Ex Spouse New Girlfriend Over-stepping "Mom Boundries"

Updated on January 11, 2014
R.N. asks from Voorheesville, NY
13 answers

My ex met someone 4 months ago and introduced her and her son to my children 1 week after they met. (breaking the wait 6 months before introducing significant others to kids......which was a rule placed by my ex, and I agreed, and I complied). I have not met this new lady in my childrens life as we have not really crossed paths. Last night my oldest discussed with me that she told her dad she didnt like the new girlfriend doing "mommy things" such as telling them to do chores. I am sure this new lady is a wonderful woman, but the pushing of bonding between the new girlfriend and my oldest (11 years old) is really starting to hinder on my child. The other 2 are younger and just play with the girlfrinds son. I have no idea why my ex feels compelled to push a relationship between the two of them. Why this girlfriend feels so comfortable to do so is beyond me. I would never feel comfortable in being so disrespectful to the Mother of children to try to push a relationship so early in the game. How do I deal?

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answers from Iowa City on

Maybe I'm out of touch but I don't understand how telling an 11 year old to do her chores is a "mommy thing," forcing a relationship or being disrespectful. Don't you think it would be best if your children did follow simple household rules, such as do your chores, whether they are told to do so by their father or any other adult who is present and involved in the situation?

You don't really have to 'deal.' Your daughter does. Tell her that it is okay for her to like or dislike this woman but that either way she needs to be respectful. Find out what her true issues with this woman are (does she feel like dad doesn't pay attention to her if girlfriend is around? Is she hoping that you and dad will get back together some day?) and address those.

Reassure your daughter that you and dad love her and that you will always be mom and he will always be dad regardless of whatever adult relationships either one of you bring to the table.

Best of luck.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Telling them to do chores is pushing a relationship?

Your daughter is using you to try to get out of household duties at her father's house, don't fall for it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

What is the real issue? Is it the fact that your ex violated the 6 month rule? Sounds like it is. Personally, I like that rule and it is a shame that your ex didn't compile with it. Did you say anything to him when he introduced the kids? Is this a rule that is in the decree? OR is this something y'all came up with outside of the decree? Is it enforceable?

So now, your oldest is not happy that the girlfriend is telling her what to do. I don't see any issue with asking an 11 year old to do some chores. Setting the table, picking up her stuff.

If the ex and girlfriend are living together, maybe that is what really bothers your daughter. Do your kids get time with their dad alone without the girlfriend and her son? If not, they should. That could also be the problem.

Maybe this lady just really wants your kids to like her because she loves their dad? I'm not sure, but I think you need to have a more in depth conversation with your daughter. The fact that she doesn't like the girlfriend because she gives her chores is not a valid reason, in my opinion. What was her dad's reaction when she told him she didn't like the girlfriend doing "mommy things"? I would really be interested in his reaction to that.

Once you find out the real issue, you need to have a conversation with the ex. Good luck!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I hate to say it but your ex is probably happy to let his new girlfriend take over some of the parenting duties, especially the not so fun stuff, like enforcing chores. Men are usually more than willing to step back and let the women do the child care and new girlfriends are often more than happy to step up and show how willing they are to do what the man wants.
So I'm not sure what you CAN do, other than listening to your daughter's concerns and encouraging her to talk to her dad. Do you have a good enough relationship to talk to him yourself without it turning into an issue?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I admire how calm you are despite your concerns. I would feel the same way. Although I don't have experience with this particular situation, if I were in your shoes I would try to reassure my 11-year old that no matter who else comes into his/her life, you are the Mom. Although a lot of other things may change, this will not. I think you should also bend the truth and tell your child that you are not threatened or upset by this woman (your child may be trying to defend on protect you) and you know you are the Mom and nothing can change that - ever. (this is assuming she is not being abusive or improper in any way).

Not sure how your relationship is with your ex, but if it's possible to do so without causing a big upset, I would probably let him know how your oldest is feeling, by telling him just what the child said - not how he broke the rules etc (because he will just turn a deaf ear).

It's tricky and I would be a diplomat about it or you run the risk of having things get worse and your husband pushing even more.

I hope things get better for you and your children with this transition. Take the high road whenever you can, it will spare you pain and frustration bc your husband's behavior is out of your control. You can control how you deal with this and how you respond to your children. Focus on that and constantly remind your kids that you are ok and you are never going to stop being their Mom - even if they have a new woman playing a role in their lives. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

In my experience, the new GFs who are eager to "stepmom" the kids so early on are the ones who aren't around in a year. I only react if I see any true harm being done and before I know it, she's gone!

BTW, kudos for nesting. I really wish that my ex and I could do this. Our kid hates being shuttled between households, something she needs is always at the other home, and to be honest, I like the idea of my own space a couple nights a week (a neat little efficiency apartment with a futon and bookshelves)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

While it is unfortunate that your ex didn't follow the 'wait 6 month' policy, I agree with the other posts which suggest that you need to get some more information from your daughter about whether/how she feels uncomfortable about her father having a new girlfriend. Any adult supervising your daughter has the right to ask her to help with the tasks of daily living ('chores')--it's not a mommy or daddy thing. More importantly, how is a relationship between your daughter and the GF being pushed, according to your daughter? If she feels she isn't getting enough time with her daddy, that issue does need to be brought to his attention and some solution developed. However in terms of 'dealing,' I think your daughter is really the one who needs to work through the process of a new relationship in her father's life. Good luck with it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm going to maybe give a different look at this. I was the new girlfriend once upon a time. I met the man I would fall in love with. He had 2 daughters I had 1 daughter. Each week when the girls would be with us he would tip toe around them so as not to upset them. They didn't have to help, take showers, dress appropriately or do basically anything they didn't want to. Because he was worried about what they might or might not go home to mom to say. They were 8 and 11. I couldn't deal with it. So yes. I did mommy things. I made them take showers, get dressed, pick up after themselves, apologise for bratty remarks etc. How does it help the kids to not be part of a healthy family. Your family separated he is trying to move on. Don't alienate this woman she may turn out to be a huge part of your children's lives. And an FYI telling the kids to do chores is not a mommy thing it's an adult thing. If your not comfortable with
your daughter emailing them tell her she doesn't have to do that.

As far as shared household chores your living situation sounds a little different than most. If I read it correctly the kids live in the house full time and you and ex revolve in and out? The house keeping is your and your husband job with the children learning to help. Is the new girlfriend saying hang up your towel and put your toys away? Or scrub the baseboards? You can't always take kids comments at face value.

Teachers will say that if you believe half of what the kids say happened in class they will believe half of what the kids say happens at home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

Is exerting authority over them the only thing she is doing that makes you and your daughter feel she is doing "mommy" things? Honestly, to me it sounds like she IS a mommy (has a son) and so she doesn't think twice about jumping in telling kids to do chores... Especially if she has been around them for nearly 4 months now. Unless your husband is telling them to call her mom, leaving them alone with her all the time, sending them off for "bonding" activities, etc. I wouldn't worry too much that he is pushing a relationship.

To me, it sounds like your daughter resents her dad's new girlfriend a bit. I think Dad definitely should have waited longer to introduce her to the kids. I'm curious though... How many girlfriends has he had since the divorce? How many have the kids met? If this is the first serious one, it is perfectly normal that she is a bit uncertain in her feelings; and when GF starts exerting some authority it doesn't surprise me to have resentment be the feeling that emerges the strongest. Especially if GF is at the house every time the kids visit, infringing on "HER" daddy time.

I would try to have a civil conversation with your ex, and see if he can cut back a bit on having GF over when the kids are there, and mention how your daughter is feeling... But also try to encourage your daughter to get along with the GF.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

Asking children staying at your house to do chores does not sound like overstepping or forcing intimacy. (edit but chatting and email accounts does. yikes!) No matter who did mommy things and on what time scale, your daughter will not like it. It is one of the hardest parts of divorce - adjusting to new adults in new positions. While I agree introducing the kids after 1 week was very bad judgement, I don't think sticking your oar in will help your daughter with this hard adjustment. As difficult as it sounds, I suspect it would be best for you to support your daughter on your end, be understanding of her reservations and keep an open ear for more serious danger signs. And bear in mind while your daughter is telling you the truth as she sees it, that may not be what is really happening.



answers from Kansas City on

First off, your ex has the right to date anyone he wants and if he chooses to introduce his new GF's ( i am sure there will be a few more) to your children in the first week of their relationship he can do that. It sucks i know. Been there, done that. When you get divorced from a spouse, dating is a whole new ball game all over again. As long as this new GF is not putting her hands on your daughter, endangering her life in any way, these things are going to happen. Just wait until they move in together (if they haven't already) your daughter really isn't going to like that. Imagine yourself meeting a new guy who you really felt a connection with. I can almost guarantee you wouldn't wait the 6 month mark either.... just doesn't happen. My ex move in with another girl and her three kids the day after i kicked him out of the house after i found out he was cheating. He spent holidays with his new GF and her kids and totally ignored his own flesh and blood. A year later, he met yet another girl, married her within 6 months of meeting her so she wouldnt get shipped back to Colombia and 8 years later divorced her. My daughter really liked that girl! Less than one year later, my ex married yet another girl and had a baby and didnt even bother to tell our daughter he got married or had a kid. She found out on facebook! Yeah, what a real winner i picked there! Good luck!



answers from St. Cloud on

Be glad she isn't talking good things about the gf nonstop because that can be really annoying. My ex always dated women with girls so my daughter liked going there. I haven't seen any improvements until they got married then she was doing things to make them more comfortable there. I was the one who had to do everything in our relationship so I'm sure she's having to do it now. Lucky lady. Don't say anything against the lady (because it might not last anyways) and she will share more with you that goes on over there. I found out that my children learned not to say a word about anything the hard way. They feel that it causes problems with info going from one house to the other and shut up.


answers from Hartford on

When there's a new girlfriend so eager to parent the boyfriend's children (she is not a stepparent) I would first say that your children are lucky that she cares so much.

Next I would say that your childrens' father made such an asinine mistake to introduce them to her without knowing her very well himself. Especially since he went against an agreement... and would probably have given you hell for doing the same.

What's done is done, and while she may or may not be around for the long haul, things would go more easily if you get to know her. She won't know what's appropriate or not unless you can make friendly with her. I wouldn't view her as an opponent, just someone who isn't aware of boundaries.

But it also sounds like if she's asking your children to do chores... um... is she living with your childrens' father already? That might change things a little because then your children would be living not just in their father's home but also in her home. And she would have some right in asking them to pull their weight and do some chores.

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