So, I have been divorced from my ex for 4 years now, and it was an ugly nasty breakup, he made up a lot of cruel lies about me that not only affected myself and my friends and family, but also our two kids. It has taken me a lot of time and a lot of damage control to fix the situation with my kids about this, as, 4 years later he still likes to throw in a couple of untrue horrid stories about me to them, and they get upset and ask me about it wanting to know if it's true etc. although my 15 year old daughter is starting to realise for herself the selfish nasty way of her father, and my 12 year old son who lives with him now wants to come back as he too sees living with dad was not all he thought it was cracked up to be.
Anyway, my sisters hubby always did get along with my ex, but I did tell them in the beginning that with my ex causing so much trouble for me I didn't feel comfortable with them being 'buddies' with him as I felt they should of been supporting me, and I wasn't sure if there were sensitive opinions being discussed with him about our divorce. As far as I know, it hasn't been my sister keeping in contact but rather her husband. So, I do realise that we are all adults and I have no right to tell them who they can and can't be friends with, and I have made it quite clear that they are not to involve him with family functions where I will be there with my new partner, I have to draw the line somewhere. But while I don't care about them staying in touch with them via text messages or phone calls (that's none of my business) the latest issue has me troubled. On the weekend my ex took the kids around to their place for a visit (this has never happened before) and my ex told our daughter that she was to keep it a secret and not to go telling her mother. Well on Monday I asked my daughter how did her weekend with dad go and what did they do, and she burst into tears and said she didn't know how to tell me because dad had said not to, but they had gone to my sisters house. I told her it was wrong of her father to say that to her, and that he has now caused another situation due to his mouth again, and it isn't her fault. My sister rang me anyway the next day and told me herself about the visit, and I let her know what my ex had said. She was appalled by it, and said she doesn't know why he would say that when she would of always ended up telling me anyway. Bottom line is, I ended up telling her this situation is not acceptable, that she is risking our relationship as sisters over a man who is no longer in our family, and they should respect my feelings about it considering the nastiness my ex has shown me. My ex will always have to be in my life because of the kids, but I feel my family and my friends are my area, like that is my space where I don't have to deal with him. Now I also have to deal with my daughter who is so stressed out going to school this morning because she said dad is going to be so angry with her for 'dobbing' her in. What is your take on this? Just interested to hear another's input on this tricky situation.
Well, I completely agree with you. I would find it very uncool for my sister and her husband to be chumming around with my ex and acting all buddy buddy with them. I'm all about loyalty. And that is just plain awkward. And when it becomes a 'secret' that is kept from you when your kids are involved, that is absolutely crossing the line Your brother in law should be upset to have put you or your daughter in that position.
So, I agree with you.
And I'd tell your daughter that she did the right thing. I wouldn't say much to your ex about it for her sake.
Hopefully your brother in law won't either and just slowly distance himself.
Perhaps there is that evil side of your ex TRYING to stay close to them to bug you. Really ridiculous.
My family is my family. Period.
So, I get where you are coming from and agree with it.
Thanks specialmom, I know there are Lot of differing opinions on topics like this, everyone usually has a different take on it. I have done a lot of reading up on this situation, and the going thing seems to be if the split was pretty amicable then there should be no problem with ex in laws having a friendship, but if it is nasty and problematic, family needs to be respectful of the feelings of the other person going through it.
I don't think this will be enough though for my brother in law to distance himself though, as it was way worse in the beginning and he still kept up the friendship with my ex throughout. I can't control that, but just wish they would consider my feelings I guess.
Yes my son does want to come home, but is saying at the moment it's because he hates his school and he wants to go to the same one as his sister does, but his attitude and his reasons for leaving in the first place haven't changed. I have explained to him that coming back home just for a change of school won't change the fact he can't live with my rules, and we will be back to square one. I have been seeing a psychologist about this, and the best advice she said was to be consistent, so that's what I am doing. Seeing her has made me so much more mentally stronger, it's been great. My son has to realise he is not in control, and he doesn't get to call the shots. Unfortunately his father have him all the power when he took him under the wrong circumstances, and now he too is trying to push him back as our son is too much work and time for him, and is affecting his own relationship with the girlfriend. Karma :))
I guess in this situation I would not be saying my sister's husband couldn't be friends with my ex, but I would definitely ask my sister not to entertain him. I don't know where your ex was getting off, showing up at their house with the kids, like he wants them to collude with him in undermining your family relationships.
I would talk with my sister in depth and say that it really isn't sisterly or kind of her at all to have him under her roof when he was so horrible to you. Can't her husband just go out for beer with your ex if he likes him so much? (Goes without saying, you are allowed to not be friends with her husband any more.) I would ask her to explain to her husband that it is pretty much like taking sides against you, to be entertaining your ex in their home, and see if she will ask her husband to meet this guy elsewhere if they want to maintain a friendship.
... and if she can't do that or understand how you feel, you probably do have the right to cut the relationship with her. But then what happens if your ex appears at their house with your kids? There will be nobody to call you and tell you.
Your sister may have no control of her husband, and may not be able to stop him from having your ex in her home...maybe your sister does understand your perspective and agree with it, but is unable to take the stand that would be best, (the ex and brother in law entertaining themselves elsewhere). Or maybe she doesn't trust her husband and your ex to "go out and entertain themselves"
Maybe the best that can happen for the kids is a nothing can be said to undermine or beat you down rule ? If that could happen, it seems like the problem is mostly solved. I mean it sounds like the brother in law isn't the sharpest tool in the box... just sayin'
Nighthawk, I think you may be right, she seemed to agree with me and understand where I was coming from, and I know her husband could be very well telling her there's nothing anyone can do about it, like it or lump it type thing. I told my father about it today, and he was totally disgusted by it as well, and said that he will have something to say about it if it ends up ripping our family apart, as he doesn't want that to happen all because of my idiot ex sticking his nose in. Apparently it wasn't a case of my ex 'just turning up' he was actually asked over by my brother in law! So yeah, both are to blame, and I often wonder myself about the state of mind of my brother in law!
Her husband sounds like a jerk. Really. He's very insensitive and I'm not sure *I* would want to be around HIM all that much. Clearly he has poor taste I friends and doesn't hold them to high standards in terms of how he treats people. Says a lot about your brother in law. I'd write him off in your head as a jerk like your ex. I'd be polite but he's clearly not acting like your family.
I honestly could not imagine my brother in law seeing me hurt digging in and stubbornly hanging onto a friendship. Reality is this--- friends absolutely can come and go in our life but family is constant and above all else. Well, that is my reality and I guess not his. Again, saying a lot about him.
So, maybe your sister's hands are tied and she is stuck.
But you only have to put up with so much. and you know the truth about her husband who is no BROTHER in law--- he is putting that friendship above family. He'd get nothing but polite from me and very little else. I'd never feel the same about him or desire being close to him and that is really HIS choice for allowing that friendship with a cruel ex to interfere.
I agree, he could just go out for a beer, ball game, etc. but the two of them took it the level of making it absolutely insulting when it because entertaining in their home and WITH your kids BEHIND your back.
That makes me mad just thinking about it and I'm not even related to the situation!
anyway, I think the counselor that you've been seeing is great that you are feeling stronger and empowered! That will pay off with your son in the long run but might be rocky as he gets used to it. Stay strong.
As is often the case, I have a different perspective. :( This actually hits REALLY close to home for me, because I'm in the "brother in law" position.
My husband's brother and sister in law divorced about 10 years ago, and it was rough. She had cheated on him many times, was a mean drunk, and lost several excellent jobs from misbehaving at the company Christmas parties. Her mother was the same way, and although she was entertaining (the mother) to watch at a distance, lordy, I'm glad she wasn't in MY family!
My husband's brother is no perfect peach either, and was responsible for half the breakup, although he doesn't see it.
But here's the biggest thing - their two kids who are now young adults. They were stuck in the middle of this extremely acrimonious divorce. Neither parent is dangerous, neither is crazy, neither doesn't love the kids.
As in your situation.
The kids love both their parents but were discouraged by each parent displaying that love. They had to "pretend" when they were with one that the other was a loser.
So. I love their mother, and always will. My kids love her.
She has since come to a family reunion for an afternoon, a recent funeral of the patriarch of the family, and this last weekend a family wedding where her daughter was a bridesmaid. The reception was a sit down with assigned seating, and I was seated next to her. And i had about the best time I've had i forever. Love her. I know it makes my brother in law a little angry to see me enjoying her so much, but I wasn't the one who invited her, after all.
SO. All these years, at gatherings, the two kids could come to me and express their love for their mom, their concerns, pass on her love and "hellos" to me, and vice versa.
It is exceptionally painful, thirdtimemum, on the kids who have to pretend they don't like one parent in the other parent's presence.
That you don't want your family associating with him is understandable, but you need to keep that feeling quiet, IMHO. Look what this did to your daughter. You were half the reason she was in tears. He told her not to tell, she told, and you blew up and there is now a rift between your sister and you, and your daughter is smack dab in the middle of it.
Just like my adorable niece and nephew always were.
This is one of the pains of divorce. Rarely is one person the angel and one person the devil, and in those cases, I can understand the family will naturally reject the one who is the devil. But that's rare. As it is, your sister's husband loves the father of his niece/nephew, thought he would be in each other's lives into old age, and your marriage fell apart.
For the sake of the kids, allow your family to socialize with him with the kids. It will go SO VERY FAR to healing your children.
I see something a little different in your story verses the poster rockrose. I think it is admirable when a couple works past a break up and can attend 'things' relate to their children as under control adults. There is a lifetime to do that. And attending a function so that kids have both parents there, makes sense.
but this is different. SHE isn't invited. It's not a family function, it's basically a social gathering of these two guy friends who brought his kids as well KNOWING it would hurt their mom, ASKING them to hide it, etc. That's just wrong.
My parents divorced. Yes, kids are always have an awkward time of managing things. Everything becomes more complicated.
No, I will agree to the poster that it is best not to have an emotional reaction what the other parent does. It's natural to do so but best to try to control that and say something calmly like "you should never be put in a position to hide things from me. sorry about that". A big blow up makes kids feel terrible.
But I get it. I really do.
I'm a tough judge of character and I stick to it. Once I see major issues in character, I really am less interested in friendship. My husband has a guy friend who cheated on his wife. They divorced. I will NOT socialize with him in any way. He is NOT invited to my home. If I see him out with his kids, I'm friendly. In the way I'm friendly to anyone. And we were GOOD friends with this couple. My husband tried to remain friends but I don't support it. He sees him out once in a blue moon.
I can be polite, even cordial to someone when I'm doing it for the kids involved. But this is about her brother in law almost rubbing this friendship in her face assuming he knows her feelings. So NOT family like.
I didn't see that anyone was trying to rub anything in her face - in fact, the daughter was forbidden from mentioning they had gotten together.
Here's the deal, IMHO - I think it hurts the kids to declare family war on their parent. I know with my niece and nephew, my BIL would make the most ugly, cutting remarks about his ex-wife in front of the whole gathered family, while the kids were there. Same thing was happening with the ex-wife's extended family - and even on facebook. UGH, facebook. If it weren't so sad it would be really, really entertaining.
So I guess when I think of "loyalty" I don't think as much about my BIL as I think about his kids. I was loyal, and continue to be loyal, to these kids I love so much. And what's best for them, and what example to set as far as how family is to behave toward each other.
I don't have a friend - not one, not ever - who cheats on their husbands, that's just how I choose my friends. But she is family, linked forever.
And the raw truth of it is I like her better than my brother in law who is kind of an ignorant right wing blowhard, interested in nothing more than the almighty dollar. An anomoly in the family.
I think it is rubbing it in her face when he is asked to come to their home with the kids. And certainly they were aware that the kids were told not to tell her.
Ha ha, well, sometimes it does feel good to lay out how we really feel about in laws. I get it. I actually like my sister in laws better than my husbands brothers. A lot. One of his brother in laws I would tell you that I flat out really can't stand. AND he divorced. And I was friendly with his wife. And she began contacting me after the divorce that she wanted. I just saw no reason to stay in touch. An I didn't. I wasn't rude and making a big scene about it. I just didn't pursue communication, didn't reciprocate the desire to stay close, etc. I see our nephew. WITH his dad. And she may come to some of his things. and I'm friendly. But, I've got enough friends that I don't feel that is necessary. It was an ugly break up. No cheating or anything but my brother in law fell apart and they fought over money, etc.
I do completely agree with what you are saying about the kids though. I don't think we bad mouth parents either way (him her, her him). I don't believe in declaring war. I don't believe in family scenes or battles when kids are involved. BUT, I can conduct myself in a way that sets boundaries without a feud, war or put downs very effectively and can give up friendships (not acquaintances) that are outside of what I think is right.
And if he HAS to remain friends, he can go hang out with him on his own. NOT putting his wife and niece and nephew in this position.
anyway, luck to the poster. sounds hard. I think your BIL sounds insensitive and your ex a jerk. Just my outside opinion. :>)
Rockrose, my kids aren't declaring 'war' on us as parents, rather, my daughter was upset that her dad would imply such a thing as to tell her 'not to tell'. She can't understand it as she knows too it wAs a 'secret' that was always going to come out in the end, and unfortunately it was her who had to be the one to disclose because if a simple question of me asking her about her weekend. My ex is a grown up man of 45 years old who should know better than to do that to a child, especially a man who likes to think he's so great at parenting and thinks he's 'father of the year'.
My kids love their aunts and uncle and their 2 cousins, we see each other a lot, my sister and I are very close, and what worries me is that she knows a lot of my personal business regarding the problems with my ex and problems with my son, and she knows I was seeing a psychologist for help with handling it all. My kids don't know about the psychologist as I felt it was something personal I was doing for me, and them, and they don't need to know about that, and no way would I tell my ex about it either! So I do feel kinda violated in a way, and just hope to god they don't divulge any of that personal stuff to my ex. Feels a bit like they're 'dancing with the devil' if it's fair to say.
I totally believe in being civil, hell, I had to go to my sons sit down farewell dinner for school last Christmas, and it was just my ex and I sitting together at the table and we were fine, talked openly and nicely, I even bought him a drink! But the comforting thing for me was we were being civil for our son, and that's all it was about, and the minute I left and went home he was out of my mind. And I can handle that. But to have to have him in the picture because family of mine choose this man to have a friendship with, not cool. I need space, and I am not going to apologise for the way I feel. Like I said, it can be controversial, but at the end of the day I have my own personal limitations on what I can accept and live with, whether I'm right or wrong, but from now on I am looking after ME and that's what I need to do. I have made it clear to my sister, I have informed her of what my ex said to my daughter, and what they choose to do with that information is up to them. If keeping my ex as a friend is more important to them, so be it, my choice is to not associate with them, I don't associate now with any of my ex's friends, so that's the way it will be. Hopefully my sister will notice this void and make her realise she misses me and our relationship and that blood is thicker than water.
Also I think it is very easy for those who have the safety net of a secure marriage to make outward judgments of what they would/wouldn't do, when they have never been in my situation.
thirdtimemom, I'm sorry - I think I was misunderstood. I didn't think your kids are declaring "war" on you and your ex, as my niece and nephew aren't also declaring war on anyone. My niece and nephew have been basically creeping around on eggshells, trying to keep all the balances in place and not be embarrassed at family gatherings by either parent saying ugly things about the other, or either parent demanding to know what the other was up to. They learned to cover and kind of creep around silently and avoid any discussion of the other parent.
I do agree that it's easy to cast judgements on couples who have had an ugly divorce. I've never been there, and don't know how I would react.
What I do know, is I've seen enough friends/cub scout kids/neighbors/ etc., who have gone through ugly divorces and although some times one person is at fault, almost always both are equally at fault. And they all expect you to take sides although neither side is more right than the other typically. And each of them tells stories on the other as if the other is an ax murderer when neither are, and both are boring everyone absolutely to tears with exaggerated stories of how the other is evil. And meanwhile the kids are ground to a fine pulp in the process.
So I guess that's where we're both coming from. I really truly can't understand how a person that is the most loved in the world, that each partner stood up before their friends and vowed to love forever until death do you part, suddenly becomes the most hated person ever, and the families are stuck in the middle because neither is worse than the other and the kids are being hurt. I really, really can't say I can understand that. I honestly don't understand it. For me to feel that way about my husband, he would have to have done something so obviously aggregous that the law would be involved, and no one - neighbors, his family, neutral parties, certainly my family, would not want him on their property.
So although this post sounds directed at you, it's not really. It's directed at 95% of the divorcing people I've known. I really, really don't get it.
But I do wish you well and I know you're facing trying times.
I was engaged to be married to a really good-looking guy, from a wealthy family when I met my current husband, about 34 years ago.
Had I married that first guy, I'd be in your position. He was a jackass.
The man I married is a great and wonderful man, and so having him turn on me and both of us hate each other is out of the question.
So I guess what I'm saying is, I kind of get where you're coming from, thirdtimemum. You married a jackass. The funny thing is, when I was engaged to this guy, I actually knew he was a jackass. I guess I didn't know there was anything better out there.
Anyway, best wishes, and it looks like you've found a better partner this time.
That's ok Rockrose, I do appreciate your input, and I did ask for others opinions, so no offence taken.
I never ever thought my ex would turn like this either, I loved him completely and he adored me, he really did. But, we did hit a rocky patch after 10 years, and it is really sad to see it end so horribly, but in our case he turned very very bitter when he tried to get me back after 1 month of leaving. I knew we had come to the end of the road, and our house had already been sold and I was setting the kids and myself up in a new place and I refused to try and repair the marriage. He knew he'd made a big mistake, and that's how he set out to hurt me and turn the tables on me by being so vicious. It is really sad how that can happen, and believe me, I never thought he would do half the things he has. And he also loved my family, his family wasn't close at all, and I guess he felt that loss as well, and I'm starting to think half the reason of befriending my sister and hubby is to get back at me, as he knows how close we are, and he'd probably love nothing more than to see a wedge driven between my sister and I.
Hurt, bitter people will do strange things.
I must add too, it angers him considerably that I moved on and am happy with my partner, bought a house, etc, whereas he has had it hard, gone into bad financial debt, and another one of his relationships is failing.
Perhaps he is trying to get back "at" you, but the fact that he asked your daughter not to tell makes it seem more like he is trying to get back "to" you, figuratively speaking, meaning, at least to stay in touch with the family where he found shelter all these years and where he made friendships. He might say, if asked (and able to articulate it), that even if he does not get to stay married to you because you refused to try to repair the marriage, that he should not have to cut off from friends. It is somewhat insensitive of him to put your sister on the spot by showing up at her house, but it might not actually be an evil scheme to spite you. He might just want to see his friends.
It very well might not be an evil scheme but secondary gain also feels good. It might be a secondary "ha ha" moment for him. I'd say it is more that than any type of scheme.
but it certainly is inconsiderate. NOW there is no doubt that she will not be happy about it. So, she put the kabash on it. Is anyone going to be hurt by that, 'really'? this is a divorce situation in which her ex has plenty of time without the kids to meet up with her brother in law. That's the whole point I think . . . that she wasn't thrilled that they were still buddies but when it was a covert operation of entertaining her kids with him and their house behind her back (secret, don't tell your mother) that it felt like a last straw betrayal on the sister/brother in law's part.
My take on your situation is that although you and your ex husband have split up and divorced, it is up to him and your brother-in-law and sister if they still keep in touch with each other.
I see no wrong with your ex husband taking the children to see their uncle and aunty.
You should try and be on friendly terms with your husband for the sake of your children.
I do not agree that the children are told to keep secrets. There should be no secrets, after all, you are the custodial parent. Your husband probably told your children not to tell you because he knew that you would get upset if you got to know about it. You should be happy that he has taken the children to see their uncle and aunt.
Just because you and your ex do not get on, does not mean he has to stay away from your family, just because you disapprove of it.
Make it clear to your ex that there should be no secrets and that if he wishes to take the children to see their aunty and uncle that is fine.
My son and his partner spit up, but that does not mean I should not speak or see his ex. After all she is the mother of my grandchild and because of that it is very important that as adults we try to act in a civil manner. Even though they can't stand each other, doesn't mean I shouldn't have nothing to do with her.
I am sure that your sister and brother in law will take what your ex says about you with a pinch of salt. Of course, they may not be discussing you at all.
I agree with you that any family get-togethers should not include your ex.
First Thirdtimemom, let me say, congratulations on bouncing back and finding a partner that you're happy with. It's so good to hear that. Our kids are happiest when we are happy.
I'm sure you had a lawyer to arrange for visitation right?
You've said ", 4 years later he still likes to throw in a couple of untrue horrid stories about me to them, and they get upset and ask me about it wanting to know if it's true etc." That is as unacceptable as it is that your ex actually told your daughter to keep something from you. By him telling them to not tell you about the visit to their Aunt and Uncles place, he is also telling them a "no talk rule" about the "horrid" stories as well. Thankfully, they were able to jump that particular ditch, and get to you for their support.
At this point, I would question whether he should even have unsupervised visitation at all without his actions being addressed by the courts.
I wouldn't show my kids an emotional response, but a pragmatic reaction that would make clear to your daughter and your son, that you will not be allowing them to be used as pawns in your exes life.
You have taken the adult approach of talking to a therapist about your marriage and it's demise and that says a lot about your character. You could have used your kids as a sounding board as well, but you didn't because i'm assuming from your post that you are more responsible than that.
If you do not want to approach the courts and demand that he make changes in his approach to parenting, i suggest that you talk to your therapist, and find a good Child Psychologist to talk to your kids, or have it available for both your daughter and your son. You could just approach it as being something that many people do in their lives in order that they don't have negative things affecting a person's soul. That it is always better to talk about things that are bothering you. It doesn't have to be along protracted event in the kids lives, but it would serve to help them maintain their composure if your ex can't maintain the balance that is expected of him. Under the circumstances that you've mentioned here, i don't think it would hurt the kids a bit to talk to a good therapist about how they feel, and how they have been able to handle the divorce. It will serve to keep your ex on point. and it would teach the kids that it's a good thing to go into therapy. Please don't consider your going into therapy as a bad thing Thirdtimemom. It shows your integrity as a mom to access the help that is available to all people at some point in their lives when things become hard.
Wishing you all the best, and hopefully, your ex will get a clue., soon. Time has marched on, your relationship for whatever reason, is over. He needs to get over it, and over you. At least in front of the children. There is also the option of your daughter saying that she wont' go with her dad to her Aunt and Uncles. That it makes Her feel uncomfortable. Period. No explanation required. He should be in this to spend quality time with his daughter and do the things that she wants to do. If she wants to spend time with her Aunt and Uncle, when she's with her dad, then if it were me, i might consider it. (a non threatening situation if he knows how to behave) Hopefully you would have your sister's first loyalty to tell you if there is something going on untoward, but if you have had your daughter to a therapist and opened up the lines of communication and debunked the "no talk" rule, then you'll know what's being said, from your own daughter, as it should be. and as it is, (as you've said she tells you when he mouths off)
I really feel for your situation and I think you're doing a wonderful job expressing yourself. Your kids are lucky to have you as a mom.
ps. maybe your dad could talk to your brother in law, and let him know that it is his opinion, because of the nasty divorce, that he thinks (your dad) that if the brother in law wants to continue a relationship with your ex, please do so on your own time, and not during your child's visitation.
You've got two guys, agreeing with each other that there's nothing wrong with it, Maybe add in another older wiser male voice to flip that on it's end ? I wish i had of had a dad that sounded like your dad. You are truly blessed.
It is important for you to reassure your children that the divorce was not their fault. Children get very hurt and blame themselves for the split up of a family unit, with their mum and dad not being together any more. Do remind them that they were born out of love and you and your ex (the children's dad) love them very much.
You do not say how old your children were when you split up with your ex, but no matter what age they were, the split will have affected them emotionally very badly. My granddaughter was 2 when her parents split up and it took many years for her to accept and come to terms that her parents will never get back together again. It affected her very badly even as young as 2 years old.
The reason for your ex being "nasty" is highly likely that he is very resentful and angry hat he does not have more contact with his children.
With regard to your father getting angry at the fact that your ex was at your sister's place, your father, as any parent would, is being protective toward you and is angry because of the fact that it is upsetting you.
In my view, it is up to your father whether he discusses the matter with your sister. But he should stay calm when he expresses how he feels to your sister about the ex coming round. At the end of the day, your father cannot dictate or demand that your brother in law and sister cut ties with your ex. That is up to them. In fact doing so, may just make them more determined to keep in contact with your ex.
Your ex and brother in law have been friends for may years. The aunt and uncle, by inviting your ex and children to come to see them, shows that they are not taking sides with regard to your divorce. In my view they are acting in the children's best interests to stay on friendly terms with their dad.
Look at if from their point of view. They have been friends and got on well with each other for years. Just because your marriage ended, that does not mean all other links to his friends (albeit your family) has to end.
I suggest that you privately (without any prying ears) have a talk with you ex or write him a letter stipulating that it is unacceptable that he talks about you to anyone in front of the children. He should concentrate on having a loving relationship with his children and make the most of the short time that he has with them, no matter where they choose to be.
Another way of looking at it, when your ex is at your sister's place with the children, you know that he is being supervised and all is well. (apart from the talking about you and the divorce - which is unacceptable).
Hope you can come to some agreement with your family and ex for the sake of your children's emotional wellbeing.
Nighthawk, you make some points worth noting. Yes, you are lucky to have a father thirdtimemum that is in your corner. He understands the dynamics here and how this is hurtful. and it probably just feels good to feel supported. That may be a good idea to see if he can express to your brother in law how he could switch a few things to make this a more peaceful situation for you AND the kids.
I agree that the ex sounds on the sneaky side. If he had just gone to their house and brought the kids and afterwards was like "well, I didn't realize you'd be upset . . ." that is one thing. BUT, he did it knowing she'd be mad, asked the kids to keep a secret from their mother, etc. That is horrible parental behavior and indicative of his selfishness to put children in that position.
In a divorce situation, you have opportunities to socialize without your kids. And if it has to remain a secret, then it shouldn't happen.
I think if you are trying to keep your emotions in check and doing as nighthawk says that you are doing the best you can do under the circumstances.
Best to do always keep the kids out of it. He didn't when he made the secret visit.
Anyway, I feel for you. I'm glad your son is coming back to live with you in the near future. Honestly, there may be some challenges (he's at a challenging age) but it will be good to have all under one roof more often.
Jemma116, my kids have heaps of time with their father, that's one thing they have never been denied. My 12 year old son even lives with him now he has since January. If you read my posts above about the nature of our split you will see there was nothing amicable about it, and therefore that's why I have such strong opinions about this situation.
I must add, my ex hubby's girlfriend, whom he has lived with for the past two years, never went with them as SHE felt it wasn't right to be hanging out with the ex wife's family, she felt uncomfortable about it as well, not for me, but for her own feelings. And my kids are getting old enough now to see the ways in which their father works for themselves, I don't have to say or do a thing anymore, it's unfolding in front of their own eyes. It's none of my business, but my daughter is also upset because her dad and his girlfriend (whom my daughter is very close too) looks like they might be splitting up, the girlfriend wants to leave and my daughter has seen for herself the way he speaks to her as well. My daughter says if they split she doesn't even want to go see her dad every fortnight as he doesn't do anything with her, he just hangs out in his shed tinkering with his project cars, and it's the girlfriend who entertains her and takes her shopping etc.
My son too thought his dad would spend more time with him as well, but apparently not.
So, my ex has had ample opportunity to do the right thing by his kids, but unless you know the man himself and the way he works, it's hard to understand. If he was a genuinely honest person who done the right thing by his kids I would probably have no problem with the friendship, but I stand by the way I feel as he has shown yet again he is sneaky and can't be trusted.
he also loved my family, his family wasn't close at all,
The problems that you encountered with your ex, probably had a lot to do with how he may of been raised. as is many times the case....
You're right, he is like a train wreck and your now young adult kids are witness to it themselves and are and will be making their own judgements. It won't be long until they are off to college or university and dating and too busy to be bothered with their dad's petty and superficial lies and resentments. I know that you're super frustrated, but it i think it would be best for you to take the approach that you feel sorry for this man (for being such a loser, by comparison to what you and your kids blessedly are now building).
Your kids do see your ex spiraling out of control. Would it be better for them to hate their dad for it, or feel sorry for him, that he has a mental obsession with his first divorce, is clueless about learning from his mistakes, and is not in the crux of another break up ?
Thankfully your kids are old enough, and you're not having to fight in a court of law, to cut off visitation completely, in order that they are not influenced negatively by their association with their father.
I think that the worst part of this for you, is that your kids dad is acting like a flake , with little hope of change, and now you're having to admit that your brother in law may be problematic to the family as well. It's like an insult on top of injury.
I know if it were my son, i would have him talk to a Child Psychologist. I would want him to remember that I thought of him before he flew off into the world. I would want him to know I recognized the problem that their parents marriage became in the end, and that I knew enough to help him to talk about it. Otherwise, these kids may be obsessed in their own right, with the break up and how bad it got, and spend their formative years with their own girlfriends and boyfriends, talking about how bad their parent's marriage was, It would allow them closure. and allow them to understand their dad, not make him the villain, but allow them to process their thoughts of their dad into something more empathetic (the root word being pathetic). You've said that your ex "loved your family" and had no closeness with his own. That is probably why he is holding on to his relationship with his brother in law. He has to realize though, that he was at least half the reason that he is no longer part of the family..and that while he can stay friends with whomsoever he wishes, he cannot do so legitimately as a family member would. i.e. visiting your family with his kids. He gave up that right. and when he spoke out of turn about you, made it an impossibility for anyone (your dad and mom) to believe that he has that right anymore. I think that if he loved your parents as you say, that it would be the least caustic and the most loving and effective way for you (your dad) to get across how the family feels about him talking about you in a negative way in front of the children, and in front of your sister. I think that if your dad could be .... efficiently pragmatic about trying to save your ex from permanently damaging his relationship with his kids... by insisting upon continuing to do things that are doing just that. In other words, he needs to be schooled, and that is what dad's are for. I think he would be the best person for that job. If your ex refuses to be led to water, then i'm afraid that these last few years with his and your kids, will continue to spiral out of control.
Please don't waste your time being too frustrated or angry at people that just don't understand what's gone on, or truly get how hurtful and frustrating it is to still be dealing with this juvenile petty man trying to hatefully insinuate himself in your life , four years down the road, with a beautiful new baby and partner on your arm?. As a mother, you're beyond frustrated dealing with the facts that instead of being an effective parent and parenting your children in the best way that he could for them., he is playing at his own hobbies, and thinking nothing of what he could be doing with the short amount of time he has left to really leave his mark as a "good dad". You know what your ex's girlfriend knows. It's time for him to create a life without your family being his crutch. He gave up that right, and no new prospect of his is going to be happy spending their free time socializing with your family, other than of course, social events that revolve around your joint children.
Take some time and breathe, let go of the anger, and figure out how to best thwart the natural progression of his ineffective parenting skills.
I honestly believe that your dad, if he was close to them at all, cold best let him know that things aren't so great, and that he's got a few years to positively influence his kids, instead of making them pawns in a marriage that is over. Somebody needs to tell him that he should be teaching them a new skill, that they have an interest in, that no one else will teach them, Tell him to make his kids feel that they are important by him being the one to spend time going out into the world, with them, rather than to hide away in his shop and let his current girlfriend do his bidding.
Your ex kind of reminds me of the Cars song Drive....Whos gonna tell you when Its too late Whos gonna tell you things Arent so great You can't go on Thinking nothings wrong
Best of luck and life to you Thirdtimemom. This too will pass.
Thankyou nighthawk, that's wonderful advice you have given me..........but it's not my ex my dad wants to have a word to about this, it's my sister and BIL. My ex and my father despise each other after my father saw how he treated me after the split.
Another one of the worrying troubling issues my son has been having is he has been not so much as making up 'lies' but telling stories with no truth to them, and my ex and I have discussed why he could be doing this, but now I know why, he's learnt it off his father!
I understand that your split was not an amicable one. Most splits aren't.
I did also note that your son has been living with his father, but wishes now to come back to live with you, and I do hope you have him back as soon as possible.
There are many reasons why children lie. Your son may have learned some bad ways from his father, as you say, or this may a psychological issue with your son to not accept what has happened. I feel there are lots of emotions bottled up inside your son. At the age of 12 there are lots of things going on emotionally and physically and at this age your son is still a child.
With regard to your ex, most men don't know how to spend their time with their children. With your ex spending time in his shed working on his vehicles excessively, this leads me to think that he is suffering from depression. I am not making any excuses for his behaviour toward you.
The fact too that he did have a very unhappy childhood will also have a bearing on how he is and because of that too, will not know how to play and have fun time with your son. It would be difficult for your ex to get any help as he would deny that he has a problem. Him tinkering excessively with his vehicles, is his way of escaping reality.
I presume too, that whilst your son is living with his dad, your son has very little contact with his own mates. It could be that your ex is not letting him have or do what he wants. He may even be missing you, his sister or the family unit.
When your son is back home with you, observe him carefully and speak with him quietly if you notice that he is quiet and withdrawn. Children too suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. Don't shout and yell at him if you find that he is lying to you, but find out from him why he is doing this. It may be that he may need counselling therapy.
I agree with you when you say that it is none of your business with regard to your ex and his girlfriend. What is your business is the emotional and physical wellbeing of your children.
I wish you well and hope things get resolved soon for your and your children.
My ex and I had an ugly divorce, but we are both congenial with each other's families. I think its good for my kids to feel secure and open to talk to me about their dad's side of their family and I would not appreciate my family treating my ex with anything less than respect. The opinion of the other person whether it is mine or theirs should be left out, and lines of respect and communication be open for the children's sake if nothing else.
I often bring the kids to their cousins of their dad's siblings birthday parties, and invite them to parties I throw for the kids.
I encourage you to try to open lines of communication, and despite how difficult it may be to be respectful--do so. If he feels he can speak to you without being lectured or having an argument, he may do so.
Teach your children there isn't space between you to keep secrets--no matter who asks them to. When they tell you their secrets, do not "punish" them for it. Keep the secret as private as possible unless it involves child endangerment.
I would feel betrayed if they sought to lie to me about the encounter, but I would not feel as if it were wrong to begin with... after all they were family for at least the time you were married and probably also bonded. A chat with your sister would be good also, maybe the two of you have some things to resolve if she was comfortable asking your daughter to lie to you. If you keep your emotions out of it, they would feel more comfortable having you know about it, but you can't control other people and if they want to still remain in contact, it is their prerogative. Perhaps being around other good people will rub off on your ex, and it will help facilitate a healthy relationship between him and your children. :)
^^^^I apologize I missed the part your sister rang you....
" I told her it was wrong of her father to say that to her, and that he has now caused another situation due to his mouth again, and it isn't her fault."
***While it was wrong of her father to ask her to do that, you can be more careful in your response.. Don't let on that its a big deal--the issue of the visit is not, but reinforce that nobody, not even daddy should ask her to keep secrets from you, just as you shouldn't ask her to keep secrets from him. Use it as a teachable moment for what are good secrets (gifts, surprise parties, hurtful opinions of another person, etc) vs. bad secrets (bad touches, dangerous situations).
" Now I also have to deal with my daughter who is so stressed out going to school this morning because she said dad is going to be so angry with her for 'dobbing' her in."
***Always keep your composure when responding so she won't feel as though she can't come to you with real problems. I ask my children if they want me to intervene on their behalf if they feel a situation isn't right with their father, and respect their answer if the situation isn't a dangerous one. They are my only insight to what goes on over there most times, and I want them to feel comfortable to be completely honest with me so I can get the most clear picture as possible. Their father hasn't always made the wisest decisions, and I have had to teach them how to protect themselves (as minor as not being reminded to brush their teeth, to being driven without car seats, dad smoking cigarettes while they are in the car, to potentially being driven after dad had alcohol)... I offer solutions to him and them, and teach them how to respectfully ask dad to regard their health and welfare and I myself asking their father respectfully to not put our children in these situations.
They won't tell you things if they feel they are betraying their dad. Pick your battles.
I scanned some of the responses and it sounds as if there are some separate issues occurring, give it time and patience, it will work out. Keep in mind you are divorced now, you have no say in his life other than the safety and well-being of your children, allow him to parent his way as long as they are safe. Its "growing pains".
I've been separated for 5 years and my ex is very selfish and tried to lie to me in the past, but is now pretty honest with me whether he's going to be dependable or not, he also hears me when I say it's unhealthy for them to be around smoke or drinking and driving and assures me he is being responsible on situations I think may be unsafe, that's really all I can ask.
Fitmommy77 I see where you're coming from, and I totally get all of it, I really do, but I'm just banging my head up against a brick wall when it comes to my ex.
We have been having some issues with our son, who now lives with him, and we had actually been very civil and polite to each other for the past few months, and had quite a few discussions on how to deal with our son. I told him all the rules of our home, and what I expect of him, and my ex agreed and said that's a good way of parenting, I'll try it too. Well last Sunday when I spoke to my ex he said our son hadn't done any chores around his house for the last 2 weeks, and he was not getting any pocket money. Last Friday, 5 days later, I pick my son up, he has $20 on him, said that dad gave him his 2 weeks pocket money! I never said anything, but deep down I was angered by it, as I'm sick of him saying he wants to be on the same page with parenting, then contradicts himself at every opportunity! I mean, how can we help our son when he is just undoing everything?
All you can do in that situation is stay consistent in your house, and explain why. Tell him you love him and you feel adhering to rules will help become a better adult. Treat him fairly and with love. Consistence = security to a child. They do see discipline as love since it a parent caring enough for a child to step in and correct them when they are wrong, even if at the time they dislike the consequences.
Compensate for you ex's flakiness by making sure to keep your intentions and expectations clear.
While both involve your kids and your ex, you have two different issues here.
Try to decompress... tis not easy!
Thirdtimemum, remember that all people write here is their opinion and the opinion that matters most here is yours. :>) I've thought you've been on track in a proper way throughout this post and previous posts. I have a son around your son's age. We become very fearful when our kids are this age which is hard to understand until they hit it . . . it's not just about doing chores it's the bigger picture. At least I should say for me. You start to think about what 'could' happen to them, what they 'could' get into, what their life 'could' be like unless they get it together. Those tween years and then as they get a little older are a critical time. My son waffles between little boy still and that teenager (well, he's 11) who wants to assert his independence. It's so different than even his little brother who is 10 who is every bit a little boy still.
So, there is a lot of emotion involved, Even married, my husband and I don't always have the exact same ideas about parenting. So, going back and forth between two houses is hard. Your husband sounds like he takes the easy way out. Frustrating. Lots of parents do it.
Have you ever had a heart to heart with your son? I've done this. I've explained why I am the way I am with him, in terms of rules and sticking to them. It's not really about getting your bed made but teaching him things he needs to be an adult such as taking care of your things, getting work done before play, earning the money you have, etc. Because you have to have those skills to function well when you are older. So, I want him to work on them with me before it is hard and there are painful consequences for not doing it. So, then, my son has this perception that I'm not being a hard butt or a nag but that I'm HELPING him and teaching him. my son really responds to that. And in all honesty, that is how I view it
The other thing I've tried to figure out is self motivation. I can want things for my kids but what is the secret to their wanting it. Once my kids are motivated themselves, they are so different in how they approach things. School work . . . I have very high standards. But that wouldn't matter if my kids weren't motivated. My older son has some self esteem issues . . . and he is bright. So, I began complimenting him in like first and second grade. In third grade, a teacher made a statement in front of the whole class about how well my son had done on something. That was it, we were off and running. Using his intelligence and working hard on school work makes my son feel good. It comes from within. I don't have to say a word, my son does his best at all times with school. He's yet to get a B and is in advanced classes. All based on his own self motivation. Same kid has played baseball for years. My husband was a college baseball player and it was his 'favorite' sport. He has a lot to offer in terms of teaching. My son wasn't that interested. Until this season, that is. He started on a new team, he was the youngest on the team, didn't know a soul. He wanted to do his best. He asked my husband (rather than the typical, my husband asking him) to work with him. He had a fantastic season and made all star status. Because he was putting in effort and time from his own desire to do well.
So, think of how you can find what motivates your son. My other son is much more simple. He likes to have friends over. He has to complete certain things to have his play dates. :>) That's all it takes for him to get his things done.
anyway, I enjoy the discussion surrounding kids of your kids age as I'm going through it myself. Would love to chat about what does and doesn't work for you.
Hang in there. I think you are doing such a great job, I really do.
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