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September 21, 2018 3:50 am  #1


How to tell kids that Mum's friend who is a girl is not that...

Dear All, I used to be on this board 6 years ago when my world came crumbling down when my ex-wife told me she was a lesbian.  I've got my life back on track (and you will too!) I would like to tap into your wisdom for how to tell my sons (10 and 8) the truth.  Some context first 
 
- She continued her affair and it developed into a relationship
- Now it is to the point where she stays over some nights - days in a row - out for dinner, etc... 
 
But clearly she has not told him because he said - "she's just her friend who's a girl”.  And lately I have noticed that he lied to me about it (protecting my feelings when I ask him who else was at dinner) when I dig, he is very deflective and guarded. 
 
What I want is to proactively tell him first.  I know that if I ask her she may not or may do it in a way that is not what I would like our son to hear.  Add to the fact that he is quite holy and righteous and that he of course observes me with my girlfriend and other kids in his school who have Mums and Dads or Boy and Girl.... 
 
So I would like to control the narrative. And when I do this my intention is as follows: 
 
- I don't want him to challenge his faith...
- I don't want him to also hate or admonish his mother (after all)
- I want him to accept it but not to the point where he feels it's perfectly ok and normal (and she could say this after I have the talk with him first) 
 
So I am seeking your wisdom here for anyone who has gone through this or has given this much thought 

Thank you very much
 

Last edited by yobigc99 (September 21, 2018 8:23 am)

 

September 21, 2018 11:33 am  #2


Re: How to tell kids that Mum's friend who is a girl is not that...

Yobigc,

I was not going to say anything, but see that you are on here and no one else has replied.  I can only comment on your questions from the perspective of your children, being the child of divorce myself.  You say “when you dig, he (the 10 yr old?) is very deflective and guarded”.

That rings loud bells for me.  My parents divorced when I was 5.  My father was the “villain” having cheated etc and married his girlfriend.  None of that mattered to me, I still loved my Father (and Mother for that matter).   But I can remember absolutely dreading going back to my Mother after a visit with my Father.  They were infrequent, but reading your post I can still rember being absolutely sick to my stomach for the hour drive back home to face the Spanish Inquisition with my Mother about my weekend.

I can also remember feeling like I had betrayed him if/when she heard something she didn’t like.  Then he would get the “call”.  I was always in the middle my entire childhood. 

I’m sure you will get way better responses from much more qualified people about the uniqueness of your situation and what and how to tell your kids.  I’m guessing that part of that better answer has to be, communicating with your ex about your concerns and leaving the kids out of it.  All I know is that kids are kids plain and simple, they want/need to love you both.  Good luck

 

September 21, 2018 3:02 pm  #3


Re: How to tell kids that Mum's friend who is a girl is not that...

Yobigc, are you now divorced?  It's not completely clear from your post, but I think it looks like you are.

I'm not sure what faith your son practices, because different faiths have differing approaches to homosexuality.  For me, at least, the bigger issue was honesty and fidelity.  The issue wasn't the fact that he was cheating with men, it was really that he'd been using his orientation as an excuse for cheating and lying.  I'm not sure from your post whether this was the issue in your marriage, so maybe yes maybe no.

I'm a big believer in trying to find a cooperative approach to parenting, particularly with kids the age of yours.  Your kids should be told the truth.  For one thing, the truth has an awkward tendency to escape despite our best intentions to keep it under wraps.  At least if they learn the truth from their parents, it can be done in a thoughtful way, minimizing the disruption and pain it might otherwise cause.

Here's what I told my husband: our daughter would need to be told the truth, and that it would have to happen after the school year was over, so as not to disrupt her exams and all.  I told him it would be best if she heard it directly from him, but if he didn't do it by a certain date, I was going to tell her myself.  So she could hear it from me, or she could hear it from him.  The ball was in his court.

Now for me personally, I look at your third concern, and if it were my kid I would hold off with the mixed message.  Your kids are a little too young to get this kind of nuance, and by the time they're old enough to get it, they'll also be old enough to decide for themselves whether or not it's "perfectly ok and normal."  If they come to the conclusion that it is ok/normal, your lobbying them isn't going to make any difference and would only serve to cause tension and stress.  So it's better to just leave it alone.  That's just my take.

I do agree they should be told, though.  They may already know, and they may feel they're expected to keep it secret from you.  They shouldn't be put in that position.

My general rule about explaining things to kids: first explain it to yourself.  If you can't do that, you won't be able to explain it to the child.  Once you can explain it to yourself, just translate it into language they can understand and they'll be fine.  The most important part is to let them know that you love them, that their mother loves them, and that they're going to be okay.

 

September 21, 2018 3:05 pm  #4


Re: How to tell kids that Mum's friend who is a girl is not that...

yobigc99 wrote:

- She continued her affair and it developed into a relationship
- Now it is to the point where she stays over some nights - days in a row - out for dinner, etc...  

 

Honesty is the best policy AND the ONLY way with impressionable children. Deal in facts....not fiction. 
You'll be amazed at how resilient (and ultimately grateful) young people are when you share the gift of truth
 


*between a rock and a hard place*
 

September 21, 2018 9:07 pm  #5


Re: How to tell kids that Mum's friend who is a girl is not that...

Everyone, thanks for your great opinions and thoughts.  Just some more background to contextualise the whole thing: 

- I am divorced now and I have a girlfriend and my boys know that she is my girlfriend (well as much as a 10 and 8 year old now about relationships at their age - which is something they go "ewww" at because we watch movies together and they have seen men and women kiss and that's a big "ewww" and they're young boys they tease their friends at school about having "girlfriends" you know how it is

- 6 years ago my ex-wife cheated on me with her gym trainer lesbian, I discovered it, confronted it and she denied she was a lesbian (she just fell in love with a woman)- We are Christians and used to all go to church regularly - her parents are quite religious and were shocked (to say the least) when they found out - she was brought up in a very Christian environment (parents, brother, relatives, etc...).  She still takes the kids to church every Sunday and they like it.  I don't but that's another story

- My ex-wife and I do not have the best relationship now given the past and how she was absolutely lashing out at me, blaming me, we fought, I went crazy (trying to save the marriage), she called the cops, i had a restraining order against me (all lies), the divorce proceedings took 4 years and was very contentious - it was an absolute rollercoaster - we communicate now via text only as I believe that's safer for me as everything is written down- I'm in a good place right now, as best as can be - she on the other hand I feel may not be.  She alienated her parents (but in the end they accept her but i'm sure they frown on her choices), her child hood and our mutual friends before are also not talking not because she is gay but because of everything she did because of it like someone mentioned above she used her orientation as a justification to do bad things.  So now i think she keeps her 2 lives separate - one when she's with the kids and when she's on her own with her new group of lesbian or gay friends (who really knows) And obviously she cannot hide her lesbian partner forever from my sons.  And as I've said she is over there sometimes, stays over, goes out for activities, meals whatever.  She is considered to my boys - mum's good friend who's a girl - my son said that verbatim to and obvious to me that she told them this exact thing.  Which means to say is she is hiding the whole truth from them. 

I guess I am dealing with 2 issues like what 4everdamaged said - one issue is a straight up divorced parents kids issues where either side is trying to use the kids in the middle to find out what the other parent is doing - the other is that she is not telling my son's the truth about herself and her lesbian partner.

Let me say this though one #1 - I am not prying into what they did with their Mum all the time when they are with her.  I am simply doing this to keep myself in the know about how they feel about their Mum and the lesbian partner - how often they see them together because what I DO NOT WANT is to find out one day that SHE MOVED IN without them being told first the truth. I have never broached the topic of asking my EX to tell them the truth - simply because they were only 2 and 4 when this all started and obviously too young.  They KNOW (well at least from me) that we are divorced the reasons withheld of course.  They of course hope and one of my son's have said that his friend at school their divorced parents got back together again and remarried.  I have very clearly addressed this that we will never get back together again and they know this - despite the pain it caused both of us at the time. 

And one last point to my original post / objective.  I want to control the narrative (tell them) if she refuses to tell them the truth properly.  I think she may have gone all "pro-lesbian / gay" etc... but maybe to an extreme.  I see her at all the Gay / Lesbian rallies and events (Facebook) - because the country we live in homosexuality is illegal by law (so there are movements that are lobbying the government to legalise this).  I am paranoid that she may tell them the truth and go all extremist on them and tell them things not just that's it's normal, etc.. but that the reason for our divorce was because I was not accepting of her orientation, etc... and that is the real reason for the divorce.  Not the fact that she was cheating, lying and all of that - which of course I don't want her to say - just to say we went our own separate ways because we were not compatible - some marriages just do not work out - done. Keeping secrets and living 2 lives - that’s her prerogative.  But once it starts affecting my boys and their emotional wellness then it becomes my issue as well.  I feel that she is in denial still and that she is simply a coward when it comes to this and telling them.  I don't want them to hate me or feel uncomfortable with me for any of this - that they keep this secret from me because they already know (some but not all or even all - which I don't know) and that in the end - when they are adults they hate her for hiding the truth from her        

Last edited by yobigc99 (September 21, 2018 9:09 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

September 24, 2018 8:58 am  #6


Re: How to tell kids that Mum's friend who is a girl is not that...

Hi yobi. 

I faced a similar dilemma where my ex refused to tell the kids the cause of our divorce and refused to let them know about the relationship she was having with the other woman. 

I hated "lying by omission".  I felt like every time I would dodge the question and refer their questions to their mom (who wouldn't tell them the truth) that I was actually lying to them.  I hated it.. every single day.  I waited until the divorce was final in order to keep the peace and get through the legal stuff without having everything blow up.   But the day after..  I told them the truth in a kid appropriate manner.  I was very matter of fact and kept my emotions in check.  I never called their mom a bad name or anything harmful other than the simple factual truth.  

I wanted to be truthful with my sons.  I wanted them to know that I was going to be there for them, with complete honesty and that I'm going to be stable and solid and trustworthy.  I'm the rock they can depend on even when their parents are no longer together.  

My relationship today is very strong with my sons. 

In 10 years when they are adults I know it will continue to be strong because they will remember my honesty and transparency and stability for them. 

I would advise you to do the same with your kids.  Be honest and transparent.  You control the narrative regardless of whether or not she chooses to open up.  Do you trust someone who lied to you for so many years to be honest with her kids?  Do you trust to her to uphold the moral and spiritual values that you are raising them under?

Let them decide what kind of relationship they want to have with her.  That's their choice and you can't control it, even if you try.  All you can do is harm your own relationship with them by continuing to hide reality. 


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 

 
 

September 29, 2018 6:49 am  #7


Re: How to tell kids that Mum's friend who is a girl is not that...

My situation is different in some aspects, but children are children ... mine all happen to be 19, 23, and 26. For me, living a lie by protecting their father's secret was not going to work for me. I gave him an ultimatium, we tell them together or I will tell them and I set a date for this to be accomplished by.

I do believe that telling them with both of us there was important. It was good for our children to see that I was ok (for the most part), that we were working things out for the best of both of us, and that we are still both their parents.

Speak truth in an age appropriate way. You know your kids the best and how much specifics that they can handle. Our conversations started with my GH announced that he was gay. From there our children lead the conversation and asked questions that popped into their heads. Ironically our 19 year old (who is special needs and more emotionally like an 11 year old) was the most direct with his questioning. We simply answered as age appropriately and honestly. My husband tried to soften some of the statements and I had to clarify more specifically because it was more truthful. Yes, all of our children were devastated (especially the youngest). Our conversation also was when we told them that after 27 years of marriage we were separating ... just a huge bomb on their reality of our family. But, afterwards in the days following they continued to ask questions and realized that things for the most part really haven't changed for them (since you are already divorced, this may also ring true for your children also). If you are able to have both of you there at the same time, they will be assured that everyone is on the same page (for one of our children I was Skyped in for the disclosure).

As for the religious aspect of it ... 
I am a Catholic, and I have approached this with my kids (especially the youngest), that God created all of us. Some people are just born differently. Sometimes they are visible birth defects like missing fingers, etc. Sometimes it can not be seen, instead its something of how we are built inside. Yet, God loves all his creations. We must love all people for who they are ... it is not our place to judge, but instead to treat them as we wish to be treated ... with kindness if not love.

Last edited by MasONeil (September 29, 2018 6:53 am)

 

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