Moving in with BF, We Still Live with Daddy

Updated on June 18, 2013
D.S. asks from Hickory, NC
25 answers

So my ex husband and I were doing something extremely unconventional. We are living together and raising our 4 year old after divorce. It's worked okay so far except I'm starting to see part that I didn't think ahead for.

My ex started dating over a year ago and it's gone well for him. I started soon after and boom. I met Mr right. Never been so certain of anything in my life. Unfortunately he lives 3 hours away so our whole relationship has been long distance. He's met my daughter and loves her to death and she loves him. We're ready to get married and move in together.

Here's the question, How bad is this going to be on my 4 year old? She understands the situation as best a 4 year old can. Will it be too hard on her to move out from here and move in with new husband? Should she have a buffer of living just the two of us for a few months? She is very good adjusting to new situations and extremely social.

Basically I'm ready for this, completely. I'm worried that it's not right for her though and that maybe I'm being selfish. Has anyone ever been here?

Additional: Please note I added that my boyfriend and I are planning to get married.

Also we have worked out custody, child support and separation of items. We did that at the time of the divorce.

I'm not moving, he is. He's coming here. I would never take my daughter away from her father.

What can I do next?

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answers from Milwaukee on

I think children do better with these situations when they are pretty young rather than older. I would make a permanent decision sooner rather than later. Plus, talk to her about it all. She understands more than you think and it will help her cope to be informed.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

You know it's selfish, so do the right thing. How long have you known this man?

Move out. Live on your OWN, with your daughter. Do this for a significant amount of time, and slowly have your daughter and yourself, be around this man more. THEN, get married. In all likelihood, this whole thing could implode. You've never lived in the same city as this man. You don't REALLY know him, because it's long distance dating. You have two completely SEPARATE and different lives, and you want to shove them together in a blitz. The truth is, you don't know if he's Mr. Right. Everything is fun now. You are dating. You have not had to compromise together, achieve common goals together, parent together, etc. You have been dating and are in lovey dovey mode. Reality, is blending families is hard. Learning to parent someone's child with appropriate boundaries and respect, is hard. Learning to fit in someone into your life that's established, is hard. Making decisions as a new unit, is hard. It's the most hard, on the child.

You need to make sure this relationship will even last and live in the same city, before you even consider marriage. You are being irresponsible and selfish with your daughter's emotions. You can't create an insta-family and have it be anything but dysfunctional. Do NOT have him move in while you are dating and unmarried. Would you allow your daughter to sleep with her boyfriend in your house? You shouldn't, either. Set the example you want her to emulate.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Okay, I know some friend of friends, who did with this their Ex. Still co-habitated together in the same home, even if divorced. They were amicable and, they were still with their child.
Then, the woman found a boyfriend. They were all in love. Just like you. He met her child etc. All fine and dandy. And it was fine with the Ex, and the Ex had had his own life by then too, and a Girlfriend.
But well, even if their daughter was so social and gregarious and seemingly "fine" with it and all these relationships around her... she started to have behavioral problems. Really, unpleasant ones and in school too. This was a 7 year old. The Mom, moved in together with her Boyfriend etc. And then, one day SHE got pregnant with the Boyfriend. Long story short, her daughter is a mess. Now. And that baby with the Boyfriend, was born already.
And her relationship with her daughter, is a mess. Too. Now. ie: she and the daughter just do not get along anymore, but the Mom acts like it is only the daughter's problem. She does not see, that her life choices, IMPACTED her daughter in a bad, way. Meanwhile, the daughter is a mess and a problem... everywhere. In school, at her extracurricular activities, at home, with family, etc. And so now, the daughter is seen as a "brat." But it is not, the daughter's fault.
And the Boyfriend, is all stressed with 2 kids. One not being "his" even if he really likes, her daughter from a previous marriage.

And because they are not married, (but they were supposed to get married, but they have not yet married)....
they are having problems now. It is not all peachy. Nor for either of the kids. And, the Mom of her Boyfriend, does not like her or her kid.
Many problems!
And meanwhile, her Ex.... is now not seeing anyone. So his Ex-Wife, unloads "their" child onto him. For babysitting. So she can have her "life" with her Boyfriend and "their" new baby. So the Mom's other child from her Ex Husband... is like a ping-pong ball... going back and forth between her/her Boyfriend's house... and their ex-house, that they USED to share, together. And sometimes, the woman's Boyfriend, does not even want... her daughter from the Ex-Husband around. He tells her to send her to the Ex-Husband to "babysit." Oh but sure, the Boyfriend supposedly likes/loves her daughter from the Ex-Husband. But her daughter is now a "brat" and problem child. Remember? And it is all because, the Mom chose her Boyfriend, over her daughter and changed where they live and how they live and now a baby from the current Boyfriend, is around. Too. The daughter from the Ex-Husband, doesn't even like the baby from the Boyfriend and doesn't even care if they are supposed to be "siblings."
What a mess.
And the other mess of it all is: everyone in their city, knows about it and "why" her daughter is such, a mess. But that doesn't mean they sympathize.

You cannot expect, a 4 year old, to fully understand these things, nor to adapt to it, nor to permit it. They cannot decide their lives, for themselves. They are too young.
BUT a child WILL reap, all of the repercussions, from it.
Negative repercussions.

Like another person said: why don't your Boyfriend... move to where you and your daughter are????
Not you move to him. 3 hours away.
And then how will the Dad/your Ex, see your daughter?
And without having to switch schools etc. or move, too?

11 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Throwing two major life changes are never good for a child, even older ones. You may not see it but you are throwing at her the equivalent of divorcing dad, moving out, and moving in and on to a new relationship, all in the time it takes to move.

It is beyond selfish.

You need to separate from your ex, then start with her seeing more and more of this guy and then moving in.

You idea that she move it with just you and your *boyfriend* is even worse than just moving with the normal parenting schedule. Oh, let me guess, you haven't even discussed a parenting plan.

Stop thinking of yourself.
Oh sorry, didn't know I needed to provide a resume. I have been divorced for six years, married for two. My kids are happy healthy and even my adult children see my husband as a role model, they see our marriage as a role model.

You need to start looking at everything you do through the lens of what will be my daughter's take away. She is the innocent in all this, you are making her into the adult she will be. You want to put out dragging a child through this or that as normal then understand, that is the family she will provide for her kids, or worse, she will hate you for doing this to her.

So we are not being mean, we are trying to protect your relationship with your daughter.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Is your ex a good father? Because I think it's very selfish to move 3 hours away from a good father. It's just too far. Even if you think it isn't that bad, it's not like she can go see her dad whenever she wants. And when she gets older and can drive on her own, she won't be able to take the car and go hang out with him. (I have two kids -- 25 and 15 -- and I've been divorced for 10 years. So I have some experience.)

I'm in a serious relationship (have been for about 7 years) but my daughter is still in school and his youngest just finished college. We decided it was best for all our kids to stay in our own homes and raise our kids and maybe, possibly get married when my youngest leaves the nest. Our kids come first in our lives. We both understand and appreciate this about each other.

I personally wouldn't do what you are planning to do because I think it will upset your daughter more than you can understand. She doesn't get divorce. She just sees that you all still live together. When you rip her out of her dad's home and move 3 hours away with another man, I think it will do permanent damage. She's more important than 3-hour-away-guy. He should move near you and you can date for a few years and see how it goes. No man is worth that kind of effort when you have a daughter to consider. If you put her first and stay put, this boyfriend will prove his worth by making the effort to come to you.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ADD: Just want you to know, what you and your ex have done for your daughter is very thoughtful and special. You worked hard to make it work. That same level of work has to go into a new relationship with your daughter and ex - separate physically but close emotionally. You had the strength to work together this far, you can keep it going. Take the time and it will work out well.

Original: Find a family counselor and get some professional help with this one. You're going to need it to separate out all the stuff that's going on. Do NOT move in with the BF. Seriously, that would be selfish. The best thing to do would be for you to get engaged, and for you and your daughter to live on your own for at least 1-2 YEARS, not a few months.

Even though you are divorced, you are still in a relationship with your ex. You need to dial that down to being co-parents while not living together. Your long distance relationship is not yet "real" - it feels good, and seems right, but it's not based in reality, dating, etc.

You need to figure out custody, child support, all that stuff - so get a mediator that will work with your family so you can work it out.

Honestly, if your BF cares about you, find out if he will move closer to YOU and your child's father so the relationship can be maintained.

I'm a child of divorce and my mother never really considered how her choices affected me and my sister. Neither of us have a relationship with her now. You really need to take a LONG time to transition out of the living situation you are in, and into a new relationship - again, an engagement period of 1-2 years so you can REALLY get to know the boyfriend. DO NOT MOVE IN with him. You will tear up your child by rushing into things. I've lived through that and it's not fun and it's not fair.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Mr. Right can wait.

By staying in the same home as divorced Daddy, your little girl did not see any change when you got divorced. You need to give her transition time, possibly a lot of it, before you suddenly take her from bio daddy to new daddy. She is going to be SO confused and upset.

Please, please get your child into some good counseling. Find a counselor who helps kids deal with divorce. Treat it as if you are only NOW getting the divorce because to her, you and daddy are still together; you cannot possibly really expect her to understand the situation at all because you and daddy still live together. When you say "she understands the situation as best a four year old can," I think you are deceiving yourself and just hoping that she'll be fine with the new situation. Please get her into counseling as if to prepare her for a new divorce, and consider getting counseling yourself so that you get some good ideas on how to help her cope. You really need time where you and she are together without either man in the household, so she can process that daddy and mom are not together. Mr. Right and you can wait to get to the altar. Do what's best for your child first.

If you don't like the answers you're getting here, please consider taking the advice of a third party like a family counselor about what to do. I think a "few months" of living with just you and Mr. Right is not the answer here.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I think it's a huge mistake, I'm sorry. From the viewpoint of a 4 year old you and your former husband are still together and the situation hasn't changed for her. It's only been words, not actions, and she hasn't had any sort of transition. She needs some actual transition time seeing her parents separated and living in separate homes. She needs to become accustomed to the custody arrangements and schedule.

Your new relationship must be secondary and back burner to your child's needs in this particular situation. Especially since this so-called Mr. Right lives three hours away and you can't possibly know him as well as you think you do. He could be anyone and anything. Have you done background checks on him? Have you hired an investigator to check up on him? Would he be willing to move to where you are and live in his own place for a year or more to wait for you?

The fact that both you and your husband met people immediately after separating means you don't know how to live being happy with yourself, or being a single mom. You're willing to jump from one family dynamic into a brand new one without transitioning at all for your daughter OR yourself to see how you function without a man... how your daughter functions with her parents ACTUALLY separated... how you and your former husband and daughter function in the new dynamic of not all living together. Adding new significant others into that mix isn't fair to your daughter.

So my advice would be to have him get his own place when he moves here so you can actually get to know him for at least a year. Make sure your daughter gets some counseling. Establish the new routines with your former husband and your daughter. Get that new dynamic established.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Seems like the FIRST order of business is, everyone needs to live in the same town, or general vicinity.
If he's really "Mr.Right" he will move close to you, marry you, and then you can move forward in becoming a blended, healthy family.
I don't see any other way. If I was your ex there's no way I would agree to my child moving three hours away, no WAY.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Well, I am not divorced, so I don't have first hand knowledge here, but let's just look at this objectively.

To your daughter, being divorced simply means a piece of paper. Nothing else in her world changed. She still has Mom and Dad right there in the house and available to her. It's all she knows.

If you move out and into a new place with new man, your daughter is going to be angry. She is not going to understand what is going on, except that she will understand that she no longer has Dad around all the time. She will blame that on you. Or on new man. Or on BOTH of you.

What you have done was well intentioned, but now that you are moving on from that arrangement, you need to do so in steps, so that your daughter isn't resentful and blame new man and your relationship with him for losing time/living with her dad. It isn't new man or the relationship that is taking her dad away, it was the divorce--but the reality is that the "losing of dad" has been delayed and she hasn't experienced it yet.

You should allow her to go through that process. And it may not be a quick process. In fact, I would expect it to be rather long and drawn out.

All of that is priority. Then, you have the getting married to new man thing. That is another subject entirely, actually. You've been operating in a long-distance romance with little real world reality. I wouldn't even be talking marriage until you've spent some time living in the same town and seeing each other face to face every day. And finding out how he (and your relationship) deal with child care responsibilities and custody sharing, etc. when it is up close and personal--not long distance and in theory.

Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

What your four year old sees is that M. and daddy still live in the same house. Her home is no different from her friends homes that have a M. and a daddy. She most likely has no concept of divorce or what it is like for M. and daddy to not live together and love each other - from what I am reading in your post.

You should live alone for some time before marrying another man and before movnig your daughter from one man to another (regardless of the actual structure she lives in). Just my two cents.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm glad you're smart enough to think about this and ask about before you proceed.
i'm very much with the majority here. your daughter is in a secure family unit. a sudden change with a new male figure head of household is going to be very, very unsettling for her, even if he is mr wonderful all round.
live alone with your daughter for at least a year before moving a new man in.
i'm glad you're not taking her from her dad.
good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I would live on your own for awhile with your daughter. Once you are married, not just engaged, then move intogether.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Read your post from the perspective of a four year old child.

What you're planning will likely be devastating for her. She will not understand being in what she thinks is an intact family one minute and then with another "daddy" the next. She will live with you and a virtual stranger three hours away from her real dad who will be with a new woman.

Your BF does not love her. How could he after less than one year of a long distance relationship with you?

Sorry but reading this and thinking it through all I can say is, it sounds like a huge mistake. What if this new realtionship doesn't work out? You may then be trying to figure out how to help your SIX year old get over moving out of yet another relationship.

She's just a little girl, why should she be dating along with you? Let her grow up without the insecurities of an adult's love life. Maybe he is Mr. Right and maybe he's not, why should she have to take that risk along with you?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

You and your daughter need to live alone for at least a year!!! If you want to move to be closer to your boyfriend that is fine but no living with him yet. Your daughter isn't going to to be able to transition from living with daddy to living with step daddy without it casing confusion and upset.

If you boyfriend is Mr. Right, he will understand that you are thinking in the best needs of the child and he will stand by your side until the time is right to live together.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I think you are making a BIG mistake. You need to live on your own with your daughter, visitation for your ex or however that works out. You honestly know nothing about this man you are so head over heels for. He could be anyone or anything when he is 3 hours away from you.

For instance: my Mom never knew my dad smoked before they got married (1941) and they dated 5 yrs and my dad went to school with 2 of her brothers. They lived a short distance apart. He just never smoked in front of her.
I know a woman who never knew her husband had a drinking problem and was a sexual predator and lived about 20 miles apart before marriage.

You need to have your own place and he has his own place, near you, so you see each other more often. You need to get to know him on a day to day basis. After you have been together for at least a year, living only a few miles apart, then you can consider marriage.

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answers from Columbia on

I think this is a cluster.

Please get premarital counseling prior to marrying this man that you've never even lived in the same town with. Do not get married until you have completed it and worked out any issues you might have. Counseling can bring up issues you might not even be aware of. Don't skip it.

Also, check out the book "Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts." It also has a workbook for men, and one for women. Do it with the new BF.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It would be good to transition out of the "still living with Dad" scenario before the wedding. Let the fiance move to your area and you continue to date and see if this certainty remains when you see each other more often. I find that even with long-term LDRs, there's still a little gloss on visits that fades faster when you see each other all the time. I think it's good for all LDRs to end the distance before a major commitment like marriage.

After he moves and all that, you and your fiance can start making plans for who moves where in the end - you to his home or he to yours or a home you pick jointly. I think especially with a child involved, this slow progression will be beneficial to all of you.

I agree that she needs time to get used to a new norm of "mom's house" and "dad's house" and what that all means. Since you and your ex have never had a split custodial schedule before (being in the same home) you also need time to work that out. If this guy is really marriage material, he will work with you so that you and your DD can have a good transition. Your child may also benefit from counseling because she has a venn diagram for a family and needs to navigate all these changes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Your daughter is going to be traumatized when you and her dad no longer live together. I can't understand why there's a rush to move in with someone new. "Planning" to get married means absolutely nothing. It is too easy for a guy to promise that and then walk out six months later. If the new BF really loves you, he will move closer so that you can actually date each other. Your daughter needs to be able to get to know him, too. Yes, I think you are being selfish. Your daughter deserves a committed relationship (marriage), between you and the new guy. Live alone with just your daughter and make sure he really is the one you want to be with for the rest of your life. Make sure he is good enough to be a stepdad to your daughter.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you should do things in steps, and allow your daughter to get used to things gradually.

First, if I were you, I'd get a place of your own and leave your daughter with her father and have her visit you in the new place. That way she can still live in the house she is comfortable in with one parent. She needs to get used to living with one parent, or at least with the two of you living in separate places. I think it's easiest on the child if they can stay in the home they were comfortable in. If you can't afford a place of your own and you are SERIOUS about this new man, then move in with him but only allow your daughter to come over when he's not around. Do this until you are married. Once you are married, you can have your daughter get to know this new man.

AFTER she has gotten to know the new man, you are comfortable in your new married life and your daughter seems to have adjusted to living with one parent and visiting the other, you can re-visit the custody arrangement. You can maybe move up to 50-50 or you can take her more.

I don't think you are selfish for meeting a new man and falling in love. You are human and you are deserving of happiness. For every sad story about messed-up kids from divorce, there are stories where it all works out. You can write your story any way you want.

Just because other people were messed up by their divorced parents doesn't mean your child will be messed up too. Not all children of divorced parents are unhappy, angry or messed up. It's how you handle it as adults that makes the difference.

I do think that tearing your daughter from her home at the same time you are moving in with a new man might be hard for her to take. Let her get used to one thing at a time. I would say to be honest with her, listen to her, get her counseling if she needs it, and above all make sure she feels needed and loved by both parents.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Before you get married, or even formally engaged, have your boyfriend move to your city and live nearby. He may seem like Mr. Right in a long distance relationship, but things may change when he's around every day and more a part of your daily life. If you've never lived in the same city, jumping into marriage could turn out to be a huge mistake.

When he does make the move, it's time for you and your ex husband to establish separate residences. It may be expensive for a time, having him, you, and your new boyfriend all having your own places, but it will be the best way to transition your daughter and to make sure that this new man really is Mr. Right. You can't have a normal relationship with him if you're still living with your ex, but you need time in the same city to make sure it really works. I'd wait at least six months after he moves before living together or getting married.

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answers from Philadelphia on

hmmm i had a somewhat similar sittuation.
i think some people are a bit harsh. you seme like you're willing to consider not doing it and he will be moving to you.
My advice is to have him take up a month to month lease close by
you get a year lease and move in somewhere and then take it slow. no overnights and he's J. your friend for a while although if you already introduced him as your boyfriend while you lived with her dad that sure is a mess. then after a while he starts spending more time with you guys and slowly by the end of your year lease move him she doesnt equate moving away from daddy with the new guy.
even selfishly looking at it you want her to love this new guy and not assiciate him with you two splitting up and less time with daddy so dont do it all at once!!

we time shared the house for over a year. whoever had my daughter lived in the house for that period. I stayed with my mom when i didnt and most times she stayed with my mom too but we still would do weekend activities with her on ocassion and slowly got her used to the idea we werent together. by the time i offcially moved into my own place and completely out of the house and my moms I was seeing my fiancee (this was 3 years ago-he was my boyfriend until recently), although my daughter didnt meet him until months after dating him and thought he was J. a friend for a long time after.
When i moved out it wouildve been easier to move in with him and fincailally easier but i knew that even with not being in the same house at once and telling her we were divroced for the prior year in her mind it wouldnt make sense and it would be selfish.
i moved out on my own and a few months later he slowly started sleeping over and at the end of the lease we officially move in together

i took it slow and in that year i never slept in the same house with my ex like you do...i dont think it would be good for any of you changing everything so quickly on her or even you.

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answers from Houston on

Well it's a tough situation bc as far as your daughter is concerned she still has you both, and no matter what you do, she's losing daily face time with Daddy, I assume. So my vote is to move out and make the break from living as a family first. Divorce is hard on everyone, but I think that just leaving Daddy's house to a home with a step dad seems really really hard. Since he is moving your way, maybe you guys can find housing, and you and your daughter can live there and he can get like a six month lease or something in a small place, while you guys have the freedom to date more and spend time together with your daughter. Then maybe after you all are married he can move in and it will be less change for her. No matter how you do it, it is a lot for a young child to process, but if you all think on it, put her first and don't rush, I am sure you will be able to find the best solution to a tough situation. It seems you were willing to put her even above whatever hurt caused you and your ex to divorce, so I know you will find a solution. Even though you are in the throws of love and that makes everyone nuts, you have to go slower bc of your daughter. Good luck :)

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answers from Cleveland on

I commend you for even asking and considering your child's well being.

Personally, I would think even if this guys seems like Mr, Right you probably thought that about the first guy at one point,

i"m a big believer in premarital counseling by a certified marriage counselor for at least a year. It think it's good for first time marriages and completely essential for second marriages involving minor children.

so i think living on your own for a few month is actually worse, she'll think she has you all to herself, Living on your own just you and kiddo while you continue to date and get to know new guy for 3 more years sounds perfect.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sorry..this makes no sense to me.

Sounds like you and your ex have moved on anyway romantically. You already have chosen yourselves over your daughter.

I commend you for staying in the same house pretending to keep the family "together"...but really you both planned on bailing each other at some point.

How bad is this going to be on your 4 year old? BAD! She wants her mommy and daddy..and the family you both created for her when you got married.

I am a child of 3 siblings and I are adults...and still feel the affects of our family being torn apart and other people and kids brought into it. Visitations, squabbling over vacation time and what the other parent with their new spouse is doing that the original parent doesn't like..and so many other issues. turned into a mess.

Here is a vote for co habitating with your ex husband until your daughter is out of the house. Then break up and explain to your grown daughter that you are now will still be rough but at least she won't be used as a yo yo or bartering tool.

1 mom found this helpful
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