounded paranoia and was the stereotypical "jealous husband."

I don't know why she thought this would somehow bolster her case or make me have doubts, but she did. She engaged this girlfriend in a conversation about how I was acting very suspicious and paranoid. Her friend reacted with "well, do you think he might be having an affair and is projecting on to you?"

For this girlfriend it was one short conversation four years ago that she'd forgotten about.

My WW told me about the conversation during the time she'd managed to convince me I was unjustly paranoid, and it was in the context of "see other people think you're being a bit nuts too. it's not just me."

The interesting thing about this episode is that it was one of several things that shook me out of my trance in that time, enabled me to pick myself back up and know that my gut instinct was actually right and that she must be cheating on me. It was one of the things that compelled me to place VARs everywhere. When she told me about this conversation, it seemed very off and like something someone would do if they were trying to manipulate and cover their tracks.

Now keep in mind, this girlfriend never knew and never found out that my WW was in fact cheating on me. My STBXWW told me about this conversation while she was in the middle of gaslighting me and during the period when she had for a few weeks during the affair convinced me that I'd falsely accused her and that we might be divorcing because of my unfounded paranoia.

After D-Day I brought up a number of times how it bothered me that my WW had portrayed me in a false light to this friend of hers, and probably to others, and that this woman had a false impression about me.

I told her several times that I would like for her to set the record straight.

She never did.

So flash forward to yesterday. My WW set up an afternoon cocktail/dinner appt with this girlfriend and talked to her for nearly three hours, opened up about the affair, set the record straight, etc. At least according to her. I wasn't there, so I really have no idea what they discussed.

And interestingly for me as I observe myself, I don't care what they talked about.

What I care about is that here we are nearly 4 years later after I've already told her I want a divorce, after I've spent the last week gathering paperwork and looking into the right attorney for me. And now she tells the friend.

And I care about it not bc it changes my mind -- not in the least. I care about it for what it reveals, for how it confirms for me yet again that what I'm doing is the right thing.

I looked at her last night and said, "so why did you do that? I've brought this up any number of times and you never felt the need to do it before." I said this in a very matter of fact, flat de-escalated tone.

Her answer: "Because you brought it up again."

I shrugged and went about what I was doing. I wasn't angry. I wasn't sad. I wasn't anything except nonplussed I suppose.

As I said, I'm bringing it up now because all of this came up again last night -- and because it demonstrated to me how tragically my STBXWW is STILL trapped in damaging thought patterns.

The unkind interpretation is that a wayward spouse who is not truly remorseful is in damage control and thinking she can try timeworn gambits to manipulate me.

The kinder interpretation is that a wayward spouse who is desperate is scrambling for ways to show me she's remorseful -- all the while tragically digging the hole deeper.

Or maybe both?

It was just more confirmation for me that I'm on the right path. I thought you would all find it somewhat elucidating.

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:51 PM, August 8th (Saturday)]

Okokok posted 8/8/2020 15:16 PM

Beyond making sure our kids are being taken care of, I don't care.


I'm also looking forward to seeing what other women might be out there for me.

These two things were *the* little mindset nuggets that put me on a path to feeling not only indifferent and detached from exWW, but actually optimistic and excited as my separation loomed.

I don't really think that second one is really cart before the horse for you at all; while some of this is sort of raw, much of it has been with you for a few years now. I think it's totally healthy and good to be dreaming about what may yet come for you.

Butforthegrace posted 8/9/2020 04:43 AM

The unkind interpretation is that a wayward spouse who is not truly remorseful is in damage control and thinking she can try timeworn gambits to manipulate me.

The kinder interpretation is that a wayward spouse who is desperate is scrambling for ways to show me she's remorseful -- all the while tragically digging the hole deeper.

Or maybe both?

Probably both.

It's clear she has wanted, since Dday, to keep the marriage together. It's also clear that she has wanted, since Dday, to find a path to "get this behind" the two of you. Which of course was diametrically the wrong thing to do, the path away from healing.

You can hold your head up with the knowledge that you tried, as hard or harder than any BH, to find a path to stay with her.

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