R.K. asks from Anchorage, AK on April 06, 2009
Need Advice About the Ex's GF
OK this is something I just don't know how to handle. I know how I want to handle it but it's probably not the best way so I turn to you all for advice. My ex and I divorced about a year and a half ago. I have full custody and he has abandoned us. Generally, the only contact the kids and he have is if they choose to call him. He lives out of state. I let them call him when they want within reason. The challenge I have is the last few times the kids have called him he has let the new GF talk with the kids. From what I can tell, it's my kids asking to talk with her, but I just don't think it's appropriate. Mostly because I doubt its long term and as a child of divorce I remember all the new boyfriends my mom had and it was uncomfortable at best for me. And I just don't want that repeated with my kids. My ideal would be that the kids wouldn't meet anyone until it gets on the long-term side of life...like 6mo at least... and appears to be heading towards very long-term. It also bothers me because it takes away from time with their dad. Again, my mom abandoned me and all those feelings have resurfaced and I am working through them but it's hard. Lastly my kids like speakerphone, consequently I hear their conversations. And when the GF called my DD "baby," I nearly came unglued. I walked away so the kids didn't see my anger. I know I will have to get over it but another woman calling my kids baby... I'm just not there yet. So for those of you who have been there what's the best way to handle this?
P.H. answers from Seattle on April 07, 2009
Realize it's just one more way of him distancing himself from the kids. He's just letting her handle even a conversation.
I remember the pain of dealing with my ex's fling.
The kids are not as emotional about these phone calls as you are..know that.It might be a little less painful.
1 mom found this helpful
J.C. answers from Seattle on April 06, 2009
OF COURSE you have strong reactions, R. -- FIVE children as a single Mom makes me tired to even contemplate!! ( but then, I'm old) -- . You have, sweetheart-- layed out a dreadful situation- full of sorrow and rage ( on your part) and childish, immature and thoughtless behaviour ( on '''Dads''' ) --- No child support??? Please remember that they DESERVE that - and as overwhelming as it is to ''go for it'' - it could make a huge difference.
Now, as to the girlfriend-- your children are not looking for a new Mom- they are simply curious and friendly and like to be spoken to as though they were important ( which you do and he probably often- does NOT ) - so if the current ''she ''' tries to speak sweetly- they likely enjoy that--- don't let it be a big deal ( outwardly) ---
My birth father only contacted my brother and me when his current girl friend got him '''off the dime'' -- he lived less than 150 miles from us -----------all our childhood
( back in the late 40s and 50s --when it was UNHEARD of ) -- but we saw him exactly 3 times -- count it -- 3 times - between my 3rd birthday ( when they divorced) and my going off to college -- 3 times --- and only at the instigation of the current girlfriend . I knew --even as a 5 year old--- that he was a ''pretend'' person- and my mother and stepfather - were real -- -flawed - but real. Your kids will know - I guarantee it.
J.- aka - Old Mom
5 moms found this helpful
L.R. answers from Portland on April 07, 2009
Try not to make too much of this. Your ex lives out of state, and the chances that the kids will ever meet this GF are pretty slim. Sounds like your ex doesn't make much of an effort to see the kids, so if the GF is still around by the time they do visit, chances are their relationship is pretty serious.
Try to be glad your ex is seeing someone who cares enough about his kids to talk to them on the phone and call your DD "baby". This is a term of endearment, and you should be celebrating that she's being so sweet.
When I was a kid, my dad dated a woman for years who couldn't stand me, and it was very hard on me. He dated another woman for just a few months who loved me, squealed and hugged me when I came over, and, yes...called me "baby." I loved it! Did she detract from the love I felt for my mom? Not a bit, but she did make me feel like I was lovable to someone besides my parents, and this did wonders for my divorce-damaged self esteem.
Your ex's GF sounds like a very nice lady. Things could be a LOT worse. :)
4 moms found this helpful
J.W. answers from Seattle on April 06, 2009
Take a deep breath and breathe. First, remember that your ex is not your parents. What happened to you is your experience and not your kids'. Second, their Dad is living out of state. Whether or not he abandoned them is not the issue right now. He may be out of state because that's where the jobs are, where he can make a living to pay the child support payments that you are using to support your family. Third, the girlfriend is a part of his life. I think it's great that he wants her to see him as a package deal. He's a divorced Dad with kids who he doesn't get to see as often as he'd like (or should) due to where he lives. The tone of your post "full custody" sounds like you wouldn't let him have shared custody if he lived close by. Don't even go there in front of your kids. This is their Dad and he may not have physical custody, but visitation, weekends, school breaks and vacations provide opportunities for him to be in their lives. Don't put up fences between him and 'his' kids or history will repeat itself at your house. Now, the girlfriend issue, long term vs. revolving door. My brother became a widower with two young kids, 10 and 6 at the time. It bothered me that he began dating 6 months later, casual stuff, but none the less it bothered me. Women are different about this than men. He wanted his kids to see that having friends, and that's all they were, just friends, was a normal thing. As a permanent girlfriend came into the picture, I was the overly cautious aunt. She moved in. Not my cup of tea, but... after two years she has left. She couldn't take the kids coming first. She's not a bad person, but my brother put his kids first and did things with and for them. Your ex needs to expose his girlfriend to his family, learn about them and the kids need to learn about her. She will have her nicknames for them and they will have their's for her. She's not a replacement Mom, she's Sally, Sue, Jane or Mary.... but not Mom. Don't let your anger with your ex cloud the possibility of your kids having another supportive and caring person in their lives. Did you ever wonder how you could love another child after you had your first one? How could you give anymore as you loved this baby with your whole heart? Remember how your heart just grew with each new baby? You didn't love the first any less than the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th. Well your kids will be the same way with who ever comes into their lives. They're not going to love you less, they're not going to have less time with Dad... it will only get better.
I strongly advise that you see a family counselor to work thru your old issues of abandonment so you don't put that on your kids. Divorce is hard enough. Please remember that you and their Dad were the ones who separated, but their Dad is still their Dad and you will always be their Mom. Don't force them to take sides, pick favorites. Celebrate that in the midst of this divorce they come out winners. That's what we all want.
4 moms found this helpful
B.P. answers from Seattle on April 06, 2009
You know, everything you are explaining is correct. You don't want to put your kids through a lot of short term trauma. You will have to explain your thoughts to your kids and why it worries you. They will understand. They may still want to talk with her, but they will know that she might not be there always. It will save some of the pain of another loss if the time comes. I have a sister who calls the store clerk "honey" and everyone else younger than she is. I think it is weird, but that's the way she is. It means endearment to her on a stranger level, ANYWAY, this may be just the GFs way of being endearing to your kids and as long as there relationship is on the phone only, I wouldn't worry too much. It's better for them to receive more loving words than none. You don't have to worry that she will EVER replace you.
3 moms found this helpful
K.I. answers from Spokane on April 06, 2009
This is coming from a "new Gf" so keep that in mind.
It is great that the kids call and talk to the dad. I wouldn't do anything to get in the way of this. If dad and the kids want to talk to the GF, so be it. As you said they are in a different state. This is not something to get worked up about. I hear what you are saying about it taking away from their time talking with dad but that is dads life and if he wants to include her, thats his choice(and the kids asking to talk to her is their choice). What if he ends up married to her? Atleast it wont be sprung on the kids, they will know she exists and have atleast a lil' bit of an idea of who she is.
The abandonedment issues you have are yours and are valid, just make sure you keep them in check. You do not want to pass along your issues to the kids because seeing how dad kinda abandoned them, they will have their own issues. It is also my opinion if the dad is paying child support it is not fair to say he abandoned the kids. He is still keeping up with taking care of them. Just failing on the emotional side. If he does pay you child support, I think it is your duty to let the kids know that (when they are old enough to understand)it will help with their abandonment issues to know that dad did still care enough to make sure they had food, clothes, a roof over their heads, etc. If he doesn't pay child support, I whole heartedly applaud you, you are doing what is best for the kids by allowing them to call and try to make contact with dad when ever they want/need too!
---As far as another person calling your kids baby...I dont think any Mom is comfortablewith hearing other people speak to her kids that way---very valid feelings---but she is in a different state and is not a threat to you in any way...she will never take your place, no matter what, so I say shrug it off!
Life is stressful and sometimes we all need to hear this, so here it goes....Everything will be alright. This to shall pass. You are doing the best you can and are a good mother. No matter how this sorts itself out, the kids will be fine!
2 moms found this helpful
M.W. answers from Seattle on April 07, 2009
What wonderful and loving advice you have received already. It must be so hard for you to go through this, and be aware that it is bringing your unresolved issues to the surface.
I have a friend whose mom left her (and her sister) when she was in 4th grade--they came home to an empty house after a weekend at their dad's, how lovely. She is now in her mid-30s and has such abandonment issues, that she refused to have more than one child, because she couldn't stand the thought of having a child who may have felt "less loved" than another, she quit her job that she loved (and had very flexible scheduling with) to stay home, because she couldn't imagine her son not being right by her side, she even planned on homeschooling him because the thought of him being away from her during the day was too much for her-- In other words, she did outwardly things that were probably not in his best interest or her own because of her own fear. Her husband finally convinced her she needed to get some counseling because he really wanted their son to grow up independent and thougtful, not as a tool to help his mom overcome her issues. Her son now goes to Kindergarten outside of the home and she is finally starting to realize that he won't always be there for her, but her husband will... It was hard as her friend to see her go through it, and she really is a great mom, but she was letting something that was hers to deal with become a road block to her very smart and bright and gregarious little boy's social well-being.
The best thing you can do right now is get yourself some counseling. Check through your university services, or county health department if you don't have access through insurance. You will have someone to talk to who is not part of the situation, you will be able to talk about it and be completely honest/open, and you will feel more confident in the long run. You should be commended for NOT letting them see you upset! That takes wisdom and maturity, and they might even sense it to some degree, but you aren't making it their issue. Good for you!
Your kids are so lucky that they have you, if their dad screws up and lets them "know" his GF too soon--it's HIS fault, not yours. If they get upset when it doesn't work out, you will comfort them and be there for them. They will be aware that it wasn't anything YOU did to them, they already know that.
2 moms found this helpful
W.C. answers from Seattle on April 07, 2009
I think you have found the solution, walk away into another room. Your kids need to have a father in their lives, and if their father has a girl friend so be it.
Your anger is still fresh. And when you hear his voice, or his girl friend's voice, the anger rises again. You can't help it. So remove your self from the room, put yourself in a place where you can't here the conversation, turn on the cd player to really great music, and have a good cup of tea. It just takes a bit of planning. Then you are in control--the best place to be.
1 mom found this helpful
R.S. answers from Portland on April 07, 2009
I agree that it isn't smart to introduce a significant other into a relationship with your children until you're serious, but unfortunately you can't do anything about it without making you the bad guy. I wouldn't make an issue of this. If as you said this relationship probually won't last long then he will have to deal with his children wanting to know where that person is. If he ends up staying with this woman than you will need to accept that she is your ex's partner, but you are still their mom. Since you do have full custody that shouldn't change.You are the present sturdy loving parent in your children's lives. You are the one that spends time with them and is there for them. They know that.
1 mom found this helpful