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Aislin C
Aislin C, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5
Experience:  Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy specializing in Alternative lifestyle and parent of two teenagers
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My ex husband has been denying he has a girlfriend to us.

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My ex husband has been denying he has a girlfriend to us. We split up three and a half years ago and have been divorced for sixteen months and the reason for the divorce was infidelity. We were together for twenty six years and have a 22 year old son. It turns out that he has been seeing this woman casually for around two and a half years. Our son has taken this deceit badly and I have asked my ex why he would keep her a secret. He will not give me an answer. Could someone please suggest why he would do that as we are confused. Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Aislin C replied 1 year ago.

Aislin C :

Hello, My name is XXXXX XXXXX i will try my best to assist you today. Divorce, under any circumstances, is a very difficult and emotionally trying thing to go through. It's even more so when children are involved. Even adult children. I just recently went through a similar situation although my children are younger (13 and 18) and one of the most difficult things i have had to do was to let go. I needed to accept that i no longer have responsibility or even a right to truly know or have any say over what my ex does, other than how it affects my children. What i have come to realize is that they take their cues from me. If i am upset and stressed and obsessed then they respond and act in kind. If i am relaxed and pleasant and amicable then they relax and become upset.

Aislin C :

Infidelity is extremely hard to deal with and your ex may be keeping it a secret for a variety of reasons. Some men have a difficult time coming out and admitting to their children that they have a girlfriend. I know my ex hid his for a year and even outright lied when the kids asked him and his reason was he didn't know how to have that conversation with them without hurting or upsetting them and he hates confrontation. There may be other factors as to why he is hiding it. But none of the reasons, unless she is directly harming your child in any way, are anything that you have any control over or can do anything about. the best thing that you can do for yourself and for your child is to let it go and move on. I know that is easier to say than do. Trust me. I know. I would recommend seeking counseling for you, and even for your son, to deal with the emotional stress of the situation and i would encourage you to take care of yourself and do things for yourself to de-stress. Your son needs you to be there for him and show him how to get through this. Its difficult, but not impossible.

Aislin C :

I hope that this was helpful to you and if not, please let me know so i can assist you further.

Customer:

Thank you Aislin. I understand what you are saying. What's concerning is he told our son's girlfriend in October last year that he didn't want another relationship. He also told my cousin (September) that he didn't have anyone in his life. Last August he actually moved 250 miles away to a small hamlet in a remote part of Yorkshire. I was visiting not far from him in the September and offered to call in and see him and his partner if there was one. He replied he didn't think there would be a partner unless it was a sheep!! On the 21st December last year he told my daughter that he was spending Christmas alone there. We were staying within an hour and a halfs drive from him for the holidays and as we felt sad he was alone my son phoned him and said he would drive over to see him on the 27th. That was arranged and when he arrived my ex said I have a surprise for you and then said this is my girlfriend. As you can probably see all this is very strange behaviour and it does concern us. It's not really a simple case of him hiding her, it's the rather hurtful way he treated his son by not warning him and letting him walk into that situation. I truly don't know what to make of it and wonder if he's struggling with denial.

Aislin C :

It's most likely that he just didn't know how to address the situation with your son. In divorce either one or both partners may have feelings of guilt and remorse and not wanting to be seen as the bad guy they may deny or hide things from everyone. Its sort of like a coping mechanism. Have you tried talking with him about it and asking him if there is some reason he was keeping it a secret? I know it wasn't the best way to handle the situation. Like i said, my ex did something similar although when he did finally introduce his girlfriend he introduced her as his "friend" even though the counselor our kids see told him to be honest. He just didn't have the courage to face his children and say I have someone new in my life, because for whatever reason, he doesn't have the ability to deal with the emotional stress involved in admitting to your children that you have moved on. The only thing you can do is speak with him about being completely open and honest with your son to minimize the stress and assist in the healing process.

Aislin C :

Also, you can encourage your son to have open communications with his father as well, but try to keep your communications with your son positive. This is his father, regardless of what he has done, and its important for him to continue to have a relationship with him (as long as its not an abusive one). The healthier the relationship between a child and his parents, the more successful and healthy he will be in life. I know there will be times you will want to scream and yell and badmouth your ex (i have been there, done that) but that is the most damaging thing that you can do and your son needs at least one parent to be strong, and role model the moving on process. You are a wonderful mom who wants to keep her son safe and happy and you are doing a great job. Just keep doing what you are doing.

Customer:

Thanks Aislin. I have only been emailing my ex about the situation and he always avoids answering my questions as to why he lied so much recently. His girlfriend also lives 260 miles away (he left the area where he was seeing her) and she was only up there for Christmas. In my last email to him recently I told him sincerely XXXXX XXXXX he has found love again I was pleased for him and wished him and Debbie (girlfriend) well. I then said that James would always remain our concern and I hoped he would think about that. He didn't even reply to me! I suppose I do wonder if this lady is not serious to him hence his denial. He did say he was just trying to get on with his life the best he could. Do you think I should go to see him face to face when I am next in his area or would you jusy leave it now

Aislin C :

I would ask you, why is it so important to you to know the reasons why? Does it help you to move on? Would whatever reason he gave you change the situation or make things any different for your son? Or is this more about trying to find your own answers as to why your husband is with someone else. I know that for myself i kept finding myself asking why he was with someone else instead of me and i would beat myself up over that and become almost obsessed with finding out why and what i eventually realized that by doing that i was only hurting myself, and indirectly my children. It didnt help me to move on at all.

Aislin C :

You ex is going to do whatever helps him cope best and it sounds like no matter how you approach him he will most likely never be completely honest with you. Now again, it may just be that he doesn't know any other way to cope or it may be he doesn't feel you need to know, but regardless of his reasons it doesn't change the situation. My advice would be to let it go, and continue with therapy to work through getting yourself and your son through this transition. It takes hard work to get there but i can promise you that it is well worth it. Both you and your son will be happier for it.

Customer:

I suppose when you have lived with someone for 26 years you feel you know them pretty well. My ex is quite outspoken and not usually given to going to such lengths to hide the truth. We split up because he picked a woman up in a bar one night and went to a hotel room with her. He was drunk so didn't actually have sex. I asked him to move out and then went to see him to say that I had acted too hastily, but he said that he knew I'd never forgive him and always bring it up. I suppose I felt rejected by that and we decided to divorce. Therefore, I suppose I do feel partly responsible for the outcome. He was up and down during the divorce and I've never been sure if it was what he really wanted. I was the same. I truly believe that if we had better relationship it would help James but I don't know how to achieve that. I don't wonder why he is with someone else, as I know he would not want to be alone, and given they have never lived together and they are now 260 miles apart I wonder if she is the one he will end up with. It would help me to move on if we could have a more open and honest conversation about everything but I suspect you are right and for whatever reason, he doesn't want to go there. He just seemed to be in such denial about something that he could have been more open about after all this time. I know James feels betrayed by him because of the recent lies, and my ex hasn't even contacted him to explain why he did it. That's the most difficult bit I suppose, as I can't explain it to James, as I don't know the reasons myself. As a final question, do you think it would help if I meet my ex face to face as I haven't seen him for 27 months or would you not bother?

Aislin C :

Again, i would seriously look at the reasons why you would want to meet him and what you would hope to accomplish. It sounds like there are still a few unresolved feelings there and if you could approach a meeting with him keeping in mind and accepting that you most likely wont get the answers that you seek, then you could try to arrange it. Most likely he wont want to have that meeting, possibly out of fear of feeling like he would be verbally attacked, but you can attempt it. Meeting face to face probably wont have any impact, however, on how your son moves on. The only thing that you can do is be open and honest with him in your own communications with him and encourage him to speak with his father openly and honestly about any hurt feelings he may have. your son is an adult and and he does need to learn to stand up for himself not just with his father but with other adults he may come across in his life (employers, co-workers, friends, etc). You can help teach him to do this by encouraging him to speak with his father about his unresolved questions and feelings but be prepared to be there for him to help him through the disappointments should his father still lie to him. You wont change your ex husband's behavior. The only thing you can change is how you respond to it and how you teach your son to respond to it. If meeting with your husband is something you need for yourself for closure then you can try to meet with him, but you cant force him to meet with you. But first, before you do that, i would encourage you to sit down and write a letter (not one that you will really send) to your husband with all your questions, all your emotions, all your reasons for wanting to meet face to face with him. Write everything down. You wont send this to him, but it will help you to get your thoughts and feelings down on paper so that you can see them and analyze them and then make a decision as to why this is so important to you, what you hope to accomplish and whether or not this is truly necessary in order for you to move on and to help your son move on.

Customer:

Thank you Aislin. Some good advice here and I will, as you suggest write things down so I know exactly what I am saying before I attempt to say it to him. I truly believe that our offspring need to see the parents, that they love, have an amicable relationship after divorce. That is what I would like to achieve here. We bring them up to be considerate and honest, and that is what they should expect from their parents. I don't see any excuse really for him to have behaved the way he has but perhaps, as you suggest, I will never know the truth. Thank you again for all your advice.

Aislin C :

i am not sure if you got my last response as i seem to be having an issue with my computer, but i just wanted to say that you are welcome and i applaud you for everything you are trying to do to help your son get through this difficult time.

Aislin C, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5
Experience: Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy specializing in Alternative lifestyle and parent of two teenagers
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