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Relationship Health Message Board

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First let me share the history of my boyfriend and me. We have literally known one another ALL our lives. Our parents double dated in high school, our dads were locker partners, we went all through middle school and high school together and were always good friends. I always crushed on him but our timing never clicked. He went off to college and met his ex wife, moved 2 hours away from our hometown, got married and had three children. I married and have two children. I am now divorced and he is as well. We started talking just after my ex filed and just before he filed. We actually started talking (about more than our usual of planning class reunions) with his inquiries about the steps and recommendations about filing for a divorce because he and his then wife had decided to split. So all that being said, here are the unpleasantries in our relationship.
His ex wife is medically ill. She has been diagnosed as bipolar. So that right there gives problems. She is up and down like a roller coaster. She bad talks my boyfriend around their hometown and has entered me into her bad talk stating that I am the one who broke up their marriage. Which is certainly NOT true. There are even documents that state they were withdrawing from retirement plans to pay off bills to have a "cleaner" separation. This part I can live with. However, she also talks bad about my boyfriend to his three children. His eldest, who is 19, wont even speak to her dad anymore unless it is to text him nasty messages. His younger two children, 7th grade and a freshman in high school, are also becoming more and more tainted by their mothers viewpoint. The kids have alwasy refused to spend time with me even after two years of my being with their father. They know about me and have met me on occasion. There are pictures of us in his home. Both kids are very active and of course my boyfriend is very proud of their accomplishments. He attends everything they do from athletic events and practices to stage performances. Today we were supposed to go to a performance for his middle school child. She expressed she wasn't comfortable with me being there. My boyfriend left it up to me. To avoid the stress and uncomfortableness for us all, I elected to stay home. But now I sit and wonder: "will this ever be different?" Kids NEED to be #1. We both agree to that. However, when is it enough that the kids control dads life? Someday they will be gone to college and off getting married and he will be alone. Will this continue through weddings and the birth of his grandchildren? He and I are both at a loss. I have given them space and time to deal with him moving on. We have no plans to get married or move in together. We live 2 hours apart and don't spend time together when he has his kids. Only the occasional BIG things in their lives he'd like me to share with him......I'm looking for any advice from anyone who has been in these shoes.....I'm open (and so is he) to any and all suggestions.
Thanks so much!

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