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Will my kids be okay?

The Question

My ex-husband is most definitely in midlife crisis. He used to be so caring and loving, to me and to our three children. Then when he was 41, his best friend (also 41) died of a sudden heart attack. The blow was huge to both of us, but my ex-husband was never the same again.

At first it started out as "wanting to live life to the fullest." Little things turned into life-altering decisions. He quit his job to become a rock star, leaving the responsibility of paying for living entirely up to me. He suggested an open relationship because he didn't want to miss out on any good sexual experiences that he might never get from me. He met a "lovely" little 19 year old, and moved her into the other half of the duplex we own together and moved in there with her.

She quit her job to join his rock band. Needless to say, we got divorced, but for the sake of the kids, we still live in the two halves of the duplex, and his darling girlfriend supports his every whim and encourages him to do only for himself and for her, but what about the kids?
He doesn't show any love for them at all.

He tends to physical needs but none emotionally. I hate him and his girlfriend more than I ever thought I was capable of hating. Not only because of how he betrayed me, but because of what he has done to my children. But they love him so, and so desperately want to be around him, so they hang out on his half, playing video games and stuff, but I'm the one who is still nurturing them and giving them the parental devotion that they deserve from BOTH parents!

I suffer from physical pain in the heart region, like a burning helplessness deep within, and I can't make it stop. What am I supposed to do? And when will it all stop? When will he wake up and realize what he's done? I do NOT want him back, but I DO so much want him to become a decent human being again and stop being so selfish and cruel and heartless. He has no remorse and is just such a jerk! So when will he outgrow this crisis he's subjected all of us to? and how can I get my kids through it without telling them that their dad is a jerk?

I don't want to badmouth him to them, because they love him so much, so I lie to them and tell them he's still their super dad. But he's anything but super, and in truth, I wish he wasn't the father of my children; he doesn't deserve them. So, what now?

Noel's response

I am glad you do not bad-mouth him to your kids, as that would only hurt them more. On the other hand, you don't have to 'good-mouth' him either, by telling them he is their super dad. They already know he is not.

I don't know when it will end, but chances are the sweet young girlfriend will wake up one day and realize he will never be a rock star, and they aren't going anywhere.

I suggest you get some psychotherapy to help you deal with your anger and resentment, which may be literally killing you.

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