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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been down emotionally for a few weeks, largely because of finances, largely because my ex and I switched to week-on/week-off for coparenting schedule and it is more emotionally gruelling, also because it's Christmas and I don't get to spend Christmas day with him this year for the first time in his life.

But what I think is bugging me the most is that I found out my ex has had her bf living with her for days at a time (he lives in another city) when my son is in her custody. I have played cool and kept it in stride because I really don't know what, if anything I'm supposed to do. We had agreed to no overnights until the time when the relationship becomes "serious". In the past this was an issue when she wanted to visit him with our son is his city - I staunchly voiced my criticism, expressed my disapproval and reminded her of our written separation agreement and that we both decided on it in the best interests of our son. Her compromise was that her and our son would sleep in the bed together and her bf had the couch (yeah, I'm sure that really happened). This is hard enough to determine the truth, let alone enforce the agreement if she violates it, even my lawyer said there is nothing a court can really do about it.

Now, I find out, from my son, that when he's been here in town he stays in her bed with her. I told her I was surprised by this, that we had made an agreement... but to her they have been seeing each other exclusively for almost a year I believe, and so she figures the agreement is no longer relevant. I told her I want to meet him (because I still never have) not to be friends, just simply because he is spending significant amounts of time around my son. I don't think he is a bad guy at all, but I do feel like it is not appropriate for him to be living in my son's house in his mom's bed... am I wrong? At what point do I have to let go of this and accept that my ex will have other men (maybe just this one) in my son's life? Should I request that they not have overnights until they are common law spouses?

What makes this even more difficult for me is that both my ex and her bf and now quite devout churchgoers, and apparently praise god a lot, but don't seem to have any moral qualms about sleeping together before marriage.

I am just distraught over this, I feel like enough of a failure without some guy I have never even met become some kind of role model for my son (even though it's not directly taking away from me). I guess if he was of the character that I knew was good and decent I could rest easy, but I can't really know his character at all. This really sucks - it is sucking so much energy out of me.
 

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Lon, your son is having his own life experiences that will shape him as a person. Something that can be perceived as undesirable can in actuality when all is said and done, have a positive effect on your son, albeit by a more circuitous route. There are multiple paths to one point, that being one of emotional health for your son. Even though he is young and you think he is impressionable and will come to believe that his environment is normal (and it may well be, we don't know for sure), he is already a discriminating individual with his own opinions and feelings. As a child he cannot have that much influence on the adults around him, but you can be sure he has his own thoughts on the situation and is stowing them away for future reference. I would not worry about this too much. Children are not as much of a blank slate as we would like to believe :-o
 

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I've been down emotionally for a few weeks, largely because of finances, largely because my ex and I switched to week-on/week-off for coparenting schedule and it is more emotionally gruelling, also because it's Christmas and I don't get to spend Christmas day with him this year for the first time in his life.

But what I think is bugging me the most is that I found out my ex has had her bf living with her for days at a time (he lives in another city) when my son is in her custody. I have played cool and kept it in stride because I really don't know what, if anything I'm supposed to do. We had agreed to no overnights until the time when the relationship becomes "serious". In the past this was an issue when she wanted to visit him with our son is his city - I staunchly voiced my criticism, expressed my disapproval and reminded her of our written separation agreement and that we both decided on it in the best interests of our son. Her compromise was that her and our son would sleep in the bed together and her bf had the couch (yeah, I'm sure that really happened). This is hard enough to determine the truth, let alone enforce the agreement if she violates it, even my lawyer said there is nothing a court can really do about it.

Now, I find out, from my son, that when he's been here in town he stays in her bed with her. I told her I was surprised by this, that we had made an agreement... but to her they have been seeing each other exclusively for almost a year I believe, and so she figures the agreement is no longer relevant. I told her I want to meet him (because I still never have) not to be friends, just simply because he is spending significant amounts of time around my son. I don't think he is a bad guy at all, but I do feel like it is not appropriate for him to be living in my son's house in his mom's bed... am I wrong? At what point do I have to let go of this and accept that my ex will have other men (maybe just this one) in my son's life? Should I request that they not have overnights until they are common law spouses?

What makes this even more difficult for me is that both my ex and her bf and now quite devout churchgoers, and apparently praise god a lot, but don't seem to have any moral qualms about sleeping together before marriage.

I am just distraught over this, I feel like enough of a failure without some guy I have never even met become some kind of role model for my son (even though it's not directly taking away from me). I guess if he was of the character that I knew was good and decent I could rest easy, but I can't really know his character at all. This really sucks - it is sucking so much energy out of me.
Lon, this is one of the nasty parts of divorce. You really can't control it. My ex just started dating a 43 year old land scaper (hourly labor type) who is currently enemployed, doesn't own a car, smokes a pack a day, and cusses like a sailor in front of my 4 kids. All I can do is live my life the best I can and know that down the line your kids will have a choice. Either they can be like mom or be like you. All you can control is you, let karma or God do the rest.
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Talk to your lawyer and see if you can get a court ordered moral clause that will prevent other men from being around your son.
 

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Nothing you can do. Look at your decree and I bet it says that you can not interefere in the other persons life. There is an entire page that discusses this. My ex has been doing this also. My son told me that he sees this guy take his mom in the bedroom then sends him to bed. They also "disappear" to her bedroom while he is watching a movie. Ive never said anything bc once you do, then you have violated her privacy. The divorce means that you go about your life and she goes about hers. Yes, its bad parenting on her part, no doubt. I pulled over on the road and threw-up once just dwelling on it. Again, raise him right when you got him and let go bro. When he is older, he will remember what he saw. I think he will see mom was a "bad-girl". Dont make the same mistakes.
 

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Oh yes, go to church and think you are just peachy. Love it. Seen it too many times. I'm Christian but mind my own business in church because of just this type of thing. Went to dinner with my former pastor a while back and he had no answers to my questions.

As for what you can do....Learn to live with it unless your son is in a dangerous position. I've gone through it. Not a good thing.
 

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Honestly if they have been dating exclusively for a year then I think you need to let it go. Save your energy for being the best dad you can be.

My kids have not met my SO but my ex introduced them to his partner within a month of dating her. It really pisses me off but what can I do?
I tried to talk to him about it all but there is a fine line when it comes to these issues post divorce. The thing is that there are some issues coming up between one of my kids and the ex's partner and her kids. I knew this would happen because I know my kids well.

At some stage late next year, after my kids get to know my partner then I would consider having him here occasionally but there will be a no sex policy. We have discussed all these issues at length and we both agree 100% when it comes to how we handle our relationship in regard to his kids and my kids.

You can only control your life, not your ex's and TBH Lon after 12 months then I don't think it is that bad that your ex's SO is staying over. This is her life, she is getting on with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well there is a morality clause in the agreement, but it is essentially toothless. The only thing it says in regards to new relationships is that our son's best interests take all priority and there is to be no signs of affection with new partner around our son (handholding, kissing, overnight visits) unless it becomes a more serious long term committed relationship at which point we must consult with the other parent.

I never got a call, text or message saying "I'm in a committed relationship with a man and he will be spending time in the company of our son, including overnight stays in my bedroom when our child will be present in the home".

Everything I've found out I've had to deduce or hear from my son, and then be the one to question the state of my child's domestic situation. For instance I deduced that when she took my son to the city where he lives (when they'd only been seeing each other for a few months and I don't suspect were technically exclusive) I had to remind her of the clause and we agreed that her and my son would have separate sleeping arrangements and there would be no signs of affection, the bf would be treated as only a friend.

Obviously this has changed over time and I was never informed that if my son woke in the night and went to his mom's bed he'd be faced with this guy laying with her. I asked my son if he ever sleeps in mommy's bed when her bf is there and he said "yeah, I cuddle between them", but she denies this, says that she ALWAYS makes sure that he goes back to his own bedroom, plus my son will often confuse his imagination for what really happened so I can't really make accusations based on that, it just gives me an idea that what is actually happening is slightly different than what she says happens - it is like trickle truth all over, having to guess at the extent of her coverup, and maybe in my mind I have it worse than it really is.

I'm supposed to trust her, she's his mother and loves him, but I just don't, and that is why I went and initiated the divorce even though she is the one that left and said she wanted it, was up to me to let go, which I did only because I 180'd on her which meant not putting an ounce of trust in her. But I still have to because she is the mother of my child.

Holland, I agree, it's her life and she is getting on with it, I honestly don't give a crap about it and that's the problem because even though it's not my life, it is my son's. I expected that she'd move on, and this would all happen, but I guess I have no clue how it's supposed to work. I'm struggling enough worrying about how step-parenting is supposed to work, on both sides of the equation, but how about this point now where the ex's SO is not quite step parent yet, how do you trust in that, when there is nobody there that yet has any credibility to be trustworthy? And if they demonstrate they are untrustworthy wtf can I even do about it. And nevermind that my ex too seems to distrust me and my ability to co-parent, have been accused on a couple of occasions of neglecting our son's needs, which may or may not be true, I can't really tell because it is all so overwhelming, I do the best I can but even still believe she is right. And any move I make or fail to make seems to just keep my buried in my crappy hole. I don't want my son growing up with neglected needs, but I feel like it is completely inevitable especially now post-divorce.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh yes, go to church and think you are just peachy. Love it. Seen it too many times. I'm Christian but mind my own business in church because of just this type of thing. Went to dinner with my former pastor a while back and he had no answers to my questions.

As for what you can do....Learn to live with it unless your son is in a dangerous position. I've gone through it. Not a good thing.
Yeah, it is somewhat hypocritical... when her and I first started dating she had actually been back in the "church scene" she always expressed doubt about it and when I expressed my own views she seemed relieved that she was not alone. We still went to church together for some reason - I hadn't regularly attended church ever (just sunday school as a boy) but I was going there just to be with her... her parents and cousin/best friend also attended, so it was quality time even if I was there with tons of skepticism. When we moved to a new city together (for my career) we started trying out new churches but neither of us, especially her, were enthusiastic about it, so we gave up trying and felt a lot of comfort with not having to worry about it. I think her and I were still spiritual in a lot of ways, but thought organized religion was completely behind us - I guess that changed with her during and after separation, maybe to contend with the promiscuous nature of the new her she found. Or maybe it is just the multi-year cycle she needs to follow.
 

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I went over my papers many times. One of the things in there that I kept going over and over was ... well maybe what you guys are calling a Morality Clause. It clearly states that while having custody of the child, we can NOT have any visitors of the opposite sex over for ... however they put it. Basicaly said we can't bring our dates home if we have the kid.

I don't know. This situation turns my stomach thinking about it.

Either way, good luck with your whole ordeal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I went over my papers many times. One of the things in there that I kept going over and over was ... well maybe what you guys are calling a Morality Clause. It clearly states that while having custody of the child, we can NOT have any visitors of the opposite sex over for ... however they put it. Basicaly said we can't bring our dates home if we have the kid.

I don't know. This situation turns my stomach thinking about it.

Either way, good luck with your whole ordeal.
Thing is, I'm sure it's a "serious relationship" this guy is obviously going to be in my son's life. But if he lived in the same city I think overnight conjugal visits wouldn't need to be an issue because he'd have his own place to stay. Because he's from out of town it seems to make it worse, because when he's here he is always close to my son (on days when my son is in her custody). And I believe he'll be here over the entire Christmas holidays.

It's not that he's a threat, or I'm worried about him forming attachments to my son and then leaving (well... only a little worried but I know my son is resilient enough to handle that) it's just the nature of his role in my son's life that I feel so uncertain about.
 

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Normally, morality clauses such as these are not included as a part of the divorce or separation decree unless your attorney places them in there and usually at your insistence.

Once in the final decree, however, they can be very binding with some extreme consequences, more especially with regard to ultimate child custody.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Normally, morality clauses such as these are not included as a part of the divorce or separation decree unless your attorney places them in there and usually at your insistence.

Once in the final decree, they can be very binding with some extreme consequences, more especially with regard to child custody.
Yes, it was added in deliberately by my lawyer at my insistance. The only part about it my ex had breached, if anything, is the requirement to "consult" with me.
 

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Nothing you can do. Look at your decree and I bet it says that you can not interefere in the other persons life. There is an entire page that discusses this. My ex has been doing this also. My son told me that he sees this guy take his mom in the bedroom then sends him to bed. They also "disappear" to her bedroom while he is watching a movie. Ive never said anything bc once you do, then you have violated her privacy. The divorce means that you go about your life and she goes about hers. Yes, its bad parenting on her part, no doubt.
You bet it's bad parenting! :mad: That woman should be ashamed of herself, acting like that in front of her child and exposing him to that!

I'll probably date soon enough but I plan to keep it on the down low and not shove it in my children's faces. My 18 year old daughter is encouraging me to date and my 15 year old has basically said he has no problem but there will be no sleep overs of any sort with an S.O at my house, with my kids around and I certainly won't be dragging my kids around to engage in that sort of thing. You can be discreet and responsible about it.

My son is on the cusp of adulthood and my daughter is already there so I'll have my own space soon enough at some point but until then I plan to conduct myself with dignity, if only because I want my children to be comfortable in their house and have respect for me and learn to respect themselves.

Some people don't have the right to call themselves a parent.
 

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Lon, I got married and my now-exH turned out to be not the greatest step-parent or influence on my kids. But they grew through the experience, as they learned along with me about manipulation and standing up for your own interests, values and beliefs. I do keep them informed of who I am dating and introduce them. For me, I trust their judgement, and I would want to screen potential partners out depending on how they relate to my kids. For instance, that guy I was dating over the summer, when he came over for dinner, he did not ask, he went to my computer to put on a video for the kids, and when we visited at his place he did the same thing. He knew I was a Quaker and that we limit our media exposure and discuss what we are going to watch and assess its worth prior to watching (we do watch stuff, but can only pass through life once and how we spend our time is important to us...)
There is no good answer to this. I understand you want to protect your son, the best thing you can do is to teach him how important his feelings are and to maybe role play situations you think might come up. Like, other than the sex thing, there are bigger things that affect kids...like what if the guy forces him to eat something he doesn't like at the dinner table. How will your son advocate for himself. Or what if the guy yells at him? Or puts him in his car to transport without a safety seat? These are more practical things that you can role play with your son to teach him to look after himself...and it applies not just to the mom's guy friend but to all adults he might interact with...say, if he sleeps over a friend's house and the parent is, so to speak, 'uncool', or say, leaves to go grocery shopping and the kids are left alone and say, 9 years old. These things are not more important or less important than your current specific concerns, but I think you can throw a wide net over helping your son to cope with these kind of things, and cover your specific concerns in the process.
 

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You can't control it. And at least they have been dating a year vs. a month. Let your son talk to you about it but don't press him for info or he'll feel stuck in the middle and maybe like he needs to lie. Ask him how he feels about the guy. I was relieved that ex was dating someone nice who treated kiddo well. I wasn't thrilled that he would take her over to gf house and spend the night there as he IS supposed to advise me of any out-of-town overnight travel with her and he never did.

This is a 'choose your battles' situation. Your example of being an upstanding father will have a greater impact on your son.
 
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