I'm many years past a horrible divorce situation where my wife cheated with multiple men, including my best friend and my brother. I even raised a daughter that I suspect is not my child, although I have never divulged this to her. My ex was cheating with two men at the same time and eventually dumped one and married the other. I found out that the cheating started shortly after we were married and continued for 14 years. I know that sounds unbelievable but she was very good at hiding it.
We went through a nasty divorce and child custody battle that I did not fully win but earned joint custody with extended visitation. In other words, I got my kids all summer plus every other weekend. I had them more than she did.
My kids are now grown and I am remarried to a wonderful woman, however, we struggle with the holidays every single year. I do not like to be around my ex wife. Just to hear her talk is like finger nails scratching on a chalk board. She is a habitual liar and a narcissist. She made my life miserable the whole time our kids were growing up while being divorced. The issues are way too many to write here so I'll just say I was so relieved when my kids graduated high school.
The main problem I have is with the holidays when I want to visit my son and his family. I drive 600 miles to visit, usually only one holiday per year. Christmas or Thanksgiving. I've asked him if he could please just give me one holiday without his mother being invited while I'm there. I told him that it just makes me too uncomfortable to be around my ex. My current wife also does not like to be around her either due to things she did to her and her kids while married to me. He refuses. He says that he is not going to be made into the guilty party for not inviting all family for the holiday.
He is well aware of what went on, mostly, but just doesn't seem to understand my point of view. Although I was the victim in the marriage, I understand the impact it has on children as well, however, they are no longer children, they are nearly 40 years old. I wasn't the one that cheated and caused the divorce, but I've been the one all these years that was told to "suck it up" and live with it.
We were invited for this years Thanksgiving dinner at his house. I asked who all was coming and of course his mother and her husband, which by the way was also a pain while raising our kids. In addition, they live right next door to my son and his family. They can see them anytime. I told him that we would not be attending if they were coming. He said okay then, but I could tell he was hurt.
I love my kids and don't want to hurt them, but at the same time do they not see how it hurts me. I was a major victim in my divorce. I made it through all the years of trying to be civil while the kids were still at home, but my kids are grown now and have been for many years. I'm tired of the conflict, but at the same time my quality of life matters too. My current wife is the best thing that ever happened to me and I don't want her unhappy either.
My question is for others that have been through a particularly difficult marriage with children and are now divorced:
Am I being unreasonable to ask for one holiday a year without the ex wife being there?
What should I do?