When my ex and I separated, he had already been seeing someone. It was a friend at work and I had met her on several occasions. When we separated, she separated from her husband and they fell into a very public relationship almost immediately. It was pretty clear they had been waiting “a long time” to do so but the rest of the world was a bit shocked. No one more so than me (who had been at a party with her just weeks before) and my kids (who were still adjusting to their parents’ separation.)
About 3 weeks after we separated he took my children, her and her children to the zoo. My kids were 8, 5 and 4 and terribly confused and very upset. After they came home and I found out where they’d been, I blew my top. Although I would eventually get temporary orders that forbid her to be around my children while the divorce was pending, they did everything to make it seem as if they were one big happy family.
After our divorce was final, the boys visited with him every other weekend. But they had to spend time with her and her children. In fact they would go to her daughter’s soccer practice on Friday night and just hang around. Their father had never been to any of their games or plays or anything they did but my kids had to go to their step sister’s soccer practice and hang around.
As the years went on they wanted time with just him. But their father was never allowed to have time alone with his children and the rift grew wider between him and the boys. I even swallowed my pride once and BEGGED HIM to spend time alone with the boys but he said he couldn’t do it to his stepson (who lived with him and saw him every day). My youngest wanted to go to a basketball game with his father. Basketball was his father’s game and he loved it. I offered to buy the tickets and pay for all the expenses. He said no. My son was crushed.
Eventually the boys gave up and when they were in high school and he only saw them sporadically and called occasionally, they stopped speaking to him. My youngest was the recepient of one of his wifes’ phonecalls that said, “How can you do this to your father?” My youngest was flabbergasted. Apparently the boys were the ones who were “doing it” to their father. They didn’t get it.
They don’t get it and they never will. I hated her because of how self-centered she was where my kids were concerned and how neither she nor my ex could see what they were doing to my boys.
But for as much influence as she has had on those relationships, the primary person at fault is my ex. She really didn’t owe me or even the kids anything and though I think she is a large influence on how things eventually worked out and she was rabid in her dislike of me, I still have to say that he allowed all of it.
If she had simply been a friend that he spoke to, it would have irked me but would have been really none of my business. I resented the way she meddled in the relationship between my ex and his kids, but her relationship with him, even though it started when we were together, was really none of my business.
We were parting and our divorce was messy enough without invoking her. I only invoked her and temporary orders to keep her away from my kids because I thought that the kids would benefit from it. I suffered when I focused on her instead of him and I suffered when I focused on him instead of my own life.
MY FOCUS NEEDED TO BE ME AND MY KIDS. END OF STORY.
It was easy to focus on her in the early days but the bottom line is that my beef was with my ex. The boys’ beefs are with their father. Even though I know that he would have been more involved if not for her, the fact that he didn’t push back on her, the fact that he let her meddle in his relationships with his kids, was still HIS FAULT. He allowed it and all of the boys see that and know that. They despise her but they still know that he is their father and it was he who owed them a relationship, not her.
In the end, my kids and I have done well and he’s missed so much…but it’s his loss and his partner encouraged the rift and controlled him to a ridiculous extent and did nothing but bad mouth me in front of the boys, he still allowed it.
Focusing on a third party…someone the ex has become involved with or someone the ex is leaning on as a friend… is a sure way to keep the focus off you and your issues and the ex and the ex’s issues.
It’s not about Mr. or Ms. Next, it’s not about the friend they seek solace from or the new people they draw into their lives. It’s not about them.
First of all, they have the right to have a new love and they certainly have the right to have friends and support groups.
But besides that, their life is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Your life is your business. That is what it’s all about. It’s about you and you alone. Keep the focus on yourself.
Focusing on a third party will make you vicious, mean, bitter and unfocused. And you will stay that way which is an unhealthy and sad way to live.
You need to stay focused on YOUR stuff and make sure YOUR side of the street is clean. You need to make sure that you are not unfairly and unduly focused on someone else.
Focusing on someone else who may or may not have had anything to do with your breakup is not good and it’s fair. Most of all, it’s not healthy for you. Take that energy and put it into YOU.
On a side note I’m glad she was there after all. I would have preferred someone who encouraged him to have close relationships with his kids but all in all I’m glad she was ragingly jealous and kept him away from me after a time. He still came back and dawdled with me several times in the first two years…and at some bizarre point it seemed he was cheating on her with me, but after a time she dug her claws in deep enough so that it stopped. I like to think I’d have gotten off the merry go round all by myself, but it helped that she took this giant loser off my hands. :)
It’s easy to lose sight of things and try to pull a third party into your mess.
DON’T DO IT.
Focus on you and what you need to do in order to go on in peace.