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Newest Member: May28

New Beginnings :
My daughter's High School Grad Party: Advice requested

Topic is Sleeping.
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 barcher144 (original poster member #54935) posted at 6:13 PM on Thursday, May 18th, 2023

I didn't exactly know where to put this question and I felt that it was best in the New Beginnings area. Mods: please move it if you think that it belongs elsewhere.

I feel like there is a good deal of background needed for this... so...

Background

For those of you who don't know me or remember me (I'm not on SI much any more), my D-Day was in August 2016, which eventually led to xWW initiating a divorce in August 2018.

The divorce became exceptionally nasty... with my xWW accusing me of all sorts of bad behavior that I will not describe again. I literally had to fire two different attorneys until I found someone talented enough to handle the avalanche of false allegations, after which my divorce proceeded somewhat normally (although it remained expensive, absurd, and high-conflict). After a trial, I was legally divorced on Feb 1, 2021 but it wasn't until May 2022 that appeals and other issues were fully resolved.

Simply put, my xWW is a cover narcissist who is very likable on the surface but she is also very devious and evil and she has tried (but failed) to ruin my life (unrelated New Beginning comment: I'm doing GREAT!!! I've survived infidelity and come out the other end better than ever -- yay!!).

During this time, xWW has tried to have me arrested numerous times. The first time was when she literally faked a domestic violence event in front of our children. She started screaming and yelling as if I was hitting her; the kids could not see what was happening but they could hear her. I eventually learned that she literally called the police prior to this event (I've experienced a lot of gaslighting, so I don't always trust my own version of reality). On three other occasions, she accused me of something akin to kidnapping because I was casually standing in a doorway and she claimed that I refused to let her leave (she never asked to be allowed to leave). On the night in which the judge made a temporary ruling in which I was required to leave the martial home, she told our children that I was certain to come home and beat her up, so she took the kids to her "friend's" house (i.e, her boyfriend at the time, who was not yet identified as a boyfriend). Almost two years after that in which I routinely picked up and dropped off our children at her house, she decided that me pulling my car into her driveway to pick up or drop off our children was "threatening"; she told me that she would call the police if I ever entered her property again. I have complied with this order; my children now have to walk to the street for me to pick them up, even in the cold and/or rainy weather.

Many/most of the issues with xWW have revolved around money. She has primary custody of the children, so I pay her a lot of child support. In addition to child support, however, she feels like I should pay for at least half of their expenses such as their clothes, their sporting activities, their school trips, their cell phones, etc. So, she used to regularly tell the children that I don't pay for anything... although xWW is obviously doing just fine financially as she has purchased a new house (and MUCH more expensive), a new car (i.e, she now has two cars), and a lot of new furniture since getting divorced. In contrast, I have struggled financially for much of this time, although I am (now) more or less back on feet, financially speaking.

Throughout the entirety of the divorce and even after the divorce, my xWW was very active in the area of parental alienation of our three children. She told them all of the same lies (and more!) that she told the court. During the summer of 2019, both of my daughters stopped speaking to me for 2-3 months. I believe (hope?) that I have effectively thwarted the parental alienation with both of my daughters (it never seemed to affect my son -- he and I have always been "good"). I think that I have completely turned around my relationship with my younger daughter (DD16), although she is now 16 years old and our relationship is often difficult but it feels like "normal" difficult, if that makes sense.

My relationship with my oldest daughter (DD17) remains distant/strained, although I think the major issue is her genuine personality rather than parental alienation. First, DD17 is very introverted (so am I). Second, I suspect that DD17 is on the autism spectrum (Asperger's) and so she's just kind of difficult during the best of times. Third, DD17 has created a very busy life for herself, which does not include time for her father. I now live about 30 miles from xWW and I have parenting time on Thursdays and every-other-weekend. DD17 signed up for a Jazz band class that meets at 7 am on Friday mornings, so she has skipped my Thursday evening parenting time since September. DD17 is also involved in a number of other extracurricular activities as well as working at a restaurant for 10-15 hours per week. I am guessing that she comes to my house maybe one night per month and only if I explicitly ask her about her plans for the night and/or weekend.

I have borderline perfected the grey rock method as far as xWW and any parental alienation. I keep in mind that the primary victims of parental alienation are my children, even if I am the primary target. I communicate with xWW strictly through OurFamilyWizard and I never discuss anything of a personal nature. I never say anything remotely critical of xWW around my children. I attend as many of their functions as I can, even though it is 60+ miles round trip for me to do so.

Actual Issue

DD17 is graduating from high school in a few weeks. Because it's obvious that xWW and I have a high conflict relationship, DD17 and I have discussed having two graduation parties for her (i.e., one hosted by me and one hosted by xWW). However, because I don't have a lot of friends (I'm introverted and I lost most of my casual friends during the divorce), DD17 and I decided that I would host a party for her and her friends elsewhere this summer (i.e., not an "adult" party); this seemed like a good way for me to show my love, appreciation, and pride as far as DD17 but yet avoid the awkward redundancy of having two different graduation parties. That is, her mother would host an "adult" grad party and I would host more of a "fun" grad party.

On Sunday evening, DD17 texted me and asked if June 8th was okay for a grad party. Assuming that she was talking about the "fun" grad party that I planned to host, I asked her to call me (I was driving) so that I could get the details. In my mind, I was planning on hosting this party in July, so one of my first questions was "who will be attending?" DD17 immediately started listing off xWW's parents, siblings, xWW's partner's family etc. Being used to not criticizing anyone to DD17, I basically said that I didn't think that any of those people would want to come to my house... and it was at that point that I learned the actual truth:

I was being invited to my daughter's graduation party at xWW's house!!!

How do I handle this situation?

Remember, I have been told by her that walking onto her property is trespassing and that she will call the police if I ever walk onto her property again. Her family/relatives will also be there, all of whom I hated before I found out about the infidelity. Many of my old friends (i.e., the ones that took her side in the our divorce) will be there too. As in, other than my children, I really don't want to interact with anyone at this party ever again.

This invitation has me very much flummoxed. My spidey senses are definitely tingling that xWW is up to something.

One thought is that xWW will ask me to pay for half of the grad party in exchange for being allowed to attend. In some ways, this will give me an "out" because I can simply refuse to attend for this reason. That is, it's her party so she can pay for it.

Another thought, although very unlikely, is that xWW will have me arrested if I attend. I don't think this is likely because it would obviously make DD17 very angry, but I would still feel much more comfortable if I had an actual invitation (i.e., so that I could show it to the police if something came up).

Otherwise, my plan would be to show up, hug my daughter and tell her how proud I am of her, stay for a very short time, and then leave. That is, attend the party briefly but be a grey rock.

Other thoughts and advice?

Me: Crap, I'm 50 years old. D-Day: August 30, 2016. Two years of false reconciliation. Divorce final: Feb 1, 2021. Re-married: December 3, 2022.

posts: 5419   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 9:25 PM on Thursday, May 18th, 2023

Tell her the truth. That you love her,and as much as you would love to attend, the relationship between you and her mother is strained, and you are not comfortable entering her home.

As you said, your ex has trashed you to the kids. Your daughter knows this probably better than you do. At her age, she should understand you not wanting to enter your ex's home.

Maybe you could suggest you take her,and her friends,or siblings, or just her, to a nice restaurant to celebrate the evening after graduation.

I'm familiar with your story. Do NOT go to that house.

[This message edited by HellFire at 9:26 PM, Thursday, May 18th]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6683   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8791459
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 11:31 PM on Thursday, May 18th, 2023

I would go to the party only if you had a text from the XW saying it’s ok to attend. This way if she calls the police you have proof you were invited.

Otherwise I would decline.

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

posts: 13929   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8791494
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:26 AM on Friday, May 19th, 2023

This way if she calls the police you have proof you were invited.

Sure. You wouldn't get in legal trouble. Your ex has used the police against you before. And she clearly puts her hatred of you,before the happiness of the kids. How humiliating it would be for your daughter, if,at her graduation party, the police show up to question her father,and her mother makes a scene?

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6683   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8791522
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 12:48 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023

People who are hell bent on bring vindictive don’t care about anyone else but themselves. Their own agenda is of utmost importance.

I would not trust the XW in this case.

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

posts: 13929   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8791562
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EvenKeel ( member #24210) posted at 1:40 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023

I had a similar situation when my son graduated HS. While it was difficult and I got pushback, I thought it was important for me to set a precedence.

Like you, I made it clear that each parent would do their own thing in celebration. My ex opted to throw a big bonfire/BBQ thing. I made it known I would not be in attendance. My ex was 'nice enough' to include family from my side (ie grandparents). My mom did RSVP she was going.

Next thing I know, I get notification from my ex that he is providing all the meat and booze; so me and my mom can provide all the side dishes. (Ummmm...NO. I am not coming and this is not my party. I am giving my own)

(See...just like you are predicting the bill from your ex. Same handbook)

I held firm.

Next was the guilt-trip. Dad said he is extending an olive branch so IDK why you are not attending..... I held firm in my choice. I knew this was NOT an olive branch. More like a snake looking like a branch.

I went through the realm of emotions over this but stayed true to my decision.

If felt like the best decision for me.

I would encourage you to do the same.

[This message edited by EvenKeel at 1:41 PM, Friday, May 19th]

posts: 6893   ·   registered: May. 31st, 2009   ·   location: Pennsylvania
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 barcher144 (original poster member #54935) posted at 1:46 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023

Thank you everyone. Your thoughts and comments are genuinely appreciated.

I still don't know if I will attend or not (I'm leaning more strongly towards "not attending"), but I definitely won't without a written invitation that I could show to the police if they arrive.

My basic philosophy is that I do whatever I can to avoid a situation in which my kids are in the middle of arguments/disputes between me and xWW. However, this is a different circumstance because my daughter has actually asked me to attend.

It's possible/likely that xWW will twist my lack of attendance into "You see? He doesn't even care enough about you to attend your graduation party!" I don't think my daughter is dumb enough to fall for that line, but I can certainly promise that it will be said by xWW, her sisters, and her mother. They're all big fans of gaslighting.

Me: Crap, I'm 50 years old. D-Day: August 30, 2016. Two years of false reconciliation. Divorce final: Feb 1, 2021. Re-married: December 3, 2022.

posts: 5419   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8791593
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 6:27 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023

I don't think you should go. Sure, your ex and her family will portray your choice in the worst possible light while you're not there, but when has your ex ever needed an excuse to badmouth you?

While I wouldn't put it past your ex to set you up for something nefarious, I think it's more likely that she simply wants to rub her shiny new life in your face while appearing to be the perfect mother and magnanimous ex. Impressions are everything to covert narcs.

Simply tell your daughter that you prefer to stick the original plan... and then start planning. Ask for the invite list, her food/drink preferences, dates that she think could work, etc.

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

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

posts: 1950   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8791703
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Shehawk ( member #68741) posted at 8:41 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023

I can relate to being in this sort of situation some day.
I let wh and others show me who they were. I personally will not willingly be within a square mile or more of these people. I misjudged what WH and the cheater supporters were capable of. I have paid a tremendous price for this.

Only you know what EWW is capable of and what is best for you and your children.

Sending positive thoughts to all of us who must negotiate these sorts of situations.
Wishing all peace and healing.

"It's a slow fade...when you give yourself away" so don't do it!

posts: 1651   ·   registered: Nov. 5th, 2018   ·   location: VA
id 8791735
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 barcher144 (original poster member #54935) posted at 8:08 PM on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023

While I wouldn't put it past your ex to set you up for something nefarious, I think it's more likely that she simply wants to rub her shiny new life in your face while appearing to be the perfect mother and magnanimous ex

Yes. Both are possible.

The thing is... I really and truly don't care about her shiny new life. I guess part of that is that I know that it isn't all that shiny. I know that she cheated on her new guy for at least the first 8 months of their relationship (and knowing her, I am sure that she still steps out from time to time). More importantly, I'm just not the type of person to be jealous of someone else doing well... I mean, I would actively be rooting for her if we had had anything close to a normal divorce.

I spoke to my therapist yesterday and she felt like I should try to go as long as I had a written invitation that I could show to the police if they arrived. But, at the same time, I don't feel like I should drive 90 minutes (round trip) to walk onto her property, hug my daughter, and leave.

My wife (new? current? that's weird to say...) wants to go because she hates my ex and she wants to show up and be happy, just to piss off my ex. The problem with that attitude, although it might appear normal, is that it still puts my daughter in between her two parents (and their significant others) who pretend to be normal but underneath despise each other.

I am leaning towards not going... I don't want to put my daughter through that.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 8:09 PM, Tuesday, May 23rd]

Me: Crap, I'm 50 years old. D-Day: August 30, 2016. Two years of false reconciliation. Divorce final: Feb 1, 2021. Re-married: December 3, 2022.

posts: 5419   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8792218
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ibonnie ( member #62673) posted at 1:37 AM on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

Off topic, but new wife??? Mazel tov!!

"I will survive, hey, hey!"

posts: 2111   ·   registered: Feb. 11th, 2018
id 8792267
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Charity411 ( member #41033) posted at 2:37 AM on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

What does your daughter want you to do? That really matters since it's her graduation. If I were you, I'd take your daughter to lunch (someplace nice) and lay this all out for her. Not the nasty details but the facts. If your ex has ever filed an order of no trespass, at least in my state they never go away. They don't ever expire. Explain that to her in a factual way. Give her some credit. I think she'll understand that.

If she really wants you there, then go as long as you have that invite from your ex. And gently, the new Mrs. has no dog in this hunt. I get why she wants to go, but she is not your priority in this situation. Your daughter is.

posts: 1728   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2013   ·   location: Illinois
id 8792271
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 2:17 PM on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

My wife (new? current? that's weird to say...) wants to go because she hates my ex and she wants to show up and be happy, just to piss off my ex.

First..new wife?? What!

Second..her attitude is not helping. She wants to poke the bear,at your daughter's party. We are all familiar with how your ex responds when she's pissed. To try to make her mad, at an event to celebrate your kid is immature,and a terrible idea. I get that she hates your ex..and of course you deserve nothing but happiness..but to want to go to an even that celebrates your kid, specifically to try to piss your ex off,is all kinds of wrong, and would only blow back on your daughter.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6683   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8792308
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 2:06 AM on Thursday, May 25th, 2023

Your wife wanting to go just to rattle your ex by her existence is actually another reason why you shouldn’t go.

The graduation is about celebrating your daughter’s achievement, not petty oneupmanship.

In my opinion, the next time you and your wife should be under the same roof is when one of your kids gets married.

Until then, stay away from each other.

Lastly… congrats on your marriage!

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

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

posts: 1950   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8792417
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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 5:40 PM on Friday, June 9th, 2023

Barcher, I hope you survived going or not going to the party without additional drama.

posts: 1582   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2021
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homewrecked2011 ( member #34678) posted at 9:56 PM on Sunday, June 11th, 2023

I say don’t go, and have your own celebration. That’s what I did for my children.

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: 5503   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2012
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 barcher144 (original poster member #54935) posted at 4:06 PM on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

Off topic, but new wife??? Mazel tov!!

Thank you (and to the others that caught that and congratulated me).

I hope my wife doesn't see this but I'll be honest.

We got married last December. I had serious misgivings about getting married because I was still struggling with some emotional issues that were fallout from the affair/divorce. By analogy, it was the relationship equivalent of slapping at your arm because you feel a mosquito bite... but you look down and there was no mosquito. Anyway, since actually getting married, in a rare case of "good irony", those issues have resolved themselves more or less.

Me: Crap, I'm 50 years old. D-Day: August 30, 2016. Two years of false reconciliation. Divorce final: Feb 1, 2021. Re-married: December 3, 2022.

posts: 5419   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8795203
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 barcher144 (original poster member #54935) posted at 4:17 PM on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

Update on the latest on the grad party.

My daughter's actual graduation was last week. I attended the ceremony and I crossed paths with my ex's parents for the first time. I've always believed that they were despicable people, so if looks could kill... I'd be in prison right now. I really don't want see those people every again.

Anyway, my daughter's initial verbal invitation was actually wrong. She told me it was going to be June 8 but it's actually July 8, which is during *my* parenting time. This is an obvious violation of our divorce agreement (we're not allowed to schedule activities involving the kids during the other's parenting time without prior permission).

The comment about my wife wanting to needle my ex... being a good reason to avoid the party... that's a really good point. Thank you!

I was leaning towards not going prior to your comments but now I am less likely to attend. My daughter wants me to go but I don't feel safe there. My ex has defamed the crap out of me to everyone possible and all of my former friends hate me now anyway.

Speaking of defamation, yesterday, there was an incident between my wife and my other daughter. They apparently got into a verbal spat about the crazy stuff my ex does, with my daughter defending her mother. My wife said way more than she should have, being honest. Anyway, this is how I learned that I "also" had an affair during my marriage and my daughter even met my consort. (I sure as hell hope that she was hot because I have no idea who that would have been.) Anyway, yes, my wife's inability to shut up is another reason to avoid the grad party.

I'm not going to have a grad party of my own. My extended family live more than 500 miles away and it's likely none would attend if they were invited. My parents would attend if they could, but my mother can't physically handle the travel any longer. I also don't have a big circle of friends, especially since most of them took her side in the divorce. I have new friends, but thanks to parental alienation... very few of them have ever met this daughter.

I've suggested to my daughter that we could have a party just for her friends and that might be the route that we go. We'll see.

Me: Crap, I'm 50 years old. D-Day: August 30, 2016. Two years of false reconciliation. Divorce final: Feb 1, 2021. Re-married: December 3, 2022.

posts: 5419   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8795204
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 6:12 PM on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

One of your biggest problems with your ex,has been her attempts at parental alienation. She loves to talk bad about you,to the children. It's horrible. We all know she is 100% guilty of doing this.

And..now..your new wife is doing the same thing. She should never speak poorly of their mother,to them. It does nothing but put the child in the middle, and cause that child to feel the need to defend their mother.

Yes..hearing you apparently had an affair during the marriage was clearly her attempt to alienate the kids from you. However, your wife arguing with YOUR CHILD, and being negative about their mother is horrible. That is a boundary she should never cross. It was an attempt to alienate the kid from their mom. Your new wife is guilty of doing the same thing to the kids,that your ex is doing.

Honestly, I remember your posts in the D forum,several of them mentioned your current wife inserting herself where she didn't need to be. And now she is talking shit about their mom,to their faces,and wanting to go to your child's party,not to celebrate the kid, but to fuck with your ex.

Your wife needs to learn boundaries..and grow up.

[This message edited by HellFire at 6:14 PM, Wednesday, June 14th]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6683   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8795222
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 11:56 AM on Thursday, June 15th, 2023

I’m sorry this has happened but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how a conversation about a D and an Affair comes up at a graduation ceremony.

Someone needs to be the adult in the room. Always.

Sadly this just added more damage on top of more damage. I hope you have a plan to fix this and try to heal your children’s pain.

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

posts: 13929   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8795327
Topic is Sleeping.
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