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Divorce/Separation :
Help with my son

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 BetterTimesAhead (original poster member #70001) posted at 5:57 PM on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

I filed for D almost a year ago. It is going very slowly. We are IHS. Initially, my son couldn't stand his father and was all about me. Somewhere about a year ago (before or after I filed for D I don't know) he is now all about his father. He did a total 180 and I have no idea what happened. He only asks me for anything if his father isn't available. He does not choose to spend any free time with me and will do so begrudgingly at times if I ask him. I know his father speaks negatively to him about me based upon what he says in front of me (I can only imagine how bad it is when I am not present and what types of ideas he puts in his head). I do not know what to do to make this better. I have tried to get my son to talk to me but I get very little information about what the issues are. The pain of being sidelined by him is like another betrayal - him choosing the one who destroyed our family and basically ignoring me. He is 17 and I know boys will gravitate to all but the worst fathers at that age. But why the poor treatment towards me? Being human I just want to avoid the whole thing but I know that will not make things better. Of course STBXH is no help and actually makes things worse. What do I do? I can't bear the thought of losing my son too after all we've been through.

Me: BS - 54 Him: WH - 55 DDAY: 2/22/2019 - Three year EA and PA Filed for D 9/2021***************An apology without the action to back it up is just manipulation.

posts: 677   ·   registered: Mar. 11th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8750827
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 6:31 PM on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

I have to call things as I see them…

The biggest influencer on how people select their partners, how they will behave in a relationship and so on is their parents.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a son raised in a home where the husband physically abuses his wife will be abusive to his future spouse. Sometimes the environment influences people to do right. But if my daughter was dating two men, and one came from an ideal loving family and the other from a dysfunctional one… I would be rooting for the loving family one.

If you are in IHS and your husband is showing you disrespect… That’s the model your son has had displayed for the last year. That’s what’s impacting him. He is modeling his behavior towards you on the male role model he has.

What to do?
The inevitable.
Get the divorce over with!
At the very least get the IHS over with! There is no legal expectation that a couple that’s divorcing remain together in the same house until the ink has dried on the papers. If you two are doing the Big D then it’s inevitable that at some point in the process you move in separate directions. Money issues? That’s something that needs to be dealt with anyways, and your attorney should be able to guide you on how you can move out OR have your husband move out.

I can more-or-less guarantee you this. The moment you can tell your husband and your son that you refuse to be disrespected and act on it is the moment your son starts realizing that his dad’s behavior isn’t something to emulate.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10918   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8750836
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 BetterTimesAhead (original poster member #70001) posted at 7:35 PM on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

Thank you Bigger. I suspect you are correct. I have asked STBXH to move out but he refuses. He says he pays for the house so he is staying. I am the only one on the deed as I purchased the home before I met him. I was advised by my attorney not to leave, especially if my son were to stay. It would most likely be seen as abandonment of my son and my home.

STBXH is dragging out the D. Fighting on everything and procrastinating on providing documents and information. He even speaks of going to trial so he can shows everyone what a horrible person and wife I am. I told him it will have no bearing on the settlement or the divorce being granted. He says he knows but he wants to air my dirty laundry and have it on the record so everyone knows and it's permanent (he says he has videos to prove it).

I guess I wonder what boundaries I set with my son that won't cause him to run even more towards his father. It is all just heartbreaking to me and I feel lost.

Me: BS - 54 Him: WH - 55 DDAY: 2/22/2019 - Three year EA and PA Filed for D 9/2021***************An apology without the action to back it up is just manipulation.

posts: 677   ·   registered: Mar. 11th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8750851
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 2:33 AM on Thursday, August 18th, 2022

BTA – Talk to your attorney about prime residence during the divorce process.

Look – people don’t divorce because they get along so great. The system recognizes that and although many manage IHS it’s usually a very temporary arrangement. If your husband has been drawing out the process and if he’s alienating your son by being disrespectful towards you I am fairly certain you have the opportunity of requesting a judge gives a temporary order requiring him to leave.
The house is still there. It’s dealt with in the D process and he doesn’t lose any legal rights nor can he omit any legal obligations regarding the house. He simply loses the ability to stay there.

Another option is to simply sell the house. If there is a dispute over how the asset is split the money is placed in an account and you simply rent until the D is over and the amount freed.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10918   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8750920
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Forks027 ( member #59996) posted at 5:12 AM on Thursday, August 18th, 2022

I'd be very wary of parental alienation. If your court's a good one, they don't take too kindly to that. I hope you're documenting what he says and does. Don't remember if you mentioned recording being allowed without the other party knowing. But in your case, keep a record of his threats.

posts: 415   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2017
id 8750930
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barcher144 ( member #54935) posted at 4:51 PM on Thursday, August 18th, 2022

If you are in IHS and your husband is showing you disrespect… That’s the model your son has had displayed for the last year.

Bigger is pretty spot-on. Kids don't really "listen" to their parents so much as they imitate their parents.

Your response should be as follows:

1. Firmly set your boundaries for his behavior. Do not tolerate openly disrespectful behavior to you but also to others (including his father).
2. Make sure that he knows that you love him unconditionally
3. When you can, try to speak to him about treating others with respect
4. Be patient. He's paying attention no matter how much he'll deny that. You need to behave well to model good behavior for him. My philosophy is to make sure that my kids love me when they're adults.
5. Do not disparage his father, at all, ever. Do not tolerate anyone disparaging his father in front of him.

Me: BH, age 48Her: WS, age 45 (multiple EAs and PAs)D-Day: August 30, 2016

Diagnosed with depression in December 2016, which was primarily caused by my xWW's affair and associated emotional abuse.

posts: 5307   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8750952
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 BetterTimesAhead (original poster member #70001) posted at 5:41 PM on Thursday, August 18th, 2022

Thank you for the responses and advice. I know you are all correct. It is difficult to sit back and watch as he is influenced so much by STBXH. I do try to talk to him but unfortunately that is difficult because STBXH is always interfering, saying he needs to advocate for his son (which in and of itself is telling our son I am doing something wrong and he needs someone to protect him). I have decided to remain quiet when possible and discuss things with our son when STBXH is not around so there will be no chance of interference, but sometimes our son will later go and tell STBXH what we spoke of knowing his father will take it up with me if it was something my son didn't like. The exception is if STBXH is openly disparaging me in front of our son. Then I will just say to him that it is not appropriate or acceptable how his father is speaking to me/about me and I want to make sure he (son) understands that.

I always document what happens but I am not always able to record it as he ambushes me quite often and I don't see it coming. It is legal to record in my state as long as one party on the recording is aware that it is being recorded. I have not yet started taping every interaction we have but it may become necessary.

As I've been told by several people, I am playing the long game and as much as it hurts, the now might mean that my son favors his father. Most likely he will see through his father's behavior as he gets older. I just have to possess the fortitude and patience to see this through so we can have a good relationship in his adulthood.

Me: BS - 54 Him: WH - 55 DDAY: 2/22/2019 - Three year EA and PA Filed for D 9/2021***************An apology without the action to back it up is just manipulation.

posts: 677   ·   registered: Mar. 11th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8750958
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 11:25 PM on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

I am in a similar situation with my kids and their dad. We are separated and headed for divorce but live in separate homes. This stuff still happens from separate homes. I feel like I have to let my kids de-program when I have them. There have been times I have said some nasty things about their dad unfortunately and I know their dad says alot of nasty things about me because they tell me. I have mostly kept mum about their dad though. I have learned that the hard way. It's not easy at all in these kinds of situations where one parent is playing them against the other. I've been living this the last 3 years with no end in sight I just hope the kids see it when they get older. Sometimes I feel like my ex has completely manipulated them to see his side thinking he is the victim in all of this and that I am the one who broke up the family. Saying this is unfair is an understatement and I empathize with what you are going through because I am still going through it. I can hardly wait for the kids to be grown and out of both homes so that they can form their own opinions without my ex's influence, but somehow I feel this will never end sad I have given up on the outcome and also in convincing my kids of who the REAL victim is in this situation. I was hoping they would see it on their own but my ex is a really good manipulator and a narcissist and I read all kinds of horror stories of parents who have lost their kids to the narcissist. I just don't know what the answer is except to always listen and love them, don't say bad things about the other parent, and I hope in time they see it.

fBS/fWS(me):49 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:51 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(19) DS(16)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014
Divorcing

posts: 8332   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8751741
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 BetterTimesAhead (original poster member #70001) posted at 12:12 AM on Thursday, September 1st, 2022

Thank you crazyblindsided. I feel the same. Unfortunately we are IHS so my son is always in the middle. STBXH make inappropriate comments about me and my son hears them. Do I not say anything? When it is possible to have a private talk with my son (STBXH is always interfering) I just told him that is not appropriate for his father to speak that way to me or about me and that I hope he (my son) knows that, and that his father should not speak to anyone that way. I just can't comprehend why my son is so in line with his father. He knows what his father did and what it did to me, yet I am the one being sidelined. No matter what I do it's wrong. His father encourages secrecy (gave my son his own safe, encourages him to lock his bedroom door, tells me I am not wanted in my son's room, etc). His father claims he is trying to help "fix" things between my son and I but funny thing is about a year ago all was fine with us. Makes me wonder what his father has been up to. And I know he is not helping at all. It is all a facade just like everything else he had convinced me of.

I really try not to mention his father at all and it is difficult. I just want to negate all the awful things his father does and says but I know it's not helping. I am working on it. I wish you strength as you deal with this as well. I feel like I am losing everything.

Me: BS - 54 Him: WH - 55 DDAY: 2/22/2019 - Three year EA and PA Filed for D 9/2021***************An apology without the action to back it up is just manipulation.

posts: 677   ·   registered: Mar. 11th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8753259
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 12:09 PM on Thursday, September 1st, 2022

What is the long game?

Please – I’m going to sound harsh but it’s because too often people chose inaction rather than rock some boat, only the boat is already sinking…

Have you talked to your attorney about his actions and what you could do to end IHS?
Are you clear on what the divorce settlement will probably look like? An attorney can give you about 90% accurate figures and you can then evaluate if the uncertainty is worth the cost. Your husbands threats regarding trial and all that… just threats. The whole process is controlled by laws and he can’t selectively decide he gets the house or doesn’t provide information. YOU and YOUR ATTORNEY CAN apply pressure.

Friend – right now your "long game" is costing you your future with your son. Is it worth it?

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10918   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8753296
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Charity411 ( member #41033) posted at 10:08 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

I feel so bad for what you are going through. And 17 is a difficult age for starters, but it's hard on kids no matter what the age.

Barcher gave excellent advice about not badmouthing your WH in front of your son, no matter what, even if your WH isn't doing the same. I actually kicked my mother out of my house when she kept trashing my EXH in front of our daughter. Whatever my mother or I thought of his behavior, he was still her dad, and trashing him in front of her only made her feel like she had to choose sides. No kid should have to do that. Shame on your WH for doing that to him.

I can tell you from experience it will get better. It killed me when my daughter would seeming want to do anything to please her dad and took her anger over the divorce out on me, the one who got left for the OW and her 3 kids. I felt rejected and helpless because I couldn't change any of it. But little by little it got better. They start to see that what your ex is saying about you isn't matching what they see you doing. They see that you never put them in the middle. They eventually see that you are remaining the constant in their life. You can be counted on to not change.

Several years ago I had a talk with my daughter and she told me the reason she would get mad at me, and reject me over her dad when she resented the divorce, was because she knew I wouldn't leave her. He did. She knew she had my love, no matter what. She thought if she didn't treat her dad favorably he'd stop loving her altogether. Perhaps your son feels that siding with his dad will make him stay. Your WH has no intention of saving the marriage, and rather than take the rap for it, he's pointing fingers at you because he's a coward. The only thing your son sees is that his family is breaking up and he's trying to prevent it. He's 17 and this is all just horrible for him. You steady example will eventually get his attention.

My daughter remembers that I never put her in the middle and said she loves me for it to this day. She has two kids of her own and a step son. His mom cheated on my daughters husband and left. No matter how difficult things got with the ex wife, she used my example and would never say anything against her in front of her step son. So while taking the high road feels futile now, it will pay off in the long run. Even if your WH isn't setting a respectful example, the fact that you are will resonate with your son.

posts: 1638   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2013   ·   location: Illinois
id 8753630
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 BetterTimesAhead (original poster member #70001) posted at 5:25 AM on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Bigger, the long game is that when he grows up, the fact that his father buys him everything, rarely says no and lets him do what he wants will no longer matter, and my son will see both of us for who we are. So I need to continue to behave appropriately by not putting him in the middle, not bad-mouthing his father and being understanding when he chooses his father over me. I am in my son's life but trying to balance doing what's right for him and standing up for myself to his father is very tricky. The settlement is not as cut and dry as I'd like because there are options. Yes, the laws state certain things but as my attorney said it's a balance sheet - you can trade things off and it will even out. But STBXH seems to think he can work around the laws and tells me just because the law says I get a certain amount doesn't mean I have to take it.

Thank you Charity411. I try my best not to put him in the middle and to act respectfully. His father tries to bait me and calls me awful names and says horrible things to me, often in earshot of my son. Trying to take the high road in that situation is so hard but most of the time I am successful. I don't know what my son's reasons are and I'm not sure he will tell me, at least not right now. And yes it hurts but I try to see the big picture and maybe it means I get screwed right now, sacrificing what I want so this will be easier on my son. He is a smart kid so I hope he sees more of the truth than I think he does. Only time will tell.

Me: BS - 54 Him: WH - 55 DDAY: 2/22/2019 - Three year EA and PA Filed for D 9/2021***************An apology without the action to back it up is just manipulation.

posts: 677   ·   registered: Mar. 11th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8754056
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