I’ve been separated from my wife for four years; the divorce will come through within months. Meanwhile, I’ve met someone I’m dating seriously. I did meet her early in my separation, because we work in the same industry, in the same city.
However, it would’ve exacerbated my wife of 24 years’ fury had she known I was dating so soon – and she constantly asked this question – so I always denied it.
I did not leave my wife for this new woman. The marriage had become an oppressive relationship for me due to her controlling behaviour. I often legitimately worked late just to avoid going home. The distancing had gone on for several years before separating.
Now my son, 23, and dating seriously himself, is asking whether I’m involved with someone. If I tell him, he’ll surely tell his mom and her venom will be unleashed again to our two children and everyone she knows.
But I’m tired of lying, and my wonderful girlfriend’s tired of being kept in the shadows. What should I do?
Stuck in Deceit
Get unstuck. It’s natural after this long a separation for you to have met someone special, and your son should be told that matter-of-factly, without guilt.
Don’t get pushed against a wall of questions over details – e.g. exactly when and where you met her, did you cheat on your wife, when did you start sleeping together, etc.
It’s not appropriate for you to answer each one in an interrogation, like a presumed guilty party. Say so. Decide ahead the facts you will reveal, such as, we’ve known each other as colleagues, and after the divorce was in progress, I was ready to open myself up again.
If you don’t overreact, and/or over-explain and analyze the situation for him, he’ll hopefully take your cue.
My friend’s daughter, four, has started pulling down her pants in front of my son, six.
My son told me this after a play-date at her house, with her brother, who’s also six.
My son said the boys just laughed and kept playing together, with a building set, as usual.
When I told my friend, she insisted this had never happened before, and that my son must’ve somehow initiated it.
I’m deeply hurt that she would point a finger when her own daughter could’ve picked this up from her pre-school friends, and it’s something I thought we could resolve together.
I’m wondering if I can even let my son play with his best friend anymore.
It’d be a shame to come between the boys close friendship – especially if you think his pal’s NOT a bad influence - if you can handle this in another way.
Tell the mom calmly, that if this behaviour was learned by your son elsewhere, then her kids had as much chance to see pants-pulling elsewhere, too.
Say that it’s up to you two, to now give the messages you want to your own children, about not exposing their “privates.” That their bodies are special, to be protected from strangers, or others’ suggestions to “show.”
If she’s listening, add that just blaming another child shifts the incident away from the lesson of self-protection, even at a young age.
(However, children should be told to tell their parents if anyone urges them to get undressed.)
If your friend insists that this was your son’s fault, talk to him about it… but it’s better that the boys have a break from each other.
My mother’s re-married a man with young children, ten, and eleven. They stay at her home every other weekend. I’m 21, and can only get home from University so many weekends, often when they’re present.
I resent sharing my mom with these kids. I’m hurt and angry that she doesn’t change things when I announce that I’m coming. They have a mother, so even if it’s last minute, they have their own home.
The children also have their “own home” with their father. The courts, with parental agreements, including your mom’s acceptance, likely set this arrangement.
You’ve had your crucial growing years with your mom, and now you’re “mature” enough to live away at school.
Rise above childish jealousy and tell your mom you’d like some private time with her. Set a visit’s “date” together – e.g. out for lunch and shopping, or hanging out at home chatting while their dad takes out the kids.
Tip of the day:
Children of divorced parents who date, only need to know when there’s a growing relationship with someone new.