iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Tue, 07-02-2013 - 2:26am

Long story I'll try to make short.  About a year ago, after 20 years of marriage, my daughter discovered an email conversation between her husband and another man describing their desire to meet for a sexual encounter.  She talked to him about it and he said he was "just kidding around", but she insisted they go into counseling.  After about 8 months of individual and couples counseling, he "came out of the closet" to their 15 year old daughter telling her that he never wanted her, never  liked her and that he was jealous because she is very beautiful and has a fantastic shape.  He said she is what he wants to be...his dream is to be a playgirl in the playboy mansion.  He said he is gay and that the other guy was his lover.  At the same time, he gave my daughter a 16 page "manifesto" describing his life-long knowledge of himself as "not heterosexual" and his list of things she needed to do in order to keep him happy.  A couple days later, he said they were lying that he had NEVER said any of those things.

Daughter's response was to tell him to leave, got an attorney and filed for divorce.  The kids (18, 15, and 13) were/are in total shock as is the rest of the family as none of us had ANY inkling that he was anything other than heterosexual.  He said he married and had children in order to keep people from finding out his "secret".  The divorce will be final in about 4 weeks.

Now comes my problem.  My daughter was, of course, devistated to find what she had always thought of as a forever marriage was a sham.  She is devistated that he has completely written off the children and refuses to have anything at all to do with them (including paying child support).  Their whole world fell apart!  She immediately went back to  college in order to be able to get a job (she hasn't worked outside the home in 18 1/2 years). 

THEN, the guy across the street made his move.  He's lived there for 14 years and has, apparently, always had a "thing" for my daughter.  He's a really nice guy but this is SO soon!  The divorce isn't even final!    She hasn't given herself ANY time to adjust to the ending of her marriage, and she's kind of leaving the kids in the dust as she falls into this whirl-wind romance.  She spends every possible moment with the new guy (at his place).  Her children are welcome to come there, but they're still reeling from Mom and Dad divorcing and aren't ready to consider a NEW man in her life.  He's very kind and understanding towards the kids' and their situation, BUT my daughter seems to have totally fallen off the parent train!

She spends nights at his house leaving her teenagers at home alone.  Yes, they're 18, 15 and 13, and capable of being home alone, BUT she's been pretty overprotective towards them up to this point. For example, she NEVER let the girls walk the 3 blocks to the local 7-11 because "it isn't road" and suddenly they are free to go there at will.  She has started smoking, something she has ALWAYS been adamant that would NEVER happen around her asthmatic middle daughter (the boyfriend smokes, too).  She cooks meals at his house and tells the kids to come on over there to eat.  They'll do it now and then, but aren't comfortable with it.  It seems that everything that was NOT OK is suddenly OK.  She texted the 2 older kids in the middle of the night on Saturday saying she was drunk.  She NEVER drank before.  (The boyfriend doesn't drink, but the friends they were with Saturday night are pretty heavy drinkers.)

I'm shocked she's changed so drastically overnight, especially when it comes to her teens.  SOOOOOOOOO, am I just being a worrying mother who needs to stop worrying and watch this play itself through?  The kids have a great relationship with my son, my husband and myself and we're all 3 there for them.  (Dad has totally written off the kids and wants NOTHING to do with them at all.)  I totally understand her desire to feel like a woman after discovering she's been merely a "mask" for her soon-to-be-ex, and I totally understand the headiness of new love.  And, she and the neighbor guy are totally smitten with each other!   How am I supposed to act?  When the kids vent to me, what should I say to them?  When they ask me to take them places because they say their Mom just says no (she recently got on new medication and is able to drive again after 5 years of not driving at all, and we bought her a car so she has the ability to take them places).   I'd love to hear your "take" on this situation.  Any advice is most definitely welcome.  Thanks.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
In reply to: sillysadie
Tue, 07-02-2013 - 8:53am

  I am SO sorry for your poor daughter!  How shocking!  Really...all you can do right now is be there for your grandkids because she's not.  Honestly...I did about the same thing...

My ex wasn't gay, but left me after 25 years of marriage.  I fell apart, went to counseling, got through the divorce, then met my current dh.  I did exactly what your daughter did, however, my DDs living at my condo were 18 and 22.  I thought they were old enough to be alone much of the time (I spent most of my time with my dh at his place) and they got away with things they knew were wrong.  I, like your daughter, got caught up in being swept off my feet and feeling love again after so many years of not.  I felt wonderful around him and that's all I wanted.  So...I, in some ways, abandoned my children and made decisions regarding my life without thinking about them.  Since they WERE adults, I thought it wouldn't matter, but it did. And, now i live with my mistakes.  I have apologized to my DD21 and we're fine now, but, when I look back, I see my mistakes and wish I had done things differently.

So, I don't judge your daughter at all. It will just have to play out and in the meantime, just be there for your grandchildren because it may be a while before their mother can BE a mother again.  She's been hurt, devastated and is now experiencing that "falling in love" feeling again which, I remember...was like heaven.  Being with my dh made me feel SO good that that's all I really cared about.  Please give her time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
In reply to: sillysadie
Tue, 07-02-2013 - 8:51am


At a minimum, she should:

1.  See an attorney for child support.  Whether her STBX wants to have anything to do with the children or not, he still needs to support the 15 and 13 year olds (and possibly the 18 year old).

2.  See the counselor.  No doubt this sudden change from her STBX is devastating, and may have led to her current behavior.  Since she believed in counseling and insisted her STBX to go with her before, perhaps she should now go herself to sort out her feelings.  The children may need counseling, too.

Just curious, why did you have to buy her a car?  It appears as if she is acting like a spoiled teenager.  Simply because her STBX behaved badly (or that she is head over heels in love) doesn't mean she has the right to be irresponsible.  You mentioned that she has not worked outside the house for some 18 years and is going to college.  There is no reason why she cannot look for a job as well.  Many of us worked when we were in college.  It is high time for her to think about how to support herself and the children.