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Divorce/Separation :
How Do You Protect the Children's Hearts?

Topic is Sleeping.
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 SoConfusedByItAll (original poster new member #82696) posted at 2:42 PM on Monday, January 9th, 2023

This is a lot longer than I intended it to be, I'm sorry. I just needed to get it out.

I have been lurking for some time now (Since DDay 1 back in August) and this site has helped me not feel so alone. Thank you to everyone on both sides of this for sharing your thoughts, hopes, trials, failures and successes. I fell in love with a boy in high school and we ended up getting pregnant (Despite birth control, plan B pills, and using protection). His family pushed SO hard for me to give the baby up for adoption but I couldn't do it. She is my miracle and saved my life at the time because I did not want to exist (Very long story - my father was extremely abusive and I was a primary target). I kept my baby and he disappeared for about 12 years. When my daughter turned 12 she wanted to get to know her father so I started putting out feelers to find him. Very very long story short we also fell in love again (I'm not sure I ever stopped loving him) and ended up getting married. We've been together 8 years, married for 6 and he is a touring musician. I trusted him so completely that if I had even so much as bothered to look I'd have caught him sooner. I've never been big on social media. I got a random friend request on Instagram and I even forget why I was on it at all (Last post before this was in 2019 if that tells you anything) but saw the follow request. Went to the person's profile to see if I knew them and I noticed her pictures were beyond risque and then noticed he'd like one of them. Then I saw he liked two, and eventually I realized he'd liked every single one going back to 2017. I don't think he liked them in 2017 just that he'd gone that far back to like them. I asked him about them and he gave the most illogical excuse ever - "her husband ASKED me to so she could win a tattoo competition". Sure. His response was so ridiculous that I went looking for the first time. That was D Day 1 - "just exchanged inappropriate messages I'm making a mountain out of a molehill".

Every day after that (he's on tour at this time) I found another one. I tell him come home no more tours no more music or I won't even try reconciliation. Had to be firm there because he still wanted to stay. When he did come back he was a model of a remorseful spouse - therapy, quit music, stepped up to contribute to the home (not financially - he's never had money), answered most of my questions without attacking me. Trickle truth, as it turns out, never stopped. He ended up admitting to 3 physical affairs without protection but it was more than affairs... the way he did it was cruel, who he cheated with was cruel. IE - I flew his family to Vegas to celebrate his birthday (he didn't know they were going to be there). Next day he went to a friend's wedding where he'd planned for a groupie to meet him and they slept together multiple times - the details of which she gladly shared with me. I asked her to contribute to my STD testing. Her response? File a restraining order against me which cost me thousands to fight but was dismissed. Her justification? My instagram message to her husband letting him know that he should get tested (It was a very nice caring message I was not crazy or mean in any way to him). He never responded to me. Eventually he admitted to 3 in total and I figured that was the best in terms of truth I was ever going to get. For the first couple of months things were ok but he started implying I was being neglectful of the kids. I admit that I hard a hard time getting out of bed for the first couple of weeks but our youngest is a teenager so they were not neglected. I still spent time with them but less than I usually did - I just couldn't bear to watch him be loving and happy while I was dying inside and he was always there. I admit that was a failure on my part. I also work two jobs to keep us in a good place financially as even when he made money it went to other things (I was even paying his "ubers" which, as it turned out, were not ubers but his women - there were over 100 messages so I don't believe he limited himself to 3 women he got physical with. I later found out that he had planned to spend days in Europe "sightseeing" with a Polish girl. I found emails from 2016 where he'd begged her to spend the night with him when she was in Sacramento - this was after we were engaged.

Then I uncovered his drinking. A LOT of it. Drunk every night basically. Had to take care of him in the hospital for withdrawals. Sitting here, 6 months in I finally officially - in no uncertain terms this time - told him I am done. Our children are devastated. My youngest's dad has/had severe PTSD and literally could not take care of himself so he disappeared. It is still brutal for my youngest after all these years. My daughter was obviously abandoned by my husband before and felt she had a dad finally and now this. I watch their hearts break and I hate myself. I never would have married him if I had the slightest clue that he would do this to us. We're at the point now where I'm constantly the problem. Little tic tac comments, tons of sarcasm, etc. Or he does the opposite - walking around like a wounded dog. Last night broke me - not only are the kids devastated he told me he's going to dump my dog (who does not like him at all). Later he took it back and said he misspoke but I don't believe him.

How do I protect my kids? How do I find the strength to stay with a man who causes me so much pain? I don't think the kids can take losing a dad again. My decisions in life have cost them so much. How do I help them find happiness? I feel like I have just destroyed their entire lives. How do I cope with what he did so they can be happy?

Me - BW (37)
Him - WH (38)
DD1 - 8/7/22
Separating

posts: 3   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2023
id 8772622
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nomudnolotus ( member #59431) posted at 2:01 AM on Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

Listen to your dog, they trust their instincts.

Ask yourself this, what kind of life is it going to be for your children with their dad there, but probably still cheating and drinking and emotionally abusing you?

Is this what you want to model for them? They would be much happier from a broken home, than staying in it.

Trust me on this, I lived in the broken home for far too long. I missed my dad, but my home was so much better without him there.

posts: 449   ·   registered: Jun. 30th, 2017
id 8772843
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 9:42 AM on Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

Your question should be how do you find the strength to leave a person who is a serial cheater, earns does not contribute to your household finances AND is a mean SOB?

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13946   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8772872
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 8:58 PM on Sunday, January 15th, 2023

He can still be a father to the children without being in a relationship with you. You don’t mention if he ever adopted your son, but since he’s a teenager, you could still allow visitation and shared custody if your husband was willing. Also, if your daughter was 12 when you got back together, then she’s a young adult now, not a young child who can’t understand what’s happening in your relationship. Both children are at an age where they can have a relationship with him independently of you.

If he wants nothing to do with your kids if you split, then good riddance. He clearly never loved them and was never emotionally invested in them; you staying with him just to keep him in their lives will only delay the inevitable heartache and disappointment that he will inflict upon them later on down the line.

If you stay with him, he will continue to cheat on and abuse you. The lesson you will be teaching your kids is that infidelity and mistreatment in a marriage is normal and acceptable. Is that what you want?

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 9:10 PM, Sunday, January 15th]

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 1972   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8773480
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 4:06 PM on Monday, January 16th, 2023

How do you protect your children's hearts?

By getting them out of this toxic stew of a marriage. To stop them having to see this man abuse their mom. By modeling strength and integrity. By providing the love and support they need in a stable, loving home.

Your tears, their tears, your sadness, their sadness, your struggle, their struggle is BECAUSE OF HIM. Not you. Not them. Him.

So remove the cancer.

posts: 606   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8773535
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CoderMom ( member #66033) posted at 4:00 AM on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

My kids lost their dad due to his own poor decision to bar hop and drive a motorcycle over 100 mph. He forever devastated his kids that night.

You protect them however you can. Day by day. Making sure that you don't put them in so much of a bubble for so long that they don't understand how to live life because they have been too sheltered (that happened to me after my parents divorced).

posts: 353   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Eastern States
id 8775615
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 12:52 PM on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

I'm so sorry, you've had a rough go.

But you shouldn't be looking for strength to stay. He's an active alcoholic. A serial cheater. An abuser. A financial drain. A crap husband and an even worse father.

You should be looking for the strength to dump his useless ass. And I believe you have it in you.

Will that be hard? Yes. Will it hurt? Also yes. But in the long term, for you and your kids, it will do far more damage if you stay in this. I'm saying that as a grown woman who spent her childhood watching her mom be with one alcoholic abusive ahole after another, watching her never value herself enough to stop getting into these toxic relationships. It isn't her fault that I married a cheater, but I can tell you that those formative year experiences definitely didn't teach me how to value myself either. I do now, but it was a painful hard lesson to learn.

I know divorce is scary and it feels like the worst thing. But it isn't. The worst thing is being with someone who treats you like garbage and devalues you. The worst thing is keeping you and your kids stuck in toxicity. You deserve so much better than that kind of an existence.

If it helps, I was terrified in the early days of getting divorced. But life on the other side has been so. much. better. than I ever believed was possible. My life now is peaceful. It's calm. It's predictable. It's filled with people who love me and treat me accordingly, people who actually reciprocate my love and affection. I don't cry myself to sleep at night. I don't question my worth anymore. Financially it's amazing, not having a constant money-suck like my xwh (who also contributed almost nothing) bleeding me dry. It's... well it's just pretty damn awesome. I want that for you too.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3901   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: Louisiana
id 8775630
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 2:02 AM on Monday, February 6th, 2023

I'm so sorry about all you've been through.

I think you protect your kids by being a positive role model. You demonstrate to them that no one needs to stay in a toxic relationship, that partners should be honest and communicative, that they should be committed and caring, and you leave him.

As others have said that doesn't mean that their relationship with him ends, but you also support them by getting your kids to go to alateen, since it sounds like they've been exposed to various alcoholics and sex addicts/narcissists.

And finally, you go into therapy yourself to work on your own healing - from the betrayal and from your childhood. You have a pattern of going for men with problems who disappear or are emotionally (and financially) anorexic when they are around. You can help your kids by showing them that personal growth is worth the time, money and pain; and that unhealthy patterns can be broken. It's not easy, and it's what I'm working on right now, but I do think it's worth it.

Good luck.

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8776328
Topic is Sleeping.
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