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Man leaves wife for mistress; she then threatens to tell his kids about his infidelity. AITA? UPDATED

Man leaves wife for mistress; she then threatens to tell his kids about his infidelity. AITA? UPDATED


"How do I (M40) tell my kids (F12/15/17) that my infidelity is the reason for the divorce?"

I'm here for genuine advice. Looking especially for advice from people who have been the child in this situation. I know I screwed up, I don't need anyone to tell me again. Two years ago, my ex-wife (F40) found out I had been cheating with my current gf (F29) and immediately divorced me.

We had a very civil split and both agreed not to tell our girls what led to it. A year ago, my gf and I started renting walking distance from my ex-wife. This has muddled our 50/50 custody agreement as my girls sometimes come over while on their mom's week and sometimes go to their mom's on my week.

They basically come and go as they please from both homes but generally sleep at the custodial parents' house. My gf has recently taken issue with this. She doesn't like that they come over without asking and that we get no kid free time. She's asked me to enforce a boundary with my girls that they cannot come over on their mom's weeks

unless we explicitly invite them. I told her absolutely not. I pay 100% of our living expenses and I'm not going to make my girls feel unwelcome in a house I pay for. She then made the comment that maybe they wouldn't want to come over anymore if they knew what I had done and with who.

I've decided it's time for them to know the truth. I can't have this threat hanging over me. How can I do this? What do I say? Do I involve a third party? Should their mom be there? I just don't know how to admit I blew up all our lives for nothing. Has anyone gone through this with their father and came out with an intact relationship?

Edit: Just breaking up with my gf is not a solution to this. I'm afraid she will tell them out of spite whether we are together or not.

Here are some of the top comments:

gillygillgill88 said:

One thing not mentioned so far is your ex-wife’s wishes and agreement to not say anything. If you’re going to blow up her life again (when everything is now civil) I’d suggest you probably first talk it over with her if you’re hellbent on doing this - or believe your girlfriend is that spiteful to say something.

You owe her at least that. Also - please dump your toxic girlfriend. What a poor example for your girls.

Logical-Wasabi7402 said:

Whether you tell the kids or not, it's time to ditch the girlfriend. She just threatened to ruin your relationship with your daughters because she's jealous of how much time you spend with them.

Save_Canada said:

As a child of divorced parents where my dad cheated... I'd have fucking LOST IT if my dad was still in a relationship with the mistress. Seriously man, you cannot still be with her after you tell your kids. They'll hate you. And your gf doesn't even seem to enjoy their company and treat them like family. That's even worse

L-EH77 said:

‘Blew up our lives for nothing’ if she’s nothing why tf are you still with her?

razzledazzle626 said:

It’s time to end your relationship. This girlfriend is trying to blackmail you with your children. Do you not realize how insanely messed up that is? You already ruined your marriage for her. Don’t let her ruin your relationship with your children too.

Your kids aren’t stupid. They probably already know that you cheated seeing how quickly you moved on. They at least suspect it, I’d almost guarantee. What would be a sure fire way to ruin your relationship with them is to stay with this girlfriend. The kids will eventually find out that you cheated, hiding it forever isn’t realistic.

fourmartens said:

Your GF is deliberately trying to drive a wedge between you and your children. Think about that for a minute. You have chosen a woman who dislikes your kids so much that she is going to try and ruin your relationship with them in the hopes they won’t come over as much. This is something that could really damage your kids, and she has zero problem dropping that bomb.

Your ex-wife is clearly an amazing person if she is able to co-parent so well with you while you are living with your AP. Talk to her about how she wants to tell the kids. As soon as they know, break up with your GF immediately. Your girlfriend is an atrocious excuse for a human being and this is not her first or last attempt to drive a wedge between you and your kids.

A few days after his original post, he shared this update:

I took everyone's advice and involved my ex-wife in this situation. Safe to say she was pissed off at my poor choice in partners and having to deal with this bs. But we got together with the girls at ex-wife's house and told them. Many of you suspected the girls already knew. Incorrect.

Apparently they thought we broke up because of my job and my refusal to accept a new one. We did not lie to them during the divorce and tell them an untrue reason. We just told them that relationship issues are private and we would be willing to have a discussion when they were all adults. So thankfully there is no trust lost in my ex-wife which some of you were concerned about.

All my girls were incredibly upset. They were being cordial with my gf because their mom encouraged them to be civil but apparently hated her. The couldn't believe I would give up my wife for her, our family and their stability. Which is fair. They are refusing to see me for now, my ex and I are going to get them into therapy and I'm hopeful that over time we can rebuild a relationship.

My oldest is furious and has sent me some scathing messages and then blocked me, so I am really concerned about her and I. I missed some of her huge life events due to my affair and I think that will be hard for her to forgive.

As for the gf, she is gone plain and simple. She has her next partner lined up and is moving to be with him. I can't say I'm hurt about that, which shows me how little I cared for her, I just feel relieved. A bunch of you suggested getting back with my ex-wife. Unfortunately, that topic has been breached when the affair was discovered and she was/is 100% uninterested.

She takes her job as a mom very seriously and in her mind, the girls would eventually know and it would be setting a bad example for them to take back a cheater. Even independently of that, cheating has always been a deal breaker for her. I feel bad as she was planning on moving her partner in and now feels like she has to delay it until the girls are in a better place.

She was really angry with me especially for that reason. In her anger she's also let it slip that her and her partner are planning on marrying in the next few years and having another child. She's never shared anything personal with me past allowing me to meet her partner before the girls did so that was a shock to me. I'm trying to process that information.

That hurts more than my gf cheating and leaving which tells me I have a lot more work to do in getting over her. There is a permanence in her marrying that I am not prepared for. It's been a sobering experience for me. Thank you to everyone who legitimately gave me advice, it was very helpful. If I could in turn offer some advice, don't cheat on your partner.

The grass is greener where you water it and if I had taken the time/effort/energy I gave my affair partner and invested it in myself/my wife, I would be incredibly happy right now. And as a side note to all the men messaging/commenting/congratulating me for getting a younger woman, that sh!t doesn't matter.

I've never looked at my ex wife and thought she was old or unattractive. And she was better in bed than my ex-gf. This had nothing to do with getting a younger woman/"trading" my wife in, it had to do with a self destructive ego that has led to the most important people in my life hating me. All that sh!t is irrelevant, don't get caught up in it.

Sources: Reddit
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