Dear Readers - The “other woman” speaks out on when a father who’s starting separation and divorce proceedings can introduce his children to his “friend” (March 20):
Reader’s Commentary “Though I am the “other” woman, I did not come into my stepchildren’s lives until 10 months after the divorce.
“I truly believe that no matter how amicable the divorce might be, the children will still have a lot of questions and misunderstandings about “Daddy’s friend.”
“They don’t understand why Daddy is leaving home and they don’t want their lives to change. Adjusting to their parents’ split-up is tough enough, so don’t add stress to that by introducing a girlfriend into the picture right away.
“Your children are absolutely not ready for that and will resent your girlfriend for “breaking up your family,” even if it’s not true. If a father wants a permanent relationship with this woman, you need to think of the damage you’re doing by introducing her too early.
“Our kids were ages five, eight and nine when their parents divorced. My boyfriend and I moved most of his stuff to my apartment, but he also set up some bedrooms at a friend’s place and that’s where he officially lived and took his kids on weekends.
“Six months after the divorce he started talking about me to them. After 10 months we all met over dinner. During the next few months, we did some activities together like picnics and travelled to their Dad’s family events together.
“I started attending their sporting events with their father, as their mother never went. After 18 months had passed, we finally moved in together and the three kids had their own bedrooms at our place.
“Three years later, we got married and included the kids in our wedding.
“I never tried to force them to like me, never spoke badly about their mother even though she badmouthed me, and even though they sometimes said nasty things to me, I never forgot that I was the adult and the “outsider” to their family unit.
“It wasn’t always easy, but as they grew into teenagers, we knew we were doing okay as the kids would sometimes come to me for advice and not their Dad.
“That was 35 years ago and today our kids are married, and we have six grandchildren who just think it’s a bonus to have another grandmother.
“I truly believe that none of this would have worked out had we been in a rush to introduce Daddy’s friend.”
I was initially attracted to my now-wife because she seemed so mature and thoughtful about what she said and what her interests were. She could be fun when we were doing something together, but otherwise preferred to read rather than talk.
After 10 years of marriage, I’ve learned that her demeanor is actually a retreat from talking about anything dealing with problems.
She’s a responsible mother to our two children, working part-time. But her silence on anything about us is pushing me away.
I know she’ll never agree to getting counselling.
Living with Silence
After 10 years together, you’ve likely had some clues from her family situation or upbringing. Example: Were her parents overbearing? Did she suffer a traumatic experience and not get therapy about it? Is she a depressed person who can manage her tasks but not being judged?
If she won’t get personal or marital counselling, go yourself to seek understanding and/or decide your future.
I’m in my 40s, married with one child. My wife’s an only child and friendly but she doesn’t have a large circle of friends.
I’m the youngest of four, close with my siblings and have many friends. But Covid’s changed everything. Even my oldest closest friends don’t call anymore. No one’s been socializing much and we’ve been pandemic conscious. But I feel like people don’t want to be friends anymore. Am I imagining things?
Missing My Mates
Your feelings are shared by many during this anxiety-inducing pandemic. Socializing must be done virtually or by phone, but everyone’s lives are also taken up with tasks. If kids are home-schooling, parents are busy. If weather’s sunny, everyone wants to be outdoors. Grocery shopping becomes pressing when there’s a lockdown or one’s anticipated.
Keeping contact should be short and upbeat. Call only once weekly. Email/text but don’t expect instant responses. Listen and avoid negative venting. You’re not the problem, it’s Covid.
Tip of the day:
The “friend” in a separation/divorce should NOT be introduced to children until the kids have adjusted to the break-up.