So I have been struggling to find any stories that are similar to mine, although many of the themes are obviously the same. My ex-wife and I got divorced 5 years ago, when our son was 4 and our daughter was 2. My ex suffers from depression and bi-polar disorder, and has periods of intense manic behavior where she cannot be calmed for an hour or two. She refuses to get help for her conditions aside from medication that does not work. During the end of the marriage, I caught her on multiple occasions texting her ex-bf, calling him, and doing what she could to spend time with him. There were also a few times where she would go out for drinks with friends and come home plastered at 2 or 3 am in a taxi, leaving her car at the bar, sometimes receiving texts afterwards. Always, everything was my fault and I was sure to hear about it.
During our marriage, in order to deal with the tremendous mental and emotional abuse I turned to alcohol to cope. In doing so, I nearly killed myself and spiraled into a deep depression. I realized that I needed to leave the relationship in order to heal. It was a tough decision with 2 young ones, but I felt I could not care for them if I could not care for myself. I filed for divorce, began medications, and started seeing a therapist. Within 2 years I was able to stop therapy and medications altogether.
At the time of the divorce, I felt incredibly guilty. I agreed to pay 50% more than the court demanded for 4 years. At that point I would pay 20% more until the kids were both 18. I reconnected with an old friend who was incredibly supportive, but I did not want to be in a relationship with her. I stayed in a relationship with her for 3 years and could feel myself getting better each day, but I wanted my family back. And then the pandemic struck.
My ex had moved in with her ex-bf as a means to survival a year before the pandemic, and we had begun talking about the future for the kids. Both kids had to attend school remotely during the pandemic, and my ex was not able to manage it. I still had serious feelings for her and I also wanted to try and recover what I could as a parent for my 2 kids. She decided to move out of his house and into my house. As this transition was happening, we were intimate on a regular basis. We have always had an incredible chemistry and it was a breath of fresh air to enjoy while not being clinically depressed.
We decided that we would put our family back together, and at least one good thing would come out of the pandemic. I work from home so I was able to manage the kids with their school. She worked an hour and a half away, so she was gone most of the time. She would leave around 6 am and come home around 8 pm. Her job can best be described as seasonal, where the summer is the busy season. About 8 months into our family rebuild, her busy season started up. Her hours away from the home spiked up to about 16 hours per day on most days during the busy season. Being the nice and caring father and partner that I am, I decided to buy her dream home within 5 miles of her work. We moved there mid-season for her work, at the beginning of August 2021.
As her work hours were spiking, I started to notice some changes in her. At first, she wore sweatpants and a hoodie to work. As the busy season came, she started dressing more and more sexy. I started seeing all kinds of lace underwear and bras and lingerie that I had never seen before. She just said that it made her feel good about herself. Ok, I can take that at face value because I was trusting her.
Starting in August, she started being really secretive with her phone. She turned off notifications for text messages and social media apps. She would go into work when there wasn’t an event and not come home until 1 or 2 am. She told me I wasn’t to do her laundry anymore. That was a strange one. I do all of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, but she wanted to do her own? I’m super suspicious now. I shoulder surfed her watch password and dug in when she went to bed.
She was having conversations with other men, but they were really pretty bland. Then I noticed that a contact called Sherrie Smith was texting her a lot. As I started reading I realized that this was a man, Sam Stevens, and it was the man who would text her late night when we were married. He called her by the pet name that I called her by in his texts, and I got furious. After midnight I confronted her and yelled, and she ran out of the house and went to her ex-bf’s house.
She has always been really secretive about her social media and texting, and always got mad when I looked into them. She never thought I had a right when we were married, and now she thinks I definitely don’t have a right. I disagree. But regardless she told all of her family that I tried to hit her, even though she hit me and left me bloody. I made sure to take pictures.
So this brings us up to the middle of August, when I decided to start documenting things. What I found interesting is that 90% of the strange behavior occurred on Thursdays. This leads me to believe that the AP is married and is on a schedule. What I can gather is that she takes our kids to practice on Thursday, goes to buy some liquor, gets drunk and cheats, and then picks the kids up to come home. I honestly have no idea who the AP is, but I clearly have my suspicions. My ex is really good at covering her tracks, but yesterday she messed up.
Yesterday she took the kids to practice. About 15 minutes before pickup she texted me that she was at an appointment and I needed to pick the kids up from practice in the evening. The problem with that is that I got a credit card notification 2 hours earlier that she had paid for her appointment. I told her that I wouldn’t be picking up the kids. (Mind you, the entire text conversation was in really sloppy, misspelled wording...drunk talk). I told her that we need to talk when she got home, and she avoided it. I asked her to send me a screenshot of her location from her phone because I didn’t believe her story and the response was "fuck you". I told her if she wanted to come clean that we could talk, but if not she can go be with that other guy and he can support her. She didn’t respond. She dropped the kids off and disappeared into the night.
Another interesting point is that this morning she asked me to send her a sizable amount of money. When I checked our joint email account, she had an electronic payment to a woman’s clinic with the notation "help".
So here’s where I’m at mentally. She’s definitely banging some dude. She gaslights the fuck out of me and blames me for all of the problems in the world. I’m pretty sure she got pregnant(I've had a vasectomy), asked me for money, and then got an abortion pill ($400). She won’t come clean or be honest. I plan on telling her today that the only thing we have to talk about is the kids. She can get her shit and leave, and I’ll even put it in the driveway for her. She has said in the past that she wants to get her own place for 6 months "to heal". Ha. Well here’s her chance.
So I guess what I’m hoping for is some advice for an unmarried father. Should I give her more benefit the doubt? My gut says no. I’m pretty sure that the kids will stay with me but I don’t want to chance that. So I think I will just let her leave and keep my mouth shut for a few weeks. I’m not really emotionally broken up about all of this, and I kind of look forward for the daily berating to end. But is there a better way I should handle this to make sure the kids are well taken care of? I was considering getting a PI to bust her drinking and driving with the kids in the car. I think that might force her to finally get some professional help, but I want to focus on the kids and myself.