My girlfriend splits custody of her five-year old daughter with her ex-husband.
Her ex’s fiancé doesn’t have children and uses the girl as if she’s a living doll. She makes motherly decisions without consulting my girlfriend beforehand, though it’s been explained to her that her role as a step-mother is different from that of a mother.
She dresses the child in skin-tight clothes, leather-laced jeans, and big boots... for kindergarten!
She cuts her hair and buys a line of dolls and accessories even after my girlfriend has expressed her dislike of the toy.
We try hard to co-exist with them in the current situation, but things like this make it very difficult. In my opinion, it’s my girlfriend's right to dress her own daughter like the five-year-old she is, rather than show her women role models who dress like strippers.
I man my boundaries closely regarding my place in assisting her raise her child. I don’t have children of my own, and I’d like to be able to advise her on how to handle this.
- Frustrated Too
Being supportive means NOT adding your opinions to the heap, even if they agree with hers, but instead, helping her deal with the situation calmly, without her daughter becoming a pawn between opposing fronts.
The child’s female role model will most naturally come from her mother – so long as the Mom’s behaviour isn’t delivered with a heavy hand, lectures, bad-mouthing the other woman, etc.
Mom has to make sure her parenting attitudes don’t focus mostly on criticisms of the other woman. The most benefit for her daughter would come from trying to get along with the step-mother, complimenting her for any of the good things she does, bringing the girl’s father into the discussions in a non-confrontational way.
Everyone should be working toward mutual agreements about the needs of the child for security in both homes.
I’ve been seeing someone for five months; he’s divorced with two teenagers. He sees me once a week, between his schedule with kids, home, etc.
I confronted him regarding my feelings for him, and each time he’d back off. I cannot call him at home, we chat online.
He says he doesn’t want to hurt me but he’s mostly with me for “passion and sex.”
I felt insulted. Realizing my reaction, he said that after his divorce three years ago, I was the first person he dated. However, I’ve also found him still searching online.
Am I blind, or is he insecure and confused, or lying?
He may be confused, and even insecure, but he was straight up when he indicated that he’s not planning long-term for this relationship. He cares for you, but with no strings attached.
He currently has enough on his plate dealing with teens after a divorce (and undoubtedly dealing with other post-divorce matters of finances and relating to his ex).
If you’re wanting a commitment in the near future, this isn’t the guy for you. His children will likely take precedence for another few years.
Though he shouldn’t be casting about online while seeing you regularly, you shouldn’t be pushing him for more involvement either, when you know he’s not ready. In fact, you can’t know much else about the guy, since you’re shut out of his home life and anything beyond your weekly, mostly-physical contact.
You’re not “blind,” you’ve already seen this doesn’t look promising. Move on.
My 20-year marriage ended a few years back but my ex only recently confided he’s a homosexual.
Divorce forced me to sell my home, my grown children left, and I’m severely depressed – getting therapy and on medication. But old friends have shunned me – some when I got divorced, and many when they learned about my ex.
I need support, and to talk about all this, but it’s hard to make new friends because of my age, and the shame of what’s happened to me.
The only “shame” is that your so-called friends were either false, ignorant, or insecure in their own relationships.
Continue therapy and focus on your well-being.
Join community groups (available for all ages and interests), start a course, volunteer.
However, remember that most new people you’ll meet don’t want to only hear about past difficulties. Better to plan activities and enjoy doing things together.
Tip of the day:
Co-parenting with an ex – along with his/her new spouse - takes putting criticisms last, and your child’s comfort level first.