I Married Their Dad

I married their dad. Their mom is their mom. I was excited at the thought of being a bonus-person.

Are we ready to have this out in the open? I am.

I met my husband at the end of their year-long divorce. They were most definitely “done” as a couple. I asked him if there was any chance of a reconciliation and he said absolutely not. Their issues had started about 12 years earlier.

My husband would say: “She cheated on me for years and bankrupted us, emotionally manipulated me, lied to me, and told me to “go find someone else” so many times as she headed out the door to meet whatever guy she was meeting. Years ago I had the courage to leave, and after a few months she came knocking on my door again because her mother didn’t want her anymore, and I wasn’t about to turn her away with my toddler in her arms — so I gave up trying to save myself pain and went through another 10 years of that before I broke and started acting out. That wasn’t who I wanted to be anymore. So… Here we are.”

I would say: “I’m not the one that broke them up.”

I married their Dad. My husband is a veteran, and has been away from the kids most of their lives due to deployments. It’s not an easy life for partners. It requires a high level of integrity to make it work.

When we were first married, I wanted to embrace being a bonus-person. I tried the best that I could — saying yes to every request their mom made, jumping at the chance to take the kids for her. I guess things were going okay, but their mom moved them away (to be closer to her mom, for support) from us because my husband suddenly wasn’t “supporting her” with groceries, car repair, and rent. That’s what happens after a divorce.

I want the best for them, of course. I send them love every chance I get… the same as I do for every being on this planet.

Two years after they moved away, my husband received orders to go overseas. We went for three years. During that time, the pandemic began and travel was banned to and from the country we were in. We didn’t get to see them. When we returned to the states we made arrangements to see them as soon as we could.

To say things were awkward is an understatement. The kids don’t know how to talk to us without being prompted… on the phone or otherwise. That is okay. One night the youngest refused to speak during dinner to the point where we were concerned that she might be having a stroke. Then I was worried about her safety saying, “baby who hurt you?,” I was ready to take up in her honor — nothing!

It is obvious that nothing is there.

It would appear that their dad is not spoken about at their house in any type of honorable way, which I find quite ironic if that were to be the case.

It is obvious to their dad that they do not want or need him as a person in their lives… and that is also okay. It sucks, but it’s okay. When dad reaches out to them, most times he receives no response (“left on read” if you will). There’s no communication unless there is something they want him to purchase. Their mom may be reinforcing that mindset — and that’s okay.

Their dad does everything he can to provide a fun environment when they’re with us, and talk to them (relate) when they are not. We know that being separated is awkward. We don’t know them and they don’t know us. We try — and that’s all we can do.

My husband isn’t one to push — letting them call the shots — and they don’t seem to want anything to do with him personally. It’s not an ideal situation but we know enough about life and choices to let it go.

Now that their dad is retired from the military, I’ve encouraged my husband to see them when he can for a few days, on his own, near where they reside. A few days is usually enough before one or both of the kids start acting out. They don’t like being away from their mom.

Some would call my husband a jerk for sending money but not spending months with them. We do not feel that they need to be forced into a relationship with people they truly don’t know (and don’t seem to want to know).

Think about that. Why would we want to inflict forced-visits on them? Why would we force them into anything they truly don’t want to do? Do people think that is okay because they are children? Does that mean we have power over them? Does that mean for a few weeks a year they need to be ripped away from everything they know and love?

No. We don’t think that is necessary.

As their father he has a right to time with them, yes, but to us they are not property to be passed back and forth like a vehicle. They are not property, to us.

Dad is necessary and valuable as an ATM and he is generous with monetary support for their care, yet anything else is met with vehement disregard. Meaning, anytime he tries to parent them, or has an opinion at all, the feedback is gross.

It is our belief that we choose our lives before we’re born. We choose our parents, we choose every situation that happens to us, we choose every lesson, we choose every heartbreak and consequence. Knowing that, we feel safe to say that everyone is better off the way things are.

My husband believes that his active part in their lives as a parent has passed, his role in their lives is minuscule. The kids are happy and seem well-adjusted with their mom; she is their everything — they are completely lost without her, even unable to speak! Why would we want to get in the middle of that? We don’t.

Maybe one day when they are adults they will seek us out for friendship… either way we know they will be okay. We will all be okay. And to their mom telling my husband to “go find someone else”? I say, “I’m here now, and he will never be treated that way again.”

May we all find peace in our choices.

“Nothing is lost . . . Everything is transformed.” ― Michael Ende

- Stacey

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I write about my life, experiences, and knowledge gained; no topic is off limits.

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Stacey Rowe

Stacey Rowe

I write about my life, experiences, and knowledge gained; no topic is off limits.