Visitation with My Ex and His New Girlfriend

Updated on September 29, 2009
J.P. asks from Clayton, NC
16 answers

I have been spparated/divorced now for almost three years. Lots of people have told me that "it gets easier",and that just does not seem to be true in my case.
My ex husband is now dating someone seriously. When my two daughers go to visit every other weekend they are constantly together with the new girlfriend and her two kids. I have never met the girlfriend, and know very little about her, yet she is essentially spending two weekends per month mothering my kids. This whole situation drives me up the wall. My daughters are only 8 and 6. They do not comment much on the situation when they get home, and I try not to pump them with questions.
My question is, has anyone else been in a similar situation? How can I get the information that I need to put my mind at ease about their well being, without seeming petty and jealous? Am I being too controlling? Not only are my daughthers young and impressionable, but my youngest has a developmental disability. I worry about the fact that she has limited communication abilities, so would not be able to express if she is unhappy in this situation.
I would appreciate you sharing your experiences and advice. Thanks so much for reading my post!

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for thoughtful responses, and willingness to share your personal experiences. It helps so much just to know that others have been in similar situations.
Just a little background on the situation. His girlfriend was in the picture all along, even before the separation. I just didn't know it at the time.
It is hard for me to think about meeting her, and discussing our kids. I know that I am going to have to set those feelings aside for the sake of my children. This situation is not going to go away, and we all have to keep that kids as our first priority.
I have started asking a few more questions of my oldest. Of course, I think I am being really casual about it. She can probably see right through me. I have found out that she has had two sleepovers with this woman's daughter, who is the same age. She says that Dad did not "sleepover." Also, says that she had a great time. So, I think that I might bring up a possible meeting sometime soon. I will see what reaction I get from my ex.

More Answers



answers from Asheville on

Ask them if they have fun and if they get along with girlfriend and kids. Ask about their weekend in general and if nothing raises a red flag then drop it. Butt out.

If you don't trust their dad, then you should have made that clear upon the custody arrangements (or if something has come up to make him less trustworthy bring it up now). You should have expected that he would find another woman to love and for that person to be a mothering figure for your kids.

You don't have privileges to extraneous information in order to 'put your mind at ease'. You are the only one who can do that, no amount of info will help. I can't tell if you are being controlling but you have created a situation where you cannot control your daughter's live while with their dad. If you cannot accept it, get counseling or make peace with it. They will have a life outside of your view forever, get used to it.

Be happy for your ex and kids to join another fun family situation if they are enjoying it. Find a hobby to distract yourself if you can't stop obsessing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Hi J.,
You didn't mention how long your ex and his gf have been together or if she is there overnight (does she live with him?).

As a divorced mom (who is dating a divorced dad with two girls who I spent time with), I think it is fair to ask your ex to meet his new girlfriend since she is spending so much time with your kids. However, it is not fair to approach it with the mindset that you want to see if she is good enough. Regardless of your history with your ex, this woman does not automatically become the bad guy for being with him or for spending time with your daughters. I would be a bit concerned if your ex hasn't known or been with this woman very long. My boyfriend and I were together for almost a year before we introduced our children.

My boyfriend has two daughters (12 and 14), and they spend at least every other weekend with him. My son and I spend at least one evening with them of each weekend that they are there. My boyfriend also takes my son on early morning fishing excursions (either alone or with his girls). My ex knows about all of this and has no issue - partially because he is less than involved (lives 1000 miles away) but also because he knows I would not have my son around anyone that I did not feel was a positive influence on him. My boyfriend and I do not ever have "sleepovers" when either of us has our kids. I do not live with my boyfriend and I don't do any "mothering" - though I am in the role of an adult friend and they do come to me and talk about things and get advice from me. I see them regularly but I am not their mother and don't try to be - they already have one of those. Their mother and I have not met yet, but I am willing if she ever wants to. She trusts my boyfriend's (her ex) judgment about who he allows around his daughters (he's very protective of them).

It's normal to be concerned about who your children are spending time with - but know that unless she mistreats your children or is a drunk or drug abuser, you have no legal basis for trying to control how much time she spends with them. Ask to meet her - have a frank talk with her about wanting to openly communicate so that way everyone is on the same page when it comes to your girls. Don't treat her like second class because she's dating your ex, and don't be jealous of the time she spends with your kids. Try to see the girlfriend as just another person to love your girls, that's what I did when my ex started dating someone seriously (and we lived in the same state). There are many things in life we can not control - who our exes date (and bring around our kids on his time) is one of them. You are justified in your concern but also need to realize you can't control this situation. She may be a wonderful person who just wants to be a "friend" to your girls (and isn't mothering), but you won't know until you meet her and talk to her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I have been in your shoes...and I made it my business to meet the womann with whom my kids were spending time with !!! This is your right as there mother! It is what good moms don't question your simply meet the woman. Get to know her. After all, she is with your kids and having influnence over them. Would'nt your ex want to meet a man that was spending time with his kids? It NEVER matters what people think about you being a good mom...NEVER! Do what is's simple.

PS~ To Becky L.. who replied with such anger and judgement to this do not know who wanted the divorce and you assume so many things about this situation from very little info. ANY GOOD mother would meet ANY person spending time with their kids...PERIOD! It is what decent and caring mother's do! Don't judge her...we are here to support...take a look in the mirror before you lash out at someone!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


I've lived what your daughters are living. My mom and dad divorced when I was 3 years old. My mom would always get anxious when dad would bring home a girlfriend and they would get serious. My mom just asked to meet the girlfriend so she knew who was around us on the weekends. My dad obliged and I can tell you my mom and dad don't get along to this day, they can't stand each other. So for him to agree to do that was considerate. Maybe your ex will do the same. You have a right as their mother to know who is around them at all times. I wouldn't be pushy but maybe ask him if he minded introducing them to one another so you know who she is and a little about her and that it would make you feel better that you aren't trying to be petty but that you are just being concerned. He has to know that you're not going to take this introduction as a reason to get in his business and bicker with him about it. I also think that it's great that you don't pump your daughters for information about their living environment. Your job is to teach them about behaviors you need to know about to protect them and make sure they are safe - - - everything else is off limits. As they get older they will come to you and tell you things - as long as you don't pester them about it. Good luck and in my experience divorce didn't get better but that was because neither of my parents wanted to be the bigger person and for our sake be cordial around each other.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

J. -
A couple of issuse here in my opinion.

A - is the girlfriend staying overnite at the house with your children there? Call me old-fashioned, but I would be very upset if this were the case. I had to discuss this kind of issue with my sister (who is unmarried, but dating someone pretty seriously) when my children would stay over nite with her. If so, that is a major concern.

B - Look at is as you would finding a childcare provider. You are not going to just leave your children in the company of someone you have never met before. So I agree whole heartedly with the lady who suggested a sit down meeting or get together with both your ex and his new girl friend. I would leave the kids at home and go somewhere neutral. IF you have concerns after this meeting, take it up with your exhusband. If he is not willing to budge, you may need a mediator.

Your children and their well being is the most important issue cannot be petty or jealous in this instance.

Good Luck



answers from Nashville on

Talk to the oldest daughter only and express your concerns about your youngest and her disability. Tell your older daughter that you love them so much and want to make sure that when they are away from you that they are being treated just as you treat them at home. Ask her in a fun, quirky way, how daddy's new girlfriend is. Ask her if she likes her but be happy when you ask it,,not jealous. You can even go into asking how she would feel if mommy started dating so it does not all focus on her dad and his gf. I would be able to ask my 6 yr old son I think and he would not think a thing if I asked correctly so I would assume an 8 yr old could easily express her thoughts to you. If you are not jealous, then you should not come off jealous to your child. You are worried and by all means, you should be. Can you talk to your ex? Is he the type to make you feel better or be a jerk? Tell him that you want to meet his gf if your children will be spending time with her. Ask your daughter how old her kids are, if they are nice to her and her sister. I would be most worried of them spending the night or so much time with other kids...are they boys or girls? how old are they? I would focus on that. Good luck.



answers from Knoxville on

I think it's OK to want to meet the girlfriend, but like others said, don't go into it thinking negatively. Just tell your ex you want to meet his girlfriend because you want to know the person who is becoming involved with your kids, not to judge her but just to get to know her. In divorce situations the best case scenario is everyone working together and everyone on the same page. Just be friendly and try and get to know her, not so you can see if she is "good enough" to be around your kids, but just so you can all be supportive of your kids. Good luck!



answers from Louisville on

J., I've never been divorced so I really don't know if my advice will matter to you...but personally, I would want to meet the woman taking care of my children for any amount of time. Have you spoken to your ex about how the kids react with her and if she's having any trouble with them? Maybe make it like your concerned with her side of keeping your children. And is it really wrong to ask your kids if they like her??? Or if she ever yells at her kids act??? I constantly ask my kids questions so they are pretty used to it. These are your kids, and since your youngest has trouble it would certainly be understandable that you question if the woman is having any troubles from the kids.....I wish you the very best and certainly hope things work out. Keep in mind, children's actions speak louder than them for emotional changes..anything out of the ordinary would be cause for concern especially after they return from their home. Good luck and take care!



answers from Louisville on

talk to your ex if hes mature enough you all should be able to set up a lunch date or something where the 3 of you go to lunch and talk about your concerns. you have every right to do this you are their mother. good luck



answers from Charleston on

Hi J.,
I dont think that it's controling to be concerned about the welfare and safety of your daughters while with their father and his new girlfriend. He is moving on with his life and you need to do the same.
My daughter is in the same situation as you only she has 2 boys. It is hard on them spending every other week with thier father and his girlfriend and her 4 kids.

My advice to you would be to calmly and politely ask your ex to arrange a meeting with him and his girlfriend so that you can sit down and get to know her. Ask questions that will give you the answers you need to put your mind at ease about the safety and well being of your daughters. If at any time you have concerns about their visit with their father dont hesitate to voice them to him and ask for some kind of solution to make it better for your daughters. Take him back to court if you have to.

I hope things work out well for you.



answers from Clarksville on

I can relate to you.. from the other side. I dated a guy for 2 years that had a son, and had been divorced for a little over 3 years at that time. he wanted to tell me all sorts of bad stories about his ex, but i refused to believe them until i met her. he didn't want us to meet, not sure why... but eventually i wrote her an email and told her we had been dating and that i spend a lot of time with her son, who was a great kid, and if she needed to pass any info that could help me with him, or any concerns she had to ask. so that being said, i think as the mother you have every right to ask about the girlfriend. i would speak to your ex, and see if the children could go to a babysitter for one afternoon and you, him, and the girlfriend get a casual lunch and discuss your children. ask her if she's aware of the disability and how she handles it. be polite and tell her that you're not accusing her of not being able to do a good job, but that as a mother herlself she should understand why you are asking these questions. chances are if you're children aren't complaining about her, then she's handling everything fine. but theres not reason everyone can't be civil and mature about the whole thing. growing up, at my birthday parties, my dad was there... with his 3rd wife, my ex step mom, and my mother all came. they were there to support me, not to pry into each other's business and everyone knew that. good luck!



answers from Nashville on

J.,I do not think you are being petty.When it comes to your children you have every right to ask any questions you want.My advice is to set up a visit with this woman in your home where you can see first hand your girls response to her.Explain to her you want to have the best communication possible with her.It is not so unusual to have a friendship with the person who is with your ex.That would be entirely up to you. I really do not know the circumstances surrounding your divorce,but when it comes to our children we will normally put our own feelings aside.Best of luck to you and God bless. I hope this has helped.




answers from Nashville on

Create opportunities to get to know the new girlfriend and her children. Host a birthday party for one of your children. Invite her to a children's program at school or church where your child is performing. Invite them to go trick or treating with your children and have dinner at your house before they go. It will give you an opportunity to get to know her and her children and that will either make it easier for you or make it tougher depending on whether she is a nice person or not. Just be sure to give her a chance. She is not you. She is not going to mother your daughters like you do. But, she is in your daughters' lives and it would be better to have her as a friend than as an enemy. Tread very carefully. You do not want to alienate her. If you hurt her feelings or make her angry your children may end up paying the price for your behavior. Be nice to her even if she mothers very differently than you do. Anything you can do to get along with your ex, his new girlfriend, and her children will make life easier on your daughters. Any conflict will make life tougher on your children. You can influence situations more by being friends than you can by being enemies.



answers from Chattanooga on

Ask your daughters what they did over the weekend. You are their mother. You have every right to know what they did and they should be thrilled to tell you how much fun they had. That way, you are not pumping them for information. You are just asking them what they did all weekend when you weren't around. You ask them what they do at school or a friend's house, right? It's the same thing. The other question I would ask is how do they like the girlfriend? Is she nice to them? And how they like their "new friends" (her children). That should get them to open up enough to give you peace of mind without making them feel they are giving you a full report with every detail. Just be careful of your reactions to what they tell you. Children pick up on your facial expressions and levels of excitement. If they find that you get excited and attentive when they tell you things that goes on in daddy's house, then they will start making up stories when there is nothing to tell, if they think that's what you want them to tell you. I would keep it simple. "What did you guys do all weekend with daddy?" "Is (girlfriend) nice to you?" "Do you like your new friends?" Simple, basic questions.



answers from Johnson City on

since this new girlfriend has come into the picture after your divorce, why dont you try to reach out to her and become friends? you both need to have the children in mind and have to communicate so you can be on the same page at all times.



answers from Nashville on

almst everyone has been in this situation. With todays rates of divorces, children are having to deal with your, mine, and ours. If she has 2 children, do yours get along with them? The kids are a direct reflection of the parents, so if your children find her children fine... I would not worry. Your ex has good taste in women, he picked you, and I am sure he would not have his children be at risk of anything harmful. Give it a little time, watch the childrens reaction, and ask non-leading questions that dont seem prying, but you can get a lot of insight from. Good luck and God Bless.

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