I won't post the whole back story, just my present situation which is causing me a great deal of distress and anxiesty.
My H of 10+ years announced he was having an affair and left 4 weeks ago. We have two little boys, 5 and 8. Of course they are devastated and confused, but counseling is in place and they are doing a lot better than they were a few weeks ago. The affair was very shocking to me, and a huge betrayal on many levels.
The problem is that the OW is my across-the-street neighbor and "friend" and OW son was the boys' best friend. He is 8 years old, knows that H is his mommy's new boyfriend and has been sworn to secrecy by OW, he is not allowed to tell even his grandparents. H moved into her house, which directly faces mine. We can see into each other's windows. The boys were very concerned about where Daddy was sleeping and were asking repeatedly where he was. S8 spotted his car around the corner a few times, and after some couples psychotherapy H reluctantly agreed to "move" into my deceased mom's empty house so that our boys would not be so worried. However, the fact is that although he may spend a night there once in a while, he is definitely still staying across the street most nights, and is there every day "visiting".
The boys does not know about the affair or that H is across the street most of the time. They have no contact with their friend, OW's son. The boys' counselor says that S8 is already beginning to suspect things and he will soon know--whether it by seeing H go in and out of the house, or by a neighbor or schoolmate.
Right now S8 is eager to see H, and S5 is reluctant. Up until now neither one of them has wanted to be with H without me and we both respected that.
Because H has no place to entertain the boys, he often comes here. At my mom's there is only the most basic accomodations--no tv, no cable, no internet, very little furniture--a bed, a love seat--that is is. No table, no chairs, nothing.
Sometimes there is really no other choice. For example right now S8 and H are working on his pinewood derby car for cub scouts. The tools, materials, table, workbench, chairs etc. are all here. So they are here. If the boys want to watch a movie or play a video game, that is also here. We are trying to save money which is tight and spending a lot on meals out or excursions is something we are trying to avoid. Probably in the next few weeks he will take them on an overnight to a local hotel. I am not sure if S5 will go, but he might by then.
The problem is that it causes me a lot of anxiety having him here in the house. I can detach and let them do their thing while I keep busy, but I feel uncomfortable in general with the idea that we are still spending time as a "family". I would not leave H alone in the house with them. H will sometimes bring dinner for us to eat here. He is also coming pretty much every single day. This is interfering with our bedtime routine--because Daddy is now a special occasion and exciting--and it's hard to get them wound down for bed. Stressful to rush through dinner HW in time for Daddy's arrival.
I have encouraged H to see them "every day" because they missed him so desperately and it has helped. I am willing to endure this even though I am beginning to resent the weekday visits. H is beginning to suggest that he will take legal action against me to stop me from "keeping the boys from him". This is ridiculous given the fact that I welcome him into my home to see them every day.
I do not want to anger him for several reasons--I want as harmonious divorce as possible (he is pushing for this very quickly--I don't want a divorce at all--but at this point, reconciliation is not an option so I am making the best of it). H has our financial future in his hands. I also want the boys to have collaborative coparents, there is no need for them to see us arguing now, especially since they never really have before.
Okay my questions.
How do I act around H? I am very muted, detached, absent most of the time with a friendly comment thrown in towards the boys once in a while.
Should I be friendlier, more accepting of the affair? Act like it doesn't matter? (this would involve faking it)Act like we're friends?
Would it be better to tell the kids or keep hiding it? I feel like OW and H accomplice and I hate lying to the kids. I will do it as the lesser of two evils (them being even more hurt and confused).
H has already promised that OW will not have contact with the boys indefinitely. I don't trust either one of them. When H begins taking the boys on his own--how will I know he is keeping his word? Do I ask the boys?
I wish there was a way to get him to move elsewhere--to an apartment--but I believe H is avoiding that so as to not sign a long lease. OW and H have plans to be together as soon as D is final.
Should I rush or slow down the D or just let it be?
What is going on in H's head? He shows no remorse, no awareness or acknowledgement of the boys' pain (they only show him happiness, I get all the rest), and just a sense of entitlement to his new life with no regard for the life he left behind.
I know reconciliation at this moment is not on the table. I am still hopeful and believe in miracles and would love for us to someday be a family again with an amazing marriage. Through therapy I am beginning to see that this would be extremely hard (the changes that H would need to make--he has some pretty serious problems)...and my forgiveness would also be very hard. But what is the best way to keep this (rapidly closing) door to reconciliation open?
As though you are moving on with your oh-so-fabulous life. You see, when the WAS wonders off into Fantasyland, they somehow think we will just be sitting around waiting for them to return. It almost never crosses their mind initially that what is sauce for the gander, is sauce for the goose. Note, I am NOT advising you to date, or any such thing - but if H happens to see you all dressed up heading out for an evening of dancing with the "girls", or if flowers (roses) from a "friend" appear in the house with no card...... these kinds of things just might make him start to go hmmmmmmmm....
Should I be friendlier, more accepting of the affair?
No, you do not need to be accepting of the affair. But discussing it will likely get you nowhere either (although someday you may have the opportunity to slip in the phrase "if she'll cheat WITH you, she'll cheat ON you" - he'll get huffy but trust me, it'll echo in his head). Just act as if you are moving on and you deserve better (which you DO).
Would it be better to tell the kids or keep hiding it?
Sounds like you're gonna have to tell them. If this was a fluke thing that just happened and was gonna be over in a month, I'd try to hide it. But sounds like this has probably been going on for some time behind your back, and is likely to take quite some time to resolve even if reconciliation is a possibility. The 8 year old probably knows already anyway - don't the kids talk at school? Tell them now. Don't protect your H.
H has already promised that OW will not have contact with the boys indefinitely.
This is a lie. He's just trying to placate you. And the sucky thing is, you really probably have no control over this.
H is beginning to suggest that he will take legal action against me to stop me from "keeping the boys from him". This is ridiculous given the fact that I welcome him into my home to see them every day.
He's going to file for visitation, and you should let him have it. Right now you are still protecting him from the kids' pain and from the hard work of parenting. Don't stay in the house with him - if he has to come over, you go out during that time. Let him do their homework with them.
See an attorney and find out your legal rights. Get copies of all the financial statements. File an order for temporary support. Right now he's not experiencing any of the consequences of his actions. Sometimes the reality check is needed.
And - this is a biggie, and the hardest, I know, especially in light of the huge double betrayal you've had, but - DON'T put your life on hold! Pursue your dreams, have fun with your friends and your kids, learn new things. If he comes back, he'll be impressed at your confidence and resilience. If he doesn't (or if you decide you don't want him back) you won't have wasted all this time wallowing.
AND - the hardest and best part of this process - look at yourself, admit your role in the breakdown of the marriage whatever that was, and work on your own issues. They usually aren't the REASON for the affair - that usually is a flaw in the cheater - but we all have things we need to get honest with ourselves about.
thank you KML. really really appreciate your thoughts.
HA! I certainly don't think he'd care about any flowers or maybe not even notice them.
My S8 doesn't yet know because OW's S8 was pulled from school and put into private school coincidentally (?) right around the time of the affair. He doesn't play outside and goes straight from the car to the house. It is possible that OW's S8 will say something to a mutual friend from the school--so yes, it could happen. H will be majorly ticked off if I tell the boys, but we will talk about it in counseling.
I have already spoken to a lawyer and because of my history of 5+ years with OW, there is real cause for concern about her being around my kids--think Single White Female type thing. The lawyer suggested one route would be court-mandated psychological evaluation (6 months +) for OW during which time there would be NO contact with my kids and OW. H of course does not know about this option, but has agreed that the kids should not have contact with OW right now--and has given me his "word" HA HA HA that they won't accidentally on purpose bump into each other.
I don't trust H in the house alone. I would have to lock up quite a lot of things that are important to me to allow him here on his own. I love the idea of having him do the homework with S8! It's a pain in the neck!
Oh I fully acknowledge my problems in the marriage, and did 180s that were recognized by my H until I was dizzy. It was too late for him. He had checked out and moved on already despite marriage counseling he requested...I am still in IC, and we go together too for coparenting, him on his own, and the kids have their own. So much $$$.
He is still paying all the bills. I am the SAHM.
I went out for cocktails with the girls on Friday yet didn't tell him. Justifying frivolous babysitting expenses is hard when you're not the breadwinner.