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Man has confusing evening with ex-wife; 'What does this mean for us and the kids?' AITA? UPDATED

Man has confusing evening with ex-wife; 'What does this mean for us and the kids?' AITA? UPDATED


When this man is getting mixed signals from his ex-wife, he asks the internet:

"I don't know what to think about my wife. AITA?"

Hey guys, long post but the details are important. My Ex(47F) and I(45M) have been divorced for 3 years and have 2 sons, Wyatt and Jack. Our split was mainly due to our kids and the different parenting styles. My Ex is a genius, she's a Phd and a research scientist while Im an analyst.

She grew up with colder parents who instilled strict routine and discipline to be successful while I grew up with a very close relationship to my parents who encouraged forming my own path in life.

These two backgrounds came head to head when it came to our own kids especially when they started school. My ex wanted them completely focused on academics while I wanted them to live a little and let them enjoy being kids and have them figure things out on their own a little.

After months of fighting we decided that it wasnt going to work. Our split was amicable, and she actually paid way more child support than she had to but insisted on it. We even spend christmas and birthdays all together for the sake of our kids.

Our sons primarily live with me by their own choice and while my ex does see them about once a week, my kids are teenagers now, and sometimes they want the weekends to themselves.

My older one, Wyatt has said to me that sometimes he feels like its my ex's own fault because of how hard she was on them. I try to remind them that shes still their mother and she was doing what she believed was best and at the very least he owes her respect.

This brings us to a few days ago. Since both kids are on break, my ex tries to stop by on the weekdays to try and see them more. She stopped by but both kids were out with friends for the evening.

She had come all the way so I invited her in for a drink. We were just chatting and eventually we started looking at old baby photos of our kids. We had a lot of laughs until we got to one picture. It was a picture of when my sons were 6 and 2 and I had them both up on each shoulder and the three of us were laughing.

My ex just started sobbing out of nowhere and started apologizing to me for everything. I was really confused but I hugged her and told her that she only did what she thought was best and that she shouldnt apologize for trying to be an involved parent.

We stayed there for a while but neither of us wanted to let go. Eventually she looked up at me and her look reminded me of when we were dating. We started kissing and things escalated. It was like the 12 years of our marriage came flooding back and during, my ex kept tearing up and telling me she loved me.

She quickly left before our kids could come back and we've been silent until today. I got a text from my ex asking if we could meet up alone to talk. What the f do I do here guys?

On one end both my ex and I still care eachother but on the other this whole thing could be a huge shock to not only our kids, but the rest of our families as well.

Tldr: ex wife and I had an amicable divorce 3 years ago. Slept together and now she wants to talk.

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

gaga6 writes:

NTA. You sound like a lovely person, now as far as reconciliation because I feel like there's more then you are mentioning in this post, you guys got divorced because she was hard on the children and was the stereotypical asian parent view, where as you chose a more relaxed let then be kids approach.

Normally you want a mixture of both to instill good study habits as well as independence. So my question is at this meeting that you will attend what happens if you two get together, will there be compromise, is she only coming back because she realizes her kids don't talk to her anymore, what has she been up to the last three years.

I feel like there is more being with held, because jumping to divorce over a compromise of parenting styles seems very odd.

frostylawyer6 writes:

Just go see her and figure it out. You definitely still have strong feeling for her and her for you. Your kids are older and would appreciate more that you tried than not trying.

They have multiple things/events (graduation, wedding, child birth, etc..) in the future that would much easier if you two were together for them. Don’t use the kids as an excuse, do you want to be with her?

It’s definite worth exploring. My parents are back together 45 years after they divorced and it pissed me off for a while because of all the drama I lived through with step parents at the time.

I am 50 now. You both sound like great people that both love your kids. If you want to see how trauma affect kids, read my post’s. Go for it, nothing is guarantee.

muffinwar writes:

First of all I understand the fact you care about what your kids and families will think shows you’re a good guy. However I will say it’s between you and her. I hated both my parents together, as individuals and as people but if they wanted to get together after separation I would’ve felt a lot of things but ultimately understood it’s their choice.

And it’s not like your bringing in some new 26 yr old stepmom they hate etc. Obviously consider and communicate with your kids but don’t bring them into the romance-y side of things until you have made decisions and have facts to share with them.

I think you should try and imagine what your happy ending to this situation would be and discuss it with her. Then take it from there.

The relationship was good, the split Amicable. You broke up over parenting styles/decisions if there’s a way to work on or resolve that you should try :)) and your kids are teens now so that won’t be an everyday problem in a couple years.

altcastle writes:

My wife’s parents reconciled when she was a kid. They did so twice but it didn’t work out, they’re amicable today and clearly care for each other but have separate lives. Her dad officiated our wedding at her moms house if that says how they’re not on bad terms.

I think my wife appreciates that they tried. It’s not crazy to approach things again if you both really work on what went wrong and putting your whole hearts into it. It’s not something to do casually as kids are involved.

Best of luck if you do try. The story you told is very sweet, and I think your heart is in the right place. Talk to her, both of you should be honest and brave when you do.

gramaae writes:

NTA. I've had therapy when I wasn't ready for it and it did nothing to help me with any of my problems, maybe made them worse. I had therapy when I was ready and it changed me for the better.

Maybe she needed the time apart, the sense of loss and separation from those she loved to really change. Where as therapy at home whilst there were huge conflicts, she was still actively policing her children she would blame the partner. You never know.

Most of my relationships that ended amciably we became much better friends and companions afterwards. My ex of ten years was so closed off before we broke up and I look at how he is when we hang out as family still (no risk of attraction again though sadly as I transitioned and he only likes guys).

We can both tell if it wasn't for me being trans wed be perfect for each other, feels like my family still. But I've moved on and we both accept that with no attraction its not the best.

But when you don't lose attraction like we did. Sometimes pain and hurt helps your bond more when you make it through the other side and still care about each other.

What would have been months of fighting and arguing over details, instead becomes a longing and appreciation for the good times. I'm sure you can achieve this withour breaking up but sometimes it takes that.

panther6 writes:

Ok a couple things. Number 1, a difference in parenting style can be a huge issue. Its possible their arguments over it got extremely heated and stupid things got said and it just made them too mad to think rationally.

Secondly, its explicity said in the story that the kids decided to stay with their dad so whatever their mom's style is they weren't regularly subjected to it. Furthermore, the mom attended therapy on her own and she realized her parenting style was a toxic reproduction of what her parents did to her.

That was the whole impetus for her wanting to talk to the dad and rekindle because she realized she was wrong.

someratio writes:

YTA. Yes, this is nice and all BUT they really need FAMILY counseling not just couples counseling.

They are being really very selfish. It sounds like the kids are low key traumatized by their tyrant of a mother now imagine their safe person forcing her back into their life and giving her control of their lives back without consulting them or letting them work through it.

I'm glad she's trying but the damage is done and they really need to consider how the kids feel about this too.

elegansc writes:

I honestly think that it’s great that the ex used that time they divorced to do some reflection and make the decision to go to therapy.

It seems like a healthy way to try and give their relationship a second chance and it’s also great that they’re establishing boundaries around their new relationship. Overall, quite positive and I’m pleasantly surprised.

And now, OP's update:

Hi everyone. I know its been a little bit but I have an update to my last post. First of all, thank you to everyone, your guys gave some great advice and really helped me prepare for the conversation with my ex.

I met up with my ex 2 days after getting the text from her. I went over to her apartment and we had a great talk. About a year after the divorce my ex actually went to see a therapist to sort of get an understanding of where her life was.

As she kept going and discussing things from her childhood, she realized she was doing the same things to our kids that her parents did to her. Things that ultimately made her resent her parents which was why she was actually closer to my mom than her own.

She teared up a bit and told me she never stopped loving me and that regardless of what a document says I would always be her husband.

My ex admitted that on the night the incident happened, she knew the boys would be out and she wanted to spend some time with me alone. When we started looking at old pictures she got overwhelmed.

She told me how much she missed me and would do anything it took to make it up and at the very least be partners again. I told her that I always cared about her and that I missed her too and that I still felt something for her.

At the end of the evening we both came to terms that we still loved eachother and would give it another shot. The terms were that we take it slow and regularly attend couple counseling as well as to not to tell the kids yet.

Since then we have been spending almost everyday together and we actually had our first counseling session. It went pretty well even after everything that happened and my ex and I were really able to establish the grounds of our new/old relationship. We are going to be going to more sessions but its a good start.

I actually hosted a family dinner a couple nights ago. While our boys still dont know about us I made the excuse that it would be good for the four of us to have a meal together. And honestly my wife really has changed.

She was more open with the kids and was more interested in hearing about things like sports, hanging out with friends, and hobbies. My kids responded really well and for the first time in a while our sons were enthusiastically engaging and connecting with their mom.

She also planned a trip to the zoo for the four of us like we used to do when the boys were young. I think my older one got a little suspicious and rolled with it but the fact that we have coparented so well has been a great cover.

Things are good now and I think deep down neither of us truly fell out of love and I think we would have eventually found our way back to eachother regardless of what happened that night. Thank you guys again for all your kind words and support.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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