I would be prepared for him trying to "split" you two.This one really affects me personally as my sons current mission is apparently to demonize me to Lil, to turn me into the classic wicked step parent.
"He'll just yell at me."
"He'll just yell at me ~ because he doesn't get it, mom. He's not like you and me. That is part of how this happened. I needed more from my father (which will always remain some unspoken amorphous thing no one wants to clarify) to be the man we both need me to be. Help me, mom. He doesn't understand "us", he is different than "us"."
Thanks.consider that maybe he is manipulating you without forethought or malicious intent, but manipulation nevertheless.
I was convinced, for years, that he was too gullible, too naive, too simple to manipulate anyone. But you know what? He was/is manipulating me. It isn't conscious as in "haha, I can get mom to do xxx if I present it this way". But he knows how to get me to do what he wants, and he knows what his dad will do that I won't, and he knows to try to split me away from my SO...splitting IS manipulation.
So I feel your need to believe his innocence...and I feel it would be healthy for you to consider that maybe he is manipulating you without forethought or malicious intent, but manipulation nevertheless.