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FWSM1964's picture

Thanks to this forum, I have been able to have hard discussions with my partner. I am now looking for advice regarding my partner's discussions with his BK's (SS32, SS29, SD24, SD20) about his moving on after separating from their mother almost 15 years ago.

All he has gotten from his BK's is that they feel that it would be unfair to BM to socialize with my partner and me.  In some cases, this is the reason that they do not even to meet me.

My partner has tried to speak privately with them about their feelings in regards to this, and they have shut him down; and in some cases, they have repeatedly stated that they are not ready to talk about it.

My partner believes that they really mean that they are not ready to talk about it, and will open up at some future time.  As a much less patient and much more confrontational person, I feel that they are brushing him off and have no intention of ever discussing the matter.

As I mentioned on previous posts, my partner is gobsmacked that his children are behaving this way.  While we had fully expected my children to integrate my narcissistic XH's mindset while they were aged 12-19, we were pleased that they lost it in adulthood.

My BK's are 19-25 yo, and have fully accepted my partner and our relationship because they are happy that I am happy. However, my partner's children only care about BM's misery and do not care about my partner's happiness.

He has continued to set firmer boundaries with them and has experienced minimal pushback. It seems that his BK's respect and appreciate him even though they are manipulated by BM.  Is there anything my partner can say to his children to improve things?

Thanks to this forum, I have been able to have hard discussions with my partner. I am now looking for advice regarding my partner's discussions with his BK's (SS32, SS29, SD24, SD20) about his moving on after separating from their mother almost 15 years ago.

Winterglow's picture

Frankly, if I were him, I'd drop it. They've made it pretty clear what their position is and they're not going to change it. Their "not ready yet" is just their way of shutting him up so he'll stop nagging for a while.

The "not fair to mummy" guff is just plain ridiculous. It has nothing to do with being fair to anyone - it certainly isn't fair nor respectful to their father.

I suggest that yoiu both continue to live your lives and simply ignore his kids. Once they see he's moved on they might just come back to him of their own accord. Remind your SO that it is they who are cutting him out of their lives and not the opposite. Their call.


FWSM1964's picture

Excellent advice, Winterglow. 

Yesterday, my partner said he is feeling sad that his children are missing out so much as a consequence of not getting to know me.  He does realize that they are cutting him out and hopes that in time they will come around. I told him that if it happens, I'll be cordial and superficial since I can never trust them.  BM hates the fact that my partner has moved on (and I'm not the first woman he seriously dated since he moved out of the matrimonial home). We spoke about this on the eve of me getting snubbed at yet another wedding; this time, that of SS32.

Interestingly enough about SS32, we met two or three times at his father's apartment and he didn't have any problem with me.  He even did some professional work on my house last summer for which I paid him. I also bought him a case of beer that day and he gave me an unexpected hug. (It was good beer lol!) All was fine until BM made a special visit (she hates to drive) over one hour away to his home in July of this year.  Since then, SS32 doesn't want anything more to do with me. And the other SK's are worse. 

Winterglow's picture

You know where the root of the problem lies and you also know that there is nothing you can do to change that root. All you can do is change yourself and how you live - so live the best life you can and give no more of your time nor energy to people who do not deserve it. 

Also, next time there's a family function, do not push your SO to go without you. You are a part of his life now and you should be expected to be treated as such. If you're not invited then he shouldn't go. Him going alone won't foster a good relationship with his kids, it just makes him look like he's easily swayed or maybe not so attached to you as they thought. 

FWSM1964's picture

I hear you, Winterglow, but I think it's okay to make an exception with the weddings.

However, at all other events, we will be joined at the hip or not attending.

tog redux's picture

Yeah, he's got to let it go, and so do you.  I'd discuss which events he goes to alone and which he refuses to go to without you.  I wouldn't ask that he miss a wedding, but he sure as hell better NOT go to a family Christmas where BM is there without you.

These kids are still tied to BM in unhealthy ways and may be for the rest of their lives. I'd count on never having a relationship with any of them. If that changes, great - but if it doesn't, then you won't be disappointed.

FWSM1964's picture

Precisely, tog redux.  This is what we plan to do.

I don't think I could ever trust his kids even if they changed as their true colours were revealed early on.

Gimlet's picture

Agree with the others. 

The underling dysfunction in this family system is unlikely to change.  These adult kids worry more about BM's "happiness" than anything, since she's made it clear that the matriarchal martyr should be their top priority.

Live your lives.  It sounds like your SO is hopeful that his kids will come around, but I also hope he's preparing himself for the possibiity that they won't.

FWSM1964's picture

Excellent advice, Gimlet.  He doesn't see his children much as it is, so it is easy to live our lives.

My SO is hopeful, but he now realizes that the ball is in his children's court.

I'm trying to figure out how the matriarchal martyr managed to insert her beliefs and emotions into the children's heads; even the two older children who haven't been living at home for years.  My XH did that with my children when they were teens, but they grew out of it.  Why haven't these young adults been able to break the spell, I wonder?

FWSM1964's picture

Yes, the golden uterus syndrome, CLove.  I remember reading about it.

My Narc XH had a stronger hold on the kiddos, but when they reached adulthood it slipped away.

I wonder if it was because I was working two or three jobs at the time, and he was "stay at home dad" for 25 years.

tog redux's picture

Yes, mothers are better at the endless victim-playing than fathers. Fathers tend to alienate through coercive control rather than enmeshment.

tog redux's picture

They can have that complex  - but they are also often obviously controlling and scary.  That pushes the kids away.  Even if Mommy is angry and loud, she's not as scary physically and they feel sorry for her.

SeeYouNever's picture

your husband is being optimistic if he thinks that after 15 years they will still get over it and be able to talk and socialize with him at some time in the future. I got news it is the future they don't want the relationship.

The kids probably all need some therapy but you can't force them to get it. If your husband is still struggling with this then maybe he should talk to a therapist. Not necessarily to improve the situation but to help him accept the way that it is. It's very natural for grown kids to put some distance between themselves and their parents. I think he should work on coming content with the limited relationship he has with them.

still learning's picture

Read her previous blogs, her SO is not her husband. He's still married to BM.  Flame away, but yes it does matter when it comes to being invited to family gatherings.  Call me awful but I wouldn't invite my fathers gf to my wedding if he were still married to my mom.  BM is obviously still holding out hope for her marriage. I wonder who comes around to play happy family, accompanies her to events and gives her that hope?  

SeeYouNever's picture

Oh I remember now this is a messy situation. There are many BM that stay married to their husbands even though they've been separated for years and years. Usually the motivation here is that they know they are going to come out unfavorably in an actual divorce or they are trying to wait out some sort of retirement or pension benefit. It's also sometimes related to insurance.

I hate to admit this but my husband was one of these guys before I met him. He and BM had been separated for at least five years and both of them were living their own lives and dating other people. The main motivations for staying married we're on bm's side.her parents helped pay for her lawyer and they had deep pockets so my husband burnt through his retainer without getting anywhere. He ended up giving up on the divorce because there was no way he was going to sign over everything to her and she wouldn't budge on the negotiations. She continued to be on his insurance until they finally divorced. she was hoping to stretch out their marriage so that she could take his military pension however it didn't work out for her because they counted the marriage dissolution from when they separated. BM always claimed that it was because she was Catholic that they couldn't get divorced. She cheated on him and was dating somebody else when she said this! this is why I never take devout Catholics seriously, they are all about technicalities. 

It's very messy but more common than you think.

FWSM1964's picture

My narc XH and his family were supposedly devout Catholics, although their behaviour was somewhat hypocritical.

Four years ago, we got divorced and it was a big embarrassment to his family.  I'm not sure they told the cousins because I kept receiving Christmas cards addressed to the both of us for years after the separation.

Anyways, my partner got taken off BM's insurance when he got his own insurance at work over 10 years ago.

However, he stayed married as he thought that the matrimonial home would be sold upon divorce and he didn't want to uproot his children who had grown up in that house.  He didn't realize property settlement could be severed from the actual divorce, but does now.

While BM stated that she accepted the divorce and would find legal and financial documents in the matrimonial home to assist in the divorce process, she came up empty after two years of my partner's prodding (once every 6-8 weeks). 

Turns out that she lied to my partner about wanting a divorce. I had told him this from the beginning.  He believes that now and is acting accordingly.

FWSM1964's picture

Still learning, we had this discussion already on another forum topic. My partner is legally separated and has filed separate taxes since 2006. I have been invited to weddings of children of separated couples many times. Plus ones of the parents have been invited regardless of their marital status. I think I mentioned this to you on another forum topic, as well.

Also, please read this forum topic. My partner does not accompany BM to any events and no longer plays "happy family" at the matrimonial home. She had to find her own way to SS32's wedding, and he did not socialize with her at SD24's wedding.

In fact, he has been direct and repetitious that he is no longer responsible for her and hasn't been so since the date of separation. My partner told her this every time he encountered her.  He told her that he was at the matrimonial home to visit the children, not her; so it's irrational and one-sided for her to hold out hope for a marriage that died two years before the separation date.

Should he have gone to Thanksgiving and Christmas last year in the matrimonial home despite his direct and repetitive mantra? Not really, but we didn't know then what we know now; thanks to StepTalk forums, this mistake will not be made again. 

tog redux's picture

I would. They've been separated for 15 years and he's had another long-term GF.  I'd be telling my mother to get over it, and I'd invite him and his GF. 

No one at that wedding except family will know they aren't divorced.

FWSM1964's picture

That makes sense, Tog. But unlike you, these individuals are enmeshed with BM. Rational thinking has no place in their world.

FWSM1964's picture

He had been upset for some time about the limited relationship he has with the two youngest children.  He has invited them numerous times out to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks at a pub.  Nine times out of 10, they decline (eg. too busy, etc.)

When they do show up, they stay for 45-50 minutes and then leave soon after. SD20 prefers to socialize with her fiance's mother, father, and extended family rather than hang out with her father (who she hardly sees) and her mother (with whom she lives).  There seems to be a sense of normalcy in her fiance's family which she craves.

SD24 has a hectic work schedule and her husband has a hectic school schedule, so frequently they are working.  She rented an apartment with her husband for a year before moving back with BM, and not once did she invite her father there. She prefers to meet her father in the company of her husband, and has asked him to meet them at the matrimonial home which he has refused to do. He would like to see her (either with or without her husband) at a neutral location. 

I told him to keep contacting them and just asking how they are doing, and it seems to be working.  They have long text conversations, but no meet ups.  The two older children phone regularly (rather than texting) and make time to meet their father.

FWSM1964's picture

You have a good point, SeeYouNever. 

I have been to counselling regarding this situation.

I believe it will help my partner if he goes for counselling too in regards to maintaining firm boundaries and accepting that the ball is in his children's court.

Thanks again.

shamds's picture

Of playing innocent victims... it doesn't matter if she abused the dad, she can brainwash kids to blame dad for bio mums psychotic unacceptable behaviour when reality was, she was always a psychotic bitch


my husbands exwife did the same to sd who is now almost 25. Late last yr hubby told her off how ridiculous it is she claims daddy did all this crazy crap bio mum made up with no proof and by sd own admission is bio mum lied about alot of things, to top it off if stepdad says i do not give permission for you to see your dad and half siblings, she listens when stepdad does not have this right and he does not have more rights over bio dad. Especially since he had bio mum kick sd's out of home so he could play happy family..

FWSM1964's picture

Shamds, you are exactly right.  I left a narc after 25 years and I can see how twisted things can get.  My partner is starting to see BM's sociopathic tendencies in retrospect.  Prior to that, he believed everything she said.  I bet the children still do.

Merry's picture

I hope that after this wedding he will make it clear one more time to his kids that you are part of his life and they do not ever again get to dictate whether you are or are not at his side. He is happy, and you are part of that happiness.

And then drop it. if his kids still won't visit with you there, or they won't see him if you are included, that is their problem and not his.

It must hurt him very badly, though. But there's no changing it unless the kids decide to see their father as an independent man and not a remnant of his former marriage.

FWSM1964's picture

"A remnant of his former marriage" - very well-said, Merry.  That's exactly how they see my partner and that is the root of the problem.

The two older children who live with their fiancees seemed to see my partner as an independent man up to July of this year. Then BM said something to them, and now they feel that it wouldn't be fair to her to accept that my partner is happy with someone else. Not sure what happened there, but I can guess.

It does hurt him immensely and he is surprised that his children don't accept me.  But he also realizes that it is up to them. 

FWSM1964's picture

I wanted to thank everybody for their comments so far and felt I should provide an update.

My partner just left to go to the SS32's wedding which is one hour away. I told him earlier this week that I can see myself not being invited to any of his children's weddings, but he is hopeful that perhaps SS29 or SD20 will invite me.  I would be surprised if they did, given the precedent set by SS32 and SD24.

My partner also told me that it is a bittersweet event for him as he would have liked to have me by his side.  His stomach was upset this morning because of this whole situation.

In regards to sending the message that he is with someone else, my partner refused to pick up BM on the way and drive her to the wedding despite repeated requests from both BM and SS32. He told both of them that he is no longer responsible for her well-being and hasn't been for 15 years. She can drive herself, and if she dislikes driving so much, she can get an uber.

He also told them that he will stop playing "happy family" with them this Thanksgiving and Christmas and beyond.  He realizes that he will not see most of the children as much because of it, but the ball is in their court. He understands that now.

One positive in this mess is that my partner meets SS32 at a pub regularly to watch sports, so I don't think it will affect that relationship.

I appreciate all the comments provided and will answer you individually in due course.

FWSM1964's picture

Points well taken, IamBackUW. 

If you didn't gleefully state that I was dating a married man, as an affair partner or side piece, and were truly concerned about my POA rights and inability to marry my partner, then I didn't mean to paint you with the "pearl-clutcher" brush if that was the case. 

My partner is working on his divorce and on updating the beneficiaries on his investments.  He is also looking for an estate lawyer so he can write a will and powers of attorney.  Thanks for your advice on that one.

Since joining this StepTalk, I have had some good discussions with my partner and he realizes that BM is irrational in her belief that there is a glimmer of hope in their marriage.  He even told her that if he were single, he would not go back to her. 

Your husband "squashed the Sasquatch", did he?  That sounds good. Would you be able to share some techniques which your husband used on his ex-wife to put her in her place?

CLove's picture

My husband, as well. Good terms.

Prior to the divorce, BOTH Dh and Toxic Troll said they were "only married on paper, its just a piece of paper" and even the kids would tell me this.

Yeah, until DH filed and the chit hit the fan and Toxic Troll was wanting to stay married for social security benefits (she worked for school sytem so no social) because after 10 years she would be able to use his benefits to have her own. Plus that little "spousal support in perpetuity" thing that California has.

Thas why DH filed. As it was, because he waited, Toxic Troll got an extra 2 years of spousal support. Because although they were separated for more than 1.5 years, she insisted on the end of the marriage being when we began our relationship. (we were friends during his separation period).

YEP. If BM is bad now, just wait until divorce filings happen.

op. There are so many entanglements currently due to his being "married, but only on paper". I would recommend a discussion with a lawyer. But as to the skidults, leave them be. He cannot do much more but create and enforce boundaries.

FWSM1964's picture

CLove, I am glad that you are now free of the Toxic Troll.

I am fully expecting the chit to hit the fan when my partner serves BM with divorce papers. As some posters stated, BM sees a glimmer of hope for her marriage as she is not yet divorced, as irrational as it may be. Once the divorce is formally filed, all hell will break loose.

The good news is that both BM and my partner agree on the 2006 separation date. (Note: he would have agreed to any date in that year).

My partner has accepted that the children (either on their own or prodded by BM) are testing the boundaries he has been recently creating.  He has been sticking to them, and will continue to do so even if his children don't come around.

Thumper's picture




tog redux's picture

OMG, YOU should let it go. We've beat that horse to death. Yes, she's aware, she's not stupid. It's not her hill to die on, so stop yelling at her.

FWSM1964's picture

Thanks, Tog.  You're right.  This topic has been beat up on a number of forums.  Thanks for commenting here.

FWSM1964's picture

It may be simple to get a divorce after one year of separation, but that's only if both parties agree.

I filed for divorce at the one year mark of separation, and my XH dragged out our divorce an additional four years. And he wanted to get divorced.

BM doesn't want to get divorced.  I guess one could file in absentia, but a process server is going to her door.  Easier that way.

Sandybeaches's picture

First I think that you have to evaluate the entire picture.  Is it your BF that really wants to have the conversation with his kids or does he just wish that they would accept it and move on?  In others words is he actively trying to find words or are you trying to find words for him? Been there done that.  Many conversations my DH should have had that he didn't thinking the kids "just knew BM was crazy" feed the fire and fanned the flames for zero relationship between me and my step-kids now.  Sure my DH wished it was different and I actively looked for support and advice on how to handle it only to have it boil down to it was my DH and only my DH who could change it. It was a pretty tuff pill to swallow.  

I agree with others who said let it go for now.  I truly think that there is no hope to get them to change their minds until your BF has solidified the final step and is divorced from their mother.  I think once the divorce is final there would be a better chance.  

FWSM1964's picture

Sandybeaches, that is exactly what my partner said.  He thinks the kids would accept it better once he is divorced from their mother. 

However, as we know that takes time, so he is trying to talk to them now.  They have shut him down by telling him they are not ready. 

He is willing to let it go for now, suffering through seeing them less until the divorce is final, and hoping that they will accept it then. 

However, it hurts him so much and I have to give him credit for starting to have these types of conversations with his children even though the divorce hasn't yet been finalized since BM is dragging her feet.

Miss T's picture

I visit Step Talk sporadically, when I have a specific problem to hash over and/or need to let off step steam. For whatever reason, this is one of my "on" periods. So this morning I come here and this discussion is STILL going on! Well, if you can't beat 'em ...

OP, I will not join those who are condemning the legal structure of your relationship, except to reiterate (for approximately the thousandth time) that you are leaving yourself in financial and emotional peril. Of course that's not what you came to hear. You came looking for sympathy and strategy, so here are mine.

To begin, I would write off the kids. It doesn't matter how their opinions and positions were formed, who or what is stoking them. To put it plainly, they hate you, and they always will. Ignore them. DISENGAGE.

Next, I would stop trying to get DH to say this or that, to do one thing or another, to think x, y, or z. Stop worrying about him, and try to get some peace and clarity for yourself. You are understandably very worked up about this. You need to find a way to calm down. Easier said than done, I know, but for your own sanity please step back from his emotional stuff. Repeat after me: THE KIDS, HIS EX/WIFE, AND "THE MATRIMONIAL HOME" ARE NOTHING TO ME. Their father is going to do what he's going to do. Don't fight it. Step back and focus on your emotions and your behavior. He can figure out how to deal with his mess or not, and you can find your own eye in the hurricane.

Good luck, and I hope this thread finally trails off.

FWSM1964's picture

Thanks, Miss T.  I am on StepTalk to get heart-felt advice such as yours, and to let off steam. The second wedding from which I was banned occurred yesterday, so my feelings were running high.

I don't understand how my partner could have been so wrong about his children's lack of acceptance of me when my partner has been correct on a great many other things unrelated to this. 

I know I will have to disengage and have started to accept their rejection.  In fact, they know nothing about me except that I am a woman who loves their father. So I shouldn't even take it personally.

They accepted his previous partner of five years, but then again, his previous partner of five years did not encourage him to get a divorce.  Since he's been with me, my partner has been more vocal with BM in regards to the divorce process, the collection of documents, etc. which doesn't sit well with the poor "matriarchal martyr".

This thread will not trail off until people stop commenting on it.  I'm okay either way.  If posters want to post, I will reply.  I get what you're saying in that this situation cannot be fixed by me and I'm devoting unnecessary head space to it.  In time, I will get over it. 

However, I'm so shocked that my partner didn't see that coming, and I kind of did, but reluctantly trusted his assessment of the situation.  I was even more shocked that my children accepted him at all because of all the lies about me that my narc XH told them all their life. They now see my XH for who he is, yet my partner's children cannot see BM for who she is (and they older than my BK's).

I guess I should be grateful as my partner and I enjoy spending time with my children, all of whom have grown up to be wonderful young adults despite their traumatic upbringing. It could be a lot worse, and I realize and appreciate this.

Rags's picture

Nah, his foursome of failed family breeding sputum are manipulating and are little more than BM's minions. And all 5 of them are playing and riding daddy like a cheap broken down horse.

Daddy needs to extricate his head from his own ass and quit babying his adult spawn.  He really does need to stop playing their games and do far more than just pay lip service to you and the relationship he has with you. If there is a poster boy of codependent it is your SO. He is in all likelihood incapable of functioning as an adult in anything even remotely resembling an adult relationship 

I hope that you realize that even when his divorce is final, if is ever final, you will never be free of his spineless catering to his failed family baggage. And you will never be free of their interference in your life and marriage. Ever, until your FDH passes. 

I truly hope that I am wrong, but are you willing to sacrifice one more minute of your life, much less countless years, if I am not wrong?  You are stunned that your SO did not see this coming. Think about how stunned your friends and family are at your tolerance of this entire situation that your SO brings to your life.

Just some thoughts I have had on your ongoing situation with your SO and his failed family baggage.


FWSM1964's picture

My partner says he feels sometimes on the verge of telling them to get lost with their self-entitled BM-enmeshed attitudes.

This problem is greater than the SKs' inability to accept me and their father's happiness from moving on. They tell him how much better and younger he looks nowadays.  I think it has to do with him being in a positive loving relationship. But they don't want to hear that.

Quite simply, BM's manipulation has compromised their relationship with their father; particularly with SD24 and SD20 who just as bitchy and catty as their mother, especially when other females are involved. They are nice to the partners of SS32 and SS29 to their faces, but terrible behind their backs. 

SD24 and SD20 are okay to text once in a while with their father, sometimes replying and sometimes not. He says he is getting used to their distant relationship, and will text back to say "hello" or "thinking of you" and not push himself on them.  The last time he saw them was last Christmas. 

I hope they come to their senses before it's too late and my partner is no longer around.


Rags's picture

Why would he discuss his personal life with his adult children, particularly after being separated from their mother for 15+ years?

He should not discuss anything with his adult children. He should tell. Period. Dot!

He has to slam his divorce through ASAP and get on with his life. Stop delaying over a long ago failed family, and actually get on with his life.  His kids realy have nothing to deal with. He has not been in the marital home since the youngest was 5yo.  Mommy and daddy have not been a couple for so long that any delay is just empowering his X and their children and fostering the belief that they all have some say in his life.  He needs to be the one to inform them clearly that none of them have any say in his life and need to get on with their own lives.  Particularly BM.

He can ping his kids periodically going forward sharing with them elements of his life.  They may or may not respond.  That is really on them.  

My SS is not great at staying in contact.  It bothered his mom and I for a while. But... in fairly short order we got past being hurt. We call him, he may answer, he may not.  Eventually he will call us.  Adult kids interface with their parents evolves over the course of time.

I call my parents a couple of times a week.  My DW calls her parents about once a month.  

As your SO actually ends his marriage his relationship with his kids will evolve once there really is no "mom & dad" though there hasn't actually been a mom & dad for a decade and a half.

I would advise your SO to not discuss moving on with his life with his kids.  He can update them as he chooses but discussion indicates that they get a say or an opinion. They get neither and he should not give them the option of having anything to say about his forward looking new life.  For so long his life has been backwards looking. That is just tragic and a recipe for misery.

Good luck.