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1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

Even if it's a very painful truth, you can't work on an unknown. Is there a mental health issue? A substance abuse problem you're not aware of? Another man? You need to ask yourself the hard questions and do your research about what is really going on with her. 

I know and I am not sure I will ever know the truth. With the distance and the hiding there will be questions. I am worried that, if I want my family back, I may have to accept never knowing or never being sure. I want to believe certain things that she has assured me were not the issue, but she has broken a lot of trust and that takes a lot to build back.

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1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

And who told you this? 

She did. They all work together. His wife is part of the company also. But I also know that trust is not the strong suit here. From what I saw when we were there, I don't think that is an affair. My gut tells me it is not another man but a more successful life she has been sold.

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So she's done this before.

I can almost guarantee there's someone else, a romantic interest, in the picture.

Please see an attorney about setting up a trust for your children, revising your will so your assets go to a reliable proxy until your children are adults and have a temporary legal and physical custody order drawn up. And change the beneficiaries on your life insurance and other accounts to go through the same reliable proxy for your children.

I'm sorry, I'm sure this is terribly painful. But for now the focus needs to be on your children and the legalities involved in separating/potential divorce.

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41 minutes ago, rs5674 said:

My gut tells me it is not another man but a more successful life she has been sold.

Unbeknownst to him,  friend of mine was a serving hamburgers at a BBQ to his wife's lover (co-worker). He was married as well. Often it's right under your nose. They are divorced now. 

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if sole reason was money and career she was sold, she would be wanting her family with her. grass is greener on the other side for her right now, and if she mentioned you werent romantic enough,,, she was feeling special from someone else.

 

dont even waste your time talking to her about it. start detaching, and hire a private investigator if legal in your state. review phone records if you can and begin the process of accepting divorce as only solution. 99.99% of people who are cheated on, not only can never trust again, but they get cheated on again too.

 

only thing worse for your kids is to see their dad have no self respect and allow himself to be treated so poorly. Do not tell the kids there was an affair, if so. Just play it kind until kids are old enough.

 

Be their rock!!

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14 hours ago, Jambalaya421 said:

if sole reason was money and career she was sold, she would be wanting her family with her. grass is greener on the other side for her right now, and if she mentioned you werent romantic enough,,, she was feeling special from someone else.

 

dont even waste your time talking to her about it. start detaching, and hire a private investigator if legal in your state. review phone records if you can and begin the process of accepting divorce as only solution. 99.99% of people who are cheated on, not only can never trust again, but they get cheated on again too.

 

only thing worse for your kids is to see their dad have no self respect and allow himself to be treated so poorly. Do not tell the kids there was an affair, if so. Just play it kind until kids are old enough.

 

Be their rock!!

Agree with everything except for one thing - do not ever lie or gaslight your kids about reasons for the divorce. That will just add to their trauma and they are already dealing with their mother suddenly up and abandoning them all. They NEED one sane stable parent and that parent should not lie to them about what is happening.

Always tell the kids the truth in age appropriate terms. Kids too often blame themselves for their parent's marital issues and so it's critical to explain to them what is happening, that they are not to blame and to also get them some counseling as needed to help them cope.

Also, OP's children are old enough to probably guess at what he is in denial about anyway - mom ran off with or for another man.  Even if the OP doesn't want to talk about it, you can bet your life that their peers and other adults in their life will easily guess at the situation and talk about it. Pretending it isn't so is not going to be helpful to them.

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22 hours ago, rs5674 said:

I am worried that, if I want my family back, I may have to accept never knowing or never being sure.

You have your family. Your children, your extended family, etc. This estranged wife is a legal and financial drain on you. Listen to your mother, talk to an attorney about your next steps in this case. 

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On 4/15/2021 at 2:12 PM, DancingFool said:

That will just add to their trauma and they are already dealing with their mother suddenly up and abandoning them all. They NEED one sane stable parent and that parent should not lie to them about what is happening.

The kids think things are normal. They dont seem to think anything is wrong. They see it as mom just got a job somewhere else. She spoke with the in the last week and they think she is great and has a great new life. They love her more than me and dont understand what is happening. They think I am the lesser parent and I cant tell them the facts. Meanwhile she is out dating and drinking and being very hostile with me when we do talk.

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3 hours ago, rs5674 said:

She started dating. Saw evidence that she setup a profile and started dating new people. 

It seems she started a new life without you but contacts the children.

You need to consult an attorney regarding separation of marital funds (freeze your assets) and child support (she has to pay).

There seems to be a great deal missing from this story. However, you know where she is so talk to your attorney about divorce/abandonment, etc.

 It appears you are separated and aren't aware of it?

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3 hours ago, rs5674 said:

She started dating. Saw evidence that she setup a profile and started dating new people. 

I'm really sorry to hear that. That must have been very painful for you to discover. 

My honest guess is that she had been in communication with someone else for a while there, and went to test things out with him (maybe her married boss?) It didn't work out the way she expected, she thought about coming back crying to you, but is now trying to whoop it up as a "single" woman. 

Just my hunch. 

Her behaviour has been terrible, whatever the story is. She is making it clear that your marriage is over. 

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Truly something wrong with a woman whose heart isn't wrenched out of her chest with not being there for her children, still in the nest, daily. To go from being with them daily to now a random text, without any concerns for their psychological health with this major family change--I don't even know why you'd take her back. 

No, I wouldn't delay in getting to a lawyer. Someone could whisper in her ear, or it could dawn on her, that she should gain custody of the kids for financial benefit, and that it will be financially trying for her to pay out custody for 3 kids. Without a custody order in hand, she could remove the kids from their home without recourse, since she is a legal guardian. I wouldn't risk that with her strange mental state.

My husband's ex abandoned their child for 7 years. He never asked for child support, and then returned 7 years later, establishing regular visitation. She didn't return the child after a weekend visit, and my husband could take no legal action because she was a legal guardian and he didn't have custody papers. When custody papers became established, she wanted to have full custody with him paying her. The judge could see her motive was monetary, and my husband was granted full custody and she had to now pay him child support payments.

Don't let this happen to you. You thought you knew her, but clearly you don't, and what you assume she would or wouldn't do could be far worse than you ever imagined. You won't want your kids around the scum she's dating if it comes to inappropriate living/custody arrangements, so make sure in your custody papers that if she takes them to her place, no male is allowed to be there while they are visiting, and other protective orders.

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OP --

I really must emphasize that speaking to an attorney is a necessary step here to protect yourself and the kids, both legally and financially. You do not need to seek divorce right away. Seeing an attorney for legal and financial self-preservation is not a step toward divorce if you are not ready for that.

What you additionally fail to realize here is the age-old maxim that significant others often come back after you have seemed to leave and move on... Even though seeking an attorney or doing so and filing for divorce may seem unpleasant, when you remove that financial and emotional security from her... when the separation becomes "real" so to speak, the chance for reconciliation is probably higher than when you allow her wean herself off of you and the kids.   

16 hours ago, rs5674 said:

The kids think things are normal. They dont seem to think anything is wrong. They see it as mom just got a job somewhere else. She spoke with the in the last week and they think she is great and has a great new life. They love her more than me and dont understand what is happening. They think I am the lesser parent and I cant tell them the facts. Meanwhile she is out dating and drinking and being very hostile with me when we do talk.

This is self-pity and irresponsible conjecture. You are feeling this way because you think she is out there having fun while you are solely suffering with the loss. That little laugh your youngest had on the phone the other day or week? You are fixating on insubstantial things like that to support your conclusion that you are the lesser parent in their eyes when no such conclusion can reasonably be inferred from that. You are the kids' fatherYou stayed. They do and will continue to love you, I promise.

You do not need to suffer silently. Continue to post on this site, and if financially feasible, see a therapist. If not financially feasible, often universities' counseling programs offer free counseling to members of the public - perhaps there is one near you, or one through which you can remotely connect with a supervised student-therapist. In time, also, you will need to approach this issue with your kids. There is nothing wrong with the truth: it is what it is. And the truth will set you free.

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A former friend of mine abandoned her husband and her children seemingly out of nowhere.  At first she would visit them but after a few weeks she kept saying she was "too busy" to come see them and resorted to an occasional text.  Turns out she was pregnant by the guy she'd been having an affair with and didn't want her kids to know until after the baby was born.  She literally hid from her own kids for months.  Oh, and on her way out the door she revealed to her husband and her 12 year old daughter that he wasn't her father.  Kind of tossed that out there and told me she didn't understand why her husband was being "such a jerk" about the split and complained that her kids weren't being nice to her.  To this day her oldest child isn't speaking to her.

And my father was a deadbeat.  Left us kids and our mother and didn't pay child support and really didn't care what happened to us.

So yeah, some parents suck.

Please, do consult an attorney to get a temporary custody order filed.  Establish that you are the parent who remains in the family home with the children.  This is a must.

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On 4/14/2021 at 12:33 AM, rs5674 said:

I do agree that she abandoned us, but if feels like something else is wrong.

I think that the way this came about is very odd. Two days of drinking without contacting you... Staying in bed all day, crying.... Does she have trouble with addiction? Does she have a mental illness? Is she on any new medication? 

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3 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Two days of drinking without contacting you... Staying in bed all day, crying.... Does she have trouble with addiction? Does she have a mental illness?

Nothing that I know of or that has been diagnosed. She alway had a drink or two in the evenings, every now and then would get a little too drunk. Now she is drinking a lot more and to the point of not being able to drive or (as she had said ) pass out. She has been really emotional also since it started. Hanging the phone up and not answering back or reply to text, telling me she just gets overwhelmed. When we visited her she would almost shut down when she got home from work and had to have a drink but it never relaxed her just turned her quiet and distant. Not the person I knew 4 months ago. But then during the day she acts like life is great.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to everyone for the advice.

I have been hoping things would change, but they have continued to spiral. She calls me about once a week saying she is unhappy and wants to come home, then after a day of talking she goes dark for the next few days. Then she will start texting and asking for pictures and saying she misses everyone and the she will text that she made a mistake and wants to come home and it starts all over. I feel like I start getting to a point of writing her off and then the text starts. I try to be positive when I text but then she stops and I feel like she is just leading me on and a little used. Although I am getting to a point where I am doubting the possibility of reconciling, I am around my kids and feel like I must try if there is a chance. I really want them to have a family and a mom. The whole thing is spinning me from hope to depression to anger and I know the kids feel like something is wrong. Worst thing is I really don't have anyone good to talk with.

I did speak to a lawyer but they won't give me any real legal advice until I pay a retainer of $2500 and that is pretty steep for me right now with the 4 of us. The only thing the lawyer did say was I could get granted a divorce. I am more concerned about the welfare of the kids than the loss of the marriage. Is there a better way to get advice? I just want to be sure I do best for the kids and their future.

A lot of advice is to be done with her and go to court. Does anyone know how the kids take this sort of thing? I feel like if I keep them in the dark and they know or find out that I am the first to file they will look at me like I am the bad parent. Especially the older one (16), should I say something so I am not lying?

Her mother is also texting me and feels very bad at what is going on. She says that she has not talked to her, but I am feeling like she knows it isn't good. She text every day asking how we are and apologizing for the way her daughter is acting and saying things like 'she will regret all of this'. I have really tried not to say much to her and keep things generic and not as bad as they have been but I feel like the situation is making her side against her daughter. They use to be really close and they haven't talked in months from what she said.

Does the NC thing really work? Should I stop answering her and texting her? I think that would push her further away but what I am doing doesn't seem to be working.

Can a single dad of 3 really have a happy well adjusted family? I know kids are resilient but mine have been really great kids their entire life and lately They have started to getting attitude with each other. I have had a few teachers that have asked questions because they say 'that they are not acting like themselves'. It is really tough when you and others see it but they don't say anything. Is there a way to get them to talk or feel comfortable to say something? I have a few nights a week I have family activities, like movie night, game night, etc. hoping it gives them stability and strengthens the group. Should I say something to their mother? When I have made comments in the past about them missing her or asking about her, she gets mad because I 'am making it harder', but shouldn't I make it harder to leave her children?

Sorry this is long and rambling, but I have a lot of things and bounce all over with how I feel. I am starting to feel more about ending things or giving her a hard stop. We have mothers day coming and I don't know how to handle that and then a few days latter my daughter has a birthday and I am worried how to handle and that they may cause me to completely go one way or another if things don't go how I want to see them go (which probably won't from what I have seen).

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