Today my ex made a comment in an email about “knowing my feelings on this matter” regarding him moving forward with a relationship with the paramour and “appreciating my cooperation” with a schedule change that will accommodate their plan for reintroduction of her into the kids’ lives in an effort for them to “get to know her and transition better”. The following is what I WISH I could say in response…but I will disregard his comment and leave my consideration to only the business at hand…the schedule he wants to change for his own benefit.
My feelings on the matter of you having a relationship with your paramour are not without cause. You have not gone about this relationship in a way that makes it easy for anyone involved (other than you and your paramour) to have a positive view of things.
While I would like to be able to feel supportive toward your relationship, and in turn make things work more smoothly for you, I have the feelings of my children to consider above all else.
You began your relationship under the guise of “divorce in place”, as your paramour has described. What that means from my perspective is that you were two feet out the door long before you were asked to move out (as a result of disclosing your relationship). That means that you knew you were leaving, so you felt it was appropriate for you to begin a new relationship with another person even though you were still living under our marital roof and sleeping in the same marital bed. No, there were no marital activities occurring in that bed. I was closed off to you in that way due to the emotional feelings I was having regarding our relationship that I felt had died.
I don’t bemoan you for wanting to seek out other companionship. How many days/nights I would have LOVED to have had someone hold me and comfort me and make me feel safe and secure and loved. I chose the path I did for the sake of my children and thought I was making the right decision for them. Not for me. For them. You knew my position of not seeking divorce. It was NOT out of fear. I was not worried about what would become of me if I didn’t have you in my life – you had already chosen to exclude yourself for some time. I was worried about our children if you were out of their life in a more definitive way that was much more pronounced. I did not have issues with my own relationship with the kids. We were a solid unit. I admit, that somewhere in me I had hoped that maybe you would find a way to begin a new relationship with me, though I know that on many occasions I sabotaged that hope because of my lashing out responses to my pain and the disrespect I felt towards you because of our situation. My heart was broken and I was angry.
I understand during that time our relationship was under great turmoil. On top of all the turmoil, you chose to lie and deceive. You chose to begin a relationship outside of the family unit. You chose to spend time away from your children in addition to the already strenuous work load you spent away to begin with. You chose to tell one story to me, and another one to another person. Or maybe you saved all your truth for your paramour. I don’t really know. Nor do I care what her position is or was with respect to what she BELIEVED about our relationship. We were still married. We still lived under the same roof and slept in the same bed. There were no steps being taken toward getting a separation or getting a divorce. At least none that I was a part of. At the least, she was aware that you came home, after being with her, to a house you shared with me. A house you co-signed your name to deed and mortgage WHILE having the relationship. While I was unaware. She MUST have known that I was in the dark…that is what makes an illicit affair truly ILLICIT! She can only be above reproach if she shows the dignity to herself, my children, and in the end, me, by not beginning an affair with a man that already has commitments he has not severed in any definitive and visible way.
My feelings toward this woman are deserved. I have zero respect for her or her choices. I could use my disrespect in a much more vocal and ugly way toward her. I could show my distaste in countless ways. I choose, and have chosen from the beginning, to not engage. I have disregarded her. I have not met her. I have not talked to her. I have not emailed, texted, or messaged her in any way. She does not require my attention. She did not feel it necessary to consider me or my situation in any way when she was sleeping with and beginning a relationship with the married father of my children. I don’t feel it necessary to give her any consideration. I will be cordial. I will be polite. As is my nature to do so under these circumstances. We will never be friends. Respect is earned. She has not done that.
More than two years later you are expecting me to accept that you will soon be marrying this woman. You will be exposing our children to her and the relationship you have chosen to pursue in a very permanent way. I think you are both hoping that time will alter the circumstances of how it all went down and the initial way you introduced everyone.
Setting aside my feelings toward the paramour, the two of you did not deal well with the initial “getting to know you” part regarding the kids. Putting the kids first in your minds consisted of telling them of her existence in February, introducing them to her and her children at a picnic event with your friends (all strangers to them) in April, going on a family vacation with her family (sister/husband/kids, mother) and staying in the same house on the beach with these otherwise strangers in June, and then moving into her condo for weekends with you to be spent in her basement by October. While the time seemed long and drawn out to you, the kids felt forced into acceptance and otherwise abandoned. While you feel that they will have an issue with any “significant other” either of us has in our lives because it isn’t their mom and dad together, their issue isn’t just because you have a girlfriend. I believe they would come to accept that at some point. With this situation, they feel that you have dumped us (not just me) and taken on a new family and forced them to do the same in the time that YOU expected without giving them some breathing room. They are resentful of the “step children” you are now a father figure to ahead of them.
You are finally now giving them some breathing room. You have realized your errors in dealing with their emotions and feelings about your new situation. The break from the relationship as a part of their lives has been a reprieve. I am hoping that they come back into the situation in a resigned manner. Without bitterness or anger. Not for your sake, but for theirs. However I believe that the wound you have caused on their hearts will scar and they will potentially feel the pain of that scar even after it has healed. All I can do is try to teach them that there is a different way to do things. That they are worth fighting for and deserve respect. So forgive me if my teaching them respect for themselves requires me to respect myself enough to not demean myself to a friendship and acceptance of the woman who didn’t take my children’s best interests to heart when she slept with a married father of three kids. I will not allow them to be disrespectful to you as their father, nor her as your partner, but I will allow them the feelings of anger, dismissal, and betrayal they feel to be acknowledged and faced.