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Newest Member: 39Robbo

Divorce/Separation :
He wants my help with our daughter......

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 Mari104 (original poster member #63422) posted at 6:35 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

I really need some perspective from my SI family on this. Not really sure how to move forward. As many of you know by reading my previous posts, my STBXWH barely has any relationship with our 13 year old daughter. 100% his fault. He spent a very long time not prioritizing his relationship with her. Even after losing her trust, hurting her…..he still would ignore calls, text messages, etc. It took a toll on her. After spending some much needed time in therapy, she is in a better place. I know she would have loved to have a great relationship with her dad. That is what every child wants. But I also know she is scared to get hurt again and that is a risk I don’t see her taking anymore.

STBXWH reached out to me through a text message Sunday morning before Christmas. He said "I wanted to know if it would be ok if I take the kids out for breakfast on Christmas Eve morning" I responded "absolutely, I think that is a great idea". At the moment, he only picks up our son for a couple of hours on Wednesday evenings and spends no time with our daughter. Even so, I spend every Wednesday convincing our 9 year old son to go with him. I just think so much took place, the kids don’t feel "safe" with him and have really have no desire to spend time with him. Our son even comments to me that they do the same exact thing every week. They have take-out and then play a soccer video game. He says that daddy doesn’t even know he likes other games more now. Daddy hasn’t gone to any of his actual soccer games for well over a year. Doesn’t really go out of his way to be part of his "everyday life" and it seems like he is picking up on the fact that his own dad barely knows him anymore.

Well, back to my issue here. When I responded to him about breakfast, I knew that there was a good chance our daughter would say no, but I never want to make that decision for her. The reality is, she may have wanted to go for some reason. So I brought it up to her that afternoon and she immediately said "no". I asked her why and she just said "I don’t want to deal with it anymore". I asked her again the following day and she said "No, please just stop asking me. I am not going to change my mind." I didn’t ask again. I spent the next couple of days trying to figure out how to tell him. Regardless of what has happened, it hurts that our daughter feels this way. It is so difficult to deal with something like this as a mom. In the meantime, he messaged me 2 days later telling me he was tested positive for COVID, so he wouldn’t be able to take them out. Obviously, he would need to wait well after Christmas to even see them and give them his presents. So, I decided to wait until after Christmas to tell him. I just felt that telling him before Christmas wouldn’t have made a difference other than it would have been something that potentially would have made him upset. I also didn’t know what his reaction would be and I didn’t want him sending our daughter a message that would upset her. So we spent Christmas with my parents, his parents, his brother, our nieces, etc…….and he spent it with….probably his mistress or alone. Who knows. He did text the kids Merry Christmas, but that was the extent of it.

Last Wednesday morning, I decided to text him and tell him about our daughter. I told him that regardless, I had to tell him because I am sure he had intentions on taking them out once he is COVID free. His response caught me off guard. He didn’t seem "upset". Even used the word "disheartening" and said that he just doesn’t know what to do anymore. He has given our daughter "space", just like her therapist asked, but now he doesn’t think it was the right thing. He wants a relationship with her, but she doesn’t even respond to his text messages anymore. He asked me if "I have any suggestions". He mentioned that he had emailed her therapist and she suggested maybe having a family session with the 3 of us. He doesn’t want to lose his relationship with her and wanted to know if I would be open to having a family session. He said "All I want is to have a better relationship with our kids and with you as a parent. I want to be happy and live my life and have you be happy and live yours with the kids." After doing so much, it is just not that easy. I just don't know how to feel about this "revelation" just yet. Is it genuine? It is very difficult for me to believe he will do the right thing for our child when he has done so much in the past. Perfect example….he “wants a better relationship with me as a parent”, but never reaches out to me about the kids. Just last night, we both received several emails and calls about our children’s school going virtual again. He knows I work full time and both our children struggled so much when we went virtual last year.
I mentioned it to him so many times how difficult it was for us. It would have been nice to have had him reach out and ask if he could help in any way or if the kids needed something or if I needed something. That would have been a great start to his “I want us to have a better relationship as parents” comment.
But I guess I am expecting too much at this point. I think he will never fully understand how much damage he created. But I feel like I should support my daughter's relationship with her father as much as possible. I ended up giving him suggestions and agreeing to the family session. I emailed her therapist and she is going to first have a session with our daughter alone and will then have our session. I just now need to figure out a way to tell our daughter and make sure she understands that the only reason I agreed to this was because I do feel like it is what is best for her. The last thing I want is for her to feel like I am forcing her to do something. In the past, I would make her spend time with her dad, call him, etc. But he would just keep doing things to hurt her again. I have to tread very carefully here. I have worked hard to gain back her trust again as well and we are in a really good place now. She spent a long time feeling alone. I was in a bad place with everything he was doing to all of us and she felt like I was not understanding of what how her father was also affecting her. But I also want her to be able to express what she feels and wants from her dad. I just think it will be a good opportunity for her to express to him what she will require from him to feel "safe" again and whether it is enough for her to want to build a relationship with him again. At this point, what she needs from him is not debatable. Put it all out on the table. He either does what she needs or he doesn’t. At least it will give her a better sense of what to expect instead of being in this "stagnant" situation with him. It will put the ball in his court. I hope this makes sense. Any suggestions on the best way to approach telling her? During the session, I just intend to sit, listen and support my child. Unless I feel the absolute need to, I will let her therapist intervene between them when necessary. I just hope this does not back fire on me.

[This message edited by Mari104 at 7:24 PM, Monday, January 3rd]

posts: 148   ·   registered: Apr. 12th, 2018
id 8707152
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 7:47 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

During the session, I just intend to sit, listen and support my child.

This. Tell her you are not going as his coparent. You are going as her mom. That you will be there to support her.

If she is as smart,strong,and capable as you've said,then she is in touch with her feelings,and she needs you to respect that. Which you are. Just reiterate that to her.

posts: 3876   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8707165
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 Mari104 (original poster member #63422) posted at 5:22 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Tell her you are not going as his coparent

Thank you HellFire. This really is the way I have to approach this and what you said really resonated. At this point, we have no co-parenting relationship really. He has not proven anything to me other than he is has the same mindset, while doing the same crappy things. Until he proves to me otherwise, I need to step back and just make sure my kids feel safe and heard. It is not my responsibility to prove to my children that their dad is worthy or deserves a relationship with them. He needs to do that by proving that they will be his priority moving forward. I just feel so alone raising our children right now. So unfair. sad

posts: 148   ·   registered: Apr. 12th, 2018
id 8707363
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Walkthestorm ( member #72157) posted at 8:14 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

This part stood out to me "All I want is to have a better relationship with our kids and with you as a parent. I want to be happy and live my life and have you be happy and live yours with the kids."

I read this as him saying that all he is really interested in is living his life being happy alone while you can live your life with the kids and be happy. For him to feel happy je want's to have a better relationship with his kids and you as a parent meaning he wants the kids and you to give him some slack and accept what little he is offering. I don't see any real will to coparent from his end. Not in the way you want anyway.

If I was you I would ask for a session (before the session with DD) only with him to figure out what both of you want from a coparenting relationship. I mean if he is not willing to put any real work into being a dad the way you want him to be, this will lead only to more dissapointment for your kids.

posts: 89   ·   registered: Nov. 26th, 2019
id 8707412
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LostInHisFog ( member #78503) posted at 11:00 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

That jumped out at me too Walkthestorm.

Regardless of R or D we’re told to look at a waywards actions because words are meaningless. Here you have your XWH doing the bare minimal, his actions so far speak that he has no investment in deepening any relationship with you or the kids but his words are full of promise that that isn’t the case.

All he has done is expressed he doesn’t want to feel like the bad guy because you’re bumming him out by not getting over it yet and that wasn’t the plan, sleeping around without the marriage was supposed to be fun and it’s not because of the way you are reacting to him still, he is saying "get over it already" without saying it directly and to him if you three can be happy as a unit then he can be happy as youre off his back finally.

none of this is about the kids or you, it’s about him and his wants. I would have a session with just the two of you and the therapist and work on a coparent map because it would be more damaging to confront your daughter with this since she has clearly set a boundary and said no (sure she is his daughter but SHE has set her boundaries for healing and right now it doesn’t include him, this isn’t permanent it’s a right now need of hers) so toge with the therapist you can gauge the exs authenticity about this, if the daughters needs is what is priority or his. If he isn’t willing to put that bare minimum effort in before the family MC then pull the plug, you have your answer.

I wouldn’t tell daughter just yet, I personally would have a session just with XWH then if you judge there is remorse and ownership around his role in the crumbling of that relationship then set a session with just the daughter where you tell her about the family MC, that way the therapist can help navigate her reaction. Then with the daughters involvement pick a day for the family MC. I wouldn’t force the daughter together to see the ex outside of sessions until she is ready and is the one to suggest it.

You’ve had the daughters back, this has given her security, don’t surprise her with a session until you’ve investigated true intentions otherwise that may develop mistrust. If you determine it’s all about alleviating himself of burden then forget it, he just needs to suck it up and wait for the daughter to be ready in her own time.

My two cents anyway.

Edit: for what it’s worth if this is genuine consider setting up a family MC second session with the son involved because it sounds like the ex is failing with that relationship too and as you know once the son is a teen, if he feels dad couldn’t care less about getting to know him resentment can build, if that relationship also blows up the blame will be shifted to you.

[This message edited by LostInHisFog at 11:16 PM, Tuesday, January 4th]

I edit because I'm fluent in typo & autocorrect hates me.

posts: 265   ·   registered: Mar. 14th, 2021
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:06 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

But he would just keep doing things to hurt her again.

So what has changed?.. his words? That might mean something and might mean nothing. His actions though appear to be consistent. The last thing you want is for all the people your daughter does still trusts to pressure her to allow contact and closeness and then have him go back to type. What's his proof that something has changed. It's not like DD is wrong to think he's going to hurt her feelings again. That's been an accurate representation of the history, hasn't it?

I wouldn’t tell daughter just yet, I personally would have a session just with XWH then if you judge there is remorse and ownership around his role in the crumbling of that relationship then set a session with just the daughter where you tell her about the family MC, that way the therapist can help navigate her reaction. Then with the daughters involvement pick a day for the family MC.

This might be a pretty good solution from LostInHisFog. It would give you the opportunity to see if your WH is capable of any kind of humble contrition or if there's still defensiveness.

My DD has great boundaries, much better than my own, and part of that. I think, is because I've never really required her to compromise on the kind of treatment she's willing to accept. That's different from my own up-bringing where I was expected at times to put other people's comfort ahead of my own. We don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about boundaries, let alone talking about them with our kids. It's not until something dramatic happens that we need that discussion, right? But I do kind of think you're in that situation right now. Drama is brewing. Your daughter is being asked to compromise her comfort. I think it's worth making sure that your ex is serious about holding up his end and that DD's boundaries are going to be respected. Chances are that he is going to hurt her feelings again. He is what he is until/unless he makes meaningful changes.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

{edited for typos.. again}

posts: 4888   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8707493
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:41 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

He wants someone to tell him (the XH) that he’s doing everything right and pat him on the head.

Hopefully therapy will be a place where your daughter can share her pain and tell him how it really is - and how he has caused more damage than he realizes.

I applaud you for continuing to try to foster a relationship with the kids and their dad.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11162   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
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twicefooled ( member #42976) posted at 4:16 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

I'm going through this very thing with my ex and our children. Mine are 18yrs and 15yrs, and he has been literally absent for the last 14 months, and mostly absent for a few years before that. Neither children has an interest in a relationship with him. He is an addict and has broken their hearts more times than I care to admit.

I will not help my ex create a relationship with his children. Why? Because they are individuals with a history with him that have decided not to try anymore. My job, as their mom, is to support their mental health. If I felt that it was in their best interest to try with him, I would absolutely try. But he brings nothing but sorrow to their relationship and I will not tolerate that for them anymore.

I'm mom first and foremost. My ex has tried blaming me, for years, on his lack of relationship. That's my own burden and I will not force my children to compromise their own needs to make it easier for me with their dad. If you truly feel that your daughter is in the right at the moment, take her wishes into account. Make some requirements of your ex to prove that he is willing to do the work before subjecting your daughter to his pity party. Make it a long term thing too, because letting him back in with her is for the long haul and him fucking it up, yet again, is going to be more salt in that wound.

Big hugs. This is heartbreaking, and hard. I get it. I'm living it. This is my opinion.

May 29 2021 ***reclaimed myself and decided to delete my story with my ex because I'm now 7 years free from him and mentally healthier than I've been in years.

*********When you know better, you can do better*************

posts: 430   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2014
id 8707648
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EvenKeel ( member #24210) posted at 2:36 PM on Thursday, January 6th, 2022

I asked her why and she just said "I don’t want to deal with it anymore".

Just because he now decided he is ready for everyone to be happy, doesn't mean her definition of happy is the same as his.

If I was him, I would not be ramming it down her throat either. He should extend his offers to her and respect her decision. She needs time and she is plainly stating she just isn't ready.

I understand. I would love for my children to have a healthy father and great relationships with him. I have watched the dynamics here for 11 years now. I have a son that is more onboard with his father and a daughter that tolerates him on occasion.

I do not see the benefit of family counseling with your DD (and him) until SHE is ready.

At one point, my DD would get physically ill to avoid doing anything with him.

It is hard but I sided with supporting my DD. Not because I did not want them to mend...but because I know who/what he really is and until I see the actions, I don't trust the words.

posts: 6694   ·   registered: May. 31st, 2009   ·   location: Pennsylvania
id 8707914
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homewrecked2011 ( member #34678) posted at 4:45 AM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

I would tell your xh to go to the counselor on his own, weekly, for 6 months to learn what he can do to be a better father, then a decision will be made whether to bring your daughter in.

This ^^ is what I told my xwh and it was just too much effort for him. He went 2 freaking times!!!! One was Intake, 1 was a family session. That’s it!!!! He never made it to an IC appt. Everything he learned in the 1 family session was really so he could learn what to say to make my kids think he wasn’t the bad guy!!! And then he started harassing me that the kids didn’t need therapy!!! Your xh has already started this line of reasoning by saying he thinks giving her space was the wrong thing. Is he in counseling?? No? Then he’s coming up with the "mistake" of the counselor on his own. mad

Your xh has done zero work in himself. A grown man, a father, who won’t even go to therapy for 6 months on his own, to learn to be a better father, doesn’t need to be near your kids. In my opinion, they need to stay away from him and hopefully you can find some really great male role models to help your children. (This is what I did and their mental health is tons better when he’s not in the picture.)

Sorry I sound so angry right now, but these "Dads" really make me see red. mad

Sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage, but calms His child. Dday 12/19/11I went to an attorney and had him served. Shocked the hell out of him, with D papers, I'm proud to say!D final10/30/2012Me-55

posts: 5378   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2012
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gmc94 ( Guide #62810) posted at 7:05 AM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

none of this is about the kids or you, it’s about him and his wants.

. I agree.

I’ve been through some similar shit with my eldest’s bio dad (my kid and bio dad have not spoken for nearly a decade, and it breaks my heart. Grandpa died and bio dad didn’t tell our kid that grandpa had Alzheimer’s or that he’d died… we found out from bio dad’s sister, only AFTER the death… biodad is a POS, but that’s another post lol).

I also agree to do a session with you and XWS to get an idea of things and to think about setting some boundaries/parameters. Even better is the idea that the WS would go to several sessions (maybe some with you, maybe not - he would pay and it’s up to you to participate) and IF he can show some follow thru, then consider getting DD involved. I also love the idea of having a session with DS - let DS see someone alone and then decide if he wants to lay out to his dad what HE needs - not what DAD needs.

I spent decades in the divorce biz, seen a lot of really crappy parenting, and get overly suspicious when I see this kind of thing (IOW, is dad trying to set up a motion to modify to stop child support or some other nefarious reason?). And if I had ONE thing to gripe about, it’s that the law may say "best interest of the kids", most parents and judges don’t seem to really "get" that. They dont seem to understand just how damn DAMAGING it is for a kid to be told "daddy will be here for you at 5" and have daddy not show, not call, or regularly cancel/be late, etc. BEST way to show a kid they do not matter… they are invisible… they are unimportant (and I do apologize to the dads, but IME over decades is this was 75-90% the dads who pulled that crap). No matter what the family situation is - intact, S, D, blended, whatever - Follow thru is CRUCIAL to a child’s development (IMO/IME, even more than the "frequent and meaningful contact" with both parents stuff). Ok, sorry about my t/j vent.

You can also do some sessions with XWS and then approach DD, while giving DD full veto power to do a session with dad (but I may consider requiring her to do at least one session with the IC or you and the IC).

ALL of this also requires a REALLY solid IC who does this kind of family reunification work. You may want to call your D atty and see if s/he has any recommendations, ask around, etc. Every state is different, but finding someone that has done custody disputes or worked as a guardian in custody cases may be good. Some of them are just "about" reunification at any cost, which I don’t think really works, so beware on that front, get references, etc.

And if you start with a session with you and XWS, ask about that kind of thing - what does the IC think about reunification, how do they work to create and implement goals, how do they deal with a reluctant kid, do they think any parent should force a kid to see the other one? What do those boundaries look like (eg if dad is a no show or is routinely cancelling, does a kid STILL have to set dates / make plans, or can they have their boundary of "no, I wont’ make any more plans with you bc it screws up my life and my schedule, and creates anxiety and makes me feel invisible and unimportant?). How do they hold the less functional parent’s feet to the fire?

While it sounds as if your DD may already have this part "down pat", I also think that trying to look at is as an opportunity to support a child through creating / holding boundaries, and holding others accountable can be a positive thing. It may turn out great… and it may cause a lot of heartbreak (which NO parent wants to see), but as we’ve all learned the hard way, out of heartbreak can come great learning and change. And, even if a kid has it "down" at 13, doesn’t mean they won’t need to have some solid tools in the next few years (like dating… ugh! )

[This message edited by gmc94 at 7:08 AM, Monday, January 10th]

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3619   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8708819
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katmandude54 ( member #35992) posted at 9:09 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Happens in a lot of cases. My ExWW has seen our youngest (of four) maybe six times since COVID started, thats over two years. And she lives just 15 minutes away. Our son (Three D's, 1 S) dislikes his mother so much he can barely communicate and middle daughter is just chill with it all. Oldest D was killed in a crash six months after ExWW walked out. I have custody of youngest (she's now 16) and she could care less if she sees her mom, does NOT want any sort of relationship with mom's "partner" (who remains married to someone else) and the extent of the mother-daughter connection is a $50 Starbucks refill she gives her weekly.
SO, this is common

If at first you don't succeed, you're probably screwed.

posts: 161   ·   registered: Jul. 1st, 2012   ·   location: FLORIDA
id 8709126
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annanew ( member #43693) posted at 11:13 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

I think he already lost the relationship with his daughter. He’s upset she doesn’t respond…. But you said he used to do the same thing to her. So, he has lost the right to your help. Your daughter is protecting her heart and that’s absolutely fine. He can do what formerly dead best dads do and reach out to her consistently to show he has changed, while expecting no response.

You can listen to your daughter’s feelings and empathize and let her know she is in the driver’s seat. If you do more than that, you are potentially setting her up to have her heart broken again.

Single mom to a sweet girl.

posts: 2452   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2014   ·   location: California
id 8709177
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 11:50 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

In my extended family a 40 something cheated, left, and two months later realized what he had done. His exwife never tried to turn the kids against him. They live a few miles apart but talk every day, sometimes more. They text often. They have shared holidays,birthdays, childrens’ sports etc. and he apologized.

If your ex has not done this EVERY SINGLE he is not much of a father. Get on with your life. Keep records. Hug your kids every day and tell them they are the most wonderful gifts. Your unconditional love is the best thing they have.

Your ex does a lot of excusing but he is not a father, he is a sperm donor.

When someone walks away let them go
TD Jakes

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 Mari104 (original poster member #63422) posted at 6:31 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

****UPDATE****

First, I want to thank everyone for taking the time to reply and give me some much needed support/advise here. I really do appreciate it so much! You all keep me grounded.

My daughter had her session with her therapist this week and told her she does not want to take part in a family session at the moment nor does she want a relationship with her dad. Her therapist did make a few attempts to explain why she feels like this is in her best interest. (At least she will be able to voice the way she is feeling about everything to her dad.) My daughter told her that she has done that in the past and her father has not really shown he cares about her feelings and does not want to have to relive something to only come back with the same result. After her session, my daughter spoke to me and was a bit upset. She felt pressured and feels like "no one understands the way she feels". While she would like the possibility of having a relationship with her dad, she doesn't feel like he will be able to give her the relationship she deserves. (That was probably one of the things that hit me the hardest during our conversation.) She is absolutely correct. Why should this relationship now be based on what he is willing to give her rather than what all children deserve from their parents?

One of her biggest issues in all of this is trying to heal from something that will remain "in her face". Regardless of what she has been forced to deal with, she is still a 13 year old teenager. This has been going on since she was 8 and she just doesn't want to deal with any of it anymore and honestly, neither do I. I just want my kid to feel like a kid. To not have to make decisions that she shouldn't have to be making at her age or feeling things she should be feeling at this age. She would be willing to deal with the aftermath of this with her father IF the mistress was no longer in the picture. That is the big issue she is not willing to accept. Her father is her father and she would be willing to compromise some things for him, but not while he is still involved with her. She expressed to her therapist that is simply not someone she wants part of her life at all and does not want to deal with any of the "situation" surrounding it anymore. Her therapist suggested to take that relationship out of the equation for now and to focus on her relationship with her dad. Under other circumstances, I really do think my daughter would be willing to do that. I really do. She has been so mature throughout all of this and has put so much aside for her dad, but I think that ship has sailed. The reality is.....there was just too much damage. This woman represents so much hurt. Years of things being done. My kid should not have to compromise her healing or happiness for this person or her dad at this point. When has her father stepped back and thought about how much he was hurting her throughout all of this? It just isn't fair. May I add what some of you may not remember or know....... my daughter did end up writing a letter to the OW. She held onto it for a very long time before deciding that she really did need to send it to her. I was hesitate at first about her doing it, but her therapist was supportive and told her to write it first and see if that was enough for her. She waited a long time......and last June sent it to her. It expressed her pain and how much her actions also hurt her. How this woman didn't even care how much she was affecting the relationship between a father and child. She never received a response, but I don't think she wanted one. After she sent the letter, I do feel like it was a turning point for her. She started focusing on other things and her anxiety got better. It was a door she was able to close.

Well......I ended up speaking to her therapist about all of this yesterday. Her therapist does not want to force her into doing anything. She also doesn't know what his reaction will be and if he will behave in ways that may create further damage. We decided to just schedule a normal session for her next week and see what happens. She just suggested for my daughter to write a letter to her father explaining how she is feeling now and while my daughter doesn't see a point in doing this since she has done this in the past, she will do it for herself. Her therapist then called her father to update him and she told me "their conversation went well." He called me last night to tell me he had spoken to the therapist. He is optimistic that our daughter will agree to a family session in the near future. He claims that he "respects she does not want anything to do with the OW, but that does not mean they can't have a relationship." He is thinking "maybe they can start off with going out once a month" and see where things go. He insists "he wants a relationship with her and is not giving up." I did mention to him her feelings about the OW and how that is an incredibly hurtful situation and she just doesn't see any of this working while he is still involved with her". His response: "Well, I guess that means that she won't be able to come over in the future or I will never have weekends with her." He just doesn't get it and the fact that he is OK with having this type of relationship with his kid does not say much about him. She doesn't want that type of relationship with her dad. If she decides to give her father a chance again, she wants to be able to go over and be involved in his every day life. She told me she wants to feel like she will be able to have as much of a "normal" relationship as possible with divorced parents. Having to deal with the existence of the OW in his life will be a constant trigger for her and that is why she has given up. He didn't seem fazed and said that he told her therapist all of this and she "agrees with them being able to separate the 2 worlds". uuuummmmm.......I doubt that. Her therapist has never been much of a fan of his and she is also concerned about my daughter regressing in her healing.

In his mind, our parenting relationship will get much better with time and that will then make our daughter feel better about their relationship. rolleyes So of course, she feels the way she does because of our co-parenting relationship. It has nothing to do with everything else. He claims he "gets it" and that he hurt us and that I will "never be ok with what he did and will always be resentful". But here is the thing that bothers me the most. I was dragged through hell by him. Our kids were affected. He knew this and continued. He continued doing things to hurt our daughter directly. He leaves AGAIN......continues his life with his mistress. Does whatever he wants whenever he wants, all while I remained behind dealing with the aftermath. I literally put my life on hold to be there for my kids. I worked my ass off in therapy and continued doing everything to help my children heal and move on. I basically cleaned up his crap while he continued creating more. While he continued being with his mistress, living his "best" life.......and now just magically wants us to be "ok" with it all. He literally said yesterday "I need you to be ok so the kids are ok. I need my kids ok." Well, I am glad he now is so concerned about our well-being. rolleyes So where do his consequences come into all of this? Where do his sacrifices come into all of this? (He claims the kids are his "priority" because if that wasn't the case, he would try to force a relationship with our daughter and the OW.) Well......he can't force her to do anything anyway. duh She is almost 14 and he knows this. That is NOT prioritizing her. (I guess that is the only thing he can think of that would make him look like he is looking out for her best interests.) So he continues putting his relationship with is mistress before his relationship with his child after spending YEARS doing horrible things to us. After reaching the point he has with our daughter. I spend those same years focusing on my family and children......but now we are supposed to continue to sacrifice our happiness for him? Just doesn't seem very fair and he just continues being selfish. Everything continues being about him.

This whole situation with him and our daughter is something he needs to now deal with. While I want to support a relationship between my daughter and her father, I can't do it at the expense of her healing and compromise. He created this mess.....he can figure out how to magically "fix" it. If he wants a relationship with her as bad as he says he does, he can put his life on hold and focus on our daughter until they are in a better place. That is really what he should have been doing a long time ago. It isn't fair to her or I to have to continue to compromise what we want and what makes us happy to accommodate him and his crappy choices. His arrogance was "shining" through again yesterday when we spoke. He still thinks he is "untouchable" and he is exempt from consequences.

[This message edited by Mari104 at 8:34 PM, Thursday, January 13th]

posts: 148   ·   registered: Apr. 12th, 2018
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fareast ( Guide #61555) posted at 8:30 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Please do not continue to compromise your happiness or your children’s happiness to accommodate his crappy choices. He is supremely selfish. I do not see him putting your dd’s interests first. It’s all about his wants and appearances. For your own sake keep your interactions to a minimum and only for finances and child issues. You need to heal and put him in the past. And so do your children. Be the great parent for your kids as you have been.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional household where I was forced as the oldest to interact with an abusive parent. It was awful. Don’t force your dd to do anything with her father. She will resent it. His consequences are seeing his former family move on without him. Good luck.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 2948   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8709612
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gmc94 ( Guide #62810) posted at 11:05 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

While I want to support a relationship between my daughter and her father, I can't do it at the expense of her healing and compromise. He created this mess.....he can figure out how to magically "fix" it. If he wants a relationship with her as bad as he says he does, he can put his life on hold and focus on our daughter until they are in a better place.

While I am a proponent of family reunification, I am not a proponent of setting healing back. And with a 13yo, they've got enough on their plate. IOW (and FWIW) I agree.

To me, you passed on the information, allowed DD to speak to her IC about it, and got a response. Your WH can do with that info what he pleases. He's making his choices and DD is making hers. To me, it's still heartbreaking - what 13yo young woman wants to basically be told that the OW is more important? Now, I CAN see the flip side, in that I don't necessarily believe that a kid should be dictating who a parent can/cannot see... but infidelity adds layers that matter and impact things.

I say give yourself a pat on the back for navigating some tricky waters.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 11:06 PM, Thursday, January 13th]

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

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id 8709663
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 12:44 AM on Friday, January 14th, 2022

This is my area of interest. Once a child reaches puberty nature is pulling them away from the family. In a healthy family it’s done in baby steps. It’s going out for a weekend with another friend’s family. It’s getting crushes on boys or girls. It’s getting a little mouthy with your parents. The whole thing is biology pushing them out the door. They may not leave until after they are grown but they will leave. You need to be very aware that what she’s having to go through right now is a lot more traumatic than she’s actually explaining to you or her therapist. She’s moving out of your door in a healthy way and banging into her father. He wants that little girl back from five years ago and he’s dealing with someone who’s giving him another chance and after that he has probably lost her for good. I understand the therapist is really trying to help heal a family and I don’t want to get involved in that but I do know that once she has stated, as bluntly as she has, that she wants nothing to do with him when he’s with his mistress then she needs to be taken seriously. Pushing a kid into something they don’t want is just re-traumatizing them.

[This message edited by Cooley2here at 12:45 AM, Friday, January 14th]

When someone walks away let them go
TD Jakes

posts: 3113   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
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 Mari104 (original poster member #63422) posted at 3:36 PM on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Just because he now decided he is ready for everyone to be happy, doesn't mean her definition of happy is the same as his.

What EvenKeel said really resonated to me. I remember the last time he pulled the crap he did and our daughter wrote him a heartfelt letter about how she was feeling. She poured her soul into it and he invalidated her feelings. A child taking the time to tell her father how hurt she was and it didn’t matter to him. Screamed at her and told her she had no right feeling the way she did. After making yet more promises to us. Moving us all out of our home to his apartment to redo all of our floors and renovate the kitchen. Terminating the lease of his apartment and coming back to live with us…….to pull the same crap 1 ½ months after moving back in. It still seems surreal that he did this. After knowing he had caused us all so much hurt. Of course our daughter was upset and asked for space from him. But what exactly did he do during that time? Nothing. He didn’t go to therapy. He barely reached out to her and when he did, they were not the most positive encounters. I was left behind dealing with a child crying herself to sleep every night. Not eating for days. Being put on anti-anxiety meds. Screaming at the top of her lungs because she couldn’t deal with going to school. Her guidance counselor had to meet her outside her school building every single day for months so she could feel "ok" going in. She would pull her out of classes several times a day and check in on her. My daughter was failing every single class because she couldn’t focus. Is was such a horrible time. Then our son started having panic attacks because he couldn’t stand the thought of mommy leaving the house to do the simplest things like go to the grocery store. He thought I was never going to come back. My entire existence revolved around healing my kids. He knew what was happening. I was telling him, but of course, he minimized it all.

I have spent years trying to make my kids feel "normal" again. So much so that I sold the only home they have ever known so we can have a fresh start. I have sacrificed so much to heal them from what their father choose to do to all of us for years. What exactly did he do in the meantime? Texted them periodically to "check in". Bought them birthday and Christmas presents and dropped them off. He claims he wants a relationship with her now, but what is he willing to sacrifice for that relationship? Our daughter has asked him the last 2 years to stop by during the holidays and her birthday and he has said no. He claims he does not want to be around our family and doesn’t feel comfortable. She was heartbroken that he didn’t even want to stop by her party for her 13th birthday last year. He came by for 5 minutes and asked her to go outside to give her a hug. That was it. So if he can’t even sacrifice feeling uncomfortable around his own parents for 1 hour at his daughter’s party, what is he really willing to do for this relationship he wants so bad? Why is it always about him, his comfort level and what he wants? He wants a "normal" relationship with his daughter, but won’t put his relationship with his mistress on hold to heal his relationship with our daughter. At this point, my child’s feelings have been invalidated too much.

I did have a long conversation with her therapist on Friday evening and told her she does not want family therapy nor does she want a relationship with her dad. Her therapist agrees and told me that she will not push the issue with her any more. The last thing either of us want is to see my child back in the dark place she was 2 years ago. We just can’t have it happen anymore. We both saw her hit rock bottom and it was heartbreaking seeing a child go through it. I just want my kid to move on and be happy. If that means that her father is no longer part of that, then that is what will happen. At the end of the day, she has made it clear to him many many times that as long as he was still involved with his mistress, she did not want a relationship with him. This is not new to him. She told him this a very long time ago and he has dismissed it every single time. Now it seems like he understands it but still thinks they can have some sort of a relationship even with that still being a factor. He said they can do dinners once a week and "she just won’t be able to part of his everyday life" and if "him and his mistress move in one day together, she won’t be able to go over." That is a shitty thing to say as a father but I can’t change who he is or what he chooses to do. Our daughter wants it all or nothing and she deserves it all. He has pushed her to the side enough and her having a "part-time" father is too painful for her to deal with. For her to be happy, she needs a father that is going to be remorseful for the pain he has caused and understand that continuing a relationship with the person that helped you cause that pain is not happiness to her. Her therapist agrees with me and thinks that her father really needs to decide what is more important to him. He has spent too much time only thinking about himself, so now it is our time to think about ourselves and put his feelings to the side.

He texted me this morning and asked if our daughter was ok because he texted her a few times this weekend and she has not responded. He thought "things were getting better". I guess in his mind, he still thinks she will come around eventually and just accept what he wants out of all of this. (Her therapist has still not told him that the family session will not be happening at all.) I just told him it is complicated and difficult for me to talk about. He lives in his own world and is oblivious to the reality of things. He can continue to be selfish and not care what he has done to his family. He can continue to text her while ignoring what she has asked from him several times. He is her father and every child deserves to know that their parent will always put them first no matter what or no matter who. Especially after everything he has done. Our daughter will move on without him and he still won’t admit it was his fault. He will find a way to push the blame of how she feels on someone else…..and it will probably be me. I really don’t care anymore. I just want my kids happy and healthy.

[This message edited by Mari104 at 3:55 PM, Tuesday, January 18th]

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KatyaCA ( member #41528) posted at 7:14 PM on Friday, January 21st, 2022

Your ex does not care about his daughter. He cares about the image of being a good dad while forcing her to eat shit sandwiches because as long as he feels good that is all that matters. He does not love her the way a father should and frankly she should just block him on her phone and cut contact altogether. I was in this sort of situation as a young teen and my feeling about my father haven't changed to this day. I am 50 now. She needs to cut him off to heal because he keeps wounding her and she can't take it anymore. He only cares about himself and that is clear in all of your posts about him. Image rather than reality.

Cut him entirely loose and rebuild your family without him in it entirely.

posts: 252   ·   registered: Dec. 4th, 2013   ·   location: Pacific Northwest
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