Dear Coleen, I married my second husband in 2004 and my daughters were 13 and 15 at the time. The marriage was hard and unhappy for me, and neither of my girls were close to my husband and, of course, realised some of what was happening in the relationship.
I left him on Christmas Eve 2014 because I couldn’t bear to spend another awful Christmas with him and his family with him not speaking to me.
That year I’d been diagnosed with depression, was put on medication and saw a counsellor. My husband wasn’t with me on the journey in any way; we had grown so far apart, we barely spoke.
During the marriage the girls didn’t have a close relationship with him and he didn’t seem interested in them. Because of this, I was so shocked when I found out they were meeting him for dinner, drinks and family events. I felt so betrayed and I still do.
My youngest stopped speaking to me for almost two years over it, saying she would see who she wanted.
This relationship was the hardest of my life and I lost myself completely. I’m strong again and have rebuilt my life, but I find it so hard that both daughters (now 32 and 30) haven’t understood how hurt I am over their relationship with my ex.
Am I wrong to feel like this?
If I have to accept this situation I will because I don’t want to lose them.
It’s horrendous what you went through in your relationship, but you were strong enough to get yourself out of it and rebuild your life.
The way to heal now is to stop allowing him to control your life and control how you feel.
You mustn’t let this relationship between your daughters and your ex destroy the life you’ve made for yourself. It would be far better for them to say to your ex, “Mum is doing great. She doesn’t want to see you, but she’s OK with us seeing you”. That shows you’re over it and over him, and you’ve moved on.
Being happy is the best revenge (even though I hate the word revenge). Mentally, it’s healthier because otherwise you’ll still feel trapped by this toxic relationship.
Your daughters are grown women and can make their own choices – maybe they didn’t see the side of your husband you saw. If you don’t want to see pictures of them with him on social media, then come off social media, but don’t torture yourself with it.
Your daughters will see your strength and take strength from it themselves.