I am not hurt over the fact she has a boyfriend as I somewhat prepared myself for that. What hurts, disappoints, and surprises me is that, first off, I pretty much had to force her to tell me she has a boyfriend and she did not honor our agreement; my son has met him a few times, but I have not even been asked to do so. I’m upset that she’s having him sleep in the matrimonial home that I owned before I met her and still, per our pre-nup, have to pay all expenses for until it’s sold. She is trying to break the pre-nup and stay one more year past what the pre-nup says, and all of this adds up to anger.
It now makes me uncomfortable and I feel I will remain that way if I am offered a chance to meet him. This also goes against what we talked about and what I envisioned, which was to have three adults working together to support our boy. The opposite has happened as the disrespect I have experienced seems to have burned the bridge to being amicable since my trust of them has taken a hit. I am not certain but it is possible that this was planned to hurt me like she has hurt and disrespected me in the past in other ways.
Of course, I am supportive and cool with my son, but it feels to me that a big peice is absent, leaving me confused, hurt, and concerned for my boy. Also, he did not tell me that he had met his mom’s new boyfriend as he thought I would be hurt and mad. I found out from another person who knows both of us.
I am not sure what to do and have asked to meet the new boyfriend with no reply, so I don’t want to look like I am begging or something and I don’t want to approach it with anger as anger makes people do and say things they normally don’t do or say. Suggesting we go to counseling would be the only other idea I have, but it is likely she will refuse as she has in the past on other important issues.
Why would she do this? It puts our son in the middle, little positive is in it, and and the negative could remain for years to come, unfortunately.
Do you see anything I am missing? Anything you can suggest? A new approach? — Agreement Broached!
Much like Monday’s column wasn’t actually about a bed, your problem isn’t actually about a “loose” agreement being breached. What even is a “loose” agreement anyway? Certainly not something that warrants that kind of reaction you’re giving here, fostering negativity that “could remain for years to come.” Come on, that’s nuts. You talk a good talk about wanting to be an adult who supports your son with your co-parent and whatever new significant others enter the picture, but the walk you’re walking gives a far different impression. You are hurting that your wife left you, that you’re paying for a house that she (and your son) live in (per a legal contract that you apparently agreed to before you married), and that she has a boyfriend and has moved on from you. Everyone — well, your ex-wife and your son — know how hurt and angry you are and so they are walking around on eggshells in order to not set you off.
I want you to think about that: You have – unintentionally – tasked your 14-year-old son with prioritizing YOUR emotional well-being above his own. Your ex-wife didn’t do this; YOU did it. The reason why the “loose” agreement wasn’t honored is because your ex-wife feared you would not react well to meeting her new boyfriend and she wanted to avoid the kind of confrontation she was worried might take place. And here you are: absolutely seething — to the point of declaring the negativity so damaging that it may last for years – because said new boyfriend will be sleeping over in the house that your ex and son live in. Honestly, what did you think would happen? That your ex wouldn’t date again? That if she did date, she wouldn’t invite her new significant other to her home? That she wouldn’t hold you to a prenup that you agreed to before you married in which you pay household expenses for the home your ex is raising your son in? (Think about that: You are pissed that a legal agreement is being upheld and a non-legal/”loose” one isn’t.) You are so livid about how things have turned out, most of which have little to do with this loose agreement being breached, that you’ve convinced yourself that maybe your wife’s dating someone new and not introducing you as quickly as you’d like was all a plan to hurt you and that any bridge to being amicable co-partners has thus been burned.
All this anger and bitterness doesn’t make you sound committed to “supporting your boy” at all. It just makes you sound in serious need of therapy. On your own, not with your ex-wife. You need to deal with the hurt and betrayal you feel in order to move past it and be a truly supportive dad who doesn’t make your kid pay for the decisions made by the adults in his life. There’s no reason bridges to amicable co-parenting should be burned over anything you’ve described in this letter, and saying as much, let alone actually burning the bridges, and martyring yourself in this post-divorce/split reality, is juvenile. Pull up your big boy pants, get the help you need, and quit pitting your son in the middle of all this. He’s 14, his parents have recently split, and his mom’s got a new boyfriend. That’s more than enough for him to deal with without his dad throwing a big hissy fit over his mom dating someone new.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.