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Well handled GG, good stuff


Me: 40 W:41
T: 14 M: 11
S: 5

BD & OM Jun 2020
W moves out Aug 2020

"What happened happened, and couldn't have happened any other way...because it didn't"
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In having a hard time at the moment. And the chances are its because we had a whole months of being just me and the kids with no demands and minimal interaction with H.
And as soon as we were back from holiday, his messing around with schedules, promises made to kids, that i know nothing about, but require day swaps etc, booked time away that has not been coordinated and to too it all off not only did i have a bailiff show up at my house for his debt, but he also had a deep chat with S8 and apparently told him that he should try not saying that he wants to go home or that he misses me for a couple of weeks! Which even s8 thought was strange. They apparently sat him down for a meeting, H,S8 and OW and asked him what they can do to make things better for him, but all he wants is to spend time just his dad and him without OW, and dad seems to be unable to hear him at all, which just makes me sad for S8. He told OW during the convo that he doesnt like her and she cant help him, which i dont know what to make of it. Brave-yes, ok- i dont know, but very honest.
I just feel so worn down by the past week.

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Gigi,

I don't have much on the in debt part, but I can kind help with the kid in turmoil part. The plainest way I can say this is the fight for attention between S8 and OW are between them. I understand he's very young and this adjustment takes time, but you have to look at this from the reverse perspective. If you were dating right now and had a guy around would S8 be acting the exact same way? If the answer is most likely you're going to have to start working on letting this go. This isn't your battle to fight. And if you continue to take his "side" this is going to create issues when you're ready to move on and dip your toe into the dating pool. Among other things.

This is Dad's household now. He doesn't have to like it. He doesn't even have to like OW. He doesn't even have to like dad but he does have to accept that this is what dad's house is like and just because we don't like something doesn't mean we aren't obligated to it. In my state unless that kid is in jeopardy they aren't getting out of the visitation schedule until at least 12 if not later. Not liking something isn't a good enough excuse to stop face time with a parent. It's just not. Sure stbxh should be listening and trying to carve out alone time with S8, but the harder S8 pushes how much he'd rather be with you, he'd rather not be around OW, that he flat out doesn't like her the less likely it is that stbxh is going to give in to S8's demands. And if you were in stbxh shoes would you feel differently?

They did do the right thing, they sat down with him and asked him what they can do to make things better for him. S8 took that opportunity not to say it would be nice if I could get some one on one with dad, or anything else that they could accommodate him with, he took that opportunity to throw spite at OW. Not saying his feelings aren't valid, not saying she or stbxh didn't deserve that reaction, but I am saying they gave him and opening and he chose a fight instead. He's 8, that's kinda on stbxh for addressing this is a slightly too grown up matter for an 8yo, it really should've been a guided conversation not an open ended free for all, but at 8 while he doesn't have the impulse control to stop himself, he does know nice from mean and he picked mean.

Now just to be clear I'm not taking stbxh's side on any of this but I'm taking a 30,000 ft perspective so I have a bunch of questions: Is there a chance you're feeding into this? Are you keeping your distaste for OW and/or stbxh to a minimum around S8? Next is S8 in therapy at all? As S6 seems to be adjusting better with this have you considered putting him in therapy? Have you and H sat down with S8 and let him know that he doesn't dictate the visitation and that he doesn't dictate how either household is run? Not in an authoritarian way but just matter of factly? And I know things with stbxh are always kind of a mixed bag but do you think he could get on board with you for sitting down and having that kind of conversation? Have you guys considered family therapy to try to get through this? Are you in therapy right now? If you are has your IC offered you any assistance in ways to deal with S8 and to deal with your emotional turmoil watching S8's?

I've been doing this a long time. And I'm a stepchild, a step sister, a step mother, the mother to a child with a "step-mother." My kids are 19 and 17 and I've been split from my ex for 10 years my H has been split from his ex for 13 years. I'm asking all of this to kinda help you in the long run. Now you as his mom want to just take on all this turmoil for him. Trust me I feel that deep in my bones, but it's not yours to bear. It's yours to support his journey through this. That's it. And if you continue to bear the whole of this for him you will grow in resentment with OW and stbxh over things that are not yours to be resentful of. I'm sure they've given you plenty to be resentful of already. This is emotional bandwidth you don't need to expend. And this will create a huge block in being able to co-parent effectively in the future. And that's just the beginning my friend.

If S8 learns that you agree with his feelings, not support him processing those feelings, but truly agree with them he will learn to use that to his advantage. If he learns that you will give him special treatment because you feel bad that he has to go by Dad's and he hates it there he will use it to his advantage. If he learns that he can manipulate you with his tears and anger to pit you against his dad and OW he will use that to his advantage. If he learns he can pit you against his dad he will use it to his advantage. And looking at that sweet little 8yo old face I'm sure that's very, very hard to believe. I'm sure it's nearly impossible to think of that sweet boy being manipulative and opportunist like that but tweens and teens will try you in ways you can't even begin to fathom and if you give him openings now to use the separation and D as leeway in his behavior or leverage he will latch on to that. I know you desperately want to be his soft place to fall in this, but you are going to have to find a place where you are soft but strong. You'll like have to have a united from with stbxh even if you don't want to. You're likely going to have to be a little tough with him when he's melting down about this stuff. And none of it will be easy but your sanity now and in the future depends on it.

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Originally Posted by Gigi123
In having a hard time at the moment. And the chances are its because we had a whole months of being just me and the kids with no demands and minimal interaction with H.
And as soon as we were back from holiday, his messing around with schedules, promises made to kids, that i know nothing about, but require day swaps etc, booked time away that has not been coordinated and to too it all off not only did i have a bailiff show up at my house for his debt, but he also had a deep chat with S8 and apparently told him that he should try not saying that he wants to go home or that he misses me for a couple of weeks! Which even s8 thought was strange. They apparently sat him down for a meeting, H,S8 and OW and asked him what they can do to make things better for him, but all he wants is to spend time just his dad and him without OW, and dad seems to be unable to hear him at all, which just makes me sad for S8. He told OW during the convo that he doesnt like her and she cant help him, which i dont know what to make of it. Brave-yes, ok- i dont know, but very honest.
I just feel so worn down by the past week.

Hey Gigi, sorry to hear that you're struggling at the moment, it sounds like a tough situation. As WF has said, I think you'll find peace if you focus on what you can, and is, in your control. Be the rock for S8 and the rest will take care of itself.


Me: 40 W:41
T: 14 M: 11
S: 5

BD & OM Jun 2020
W moves out Aug 2020

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Gigi123 Offline OP
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Thanks WF, i always read your posts, i mainly agree with them. But i wanted to sit on this one for a bit.
Would S8 feel the same if i dates someone? I think theres a huge difference between dating and living with someone, and the dating part he would be ok with i think, providing we still had time just the two/three of us. But im guessing here, we will only know when it happens. At this stage speculation. I do see your point about not my battle, my frustration is due to me picking up the pieces.


Would i feel different to STBXH about S8 demands? I would as they arent really demands to me.
An ex colleague of mine gave me some advice when i was pregnant, and it was so simple i totally took it for granted. It was “know your own child” S8 is very wise for his age, like an old soul and there are certain things that are important to him and he is very different to S6, so knowing that i have no problem adjusting. But i see your point, not my battle and noone asked for my opinion. This is on dad. With S8 the easiest thing would be to listen to him, consider his feelings and over time he will actually reach out himself. Yes it does take patience and some insight. And it took me time to build a trusting relationship with him too.


He does know whats mean, i wasnt there, i cant comment, this is what S8 remembers, most of it he doesnt and he said there were some long words he didnt really understand. I can only imagine he felt cornered, because H and him simply dont talk about feelings and previously when S8 attempted he was shut down. I cant imagine it was an inviting convo. Should he have said that, probably not, but for some reason he felt he needed to, which is very unlike him. He is incredibly obedient and will just stay quiet in these situations.



I want to answer all your questions, to try and paint the picture.

s there a chance you're feeding into this? I think if i was both kids would be the same, i never bring uo OW unless they do. To be fair i have only learnt about his dislike in the last couple of month, he has previously said she is ok.

Are you keeping your distaste for OW and/or stbxh to a minimum around S8? I dont show any distate for either, OW we dont talk about unless she comes up and i can ask if all is good there.
Re H there are so many times where i could have said something, but i dont, i have people to talk to when i feel frustrated with him, so the kids dont get to hear any of that.

Next is S8 in therapy at all? No, he isnt, but im considering it, i cant do it without h consent obviously.

As S6 seems to be adjusting better with this have you considered putting him in therapy? S6 has his own issues, but he is younger and with having ADHD his mind is constantly racing so he doesnt get to hung up on any of this.

Have you and H sat down with S8 and let him know that he doesn't dictate the visitation and that he doesn't dictate how either household is run? Not in an authoritarian way but just matter of factly? And I know things with stbxh are always kind of a mixed bag but do you think he could get on board with you for sitting down and having that kind of conversation? Have you guys considered family therapy to try to get through this? Are you in therapy right now? If you are has your IC offered you any assistance in ways to deal with S8 and to deal with your emotional turmoil watching S8's?

You will see a pattern through the whole story, he barely engages, only when he wants to, we couldnt agree on anything, still cant, he didn't want mediation either to help. I really dont know what needs to happen for him to consider sitting down let alone going to family therapy. I would be open to doing that, to help S8 and it might be good for all of us anyway. Every time i have suggested doing something as co parents, he might agree in words, but when it comes to outting things in practice, it never happens. We are meant to go for a coffee to discuss this, but im yet to hear back from him about dates and times.


I have spent an hour putting S8 to bed, he was upset, basically the convo that H had with him made S8 want to go there less now. And im exhausted of constantly picking up this mess. I just think its unfair on me, on S8 and S6. H is also awaiting some news re his health, so im reluctant to stir anything up, as he is unlikely to be in the mindset to resolve positively.

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Gigi123 Offline OP
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Thanks OB, its just frustrating i guess, this is exactly what i did today, he needed my support, i listened and validated, held him tight and that was all i could do. There was nothing to discuss.

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Originally Posted by Gigi123
Next is S8 in therapy at all? No, he isnt, but im considering it, i cant do it without h consent obviously.
Do you need his consent to take your son to a medical professional? In the US, even when I had primary custody, my XW was free to do so. By 2021, you'd think most countries would consider mental health as important as physical health. I'm sorry to hear your S8 is struggling to adjust that OW is now part of XH's home now, and he doesn't have a say in that or his visitation. Change is hard. I definitely stress when my kids are stressed. Sending hugs and well-wishes your way.



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Gigi,

Just a couple of clarifications. I could see that this convo about what can be done to help S8 seemed a little age inappropriate but now with a little more info it seems like they genuinely thought they were talking to a teenager, and it's pretty clear why S8 got mad instead of sad. I'm glad he spoke his truth in that moment.

I mostly wanted to help you understand that picking up the pieces isn't entirely your job here. S8 is going to have to learn how to cope. He's going to need to gain coping skills with this because dad and OW aren't going anywhere. And if this hurts you so badly to see him like this you will continue to do the coping for him. Which serves no one. Which is why I'm pushing therapy.

S8 dumping all of this on OW is doing what a lot of LBS do and a lot of kids from divorced homes do. Blame the interloper. Now OW may be a dumpster fire of a human being. Or she's a pretty nice person with a terrible picker, like the rest of us. But his anger toward her 1) doesn't change his situation 2) is being directed at the wrong person 3) is giving him and embodiment to his struggles with the split and she is going to get a lot more vitriol that she deserves because of that. Therapy is super important so he can name and place his issues. So he can learn to cope. So he can learn to effectively detach from stbxh in the best way a kid can and so you don't have to do the heavy lifting here.

I'm with CW, and honestly I don't see how stbxh could refuse. But if that's the case I'd frame it around the problems in their home, not that they are the problem but that he's clearly not adjusting well, that him calling and crying to come home is stressful for you and you want his time over there to just be their time, and S6 is doing fine so clearly this is necessary. Doesn't matter if it's true, just matters that he hears what he wants to here to get on board. What happens once S8's in therapy even if it's a "I hate OW and I hate dad" session every time that's none of stbxh's concern. Just need to get him to cosign on the starting therapy part.

I spent years co-parenting with a useless other part, and parenting next to another totally dysfunctional co-parenting relationship with my H and his ex. I can spin just about anything into something palatable for the useless, selfish or not so sane. And if necessary make them think it was their idea. If you need to find words to "talk" H into getting on board with this when the timing is right I can help.

Next I never caught if you're in therapy. Are you? If you're not I strongly suggest you get into IC. You need support through this. You need to be able to off load and you need a sounding board to assist you in ways to support you're kiddo without doing the heavy lifting for him.

You are doing what a lot of LBW's do and are carrying a burden because no one else is there to do the heavy lifting. And to be honest, the pretty common secondary reason that there isn't an LBS around here who isn't happy to find one more thing that the WAS/WS has left for them to do on their own without any assistance. But this burden carrying is something that took me a really, really long time to understand fully. I had to learn it's not our job to fix everything for everybody. Things beyond our scope need to be outsourced. And things within our scope don't always need to be done by us. Fixing, and the psychological relief it provides a lot of us, especially for those of us who've been conditioned to fix via emotional abuse, being on over do-er, control issues, whatever, is not the selfless act that we like to believe it is. More often than not fixing is completely and totally selfish. And when we try to fix everything for our kids it can distort their version of reality, it can rob them of natural consequences, it can rob them of learning coping skills in a safe controlled environment. Sometimes fixing makes things worse in the long run.

All of this is a super hard pill to swallow. And lord knows none of this is resolved overnight. It's a process and a journey. Just know you are strong enough to carry this until you don't have to. And you're kind enough to do it all with grace. But please try to keep in mind here the best you can do to help S8 and S6 and you is get the help S8 and you need in therapy.

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Hi WF

Im really grateful for your insight, i needed to sit on this for a bit, I understand logically that this is right, however my emotions at times overwhelm me, particularly when my children get really upset.
I agree that s8 need to be able to cope, and whilst OW might disappear over time his dad will always be there. He might have Loads of other partners that he will choose to introduce to the kids.

I dont know anything about OW besides the fact that she decided to sleep with her boss who is a married man….dont think its someone i want to know about either way.

s8 brought up the meeting that took place himself the other day and said that he felt uncomfortable and he didnt want to say anything at all, he felt they spoke to him like he was an adult and he couldn’t understand what dad meant. He also said that he couldn't say what he wanted because she was there. I get it, if i was sat in front of a person i dont consider close i wouldn't want to talk about my feelings, unless it was a therapist of course!

Thank you WF when we actually get to have a convo i might come back for some words! At the moment its radiosilence, which is pretty normal as soon as we hit a subject that he doesnt want to discuss.

I was in therapy when this all happened and it helped immensely to be able to concentrate on my own life, i felt good about my plans, work, being able to gain stability without a partner present. And things even seemed ok with the kids,they were sad and angry at times, but overall it was ok, manageable and i didnt feel it was disrupting my own emotional stability.

I also see issue with S6 and i cant help but think that his adhd is worsened but all of this.

I actually prefer for him not to be involved at all, because trying to get him engaged is hard work that i could do without, being a single parent is difficult enough as it is.

When we spoke a couple of weeks ago, he sort of started a relationship covno, where he said he basically will never forgive me for letting us down and he will have to carry this for the rest of his life. I thought it was odd to go there after 20 months, but i guess he hasnt processed things.

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Gigi, you have come so far since all of this started. It is good to see you grow, become stronger, and be able to stand on your own so well. Great job, I feel you have put in a lot of hard work and you have been able to move forward pretty well. Plus you now seem to be able to deal with the stresses and problems really well. I love that you sat on this for a bit. Shows that you are in control of your emotions and not being reactive. So many LBSs cut their own legs out from under themselves by being too impulsive and reactive.

Keep up the good work!


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
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