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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive been married for 20 years now, got married after 2 months b/c she was pregnant. We now have a 14, 17, 19, & 21 they all live with us. I was abused by my father growing up & had to support myself as an early teen from there I have become a successful businessman & have given my family anything & everything I can... In return I have spoiled them a little too much. My marriage has been on the outs for years now I never felt like "she was enough" I left a few times for months at a time have cheated, we even tried counseling. 11 months ago I decided enough is enough and left, had her sign separation papers and was out. I was meeting with a friend on a regular basis for work during this time... I had known her for awhile & after leaving realized that I had feelings for this woman she was so much different from anyone else in my life. She woke me up & I felt alive again I began to become confident, didnt need my anxiety meds, etc life was going well until a few months into it the kids & ex were blaming the woman for being the reason etc and it truly was not but I have fallen very in love with her I feel like I never knew what love was until being with her. She has been an absolute angel dealing w my family & being understanding of it all... In the past months my ex went to counseling as well as myself she says she wont give up on me, tells the kids all of the details they shouldnt know about, she threatens to end her life if I dont come back, shes lost tons of weight stopped seeing her therapist. She has never worked a day in her life & has consumed all of these past 11 months obsessing begging & pleading for me back. It is all very unattractive & cannot see myself with her. She has now gotten the kids on her side & they say that if I dont come back they will never talk to me again... Then they say its only bc of the woman though she has always been kind to them.
Im stuck at a crossroads... My kids are my number one priority in life and I will do anything to make them happy but how? I have these feelings for my ex but not like this woman its diff & I dont want to leave her helpless Ive been paying 10k monthly for her & kids, why do I still have feelings for her & so much guilt? I know I love this woman & we are connected on every level & makes me feel like I can love myself I dont want to lose her how do I handle all of this? I am currently all alone in another state telling them all I need a break.. trying to figure out how to make everyone happy with me being able to be happy with this woman.
 

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You went about this all wrong, you know that right? You will not get a lot of sympathy from this site. Be prepared.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes trust me I living in self loathe at the moment I know I did this all in the worst way possible... If I could I'd fix it but I can only move forward & I am willing to do whatever it takes to make this right
 

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Spoiler Alert: Slightly harsh response...

To answer the question in the thread title -- you don't.
As above poster said, you went about this all wrong. So now it,s time to pay the piper -- you must choose. Please your kids, or please yourself. There is no in-between, and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you will follow one path or the other.

At the end of the day, no one is going to convince you to go back to your wife & family. Your mind is already made up; this AP is "an angel" in your eyes, and is the only thing that is going to make you "happy". Like it or not, you're in the fog and cannot see this objectively. I'm betting and guessing your wife isn't as horrid as you're painting her to be; you chose to have four children with her, be with her for 20 years, etc. but in the end, you don't want her -- even though your family unit depends on that. So deal with it.

You have two choices, really: Put the OW aside completely, and deal with those consequences, return to try and work out your marriage by putting yourself 100% into it, through IC and MC -- or continue your path, turn and walk away, and deal with those consequences, and try and re-gain some relationship with your kids over time. As long as the OW is in the picture, the likelihood of that is low, but they are older so maybe a sit-down frank conversation + persistence over time will prove to them that you care for them in ways you do not care for your wife.

Again, you've already made up your mind, so cut to the chase and stop the madness, deal with the consequences. Support them financially, be willing to take the emotional beating your children will deliver, make it clear you love them and want them in your life and will keep that door open, but you've made your choice.

And if & when the OW and you don't work out for some reason, be prepared for those consequences too. Life and character is about choices. You're making yours.
 

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Really I don't want to come off as harsh but I think you need to look at the long term goal. Realistically the chances of this affair working out are slim. She may be your "angel" right now but in a year from now when the sentiment fades, your children will have had all that time to resent you. Those feelings don't fade and when they start having families you will miss so much.
Have you ever been to IC, maybe for the early abuse, not to pry. I too am a survivor of SA as a child. I still have PTSD episodes sometimes and used to seek out and give to much of myself. Therapy helped me realize that you can't please everyone always. Good luck.
 

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Since you are in the same situation as my own STBX, I can give you my two cents worth.

My kids are girls, ages 18 and 16. STBX has a new women which I've known about since October, and the kids have known since February. I have said more than once I don't have to be resentful and vindictive, because my teenagers are going to dole out more pain and hurtfulness than I ever thought of. And it's not something I've done. In fact, my STBX and I still get along quite well, and I give him a lot of insight into how the girls are feeling and trying to help him deal with them, but he keeps making one mistake after another. This summer is the real turning point because since OW lives in another country (he travels for work), he has to pick and choose the times when he's home versus with OW. This summer he is choosing longer stretches AWAY from home, and the kids are coming to the realization that he is choosing to spend time with her over when he could be home with them. I actually started to become afraid of my oldest and how she was dealing because she said she couldn't wait to meet the home-wrecker and see just what kind of woman it was who has torn up her family. She's softened on that a little bit. I have worked very hard to remind that he will always be their father no matter what, but they are very angry. I also have told my STBX that he is going to need to take a concerted effort to spend real time with them otherwise he's going to become just a wallet on legs. He heard me, but everything he's doing to date is sending the message to us that he choses his fling over family, and the girls really don't even like it anymore when he does come home. They stay in their rooms and avoid him. My oldest has even made the comment that she just plain disappointed. She said "he's not the man I thought my father was". In her eyes, her father would never ever do anything to hurt the family. At first it was about hurting me, but they see I'm ok and I"m probably happier. Now it's about hurting them. Oldest said just tonight, she knew we weren't getting along great, but if he'd only called it quits BEFORE he started an affair, she'd have a little more respect. Nothing good ever comes from leaving someone for another.
 

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Its all about choices, and you have made yours.
When my ex (multiple PA/EA) left, he refused to say he was at fault or that his choices ever hurt anyone else. In fact, he had one knock-down fight with our then 15 yr DD trying to tell her I was to blame. She called BS on him then.
Today, two years later, they have not reconciled. He has seen them for two days in the last year and a half. He has plenty of time to see his now third GF. In our last conversation he "said" he was distraught about their estrangement, and that she wasn't being fair to him. Then he mentioned that he won't have time to see them this summer.

Choices have consequences and that's just the way life is. I don't care if this "angel" relationship started before or after the marriage ended. Your admitted track record speaks volumes for your family's ability to believe you when it comes to the timing. And frankly the way you describe your marital history also speaks volumes. You only married because she got pregnant, you were abused as a child, you cheated, and then you left because you had enough. These are all attempted justifications for treating others badly. Now your SO happy. Do you honestly not understand how you pained your family is by your choices? You can control your choices, but you have no control over others reactions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I understand that the choices I have made have not been the best.... To be fair to the OW she was the one from the beginning that warned me to not make this public to others until my family was able to propely cope with the change I didnt see it like that I wanted to be honest with everyone and I see now that was not a great choice. She was the one that made it clear to me to make sure I was very active & present in my kids' lives, suggested and encouraged me to make sure certain days each week were spent doing things with them and I am always over at their house anytime they need help with anything what so ever. I haven't "left" them I am trying my best to fix the mess I have made. The OW has lots going on with her life and work and doesnt ever "take me away" or push me from my kids shes is kind, understanding, & patient. I am looking for advice on how to help my kids understand that me with or without the OW my marriage is over and that I am willing and am doing everything possible to ensure that my ex knows that I will always love her & help her etc.... I just need my kids to see that they can't force me to be with someone they threaten that "we'll never talk to you again if you dont work it out with mom"... She has spent this entire time telling them negative things and details of all of this which is not fair b/c I dont ever speak a bad word of her. I feel for her but she refuses to move on, she does not do anything to try to live and be happy she says shes doesnt want to live if I wont be with her I just struggle b/c I am very kind to her and the kids and answer alll of their calls and there when they need me but I stuggle b/c I know she cant move on if Im always helping her with anything and everything and tries to contact me all day everyday. I know there is no easy way but Im just searching for a way to make the transition with or without the OW of me ending the marriage and showing the kids that its not the end of the world I have been & will always be there for them.
 

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Ok TechDad... I'm going to be nice and give some nice advice instead of telling you to lay in the bed you've made.

Just to briefly tell where I'm coming from... STBX left me for a much younger woman. We have two teenage D's. STBX has cheated before, so I could be very bitter and could be very nasty, but I'm not going that route. I am trying very hard to get my girls through this as easy as possible under the circumstances. They are VERY angry with their father, but I'm working on all sides to soften the blows.

First and foremost, if you can, you must never stoop to the level of blaming or pointing out the fallacies their mother has. That will NEVER work and only drive them away. Because you are the one to leave, it's all on you in their eyes no matter what was going on in the marriage. You left, therefore you are bad. My own girls have said now that they can see Dad and I were not the happiest, but they wish that he had just left BEFORE he had taken up with another woman. I don't know that it would have really made a difference in the end, but to them, it does. They HATE the thought of her, and they absolutely do not want to confronted with her. She's to blame for a lot of the problems in their mind. Of course for kids, it's SO much easier to blame someone they do not know, therefore the OW is at fault, as if the breakup wouldn't happen if the OW hadn't come along. You need to be patient and kind and consistent. You need to keep trying to talk to the kids. Give them the opportunity to talk to you. (How old are they?). Don't assume because they don't talk that they don't want to and it's going to go away. I keep telling my STBX that he HAS to spend some time one on one with them, and not just going to the library or getting something to eat. I have told him to periodically ask them how they are doing and try to open a door of conversation without forcing it. Sometimes they want to talk. Sometimes they don't.

I learned a lot from my daughter's counselor (she was seeing an educational planner but he now has become a therapist for this crap). The one thing he told me when I first asked his advice is that we need to be CLEAR with them that there is NO going back. Older kids will try to barter and fix things. Do not be wishy-washy but right up front that it's over if they are old enough to want to try to fix it. The other thing he said was to be clear that they are in no way at fault. Kids will assume quite a level of guilt, even if they don't say so. Be clear that you love them and always will, but the problems were not because of them.

The hard part is your wife dragging you through the mud. As angry as I am with my STBX for what he's done, I REFUSE to do that to my kids. They are paying for it right along with you when she does that. I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your STBXW, but can you talk with her? Have you made a sincere apology for how you went about things? She has been wronged and she probably wants some vindication, revenge, or even worse. Only you can try to soften that. You may not be able to talk to her, and if she knows it's pushing your buttons, she could make it worse too, so you do have to be careful in what you tell her. Don't get angry with her about the kids. That will only make it worse and justify whatever she's telling them. Do NOT put your kids in the middle of a fight. But if there is a way to ask her not to, that would be great, but I've seen many families who just cannot do that.

Do not give up on your kids. They will test you and test you, and see if they can drive you away so you leave. Their security is shaken and they probably don't trust that you won't up and dump them too. My own kids have hit a wall this summer because their dad is spending more time with GF than with them. He is usually around only on weekends with an occasional longer trip home. He started staying away more before they knew about the pending separation, but they felt it instinctively. One of mine even said "I feel like we are kids of divorced parents", before we even told them that we were splitting. They felt the distance because he wasn't home as much. (A little different situation that most because it's not like he was home all the time and then moved out, so in a way, it's been easier on us because home life has not changed a whole lot).

Things will come and go in cycles, particularly when there is something else going on in their lives... any drama, like a boyfriend/girlfriend breakup, or something happening at school. You may think things are going ok again with your kids and then they will be angry at you for not being there maybe out of the blue. You need to really pay attention and if they seem to be edgy and distant or angry, take the time to ask and really listen. It might seem like a little thing because in real life, they are little things, but you have to remember, to them, whatever it is is a HUGE thing. Kids will take out their frustrations on the missing parent. Venting and using them as a scratching post. They may be reluctant to do that to the parent they have sided with, so you might get double the whammy.

Some advice my best friend has given me who comes from a divorced family is to NEVER make the kids feel guilty because they choose to go with the other parent over you. She said that she came to hate all holidays and birthdays etc, because they were made to feel guilty if they didn't spend it with Dad, but they couldn't stand the OW and didn't want to go down there with her. They also felt HORRIBLE when they went to Dad's place, but mom was home alone. This may not pertain to you, but she has warned me to never make them feel guilty or worry about me being home alone while they are with Dad. Even if I'm home crying about it, not to let them see it because it will torment them.

I believe myself that having empathy for the other parent and showing that side will help my kids too. I keep telling my own kids it's OK to be angry with Dad for what he's done, but to be careful about how they express it and TALK to him about it. I also warned them to not to try to make Dad choose between his girlfriend and them, because in the end, they will lose! I also have told them to be careful how they treat other woman too, because they may all end up having to spend some time together. I said I expect them to be civil and polite. I told them it's OK if they decide they don't like her and they do NOT have to be friends with her, but they will have to share their dad with her (maybe... we'll see... it's been a year, but I don't see her staying around forever, but that's not to worry about today). Just yesterday my oldest said she's not quite as angry anymore and is now curious about who she is and wants to meet her. I asked her the question, "And what if you like her? Are you ready for that?" Then I told her it's ok if you like her, but I probably will never like her just because. (What I really want to say is something that can't even be printed here, but I'm using every ounce of strength to be the bigger person... I'm taking that to my grave!).

So just keep talking to your kids. Your wife is bitter and angry and they will follow her cue for a while. But they will also grow up and if you remain consistent, loving, and do not use them in the middle, eventually they will respect that. Your STBX may soften in time too. But just keep thinking, how do I want my kids to think of me? Don't assume they know what you are thinking with regard to them. Tell them. And then show them with your actions. The worst thing I've seen Wayward spouses do it to give lip service but then disappoint. You are going to have to work harder at it because you are the one who left. You are going to have to find a way to let them know it's not them that you wanted to leave. Remember, this is also forming how they will look at their own relationships, and you need to set an example of how you would like them to in their own relationships. Lessons can be learned for the better. Try not to let them learn the hard way.... or any harder than it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My kids are 14, 17, 19, & 21 all live at home with their mom. I have apologized top to bottom to my ex telling her I feel awful for the way things have turned out & I know it is my fault... I tried to make it work by doing counseling more than once I just do not have that "in love" feel anymore & I know she felt the same on & off we resented eachother etc but we have always put the children first. I will always love her etc but I just feel it's not right to continue something that Ive been fighting myself for years. The kids know they are welcome to live wherever they want, I'd like them to be with her so she doesn't feel that they are choosing, but its an open house at both places that isn't an issue. When I do spend time with them she is always with us as well, I want to show them that I don't have any bad feelings towards her, but I think that is making things harder for her & she's not aware. She just will not let go & puts me down in front of the kids & when Im not there. I would never ever do that to her no matter what. So Im just trying so hard to be there b/c for everyone bc I want to be & make it clear to them, but I don't know where to draw the line with her. I just feel like Im making things worse by always answering her constant texts, emails, calls, etc is not helping her b/c I know its definitely not helping me with making me feel awful.
 
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