C.P. asks from Boise, ID on August 13, 2009
Dealing with Ex and Girlfriend
I'm not sure what to do. My ex left me and immediately, while he was still living in my house, introduced our son at age 1 to his new girlfriend. I have told him the moment I found out that it just was not right. Even if our son was only 1 it was not right for him. A year has gone by and he still does not think it's a big deal. More than half his time with our son is spent with his girlfriend also. I have never met her and it has bothered me all along that he playing family with our son instead of spending time with him alone and seeing her on the days he doesn't have him. So like I said a year has gone by and they are still together and even though I know the relationship won't be forever being that he has gone from one relationship to the next, I am going to meet her. I do not know what or how I should go about it. She has spent the last year with my son and I feel I need to set some things straight. How should I go about it?
So What Happened?™
Anne, I do not have any sympathy for her. She definitely doesn't know what she wants in a relationship or from a man because he honestly has nothing to offer. I feel sorry for her because she's just going to get hurt. I have no idea how she treats my son. She knows who I am and has been friends with my ex through work and has been to our house for a party, even though I do not remember her there, but she knows what she got herself into. She is not a women that respects other women but I have to somehow let it go and meet her officially.
G.P. answers from Boise on August 14, 2009
I've never been in this situation from this side, but I agree with the advice so far. Do not bad mouth her or show your opinion of her in front of your child. Besides the fact that they are sponges and will repeat everything. It is not healthy for your son to have so much negativity towards someone that he WILL be around, he won't understand it and you will come off as bitter.
I would also invite her out alone for coffee. Let her know that you would like to chat because she is such a big part of her son's life, and that you would like to get to know her. Good luck.
K.S. answers from Denver on August 14, 2009
It sounds like you are already off to a good start- you seem to recognize that it will be hard for you to deal with this situation but you are trying to not put your issues with your ex on her, which will make it hard for everyone, including your son.
Keeping things casual and not confrontational is a huge way to start. Meeting for coffee or in another informal setting is great.
You already got some great advice. My biggest thing to add is this- ask questions. This keeps you from making assumptions or just 'telling' her things, and makes you seem interested in her perspective.
Asking her "what are you hoping your relationship with my son is like", "how do you handle discipline with him?", "do you have any issues you'd like to bring up with me", "is there anything I can do to help make your time with him easier". Things like that. Shows that you are accepting her presence in his life, shows that you are willing to work together, and shows that you realize this is a two way street. If she is bad with your son and combative with you, you know you'll have bigger problems. But the best case scenario is that this sets the stage and will hopefully keep things pleasant or at least civil.
I think most girlfriends in this situation already feel at a disadvantage with the mother of their boyfriend's son, and might start off pretty defensive. So anything you can do to disarm that can only help you in the long run.
I hope it goes well for you (and your son!).
A.C. answers from Colorado Springs on August 15, 2009
I don't understand what you're setting straight. She realizes you're his mom & she's not. Whether or not he's going to be around for her for forever honestly isn't your business. The way she treats your son is though. I'm surprised that you've not met her after a year. I'm hubby's 2nd wife & I think I met his ex when we'd been dating only a few months. I realize I'm not her kids' mom, but the way she put it out there (to hubby, never to me) was very hurtful. Just be careful how you approach the situation, especially since it's been a year already & you've not met her or "set things straight". She knows her place & if you've had no problems that you've had to address w/the way she treats your son (I'm guessing that's the case since you've not met her yet), please don't be nasty to her. Yes, it was wrong of your ex to leave you for another woman & introduce your son so quick to her. Don't punish her for your ex's bad decisions though. I'm not saying you'll be best friends-maybe not even friendly-but if she's been in his life for a year, she could be the one who sticks around for good. Be careful how you treat her now, that could be the start of you contact w/her until your son is old enough to make his own visitation decisions & 18 years is a long time to have tension in your life.
Are you feeling hurt that he's playing family with another woman & not you? If the woman is a part of his life, I can see that she'd also be a part of your son's life when he's around his dad too. I'd be rather p**sed off if my hubby's ex was making rules about the time their kids spend with us-she has before & just made her look like a fool for trying to make rules somewhere else. That said, if you've got serious concerns about this woman, you should speak to your ex about it. If it's the fact that he shouldn't be having his "son time" & "girlfriend time" at the same time, it's not your place. You can suggest that they do things, just the two of them, but you can't dictate w/o the court's intervention, what he does w/his time.
I might have sounded snotty, but honestly, I don't get what the problem w/the next woman is, except for the fact that she was the next one. Most of the time when my hubby's ex opens her mouth & nastiness pours out, it makes her look like a fool-often to her kids. Proceed w/caution. You don't need to be her friend, just cordial for as long as she's around.
A. answers from Salt Lake City on August 13, 2009
She is not your enemy, she is another adult in your child's life. Knowing your ex you may even find that you have more sympathy for her than you would expect, she's going through things with him that you have been there, done that. If she is good with your child that is wonderful, if not then you have issues.
I found that I liked my ex's next wife better than expected. She fed my kids when they needed feeding. She had to live with him and I didn't. All good stuff for me, not so much for her.
It may even be that you would prefer she be there and your child have a positive influence than that your ex is alone with your child. Keep an open mind and good luck.
J.W. answers from Pueblo on August 14, 2009
My parents were divorced when I was five and my father went through a ton of girlfriends before remarrying when I was 13. My mom spent a lot of time talking bad about these women, and it really affected my relationship with them and with my father. While only one of them turned out to be my stepmom, some of them were cool people and they all tried to be nice and seemed to have my best interest at heart when I was with them.
When my dad got remarried, my mom and stepmom made an effort to get along for the sake of us. They respected each other as someone important in our lives (I have a brother), and while they were never friends, they were both part of big decisions.
Please do not put your son in the middle (purposefully for passively). He does not know what's going on and your actions and feelings will confuse him. This doesn't mean you have to be best friends with the girl, but trust your ex enough to have judgement who he is letting your son spend time with. Unless you have reason to believe there is an unsafe situation, there's not much you can do.
Meet her for coffee without your son and ex - it can be a quick conversation if it needs to be. Don't challenge her. Be ready to listen to what she's saying. It'll be hard and uncomfortable, but it is doable!
Sounds like you're better off without the guy. Believe in yourself and heal - in time you'll be able to move on.
L.R. answers from Salt Lake City on August 16, 2009
honestly everyone here is right, the issue is with him not with her , EVEN tho he left you for her and you have that hidden hate for her, its not her, im a singel mom of a 4yr and my ex and his new girlfriend are awsome with her i speak to both of them on great trems he is a better father too, just because he was a sucky partner to me doesnt mean he cannt be a great father to her which he has proven to be. its a good thing that hes in his life anyway possible than not being there at all. all you should worry about is if your son safe feed and clean those are the things you need to set striaght forget about all the drama hes not worth your time or heart ach. good luck to you!