Than k you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I hope that I can assist you.
Five years is a long time in a relationship and his lack of boundaries may make you feel that you guys have different expectations. It does not sound like you are asking for much, mainly just acknowledgement and validation of your role in the relationship. How have you expressed to him that you would like to be involved in the children's' lives? honestly, right now it sounds more like the ex-wife's feelings are more of a concern than yours. This would be a problem for anyone in a relationship, but I wonder what emotion governs his behaviors. Do you feel that he has unresolved guilt or obligation with her for some reason? Is it that he pities her? Or is this something that he feels he must do for consistency with the children?
I think that if the wedding is in October of 2017, you can start the process of introducing yourself into the family system as an active role now, even though it should have been sooner. It somewhat sounds like he is resisting "pulling off a Band-Aid," and in doing this, the pain actually increases rather than ceases. It seems that there is an element of emotional control that is persistent, either from the ex or from the children. Tell me a bit about your relationship with them so that maybe we can process how to communicate your needs with everyone involved.
I havent heard back from you but i do want to share something with you that I refer to about conflict. I believe that conflict can create opportunities for us if we learn how to communicate our needs.
Keep three things in mind: trust, respect, and your connection with this person. Consider what you want mostly in the end.... Try to think of the preferred outcome.....Dont necessarily try to defend your position initially, but ask questions, such as "help me understand your perspective?" or "help me to understand my role in your life because I feel confused at this point and I dont want things to continue like this." And allow them to discuss their feelings to soften them a bit. Get them off of the defensive in order to actually communicate and not argue.... then process where you came with from your perspective. However if this doesn't work, allow them to work through their emotions and ask questions such as "what do you feel the solution to be?"
Conflict to me is more of an opportunity to try something different or find a way to process, "why does this bother me so much? or "What is it about this person that affects me in this way?" Often what we most want in times of conflict is seeking validation.
A little self disclosure... I went through a difficult divorce in the past and during that, I had a great deal of conflict in my life, but I am not a confrontational or aggressive person. What I did find was what I wanted most of all was someone to simply "hear" me. In order to be heard, I realized that I didnt have to be "loud" but I had to be humble. I heard a story called "The Parable of the Porcupine." It talks about how our "quills" come out when we feel that we have to defend ourselves, but our defensiveness need not tear down our own character. I see that I had written down a few things about "conflict" in my journal and I had written. "Identify what you want to accomplish. You dont want poison (or criticism, sarcasm, hurtful words) to ruin the good that does exist. If confrontration is a must, do it in as few words as possible. Get to the point but do it with humility." Now, while in the moment, I know this isnt easy at all..... Try to think of "constructive criticism" in finding an opportunity to find a solution. I also wrote down, "there is a difference in a stabbing and surgery." I thought that was interesting. There is a correlation because we use a "knife" to cut someone open, but the wound from a stabbing, and a cut during surgery are completely different. You may win an argument, but lose the relationship, and lose yourself in your actions, if you are not "quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger." Also remember that there are some criticisms from others that dont even deserve a reply. You dont always have to react as it shows defensiveness, suggesting fear (back to the porcupine analogy). Remember that you dont do anyone a favor by not telling the truth. If you must, go to the person, address your feelings, but do so with love, not fear.....
Again that was from my personal journal that I was thumbing through. It hurts to not feel that you are part of all aspects of their lives, especially after 5 years. Maybe try making your role known to the adult children as well. Maybe there can be empathy demonstrated related to the feelings, but then if you feel that he is emotionally or physically unavailable in the relationship, then think more on your future and what you mostly want....
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Thank you and best wishes, Jules