In my case, life moves on and I’m just making the most of what I have.

WW is still with OM, and this has affected my children. I don’t ask any questions, but he is there a lot, and I gather she ignores them when he is.

Little unsettling the other day when I pulled up at the WWs house to drop my girls off on a Sunday night at 7pm ( WW hadn’t seen them since Friday AM ) and OMs car was there. My Eldest ( 7 ) saw the car and said “oh xxx is here again” – To which my middle daughter ( 5) replied “I really want to kill him.. She then told my eldest that they could smash his head with a stick because she hates him”.. And if she killed him mummy and daddy could get married. Eldest then chipped in said she hates it when he is there.. I was literally dropping them off at this point and didn’t know what to say / how to respond.. So said nothing. I don’t mention their mum / him to my girls and never ask about homelife, but it is interesting how much children pick up on and process.. Not mentioned to the WW as there is no point.. She would turn it on me.

Whatever happened had an impact on my 5 year old, as WW rang me the next day accusing me of being a crap dad for not realising she was poorly as she wasn’t right when she got home.. Nose bleeds and wouldn’t sleep. I refused to get into it, didn’t mention the comments daughter had made about the OM and stated the fact that she was in high spirits when she was with me an hour before.. then sent WW a WhatsApp picture of my 5 year old smiling with her cousin 43 minutes prior to the 7pm drop-off.. That ended the conversation / accusations. I suspect that my 5 years old got worked up / upset with him being there, but again its out of my control.

Met the OM for the first time the other day.. I say met – I dropped my youngest off at 8.30am before taking the other 2 to school and he was there, so he came out with WW and said Hi to me.. I just said hi back.. Again, I don’t blame this guy for this Sitch, so left them to it..

Also found out that the WW went out on Saturday for a girls night and left OM to babysit the youngest for the night.

Re your question about how it gets better for detachment. You just crack on with life and enjoy what you can control. While my WW was living in our home, I saw her every day - there are the lies, the deceit, the sneaking about, the nastiness – Her frustrations that she was stuck in a house with me, but wanted to be with him. There was never any nice conversation.. Just a desperation on her part to escape ( coupled with the stress of buying a house, and she doesn’t handle stress well )

Once the WW was gone, you see it less and begin to stop even thinking about it. I can honestly say if it weren’t for the children, I would never see my WW again and block all types of communication. Re my attitude towards the WW and how I interact.. my thought process is to think of her as just another parent in the kids playground who you have heard nasty rumours about ( for arguments sake, let’s say a thief or petty drug dealer) .. i.e. consensus is they aren’t a nice person… With this thought process, its easy to apply to day to day interactions. If I was dropping my children off at school, I would say hi to any parent who acknowledges me, even a thief / dealer. Would I strike up a conversation with a thief or drug dealer… Hell no never.. Would I want a thief or drug dealer stepping into my house.. Not a chance. Thinking like this makes it easier to keep the conversation to a minimum and stops the past “nice” memories from clouding judgment and restrains me from striking up normal conversation like she wants ( I’ll come to that in a sec ) - . In my eyes this isn’t a nice person I am speaking to here. My partner of 8 years is gone.. Ive seen made examples on the board – “on holiday, in a coma, dead” – either way, I don’t know her.. All’s that’s left is a selfish lying and deceitful individual.. So I will treat it as such – ie polite but I have no intention of being what we were..

As for me.. I’m making the most of the free time when I am not with the girls. I have 2 classic cars that have been neglected / gathering dust for years ( since I met the WW ).. So I’ve built a spray booth in my garage, and the plan is to get these on the road. I’ve done a lot of jobs in the house.. I painted the girls bedrooms a few weeks back, so they love them. Garden and exterior are well maintained now and look smart. I have always done the “gym” thing, but really I just maintained to keep off the middle age spread… Gone were the days of getting bigger and I got complaisant when I got with the WW.. Never Fat or out of shape, but never focused . I’ve started to watch my diet and increased my protein intake from 80g to 240gs a day, so seem good improvements there in 4 weeks.
I have also changed back to me before the WW.. Lots of new clothes ( nothing expensive, but new ) , always wear nice aftershave, haircut every 4 weeks, Car is always clean and tidy etc – I now have time for this, and I don’t have her spending killing the bank account.

My main enjoyment though is my girls. I will be honest and say they are very hard work and mischievous. My ex never really liked to do much as a family as she found it stressful ( her stress boundaries were at a different scale to mine ) – an example is making pizza from scratch – that sent her over the edge once because of the mess of the dough. Or on Halloween.. Doing the pumpkin was “stress” because of the mess it left on the table before it got cleaned. Trips to the local park were ok.. Trips further afield in the car rarely happened as she didn’t like the girls arguing / being kids in the car. It stressed her out, hence she never wanted to do these things.. Holidays were a sore subject and she dreaded them. Looking back, she lay on the lounge sun lounger for the majority while I was in the pool. So two of my girls are on cloud 9, as we are doing loads of stuff together and lots of day trips. My 5 year old is fine once she is out with us, and enjoys herself - but has no enthusiasm to go anywhere a lot of the time, as she just wants to “watch TV”.. This is a serious problem in my opinion, but that’s all she does at her mums house.. So I’m trying to figure out how to handle this. It also frustrates the other 2 as they just want to go out for the day and they love coming to dads and doing things as a change from “the TV” which they get at their mums. I took them to Wales for a week in May and they loved it and we have done a couple of day trips to the beach since then.. So they are happy girls – Although they are becoming addicted to 2p slot machines. Again, what I find interesting is perceptions even at a young age.. My youngest ( 2 nearly 3 ) asked me the other day why daddy takes them to places but mummy doesn’t.

Back to the WW like I mentioned above. The fact I keep any correspondence to a minimum obviously frustrates her, but at the same time gives her nothing to argue about or try and use against me. This board has taught me a lot, especially about how to handle my WW.. So I don’t give in inch.
I keep texts to a bare minimum and only reply to what I consider valid questions that warrant a reply. Over the last 20 messages, 16 are her, 4 are my replies.. I tend just to ignore anything unless it’s a valid child related question, that’s actually necessary / relevant. She often texts asking “ are the girls ok” on my weekends, to which I ignore. If there was an issue, I would let her know. So again, in my eyes its unneeded small talk, which I have no intention of getting into. Again, I know this frustrates her, but If I’m with my girls, why would I waste my quality time replying to her.

Re her attitude to me - When she first moved out, it was weird.. she kept asking me to facetime the children on her nights, but would try and spend more time chatting to me than my children. I don’t give her that chance now. When she comes around to collect the girls there is ALWAYS a compliment which I totally ignore ( she is always left on the door step ).. She always has something to say – “ooh your house looks spotless” – “is that a new t shirt, its lovely” – “hmm you smell really nice.. is that a new aftershave?” – “you’ve had your hair cut, it looks nice” – “The plants in the front garden look beautiful in bloom” – etc…. I always ignore what she says, and I know It annoys her, as she often says “did you not hear me, I said xxx”
This is the norm now. On Saturday she told me how well the T shirt I was wearing fitted me – I ignored.. So I got “did you not hear me.. I was just saying how well that t-shirt fits you” – On Sunday she commented that I was wearing that new aftershave that she liked – totally ignored her on both occasions.
She also constantly asks me if I would like to “facetime” tonight.. even on days when I have seen my girls ( i.e. they leave mine at 10am on the Saturday morning) . Wondering if this is her checking what I am doing in the evenings.
Maybe she is just being nice, maybe she just wants to be civil, maybe it’s a temp check.. I’d rather she just got the girls and went TBH. – Maybe the Vets have an opinion on this ?

But like I said in my previous post, the best thing to come out of all of this is the quality time with my girls and the things that I have learnt / learning on this new journey.
Sandi posted about WW / WAW / MLC in another post and mentioned the heart hardening. My WW made very emotional decisions / demands. As a partner ( I highlighted this I my initial post ) I always pointed out why the emotional decision was not logical / practical / sensible. Reading up on this, I suspect my lack of validation and pointing out the logic instead had an impact on her heart / feelings towards me, regardless of if my intentions were always for the good of the family. – I need to remember this in a future relationship.
The biggest learning curve is how to be that better father. I may have not chosen this route, but I will make the most of it, and ensure I don’t make the mistakes the WW is making. The girls will never see me in bed with another woman a week after I introduce them, the girls will have quality time with me and not “me and my partner while I ignore them” and I won’t spend my time with them glued to the phone, when with them.. Even if I meet somebody eventually, kids come first.
Red flags are another big thing for me. I mentioned this in a reply to “Vik11” yesterday. I know from my own experience that when your head is “in love” rational goes out of the window. I also mentioned in my initial post - I ignored some old inappropriate messages to her boss – They were way before we got together, but in hindsight it showed she wasn’t the nice person she proclaimed to be… Her morals and mine differed and I ignored it due to the “new love buzz”. I wont make that mistake again, and I wont date a lady who ignores her own children to spend time with me.

Previous username - Helpme123.. A name chosen at a desperate time..

Now Mr Brightside.. coming out of my cage, and doing just fine.