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TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

How to tell my ex and the "father" of my children that Im seeing other men?

Asked by TILA_ABs_NoMore (895points) March 10th, 2010

My ex is one of my best friends. We have known each other since we were 15 (about 14 years), have been on and off again, but have decided in the last year that we were best as friends. He is not the biological father of my 2 boys, but has taken the role since the “sperm donor” is not a constant in their lives. He calls my boys his sons, and my boys call him “dad”.

Since we broke up for good (over a year ago), I have dated a few men, but quickly got out of the relationships before they became serious. I’m scared to death of my boys losing their “dad” because I dont know how he will take me being with someone else. Im about 90% sure he still helps me with the boys because he loves them, but there’s that 10% that I have to wonder if he’s not just around for them because he still wants to be with me. It’s that 10% that makes me run from new relationships. I don’t want my little boys to lose their daddy :-( They would be heartbroken!!

Now…Ive met someone, and I’m actually having problems coming up with an excuse for why I should dump him. I think I may want to take this to another level, so I know that Im going to have to discuss this with my ex, my boy’s “dad”.

So the question is not should I tell him…but how?!?! How should I respond if he says he doesnt want anything to do with the boys if i move on? (which Im sure he wont, but that is my fear). How and when should I bring this up?!?!

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41 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I’m going to send you a PM since my answer will divulge a bunch of info about my family.

filmfann's avatar

If he is one of your best friends, he will want you to be happy, and will always be a part of your kids lives.

whyigottajoin's avatar

I DON’T think he would leave his two kids over you moving on. He must love them alot, and if you would talk to him between 4 eyes, and explain him like you did to us then there won’t be a problem.. He knew that that conversation would come someday! And he can’t expect you to stop having a social life.. You just need to talk to him and see if he’s ready for you to move on. And if he’s not then you two could agree and you keeping that in mind and keeping your relationship between closed doors untill he’s ready.. Good luck!

JeffVader's avatar

This seems to be a situation where you will have to be brave & bite the bullet. Yes, he may run for the hills, in which case you & your boys will have to adapt. Luckily for you is that children, especially young ones accept these things & adapt quickly with support. The thing is, chances are, at some point he will drift off. How will any future partner of his take him visiting his ex, to keep in contact with her chidren, that aren’t his…. I suspect most women would have issues with this. I genuinely believe that the scenario you’ve painted of him being there, simply isn’t realistic. It is a very nice picture tho.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure it really matters how you tell him. It’s not like you are going to persuade him much one way or the other.

I think that you have to let him talk about his feelings. This is his choice. You shouldn’t even try to persuade him. All you can do is outline the facts as you see them, and ask him what he is thinking about this. Then listen. Don’t be defensive. Just listen. With your whole heart. Find out what he truly thinks.

It’s a risk but you face that risk no matter what, sooner or later. How long can you sacrifice your own needs so that your children can have a “father?” You are holding yourself hostage, emotionally. Do you want to continue to do that? You could. But if you don’t, then be honest with your feelings and let him be honest with his, and then see where you are at.

partyparty's avatar

For your own sake you must sit down and talk with him. You say he loves the children, and if this is the case then I am sure he will only want the best for them.
Be brave, explain to him the predicament you are in.
If he is the caring and loving person you say he is, then he will wish only the best for you and the children, and continue to be the loving father you say he is.

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@Cloverfield I think about what would happen when he starts dating ALL the time. I try to put myself in the “other womans” shoes and yeah, that would be a hard pill to swallow. I dont know…I guess it would depend on the situation. Would I be impressed that a man would have such a big heart that he would be a father to a child that wasnt his? Or would I think that him and baby mamma are just trying to continue to have a relationship with each other? Sigh…that’s a whole new question for another day I suppose lol

JeffVader's avatar

@TILA_ABs_NoMore There is such alot to try & take into account here. If there are any key points to highlight I’d say they are… Your children are much stronger than you think & would be able to handle it. & secondly, you have to do what’s right for you, & thirdly you have to be fair & honest with him. After that, the pieces will fall where they fall. & remember, the fun in life comes from the not knowing…

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@wundayatta Wow that really puts things into perspective. Thank you :-)

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If he still has a good friendship relationship with you and is taking his fatherhood role seriously, I don’t think there is any harm in telling him this. Since you have ended the marriage, it is natural for you both to move on in life. Don’t be surprised if he tells you the same thing.

Exhausted's avatar

If he really loves your boys he will do what is best for them regardless of how he feels about what you are doing. If his continued interest is the boys, he might feel that his ability to continue his connection with them would be threatened by your relationship with a new person. Reassure him this is not the case and let him know you want him to continue to be involved in their lives regardless of who you are involved with. If his interest is just the boys he will be fine with that, if it is really a desire to stay connected to you, it is better to find out now rather than later.

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I actually really do hope that he tells me the same thing :-) That would make me feel alot less guilty (which I feel…for some reason). I want him to be happy!

CMaz's avatar

“My ex is one of my best friends.”
First mistake. Compartmentalizing is never a good thing.

“but quickly got out of the relationships before they became serious.”
Sounds like you have not detached from your ex yet. Re-read my first answer.

“that 10% that I have to wonder if he’s not just around for them because he still wants to be with me.”
Ya have to get over that. Time to live your life. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Re-read my first answer.

“so I know that I’m going to have to discuss this with my ex, my boy’s “dad”.”
No you don’t. And, it is about time you stopped making excuses.

“How should I respond if he says he doesn’t want anything to do with the boys if i move on?”
That is sick behavior. Do you want that in your life? It really does not matter. It’s YOUR life now.

“How and when should I bring this up?”
Ya don’t and if and when he finds out. So what.

There are qualities of his you do not want to let go of. But, you have to. This “friendship” is just a covert word for still attached. Re-read my first answer.
You will not fully start to have a life (again) a healthy life, until you let go of him.
It is also not fair to the men you meet. Them only being a part of your life because you hold on to peaces of your last relationships puzzle. Trying to integrate them together.

I hope now you understand what I mean by, “Compartmentalizing”.

marinelife's avatar

I think you should bring up the question of your friend’‘s role in your son’s lives separate of you dating other men.

I think you should set a time and say to him, “I want to clarify for both of us what your role in the boys’ lives are, because you are very important to them.”

Then listen carefully to what he has to say. Find out if he considers them an important part of his life. Discuss the possibilities for the future. Say, what if you got into a serious relationship with a woman? Would you still keep in touch with them?

Then reassure him that even if you got into a serious relationship with a man, you would still want him to be part of their lives.

Tell him you need to clear up the boundaries so the boys know what to expect.

Keep your dating relationship private for now. Since it is early days yet, the new guy should not yet be introduced into your boys lives. (You don’t want a revolving door.)

Just keep everything open and aboveboard. Talk about this with your boys too.

mrrich724's avatar

If he just all the sudden cut off the children b/c you started dating someone, then he is not in it for them anyway, and it may be good for them in the long run. . .

I grew up without a dad, and I’m doing ok. In fact it was great b/c me and my siblings got a closer bond with our mother than most of our friends had with theirs.

Just_Justine's avatar

I know a couple that are very similar to you. I used to date him. He was married to a woman who had a child from another man. This man who married her, adopted her child and treat him very much as his own. They had another child, and her first child was as important to my friend (the father) as his own child. Now I dont see my friend I’ll call him Dave, as a very giving kind of a person. But he had established a firm love for her first child and they had built their own very real relationship which was aside from her existence. She left my friend Dave, this was some 15 years ago and to this day Dave treats this child as his own. I guess what I am saying is, don’t underestimate the love they have for one another. Yes there will be pain and anger, and lashing out, but ultimately real love like this will win.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I think it’s healthy to have an ex-lover as a friend. We had a three-way relationship until my wife was killed. Her fem lover and I were never exactly “lovers” but we retain a close friendship and business partnership. I was somwhat hurt when she took a new lover only two months after Megs death, but we have gotten beyond that now (her new lover is a former patient of Megs). Things will never be the same; Meghan was the “cenrtral personality” in our family relationship. I accept Genevives lover as a friend, but our “family’ relationship is no more. I personally cannot imagine ever having another relationship, I guess that I’m a one-woman man. I accept my celibate status with equanimity.

galileogirl's avatar

First of all he must know you are dating. Did you ever have a year long dry spell? So he knows. The question is how will he react if you bring in a new “Daddy”. The more of those around, the more difficult you make it for your kids. After all they, not your ex, are your responsibility.

Right now you have the ex who may or may not continue in their lives if you or he marry others. I say marry because you don’t need any more temps in your kids’ lives. Also one day the natural father may reapperear BTW referring to him as a sperm donor or otherwise denigrating him is immature and harmful to your children. Be a real woman and don’t put down the person who they will realize is part of who they are. After all you picked him and saying bad things about him implies you weren’t very bright either.

Anyway, the day may come when he wants to know them or more likely, they will want to know him. At that point there will be 2 “Daddies” or 3 if you remarry. The long and the short of it is that you need to cool your jets and don’t bring in Mr. Next. Wait for Mr. Forever

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Why should you have to notify an ex that you’re seeing new people?

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@galileogirl Wow…ok…my kids arent reading this…that is why I referred to him as the “Sperm Donor” . Who are you to assume that I go around bad mouthing him in front of my kids?!?! I’m a better mother then that. He put me and them through hell and he deserves NONE of my respect.

I appreciate your answer but attacking me is completely uncalled for

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Because Im afraid he will leave my boys lives and he means the world to them. (He’s not their biological father)

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You can’t let him hold you hostage like that.

CMaz's avatar

I do not want to get in the middle you two, but…

@Captain_Fantasy is right. And, he is not holding you hostage as much as you are letting him.

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@ChazMaz I dont disagree one bit

galileogirl's avatar

@TILA_ABs_NoMore If you share that attitude with strangers, it is a part of you that your kids will pick up on. A lifetime of observation and working with children gives me the experience to make that observation. While you may think you are unique, people follow patterns.

You asked for advice, don’t get all defensive because you don’t like what you get. If I am totally off base then you would just have ignored me. There must be some part of your psyche that recognizes the truth in my advice not to bring temps into your children’s lives and your desire to have a man in your life that makes you uncomfortable.

I still say date and enjoy it but don’t involve your kids.

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@galileogirl Im not defensive because you are right..Im defensive because aside from the advice that I asked for, you’re taking personal shots at me and it pisses me off to no end when someome decides they have others pegged just from reading a couple of paragraphs. My request for advice has nothing to do with the SPERM DONER. He does not want these boys and their “dad” does. SD is not my concern. You say Im not a REAL WOMAN and that Im not “very bright” because I say bad things about my ex?!? Guess Im an idiot…along with a vast population of women. ” If you share that attitude with strangers, it is a part of you that your kids will pick up on” Well then SO BE IT!!! Im not going to bad mouth him to the babies, but Im sure as hell not going to glorify him either. So you can go ahead and respond, stating that you MUST be right because I retaliated, but I let me emphasize again that no matter how wise you think you are, you cannot go around insulting people and assuming you know what’s going on based on a short summary. If Im totally off base…you can ignore me

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wundayatta's avatar

Boy! I’ve seen a lot of feminine sniping on several questions today. Is there something going on that no one told me about? Cat fight day or something?

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Flame off, folks. Let’s get back to the actual question.

CMaz's avatar

I see nothing but passion.

thriftymaid's avatar

I think there’s a good chance that when you become seriously involved with someone, your friend will become scarce.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Now…Ive met someone, and I’m actually having problems coming up with an excuse for why I should dump him.

I’m not understanding why you feel you have to “dump him” if he’s functioned as a father figure for your sons and he’s attached to them. Are you saying that you’re expecting your new boyfriend to step into a “daddy” role with your sons? If that’s the case, then you have a more serious problem to contend with than telling your ex that you’ve got someone new in your life.

Children are resilient in some ways, and fragile in others. The fact that you and your ex are not together does not mean that he has to exit your sons’ lives if he is important to them, and they to him. This is akin to someone raising a child for 12 years, finding out they’re not theirs through a paternity test, and then rejecting the child. If there is no reason for your ex to leave your son’s lives (violence, abuse, drugs) and he wants to stay a part of their lives, then you have to find a way to make room for him in the family schedule.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@TILA_ABs_NoMore Regardless of how others may judge you, your heart and priorities are in the right place; the well-being of your children.

Preserving whatever positive relationship your children have with their biological father is an important thing. Any future partner you may have will have to come to terms with this. Others have made this work, with the children having positive, constructive relationships with both biological and stepfathers.

I respect and admire your concern for your childrens feelings in this matter; that a potential partners attitude towards your childrens relationship with their biological father is a very important factor. You are obviously a caring and loving mother. You deserve support in this difficult process; you definitely have mine.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land, he’s not the biological father, but is pretty much the only father the boys know. The biological is MIA according to the post.

partyparty's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I agree entirely with you here. She certainly does deserve support

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Sorry I misread the discussion. The principle remains the same however.

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

@PandoraBoxx I think you may have misunderstood the question

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